We eat pizza and ice-cream. We do a little bible study and then mostly chat.
We have a core group that has been together for a few years now. We have lost some group members and added some but our core has stayed consistent.
These young women come for a variety of challenging backgrounds. Their stories are the ones that make your heart hurt. The ones that just make you shake your head and wonder how on earth they get by each day.
They all started the group skeptical, scared, not trusting some of them angry. Many of them making bad decisions on a consistent basis. All of them not daring to trust in God. All of them questioning why they were dealt their hand in life? How could there be a God who would allow X to happen?
A few weeks in I felt like it was a loosing battle. They were looking for concrete answers to their problems. I didn’t have any tidy answers that could make their challenges go away. I could only offer the hope of salvation and the love of a God who would never leave them.
They were so resistant and snarky. Defenses were up. Trust needed to be earned.
So I prayed. I prayed for God to soften their hearts. I prayed that God use me to be of service to them or at least have me point them in the direction of someone who could help them.
About a month later I started to see a softening. They began asking real questions, paying attention to answers. The foul language was tapering off. There was more laughter and more sharing. Prayer request started.
Gradually I have seen these wonderful young women grow in their faith. They make better decisions. They are more comfortable with who they really are. I have seen God work so mightily in them. He has given them a beautiful faith. He has sustained them through some crazy difficult times. He has once again proven that he is an almighty God who can save anyone assuming that person chooses Him.
That is what most impresses me with these girls. I see and hear what they face. Some of their every day living is what most of us feel would be a terrible tragedy and would make us curl up in the fetal position. Their resilience is amazing. And the choose God…. every time. They could easily fall back into their old habits. Drugs and alcohol to dull the pain. Sarcasm, cynicism and anger, in place of dealing with their challenges.
When things happen that make them question God they choose faith. They still question why but they don’t question the fact that God has their back. This choice takes an incredible amount of bravery on their part.
The live in a culture that mocks their faith. They are the minority by far. Most of their friends have no faith. They exhibit a different behavior. A behavior that is masking a deep deep pain with a variety of drugs, sarcasm, sex, video games, boy craziness, anger. and so many other yucky sole sucking options.
Their friends have so little control of what is going on that the thought of handing over all control to God is more scary than just about anything else they deal with.
But these girls are willing to trust God. Better yet they are at a point where they know they NEED to trust God.
There is still a long way to go for these young women, just like all of us. As they juggle all the things that are thrown at them and navigate their way through life’s obstacles, mostly by themselves, they do so using the Lord as their beacon. They can be a light for others.
What an honor and a blessing to be able to be part of this little group.
Spending time with them and watching the Lord change their hearts and give them hope has done more for my faith than I can begin to explain.
I just love God. He so knows what he is doing.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
How did week 1 go for you? Any stories to share? Here is the list for week 2. As usual feel free to mix them up, borrow from previous weeks or create your own. The purpose is to do one thing selflessly, without any hopes or expectations, for your spouse each day.
Don’t forget to pray for him every morning too.
1) Say you are sorry – before he does. If there is a long lists of hurts on both sides write him a letter apologizing for your part.
2) Text him – something lovey and flirty. If you are not there yet text him something along the lines of I hope you have a great day.
3) Buy him his favorite candy bar, snack or something you know he wants. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful
4) Ask him for his advice – what does he think about discipline, diet, paint colors, anything that you normally would just go ahead and decide on your own.
5) Pray together– just a quick prayer asking to intercede on behalf of your marriage, To strengthen and fortify you. Here is a great resource http://marriageprayers.today/
6) Love letter from your kids – Have your cherubs each write down 2-3 things they love about their dad and share them with him at dinner
7) Make him a cup of coffee – in the morning or bring one by his work place
Please also don’t forget to vote for us by hitting the Top Mommy Blog icon on my side bar. xooxoxox
As cherub #3 and I were driving to school last week we saw a giant red billboard that said (in giant letters) “34 A? WE CAN FIX THAT” Followed by another billboard that read “GUARANTEED TO MAKE AT LEAST 3 EX BOYFRIENDS SORRY”
Both were for some local institute for Plastic Surgery. Both peaked my daughters interest.
I was left to explain why you would need to “fix” the size of your boobs or rely on undergoing surgery and altering your body to make a boyfriend regret breaking up with you.
This is the culture that surrounds us. A culture that perpetuates a fictional perfection. A society that’s shoving an unattainable ideal down peoples throats. A culture that teaches it IS how you look. A society where we are set up for failure because there is no such thing as perfection.
How do we teach our children that the body image they desire is a body image that does not exist? It’s a body image that has been created by a computer. Our children are trying to live up to a drawing.
The ramifications of this assault alters your son’s perception of what a girl should look like, it warps how they should respect a woman. it diminishes your daughter’s security. I just read an article that states that girls as young as 5 years old are concerned with body image. By age 7, one in four kids has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior.
How do we combat virtually every image, every obvious or worse yet, insidious message that is everywhere we look? How do we teach our children they are beautiful because God says they are beautiful?
When you don’t know what to say look to God. He has the answers. He sets us up for success. We put on the full armor of God;
(from Focus on the Family)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
What it means: You are created in the image of God, and God doesn’t make junk! Like a snowflake, every person is unique. No two are the same. God sees you as a masterpiece; and when you look in the mirror, He wants you to “know that full well.” Try this beauty tip: Every morning when you look in the mirror, say Psalm 139:14 and smile. You might even tape the verse on your mirror as a reminder!
1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
What it means: The world focuses on what people look like on the outside. God focuses on what people look like on the inside. Do you put more time and effort into being pretty on the outside or the inside? As you get older, you will meet Christian girls who spend more time trying to find the perfect outfit, get the perfect tan, find the perfect lip gloss, and have the perfect body. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty, we need to make sure it’s in balance. God would rather see us work on becoming drop-dead gorgeous on the inside. You know, the kind of girl who talks to Him on a regular basis (prayer) and reads her Bible.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
What it means: Beauty fades with age, so if you are more concerned with your outer appearance, you will be unhappy when the wrinkles come and the number on the scale goes up. In fact, did you know that your body may show the beginning signs of aging as early as age twenty? That is why God wants us to “fear” Him. That doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him but rather to be in awe of Him and all that He has done. Let me put it to you this way. If you stand two girls next to each other and one is Miss Teen USA whose beauty is limited to physical beauty, and the other young lady is a more average-looking girl who loves the Lord more than anything, she is the more beautiful girl in the eyes of God.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
What it means: This does not mean it’s wrong to braid your hair or wear nice clothes and jewelry. The verse was written to warn women not to follow the customs of some of the Egyptian women who, during that time period, spent hours and hours working on their hair, makeup, and finding the perfect outfit. God would rather see women work on becoming beautiful on the inside — the kind of beauty that lasts forever.
1 Timothy 4:8
Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.
What it means: Exercising and staying in shape is a good thing, but God expects us to stay in shape spiritually by reading our Bibles, praying, and going to church on a regular basis. In other words, there will be plenty of people who put their time and effort into staying in shape but who are out of shape spiritually. If they don’t know Jesus Christ, their perfect bodies won’t get them through the gates of heaven.
Mother Earth Brewing out of Vista, CA is one of my favorite breweries. They craft a great variety of beer and I have yet to find one that I have not loved.
This beer is LOVELY. Reminiscent of Russian River’s Pliny
The flavor – Tangerine, grapefruit and pine
Style – Mosaic IPA
Scent – Hoppy, floral, pine and citrus
Pour- Lovely Straw Color an off white foamy head
Body – Medium body with a crisp up front and smooth at the end,
ABV – 6.5%
Finish – Nice dried fruit, lingering
Food Pairing – Ham, charcuterie and sausages
Sharp cheddar, funky Stilton, or stronger blue cheeses
4.5 out of 5 stars
I thought it would be easiest if we listed suggestions weekly so you have some flexibility on how to apply to your lifestyle.
Each day start by carefully praying for your spouse.
Pray for God to keep him strong, healthy, to be or become the spiritual leader of your home. To strengthen your marriage.
To soften your hear during times of strife.
Here are some tips for Week 1
1) Give him undivided attention – Put down your phone, laptop, making dinner or whatever is distracting you and listen to how his day was. Make eye contact. This shows you respect him.
2) Make a list of 5 things you love and appreciate about him and slip it in his briefcase,car seat or lunch box
3) Make him his favorite dinner – don’t worry about nutrition or diets, just this one time. Enjoy
4) Don’t roll your eyes or sigh when he says something you think is dumb or you have heard the same joke heard it several hundred times
5) Go for a walk together, long or short, his preference. Don’t feel the need to consume the time with conversation.
6) Give him a massage and don’t resent if it becomes more
7) Sit next to him and hold his hand while he is watching whatever show/sport that you always avoid watching
Feel free to mix these ups. Please Please chime in if you have tips for us other mommas. We need to stick together.
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE FOR US. XOXOX
FASTING: Some people have been known to go without food for days. But that’s not the only way to fast. You can fast by cutting out some of the things in your life that distract you from God. Some Christians use the whole 40 days to fast from candy, tv, soft drinks, cigarettes or meat as a way to purify their bodies and lives. You might skip one meal a day and use that time to pray instead. Or you can give up some activity like worry or reality tv to spend time outside enjoying God’s creation. What do you need to let go of or “fast” from in order to focus on God? What clutters your calendar and life? How can you simplify your life in terms of what you eat, wear or do?
SERVICE: Some Christians take something on for Christ. You can collect food for the needy, volunteer once a week to tutor children, or work for reform and justice in your community. You can commit to help a different stranger, co-worker or friend everyday of Lent. Serving others is one way we serve God.
PRAYER: Christians also use Lent as a time of intentional prayer. You can pray while you walk, create music or art as a prayer to God, or savor a time of quiet listening. All can be ways of becoming more in tune with God.
I love the season of Lent. I love the focus it gives me, I love sacrificing something that is difficult so that every time I want “whatever” I have given up it makes me think of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.It shifts my “me” focus to be more focused on Him and His ways.
It helps us recognize life as a precious gift from God, and turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ.
I don’t know about you Mommas but I need to be more Christ Like in every way. This Lent I am giving up something and I am also doing something.
My love pyramid is amuck. I am supposed to love God, my spouse and my cherubs, in that order. Most days It is a tie between God and Children with my poor spouse coming in last. It makes me sad that I have to make such a conscious effort to be the wife God commands me to be but obviously I do.
Soooo I am using this time of reflection to honor and serve my husband every day. I will post a tip on my FB page every morning. (feel free to like my FB page by selecting the icon on the side bar.)
Let us know if you want to join this challenge. If things have been bumpy in your marriage this may be a way to get back on track. If things are great in your marriage than this is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for the spouse God has given you.
Proverbs 31:11-12 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
and don’t forget to vote for us! We are moving on up.
Last week I was featured on Meaningful Mama (I love her blog) http://meaningfulmama.com/
Anyway check out the article. Hope you enjoy oxoxox
Parenting a tween is a whole new ball of wax. It happens suddenly and without warning. You go from having a sweet little person who constantly follows you around full of love and adoration to a person who suddenly needs privacy, has much less tolerance of just about everything and likes you some of the time. These 6 effective tips for praising your tween will help build into your relationship as you navigate a whole new phase of parenting.
Frankly parenting a pre-teen sometimes it is exhausting, but this is when you need to solidify your relationship. They are changing and they expect you not to change. They have become more clever. They recognize insincerity. They need to trust and value their relationship with you in order to recognize its’ importance. A strong relationship during the middle school years makes for a strong relationship during high school.
Sincere praise can build trust and appreciation. Here are 5 ways to foster your relationship with your tween.
Praise the Process Not the Result
Tweens are already overwhelmed with emotions, hormones, peer pressure and pressure from us. Instead of making them result focused, praise the process. “You studied really hard for that test you deserve that grade,” or “Wow you put so much effort into cleaning the dishes. I really appreciate your hard work and contribution to the family” are better ways to praise.
Praise the Inside not the Outside
Do you remember Jr. High? Was there a time when you had lower self-esteem? Tweens are already sooooo self conscious about their appearance, what they wear, how their hair looks, what type of backpack they have, etc. Let them know appearances are based on substance. When your daughter get’s dressed don’t tell her she looks cute. Tell her, “That is a great outfit. It really fits your fun personality,” or “You have a great sense of style, how did you come up with that outfit?” Further, praise the character qualities you see in them.
Praise your Spouse Often, in Front of your Tween
Tweens are feeling insecure about basically everything. They need the security of knowing you are united. They need to see and hear that you respect each other. “You father is a wise man and I support his position on this,” is a great response when a child questions your spouse. Support your spouse’s decisions, even if you don’t agree. You and your spouse can always discuss the decision in private. This kind of praise will cause much eye rolling from your tween, but they will be better for it in the long run.
Praise Your Child’s Friends – Even the Ones You are not Crazy About
Tweens need and appreciate your acceptance. They want you to like their friends. This is also a great way to let them know the type of behavior you appreciate without nagging them. Say things like, “I really appreciate how polite Jolene has been lately,” or “It must be nice to have a friend who is so kind to you.”
Praise their Opinions
This does not have to be a verbal “Great idea!” Tweens appreciate non-verbal recognition. This is an opportunity to develop trust. Tweens crave to be heard so give them the opportunity. Ask them their opinion. ” What earrings should i wear with this shirt”? or “Did you see how that driver yelled at that person, what do you think of that?” If you do feel compelled to praise their opinion be specific. “I never would have thought of putting those earrings with that blouse. I like it!”
Praise God – All the Time, In Every Circumstance, Good or Bad.
Let your child know that God is your pilot, not your co-pilot and that you completely trust Him. If you trust God then your tween will eventually completely trust God instead of trusting the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Enjoy spending time with your amazing tween. This can be a wonderful time as you watch them navigate into the person they are choosing to become. Be their rock during this time. They need you more than ever.
Now that Alpine has increased it’s brewing capacity you can find this lovely beer in a variety of places. I really like this beer. It is one of the best IPAs on the market right now.
The flavor – Very citrus, grapefruit with chardonnay and peach undertones
Style – American IPA
Scent – Pine and citrus
Pour- Golden yellowish orange with an off white foamy head
Body – Light and Crisp to start, a little heavier at the end,
ABV – 7.10%
Finish – Nice spicy rye finish.
Food Pairing – This beer would go great with spicy foods Pa Nang Curry, Ahi Poke, Provides a nice compliment to spice. It would also be a nice contrast to the sweetness in BBQ meats.
5 out of 5 stars