Friday, August 31, 2012

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!!

(If you haven't signed up for my book giveaway on the "Faith" page, head on over there. I've extended the deadline to Monday!!)
Future Wildcats on the K-State campus last fall.
I'm typing this at 5:45 a.m., and have already done a quiet little rock star jump (can't wake a house full of snoring boys!). Why??? Because it's FRIDAY!!.....and, because we are just one day away from
Can you tell I'm excited?? I'm so excited that I rose early to organize the lesson plans for our school day (We LOVE "science fridays." This semester our text is Blood and Guts.  We're studying the human body! (TMI too early? So sorry!!) Not only did I prep the lesson, I also prepped a little yum-yum, sumpin' sumpin' for Satadaaaayyyy!!!
The boys of fall with their granny after the Fight Breast Cancer football game last fall.
You have to make these caramel bars right now.  Because they are amazing, that is why!!  My hubby's mamma used to make them for her family and I passed out the first time I tried them.  Steve won some major brownie points in my heart because of those irresistible num-nums.  I busted out a batch for my crew for tomorrow...AND... because I LOVE you all I'm sharing the recipe with ya!!! (Go ahead, do the dance.)

Following the Caramel Bars, I've linked up a few other recipes that we'll be trying out this football season. P.S. - These are uber yummy.  Don't try to substitute random things like applesauce or tree bark to make them healthy or low-fat so that you can eat the whole pan.  Just eat a small peace and burn it off doing cheerleader jumps during the game.  Or, you can make-out with your hubby on commercials  (if you're alone of course!), I heard that burns a lot of calories too. Okie-doky?
Don't forget you can PIN this recipe! Just click on the "Pin It" button at the top of the post!
1 cup butter, melted 
2 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 14oz. package caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
6 oz. chocolate chips (Or, just dump a bunch on.  It's just the right thing to do, really.)
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine melted butter, flour oats, brown sugar, soda and salt.  Press 1/2 mixture into 9 x 13" pan and bake for 10 minutes.  Melt caramels in evaporated milk over low heat.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Remove oat mixture from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans.  Spread caramel mixture over nut mixture.  Top with remaining oat mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before inhaling. :) Enjoy!!!

Do you have a recipe that I MUST TRY????? PA-LEEEEESE SHARE THE LOVE!! 
Leave me a link in the comment section, along with your comments at the end of the post.  Thanks a heap!!

And now here's a few of the recipes that I have lined up for the rest of the season...
Really?? Who is gonna say no to these?? Make a double batch!!
I'm thinkin' about making some caramelized onions for those who have an aversion to fungi.
What can I say?? This hot wings and beer lovin' mamma is pretty stoked to make it!
An oldie but a goodie....especially when the weather gets cold!
Okay, this is the recipe I always use to make P.P. and it's super-yummy (except I use a BBQ pork rub to season the meat instead of the listed ingredients, because I'm lazy and it's simpler!)
I think I'll add some pineapple, green apples, grapes and nanners to the platter!
I had these at a tail-gate last fall and need a re-peat this season!
For the lady football fans in our family. Mmmmm-Hmmmmm!!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"I'm Fat" ~ Letting Go of the Lies

"Susan has chubby legs."

I can recall those taunting words as if they were spoken yesterday.
Standing with my team mates, I'm #44, on the back row, far right.
1987.  It was the fall of my 7th grade school year.   Everything for me that year was new, including the opportunity to play school sports.  I loved playing volleyball and soon discovered that it was the best part of my nervous little life as a middle-schooler. After practice one day, my fellow team mates and I gathered outside the gymnasium, waiting for the bus, or parents, to pick us up and take us home.  While we chatted about homework, the upcoming fall dance, and girly things, the school football players rambled in from the playing field, clearing a pathway between us as they trudged down the hallway to the locker room, their cleats clicking on the polished floors.  It was then that one of them looked right at me and shouted out from a twisted grin above the conversation's buzz, "Susan has chubby legs."

I stood there in in front of everyone, sweaty hair stuck to my face, instinctively clutching my blue gym bag for comfort and listened, in red-faced shame, to the split second of deafening silence as it erupted into fits of laughter and mockery.  

And, that was the day that the "I'm fat" voice nestled down
and made itself at home inside my head.

The funny thing is, I was more upset with those around me, those whom I thought were my friends, who joined in unabashedly on the banter, all too intimidated by the fear of losing status and popularity to recognize the wrong and to comfort the hurt, let alone stand up and correct the jerk who made the remark in the first place.  Skinny, rude, disrespectful, bad-grade, bad-attitude, bad-athlete boy.  Why did I care what you or anyone else thought of my legs anyway??

Once the words were spoken, it was too late. The weight of his jest cracked open the lens of my looking glass, the one that I had gazed through for 13 years, viewing the world, myself and those around me in all it's goodness, innocence and charm.  Suddenly my vision shifted.  I was fat, and that was that.

It didn't matter that those sturdy legs meant that I could run fast, jump high, work hard, lift legs weren't strong, they were fat.  All through high school and college, the insecurity I felt toward my appearance would surface, and my family and friends would kindly say to me, "You're just all muscle, Susan," and I would smile, their words repelled by the droning of the inner voice, "not strong...fat...can't you see?"

Like most teen girls, I had my little cry, and then resolved to fix it. The only way to fix the voice was to fix the fat.  Fixing the fat was always woven into my daily plans:  Skip lunch, nibble on supper, fat-free everything, exercise at night even after putting in 2 hours of practice for whatever sport I was playing.  Unhealthy thoughts bore unhealthy habits, but I didn't know any better.  All I knew was that I was afraid to quit, afraid of getting - yep, you guessed it - fatter. In hindsight, when I think back to those days of severe struggle with self image, I can truly say that it could have been so much worse.  I am  thankful that the internet and cell phones were not a part of mainstream culture back then.  If so, I know for certain that my state of being and mode of thinking would have been much more destructive.
Benchmarks for beauty are all around us. They're hard to ignore.  They even exist within our families.  My mother has always been strikingly beautiful, graced with compliments wherever she goes.  From my earliest memories and even today my father tells my mom every day, sometimes several times a day, that she is beautiful.  Growing up, I wish I could remember hearing her speak words of gratitude to him for his tenderness and sincerity, but I can't.  There were times when I thought to myself, "If she doesn't think she's beautiful, then I must not be beautiful either."  I know she would never want me to think that about myself.  Being unable to accept compliments is something that we inherit from our parents for one reason or another.  This inability, or unwillingness, rather, to accept compliments really bothers my husband. He tells me I'm pretty all of the time, and I have rejected his opinions often, being too harsh or critical of myself, giving in to that pesky voice from Jr. High.  How unfair to him it is for me to give priority to the airbrushed images that world portrays of beauty over the real knowledge and experience of beauty that my husband sees within me?  I have hurt his feelings many times because of this.  
Please, ladies, do not make the same mistake.  

I look back at pictures of the fat strong girl who didn't have the courage to accept herself, and I grieve for her.  I grieve for that girl who thought such ridiculous thoughts about herself, who allowed one little unkind opinion to seep into her soul and cause such an unfortunate amount of grief.
I grieve for all of the girls in the world who have allowed something or someone other than themselves, their very own personal dignity as a child of a loving Father, to be their measuring stick, to be their mirror for beauty, for goodness, for worth.  My grief motivates me not only to love those girls more attentively, but to SHOW them a better way, a higher truth, a greater joy. I often wonder what would happen if all of the energy that is poured into exterior perfection were instead poured into interior life - virtue, freedom, love, prayer, charity, hope - would it remove the scales of criticism, desperation and deception from our eyes, revealing only the clear vision of the inherent dignity and worth that is the real beauty of every single living soul?? 

But, that's not the world we live in.  We live in a visual world, and we can't control what other people put out there for us to see.  What we can control is what we choose to fill our vision with - those images will either feed or famish our souls.  I think women, especially, are depicted by standards which express expectation (spoken or unspoken) that you're a better person and better off if you look a particular way.

Recent exposure to such expectations and standards, filling our time and our attention, has come through the media site, Pinterest. Here are two of the "pins" that showed up on my page just today:

Pinterest does not control or promote this message, but this is what I think when I see these two clips side-by-side, everyone raving about them: Okay, so I'm supposed to be the thin, fit mamma who also bakes the sugary fatty ooey-gooey treats and shares them with my family like they're a bag of carrots??  The internal wrestling never seems to end. Thinking about this reminded me of a question that one of my friends asked me the other day concerning the struggle to lose weight after having a baby.  Here's my honest answer:

As a woman who has spent most of her life trying to make peace with her body, the answer isn't really about losing weight, it's about gaining a proper, honest perspective of yourself.  You see, I used to get so mad at thin girls who called themselves fat. In my mind they had no right to say such things when it was obvious that they were not. But, I was wrong.
Anyone, ANYONE who struggles with self image, no matter how thin or curvy they are, suffers from the bondage of a similar lie: If I am thin, and others think I am thin, then I will be happy and others will be happy with me.
I have known many beautiful, curvy women in my life, women without perfect hair or a perfect sense of style who embody and exude a remarkable sense of self-worth, self -esteem and self-confidence.  Those character traits express themselves in the outward displays of joy, a positive outlook on life and charity toward others.  You know it when you meet these people - they possess something rare and attractive. They have found the right perspective of themselves (and of others) have made peace with their bodies and live in the freedom of that peace.

After each one of my five pregnancies I always feel a surge of motivation to shed the baby weight and fit into my old wardrobe. To my GREAT surprise, however, with the birth of each child, the only thing that I have really lost is my overwhelming desire to be thin, to escape those chubby legs. That distorted desire has thankfully been replaced with a desire to be healthy, happy and whole - not just for myself, but for my husband and my children.  My muffin top, spider veins and saggy sisters, to me, are all evidence of the miracle that this one body has supported the lives of 5 beautiful babies!  No one is going to put that on Pinterest but WHO CARES??????

Sometimes I really am jealous of the pioneer women.  They didn't have time to cry over the shape of their thighs or experiment with the color of their hair - they were too busy trying to survive and to make sure their family survived too! What do we have to worry about? The survival of our ego? That someone might reject us or that the entire world doesn't think we're pretty enough or thin enough??
Surely we're too smart, too tough and too strong than to be duped into such deception, aren't we ladies??

So, how do you make peace with your body??  For starters you have to regain control - if others are controlling how you feel about yourself, and those feelings are negative then allowing them that power over you has to end. Figure out where the roots of negative self-image lie, and start chipping away.  Perhaps it's early memories like mine...or even something recent.  Those memories cannot just be suppressed - they have to be uprooted and replaced with something fresh, something alive, something real, something good. I'm not suggesting that it's easy or simple, it's just a place to start.

The real starting place for me was motivated by two things: 
1. Illness and 2. Faith.  
When Fibromyalgia entered my life at the age of 19, eating right and exercising were no longer matters associated with looking good...they were matters essential for feeling good.  Getting healthy, no matter what the mirror says, is good for everyone, and can help tremendously in the fight for a positive personal self-perspective. Next, and most importantly, the Love of my Father is the only thing that could ever and would ever suffice, the only thing strong enough to overcome that little inner "I'm fat" voice.  I wasn't strong enough to fight the battles on my own, and no one else could fight them for me.  I needed a sustaining, consistent and constant source of grace.

In the end, we might all grow old and weary, wrinkle, wither and fade.  Then, only one thing shall remain, that which is most valuable, our souls.  My soul shall shine out from within this body, thin or fat, weak or strong, and it shall shine out with this one truth:
My value and worth is not to be determined by others. I am the daughter of a King, who has made me in His image and likeness. A King who loves me, believes in me, has a purpose for my life, who knew me before He formed me in my mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  A King who has made me beautiful and precious in His sight (chubby legs and all). 

That is where I find my peace....I hope and pray that you find yours.

Meeting Teresa Tomeo & SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY!!

This giveaway is officially closed.  A great big thank you to all who participated!! 
Here are our WINNERS!!....
Kay Reike ~ "You Go, Girl!"
Kathleen ~ "Extreme Makeover"
Last weekend, I had the privilege of meeting renowned speaker and author, Teresa Tomeo, at a Catholic women's convention.  During the convention, she graciously shared with us her testimony and encouraged the women present to find the fullness of life by seeking and living a life in Christ. (You can read her extraordinary story in her book NEWSFLASH: My Surprising Journey From Secualr Anchor to Media Evangelist.)  

Teresa is a tremendous advocate for women ~ it is her great desire is to help them discover and embrace their identity, value and gifts as women as daughters of a King, not the objectified images that the media portrays a woman of value to be.

After hearing Teresa speak (her Italian spunk and humor captivated all of us!) I was compelled to read and share her books with you. In fact, I think they are so wonderful...
 I'm GIVING AWAY two SIGNED COPIES of them!!! 
The first one is:

Extreme Makeover is a powerful and passionately written book that awakens readers to the reality that the self-image of the American woman is being distorted by pop-culture and its emphasis on youth, physical beauty and sexuality. (Excerpt from the book description.).  A truly eye-opening work.  I highly recommend it to everyone!
Teresa's most recent publication. Wrapped Up would be a fantastic book study for a women's group, or   the perfect birthday, Christmas or Mother's Day gift!
I finished this book in one sitting.  The statistics are startling!! It is a must read for every parent!
Okay, you all know that I don't have a girl, but I couldn't resist sharing this one with all of you who have daughters! This is also the second book in the giveaway!!

If you would like to learn more about Teresa, her radio programs, books and speaking engagements, visit her website:

Please leave a comment with your e-mail and your book of choice ("Extreme Makeover" or "You Go Girl.")
If you comment does not publish, please send it to
I WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER ON Monday, September 3rd!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Giving Thanks ~ The Liebster Award

Thank you to my friend, Ruby, at Girlfriends are Like Shoes for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Many people who are nominated often to not post a response to the nomination on their blog.  I think it's important to write something, even if it's short and sweet, as a way of saying thank you to the one who thought enough of you to award a nomination, but also to help other fellow bloggers who are hoping to grow and develop their blogs by giving them a vote of confidence!
The Liebster Award is an award for new bloggers with less than 200 followers. (or close) It's a great way for bloggers and readers alike to find new and interesting people in our beauty/blogging community! 

There are rules to this award, so without further ado -
- Each person must post eleven things about themselves.
- Answer the eleven questions the tagger has set for you.
- Choose eleven people and tag them in this post.
- Follow the tagger and visit at least three nominees.

Okay, let's get cracking' on these rules!!

First up - 11 Things about myself:
1.  I'm completely in love with my husband.
2.  I'm head over heels for my five ornery boys.
3.  Running keeps me sane.
4.  I'm a big Jane Austen fan.
5.  I love the smell of sheets drying on a clothesline.
6.  Fall is my favorite season.
7.  I can't tolerate people who tell me I'm intolerant.
8.  I think Hendricks Gin is delicious.
9.  I'm terrified of snakes, bears and lions, but mostly snakes.
10.  Adopting a child/children would be a great privilege and joy for me.

Answering Ruby's Questions:

  • What is your best blogging tip? Write about what you know and love and stick with it.
  • Favorite way to spend your free time? Running or reading.
  • Favorite blog topic to read? Health & Fitness, home design, organizing and cooking.
  • Favorite Social Media Platform? I use Facebook and have just signed up for Twitter
  • Favorite Color? YELLOW!
  • What is your most prized possession? My faith.
  • Favorite physical attribute about yourself? Errrr....Ummmm... My teeth are straight??
  • Favorite character trait about yourself? I am a hard worker, and I love to serve others.
  • Something you find funny? My boys make up funny nicknames for each other. 
  • What are your blogging goals, if any? My only goal is to enjoy the journey.

  • My Nominations:
    1.  Elizabeth at Port of Thoughts
    2. Shaylee Ann at Mother at Heart
    9.  Alli at Little Mouse's House
    11.  Alice at A Number of Things

    To keep things simple, my nominees can answer the same questions that I answered from Ruby, that are listed above.  

    Thanks, again, Ruby!

    Feast Day Celebrations Begin - St. Augustine & St. Monica

    One of the surprise blessings of homeschooling for our family has been the earnest enjoyment we have experienced in celebrating the liturgical calendar during the school year.  Each month, the boys look at the calendar, highlight their favorite saint's feast days or memorials and then we find a special way to celebrate them within our day. Creative meals or unique desserts are definitely tops on our mode of honor.

    Yesterday, August 27th, was the Feast of St. Monica and today, the 28th, is the feast of St. Augustine.  We love to celebrate these two great saints together.  I think most of us, Catholic or not, can relate to and feel encouraged by these heroic souls  ~ St. Monica, the mother who prayed fervently for years for the conversion of her son.  And, Augustine, the promiscuous, rebellious youth who wrestled for years to find himself, truth and God.  He is probably known, most famously, for writing The Confessions of St. Augustine, and for the quote within the text, 
    “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our 
    hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
    To honor these two great saints yesterday, we made a special key lime pie. Creating some symbolism with whatever fare you make helps make a memory for the children. For example:
     - The pie itself represents the sea of tears (blue color, round shape) shed by St. Monica for her son Augustine, that he may know Christ and so be converted by His love.
    - The whipped cream with blue sprinkles represents heaven.  St. Monica's sacrifice and prayers were honored by our Lord, and St. Monica and St. Augustine live on in eternity in heaven with Christ.
    - The icons placed in the center of the pie were there to give the children a visual of the two saints while I read to them their story.
    Key Lime Pie Recipe:
    I used an already prepared graham cracker crust, but you can also make one with this recipe:
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    6 tablespoons butter, melted
    3 tablespoons sugar
    Mix ingredients together in a large bowl.  Press into an 8 inch pie plate and bake until golden, about 12-13 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325.
    1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
    4 large egg yolks
    1/2 cup freshly squeezed key-lime juice*
    1 tablespoon grated key lime zest
    4-5 drops of blue food coloring (more or less, depending on the brand)
    Combine milk, egg yolks, lime juice, food coloring and zest in a medium sized bowl and whisk together until blended.  Pour into prepared, cooled crust.  Bake until the center is set, but still quivers when the pan is nudged, about 15-17 minutes.. Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled.  Top with whipped cream, homemade or Redi-Whip, and garnish with blue sprinkles before serving.
    *I have used the bottled key lime juice as well as the fresh juice of regular limes and the pies have turned out just fine.  

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Silpada Giveaway Winner Announced & First Day of School Pics

    Thanks so much to those of you who took the 
    time to leave a comment on our 
    The e-mail responses and comments (not including mine, of course) totaled nearly 100!! Thanks again to Carrie Hays for her generous donation!! We totaled up all of the comments, and assigned each one a number in the order that the comments were received.  
    Then, I asked George to choose a number between 1 and 100.
     He chose #15 ~ Dwija, from the blog House Unseen, Life Unscripted!
     - Take 1 -
    - Take 2 -
    Today also happens to be the first day of our homeschool year.  I love all of the sweet pictures that my friends have posted on Facebook of their kiddos heading off to school for the first day of the year.  So, I thought maybe I would snap a pic for our own album.
      The boys jumped right in to their work!
    Henry practicing the letters in his name.
    Our math program is a computer course - George gives it a thumbs up!
    Charlie is the classroom manager.  He likes to "help" everyone with their work!
    I'm a little bit nervous this year teaching three different grades every day and pre-school three days per week.  I've decided that putting my game face on (shower, fix hair, drink coffee) before the kids get up will help me feel on top of my teaching game.  I'm confident that the boys will do a great job, and that we'll have a fun and interesting year of classroom chaos adventurous learning experiences!!

    Breakfast Cereal Break-Up

    Everyday my floors are crunchy.  No matter how many times I sweep or bend over and pick up the trail of nibbles.  Even my pantry floor is crunchy. Most of the crumbs that stick to my toes are cereal remnants.  The boys still haven't mastered sealing up the boxes after they partake of their breakfast delight.  Boxes on the shelf fall over, spill onto the floor and the crumbs are abandoned by busy boys who overlook the mess (they suffer from selective's kind of like selective hearing if you catch my drift.).
    Anyhoo, crunchy floors are just one reason I'm breaking up with breakfast cereal.  Here's some more:
    1.  It's expensive.  Even with coupons.
    2.  The boys polish off a box in one breakfast.
    3.  My shopping cart has no room left for vital nutrients after we pass the cereal isle.
    4.  Someone always finishes the "good" cereal stirring up word wars, whining and those self-pity "Woe is me, I'm going to starve, no one loves me" fits.
    5.  The more I read and research, the more I'm convinced that we need to cross cereal off of our shopping list permanently.

    Now, I know it's yummy.  Trust me, I've been known polish off a bowl of the stuff at any given time of day.  Not only is it yummy, it's also easy to fix.  The kids can serve themselves, it's fast and it's simple. 

     I have no illusions of this being an easy change in our household. No siree Bob. This break-up might even evoke the shedding of a few tears. But, just like dating, there's other fish in the sea....or in our case other food in the fridge.

    Medical research continues to show that a whole-foods, (primarily) plant based diet is essential for optimal health.  Such research clearly makes (most) cereals bad guys, since cereal is one of the most highly processed foods we can eat. Haven't you ever wondered how they take a grain of wheat, corn or oats and turn it into something puffed, colored and coated with every flavor imaginable??  A whole foods diet implies that the food you eat most closely resembles the food in it's origin as a whole.  You don't open up a colorful box of crispiness and pour out a bunch of wheat berries and corn kernels, now do ya??
    My plan is to slowly phase the cereal out of the pantry.  What will take it's place?? Most likely, oatmeal, homemade granola, smoothies, homemade whole-grain pancakes/waffles, eggs and Ezekiel toast.  There are also a great number of suggestions on Pinterest and on this webpage.

    If you are interested in reading more about why cereal might not be the wisest breakfast choice, check out these links:

    What do you think??? Have you made the switch?? If so, how did it go?? Do you have any suggestions??  Please leave a comment ~ We'd love to hear from you!!

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Lessons in Forgiveness

    Yesterday, Steve and I decided to take a day to ourselves.  A day to regroup, to talk about life uninterrupted, a business meeting of sorts to make plans for the upcoming months with regards to school, traveling, work etc.  Steve's mom was ever-so-kind to take on the challenge of watching the boys for us while we were gone

    Unfortunately, a CHALLENGE it was.

    I could hear the difficulty in her voice when I called on Wednesday evening to see how things were going.  My heart sank.  And, as she continued to gently explain how UNangelic my pack of punitives had been all day, it continued to sink.....ugghh.....there's nothing like coming home to discipline.  Fun. Fun times.

    Apparently that day the moon and stars were not in line for good behavior.  In fact, they might as well have fallen out of the sky along with all the planets igniting our Rulebook For Good Behavior into cosmic flames. Sometimes our kids are naughty or ornery and can be put back on course with a little correction, a couple of my famous eye-rolls and some muttering about loosing my sanity between huffs and puffs of exasperation - just enough to let them know I'm serious.  And, other times they are ridiculous. Darn right ridiculous. Ridiculousness calls for special correction.

    Special correction is typically uncomfortable for the kids and nice for me, because the house gets cleaned, cars get detailed, garage swept, garden weeded, toys are locked up, television unplugged and their handwriting improves with every "I will never again...." sentence that they have to write.

    We don't expect our kids to be perfect.  They are going to make mistakes, of course.  But, (most) mistakes call for a course of action, appropriate action that will help the child:
    1.  Avoid repeat offenses
    2.  Consider the consequences of their actions
    3.  Examine how their behavior hurt themselves and hurt others.

    Perhaps the most important on the list above is #3.  Whether we accept this truth or not, it makes it no less true: Sin hurts others, it hurts me as an individual and it hurts my relationship with God.  So how do you help a child make amends for a wrongful behavior that has hurt themselves, God and others?
    1.  Teach them (example is the best teacher) how to make a sincere apology.
    2.  Show them how actions follow words - they must act like they are sorry by trying to serve the one whom they have hurt, and try to behave in a more loving way toward that person.

    Today, I asked each of the boys if they would consider writing their Granny a letter of sorrow.  They each sat down and thought about what to say.  I encouraged them to think about one or two specific things that they did wrong and to write a contrite apology for it. Then, they finished the letter with a specific note of gratitude toward their Granny for any of the wonderful ways that she helps, serves or loves them.  Henry is too small to write, so he colored a picture for her.

    After the letters were written, the boys delivered them to her with a hug.  I think it's really important for kids to not only say that they are sorry, but also to follow the apology with, "Will you forgive me?"  There is something conclusive and healing about hearing the words, "I forgive you."

    They returned home after delivering the letters smiling and happy.  I could tell that they felt relieved. It seems like a small thing, to learn the proper way to apologize, what it means to be contrite, how to ask for forgiveness and to be forgiven, but I hope and pray that these tools will serve them well as they grow into young men, and all-too-soon into adults.

    "It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly 
    out of one's heart rather than out of pity.
    A person must possess himself and have a deep sense of security
    in fundamental principles and values
    in order to genuinely apologize." 
    ~Stephan Covey

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Get Behind Your Man

    This one popped up on my Pinterest page a couple of days ago, and I knew instantly that I would be passing it on.  Television and movies rarely plays married men and fathers in a positive light these days, and I am saddened by it.  We need to see authentic representations of the great men and fathers out there who are truly living their call to marriage and fatherhood in a virtuous way.  Those men need our support, they need our praise, our encouragement and our prayers!! 

    So, starting today, I'm going to being 31 days of praying for my husband.  Who wants to join me?? (For a printable version, and credits, please scroll to the bottom.)

    “She does him good . . .” (Proverbs 31:12a) 
    Bless your husband by praying for him! The Apostle Paul instructed all Christians to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18). This includes wives’ responsibility and privilege to pray for their husbands. Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).
    Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship. Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.
    Day 1 Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18Prov. 4:23)
    Day 2 Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:79:10Ps. 112:1)
    Day 3 Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4Micah 6:8)
    Day 4 Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29;Col. 3:19)
    Day 5 Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6Gen. 2:24)
    Day 6 Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12John 17:151 Cor. 10:12-13)
    Day 7 Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-2426Rom. 13:14)
    Day 8 Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:111 Cor. 15:58)
    Day 9 Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5Rom. 12:13Heb. 13:5)
    Day 10 Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:71 Tim. 1:53:7Eph. 6:10-12)
    Day 11 Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33Eph. 6:6)
    Day 12 Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15181 Cor. 7:3Song of Solomon 7:10)
    Day 13 Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13Phil. 2:3-4)
    Day 14 Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21Eph. 4:29)
    Day 15 Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20Prov. 27:17)
    Day 16 Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control. (1 Cor. 6:1210:312 Tim. 2:4)
    Day 17 Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength. (Eph. 3:161 Peter 2:211 Cor. 10:11)
    Day 18 Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life. (Matt. 6:33Deut. 6:5Eph. 5:16Ps. 90:12)
    Day 19 Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses. (Rom. 14:19Ps. 34:14)
    Day 20 Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. (Prov. 27:122 Cor. 10:5)
    Day 21 Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord. (Neh. 8:10Prov. 17:22Ps. 16:11)
    Day 22 Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord. (Eph. 4:32Heb. 12:15)
    Day 23 Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4Col. 3:212 Tim. 2:1-2)
    Day 24 Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52Prov. 13:15)
    Day 25 Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24Eph. 6:13Ps. 27:14)
    Day 26 Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:111 Cor. 10:31)
    Day 27 Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-21 Cor. 6:19-209:27)
    Day 28 Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times. (1 Thess. 5:17Luke 22:46James 5:16)
    Day 29 Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home. (Eph. 5:15-161 Cor. 12:47)
    Day 30 Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything. (1 Cor. 10:13John 7:17-18Col. 3:23-24)
    Day 31 Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God. (John 8:442 Cor. 10:4-5)

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    Article from Revive Our Hearts