Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 27: Reading the Word

Day 27 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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There is one area that I am not consistent with my children on and pray that I can be.

Reading God’s Word is a passion that I have recently found.  I find deep peace in reading the Bible.  I am not consistent in reading each day but I am working on that.  I long to read from the Bible each day to my children as well.  I want them to hear God’s word and to want them to read the Bible for themselves as well.

Each one of my children has their own Bible (well my 5 year old will have his own on Christmas).  My 3 year old has a childrens Bible and we have numerous Bible stories.  I feel it is very important for them to have their own Bible so they can read it, make notes in it, and whatever else they choose to do.

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I pray that God can help me teach my children his word and that I can carve out the time to do so.  I don’t really have a good method or plan to reading it myself and I would really like insight on a good reading plan.  I would love to read the Bible in a year but I am much more passionate about reading it daily for myself and reading it daily to my children.  I welcome any ideas or suggestions.

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Thank you in advance!

God Bless,

Crystal

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Faith, Marriage, Other, Parenting

Day 26: Peer Pressure

Day 26 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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How do you handle peer pressure with your children?

All children face it at some point in their young lives.  No parent wants to see their children hurting or struggling with decisions to do the right thing or to follow their friends.  How do we teach our kids not to “Fit In?”

This can be challenging because we want our kids to be liked and to have friends and not to be picked on but we don’t want them to sacrifice their values.

I don’t think God wanted us all to do the same thing.  I am pretty sure God wants us to be our own individual which is why he created us all unique!!

My husband and I try to express to our children that they don’t have to do what everyone else is doing especially if they know it is wrong or if they feel led to do something else.  We all feel judged by others at times and that is hard for kids to experience.

Lynn Cowell is a wonderful woman that will help direct you to raising wise daughters!!!  My two oldest children are girls so I like to use her resources.  I have yet to find a great resource geared toward boys but I am still looking.  If you have any suggestions please share them with me.  I like to have go to Christian resources for ideas!!

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How do you handle peer pressure in your house?  What do you do to prevent your heart from hurting due to the mean things people can say or do when we don’t fit in?

Remember that God is the only one we have to please!!

God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 28: Creating Traditions

 

Day 28 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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I don’t know if you get into Halloween or not.  I used to get much more involved than I do these days.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Halloween and my kids love dressing up and going trick or treating!!

Haley Halloween
Haley as a baby/grandma??
Halloween
Haley and I goofing around!!
Kids Halloween
Lathen-Spider, Olivia-Witch, Blake-Batman
Me Halloween
We get to dress up at work so I went as a bee!

When my husband and I had only one child, we used to decorate the house and outside and I would get excited about carving pumpkins.

Carving pumpkins was a big tradition while I was growing up.  I think my dad liked it more than my sister and I did but nonetheless it did become a tradition.  I wanted the same for my family.  I even remember when our daughter was about two years old and my husband came home from being gone all week with a pumpkin that Haley could have fit into!  It was huge but it was the coolest thing!

As I got busier with more children and working full time outside of the home, the decorating part had slipped.  I wanted to decorate but the thought of digging everything out of the basement was daunting.  I didn’t seem to have the energy and then to think that I would have to turn around and pack it all up again, YUCK!!

The sad part is that I know my kids love decorating as they look forward to helping grandma decorate each year.  I really should just suck it up and do it.  Maybe next year:)  Halloween is already this week.

Don’t go hating on me yet!  We do stick to the carving pumpkins tradition and I do enjoy that.

Halloween 2014 Halloween 2012-Dad and Lathen

I will post more later.  Lathen is the only one who has carved a pumpkin yet.  The rest of the pumkins have already rotted:(  Dad will get more tonight so the rest of us can do our pumpkins!!

Creating traditions for your family to follow each year is important for the kids.  They will always have those memories to cherish and hopefully carry on with their families.  My husband and I have stuck with a lot of traditions that our families had over the years.  The issue we have faced is that my husband’s family and my family had variations to the same type of traditions.  It seems that both our families had similar thoughts or ideas passed down but with a little bit of a difference.  When we first started these traditions with our children we were not sure how to implement them but over the years we have agreed on our own ways of doing them!

We have traditions for Easter and Christmas as well as Halloween but these have changed over the past year or so in our family.  Easter and Christmas are not just holidays to me which is one reason I dislike the saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”.  These holidays are based on Christian events and I want my children to know what Easter and Christmas REALLY stand for.  Last year we started doing things a little different.  Instead of the traditional things people do on these holidays we have changed it up a bit.  On each day and the days building up to Easter and Christmas we talk about what those days mean and read biblical books and right from the Bible.

On Easter we make a cool (and very yummy) treat called Resurrection Rolls.  I also purchased a cool Easter egg hunt idea from familychrisitian.com called Resurrection Eggs.  This follows the traditional egg hunt idea but inside each egg is a symbol.  There is a booklet to explain what each symbol represents.  The kids really enjoyed this last year.

Christmas presents are such a huge deal.  Society has taught kids that more is better or bigger is better.  WRONG!!!  I don’t want it to feel like a competition or that we have to buy just to give a gift.  That is not the message of Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong, we still get our kids presents.  But we only give them each three presents.  This represents the three wise men and the gifts they gave to baby Jesus.  Jesus got three gifts and our kids get three gifts.  They did not quam about it at all!!

Those are just some traditions we do and how we are changing them to fit our lifestyle.  I would love to hear what you do and how it works for your family.

God Bless, Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

31 Days of Consistency & Children

I have decided to take my blog to the next level and do the 31 Days Challenge.  I am going to add a new blog post each and every day in October.

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For those of you who know me well, know that I don’t usually stick to things very well so this will be a challenge to say the least.  Feel free to throw some encouragement my way as I show you how (in very small steps) I am going to become consistent with my kids.  I need to start routines and have wanted to do this for a long time.

I understand that baby steps will be crucial for ME so I will share with you what I am implementing each day along with God’s encouragement.  I will also include tips and some resources to help you along the way.  My hope is that we can learn together but if you have good consistency and routines set up please share with me!!!  I will post the link each day once it becomes live.

Check back daily to see how things are going!

Best of luck of to everyone on your consistent journey!!

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

An Adoption Story

As some of you may know I used to work for an agency which helped people become foster and adoptive families. My glorifying job was to license the families and to offer support to them during the initial process and thereafter.  I thoroughly enjoyed this job.  I met many amazing families and friends along the way.  Some of the people I had met I am still friends with today!  One of those families is very dear to my heart and I was so very blessed to be a part of their large family. Once they because licensed foster/adoptive parents a sibling group of four was placed with them and to make a long complicated story short they ended up adopting all four beautiful children and then they were blessed with two more biological (with some assistance) babies in which one beautiful little baby girl is with our good Lord in Heaven.  And to keep making the story “grow” they adopted an adorable little boy.  One amazing couple that was unable to produce a family is now living in a very large house with six beautiful gifts from God.  There are so many others that are in this same situation.  Please take the time to pray for the parents out there are so desperately want a family of their own.  God knows the trials they face and will be there to comfort them!

As you can see adoption holds a special place within me and I will support anyone I can in their journey to adopt .  With that said today I have a guest post from a friend who also supports adoption.  Sunu Philip from Clothed In Scarlet shares a wonderful post below…

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“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is

this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep

oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27

This is one Bible verse that God keeps bringing back to mind very often.

It’s not one I’m comfortable with, but God keeps drawing my attention to it. We think we’re doing our part as good Christians – we pray, we read the Bible daily, we go to church, we even take the time to teach our kids about God’s love. Oh yes, and we also pay our tithes and contribute to missions work around the globe.

But James is quick to remind us of what true religion is all about: taking care of the widows and the orphans.

God has always stood for the cause of the weak, the hungry, the sick, the disabled – essentially those who are not able to take care of themselves. And while most widows are self-sufficient, or have family to rely on, that’s not the case with orphans. They have practically no one to turn to. Here in India, we hear stories in the news of infants left in the dumpster, or by the roadside. It’s saddening to hear such things, but it’s even worse when we don’t do anything about it.

I believe God calls each of us to support orphans in some way or the other. I wonder what would have happened to the story of Esther if Mordecai hadn’t taken care of her when she was left without parents. Every child on this earth has a God ordained destiny, and God gives us the privilege to be a part of that, sometimes.

While some infants are without parents, there are many more who are considered unwanted, unloved, and a burden. There are a growing number of babies who are put up for adoption because their birth parents are not in a position to care for them. I admit, not all of us are called to adopt. But all of us can be of support, in some small way or the other.

Today I’d like to share with you a cause that is very dear to my heart. My friend Mandy Kelly, is in the process of adopting a baby, and I’m blessed to be able to support her in this.

Would you take a few minutes to check out her donation page, and give as the Lord leads?

http://www.gofundme.com/7k6mls

Her latest update is that they need $1,500 to move on to the next stage of adoption. Every little bit counts. I encourage you to consider making a small donation to bless the Kelly family in their adoption. And as a token of my appreciation, here is a small book of adoption quotes that I created for anyone interested in the Kelly adoption. Do feel free to share it with a family or friend who has adopted, or is in the process of adoption.

You can download The Little Book of Adoption Quotes here http://www.marriagemotherhoodandmissions.com 


Sunu Philip

School teacher turned internet marketing consultant, Sunu Philip is a Certified SEO Specialist. She founded “Clothed in Scarlet to help women discover their unique God-given strengths and turn their talents into profits online. She offers subscribers of Clothed in Scarlet a Free Online Business Startup Kit to help them start their online business from scratch. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Faith

What’s New????

Something is new!

Something is different.

What is going on?  What has changed?

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My Life !!!  My life has changed dramatically since August 10th, 2013!!  Many years ago I was slowly changing many areas in my life.  This was very new and quite scary for me.  I was resisting the feelings and pain from the past.

My story starts back in February of 2007.  I started a new job right after graduating from college with my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW).  I was introduced to my co-workers and I was really drawn to one specific person.  Not only was she very friendly and she really seemed to know a lot about the area she worked in but there was something else that interested me.  As I got to know her more and more I grew more interested in what made her so special.  She loved Jesus and followed him all day every day.  I used to tell her that she scared me because I didn’t know anything about Jesus!!  We still laugh at that today:)

She not only became a great friend but an amazing part of my families life.  My husband also saw something special in her which if you know my husband that is pretty amazing.  My daughters adored her.  There was just something very special about her. As she spent a large amount of time with us we realized that she was an angel sent by God.  (Those are my husbands words!!!)

I believe he sent her to our family for a reason!!

My husband was very interested in learning more about God and the amazing things that God could do in his life.  Our angel, as I will call our friend, was a huge support to him.  He became to know God and was reading the Bible and going to Church and even attended a men’s retreat!!  Now please know that this was huge.  He doesn’t do that kind of thing.  At one point many years ago, my husband told me that he didn’t know if he believed in God.

I really wanted what she had and what my husband was finding but didn’t know how to get it.  I started reading the Bible a little and really wanted to find a Church that was right for me and our family.  We checked out a few but was not really feeling connected to any of them.

Long story short (well shorter anyway)!  Our dear friend met one of our close friends (which was a very interesting journey) but now they have been married for 2 years and have 2 beautiful children.  He is in the military so they were transferred to another state.  This made our family very sad as we knew we would not see them as much as we had.  With that said, I was not strong enough in my faith to continue to support my husband in his new journey and we didn’t have any other friends that were active Christians so my husband didn’t really stick with God like he had been.

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Life moved on and I still felt a longing to be closer to God but didn’t really know how to build my relationship.  I was also beginning to understand some of the issues from my past.  I believe that I was trying to find something and going about it in all the wrong ways possible.  I am realizing that I had been searching for God way back then but didn’t really know what I was looking for.

Last summer, my daughter (13 at the time) and I were trying to find a church we liked so we checked out a Non-Denominational Bible Church just up the road from our house and I instantly fell in love with it.  I felt like I belonged there and that God was reaching out to me!  Also to find out they had a very active youth group.  I told my daughter to go check it out and she was hooked!!  She has rarely missed a night in the last year and she has become a wonderful young woman who follows Jesus and is making huge changes to her life.

Shortly after finding our church I heard of an event that was going to take place right in our little Iowa town.  I was excited about it right away.  I was going to go!  Then life took over and I decided not to go.  Then I came across the flyer again and got excited and felt like I should really go.  Then Satan attached and told me that I didn’t know anyone that was going and I would be afraid to go myself and so on and so on!!  Then for the third time it was put in front of my again.  I saw on Facebook that a friend (whom I didn’t know was a Christian) was also going so I talked to her and she said I could sit with her and her family.

ReNEWed Life Women's Event

I was scared but decided at the very last minute to go.  I really felt like God was telling me to go.  So August 10th came and I went to the event.  It was an all day event with a wonderful meal and some amazing stories!!  I met some really awesome people.  That day my life was forever changed!!!

I have NEVER felt God’s presence so strong in my life!  He wanted me to go to that event and meet those amazing people and hear their stories so he could soften my heart!!  It is hard to explain what happened to me that day so the best way I can express it is to say I was saved or born again on August 10th, 2013.  My journey started in 2007 and (because I am slow) I found the right path in 2013!!

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And so my Journey continues each and every day.

Now I read my Bible daily, I pray all the time, I attend Bible study with two of the most amazing women I know and I seek God in all I do.  This is not an easy journey but the best one I have been on.

The-journey-to-God

There are many areas of my life that I am working to improve and to do according to the Bible!  It will not happen overnight and I realize that but I am working each day to live right!!  I want to raise my children in a Christian home and teach them the things God wants them to know.

God is so amazing and we must listen to him!  Don’t be afraid!  Listen to God.  It is not easy to follow the right path at times but in the end it will be more than worth it!!

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Tell me about your story.  This is the first time I wrote my journey out on paper (or a computer) and it feels really good to share.  I want to hear from you.  Have you found the right path? Have you been saved or born again? Do you hear God speaking to you?  Please share in the comments or send me a personal message!!!  God Bless you each and every day:)

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Crystal

Faith, Other

Action!!!

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#Action!

That is exactly what I am doing.  I am taking action!  My cousin, Jessi and I just completed an Online Bible Study through the Amazing Proverbs 31 Ministry called Made to Crave.  What a powerful journey it has been!  I started thinking I would really find the “diet” that would work for me this time.  Mind you I have not always struggled with my weight but over the past 12 years I just keep putting it on.  I have tried all kinds of diets and fads and such but I have discovered that I have been searching for the wrong thing!  Made to Crave was more than a diet or a book about food.  For me it was about seeking God instead of food.

Wow!

Talk about the words jumping straight off the page and smack dab into my face.  I have been using food to find comfort when all this time I should have been looking up to God.  He is what will comfort me ALL The time.  I am learning so much and this bible study has taken me down a completely different path than I ever thought I would go down.

I long to please God and obey him in ALL that I do every single day of my life.  As I talked about a few posts back, I started praying on my knees and that is truly amazing.  I get so excited just thinking about my new life I just want to explode!!  I can see a difference in my daily life.  I can see a difference in the things I do and say and think.  I can see a difference in my attitude.  I am a changing woman and I LOVE IT!!!

Back to the action.  Now we are onto the next bible study titled Made to Crave Action Plan.  What is it??  Well it is putting everything we learned in the Made to Crave study into action.  I am very excited about this part because I am in a different season of my life than I have ever been.

I am Ready!!!

So part of the online study is every Thursday we are doing a Photo Hop which is associated with scripture and a topic for the week.  So this week we are to post a photo of a scripture that encourages us.  Well I really like Roman 8:28 “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.”

Yesterday while spending some time with God and his word, I was lead to the book of Romans then today I found this scripture so I guess Romans is the chapter I will spend some time with each morning.  I find it very appropriate because I am turning my life over to God and good things are happening!!  So until next time remember that God loves us and wants the best for us so give it up to God (everything up to God) and good things will happen in your life.

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

On Your Knees (continued)

Not only am I changing as I keep plugging away on my journey, but my daughter is also on board.  The Dare2Share conference was life changing for her as well.

My 14 year daughter is also participating in the challenge and she posted her selfie on her Facebook page.

Haley Praying

Now getting back into “Life” from an extremely passionate, uplifting weekend I was worried about all the drama and stress and struggles that our youth go through on a daily basis.  I am pretty sure that I need to Let Go and Let God more often because my daughter is much stronger than I give her credit for at times.

I logged into Facebook this morning to find this as her status…

“When all you see on facebook is drama, it makes you think about deleting it.. I need it for certain reasons though.. stupid drama, glad I let that part of my life go! All thanks to everyone who helped me at Dare2Share!”  Said my 14 year old daughter!!

I am such a proud momma right now and I owe it all to Jesus!!!

Faith

On Your Knees!

On your knees!  You ask what I am speaking of…

Praying of course.  Praying on your knees.  Why can’t I just pray as I drive or sit at work or while making supper or while lying in bed?  Well of course you can.  You can pray any time and anywhere and anyway you choose but according to Daniel, praying on your knees three times a day is cool!!

“Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” ~Daniel 6:10

I attended a Dare2Share conference in Lincoln, Nebraska this past weekend with our youth group.  We took 29 kids and 6 adults.  There was a total of 4000 people in which most were youth!!  WOW!!!

The theme for the weekend was Living in Reverse.  If you want to check out more about Dare2Share and Living in Reverse go to www.dare2share.org.

Our youth were challenged to the Daniel 30 Day Prayer Challenge.  This consists of  praying three times a day on their knees for 30 days.  But when we got back from the conference our youth group leader challenged the kids even further…for them to take a “selfie” of themselves praying once a day and post to Facebook, snapchat, instagram or whatever social media they use.

So I think selfie’s are very silly and I hardly ever take them but I did to help support the kids.  NO judging, here you go…

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Why am I telling you all about this?  Because this conference was life changing for me.  Yes ME!  I have come back from this conference a new person.  This is just one more step on my faith journey!  Over the past year I have felt very lead by Christ to lead a young girls group which I was really thinking about doing BUT the good Lord showed me a slightly different path.  I will be helping with the youth group in our community!  I will be able to reach out to all the youth not just the girls.  I have already been approached by a few girls after giving my very short testimony.  I can’t explain to you in words what this feels like but I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has been working inside me and now I understand why!  Even if I can help 1 person because of the “stuff” I went through in my life IT IS WORTH IT!!!!

I welcome prayers for our youth and all the youth in the world as they struggle each and every day as they long for something, anything to help them along the way.  Unfortunately they don’t always choose the right something!  We have to help them figure that out.

Have a very blessed day and remember to pray on your knees.

“Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.”  ~Daniel 6:11