Archives for November 2012

Day 30: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 30: Today, I am giving thanks for all the things I neglected to thank Him for.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI have SO much to be thankful for, and 30 days just doesn’t seem to cover it all. Today, I want to close out our 30 Days of Giving Thanks by sharing a song with you. It’s sung by the Isaacs, and it’s called Thank You. I hope you’ll take a minute to listen.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks. And thank you to those that participated every day this month! I hope it’s been as much of blessing to you as it has been to me.

Keeping Christ in Christmas with Jingles the Elf

Back in 2009, I did a review for Jingles the Elf. Every year since then, we have continued the tradition of Jingles’ arrival on December 1st.

However, this year, I am determined to do things quite differently.

I don’t know how it is in your house, but in my house, my kids seem to have caught a case of the “Gimme’s”. (“Gimme this, gimme that.) With my husband’s job situation being what it is, there just won’t be an abundance of gifts this year. And, besides… that’s not what Christmas is all about.

So, this year, I’m doing something completely different. Yes, Jingles will still arrive, and yes, we will still have fun finding him around the house. However, this year, Jingles has a very important job to do. And, Santa has given each of my kids a job to do as well.

Dying to know more?

Well, Jingles will arrive in a box from the North Pole tomorrow night. Only this year, the box won’t be the typical Jingles keepsake box. Instead, inside the box, Jingles will be blanketed in “snow” from the North Pole, and he will have a letter from Santa.

Thanks to Pinterest, I came across this blog post by a fellow Christian mom. Her Santa Letter was fantastic… but it didn’t exactly fit my kids. So, I used many of her ideas, but I put them into my own words and added things that would pertain to my kids.

Here is what my Santa Letter says:

Dear Ashley, Zander, Jace, Lucy, Parker, and Gage,

I hope you are all having a great Christmas season, and that you are being good little boys and girls for your mom and dad. I heard that you have a new little sister on the way. I want you to make sure you are helping Mom and Dad get ready for the new baby to be born. There’s going to be lots you can do to help, and if you don’t know what they need, just ask them.

A few years ago, I sent Jingles your way to play hide and go seek. But this year, I have given him a very important job! He’s not just here to play games and have fun, but he’s here to keep a very close eye on each one of you.

Right now, we are in what people call the Christmas season. Things can really get kind of crazy. It seems like everywhere you go, you hear people that have a horrible case of the “gimme’s.” What’s a gimme? They say, “Gimme this. Gimme that. Gimme all those things!”  I’m sure you have been telling your Mom and Dad what you want for Christmas. And that’s ok. It’s ok to want a few things, but I see people – both grown ups and children – that get very selfish. They want so many things that they seem to forget the whole reason we celebrate Christmas.

Do you know why we celebrate Christmas?

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son…” That means that a very long time ago, God gave the very first Christmas present to the whole wide world: His Son. And Jesus was born so that He could die on the cross and we could live forever with them in Heaven. Pretty amazing gift, isn’t it?

As you are getting ready for Christmas, I don’t want you to forget about Jesus. Yes, I want you to have fun. I want you to drink lots of hot chocolate (with extra marshmallows!), sing Christmas songs, eat candy canes, and give and open presents. But what I don’t want is you to forget the most important present: God’s love for all of us and the gift of His Son, Jesus. It is so important that you show love to others. Be kind to other people. Help other people. (Yes, even your mom, dad, and siblings.) By doing this, you will show people how wonderful Jesus is.

So, Jingles is here to help you kids, and your mom and dad, remember the most important parts of Christmas. Jingles will hang out at your house, watching everything that happens, and making sure that each of you:

  • Show love to one another
  • Always speak kindly to each other
  • Help each other without complaining
  • Help your friends if they need it
  • Give things to people who do not have all the wonderful things you have. (Doesn’t have to be objects, you can give them love, friendship, and other things.)
  • Remember that God loves you all so very much.

And, I’m giving each of YOU a job to do too! Every night, when you sit down to pray together as a family, I want every person to write down one thing they did to show the love of Jesus that day. Mom or Dad can write the list, and Jingles will share it with me when he reports back that night. I want you to find one way every day to be kind or help someone out. That’s not too hard, is it?

Take good care of Jingles, and have lots of fun sharing the love of Jesus this Christmas. I know you are all good kids, and I can’t wait to hear a good report from Jingles every night.

With much love,
Santa

This was printed out on fancy Christmas paper and will be tucked into the box with Jingles.

It is so important to me that my kids remember the true meaning of Christmas this year… and every year. I want them to show the love of Jesus whether they are at home or away, and I’m really hoping this helps make a difference.

I will keep you posted either here on the blog or through our Facebook page and let you know how it goes over with the kids. I’m also going to try (try!!) to post daily pictures of where the kids find Jingles. I hope you’ll stay tuned!

How do you keep Christ in Christmas?

Day 29: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 29: Today, I am giving thanks for my camera.

30 Days of Giving ThanksWhile I am horrible about actually getting pictures printed, (ask my family – our last printed family portrait only contains kids 1 – 4), I do love that I can use my camera to capture moments like this:

And many, many, MANY more…

What are you thankful for today?

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Day 28: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 28: Today, I am giving thanks for my OB.

30 Days of Giving ThanksOver the years, I have used many different OB/GYN doctors for my pregnancies. I have experienced wonderful doctors, and not-so-wonderful doctors. When we first moved down here, I had an absolutely awful OB for my pregnancy with Parker. When I got pregnant with Gage, I knew I needed to find a new doctor, but I had no idea where to start looking. A friend of mine recommended Dr. Davis, and after one visit, I knew he was going to be a great doctor! He is kind, caring, and actually listens to his patients. He is also willing to go the extra mile to ensure the safety of those precious unborn babies.

Yesterday, I had my 29 week appointment visit. My blood pressure was high, my uterus is measuring small, and Carly just doesn’t move as much as the doctor would like. Rather than brushing it off and saying “let’s see what’s happening at your next appointment,” he sent me over to the hospital for a non-stress test. I’ll now have these weekly until Carly makes her arrival, just to be sure she’s doing all right.

I’m so thankful to have an OB that would rather play it safe and keep an eye on the baby than to just play the wait-and-see game.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 27: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 27: Today, I am giving thanks for family time.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI love spending time together as a family. Six months ago, family time was pretty rare. Family time as a whole family, that is. The kids and I were always together. My husband, however, worked incredibly long hours, and it seemed like he was always gone. The kids hardly ever saw him, and when we did get family time, hubby was so exhausted that it was difficult for him.

A few months ago, major changes were made at his job, and while not all good, it has given us a lot more family time. And for that, I am very thankful. For the first time in almost 5 years, hubby didn’t have to go into work on Thanksgiving. We got to spend the entire day together as a family. What a blessing that was.

So, while it means we struggle a little harder to make ends meet, I am thankful for the family time we get to enjoy now.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 26: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 26: Today, I am giving thanks for missionaries.

30 Days of Giving ThanksFor the past few months, God has put a real burden on my heart for our missionaries. I have come to pray for them daily, and I have started reading blogs and following the stories of so many different missionary families that are all over the world right now.

These families give up so much just to bring the Word of God to those that might not ever hear it otherwise. They give up modern conveniences, religious freedoms, and so much more. I think they are amazing, and I will continue to pray for their ministries and their safety.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 25: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 25: Today, I am giving thanks for Christmas.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI love Christmas. Not about getting gifts, or even about giving gifts, but about so much more. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Jesus came to Earth to die so that we could live forever with Him in Heaven. If that isn’t something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is!

I am already in quite the festive mood. Christmas carols are already playing, the tree is up, the halls are decked, and I am so ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my family.

Thank you, Lord, for what Christmas means. It doesn’t mean standing in line for 3 hours to get a good deal on a huge TV. It means you loved me SO much that you came to Earth to die just for me. I am so thankful for what you did just for me.

And He didn’t just do it for me…. He did it for you, too! If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, drop me an email. I would love to talk to you about how you can claim Him as your Savior too.

What are you thankful for today?

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Day 24: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 24: Today, I am giving thanks for my job.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI am so lucky to work for one of the most amazing doctors I have ever met. I have the opportunity to work one on one with her on marketing and other projects, and I love it so much. Not only do I get to work doing things I love – social media, marketing, blogging, design, etc. – but I have learned so much about integrative holistic medicine, and I have made so many life changes because of it. (All good!)

Dr. Libert is one of the most caring, kindest, nicest people you will ever meet. And I not only get to call her my boss, but she’s also my friend. What a blessing!

If you want to learn more about the doctor I have the opportunity to work for, please take a moment and check out her website: http://drlibert.org

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 23: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 23: Today, I am giving thanks for my computer.

30 Days of Giving ThanksThis little machine has connected me with some amazing friends, some wonderful readers, fabulous blogs, wonderful clients, and so much more! Without my computer, I would probably get a lot more done around the house, but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to earn extra income, I never would have met all the amazing friends and bloggers that I have met, and I’d never have figured out how to make my own laundry soap. 🙂 I am so thankful for the connections this computer has given me, and I am thankful for YOU!

What are you thankful for today?

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Day 22: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 22: Today, I am giving thanks for Thanksgiving.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI am so thankful for today. I love that we have a day that we can set aside to celebrate all that we have. God has richly blessed each one of us, and I am thankful for the chance to tell him – and everyone else just how grateful I am.

Let’s try to make every day Thanksgiving! Let’s not worry about Black Friday shopping, or scoring the best deal on junk we really don’t need. Let’s make today – and everyday – reflecting on all that we have, and just be thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

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MedImmune RSV & Preemie Awareness #protectpreemies #rsv

I am so blessed to have gone through 7 pregnancies and have 6 healthy children, with another one on the way. But, getting them to a safe delivery date wasn’t always easy. I have had my share of preterm labor, bedrest, and other difficult pregnancy experiences. I remember several times as I was lying in a hospital bed while doctors tried everything in their power to keep labor from progressing anymore before my baby was strong enough to be born. And that’s why this campaign is so important to me. I believe every mom-to-be should be aware of  the dangers associated with babies born before 37 weeks.

It’s easy to get to the third trimester and joke that you are ready to be done pregnant. But, all joking aside, preemies are prone to infections from viruses like the common cold, the flu, and RSV, and the longer you can keep that baby inside you, the better it will be for him or her.

When I worked in day care, I had the joy of working in the infant room. I adored each of those babies, and because I spent so much time with them, we developed a real bond. And then one day, Jack didn’t come in to the center. And then another day passed, and still no Jack. On day 3, his mom finally called and told us that Jack was in the hospital in critical condition with something called RSV. You see, Jack was a preemie, and the disease was just too strong for his little body to fight.

At the time, I had no idea what RSV was, or how harmful it could be to infants. I now know that RSV (or Respiratory Syncytial Virus) typically shows up as minor symptoms in babies, but in high-risk infants, it can quickly develop into a serious infection that can be very hard for them to fight.

Jack ended up spending nearly 3 weeks in the hospital, just trying to survive having RSV. When he was finally released from the hospital, it took several months before he was declared “healthy” again. It broke my heart watching him struggle every day, and I was so thankful when he finally got past it. Ever since that experience with Jack, I have tried to be very aware of symptoms in my own children.

November 17th was World Prematurity Day. The day is set aside to raise awareness about prematurity and all of the risks associated with pre-term birth. I want to take a moment and share some facts about RSV with you:

RSV Quick Facts

  • RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
  • RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
  • In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.

Prevention is Key
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:

  • Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
  • Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
  • Never let anyone smoke near your baby
  • Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Know the Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
  • Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
  •  High fever and extreme fatigue

Because I have a baby due in February, you can bet I will be taking extra precautions to ensure her safety during the remainder of RSV season. I hope that those of you who have recently had babies – or are expecting soon – will also take a few minutes to educate yourself about RSV and the potential risks associated with pre-term birth.

To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com and for more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit www.preemievoices.com.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Day 21: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 21: Today, I am giving thanks for my extended family.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI am so blessed to have such a wonderful extended family. Gene’s mother is absolutely wonderful. She’s someone I can talk to at anytime and about anything. She adores my kids, and she’s always there for all of us. Her husband is also an amazing person. He has graciously welcomed into his family with open arms. The kids just love going to MawMaw’s and PapPaw’s every chance they get. Then, there are both sets of my grandparents, Gene’s grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins. I really have so many people in my life that I’m related to in some way that are such a blessing.

What are you thankful for today?

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Day 20: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 20: Today, I am giving thanks for modern conveniences.

30 Days of Giving ThanksThings like my dishwasher, my washing machine, and my dryer make life with 6 kids so much easier. I can throw in a load of dishes, and a load of clothes, and get everything else done around the house that I need to do. Honestly, I can’t imagine life without these things.

What are you thankful for today?

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Treat Wants to Give YOU a Treat This Holiday Season!


Have you heard of Treat?

Treat is Shutterfly’s exciting new greeting card brand. It allows users to create and send one-of-a-kind greeting cards to friends and family. Treat cards are perfect for birthdays, congratulations, thank yous, holidays, and every occasion you can dream up! It’s super easy to use, tons of fun, and it’s 100% personal.

Treat wants to give you the chance to try out there services with a free card! You can create and send a totally personalized greeting card to someone you love for FREE. You can wish your best friend a happy birthday, send your mom and thank you card for all the wonderful things she’s done for you, or spread some holiday cheer with a just because card. The possibilities are endless, and you’re sure to bring a smile to someone’s face.

You have to hurry, though. This free offer is only valid today, November 19th, and tomorrow, November 20th.

Simply visit the Treat website, design the perfect card, and then enter code TREATBLOGR at checkout. It’s that easy!

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and create a card for someone you love. There’s no cost, so what do you have to lose? Head on over and get started right now!

Click Here to Start Designing!

Day 19: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 19: Today, I am giving thanks for my brother.

30 Days of Giving ThanksIf you had asked me 20 years ago what I thought of my brother, I probably would have had a very different answer. It took a very long time for me to come to love and appreciate my brother for the man that he is. He is smart, incredibly artistic, and he just adores my kids. I’m so lucky to have him in my life.

The only bummer is that he is so far away. 🙁 We got to see him earlier this year, and it was clear to everyone that he needed to just pick up and move down here. Of course, that’s easier said than done. I’m not giving up, though. I’m holding out hope, and I’m praying every day that God gives him a way down here. What a blessing that would be!

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 18: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 18: Today, I am giving thanks for church potlucks.

30 Days of Giving ThanksAs a Baptist, church potluck dinners are the norm. After all, we love to eat. 🙂 During the holiday season, though, it seems like we’ve got a potluck dinner about every week. Today we will have our Thanksgiving meal, soon we will have our Christmas dinner and gift exchange, then the Christmas play with dinner afterward, and then the New Year’s dinner.

Not only do I love the potlucks for the yummy food – and the amazing desserts – but I love the fellowsip and fun that comes with every potluck. I get the chance to sit down with my church family and just enjoy their company. I couldn’t ask for better company. 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 17: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 17: Today, I am giving thanks for my local MOPS group.

30 Days of Giving ThanksFor those that don’t know, MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. It’s for pregnant moms to be and moms with children ages 0 – kindergarten.

When we moved down here, my pediatrician invited me to our local MOPS group. I shrugged it off time and time again. I was too busy – after all, I had 4 kids, and we had just moved to this crazy little town from a much larger city. I was certain I would never have anything in common with any of these people, and I would just be out of place.

After numerous invites from the pediatrician, I finally gave it. And I am SO thankful that I did! What an AWESOME group of moms! I have made more friends than I can count, and every month, I look forward to one night off from mommyhood. I get a hot meal AND a night of fun with a room full of moms going through the same things I am. I have heard amazing Bible lessons, health tips, been able to serve people in my community, and so much more.

I am so very thankful for my local MOPS groups and all the mommies that are a part of it. Thanks, ladies, for making the 3rd Thursday of every month my favorite night of the month!

What are you thankful for today?

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Day 16: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 16: Today, I am giving thanks for my mom and dad.

30 Days of Giving ThanksWhile my Daddy is no longer with us, I am so thankful he was my dad for the first 19 years of my life. My dad was my biggest fan. No matter what I did – sports, choir, handbells – he was at every game or concert. He never complained, and he was always the loudest cheering in the stands (or the audience). I could talk to my Dad about anything, and he always gave me sound Biblical advice. He gave the best hugs, and there are still many times that I wish he could wrap his arms around me just one more time and assure me that everything is going to be ok. My husband reminds me so much of my dad. He is such a good father to our children, and he is always there for them. I’m thankful I had my dad as a role model for the man I wanted to marry one day.

My mom is still here, and I am SO thankful for that. Mom and I have grown closer over the years, and I am so thankful that I can call her any time and vent, cry, or just talk. I only wish Mom didn’t live so far away. I’m hoping I can get her to move South very soon. Life would be so much better if I had my mom just around the mountain – and not 10 states away.

Thank you Mom, and Dad, for being the world’s greatest parents. Thank you for the godly heritage that you have given me. Thank you for being the examples I needed to be examples to my own children. I love you both so very much.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 15: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 15: Today, I am giving thanks for the HI-bebe fetal doppler.

30 Days of Giving ThanksCarly is by no means an active baby. In fact, I was almost 20 weeks before I even started feeling her flutters of movement. Pregnancy is worrisome enough with all the “what if’s” but when your baby doesn’t move much, it’s easy to quickly fall into freak out mode. (At least for me it is.) Because of the fetal doppler that I purchased on ebay for less than $100 early in this pregnancy, I have been able to listen to Carly’s heartbeat any time I start to worry. What a comfort it is to see that little heart symbol flashing and to hear the sweet, sweet sound of her beating heart.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 14: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 14: Today, I am giving thanks for HOPE.

30 Days of Giving ThanksYesterday, I learned that a very dear man from our church, Brother Tom, passed away. He has battled cancer for quite some time, and it finally took his life.

While my heart aches for his family and those of us who loved him, I can rejoice and have hope that we will one day see him again. He is no longer in pain, and he is no longer suffering. He is walking the streets of Heaven with Jesus.

I have suffered many losses in my lifetime, including the loss of my Daddy, but I know that one day I will see them again, and we will walk the streets of gold together.

I am so thankful for that hope of eternal life. If you don’t have that hope, and you want to find out how you can get it, please feel free to contact me. I would love to talk to you and tell you what Jesus has done for me!

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.