Traduce a Espanol!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

10 Things I miss about the South

Yes, I know.  We live almost as far south as you can get in the US...but I guarantee you that this is NOT the south :)  My sister came and visited recently and immediately, after 5 seconds of seeing her, I realized I miss the south!  Here are the 10 things i miss the most...(don't worry south florida folks, this will be balanced out later with - 10 Things I love about south florida :)

10.  Good, authentic 

9.  Awesome sayings/ phrases such as these - two of my favorites that I had actually heard:  
"He's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.  AND
His elevator don't go all the way to the top. He's one fry short of a Happy Meal. Or, as my grandma used to say, “He don't got all what belongs to him.” All taken to mean, “He/She is crazy.”"

8.  Churches on every corner

7.  Cow farms, pig farms, horse farms only a 
hop, skip and a jump away :)


5.  Seasons

4.  Homemade ___________ (fill in 

the blank)...biscuits, ice cream, pies, ...etc


Hearing words like "tractor pulls", "pig-pickin", 

"debutants", "FFA", "Ya'll", "a fixin'", "bless her

heart",  and so many more :)

2.  Cheerwine, Bojangles and Harris Teeter.

1.  And...the number one thing I miss 

about the south - the ACCEE-ANTS:)

God bless the southern culture ;)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Low-cost RAKS and RAKS for around your Neighborhood!

OK, I am absolutely crazy about Random Acts of Kindness (RAKS).  I love them, love doing them, love watching my kids do them and love being on the receiving end of one!  They are awesome - and what I love most is that it gives the recipient some love and kindness that not only makes their day better, but that they inadvertently (or purposely) pass on to others.  AND, my kids get to see how if feels to do something nice for someone without expecting something in return.  My only problem is, there are so many ideas I love and want to do, but they cost money (or are time consuming) and those are two things I don't have a whole lot of laying around.  So, I've put together a list of low-cost, low-time-consuming RAKS that you can share :)

Also, we live in a neighborhood where many of the kids walk to and from school (more "to" school than "from") - including us.  The boundaries for the school are pretty small which means there are quite a few families that aren't too far from us that go to the same school and are within walking distance.  Last year, for Valentine's Day, we painted heart rocks (an idea we got from my favorite blog to read...apart from mine of course ;)...The Happy Home Fairy, then we "littered" them on our way to school so people would pick them up :)  It was so much fun, we decided we wanted to do something like that again.  So, at the beginning of this school year, we "littered" pencils along the sidewalks with a little piece of paper attached with a ribbon that said - "God bless you on your first day of school." on one side, and "from Sunset Presbyterian Church" on the other.  My Sunday school kids helped put them together :)
Laurie's Little Monkeys - "God bless you on your first day of school" attached to pencils and scattered along the sidewalks/driveways so kids find them as they walk to school :)
So, now I'm always on the lookout for more ideas that we can do for the children in our neighborhood on our way to school...After some browsing on pinterest and google here are my favorite low-cost RAKS and some "Neighborhood RAKS" for the kids on their way to school :)

Free Compliments for your co-workers. Great ideas as you scroll down the page.Take what you need.
Soooo cute if you work in an office.  I may put something like this up in the teacher's workroom at my kids' school :)
Thanks Kind over Matter  and Lottaagaton for sharing this!

Surprise heart attack
This is too cute :) You've been given a "heart attack" :)  You could do this on the house (which I saw on another blog), office door, etc - what a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day!
Simple and fun -get a pad of sticky notes and write nice messages on them - I may do this at my childrens' school for all the teachers as well...this would be fun at a hospital as well, "Saying a prayer for you" or something of that nature.
Funny - I have some 1-load samples of detergent - tape one of these and a little baggie with some quarters to a washing machine! 
Random Act of Kindness 1
lol.  leave notes in books for people at the library :)  You could say almost anything - "Enjoy the book and have a nice day"!  "You are wonderfully and fearfully made!"etc
Random Act of Kindness 4
Hide a dollar in the toy section of the Dollar Store :)
Random Act of Kindness 14
this one is for your family - stick sweet notes in their pockets (shirts, shorts, pocketbooks, wallets, book bags, etc) so they are found later and at strange times :)
Box of Chocolates
I like the idea of taking something homemade to the office staff where you work, your doctor's office, school, wherever!  However, I'm not sure some people would eat homemade food if they don't know, if it's someplace you aren't familiar with, maybe take a box of chocolates or fruit basket :)
I love the idea to tape a sign with "You've been RAK'ed" :) And feeding someone's meter won't cost you alot.  
35 different Random Acts of Kindness to do with your kids; amazing story!  :)
What a fun idea :)  this wouldn't take much money either!  and i like the idea of taping a few microwave popcorn bags to our nearby Redbox as well :)  Tape $1.30 and a bag of popcorn to the Redbox and you've just given someone a movie and snack :)

Just finished a RAK today and thought I'd post it as my last one :). I used the idea from above and made my own "take one" RAK.  I thought of 7-8 things the teachers might "need" then looked around the house and dollar store for things that might go with the words ("wisdom"-smarties; "love"-Hershey's kisses, etc). It was a teacher workday at my children's school, and through some convincing we talked our way into the school :). (Having a volunteer pass helped). We posted one on the K,1,2,3,4&5th grade hallways and then one in the office and one for our specials teachers :). I think the kids had fun! :)  My oldest monkey enjoyed hurrying and hiding so the teachers wouldn't see us :)

Neighborhood RAKS for our kids!

Find your best balloon decoration with wowletsparty.
One that I thought of - go around the neighborhood around the school while the kids are in school and tie balloons to random places with a sign that says - "Please take me home and Have a great rest of the day" - or something to that effect :)  We are having a Trunk or treat at our church on Halloween and this would be a great way to advertise - tie a flyer to each balloon! 
Here's one for Halloween :)  Too fun!  We're already planning on who we're going to do this to this week!  
Phenomenal idea for using sidewalk chalk! Drive around town looking for places you can leave nice notes for people to read and feel uplifted :) Keep a tote of chalk in the car all summer for whenever you or the kids get an idea while you're out and about! LOVE this idea from deliacreates :)
Ok, this is so easy and brilliant - we could leave early for school one morning and decorate the sidewalks with sayings like, "Have a great day at school", "God loves you", "You are awesome", etc.  FUN!
Ok.  I know I put this one above as well, but I thought it'd be fun to do in our neighborhood as well - every parked car we pass on the way we could put a sticky on the mirror with a kind message :)

Random Act of Kindness 30
Plan on doing something like this at Easter - put a nice note and perhaps a nickel or dime in each one.  Don't think I'd do candy - the florida sun can melt pretty much any candy you can think of...but maybe a little trinket or coin.

Hope you got a few ideas!  Happy RAK-ing! :-)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top 5 excuses I've heard from people about why they don't go to church...

...And how to respond to them.
There have been dissertations, books, articles and songs written about this.  This is only my two cents worth...hopefully something that will arm you with a response the next time you hear one of these.  Or, perhaps you have been saying one of these lately and this will help you through it.  This might be a bit risque for a pastor's wife, but i assure you this post is not written because of or modeled after a particular person :) These are things I've heard since I was a youth...and now that I've had some experience working in churches, worshiping in different churches and learning in different churches, I see where these people are coming from...but I also have an idea of how to respond.  Here goes...

1.  "I can worship from home.  I don't need church."  Yes you can (and I hope you do), and yes you do.  The book of Acts talks about the first church and why it was needed and how it came about.  We are to surround ourselves with other Christians so that we can praise, worship and learn as a community.  We pray for each other, we help each other, we teach each other and by being around other Christians we inspire and motivate each other to be better Christians.  Face it, it's not always easy being a Christian - by standing in the midst of others who believe what you do, you feel empowered.  Once, when working in Peru at a Christian School, I was out for a few days because I was sick (probably "tummy buddies"...which us foreigners affectionately called the parasites and amoebas we sometimes got :) )  The headmaster stopped by to check on me and completely shocked me when he entered the room upset.  "Why didn't you tell me you were sick?  Why were you hiding it?!"  He made me turn to James 5:14 and had me read "14Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.…".  Point taken.  We are a community.  "Worshiping at home" is a wonderful concept and I hope we all do it.  Truth is, when I hear this excuse from people, most of the time they aren't really doing it - they just want you to know they don't think the church is necessary.

2.  "I had a bad experience in a church when I was little"  This is quite common - especially from people who went to Catholic schools.  This is also harder to deal with because you know this person has a faith background, understands and knows quite a bit about God and church...and still rejects it because of a bad experience.  The only thing I can say to this is - the church (or school) you went to when you were little...there isn't another one like it.  My church isn't like it, the church down the street isn't the same either.  If you have the desire to find a church that fits your "idea" of what church should be - I will help you find one. If you're still holding on to the bad experience that happened ten-twenty years's time to let go. Don't let past experiences keep you from future ones.  What you experienced long ago wasn't "God" or "the church" - it was individuals who were obviously not acting in what you would consider a "Christian way'".  Don't blame the church for these individuals' faults.

3.  "I don't have time."  In our culture today - especially for young families - this is way too common.  Sports, hobbies, etc get in the way of church.  I could write pages about this, but I'm just going to say - you make time for the things that are important to you.  If you aren't making time for church, perhaps it's not very high on the priority list for you.  If that doesn't bother you, then continue your lifestyle.  If what I just said ruffled your feathers, then perhaps you need to look at why.  Luckily, in many cities now, you can find worship services on Saturday nights, Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings.  If it's important to you, you will find a way.  

4.  "The church is full of hypocrites."  Yep.  It is.  This is my favorite excuse and I hear it a lot from "new Christians" who have just started going to church.  They are all excited about their new faith and church family and then someone disappoints them, or offends them, or does something they don't approve of.  All of a sudden, the church is seen as flawed.  I hate to break it to you...but it is.  Why?  Because we are humans - we aren't Jesus.  We aren't perfect and we are all going to mess up.  If someone offended you, maybe, if you give them a chance, they'll apologize.  Maybe they won't.  Not all good people are Christians and not all Christians are good people.  What you need to do as a Christian is model what you think is the correct behavior.  I've had to apologize to people at church for offending them.  It happens.  You can confront whoever upset you and let them know (in a nice way) what they did, or you can just forgive them and move on.  Either way, I promise you that you will never find a church with perfect people. It doesn't exist.  Luckily, the church is open to hurt, scarred, angry, bitter and confused people.  If it wasn't, where could these people go?  The church is open to everyone and, with God's love, they can change.

5.  "I don't believe in God"  Tough one.  This one I don't have a direct answer for because it completely and totally depends on where that person is in life.  When talking to one pastor about an atheist friend (which, as my theology professor pointed out can't exist...everyone believes in something...just the fact that someone says - I don't believe God exists - means they acknowledged there was a God to begin with and they are choosing not to believe in Him.  deep thought, huh?), he said - I enjoy talking to atheists because they have usually pondered the subject and like to talk about it.  He said, I have had great discussions with atheists,  it's the people that refuse to talk about it or don't want to that are farther from God.  You meet that person where they are, talk with them if they are interested, back off if they aren't.  Then, pray for them.

Life is easier, if you go to church - not because you will be blessed with only good things - but because you will have a community to hold onto when bad things happen.  Your faith will be stronger if you go to church - perhaps from bible studies, perhaps from worship services, perhaps from Sunday school, but definitely from surrounding yourself with a community of people that believe what you do, and try their best to live how God wants them to.  We all need this motivation.  And we all need church.  Just remember, church is not God and God is not church.  In church we praise and worship God, we feel God, we hear God and we get the privilege of seeing God in the faces of those around us...but church is not God.  God is why we go to church.  If you are having a difficult time finding a church to call "home", don't give up.  God has a plan for you and, if you continue looking, you will find one!  If you need help - just ask!!

Hope this helped someone :)

God bless,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What Our loving husbands need to know about us when we are pregnant...

I may not be the most qualified to write this blog, but I have had two children and I'm pretty aware of why I feel what I feel...and pretty observant of others.  So, after recently talking with a friend, I got the urge to write this.  It's sort of a joke...sort of not :)

I know there are TONS of books out there about "what to expect when you're expecting" and many more that are even geared towards husbands.  Truthfully though, how many of our husbands are going to sit down and read those?  So, to help your hubby get ready for you when you are pregnant, and to help him understand you, I've written a short and sweet "instruction manual" for you to share with him :)  I'm sure you have another "point" you'd like to share - feel free to add it to the bottom so others can reap your wisdom :)


This is a little "heads up" on understanding your pregnant wife.  It's not meant to scare you or insult you, it's simply a way to help you get along better with your sweetheart until (and a little bit after) the baby is born.
5 of our common behaviors and what should be your appropriate response - straightforward - follow them and you (and your wife) will be much happier ;)

1.   OUR BEHAVIOR:  We are different when we're pregnant.  Yes, there are some women that say that pregnancy was a breeze and they never had any problems (and to those women I say - that is SO great for you! ...that was laced with sarcasm and bitterness ;)  However, most of us go through so many things I won't even bother to list's kind of depressing.  Just know, that we will act different - maybe not all the time - but some of the time.  And by different, I mean, may not be our favorite person sometimes.  All my husband had to do sometimes was walk in the door and I'd get mad!  The strange thing is, I never realized I was acting different, until after the baby was born and I looked back - and realized maybe I wasn't the best wife at times ;)  YOUR APPROPRIATE RESPONSE:  When you get attacked for what may seem as nothing, just walk over to your wife, give her a kiss, say you love her and walk away.  If you try and defend yourself over "nothing" chances are you will lose...big time.  I mean really, we're already upset about nothing - if you give us something to actually get mad over...not smart.  Feel honored that we use you as our "release".  It means we love you and trust you enough to unburden on you rather than someone else because you promised to love us no matter what. We know you won't leave us (unlike our friends or co-workers) so you are our "safe place" (that part is actually true...I'm not being sarcastic :).  Oh, and a word of warning - do NOT call this behavior to our attention.  Whether we know we're acting more irrationally or not, pointing it out may get you hurt.
2.  OUR BEHAVIOR:  We are uncomfortable when we are soooo many ways.  We will probably complain - it may come out as a direct complaint, it may come out as whining, it may be linked to number 1. YOUR APPROPRIATE RESPONSE:  Don't try and understand - you can't possibly.  But do understand this - we have a right to complain.  What we are going through is hard, it's not something we completely understand and we are, at times, extremely uncomfortable.  You can't understand this because God didn't bless you with this wonderful burden, but you can nod and be quiet.  It doesn't matter if we tell you 1200 times that our feet hurt, we want to hear from you 1200 times, "I'm sorry, can I do anything?"  We want you to understand what we're going through (even though you can't) -we're not complaining for us, we're complaining for you - so you can share in this experience ;)

3.  OUR BEHAVIOR:  Eating.  I'm not talking about eating weird things (although some of my friends did), I'm talking about eating.  Period.  I had a bad, metallic type taste in my mouth during my entire pregnancies.  The taste was so bad that if something was not in my mouth (gum, food, drink, etc) I would gag.  Fun times.  So, I would eat - even if I wasn't hungry.  I also gained over 70 pounds.  Turns out, I was also having a reaction to some of the foods I was eating (which I found out years later), but that's not the point.  Point is, we get to endure pregnancy for almost 10 months and its the one time in our life we don't have to worry about how we look in our bathing suits.  YOUR APPROPRIATE RESPONSE:  Never question what or why your honey is eating.  That will only bring on an argument.  If you don't like the food your wife is eating, may I suggest that you a.) cook the meals and/or b.) do the grocery shopping.

4.  OUR BEHAVIOR:  Impatience.  (This is linked to number 1 but bears repeating because it will increase in the last trimester)  The last 12 weeks of my pregnancy, I woke up every 30 minutes every night to turn over because my hips hurt so bad.  This is not uncommon.  Others wake up every 30 minutes to pee.  Little sleep = impatience.  Again, we may not realize that the two are linked or that it's getting worse...but I'm sure you will. (again, don't point it out). YOUR APPROPRIATE RESPONSE:  If you want us to feel more rested and, in turn, be a nicer person - find a way for us to get in a nap.  We get ill with you because we are jealous - you get to sleep all night!  We want to also!  Help us out a little...

5.  OUR BEHAVIOR:  over-planning, over-organized, over-stressed.  We are so excited about our new bundle of joy and he/she is on our mind all the time.  You may be able to think about other things, but that's because you don't have a little reminder kicking you in the ribs at all hours :)  This may depend on the personality of your wife, but most women get into the "zone" at times and want to make sure everything is ready - nursery, supplies, food for after the birth, childcare, etc.  YOUR APPROPRIATE RESPONSE:  Indulge her.  Try and get excited even if, at the moment, it's the last thing you want to think about.  This is something you can prepare for together.  If you want to get her mind off of your future bebito, if you want to have a date night where you talk about something other than your bambino, you're going to have to try a little harder and be a little more creative...ahem.  In all areas ;)

Did I miss anything ladies?  Anything else our husbands need to know when we're pregnant?  btw, that made it sound like I'm pregnant...I'm not (despite my childrens' pleas :)

God bless

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Facebook Judges...

Something has been on my heart for months and I've debated on writing about it...or how to write about it.  But after talking to a friend recently, I decided I was ready.  She helped me see "God" in it, and that's what everything boils down my colleagues and I joked in seminary - if you don't know the answer to a question - just say Jesus or God and most of the time you're correct ;)

Matthew 7:12
"Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

I have joined many facebook groups here to help promote my parent's morning out program - they are all parent/mother oriented.  I have been shocked at some of the responses to seemingly innocent questions.  I know there are lots of articles out about social media and how it's changing society and people's mentality towards others.  I also know that parents are becoming more informed about parenting issues - reading articles online, how-to books and there are specialists available for consultation in every area of life.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of [us] regard one another as more important than himself;

As a result of this, many parents, who read up on certain issues, feel as though they are now experts and freely share their opinions to anyone and everyone who wants to listen.  This is fine - if you do it respectfully.  What do I mean by this?  Well, when a parent asked on one FB group - I'm a new mom what are your thoughts on shots?  Good grief.  70+ responses and it got ugly.  U-G-L-Y.   Not respectful.  The same goes for the family bed, crying it out, breastfeeding, cloth diapers, no tv in the house, no video games, food - esp gluten free foods, homeschooling, preschool, sports for littles, and on and on.  These are hot topics and parents nowadays have very strong opinions on these.  If you don't agree with them, sometimes they get hurt and offended.  I support your knowledge and enthusiasm for these ideas, but please, please take the following 2 things into consideration...

Psalm 139:14 ESV

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 

1. Every child is made differently and has a different personality.  They have different "love languages" so to speak.  Every parent's personality is different.  Every financial situation is different, every schedule is different, jobs are different (full time, part time, first shift, third shift, dangerous, etc), values and religious beliefs are different, every marriage is different, geography is different (yes, this matters), every extended family is different.  Every parent is bringing into their "parenting" their personal history - and mixing it with their partner's (if they have one).  Our personal history plays a huge part in who we are - whether you want to admit it not.
Considering all these variables, please tell me you understand that what has worked for you, what you believe is the correct thing to do, may or may not work for other parents.  Please tell me that you are open-minded enough to see that what is working for your first child, doesn't work for a parent of 6.  Please tell me that you understand that the diet your child is on wouldn't work for a parent who lost their job and is struggling to buy food.  Please tell me that although crying it out worked perfectly for you, you realize that it isn't the best option for a mother who has recently experienced terrible heartache.  And please understand that if I don't share your opinion and do what you say, it's not because you're a bad parent or because I think you're misinformed or even because I don't agree with you.   It's important you understand this, because if you don't, then you are going to offend, you are going to hurt and you are going to belittle parents who are doing what they believe is the best for their child.  I understand you feel strongly. I understand that its uncomfortable when you share your opinion and its discarded and I understand that when it happens you feel belittled and put down. I'm not disregarding these feelings, I'm saying they may be a bit misplaced.  These parents who don't agree with you or don't use your idea are not putting you down and they are not putting down your idea. They are simply saying that idea doesn't work for my family.  You are still a good parent, you are still doing what you think is best for your child and you can back away knowing you did a good thing by sharing an idea with someone who asked for help. Whether or not they use it, honestly, isn't any of your business. Parents, we need to ask for help when it's needed, we need to help when asked, and we need to know when to back away.  There is a line and you need to draw it. 

29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

This is what I'm seeing on social media and it literally makes me nauseous because I can imagine this sweet mother's face while reading these nasty comments about why, if she lets her child eat gluten, the child will be doomed forever.  She asked for advice, she asked for help because she's struggling - neither of which you just gave her. Instead, now she feels incompetent, offended and still struggling with the same problem.  Parents like to hear what works for other families, we also like to share, we even ask for ideas - but ideas and hurtful accusations are two different things.  My personality is a nurturer - I love on my kids, snuggle them and then discipline when needed.  Makes me a good preschool teacher.  Others are different - disciplinarians first, nurturers second.  Makes them good businessmen/women.  Makes me run my household with more child involvement and not as strict. Others may run it very strictly...Are either of us wrong?  NO!!  It's who we are and what we are bringing to our own situation.  We need to Accept that.

Matthew 7:1-2
1"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.…

   2.  God asks us to not judge, to love others and to help others.  Three basic things that, daily, in our prayers, our morning devotional before school and our discussions during the day, we try and center around with our kids - God loves us and we show God our love by doing the aforementioned things.  This is how my husband and I parent and that is how we organize our discipline.  It's going to be different than yours, but it has worked well for us and our kids are doing fine.  They have faults, just like yours.  If you have an idea that might help, feel free to share, but don't expect me to do it.  I love to get ideas, meld them with other ideas, and make my own.
As I said, we try hard to center our house around religion, my husband's a pastor which means our schedule varies week to week (daily, really), I work 3 part time jobs which means I have to take my kids around to different places during the week (and also makes for a crazy schedule), we live in a high cost of living area, we are an inter-racial couple, my husband brings a background of poverty whereas I bring a background of middle class and I could go on.  Is this also your situation?  It's not?  Then don't be surprised if your idea doesn't work for us.  Share your ideas, then step back and let each parent be the judge of what works for their family...and please respect that.