Inspired by working ahead...

I've been working for a few days on a Christmas postcard and some grandparent gifts. Inspired by a 35% off coupon available at Snapfish through Oct 31st I decided to get a few calendars and small brag books done! (If you do this- don't forget to enter "FALL35" as the coupon code before you finish checking out!) I have just submitted my order and it feels good to know that if I get nothing else done- the grandparents will at least receive these small gifts for Christmas! :) Also, I'm using Vistaprint to print a Christmas postcard which I plan to mail the Monday before Thanksgiving so that as the holidays arrive- that card is already done!!! I used some pictures in the leaves to make the card and am using a "Thanksgiving" theme. (The postcard lets me use postcard stamps to save a little on postage- and the kids can make an assembly line to put address stickers and stamps on them. Elminates a lot of the work for ME!) Since I'm doing all this right before the trip- we'll be able to pack light because we won't have any clean or folded laundry to pack and bring with us! lol! So, get inspired, get something done ahead of time now- and make a little more time for cookie baking, snow angel making, and storytelling when December rolls around!

Inspired by a FREE cappuccino (or other drink) at Barnes & Noble Cafe!

Really... need I say more?!?!

Have a good one! Enjoy some alone time...


(Thanks to Heidi for passing this on to me!)

Poverty...NOT inspiring! What can we do?

Yesterday was "Blog Action Day"- where bloggers are asked to "change the conversation" in lives around the world. The topic for 2008 is poverty. Now you, and I, my friends, are mostly homemakers, parents, carpool drivers, and the like, am I right? But, we influence people within our homes, churches and communities, as well as the future leaders of the world- in society, business, government, and church. As we speak about the poor (or do we acknowledge the existence of mass poverty in our world?)--- how do we speak? With compassion? With responsibility? With action?

I am encouraged today- to incorporate talk of the poor and our responsibility into our lives. There exist differing perspectives on what poverty is. Afterall, most everything is relative. If you live in the US, some would say that no matter how bad off you are, you do not experience poverty. I would argue that anyone who does not have security in knowing their basic needs will be regularly met, is in poverty. (Those not in poverty have no fear--- not even a thought- of whether their basic needs for food and shelter will be met.)

Perhaps you are already doing things that your children are unaware of. We make a SMALL monthly contribution to Feed the Children. However, I don't think our children are aware of this. So, today, I will make them aware. Each year we pack Shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse- Operation Christmas Child- likely, you do, too! There is a children's book that talks about the shoe boxes- perhpas it, or your own story, would help drive-home the reason for this charitable act. Many ministries close to home and around the world are serving the needs of the poor- historically, most of them have been Christian ministries, however, as of late, the secular world is attuned to the abhorent existence of poverty and have been making their own efforts to raise awareness of and erradicate hunger and poverty. One such is End Poverty 2015. We all need to join together in this work of self-sacrifice and serving others in need. I believe for parents, this begins with teaching our children how blessed they are and to extend the compassion of Jesus to those who are in need. This might begin with small personal sacrifices to benefit someone else.

Even though we in America are experiencing serious financial hardships, we are rich compared to 90% of the world (or so I've read in that email forward...). Let's start changing the conversation in our small corner of the world- and bring compassion to those in need.

What are some small, practical ways you (and your family) can begin to address the issue of poverty in our world?

It's 11 o'clock...

It's 11 pm. By my written goals, I want to be in bed right now. But, by my, "I've been Mommying sick kids all day and finally have some time to just chill out," I want to just waste time until... I'm done! :-)

Part of "Living the Inspired Life" for me is knowing what I WANT life to be and making plans to help it actually become that way. The problem is when everyday life, aka "reality", intersects the ideals in my mind, ya know?

So, I want to go to bed at 11am so I can easily rise at 5:45 or 6 to get started with day in quietness... not 7:30 or 8 after the kids have filled the house with much... joy :) .

Tell me- in what ways are your ideal and your reality at odds? And, how do you cope with it, take it in stride, incorporate it, or make the most of it?

What is True Love?

Since we were just talking about Fireproof and "The Love Dare"- I thought I'd share this snipet from a tribute written for Chicken Soup about my cousin who passed away after 5 long years with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Her name was Judy Fisher.

"Judy had written her own addendum in a shaking penmanship as her hands were beginning to fail her.

'I saw Jesus today. He took me to the
doctor and spoke on my behalf. He
cares for me every day with a smile
and inspiring words. He looks like my
husband but I know he is Jesus.'"

This is true love- not infatuation- not "falling" in love, the kind that so many also fall OUT of, not a selfish love that says "What have you done for me lately?"- but unconditional, selfless love, the kind of love that Jesus gave. Judy's husband John showed her that love as her body slowly failed her. This is the kind of love we need to pray and ask the Lord to fill us with for our spouses, children, and others around us. Thanks to Margaret Prator who penned the tribute for Chicken Soup. Blessings to you all, my friends, as we seek to love- selflessly.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10

Is "The Love Dare" a REAL book?

I wondered this during the movie, "Fireproof". If you haven't seen it, WHAT are you waiting for?!?!?! It is a GREAT date night! Anyway- seems it IS a real book! Check out The Love Dare and consider sharing it with someone who confides marriage struggles with you. Encourage them to see the movie and remind them they cannot expect results- they must simply accept the challenge. In fact- expect bad results for awhile! But, in time... it will change hearts! I may have said this before- but it bears repeating. My husband says in marriage counseling- "The grass isn't greener on the other side. It's greener where you water it!" So, let's be sure we're watering our marriages! Take the "Love Dare" and dive into unselfish giving to your spouse! Very INSPIRING!

Inspired by Faith Sisters "Faith-booking"

If you are a scrapbooker- you need to check out this blog! :) Faith Sisters encourages scrapbookers to scrapbook and pass on their faith- AND their are some really GREAT layouts! As long as we're talking scrapbooking- if you do digital scrapbooking- check out Misty Cato Designs, too. The only thing I don't like about some of it is the one picture on the side of the page with the rest of the 12x12 filled with artsy stuff- if I'm going to take the time to scrapbook- I'm going to be documenting an event and using enough pics to remember the event! :) So, I adapt- but I like a lot of the looks they use! I've been trying to take one night a week for a while before bed to tag photos and do one digital page layout. Two weeks straight--- WOO HOO! :) Hope it lasts! My goal last year was to accumulate pages through the year then have them printed and have the book be a family Christmas present. Didn't happen. Maybe this year?!?! Happy Memory making... and as the Faith Sisters encourage- faith legacy documenting. (Please comment and share with me your fav. scrapbooking inspirations on the net!)
Much love,

Discipling Your Kids

If you are a Christian parent- check out my new blog Discipling Your Kids. I've been thinking about this for a while now. I wanted to have a dedicated place to dialogue about discipling my children and now- I've taken action! Hope you'll join the conversation!

Rachel's Vineyard

I wanted to let you all know of a resource that is available. You know how many women have chosen abortion- even women we might not think. Abortion- contrary to the commonly propogated idea- leaves many pains and scars in a woman's (and man's) life. This is the description of their ministry from their website.

"Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing."

Chances are good that you know people who've had an abortion- whether they've shared that with you or not. Take the opportunity- maybe during a Bible study or other place where women are gathered- to share the website and ministry that can begin the healing process. Many women feel they cannot be forgiven. Abortion is NOT the unforgiveable sin- though the enemy will always try to make us believe that!

If they can't attend a retreat- Rachel's Vineyard has 2 books available that deal with post-abortive trauma. Pray for women in crisis pregnancies... pray they would find help at a CHRISTIAN Crisis Pregnancy Center. And pray for the many, many, many women, living with the shame, grief, and hopelessness abortion leaves behind when the child is gone.

Therefore, I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards,
and transform her Valley of Troubles
into a Door of Hope
--Hosea 2:16-17

There she will sing with joy
as in days long ago in her youth,
after I had freed her from captivity.

Then you will lie down in peace and safety, unafraid;
And I will bind you to me forever
with chains of righteousness and justice, love and mercy.

I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and love,
and you will really know me then as you never have before.
--Hosea 2:21-22

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
--Psalm 103:12

Love you all...