Saying Yes In My Mess

Today is a BIG day. My friend, Kristen over at We Are THAT Family is launching her new book, Rhinestone Jesus – Saying YES to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough.

“In high school, Kristen wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow: much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true reflection of who she was.

Real life and motherhood catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined. There came a day when she stood in the slums of Africa, poised on the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken. And she knew she didn’t stand a chance – unless she was ready to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing.

Rhinestone Jesus is the spiritual adventure story of one woman who went from living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say YES to a deeper, more authentic way.”

Through stories about life as a high school student, her (sometimes difficult) marriage, the hum-drum mundane days of motherhood, and a blogger, Kristen takes us on her journey. As a Compassion International Blogger, Kristen was invited to travel to Kenya where her heart and life was forever changed. After returning home feeling empty and broken, Kristen woke up from the American Dream, and said YES to an unbelievable God-sized dream called Mercy House.

I love that Kristen keeps it real in Rhinestone Jesus. She is quick to admit that her family is far from perfect – even talking about days filled with puke, poop, drama, and bad attitudes (which makes her seem like my BFF) but even through the crazy – in the middle of her messy life as wife and mother, she slowly discovers that God doesn’t require us to get our act together before revealing His God-sized dream, rather He is just waiting for us to say YES IN OUR MESS, wherever we are. Right now.

As a result of her YES - through obedience and love – her family continually strives to glorify the Lord in all that they do. At the end of each chapter, Welch offers reflections and personal challenges for readers – ideas for nurturing our families, serving as a family, and being centered on Christ in all things. She encourages Christians to seek the Lord, and say YES to whatever He is calling them to do, no matter how big, small or messy it may seem.

Rhinestone Jesus has left me wondering what I should be doing. I’m not sure what my YES looks like, and chances are your YES will look different from my YES. But this I know: One small yes can lead to BIG things. God isn’t waiting on us to get our marriage in order, our kids to be perfect, or to keep a neater house. He is simply waiting for us to say YES to Him, right in the middle of the mound of laundry, the toothpaste covered bathroom sink and the LEGO covered floor.

YES.

In the middle of our mess.

It’s that easy.

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And speaking of easy… You can win a copy of Rhinestone Jesus by simply leaving a comment on this post. Two winners will be chosen by Random Dot Org on Monday, May 5th at 9:00 PM EST.

About the Author” Kristen Welch writes the parenting blog, We are THAT Family (you know the ones). She is an (in)courage writer, a Compassion International blogger, and a regular featured contributor to LifeWay’s HomeLife and ParentLife magazines. In 2010, Kristen founded Mercy House, a nonprofit maternity home in Kenya, Africa, which rescues young pregnant girls from extreme poverty. Mercy House is almost entirely funded by readers of her blog. Read Kristen’s blot at We Are THAT Family dot com.

In the interest of full disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers provided two copies of Rhinestone Jesus for me to give away to my readers. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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And the winners are:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

8

Timestamp: 2014-05-06 04:49:35 UTC

The first winner is Commenter #8 -  Jennifer S. who commented on May 1, 2014 @ 9:55 am.

 

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

10

Timestamp: 2014-05-06 04:51:48 UTC

The second winner is Commenter #10 – Traci who commented on May 2, 2014 @ 5:15 pm.

Congratulations, ladies. I’ll be in contact via e-mail.

 

The Smartest Kid

Ask any parent about their child, and they would probably tell you that theirs is smartest, cutest kids on the planet. We all love sharing things about our kids – from pictures to funny things they do.

In my case though, I have the TWO smartest, cutest kids on the planet. (But that’s another post for another day.)

My wise eight-year-old told me a few weeks back that VY Canis majoris is the biggest star in the universe, and it is brighter than the sun. (And just to prove to you that he is wise, his mother had to Google the whole VY Canis majoris thing, because she had never heard of it!)

My wise ten-year-old shares his wisdom with me daily. Often times I have to wonder where I was when I should have learned the fact that he is sharing with me. I was probably too busy talking sharing wise words with others in school.

The Campbell’s Soup Company “discovered” the Wisest Kid in the Whole World. He is an eight-year-old boy (my Alex is also eight!) who has the collective wisdom of kids everywhere and is the ultimate authority on what makes kids happy. (Legos and video games make my kids happy!) He knows all the secrets to kid contentment, and Campbell’s is inviting parents all over the world to share your kid’s wisest words. The idea behind the new campaign is to remind us that kids actually have a great deal of wise things to share about a lot of different things. (And in my case, those wise things are often facts about number two. Yes, boys are a JOY.) Recently, I prepared brussel sprouts for dinner. They were not impressed. Nor were they happy.

Through their recipe destination www.campbellskitchen.com, Campbell’s gives you a fresh way to delight your family (new, kid-friendly recipes like Mini Chicken Pot Pies, and fun ways for your kids to eat tomato soup or chicken noodle soup). They are quick, easy and best of all, your kids will love them.

And, even if you’re not in the mood to try a new recipe *ahem* Campbell’s soup is a great meal all by itself. (Of course if you know us, you know we also include a grilled cheese sandwich with our soup around here.) My favorite Campbell’s soup has always been vegetable. And my wise kids enjoy it too!

How is a kid in your life like the world’s wisest kid?

Minted Giveaway

*THIS IS A SPONSORED POST*

One of the perks of having a blog (besides getting corporate attention for complaints) is that occasionally I receive offers to review some great products. I especially appreciate offers to review any kind of product I can personalize - like the ones featured on www.minted.com. The only problem is, it takes me a sweet forever to make choices, because I get all excited whenever I am faced with fonts, and fancy paper and deciding between formal, fancy and funny. I spent a good hour (no kidding!) looking at wedding invitations at Minted, which is crazy because, well, I’m already happily married. But it sure is fun to look.

Minted is a community of thousands of independent designers & an online boutique that sells their designs. There is something for everyone – including holiday cards, art prints, thank-you cards, wedding invitations, party decor & MUCH, MUCH, more.

Here are some of my favorite wedding invitations.

If its birthday invitations you’re looking for, they have them. HUNDREDS of them! If it’s graduation cards or thank-you cards you’re looking for, they have those, too! You can see even more of their fun designs on Pinterest, or one of their inspiration boards.

I am pleased to announce that the kind folks at Minted.com are offering one lucky reader $50 towards any product on their website www.minted.com. To enter, simply leave a comment sharing what you would purchase if you win this giveaway. Do you need wedding invitations? Grad announcements? Or do you want to save it for the holidays?

For additional entries, like Minted or From Inmates to Playdates on Facebook, then come back to the comments and let me know. Random dot org will choose a winner on June 1, 2013.

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In the interest of full disclosure: I was given a $75.00 credit to use on the Minted site. As always, the opinions expressed within this post are my own.

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EDITED TO INCLUDE WINNER

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

16

Timestamp: 2013-06-04 03:06:50 UTC

Congratulations to Commenter #16 – Hannah.

The Little House That Stood (A Giveaway)

One of the perks of having a blog (besides getting corporate attention for complaints) is that occasionally I receive offers to review some great products.

Today, I am reviewing the new VeggieTales DVD The Little House That Stood.

In this newly released DVD, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber join forces to help children learn about making good choices, and I appreciate that this is a life lesson that will benefit children (and adults!) of all ages. The Little House That Stood is a parable (an Earthly story with a Heavenly meaning) of the wise and foolish builders.

The first part of the movie is a “remake” of the children’s classic – The Three Little Pigs.

When The Three Pigs roll into Cabbageville (I love it!) looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue!  Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt builds with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation – following the wise plans from the “Master Builder’s Handbook!” Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses – and their lives – on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids that when they follow God’s blueprints, they can stand strong when the storms come.
I love that the main theme of this segment reminds us that it’s always better to make a good choice rather than a fast, easy one.
Have you ever wondered what happened before Humpty cracked? The bonus story The Good Egg of Gooseville reveals what happened before Humpty cracked?
In this cute bonus story, “Humpty (Bob the Tomato) is the mayor of Gooseville, a quiet little town filled with a bunch of lively characters!  From Jack & Jill’s missing crayons, to the Three Bears’ lawn problems, all the way to Little Bo Peep’s lost sheep, Mayor Humpty is literally driven up the wall with this pickled pack of problems! Now far away from the gripes and complaints of his neighbors, Humpty declares “with all these neighbors in need, I’m better helping just me!” Will all the town’s heroines and all the town’s men help bring Humpty to his senses again?
The Little House That Stood puts a new spin on some classic fairy tales we’ve all heard from a very early age. This 49-minute DVD is great for children of all ages as our favorite Veggie Tales characters make us laugh while reinforcing moral values. But are you ready for the best part?
The best part is that I have a copy of The Little House That Stood to give away!
To win: Simply leave a comment telling me your favorite vegetable.
Random.org will choose a winner on Monday, March 11th. I will notify the winner by e-mail, so make sure to type it in carefully.
Easy enough?
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In the interest of full disclosure: Grace Hill Media provided a copy of The Little House That Stood to facilitate this review. As always, the opinions expressed within are my own. Additionally, Grace Hill Media is also providing a copy to one lucky reader.
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Updated:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2013-03-12 01:02:47 UTC

The lucky winner is Angie who commented on March 8, 2013 at 7:45 AM. Congrats, Angie!!!

Math Blaster – A Review

Recently, I received an e-mail asking if my boys (and I) would possibly want to check out the new features on the Math Blaster site. They were eager to get started because they really enjoyed the site the last time they were provided with a membership.

Math Blaster is a fun arcade-style video game that incorporates math into its space-themed site. The site ”Provides ”Blasters” with a fun way to learn essential math skills. In a nut-shell, Math Blaster is a futuristic online adventure site that is filled with wacky aliens, gadgets, and lots of math.”

According to the Math Blaster Site:

Once your kids are logged in and on board the spaceship to Math Blaster, they are able to design their own Blaster Cadet, a personalized avatar that will run, jump and blast through the Math Blaster spaceship. Using the Molecular Modulator, kids have their choice of different hair styles, faces, eyes, and even species for their Blaster Cadet! As kids progress through the game and tackle the math training activities, they will earn merits and achievements. When they earn merits, kids will climb the ranks in the Intergalactic Space Patrol (ISP), and their Blaster uniform will be upgraded for all of Math Blaster to see!

I have always been impressed that the site is suitable for both of my boys, in spite of their three-year age difference. I think this is largely due to the fact that the site has a nice variety of math subjects with different levels of difficulty. Both were able to quickly navigate the site and they really enjoyed creating their own avatars, or in this case Blaster Cadets to play with. Stevie, my ten-year-old (whose blaster cadet is named Jason StoneLaser) enjoys playing hide and seek with his Mutt - Cyber Xenon. His favorite thing about the site is “The robot who gives interesting information about different topics (how much the earth weighs, each fingerprint it different, Venus is the only planet that rotates clock-wise, etc.) when you click on him.” Alex’s (age seven) blaster cadet is named Sean SilverFireball and his MUTT is named Speedy Crater. Alex’s favorite part of the site is “The red alert door that requires you to shoot asteroids and soccer balls and cheese.”

*Knowledge Adventure’s Math Blaster is proof that video games can be educational and fun! As a parent, I love that. The site has this to say about Knowledge Adventure:

Knowledge Adventure is the creator of award-winning educational products like JumpStart and Math Blaster and is trusted by over 20 million parents. You can find our virtual worlds online at www.MathBlaster.com and www.JumpStart.com. In the Math Blaster galaxy, kids can explore a futuristic world, voyage to strange new planets and discover wacky alien races, all while practicing their math skills. At JumpStart.com, kids can explore magical worlds, discover and unlock games, videos, and story books that teach everything from math to reading.

Since they last visited Math Blaster, the boys were excited about some of the new features on the Math Blaster site.

  • In HyperBlast, players can hop on a hypercycle and blast through aliens while solving math problems.
  • The Monster Mutt Pod allows you to decorate, feed and play with your Mutt in its own room.
  • The Nebula Knockout allows your pet to train and then battle other Mutts.

Another cool feature of the Math Blaster site, is the Math Blaster Blog which is a great resource for parents (and kids, too!) because it is chock-full of math and science information, including family fun, current events, learning tips and science facts. I also “liked” Math Blaster on Facebook so I can keep up with new site features, games and stories.

 

Math Blaster is a hit around here. My boys and I appreciate the opportunity to play around on the site.

In the interest of full disclosure: I was given a three-month membership to Math Blaster in exchange for this honest review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.