This Beautiful Inheritance

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's a Big Weekend

Today is my birthday. I'm having a little trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I am 28 years old... and that this year I will celebrate my ten-year class reunion! I feel like, by now, I should have a hefty savings account, a clean house, and a clue what a 401k is. But I have none of those... maybe by 30?

Anyway, yesterday we had a little celebration (i.e. cake and presents) with my family because yesterday, my dad also had a birthday. He turned 54 a year older.

He doesn't look a day over 39, right? :-) He assured us that no matter how old he gets, he will never "dress old." And we know that's a fact. He'll be the only 85-year-old man that shops at American Eagle... I can see it now.

For my birthday today, I'm doing something really exciting -- packing! And I'm actually not being sarcastic, because tomorrow we leave for Disney World, and I am *almost* as excited as my kids! They We have been counting down the days since Christmas, and we are thrilled that it's finally here! I'll share a full run-down when we return with a cuteness overload of pictures, I'm sure. Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 2, 2015

God Loves You! {Berenstain Bears Giveaway}

I have been given one copy of The Berenstain Bears God Loves You by Family Christian Stores to review and one to giveaway in exchange for my review here. All opinions are completely my own.

Happy New Year! What better way to start the new year off than with a giveaway, right? Today's giveaway book has the perfect message to teach your kids this new year -- "God Loves You."

Such a simple message, yet we so often don't believe it. When bad things happen or we don't get what we want, we question His goodness and if He really loves us like He says. Right now, I'm reading the book The Shack, and it is reminding me in beautiful ways that His love for me, for us, is real. And it has nothing to do with our circumstances. This message is so foundational in our faith (even though we need to be reminded over and over again), which is why I love this Berenstain Bears book, perfect for teaching the message to kids.

The Berenstain Bears have been some of my favorite books since I was a kid. But only recently have we discovered the faith-inspired stories with our favorite characters. My girls love these books just as much as I did growing up. The stories are so applicable to things our kids go through. And I love the folksy tone the stories are told in. In this book, Brother and Sister Bear try out for the school basketball team and the school musical, only to land the undesirable positions of team and stage "manager." Mama and Papa help remind them,though, that they have much to be thankful for, and God loves them even when they don't "make the cut."

To win a copy of The Berenstain Bears "God Loves You," leave a comment telling me how you help teach your kids that God loves them. Then enter via Rafflecopter below.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Selah's 3rd Birthday Letter


I can't believe you're turning three. And when I say that, what I really mean is I can't believe you're just now turning three! I said it last year, but your age lags behind you a bit. With the jokes you crack, the faces you make, and the stories you tell, I've often forgotten you were just two -- still a baby by many standards -- yet now that year is gone and I, by no means, can call you a baby anymore.

It's been a big year for you, Selah. You potty-trained at 27 months easier than I ever dreamed. Then finally, just a couple months ago, we took your "sassy" away cold turkey and you did surprisingly well. Yes, you transitioned to wanting milk all. the. time., but we're working on that. (We're also working on your getting in my bed every night and kicking the living daylights out of me and using my head as your pillow.)

With no diapers and no sassy, we can get up and go with you pretty easily. The only battle is convincing you to wear socks and season-appropriate shoes. You still have your strong-will and your feisty streak, but I'm starting to see you soften too. Just in the last few weeks, your tantrums (which -- I'm not gonna lie -- were HORRIFYING in months past) have become almost non-existent. You're getting easier, more compliant, and I think it's safe to say we're nearly free and clear of the Terrible Twos.

Did I mention how smart you are? There is nothing I can't talk about with you and there is nothing I can't explain to you. You tell stories, make up songs, jokes, plays, etc. You blow me away every day with the witty, hilarious things that come out of your mouth. I hope I never forget how adorable you were to talk to at this age.

Your biggest battle right now is those darned ear infections. You spent the last day of your second year of life getting prescribed antibiotics and being told this time, the infection has ruptured your ear drum. You'll be getting your third surgery after the first of the year. These pesky infections cause us to make regular trips to the doctor and cause colds so close together you're rarely without one. But you take it all in stride. You never complain. You still play like mad, laugh and make us laugh, and live life loudly, the only way you know how.

Selah, I believe you're made for great things. I can't even fathom what God has in store for your future, but I know it's going to be good. It has to be with all the humor, smarts, and passion He's put inside of you. Many nights when I lay down with you, you whisper and tell me I'm "the best Mommy in the whole wide world." I hope you know the feeling is completely, totally mutual. Your Daddy and I love you around all the planets and back!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Selah Bear.

Mommy & Daddy

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Savoring the Season {& a Christmas Book Giveaway}

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

So how's your December going? Sometimes I feel the tension of wanting to build meaningful traditions and memories with my kids and also relaxing, pacing ourselves, and not trying to squeeze in too much. So far we've just been doing a lot of holiday special TV watching and Christmas book reading, but this weekend things are about to get crazy, as we have three big holiday events back-to-back-to-back. Other than the obligatory Christmas parties and functions we'll be attending over the next couple weeks, my simple family goals are to -- at some point -- 1) make and decorate homemade Christmas cookies, 2) drive around and look at Christmas lights, and 3) pick up and deliver gifts to a couple kids I have in mind. Oh and continue to do our daily advent calendar and devotions.

I know there are plenty of other memories/traditions we could be doing this month (in fact I have a Mom Life Today post coming out soon with a full list of ideas), but I also know we can't do it all. I want to enjoy some silent nights with my family and not get to January feeling like December was a big blur. What are your thoughts?

One of the books we've been enjoying this month is A Star for Me. What I love about it and other Tommy Nelson books is that they are always creative and make the real Christmas story come alive for kids. In this one, the story is told from the perspective of a young camel, Ollie, who is traveling with the shepherds following the star to Bethlehem. Ollie is convinced the star is leading them to a present just for him. And sure enough, he eventually finds the best present of all.

This 8x10 board book also comes with a star ornament for your tree. It's the perfect addition to your Christmas book collection, and of course, I'm giving away a copy! Just leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas tradition or book and you'll be entered to win. Merry Christmas, friends! Slow down and enjoy the season. :)

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Finding God At The Kitchen Sink {Giveaway}

I was given one copy of "Finding God at The Kitchen Sink" (along with one copy to give away) in exchange for this blog post with my review. All opinions are my own.

As moms, we want to feel like somebody relates, like somebody understands.

Those people in the shopping mall, arms loaded with designer bags and carelessly strolling about... they don't understand.

Those people fully engaged with arms raised, worshipping in church, no one tugging on their dress... they don't understand.

Even our husbands, as hard as they work and as much as they do... they don't really understand.

Of course, these are assumptions and probably not true. But this is how we feel, and as moms, it can often feel lonely.

Does anyone understand what I (my heart, mind and emotions) really go through in a day?

Maggie Paulus does.

She's a mom of three littles, and her life isn't extravagant or radical according to the world's standards. It's mostly plain, normal, just like yours and mine. She spends a lot of time at the kitchen sink. She picks up toys just to have them strewn out again. She gets waken up during the night. A lot. But through all the mundane, her eyes are wide open to the glory of God and how He shows up in the most seemingly insignificant moments. And she weaves her stories and His story together in her book Finding God at The Kitchen Sink.

This book was such an easy read. Maggie's words are beautiful and lyrical. Each section drew me in, made me feel understood, and prompted me to see God working in my own everyday grime.

Here are a few of my favorite passages.

From "How Being a Mama Has Changed Me"

"And I love the part where I push my little girl on the swing, even though I'd rather be reading a book or weeding the garden. And while she's learning to kick her legs out, I catch a glimpse of all that radiant light in her eyes and the way her silky, sun-streaked hair whooshes back and forth. I remember again what it was like to be young and wild and happy and free...

I didn't know how much I'd be giving my life away. Or that my most satisfying work would be when no one else was looking as I poured out all I had to nurture the lives of my babes or that God would be my strength as I learned to craft love, the stuff that lasts forever, a thousand times a day in a hundred different ways...

I didn't know how being a momma would cause me to care more for all the other boys and girls. That I'd begin to see them through a momma's eyes -- this concern for their lives and a burden to help and protect them, too...

Sometimes when I look in the mirror and see how this tummy has warped and how these hips won't ever fit back into my favorite jeans I remember this -- I get to be a momma."

From "Why God Does Want Your Messy Heart"

"Jesus says, come (Matt. 11:28). I get that. All day long I tell my kids to come to me. They come with their snotty noses, and I wipe them. Or they come with their grimy hands, and I wash them. Or with their hungry bellies, and I give them something good to eat, some sustenance to fill them up. So when Jesus says Come, I know what He means. He means simply this: Come with your messy self. I see you're hungry-hearted. I know you're a wreck. Now come over here. Come, right now. I've got what you need...

So Jesus says come. And He calls the people who are tired, who've worn themselves out. The ones who have a lot on their minds and more than they realize on their hearts. The ones weighed down by life, exhausted from just living. And the neat thing is, the only criteria Jesus requires of us to come is to simply feel our need for Him. Because we're depleted. And we're a wreck. And we don't have what it takes..."

Can you tell? Maggie understands. And as a self-proclaimed "beauty-seeker," she's got an eye for the glory moments we sometimes let slip by.

Today, I'm giving away a copy of Finding God at The Kitchen Sink so one of you can also feel understood, inspired, and star-struck by God's glory.

To enter, leave a comment telling me one way you've seen God's glory today. And Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Bedtime Whispers {And The Strong-Willed Daughter}

I clinch my fists and try to steady my nerves because I can see it coming. My two-year-old hasn’t gotten her way and her volume is rising as her face turns red. There’s no stopping it. She throws a full-fledged fit, complete with kicking, screaming and throwing. I do all I can to cope and control her, which isn’t much, and when it’s finally over we’re both exhausted.

I deal with this same scenario a couple more times before the day is over. My strong-willed daughter has taken fit-throwing to the next level lately, and my patience is worn thin. I’m running on the rims. When bedtime comes, all I want is to put my kids in their rooms and then resort to mine at a decent hour. I want to lay down in my bed, on my terms, and relax. But of course, that doesn’t happen. Because my stubborn daughter has decided to also become extra clingy and refuses to sleep without me laying down next to her. So I succumb. I pout because it feels like my every move is subject to her demand. We cuddle up in her big-girl bed and dim the lights and read a story. She’s so cute when we read. There are no tears or fits and I’m able to enjoy the sweet, witty, affectionate side of my youngest daughter.

Then I turn out the lights, and after she has done a lot of fidgeting and talking and singing to herself, she presses her forehead against mine and says, “Mama, I love you SO much!” I smile. My nerves from the day are easing. “I love you too sweetie,” I tell her back. But she’s not done. “Mama, I love you all around the distance!” I’m giggling now. She has such a way with words. She puckers up and plants a wet kiss on my mouth, followed by an “I love you around all the planets!” She’s doing a good job at making me forget our struggles from the day. I’m so thankful for her bedtime whispers that remind me what her heart really feels. Mine feels the same. So I whisper sweet nothings right back to her and thank God for just what I needed to get up in the morning and make it through another day with my strong-willed but sweet stinker.
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