Archive | August, 2011

Eden’s Homebirth Story

Eden Joy Edmonds
“Joyful Delight
August 7, 2011
9:05 pm
7 pounds 14 ounces, 20 3/4 inches

We have been blessed with another girl to raise to be a godly young woman for the Lord! I really wanted to have a daughter and companion for my Karis girl, but had fully convinced myself that it had to be a boy, considering it was extremely active in the womb, everyone predicted it was a boy, and I felt the Lord had confirmed the name of a boy in my heart. I had become really excited for a boy too. Well the Lord must have been laughing! Especially when we were confused over the gender for an hour after the birth! ;) Wait till you hear that part…

Waiting for the arrival of my little Eden was a very challenging time for me. Having delivered my first two at least a week early, I struggled with patience over the delay, intense heat of summer, and very difficult physical pain and nausea in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Labor began late Saturday night, August 6th. I was already physically tired from lack of sleep the night before, but I was also eager to have my baby. Contractions were consistent at 5 minutes apart and pretty painful from the start. After two hours they stopped altogether and my husband and I attempted to get some rest. I experienced contractions off and on through the night along with a lingering nauseated feeling.

Sunday morning arrived and I remained sick and tired but nothing was really happening, so we all decided to go to church and conclude that baby was not coming. Surprisingly though, contractions started again as soon as I arrived. They were consistent but mild. I gently swayed back and forth with each contraction as we worshipped. It was a great distraction but difficult to keep my composure. I really didn’t want people to know I was in labor just in case this was not the real thing. ;)

After the service, I quickly called the midwife and headed home. By 1:00pm, my midwife and birth team arrived. I began my normal labor routine of placing my arms around my husband’s neck, hanging limp, and swaying my hips side to side (my favorite labor position), and walking all around the house and yard, and up and down the stairs, letting gravity do its thing. At 3:00 pm, my midwife checked me and discovered that I was 6 cm dilated. We were all excited to see such good progress and were assured that it would be coming soon. In my mind I estimated that baby would arrive around dinner time. Hmm…that was not a good idea.

Contractions increased in intensity but continued at roughly 5 minutes apart. I went into the hot tub, and while it was relaxing it really slowed down my labor. It was a pleasant experience though being outside with midwives and mothers relaxing on our patio furniture while my little ones played in the yard. What more could you ask for? After nearly two hours in the tub without any real progress, trying to relax and rest unsuccessfully, I got out and started aggressively walking up and down the steps (two at a time) and around the house. I loved having the freedom and space to move around as needed. I was determined. But as it lagged on, I began getting pretty discouraged. The pain was extremely intense…more painful than I had ever experienced before with my previous two births. I felt like I went through transition three times with lots of tears and desperation. My midwife tried to check me on two separate occasions but couldn’t reach my cervix. What did this mean? The dinner hour came and went. The mystery of consistent contractions that were still 5 minutes apart but very difficult continued.

I returned to the hot tub around 7pm and experienced the most intense emotions. I was desperate. I came to a place of complete brokenness. I had always been strong and prideful in myself. I was an empowered homebirth mama. I could handle pain. Haha! The Lord really used this birth to humble me in more ways than one.  I came to a place of complete desperation and dependence upon the Lord because only He could truly sustain and uphold me. I clung to my husband as I labored on my hands and knees in the hot tub. It was nice being in water but not really helpful in managing the pain as I had hoped. I would look into my husband’s eyes and cry…”I can’t do this!” My sweet husband patiently and graciously held on to me and encouraged me to the best of his ability.

At long last things kicked into gear. It was nearly 9:00 pm. I was so thankful for a quick finale. With two major contractions and several pushes, baby arrived. The pushing stage in water was a refreshing experience.

Baby arrived at 9:05 pm and was placed right into my arms. It turns out baby was delivered with her hand right by her face, which may have caused the extra pain in my labor. I was so incredibly weak at this point that I could barely hold my child. It was dark outside with just one overhead light on and for the first time I was the one appointed to identify the gender. Previously, my husband had always identified.

I looked at the baby…it looked like a boy. I looked down and saw the cord between the legs and swollen parts and mistook it for a boy. Hilariously enough, I had convinced myself it had to be a boy. I didn’t put much thought into it…nor was I really all there mentally after such an exhausting experience. So we all were crying once again thinking we were welcoming a boy. Because it was getting chilly outside they quickly moved us inside to shower off. Baby was wrapped up quickly without a second glance. ;) I actually fainted on the bathroom floor from the quick transition and they carried me to the couch. The afterbirth contractions were very hard. I could hardly feel any part of my body from the loss of blood. Baby’s cord was cut and delivered again into my arms for our first nursing experience. Baby lached on immediately and I felt I had such a sweet bonding experience with my supposed son.

After over an hour from delivery, my mother-in-law offered to get baby dressed. She carried baby upstairs to clean her up a bit more. By this time my husband had announced to the world (via facebook ;) , that it was a boy. As my mother in law cleaned up the baby getting ready to put a diaper on, she discovered that it was really a girl. She called my husband in to show him the reality. Aaron came back downstairs and said, “It’s not Eli, it’s Piper (because those were the names we liked at that point).” I was so frustrated at him since I was in such pain. “That is not funny.” I said in response. “I am in no mood for joking.” “No really…it’s a girl.” He insisted. I was in complete shock. How could I incorrectly identify my child? I felt like I had bonded with my son. For nearly two hours I was in a state of shock. Everyone was laughing. Aaron returned to facebook and announced, “Scratch that…it’s a girl!” All in all, it was an hilarious experience and I can look back now and retell the story with laughter. I had completely convinced myself. I am determined not to be the one to identify again…or maybe we will just get an ultrasound next time to avoid such confusion. ;)

So we had a girl! I’m blessed beyond words. After two days, we finally decided on her name. Eden means “delight, paradise, luxury” and I felt it was such a good reminder of the beauty of God’s creation and His original design for mankind in the garden of Eden. We were fashioned in His image to display His glory. My vision is that my little Eden would passionately adopt God’s design for her and find her “delight” in the Lord and that He would give her the desires of her heart (Psalms 37:4). We chose “Joy” because we want her life to be characterized by a spirit of joy and thankfulness. She has brought such delight and joy to our hearts, but even more so, we pray that she would be a gift of joy and delight to others and pass on the gift. I pray that she would find her complete delight and satisfaction in our great God and Savior and live her life to make His glory known to the ends of the earth.

As I look back, I am thankful for such an intense labor. While it was the most difficult thing I have endured, God was so faithful to me. He broke me. He humbled me. I have been changed. I feel such a greater sympathy and compassion now for others. I rejoice in the fact that it was such a smooth and safe delivery and it was all accomplished in the comfort of my own home and hot tub with wonderful mothers, midwives, and my husband around me. What a huge blessing! The grace has been given to cling ever more to my Savior and Lord. And now my arms are full…three precious gifts. Each given to me to be prepared to send forth as an arrow for the Lord. God is good!

Thank you all again for your thoughts, prayers, and support! It is such a blessing having such a wonderful community of women here to love and care for one another despite the distance. 

Comments { 106 }

Money & Mission-Minded Families

By monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry.

As Christian families, we need God’s perspective on finances, and a vision for how our resources can help to expand His kingdom – especially in tough times.

In our family’s living room, a small handcrafted treasure chest displays simple coins from around the world. Most of the pieces are dull and worn, while some a new and shiny. Our children often enjoy fingering the various francs from France, pulas from Botswana, and euros from Europe, to mention just a few. My favorite is an intricate gold-and-silver-colored piece from Italy, although, as with most of these coins, I have no idea of its worth. Some of the coins are no longer in circulation; some of the countries they’re from no longer exist. All are simply extra pocket change left over from years of past mission trips, each saved as little souvenirs and little reminders that money is only a temporary “little thing.” Each coin is (or was) valuable only because some government somewhere determined it would have value.

But money is also a “big thing” – and we can’t underestimate the importance of training our children to have a godly perspective toward money and financial stewardship.

Our money represents our life; our time, our talents, our education and experiences, and our priorities. In fact, if we really want to find out what is important to us, we can simply look back through our checkbooks and credit card statements over the past few months. Our true priorities are right there in black and white (or red!); and the numbers don’t lie.

It’s really very simple. If we have a heart for the Lord and for the lost, we will give our resources to glorify Him and to help spread His Gospel message; and if our children are raised with this perspective, it will affect their bottom-line attitude toward the purpose of money. Both parents and children need to acknowledge regularly that everything we have ultimately belongs to God: our life is God’s, our home (or bedroom) is God’s, our car (or bicycle, or special toy) is God’s, our money is God’s.

We’re all simply stewards of God’s “stuff.”

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, J.G. Morrison urged Nazarenes to increase missionary support, as he earnestly pleaded: “Can’t you do just a little bit more?”

When times are tough, our families need to “sow in famine” (like Isaac in Genesis 26:12) and “lay up treasures in heaven” (like Jesus commanded in Matthew 6:20). Physical needs worldwide are greater than ever; orphan children desperately need help; sacrificing missionaries need continual support and prayers; and billions of people need to hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

During today’s economic downturn, let’s do more for the needs of world missions. Let’s be faithful stewards of the many resources God has given us, and let’s encourage our children to participate.

As mission-minded families, let’s do just a little bit more.

The post is adapted from my book, The Mission-Minded Family. Right now, our mission outreach, Harvest Ministry, is running a special on my two-book-set (The Mission-Minded Child & The Mission-Minded Family — at our COST!). We also have a new FREE 30-page guide using these books (to mentor your family or a small group in a 4-week study). If you’re interested in learning more, please CONTACT me through our website, and put “MM-FAMILIES SUMMER SPECIAL” in the subject line, and I’ll send you more information (with no obligation). My heart is to motivate families for missions — right now, right where you’re at!!!

Missionary Hudson Taylor said, “The Great Commission is not an option to consider, it is a command to obey.” I say, “Missions is not just for missionaries; God’s call is for all!”

Blessings to you and yours!!!

Comments { 9 }

The Blessings of a Small Home

Written by monthly contributor, Emily Pastor.

I grew up in a large home and assumed that’s what I wanted for my family when I got married.  I often felt a twinge of jealousy when I heard of friends my age purchasing their first house while I had to “settle” with a tiny apartment and loud neighbors.

Looking back I am so thankful for living in small spaces and the experience of moving five times in less than 4 years.  Each move left me holding on to my “stuff” with a looser grip and realizing that owning less can be a freeing blessing.

The Lord has used these moves and small apartments to teach me contentment.  The type of contentment where I’m no longer “settling” for less, but when faced with the option, I’m choosing it.  While these trinkets and “necessities” that fill our homes aren’t inherently wrong, they are temporary and fleeting and can easily become burdensome.

In our society we often think that having more than we need is a blessing.  I argue that it can be tiresome and a burden.  If you, like me, are living in a small space and struggle with contentment, here are some reminders of the blessings of less.

1. Less to Clean
Times of cleaning truly bring out my contentment and thankfulness for a small space.  I often think of how much more of my time would be spent cleaning a larger home.  I can vacuum my entire apartment in less than 10 minutes.  I love scrubbing only one toilet!  Dusting is a 10 minute breeze.  With less space I’m able to keep a deeper-cleaned home instead of spending most of my energy keeping things “looking” clean.

2. Less Chasing
When we’ve stayed at my parent’s larger home, I’m always amazed at how exhausted I become from chasing little ones.  I’m sure this isn’t a huge deal when children are older, but with new walkers and wobbly toddlers, chasing can become an all day affair.  Small spaces allow young ones the freedom to move around the house without gates and still be within earshot and eyesight of Mama.

3. Less to Decorate
Small spaces are not only less intimidating to decorate, but they are much more friendly to the decorator on a budget.  I love decorating a small room to be cozy and functional without the pressure to find pieces simply to fill empty spaces.

4. Less to Maintain
Whether large or small, all homes require maintenance.  Appliances break down.  Furniture wears out.  Walls need new paint.  Roofs leak.  Lawns need mowing.  Smaller spaces can reduce the time and money spent on keeping a home maintained and comfortable.

5. Less Space for Clutter
With limited closet and storage space I’m forced to weed out useless clutter due to the lack of clutter hiding spots.  I wouldn’t deal with my clutter nearly as much if it didn’t invade my space so easily.  This lack of space is a blessing!  My space keeps me accountable to what we do and don’t need around the house.

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world,  and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Whether you are in a large or small home, may your hearts be filled with contentment, generosity, and thankfulness to the One who provides for our needs so faithfully.

Comments { 56 }

What Man Can Relate to a Stay-at-Home Mom?

by monthly contributer, Natalie Didlake

Can  You Believe He Is Only 6 months old?

I sat down and made a list of all the rigors of wife- and motherhood I could possibly think of. There are…A LOT!

  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling alone or isolated from the outside world
  • The struggle for regular, healthy rest and refreshment
  • Having too many things to do
  • Grief over your children’s rebellious hearts toward you and God, sometimes even frustration or anger
  • Changes in your physical body due to childbirth/care and age
  • The minute-by-minute flow of daily, constant demands
  • Loss of a sense of control over your life in general
  • Worries about the poor character you are passing on to your kids by example
  • Loss of a sense of usefulness in ways you used to enjoy
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of mental/emotional rest
  • Loss of time with husband
  • Loss of a sense that your husband relates to your experience as a wife/mother, perhaps feeling lonely/isolated even in your own home
  • Rejected and undervalued by our culture
  • General despair and frustration
  • Feeling distant from God because of all these imposed losses!

Whew! I’m ready for that list to be done. Won’t be re-reading that again! Too many of these hover over my head daily like a black Eeyore-cloud, following me everywhere I go.

There are so many days I can’t wait for my kids to nap so the house is quiet, for everybody to go to bed so I can take a break from meeting needs, sometimes…for everybody to grow up and leave!

I used to think the only one who really understood was a fellow mom. And, really, what help is that? A friend with 3 or 4 kids can’t do much but sympathize with my lack of sleep!

About a year ago, as I read through the gospels, I began noticing incidents in Jesus’ everyday life that startled me. Because they were very similar to the incidents that sometimes make my life sticky, as a stay-at-home-mom. So I started a list of all the troubles Jesus endured, all of them eventually culminating on the cross. Here it is:

Jesus was:

  • Underappreciated
  • Misunderstood
  • Exhausted
  • Physically worn down and destroyed
  • Rejected
  • His gifts and abilities were often ignored or discredited, and later totally rejected/wasted by the people who killed him
  • Cut off from friends, family, and the outside world
  • Bore the weight of the sins of the world, an impossibly huge demanding burden, on his shoulders, to hell for us.
  • Lost all rest, well-being, comfort, closeness to God (physically, spiritually, and emotionally)
  • Was rejected by his culture
  • Totally lost control of his life and circumstances
  • Felt total despair
  • Was totally alone

So, there is a man who understands! Even when I’m in the trenches, poopy diapers a-plenty, lack of time, running on zero sleep, with guests coming over to eat the dinner I haven’t cooked yet. The remarkable thing about Jesus was, he suffered stress, despair, and isolation, but not because he doubted God (like I do) and believed he had no choice but to deal with it alone (like me).  He CHOSE to take it all on, so we wouldn’t have to.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:12)

More than before (since I made that list), my mind turns to Jesus when strain, stress, or tiredness creeps up on me. More than before, I don’t mind so much that it’s there. It crept up on Jesus, and he let it. He took it on for me. He understands! He’s is certainly my example for sacrificial motherhood, but oh so much more. His perfect love and life go on record for me. He’s my stand-in….better than a mom-friend!

Comments { 51 }

Fertility Flower Giveaway!

Fertility Flower is a website that helps couples grow their families or practice natural means of avoiding pregnancy using the sympto-thermal method. It’s very comprehensive, and intuitive. This tool will help you track your fertile stages through temperature charting and other symptoms. Fertility Flower differs from other standard fertility tracking with these features:

  • the attractiveness and usability of their website
  • the unique way of displaying the temperature and cervical fluid graphs together in the same charting space giving you the ability to clearly relate the two to each other
  • the first fully mobile natural family planning website (unlike abbreviated mobile apps which offer limited capability)
  • Multiple cycle comparisons are possible with a unique chart overlay feature
  • The website is flexible enough to accommodate women throughout their reproductive years. The program offers three different sections: seed (for those trying to conceive), sprout (for those currently pregnant), and bloom (for those who have one or more children), while covers every stage of a woman’s fertility, offering specific customized help for your season of life, and allowing it to be a life long tool as you flow seamlessly from one plan to another

Fertility Flower offers a very flexible membership plans and freely offers 30-day trial membership to give couples the ability to try it out risk free. They offer 3 Premium membership levels – 1 month ($5), 6 month ($25) and 12 month ($40). And for the members who purchase the yearly Premium membership, they are sent a sample pack of 6 different artisan soaps from English
soapmaker, FuturePrimitive, as a thank you.

Today, we are offering a 1-year Premium membership to Fertility Flower ($40 value) to one Passionate Homemaking reader. The Premium membership gives the member access to all of the advanced features of the website, including chart overlay capacity, cycle statistics and averages across cycles, etc.

To Enter:

1. Visit Fertility Flower and leave a comment below sharing what stood out to you from your visit.

2. For a second optional entry, become a fan of Fertility Flower and Passionate Homemaking on facebook. Let us know in a second comment below. If you already are a fan, share about the giveaway with your facebook, twitter, or blog friends and let us know in a second comment.

Giveaway Closed.

And the winner is…

Bloggy Mommy - [email protected]

Email subscribers: Please note that you must click through to the website and enter a comment in order to be entered into the giveaway.

Comments are closed

Give Them a Heart for the Fatherless

Guest post by Shannon Hazleton from Our Blessed Life.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
James 1:27 (ESV)

Mamas, do you want the hearts of your children to be closely knit with God’s heart?  Teach them to love orphans! The Bible is full of scripture conveying our Father’s heart for the fatherless, and commanding us to care for them as well.

Indeed, to be a Christian is to love orphans.

Yet, when I was young, I knew nothing of the plight of 147 million orphans worldwide, many of whom are abused, hungry, sick, and needing special care. So how can we, as a family, get involved and teach our children God’s heart in the process?

Do a Word Study

Older children can do this as a project on their own, or the whole family may get involved.  Using a concordance or an online Bible program, conduct a search for keywords such as “orphan” or “fatherless” and discuss the many passages you find.  Pick one or two verses to commit to memory or post on the bathroom mirror.

Reach Out to Adopting Families

Some of our closest friends recently adopted three special needs children from Eastern Europe.  Whenever they were conducting a fundraiser, we were sure to spread the word and help.  And what a blessing it has been to get to know those children since they have come home to the States.  If you know a family in your community or church is adopting, get to know them.  Ask how you can help.

Read and Pray

Early on in our own adoption journey, my young daughters found me looking at children’s pictures on Reece’s Rainbow.  “These boys and girls don’t have a Mommy or Daddy,” I explained to my 4-year-old.  It wasn’t long before my girls were asking to see those pictures daily, and including many of those children in their bedtime prayers.

I also recommend visiting No Greater Joy Mom’s blog, who has adopted some wonderful kiddos, and passionately advocates for orphans, and Katie Davis’ blog.  Katie is a young woman living in Uganda, who has become “Mommy” to 13 orphaned girls.


Anton & Lena - our soon to be adopted kids

This one has impacted our family the most.  If someone would have told us a year ago that by August we would be traveling to a country in Eastern Europe, and adopting not one, but two young children, who happen to be HIV+ … Well, I would have laughed and thought that person was definitely wrong.  Surely God had not called us to that path.

But in the last six months, God turned our world on its side.  Through a few books my husband Jeff was reading (Radical, by David Platt, and Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore), God began to open our eyes, as Jeff would find himself in tears while reading over his lunch break at work, or I would find my own heart stirred as he read portions to me in the evenings, after the children had gone to bed.  Messages that were preached on Sunday mornings only seemed to confirm was God was saying.  His Word was opened to us like never before, and the message was clear: rescue the fatherless.

Our hearts were convicted.  And there was only one answer, yes, Lord.

Through our own adoption journey, our two oldest biological daughters (ages 3 and 5) have begun to learn that the world is bigger than our little family, and that there are children who don’t have families, and have never heard the name of Jesus.  (Though their little minds can scarcely imagine what that is like.) And it blesses our hearts to see them pray for those children, or hear them say, “we can be their family!”  The step we have taken towards adoption has been life-changing and family-altering.  It has been scary and difficult at times, and the journey isn’t over yet.  But we are already reaping bountiful blessings.

Not all of us will be called to be an orphaned child’s ‘forever family’, but we can be a prayer warrior for an orphan, or sponsor a child through ministries like Gospel For Asia or Compassion International.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our children to pray for, and even write letters to sponsored children.

No matter the age of our children, we can open their minds to a world that is different from their own, and help knit their hearts to the heart of the Lord.

“Father to the Fatherless,… God places the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:5 (NLT)

Shannon Hazleton is a busy stay-at-home wife to Jeffrey, and Mama to three little ones at their home in Nederland, Texas.  They will travel soon to bring home two more beautiful little ones from Eastern Europe.  She writes at Our Blessed Life.

Comments { 19 }

Good Things Come in Squirmy Packages

Guest post by Amanda Bacon from Bacon Bites.

Chances are if you have been out in public with more than one child in tow, you have heard comments similar to these:

“Wow, you have your hands full!”
“My!  You sure are busy!”
“I don’t know how you do it!”
“You’re brave for bringing them all with you…”
“Are they all yours?”
“Better you than me!”

You get the idea.  You give them a weak smile while thinking, “That’s all you could think of to say to me?”

Sadly, in our society, parents are accustomed to hearing these types of statements.  These comments are an indication that our society views having children differently than God does.  Why are children not universally valued in our society?  Can we see children as a joyful addition to life (and shopping trips)?

And by the way, moms always know we have our hands full, don’t we?  But that’s part of the joy of it all.  I LOVE taking the kids to the store.  I really do.  It’s a challenge and such fun all at the same time.  As I’m sure you do, I treasure any chance to slip into town to the store by myself.  But that’s not always practical.   Plus, taking the kids to the store gets us out of the house and teaches the kids how to properly interact with the outside world.  Also, having the three bigger kids bagging produce for me is an added bonus.

We saw what kinds of things can be discouraging to a mom, now let’s look at how we can build up and encourage one another in our mothering.  I can think of plenty of positive things to say when I see a fellow mom out and about with her kid(s).  How about:   (These are real things that people have said to me, God bless these kind and wonderful souls!)

“Those are some cute kiddos.”
“How old are they?  They are just beautiful.”
You are incredibly blessed.”
“You’re doing a good job, Mom.”
“Can I help you with anything?”
“You kids are so well behaved.”
“It must be fun to be out shopping with your Mom!”

I have six children ages ten and under, including the adorable and chubby ten month old baby boy who arrived just three weeks ago whom we are in the process of adopting and the fourteen month old baby girl we welcomed through adoption last summer when she was nine weeks old.

I don’t see our family as large – I see it as just right.  It’s our family.  And I adore our family.  It’s not a burden, it’s an absolute joy.  I can understand why a family with more than two to three kids is considered “large” in our culture where reaching the American Dream is something to be strived for, and many view children as little beings that get in the way.  Well, I for one am living my dream.  No American Dream needed here, I have a God-given dream.  God has pieced our family together in ways I couldn’t have dreamed up in a lifetime of nights spent sleeping.  He has made me a joyful mother of children.  There is nothing that could entice me to live in a bigger house, have a nicer (and smaller) car, enjoy more throw around cash, have designer clothes, and a career that is taking off.  Nothing.  I laugh at the thought.  I love my life.  Our children are a heritage.  They (and ourselves) are the only things that are lasting in this life in light of eternity.

Children are God’s gift to us. Psalm 127:3 states, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”   That passage goes on to say, in verses four and five, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”

What might those blessings of having children look like?  Sometimes we view blessings as only the obviously good things that come our way.  I can tell you first hand that I am blessed to have been humbled on several occasions by my children.  They help me continually see my need for God.

No matter what our society says about raising children, we can know that the God of the universe is cheering us on. And that is more than enough as we raise the next generation of arrows to be shot out into this world for his glory.

Amanda Bacon enjoys life with her family in the beautiful state of Alaska.  She is married to Jeremy, and has six children ages 10, 9, 6, 3, 14 months, and 10 months.  Her interests include helping women grow in relationship with the Lord, adoption, homeschooling, sewing, knitting/crochet, and blogging at Bacon Bites

Comments { 60 }

5 Simple Up-cycling Ideas to Beautify Your Home

Guest post by Victoria Coombs from He Holds Everything.

If you’re anything like me there are many things in your home that are not being used but you are having a hard time just getting rid of it! Well, little did you know this is the perfect  place to be! All you need is a little time – trust me, all I have is spurts of time with six kids running around. Here I will list 5 ways to up-cycle, or repurpose, things that are common to most homes.

Dry erase board from a picture frame


An old frame
Scrap paper or fabric
Dry erase marker to use with it

This one is super simple. Take the picture out of the frame, label desired scrap paper with list name –i.e. groceries- and put into the frame (or fabric pulled tight around the frames’ cardboard insert). Keep a dry erase marker nearby to add to your list. Dry erase marker can be erased using a paper towel or rag… honestly, I just use my finger.

Magazine Rack from a closet door


Plantation style bi-fold closet door (one section)
Magazines to hang on it

I got this idea from my amazingly creative sister-in-law. All you do is take one section of a plantation style bifold closet door, paint it whatever color you wish, and presto! You have a magazine rack to either lean against a wall or you can secure it to the wall to alleviate floor space. Either way, it’s a much welcome change from the days of having magazines piled high in a basket. Just slide half of the magazine through the slats and let it hang at the binding. This way, each cover is partially displayed for easy selecting.

Yo-yo hair clips from old clothes


Old clothes (I used my daughters’ baby clothes that I adored the pattern of)
Buttons (from old clothes)
Two sizes of circle templates – jar lid, CD, small plate, etc.
Sharpie marker
Contour hair clips – any clip will do, these are usually just lying around
Hot glue gun or fabric glue

There are definitely more details to these hair clips than to the other ideas, but once you make one you will see how easy it is and find yourself addicted to making them. Trace two circle templates (differing in size an inch or so) with your marker. Once you have cut out your circles, place them good side down. Start from the top of the fabric (bad side), insert your needle through to the underside, then back up to the topside. Do this all the way around the circle. When you get back to where you started pull your thread tight to synch the fabric. Then secure your thread by tying a knot and cutting. Repeat with next piece of fabric and layer them with synched side up. Place button over opening and sew button on through both fabric “flowers”. Secure contour hair clips to the flat side with glue at all corners and let dry.

Candles made from old candle remnants


Cute container – tea cup, jar, or any other cool hollow vessel
Old candle pieces
Tapered candles
Microwave safe container
Knife, or something equally sharp
Stir stick

These are great for making your money stretch or as gifts. And you can personalize them to the receiver’s taste or décor! First cut the top part of the tapered candle a half inch smaller than the height of the container (the wick should still be taller than the container). Cut up the left over candles into chunks about an inch cubed. Place cubed wax pieces around the top of the tapered candle to hold it in place. Pack as tightly as possible. Put the remaining pieces of candle into a microwave safe container and place in microwave for thirty second intervals until completely melted. Tie wick of tapered candle around skewer, so that the skewer is resting across the top of your container (this holds the wick in place when the tapered candle begins to melt). Pour melted wax into the container until it reaches right about the top of the tapered candle. Let cool, and enjoy your new creation!

Wall hooks made from skateboard trucks and wheels


Trucks and wheels from a skate board

This last one is a super simple idea for a boy’s room. Screw the trucks into the wall in whatever pattern you desire or just one by itself, and use it to hang jackets, backpacks, etc.

Victoria Coombs is a wife to a wonderful husband. Mommy of six in a blended family. My passion is to learn something new every day about my Savior and the world around me. She blogs at He Holds Everything.



Comments { 14 }

It’s a girl! Eden Joy is here!

Eden Joy Edmonds
“Joyful Delight
August 7, 2011
9:05 pm
7 pounds 14 ounces, 20 3/4 inches

Born at home in the hot tub  after a difficult labor, but a gracious God sent us a healthy gift of life.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

Birth story to come.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Comments { 155 }

Social Media – Inspiration for Finding Your Balance

Written by monthly contributing writer, Trina Holden.

My addiction was out of hand. Though I knew it was unhealthy, I indulged multiple times a day, couldn’t go 24 hours without withdrawal symptoms, and constantly made excuses for my habit.

A Confession…

My vice? Social Media. This tool – wonderful for networking, business, and ministry – was taking more from me that it was giving. It was stealing vast amounts of time and leaving me stressed and burnt out. I knew I wasn’t the only one with this problem (I could name plenty of people who were worse than me – one of my many excuses!) but I didn’t know what to do about it. I needed to use this tool – how was I to keep it in balance?

An Experiment…

Then I heard about a friend who took a month off Facebook. Just the thought of such a sacrifice caused my typing fingers to start twitching nervously. That was a sure sign to me that my addiction was out of hand and needed to be addressed. So, I took the plunge and – without even saying goodbye – I gave up facebook for a month.

It was an incredible season, opening my eyes to all I was missing in real life when I let myself get sucked into the virtual, synthetic “Home” of my facebook page. Facebook seems designed to distract, to never let you finish a thought or task, with so many links on every page pulling you further and further into its time-sucking, mind numbing, stupor inducing  grasp – Ahhhh! Taking a break helped me regain vision and balance in my online time.

A Commitment…

Even as I realized the need to stop letting facebook use me, I was learning how to use social media to market my business, glean valuable information, and find mentors for everything from blog-building to mothering.  In fact, since my fast, I’ve re-entered facebook, joined twitter, and am more committed to my online presence than ever. This  presents the challenge of staying in control even as the opportunities to get sucked in and waste time have multiplied. It is a constant battle, requiring regular re-evaluation and lots of prayer, but I’m committed to the challenge of finding balance in this media-saturated world.

Here are some practical ways I manage the tool of social media…

  1. I only visit my personal Facebook page three days a week. Do I miss stuff? Yes. Has it killed me? No. As fun and fascinating as facebook can be, I’ve never read anything I couldn’t live without or couldn’t have learned by calling a friend.
  2. I do the same thing with Twitter – every other day. Another incredible tool, another dangerous time-waster.  I figure, if something is really good, it will make it to my feed eventually.
  3. I read my favorite blogs through an RSS feed (essential for saving time) and constantly sift through the blogs I subscribe to, keeping to a lean list of the very best blogs for me to expose myself to in this season. (Lindsay taught me this)
  4. At least once a week (usually on Sundays and lately, at least one weekday) I stay off the computer for the entire day. I schedule posts for my blog in advance, and let email go for a day. This gives my mind a chance to breath, refreshing and sharpening my vision for all areas of my life.

The Fruit…

These simple boundaries have been very effective in keeping my online time balanced and productive. I’ve experienced much personal growth in the past year, due in large part to my online mentors and research. Also, my schedule has been freed up to invest in real life relationships. After, all, that’s what we’re really called, to, right? Besides the pivotal relationships of being a wife and mother, we need the honesty, accountability and fellowship of real-life friends. Face-to-face trumps facebook every time.

A Challenge…

  1. Just for a day – Track how much time you spend on facebook or your favorite forum or networking site.  List 3 things you would rather have done with that time. Tape the list somewhere you can see it whenever you log on.
  2. Do this test – scroll through your RSS, Twitter, or Facebook news feed and take a survey of all the the news that is actually relevant or of personal interest to you. Take it a step further and judge how much content actually enhanced your relationship with God or inspired your unique calling or passion.
  3. This week - Choose one of your online friends that you have an email or phone number for (or live within driving distance to!) and make the effort to contact them on a more personal level.  See what kind of fun and fellowship ensues!
  4. Take a trip – go to a really popular blog in a niche you enjoy. Take the time to check out the links the author recommends. Compare the enjoyment and input you receive from purposeful reading to an hour of casual blog-hopping or browsing your facebook feed.

It is my desire that my computer time glorify God.  It’s so easy to lose sight of that goal and slip into casual interaction and low quality input. I pray these tips can inspire you to use the internet wisely, to build up your home and deepen relationships.

What do you do to keep perspective, manage your time, and make the most of social media?

Photo Credit

Comments { 55 }