Monday, April 21, 2014

Welcome to OKLAHOMA!

Moving.  I moved 5 times in a 10 year period as a kid.  Thankfully it was all in the same county and in a 20 mile radius of where I grew up.  However things change when you move across state lines.

I first experienced a state to state move after I got married.  Tennessee Southern Belle moved to the Northern state of Pennsylvania. Now that was only me, myself and my bedroom.  But I still needed a large truck to move all my girly stuff!  LOL!

Fast-forward almost 13 years and 4 kids later.  A lot changed in those nearly 13 years.  We moved locally from the apartment to the house we lived in until April 7th.  12 years of memories with children, ranging from birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and just life happening.

I admit that having only 3 weeks to pack up 13 years of life is daunting.  Unfortunately some things did have to get left behind, but due to some understanding we will be able to go back in September and collect the last of our things.

The trip itself was challenging.  Darren drove the 26 foot truck the entire 1000+ mile journey.  Going through the mountains of WV and Ohio, then the flat lands of Indiana and Illinois and then the Ozarks in Missouri and NE Oklahoma was such a beautiful trip.  I followed Darren with our van and helped him navigate his way through traffic.  Challenging! 

We left at 9pm April 7th and arrived in Tulsa at 6pm April 9th.  I admit that tears fell as we drove through Pittsburgh that evening.  I never once thought we would leave the city, the place I had come to know as my home.  But circumstances happened in such a way that it worked pretty seamlessly.

So now we start a new chapter in our journey.  Life in the Midwest.  Life in a state that I only dreamed of visiting. 

I am so thankful for all of my family, friends and church family that helped us during these past few months and especially the past 4 weeks.  Thank you friends who watched our children so we could pack, thank you friends who came over and packed even on our last day in PA, thank you to the Men's group from our church who came to load the big items in our truck on a Saturday morning, thank you to the family who came over on the last day to help us finish the truck and also watch the kids so we could load the truck.  We are so grateful to you all.

We are already missing everyone in PA.  The past 12+ years have been a blessing and everyone who came in to my life has made some sort of impact.  God bless you all!  Look forward to visiting my "other" home in the future!

Life is ALWAYS an Adventure!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We are MOVING!

Well, this is something that we weren't quite expecting to happen this year. However, on January 15 my husband found out that because of the merger between the company and another that he was being let go.  Too many duplicate positions.  But he was being placed on a redeployment list (internal applications get looked at before external applications).

So Darren (hubby) started job hunting.  We made the decision to try and stay with the company if we could because they have great benefits, good pay and are pretty good to their employees overall.  Stuff just happens when mergers take place.  We just weren't expecting it so soon.

We also made the decision to not limit our options and also look out of state.  The company has offices in Tulsa and Houston and Darren applied for jobs in both places.

We heard from Tulsa first at the end of February and he interviewed.  He felt the interview went well.  But we didn't hear anything for nearly two weeks. 

March came and we didn't hear anything.  Then Darren interviewed for a position here in Pittsburgh.  That too went well and we would know within a week because they really wanted to hire someone.   Or so they thought.  Also, they were re-hiring for his position as well...(go figure on that one) 

Eventually the Pennsylvania positions were pulled for reevaluation.  That same day Darren got a call about the job in Tulsa.  They wanted to hire him!  Well of course a 24 hour prayer time was needed.  Financially it would be a big hit and not necessarily something we were totally prepared for.  But God was prepared! 

God has been so faithful in providing things.  From the finances to housing and everything in between, He has been faithful.  These past 3 months have been so stressful but God has never left our side. 

We have been so blessed also with friends who live in the Tulsa area who have been so kind to go look at houses since we are in PA until the move.

I can't leave out my PA friends (though some are more like family) & family.  Between watching our kids so we can pack, bringing us boxes, praying for us, providing a meal or just being there for us to talk to.  We are so blessed by our PA friends/family. 

Another group of people we will be missing is our Church family.  We started going to Riverside Community Church when our 2nd son was born.  They welcomed us with open arms and these past 7 years have been awesome.  Riverside is an extension of our family and we will miss everyone there.  The relationships made there will be missed greatly. 

So when might all this be happening?  We move April 7th as Darren has to be at his new job on the 14th. 

Pennsylvania will always hold a special place in our hearts.  It is where our 4 children have been born and raised.  My husband grew up here and brought me to his home.  The past 13 years have been an adventure and we are looking forward to our new adventure in Oklahoma!

Smart Money Smart Kids

Many of you may have seen my prior posts about how we are using Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University to become debt free and have better control of our finances.  We are still plugging on that journey and are so thankful for everything we have learned during FPU! 

But it can't just stop there.  It has to continue with educating our children about how to use money properly and have control over it instead of it controlling us! 

Right now I am reading Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze's (Dave's daughter) new book called Smart Money Smart Kids as part of the Launch Team.  I must say that I am LOVING what I am reading.  It resonates with how my husband and I want to train our children.  We don't want them falling into the same traps that we did with money and so we want to help them understand how to handle their relationship with money.

Both our parents had different mind sets on how to teach us about money and financial responsibility.  And that unfortunately led into some traps early on in our marriage.  We made some mistakes and we don't want our children to duplicate them.  Now we know that we can't keep our children from making mistakes, but hopefully by training them up the right way, they will be less likely to make them. 

Look for more posts about Dave & Rachel's book.  If you want to get in on a GREAT deal, there is a pre-buy where you can get over $50 in free products.  Whether you pre-buy from the Smart Money Smart Kids Launch page or from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or other bookstore, if you have your receipt information you can send that to get the $50 in free gifts!  Take a look over at the Smart Money Smart Kids website!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I can Illustrate Psalm 23 - NIV {Product Review}

Betsy Price is a SAH mom and blogger.  She has been married to her husband for 23 years and they have a daughter who is 7 years old whom they homeschool.  Betsy's blog is Mrs. Price is Right.

Betsy has started making printable activities that are found on Currclick.  I Can Illustrate Psalm 23, I Can Illustrate Proverbs 31, and a copywork quotes for Nelson Mandela.

I was asked to review I Can Illustrate Psalm 23.  There are 4 versions (NIV, NKJ, NIV, ESV) available for this so you can choose which one you would like to use with your family. 

I chose the NIV since we have 1 early reader and it is easier for him to read. 

The activity is really easy to do.  There are 4 sections on each page and 5 pages of the sections for Psalm 23.  The entire Psalm is broken out into each section so your child can illustrate it.

I printed this out for my 2 older boys, Jonathan (11) & Jordan (6).  Jonathan is the one who tends to be more artsy, but Jordan does like to draw.  I just had to help Jordan read the verses.

The boys seemed to really enjoy this activity.  I did have to reach each verse for Jordan so he could draw the appropriate illustration.  But he did really good.

After we were done with the drawings, they cut out their pages and put them in order.  There is a place in the top left corner for a hole punch and tie with ribbon or ring or where you can put a brad.  I would have done brads had they been available in my collection of craft goodies.  :)

I Can Illustrate Psalm 23 is $2.00 over at Currclick.  And to make things even better, they are having their Tangerine Tuesday Sale!  From Tuesday March 11th to Tuesday March 18th, items are 40%-70% off!  PLUS when you enter the code "tangerinetuesday" at checkout you get another 10% off!!  WHAT A DEAL!! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Praying for Boys - {REVIEW} & Giveaway!

See these guys?  They are my boys & I love them fiercely!  This happens to be one of their goofy times that I was able to capture.  (actually had my camera close by for the shot!)  Often they are running loops around the living/dining/kitchen area chasing each other as they laugh hysterically and shriek at the top of their lungs.  Life is not very quiet in our house. 

My journey as a mom to boys began 12 years ago.  I had been married 10 months when Jonathan arrived.  Motherhood brought new challenges:  breastfeeding, sleepless nights, diaper changing around the clock, food allergies, eczema, and baby weight gain issues.  To make matters worse I was 600 miles from the place I had called home for 20 years.

I was scared, naive in many ways, and had no clue what it really takes to be a mom.  Sure I had babysat many times, but that is NOTHING compared to the 24/7 job of motherhood.

With each day I knew that God had given me a gift.  This precious gift needed to be nurtured, loved, pruned and guided daily.  I was lost.  Parenting books gave some help on how to do that but nothing really covered the prayer aspect that I was craving.  That was when I discovered The MOB Society and Brooke McGlothlin!  She had just written an ebook called Warrior Prayers and I participated in the challenge at the time which was praying for our son(s). 

We had just confirmed our 2nd pregnancy and guess what?  It was another boy!  The timing was perfect really.  I began the Warrior Prayers challenge and followed it fairly closely.  Being pregnant made this challenging and I was working full time as well.  But I took the time to do it because I know how important it is to pray for our boys.

Praying for Boys is the full realization of what began as Warrior Prayers.  Brooke had been wanting to add more to the book and got to do so and have it published by Bethany House Publishers. 

Let me tell you, reading through this has been such a blessing.  It is the book that makes you laugh, cry, knod your head in agreement and let you know that you are not alone in your journey. 

As I read the beginning part of the book, I felt like I was sitting and talking to a good friend.  A friend who was going through similar struggles as me.  Being a mom sure isn't easy.  Being a mom of boys adds a whole other level to the game.

They are loud, messy, rarely if ever sit still and sometimes you want to pull your hair out!  So how do you pray for these wild and crazy boys you love with all your heart?

As Brooke shares her story of how she came to write Praying for Boys she provides the perfect combination of encouragement and the easy to follow way to pray for your boys.

Whether it's specific boy character traits, the fruits of the spirit (couldn't we all use some more peace from our boys?) or just simple prayers, Brooke guides you through that. 

She includes scripture references for every prayer!   I love having them available.  The last part of the book is so nice because you don't have to follow it in order.  You can choose whatever you would like to pray for your boys, and there are enough different topics to pray for each day/week/month or even hour!  The prayers are simple and powerful.

I know I can tell a difference when I pray for each of our sons.  There are traits that we talk about with them that we often don't see come to fruition for a while.  So it is important to continue the talk while praying with God.  He does hear them and he knows we love our sons so very much. 

Praying for our boys is so important!  Today I think this is something that is too often forgotten due to the busyness of life.  Making time for prayer is so important and a key to parenting. 

Praying for Boys will give you a way to do that without feeling overwhelmed.  It is easy to follow and a beautiful way to talk to God about your boys.  I am more than glad to pray to God to provide guidance in raising my boys to be men of character, honor, justice, patience, and peace.

You can purchase Praying for Boys online at AmazonBarnes and Noble and other Online Retailers.

I have also been authorized to do a Giveaway for a Paperback of Praying for Boys! 
To Enter: Comment Below with 1 thing you love about your boys and 1 thing that drives you insane.  Winner will be chose on February 1st, 2013. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Q&A with Brooke McGlothlin - Author of Praying for Boys


Brooke’s Bio

Brooke McGlothlin is Co-founder of Raising Boys Media, where moms and dads come to discover delight in the chaos of raising boys. You can find her writing about fighting for the hearts of her sons at the MOB Society blog, or living a life in pursuit of Jesus at her personal blog A normal day finds Brooke homeschooling her two boys, wrangling two large Labs, Toby and Siri, writing to bring hope to the messes of life (in the midst of her own messy life), and falling more and more in love with the man she’s had a crush on since the third grade (who just happens to be her husband).

What led you to write your book Praying For Boys?
My husband and I have two boys who were born just 23 months apart. I probably don’t need to say much more than that, do I?? That’s enough to keep any mama on her knees! Actually, I’ve done a lot of hard things that I’m very proud of in my life, but raising my boys ranks up there as THE hardest thing I’ve ever done. In the book, I talk about how I asked God to give me boys, and that’s true, but the reality of the day to day mothering of what I like to refer to as “those boys,” (you know, the ones who are 250% boy?) often leaves me completely worn out. I realized early on in our parenting journey that I had no power to change their hearts. And while everything in me wanted to be able to snap my fingers and produce good, godly men, the Bible just doesn’t give us that parenting formula. So in an effort to just do something, I started praying verses from the Bible for my sons…verses based on things I wanted to see the Lord develop in their hearts. It was my way of crying out to God to change them, but it ended up changing me, too. After a year or so of doing that, and of constantly hearing from moms on the MOB Society, my blog for mothers of boys, who wanted to raise godly men, but felt like they were losing the battle, I decided to create a resource that helped them learn how to pray for their sons. It seemed a simple answer to me at the time, but the longer I encourage moms to pray the more convinced I become that prayer is the most overlooked part of raising godly men.

Brooke, your book is a prayer guide with over 200 scriptural prayers. Can you share a sample or two of these?
One of my favorite verses to pray for my own boys, that shows up in the chapter on kindness, is Numbers 6:23-26. They call it my “special prayer” and I pray it over both of them every single night. If I forget, they remind me, and I love that it’s become such an important part of the way we end our days. I just pull my boys close to me and pray, “May the Lord bless you, and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace.” We’ve been doing it so long now that they actually pray it with me. My other favorite verse to pray for my boys, because they’re young and still learning appropriate behaviors, is Galatians 5:22. I put my own twist on the end that they just think is hilarious. “Lord, fill up my sweet boys with love, joy, peace, and patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…lots and lots of self-control.”

What do you feel is the greatest obstacle moms must overcome in order to be women who make prayer for their boys a priority?
We give priority to the things we find most in important in life. For example, I’m pretty partial to eating. I get sick and grumpy very fast if I don’t eat when I’m hungry, so because of that, I tend to place a high priority on meal time. I make time for it. Some of my friends are dedicated to exercising, so they find time for it and let others things on their to-do list slide to a lesser priority status. So it is with prayer. When we know how powerful a praying life can be—not just because it allows us to join with God in shaping the hearts of our sons, but also because it keeps us connected to His heart, shaping us into the kind of parents HE wants us to be—we make time for it. So really, the greatest obstacle to overcome is how important, or unimportant, we believe prayer really is.

You can find Brooke over at The MOB Society.  This is where I first found her and many other moms of boys.  She is also on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blogging through the Alphabet - T is for Teachers

Teachers.  We have all had them at one point or another.  Whether you were in public school, private school or homeschooled, you had a teacher.  Who was your favorite?  Was there a favorite teacher you had when you were in school? 

Well, I had several favorite teachers.  You may be wondering how I can have several when I was homeschooled.  This is true.  I was homeschooled... 8 out of 12 years.  The other 4 were in a private school that our church ran. 

I will start by saying my mom was my favorite teacher.  Yes, I know, she's my mom, but she made it interesting for us and we enjoyed learning.  My dad did some of the teaching but not as much as my mom.

After my mom I had 3 teachers in the private school who had an impact on my life.  Mrs. Eaves (English Teacher), Mrs. Cantrell (Math) & Pastor O'Neal.

Each one had different ways to keep us engaged.  Pastor O'Neal I remember had a sense of humor about him.  He made things fun to learn.  Mrs. Eaves and Mrs. Cantrell took the time to explain things in a way that was easy to understand.  I still remember a lot of what these ladies taught me in my middle school years.

I think teachers have a great impact on a students life.  These teachers took the time to invest in their students.  And I'm not saying that the other teachers in the private school didn't but these are the ones who made the most memorable impact on my life.  I have fond memories of them and miss them all dearly now that I am no longer near the area where I grew up.

I want to say thank you to all the teachers in my life.  From Sunday School to the private school, my mom and dad for homeschooling us, and college professors as well.  No matter the amount of time you were in my life, thank you.  It's not an easy job that you have (or had if you might be retired at this point).  I am glad that you were part of my life.