Jul 31

Enough: 10 Things we should be telling teenage girls {REVIEW and GIVEAWAY}

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I love reading books on modesty. Unfortunately really good ones are slim pickings. So, when I was sent the email to review Enough by Kate Conner I was thrilled!!! The book is perfect for teen girls. I know you might be saying Laura, you only have boys…:). True story there but with my husband in seminary, me having the blog, and with me helping with youth I figured this was a book that I would need to have read.

So what is Enough about? How is it different than other modesty books?

Here is what amazon says:

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You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
In a book based on her run-away blog post “Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls,” which garnered more than 2 million views in two weeks, Kate Conner calls us to action in Enough. We all have teenage girls in our lives who we love, whether it’s a sister, friend, or daughter. Kate has identified 10 things these girls need to hear today from someone who loves her.
 
Peppered with wit and laced with grace, Kate’s list tackles relevant issues like Facebook, emotions, drama, tanning beds, modesty, and flirtation. Woven into each chapter is a powerful message of worth that transcends age, and will touch the souls of women, young and old alike: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
 
A former youth-worker, wife to a college minister, and a young mom in her twenties, Conner stands squarely in generational gap, the perfect place from which to bridge it. Conner offers herself as a translator, helping you to speak your teenager’s language and equipping you with a fresh perspective from which to engage your teenage girl—one that may enable her to truly hear your heart (and your wisdom) for the first time since puberty.

My thoughts:

As I started reading, I was shaking my head and nodding YES!!! This book doesn’t just give you a list of rules to follow for modesty. Kate touches on EVERYTHING. She gives great advice on how to word things so that we can speak to teens without pushing them away.

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The king is enthralled by your beauty:honor him, for he is your lord. Psalms 45:11

All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7…..

She goes on to say ” The perfect shade of your skin for you is the one you have. The perfect body frame is the one you’ve got. Real beauty doesn’t trap you, it frees you. Real beauty doesn’t make you die inside, it makes you come alive.

WOW!!! Those words are so true!!! Teen girls are so hard on themselves and they are so impressionable!

One part of this book that I especially loves was the section on Facebook and social media. I have seen so many teens posting things that they shouldn’t. Both boys and girls. They seem to post and share in the heat of the moment, with little thought to the consequences of that action. Christians are no different then non-christians. I have been most shocked by some teens who are Christian and what they post. I have posted HERE about modesty and our words.

Kate says ” In 2007, Facebook opened itself up to the general public, allowing every teenage girl to type up what she was feeling to no one in particular. The great irony is that what she writes to no one can be seen by everyone. And thus, the age of over sharing was born.”

Truer words have never been spoken! PS…this goes for adults as well as teens! :)

Kate takes a great deal of time to talk about social media and she gives great advice on how to approach it with teens. Honestly, I highlighted a lot in that section myself because while I have boys, this applies! I also took notes for myself!

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Another quote:

“First of all words are swords. They can be used powerfully for good or evil and they have the ability to cut us to the quick. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see who’s wielding the sword-it cuts you just the same. Anonymous swords can still make you bleed.”

I loved this book!!! This has been one of my most favorite books I have reviewed. It is packed full of information on all forms of modesty. I would HIGHLY recommend that parents, pastors, and others who work with teens to have a copy on your shelf! I give this book a 10/10! You can get a copy by going HERE 

You can also enter below for a chance to win your own copy!!!

In Christ,

Laura

***I received this book from FLYBY Promotions in exchange for an honest and fair review. The thoughts reflected our my own.***

The post Enough: 10 Things we should be telling teenage girls {REVIEW and GIVEAWAY} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 29

Tiny Swag, FabKids Edition, July

Oooh, before I get too much further, I wanted to let you guys know that my guestpost over on Awesome All Day, (the FabKids blog) telling you how to make thumbprint trees to decorate a birdhouse, is live. It’s actually been live for a couple of days, but you should check it out anyway!

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A couple of Saturdays ago, we set out to check out the Junction City farmer’s market. We admittedly got a late start, but we were supposed to arrive well within the farmer’s market hours. When we got downtown…we saw one table set up, and a couple of stands that were selling random things that weren’t produce or crafts or anything else I would expect to find at a farmer’s market. Ugh. Big disappointment. We didn’t even stop, but instead went to a bakery downtown and had some cookies. They were delicious.

The Munchkin had fun modeling his newest outfit from FabKids, and the owner (I’m assuming) of the bakery said he looked very cute. I can’t say that I don’t agree with her. Aren’t his shorts so cool?

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Afterwards, we walked around downtown and looked at a bunch of the shops. The boys especially loved the model train set up in the window of the hobby shop. The Bean didn’t want to leave. The train didn’t even move! I don’t know what was so fascinating about it.

I love these pictures of The Munchkin. Don’t they look like the kind of shot you see in gossip magazines where they show celebrities doing normal things? The Munchkin window shops. HE’S JUST LIKE US!

 

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I really really wish I could remember what he was doing to make this face.

- Outfit Details -
Glasses – Target
Necklace – c/o Amber for Babies
Tank Top & Shorts – c/o FabKids
Sneakers – Converse

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After strolling around downtown, we went on a hike to a waterfall near Junction City. The Geary County Fishing Pond or Park or something? I don’t remember. It was actually kind of a hard hike, and we had to go down a pretty steep hill to get to the bottom of the waterfall, but it was pretty. Not very active because it’s been so dry lately, but pretty. The Munchkin had a hard time on the hike back up, and I don’t know if we’ll be going back for a while, haha. Maybe we’ll try this one again in the spring…

Still, not a bad Saturday.

Disclosure: I got this outfit for free in exchange for writing this post, but all opinions and photos are my own.

Jul 29

Do Us a favor, please don’t feel sorry for us..

Dear Everyday Person,

I know what you are thinking when you see my children out in public.I see your stares and hear your whispered voices when you see my children get excited and stim or when they are over stimulated and just can't control themselves. And I know that in your heart you are not trying to be mean. That its just different and its not what you are used to seeing when you look at children. And those whispered voices, I would like to think that it is just you trying to process what you are seeing. We see the pity in your eyes and the concern in your voice. Please Stop.

Please stop feeling sorry for us. We don't want pity. We don't want to hear " I don't know how you manage"or "I don't know how you do it". We do it, because we must. There is no other option for us. Its called being a parent. And a good percentage of parents out there would do anything for their kids. Does it seem a bit trying at times? Yes. But again that is parenthood. Even the best of kids, have their days where they seem a bit out of sorts. Autistic Children are no different. Yes it does seem that the noise, bright lights and the hustle and bustle of everyday seem to ignite our children, but its not out of fear or discontent. Its how they feel, hear and see this world. So that concern that you have that we might not be good parents to our children because we let them just be them is for not. The best thing you can do for us is just accept our children.

When you see us out and about, do us a favor. Accept us as a part of society. Don't shun us or be sad for us. Pity is not what we want. Acceptance. Love our children the way we would yours. Accept our children as we would yours. Just because our children look at the world from a different angle, doesn't make them any less a child.

Take the time to notice how beautiful our children are. Look past the stimming. Look past what makes them different in your eyes. See that they are just as every inch awesome as the next child. Our children deserve to know they are loved and accepted just as yours are. Be that person who lets a Special Needs Parent that their child has lovely eyes or beautiful smile. That is what makes our day. Knowing that someone accepts our child for what they are, a child.

Yours Very Respectfully,

A Special Needs Parent.

Jul 29

ColoRADo


  There's never enough time, enough stories, enough hugs or kisses.... It's always too much, too fast. Our trips home to Colorado every summer always feel like this. We were able to see everyone- which is nice, but always rushed and leaving me wanting more.

A huge thank you to Oma and Gma Dugan for driving from Kansas to come see us and watching Eli for a night. Another huge thank you to Pa Pa Rich and Janice for letting us crash at their pad for a night, watching James for us, AND picking Shayne up at the airport waaaaaay past bedtime! THANK YOU! Of course, huge thank yous to my parents for always letting us crash, eat, and entertain Shayne for a few days before we arrived.

Here come the photos- Brace yourself.

Photo creds to Pa Pa Rich- One of my favorite pictures of the whole trip! It is a Rich family tradition to fly to Green River and have a hamburger at Ray's. Usually it's the old car at the airport they are worried about not starting- This time is was the aircraft that had problems! Yikes!
James even got to go to work with Janice at the fancy courthouse! Be sure to re-elect Janice Rich for Mesa County Treasure- http://www.janicerich.com/

 
Sorry for the crappy, last minute, hotel pictures! Ha! It's all I had!!!!!

Gma is still cute even in her pj's!


Mom and Dad on their back deck of their cabin in Telluride. Gorgeous!

We saw a ton of wildlife on this trip- so awesome!





















Jul 29

Nan’s Heritage Series

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It’s no secret that I love books!

However, in my quest for new books that are in line with my Christian morals, my choices seem to be dwindling. My family looks to Philippians 4:8 as the standard when searching for books, or any family entertainment for that matter. Having said that, I would like to introduce to you a series I am thrilled to share!!!

 Christian Historical Fiction

Nan’s Journey:

Desperate to save her life and that of her five-year-old brother, Nan packs and flees an abusive home, embarking on a journey that will test her faith, determination, and spirit. Set in the 1800s, Nan’s Journey follows Nan and her brother, Elmer, as they seek safety and find refuge and hope in the arms of a family of strangers–including Fred Young, a disgruntled preacher turned mountain man, who reaches out to help, only to find a hope and love renewed in his own heart.

Elk’s Resolve:

Driven to escape his past and the demons who haunt him, Elk discovers a love he long thought dead. Set against the rugged beauty of the Colorado Rockies of the 1800s, Elk’s Resolve follows the travails and triumphs of Elk, the White Indian. Guided by the hand of God, he finds his true self and defeats the voices who demand his destruction.

Luke’s Legacy:

Thirst for love drives Ruby away from her childhood home, causing her to grow up faster than her thirteen years could fathom. Her catastrophe catches Luke in its clutches and he must choose the legacy he will leave behind.

The Eyes of a Stranger:

Rejection was an emotion Gertie Brenan knew well. At the age of eighteen, she finds herself at the threshold of life and comes to realize that because of the rejection of her fiancé, many options are open to her. Her childhood rejection held her captive; now it gives her freedom that few women of her time were afforded.

Timothy’s Home:

The old trunk sat unclaimed on the depot platform for more than two decades. John Forrester’s decision to use it as an escape vehicle would result in it becoming either an untimely coffin or a way to freedom for his only nephew, Timothy.

“Timothy’s Home”, Book 5 of the Nan’s Heritage Series, brings the story of the trunk and the people connected to it full circle. Will Timothy find a place to call ‘home’?

My review:

The entire series is wonderful! I am going to personally share about Luke’s Journey.  Here is what amazon says and then I will give you my thoughts :).

Pursuit of adventure caused Luke and Bonnie to join the wagon train west. Thirst for love drove Ruby away from her loving home and caused her to grow up faster than her thirteen years could fathom. Catastrophe caught Luke in its clutches and made him choose the legacy he would leave behind. In Luke’s Legacy, Book III of the Nan’s Heritage Series, author Elaine Littau depicts characters that must live with the decisions they make. Full of passion, heartbreak, deception, romance, and resolve, Luke’s Legacy promises to hold you captive from the first pages.

I loved this book! It was a page turner to the very end! During the trip West, Luke and Bonnie have plenty of adventures! There is a lot of suspense and action that will keep you wanting to read more and more! What I loved best was seeing the family grow through these stories and keeping God first. I love how Elaine uses scripture and Biblical truths to weave an amazing story! All of Elaine’s books are wonderful, and this is just one story I wanted to share on the review. If you are looking for a great author to add to your bookshelf, start with Elaine Littau’s story collection! You can purchase the books from amazon HERE!!!

Author Bio

Elaine Littau is the best-selling author of eleven published books and many magazine and newspaper articles. She is a mentor/coach for other authors and enjoys teaching book marketing techniques as well as public speaking for groups. Many enjoy listening to her humorous take on life. Even the simplest activity takes on a life of its own when Elaine is involved in the telling of it. Some of her favorite events have been speaking to young people about pursuing their dreams. She has been a church secretary, led women’s groups, taught pre-school and Sunday school, and was a mentor for the M.O.P. S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community.

Her writings have also received recognition: “Nan’s Journey”- Named Best Christian Historical Fiction 2008 by Christian Story Tellers; “Luke’s Legacy”- Honorable Mention Christian Historical Fiction 2010 by Christian Story Tellers.

Elaine and Terry, her husband, reside on a small acreage near Perryton, Texas, where they enjoy spending time with family and friends. They raised three sons and now enjoy three daughters-in-law and five grandchildren

You can find Elaine at the following:

Blog:  http//elainelittau.blogspot.com

Author Site:  http://elainelittau.com

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineLittau

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/elainelittau  @elainelittau

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/elainelittau/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+ElaineLittau

Find Elaine’s books on AMAZON HERE!!!

In Christ,

Laura

 

The post Nan’s Heritage Series appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 28

Modesty and the Subtle Porn Trap

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Porn can leave you raw. It can cause heart ache and damage. It has caused many marriages to fail. Here is our story.

When Clay and I married I was over the moon. I was so happy that I had finally found my prince charming wearing a military uniform.  Our special day wasn’t one you read in a fairy tell.  We eloped and was married by a retired preacher.  I didn’t really care because the important thing was that I was finally getting married. Our reception was at buffet with no one there since we had eloped..LOL. I know what you’re thinking, how romantic, right? After our romantic dinner, we returned to the little dungeon apartment Clay was living at the time. I got ready for bed and Clay went to sleep. Yes, you read that right – he went to sleep on our wedding night. I was devastated. It was awkward because we were just married and it wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned for the romantic bliss of a wedding night! I finally got up and ran to Wal-Mart and bought some picture frames while I cried. I finally went back and he really didn’t get why I was so upset. He said he was exhausted from work. I didn’t think it was normal for a husband to not, well to not want more on the wedding night. Our wedding weekend came to an end and I returned to West Virginia where I was currently living. I returned to Clay the following weekend, and yet again, he really wanted nothing to do with me physically. I didn’t understand what I did wrong. I immediately started thinking it was me. I guess we had just barely enough physical intimacy for me to get pregnant. Unfortunately, I had a miscarriage. But, we finally got things squared away for me to move to Ohio, where Clay was working. Things should have been great right? I soon found out that the reason Clay didn’t care about intimacy was because he was addicted to porn.

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How do you process that your beloved would rather look at someone else on the computer? How do you get past the pain? You don’t. Clay’s addiction took him so far that he had the basement set up as his man cave where he would go to hide in the images displayed on his computer. When he was home, I wasn’t welcomed down there. When he wasn’t home, I didn’t want to go down there because it disgusted me. We talked and I cried mostly. He promised that he loved me. He promised that he would stop. He promised that he was attracted to me.

Around this time I was pregnant again by a miracle from God.  As my body swelled with the life growing inside it, I ached to be held and to be told I was beautiful. I yearned to be a wife in all the ways I was supposed to be.

As time progressed I continued to blame myself. The house wasn’t clean enough; I wasn’t beautiful; I was too fat; I was pregnant; I wasn’t a good cook. I could continue with the reasons I blamed myself, but I think you understand. If you all remember from my post HERE, Clay also was an alcoholic. Although he was saved a short time before we met, he struggled with full repentance from these two area. It finally came to a head one fall night when he had been drinking and I told him I was done. I was not going to live like this. I felt I had been cheated on enough, lied to enough, and pretty much felt abandoned.

Yes, I was tired of him cheating on me! He may have never physically laid a hand on another woman, but he cheated on me multiple times with his heart.

Scripture says: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart Matthew 5:28

The night I confronted him with all the emotions that I kept sealed inside (as well as the emotions from pregnancy), we screamed at each other with anger and hurtful words. I cried while he got angrier. He walked out the door and drove off in the car. As mad and hurt as I was, I mostly worried about his safety. When Clay came back that night I told him he had only two choices. (1) He was done with the drinking, porn, and everything else that went against God; or (2) he was done with me.  I told him I was not raising my children in such an environment. I was scared I wouldn’t have the strength to actually follow through with leaving, yet I knew I wasn’t strong enough to stay.

I went upstairs to bed and cried to the Lord. Why? Why had God brought me this man? Is this the man that I had prayed for since I was 12?

I don’t know why I had to go through that. The only logical answer I can muster is God allowed me to experience this so that someday our story may reach others that have experienced this, that are experiencing this, or to prevent others from experiencing this.

Those who know Clay knows that he never makes rash decisions, no matter how important the decision is. The next day, after I gave him my ultimatum, Clay broke down. He begged me not to leave and promised that he would put God first. He loved God and wanted to do right by me and the kids. He wanted to show me he could be the man I had thought I married, the man God intended for him to be.

I won’t lie and say that overnight it was all better. It wasn’t. Clay struggled. Once you’re addicted to something, you must have it. So I made him a promise that if he would share with me openly when he felt tempted, I wouldn’t overreact and would listen.  There were times that Clay still tried to get on to porn. An email would be sent by a friend that had an attachment. He had to eventually email some friends and ask that they not send stuff like that anymore. I would randomly check the history on the computer. We moved the computer to the family room and Clay wouldn’t use a computer alone. He was no longer able to hide  his sin in the basement. Clay gave me all of his passwords and we agreed that I would always have access anytime to log into anything. Another Soldier was assigned to Clay’s office and he was also a Christian who had similar struggles. This Soldier became an accountability partner for Clay and his wife and I became fast friends.

The pain stops doesn’t it?

They say that time heals all wounds. I tend to disagree. Time helps to lessen the pain, but most scars run deep. It takes a long time to get past the scars that are caused by such deep hurt. It affects many areas in your married life – from the bedroom to just everyday interaction. I would compare myself to those girls in the pictures. I wasn’t skinny enough, my body wasn’t built like theirs, I wasn’t this or that. Time helped move the process of healing along. We were beginning to move forward from our past. Then Clay deployed again. In my path to modesty HERE, HERE, and HERE,  you can read about our marriage and also how the deployment was the best thing for us at the time.

What is subtle about the porn trap?

Men are different than women. Men usually just go for a magazine to begin with and then end up caught in internet porn. Men, in general, like pictures, images that stimulate their imagination. However, women come into the subtle trap of porn in other ways. We are emotional creatures and get caught up in the storyline.

Soap Operas

Steamy Romance Novels

It’s possible the producers and editors have noticed the untouched money market women have to contribute. Now we have books and movies like the 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike that are readily available.

It starts small with steamy scenes and soft porn from soap operas and movies. Or maybe it begins with a steamy romance novel, a story line about passion or adultery. Then it moves on and on….each thing minimizing the fact that it is glorified porn! But what’s the harm? It’s not like we’re cheating on our husbands. However, we are cheating.

You might be saying this girl is CRAZY! 50 Shades isn’t porn! She isn’t a hooker and, besides, there is a good story. There is also the famous reason that I should keep my mouth shut because I haven’t read the books, nor do I plan to. I do not have to pick up a Playboy to know it is trash and I don’t have to pick up books that I know are ungodly to know I should avoid them. God gives us the power of discernment for a reason.

Ladies, books and movies like 50 Shades and Magic Mike, they are erotica! They are glorified porn. On The Today Show, James (the Author of the books 50 Shades) says that “I put all my fantasies out there.” Her fantasies include her male lead, Christian Grey, suggesting a contract of sexual bondage, dominance, discipline, female subjugation, sadism and masochism (BDSM) to the virginal Anastasia Steele. WOW! So why, why, why are women, Christian women, lining up to go see films like this and to read the books! 

The answer is simple – because sex sells. Are these books okay to read even it’s meant to spice up your love life? What does the Bible say? Let us look again at this verse  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart Matthew 5:28

The above verse doesn’t just speak about physically seeing a woman. The above verse also applies to WOMEN who are lusting.  It also applies to printed words. When we allow ourselves to read and see such filth, we are allowing others to come into our “bedroom.” Ladies, if your husband were to invite another woman into your bedroom, I’m sure you would have more than just words to say. If your men were looking at a Playboy or a Hustler, many of you would be appalled, hurt, and several other emotions. It just wouldn’t fly. So why is it okay for women to partake in books and movies like this?  When you’re reading a book like this and you become so emotionally attached to this character, you’re lusting, which is not okay with God. Would you be okay if the situation was reversed and it was about a woman and your husband were reading and watching? What about if your husband decided to get a subscription to playboy or another dirty magazine?

Sex is a beautiful and wonderful thing. However, it is designed to be beautiful in marriage! Sex is so beautiful there is a book about it in the Bible! Believe me, Song of Solomon is pretty STEAMY! I want to share more about that next week, so I hope I haven’t run you off and you do come back and join me! Modesty is not just the clothes you wear on your back. Modesty is in your heart. It is in your actions including your entertainment. Hold all things according to the Word of God. Look at Philippians 4:8 as a guide to all things entertainment worthy. If you want to read more before next week on entertainment check out the following posts I have done HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

So what did I wear?

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Both the top and the skirt came from: Dainty Jewells

Shoes came from the Exchange

Headband: Claire’s

In Christ,

Laura

The post Modesty and the Subtle Porn Trap appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 27

Face Time From Kuwait




  YAY! We talked to Flyboy today via Face Time! How cool is that?? Long gone are the days of those horrible DSN phone calls in the middle of the night with the annoying beeping in the background and some strange voice interrupting your conversation to tell you your 15 minutes are up. Double YAY!

  He was in good spirits and on his way to his final destination today. James and Eli were so happy to see him- Shayne was still sleeping, so I had Daddy wake her up(She is usually a bit cranky when you wake her up, but she couldn't hide her smile this morning.)

So good to hear your voice and see your face, my love! We miss you like crazy!

Jul 25

27 Tips for Long Military Deployments and Separations

It’s still months away, but we are gearing up for another military separation. This time it’s a one-year tour to Korea! I have done a 7 month deployment and several TDY’s, but a year or more away from my husband is something new to me. This time, I have two kids instead of one, and both of them have special needs. This time it’s not a deployment, but a PCS to Korea.

I have been asked if I have family here and I don’t. I won’t able to leave to go home for the entire year like some people do, but I’m sure we will plan a few short trips. As far as friends… we’ve been here at this duty station almost 6 years now, and most of my friends have PCS’d and moved on.

I sometimes feel like I am starting over, starting from scratch. New people, a new home we are moving into in a few weeks, and a new separation. While military spouses have many tips for deployments and other military separations, I wondered if there were some different tips when it came to a longer military separation.

I polled military spouses on Facebook and asked for their best thoughts and tips for longer deployments and military separations. Here is what I collected. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. I know that I will be incorporating many of these ideas very soon!

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 27 Tips for Long Military Deployments and Separations From 18 Different Military Spouses:

  • “Set goals to accomplish while they are gone or take up a new hobby: lose weight, take a class, or learn to knit or sew. Just give yourself something to work toward. Stay busy! If you have kids, sign them up for sports or activities to keep the family busy so you aren’t just sitting at home missing each other. Let life go on. It’s hard missing your spouse, but time will drag and you’ll be miserable if you just sit at home and do nothing but check your email and messages constantly.” – Natalie
  • “Remember that every separation is different and has different obstacles to overcome due to the stage of life you are in and due to your unique circumstances. What I have learned is to stay focused on God. Through Him you can find the good that may come from the difficulty.” – Tia
  • “Psalm 91! It’s the only way we got through it all until our soldier came home! We read it together as a family at 9 pm every night while our soldier prepared for the day. We also prayed it together as a family, and the night we did he was absolutely protected.” – Trish
  • “This will be our first separation with kids, but our last one I took time to work on me. I Went to the gym, learned a new skill, and took my pups to the dog park. I also reorganized and got rid of some of my clothes. I did all those things that I never had time for when he was here.” – Ashley
  • “We did a year deployment with 3 months of training prior AND a 3 day notice to him leaving! Every month we had a ‘Nother Month Down’ Party where we made a new dessert to eat and celebrate being another month closer to his return. I blogged about it as well.” – World Traveling Military Family
  • “Within our first year of marriage, my husband had a three-month training and from there went straight to his one year deployment. Our kids were little and I had a full-time job. He missed our first and second year anniversary. I made giant wall calendars and at the end of each day my daughters took turns marking off the days. On the day he was supposed to return, I put a cake and party hat on that day. Having the girls involved in marking off the days gave them something to hold on to. We also Skyped with him as much as possible.” - Robin
  • “In today’s world we forget how special mail is. At the beginning of each month, buy 30 greeting cards (you can buy them for 50 cents). Go ahead and address and sign them, maybe write a Bible verse in each one. It won’t take even an hour. Now you have a card to mail every day that month. Some days you will have time to write more and some days you won’t.
  • Do a Bible study together. When they can call often the conversation gets boring, but if you are doing something together then it gives you something to talk about.
  • Set some silly goals. For example: who can do the most push-ups today. Anything that makes you feel connected.
  • Ask family, friends and people at church to send him care packages. Do not leave it all on yourself. Make each month a theme, for example: July is red white and blue, May is yellow.
  • For me, I take the amount of money my husband would be spending in gas each month and use it to pay someone to come in and deep clean my house. I also use it to pay a sitter so I can go out with the girls. I am great at basic cleaning but never get to dusting so to have it done relaxes me.
  • I do not count down with my kids until the last couple of weeks, it is too much for them. I keep them busy and give lots of extra attention. We also try to help other families out a lot when my husband is gone. We make meals, babysit, and send lots of cards.” – Pam
  • “FRIENDS! You need them. The summer of our 15 month deployment we would get together at the park 3-4 times a week. We would feed the kids dinner early and head over around 5 with our dinner. The kids would play and we would eat together.
  • Our 2nd deployment I had one friend who I could always call to hang out with. We would say, ‘I need a steak night.’ That meant that we would get pizza for the kids and let them play and then make ourselves a steak dinner.
  • Let it go. You are doing this alone for a long time. Let the little things go.
  • Plan a trip home if you can. Even for just a week or two. You will need that break from the norm.
  • Journal! If you don’t already do this, start one. Write at least three pages in it everyday. That will allow you to really get the stress out.” – Julie
  • “My civilian girlfriends were a huge help to me. We planned a girl’s only night out monthly. This was a time when our little group of girls got together each month regardless of what was going on to share stories, laughter, tears, frustration, good news, bad news, and secrets. The idea was that we didn’t judge or criticize each other but that we were there for each other and we listened. To this day those girls are still a big part of my life and my forever friends!” – Kimberly
  • “I wrote my husband a letter every day while he was gone (yep, every single day). I also did themed care packages, which he loved! I did the Hope for the Home Front Bible study, and of course having friends to talk to who were military wives helped a lot! – Sara
  • “Our longest deployment was 15 months. The best tip I have is to stay busy and get involved. With 3 kids, they each had their “thing”. Soccer, gymnastics, and jujitsu. Practices, games, and competitions keep you running. I also volunteered as much as possible at their schools. Book fairs, PTO, Pennies for Patients, helping with vision/hearing screenings, picture days…there was always some way to help. Another thing I did was get involved in our FRG as a Key Spouse. This helped me stay up to date with what was going on with the deployment as well as put me in a position to meet and talk with others going through the same experiences as I was. It was nice to have that feeling that I wasn’t the only one going through this.” – Stacey
  • “My best tip is get a good support system. If you don’t have family close by, make a system with friends. Don’t try to be supermom. You cannot do it all. Let go and let God.” – Tina
  • My husband spent a year in Korea when my daughter was two. My advice is make some ‘you’ time to work out, even if it’s just to leave the kids in the kid’s room at the gym. This will help you deal mentally and emotionally. Also, remember to invest in your own family and with the friends that you make your family. – Rose
  • “Stay busy helping others and you won’t have time to focus on your own problems.” – Tiffany
  • “I sent a big care package every month and I decorated the inside of the box for each month. I found “snow” to send at Christmas and made cupcakes for his birthday (yes, they made it to Afghanistan). That really did help me, and in retrospect my husband says it helped him too.” – Laura
  • “My husband did 14 months in Korea. He left when our son was 5 weeks old and came back when he was almost 15 months old. Best advice I can give is stay busy and have a good support system. GET INTO A ROUTINE. Take up a hobby that you may have been wanting to start. One of the things that I found that really helped was breaking the time up by planning something fun to do each month….a countdown to something fun (a trip, a pedicure, a movie, etc). It really helped to pass the time.” – Erin
  • “We have done multiple 12 month deployments and I try to keep life as normal as possible for the kids. Our schedules don’t change and we don’t veer from anything while he is deployed. It is so important for our kids to maintain some balance in their lives while he is gone. I stay busy with the kids, but I also say NO sometimes too. I have learned my limits over the years and would always try to do everything, help everyone, and stay involved with the FRG, but saying NO once in a while is okay.” – Stella
  • “I basically took it one breath at a time. My husband was in an area that was remote so I often didn’t hear from him for a week or more and the worry was terrible. So, I did baby steps. I woke up and said, ‘All you have to do is shower and you can be done for the day.’ Sometimes I felt better after a shower and I said, ‘All you have to do is pick up the kitchen and you can be done for the day.’ Other times I was lucky if I got past the put on clean PJ’s goal. Life will keep moving forward whether you want it to or not. I still had finals, I still had to make it to class on time, I still had to walk my dog. So I simply broke my day up into mini goals and took it one step at a time on the bad days. I allowed myself to have mini pity parties and do nothing, but never for more than a day. It does you no good, so why not just keep making the effort to move forward and remember that each breath you take is one more breath closer to seeing him again.” – Jane

 

What about YOU? Have you experienced a long deployment or military separation? What are some tips you used to get through?

The post 27 Tips for Long Military Deployments and Separations appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Jul 25

Red, Green Lellow 2014-07-25 09:38:00

Jul 24

#JourneyThroughDeployment Twitter Party!!

I am so excited to announce that my book, Journey Through Deployment: Stepping Forward With Confidence During Military Separations was published in print on May 20, 2014! It is now available in print, on Kindle, PDF, and also for Nook!

I was not able to do a party right when the book first launched due to my daughter’s health needs and her being in the hospital, but I am still doing it, and everyone, military spouse or civilian-is invited!

Twitter Party

What People are Saying About the Book:

Whether you’re in the military or not, this book is a must have on your bookshelf.” – Michael

Informative, genuine, and even humorous at times—Journey Through Deployment is a comprehensive guide every military spouse needs before, during, and after a deployment.” – Lauren

 After reading this book I feel I have all the tools I need to handle our next deployment with a new sense of confidence.” – Lashon 

This is the perfect read for a military spouse whose spouse is to deploy. The pages are filled with encouragement and practical advice for pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment.” – Laura

Giveaways:

I love You, I KnowOn top of getting a chance to win one of three copies of my book Journey Through Deployment, during the party you will also have the chance to win a set of “I Love You, I Know” Throw Pillows, a $65.00 value!

The pillows are inspired by the Star Wars films, but you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to love these pillows! Great to toss on a couch or decorate a bed, these cotton canvas pillows are machine washable and sure to be a hit. Also, perfect for deployments where you can each have a pillow with you. Near or far, be reminded of how much your spouse loves you!

  • A $25.00 Starbucks gift card will be given away at the end of the party, so be sure to stay at the party until the end for a chance to win!

RSVP:

Looking for a way to win even more prizes? RSVP below for a chance to win this Essential Oils kit!

essential oilsThis dōTERRA essential oil intro kit includes an introductory audio CD and booklet, and three 5 ml bottles of essential oils. These certified pure therapeutic grade oils include lavender, lemon, and peppermint. The presentation box it comes in also includes suggested uses of these oils to help you understand the life-changing benefits of essential oils. A $27.00 value. Visit our sponsor, Sarah’s website for more about oils: Mydoterra.com/sarahbtosch.

To RSVP please follow your host and co-hosts on Twitter:

And add your twitter handle to the linky below:

  • Link Title: @yourtwitterhandle
  • Email Address: your address here.
  • Url: your twitter web address.

First time attending a Twitter Party? Check out these links:

Hope to see YOU there!!

The post #JourneyThroughDeployment Twitter Party!! appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Jul 23

Patriotic Flag Shirt Review

I was very excited to receive an email from TheFlagShirt.com telling me about their company. They sell patriotic flag shirts of all types for men, women, and kids, and are the perfect place to buy something to wear whether it be for a patriotic holiday like Independence day or for a military homecoming.

flag shirt

About TheFlagShirt.com:
“TheFlagShirt.com is a subsidiary of Lord Daniel Sportswear, started by a family member still a family owned and operated business founded over 70 years ago. The company began as a wholesale apparel company selling to mom and pop retailers in the South and Caribbean, and overthe years grew to distribute through many major retailers in the U.S. As a 3rd generation family owned and operated business that has been living the American dream, came the inspiration for launching the TheFlagShirt.com in 2009. 

Review:
flag shirtMy son has autism and sensory issues so sometimes certain clothes can be hard for him to wear. As soon as we received this shirt in the mail he was excited to put it on. It was soft and comfortable to wear, and exactly as described.

The flag shirt is hand-printed on the front and the back and perfect for every day wear or just on days you are feeling especially patriotic. Since wearing it the first time, my son has asked to wear the shirt again several times, so I can tell he just loves it!

If you are looking for a family-owned company in the U.S. that sells patriotic and military shirts, and shirts with the U.S flag on it, then TheFlagShirt.com is your place to shop!

Coupon Code:
Looking to purchase a flag shirt from TheFlagShirt.com? Use code: FLAGSHIRT113 to get 10% off!

Find TheFlagShirt.com on Social Media:

 

This post was created in partnership with TheFlagShirt.com. I did receive one kid’s shirt to review. All opinions are my own.

The post Patriotic Flag Shirt Review appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Jul 23

Season Skirt Blog Hop: Summer Skirts and Modesty!

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-22

I am so excited to share with you the second Seasonal Skirt Blog Hop! If you missed the Spring one click HERE.

Today I would like to talk with you about modesty.

What exactly is modesty?

In today’s world modesty is becoming a real issue. It seems as if modesty has transitioned from what is defined in scripture, as well as in dictionaries, to anything goes, as long as the private areas are covered. I see girls who are raised in church, who know the scriptures relevant to modesty and have spent their lives living for the world, dress extremely immodest. I have witnessed non-Christian mothers require their non-Christian daughters to dress modestly. This is not to say that every Christian dresses immodest and every non-Christian dresses modest. The question is why has modesty lost its importance in Christian families?

At times, modesty can have excessive rules. For example: no lace; skirts must not be cut above the ankles; plain shoes; only certain colors, patterns and/or fabrics; hair must be kept a certain way; clothes must be loose; sleeves must be worn between the elbow and the wrist. The list could go on.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about modesty beginning in the heart. This post (which can be found HERE) is one of my most popular posts. I believe that it doesn’t matter what clothing we wear, even something that is worn from the neck to the ankles. However, if a person has an ugly heart and is not working to change their heart, no outfit will be modest. To elaborate, if a person has not surrendered to God completely and repented, their outward appearance will continue to be immodest.  However, an immodest outfit can impact a repented heart’s witness and testimony for the Lord.

OUTFIT ONE

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Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-3

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-2

There are many who say that God doesn’t care about what we wear but I disagree. Here is why I disagree:

If we travel back to the beginning of scripture, Adam and Eve did not wear clothing. Sin had not entered into the world, they felt no shame or embarrassment.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25 

When sin entered the world, they looked upon each other’s nakedness and they felt ashamed and covered themselves.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? Genesis 3:7-11

God designed man in His image. There was no mistake or shame in God’s beautiful creation. It was after the fall when the shame was felt. When we feel shame, we want to hide. We don’t want that shame to be exposed. Adam’s and Eve’s shame was exposed, which is why they covered their shame with fig leaves.

The natural solution for covering our bodies is through modesty.  In the Bible, it speaks about modesty and its importance.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 1 Timothy 2:9

Like so many other topics, the world diminishes the importance modesty and desensitizes us to that topic. Need proof? Visit the movie theater, turn on the television, look at a magazine, or go to the mall.

OUTFIT TWO

Seasonal Blog Hop-Summer-15

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-13

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-14

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-16

Commercial advertisements downplay the importance of modesty. These “sexy ads” flood the networks. At any given time of day, we see commercials that encourage us to “flaunt our goods” through advertisements of under garments, swimwear and other clothing The world tells us to show off what our momma’s gave us, not what God gave us. We’re encouraged to wear the latest style, no matter how immodest it is. However, as Christians we have to be careful!  We are told that we’re being pig-headed and old-fashioned. We are told to not judge a book by its cover; but the first thing we see is a person’s outward appearance – their clothing (i.e. their cover). It sends an extreme mixed signal to meet a Christian and see they are dressing in something that does not honor The Lord. Ladies, while we are not responsible for another’s sin, we are responsible to try our hardest to not cause our brothers to stumble!

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13

I have posted about this before because of its importance. Men are visual. I agree that a man can lust at pretty much anything a woman wears, but the majority of men will lust through what they see. If we are wearing mini-skirts that barely cover the private areas, or low cut tops that expose our chests, we’re not giving men much of a fighting chance. How many times have you witnessed, or even experienced, a man staring at a woman because of their low cut clothing? We should strive to make it harder for them to do so. Wearing modest clothing is a huge help!

Ladies we must also be concerned about what we are teaching our children! Not only our biological children, but also the children we meet daily.

OUTFIT THREE

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-9

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-10

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-12

God has blessed me with all boys. I am not just taking care of boys, I am raising men! I have a 10-year-old who is in the midst of the dreaded tween years. I hear so many kids his age saying things about women, such as “she’s hot” and other things that I am sure you can imagine. My boys do not say these things. I believe a large part of it is that my boys are raised to respect women. They also are sheltered from the sex-crazed world we live in. We are constantly talking to our boys about what the Bible says about a wife, women and marriage. Our discussions with them are Biblical, not worldly. We have taught my 10-year-old to look away at immodestly dressed women. We have taught him that when the time comes to choose a wife, to search for a woman who is after God’s own heart – one who honors God through modesty, both in her heart and how she dresses for the Lord. Ladies, if you are a mother and you are dressing immodest, what are you teaching your children? If you have daughters, what will you pass on to them? Will they learn to dress appropriately for the Most High? Will they try to win their future husbands with their bodies? Will they dress for the world?

There is much confusion in today’s world and our clothing can help prevent that confusion.

If I haven’t stirred the pot of controversy yet, I am pretty sure I am about to. So, before I continue, I am aware of the skirt vs pants argument. I get it. I really do. We all have to pray and seek God in all things including the clothing we wear. I have posts HERE, HERE, and HERE about my own path to modesty. I also occasionally wear pants, culottes, or capris, depending upon my activities. However, I take certain steps to ensure my bum and pelvic area are covered. For example, if I am wearing jeans, I wear a tunic.

Anyway….

Let’s face it, in this day and time there is a lot of confusion in the world. Confusion ranging from men dressing as women to women dressing as men. Now the craze has started with dressing children as the opposite sex.

OUTFIT FOUR

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-5

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-6

Seasonal Skirt Hop-7

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-8

God created men and women to be different.  Yes, I did say that. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Men and women are vastly different. They each have different physical characteristics. They each have different roles and purposes in life. I know this doesn’t sound politically correct, but it is true. As the world has taken more of a rebellious turn, it has become worse over the years. This gender confusion has caused so much heartache over the years. I have experienced this first-hand from a member of my own family.  My heart absolutely breaks at all this rebellion and headache that is caused by getting outside of the Will of God.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5

The above verse is what we used as a guide during my path to modesty. My husband and I also performed exhaustive research and studies that helped to lead us to know and understand the scripture and make decisions for our family as far as clothing goes. As a Christian, I represent God all the time. Not just on Sundays, or when I am witnessing to someone, but ALL the time. Also, I realized that modesty was important as my husband is currently going through seminary. I don’t want to wear something immodest and affect his ministry. However, the ministry of Christ is one that I take serious-regardless of seminary.

We believe that Christ tells us that women should dress like women and men should dress like men. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. With the rise of so many movements, we need to carefully evaluate out role as a Christian woman. Ladies, we must weigh these movements against God’s Word.

How we dress tells our story. Do you want to be an example of what not to do? Or do you want your story to be a testament unto the Lord?

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galations 6:7-8

I have witnessed a rise in families who listen to the world saying, “God doesn’t care what you wear. Come as you are.” When the Bible speaks of coming as you are, it is speaking of your heart. Come as you are means to come to Christ right now and don’t tarry. Come as you are and repent your sins and clean up your life. It isn’t saying to leave your bed and head straight for church. Personally, our conviction on dress for church is we should give God our best. We are the bride of Christ. We dress up for nights out with our friends, dates, meeting important people, job interviews, etc. We want to look our best for these things. Why would we not take the time to dress up for our King?  This is another reason we are skirts 95% of the time.  We are always with our King and try to dress as such.

Another thing I find disheartening is that many young Christian ladies are not encouraged cover their bodies even in church! Many young Christian ladies are not taught the importance of protecting their bodies for their future husbands. The time to start teaching girls of these importances does not start when their in junior high or high school. The time to start teaching them is when they’re toddlers. Unfortunately, as these ladies grow into women, sadly they are not dressing any different than the world.  Parents, we must take a stand on this. We cannot allow our children to dress ungodly and then expect them to attract the Godly man we have prayed for. If you’re like me and have all boys, the same applies. If you haven’t talked to them and showed them modesty in yourself, what kind of woman do you think they will look for? If you haven’t showed them scripture, what kind of woman will they be attracted to? If you haven’t talked to your boys, do you think they will search for a Godly woman, or a worldly woman?

My challenge to you is this:

  • Go through your closest and look at your clothing.
  • As you look at each piece ask if this is for attention of the world or if the outfit is honoring God
  • Decide what message your clothing sends out and purge the clothing that is not honoring God. Even if you do not have many clothes left, having a few that honor God is better than a closet of clothing that is against His Word.

When it comes to modesty, the cover says a LOT about the book. (The following is taken from a post HERE)

When it comes to MODESTY, the “cover” says an awful lot about the book. I can tell a WHOLE lot about a book that has the word “Penthouse” and naked lady on the cover! In the same way, our clothing, and our attitude about modesty goes a LONG way in making a statement about where we are at spiritually. Our “cover” (clothing) says much about our “book” (heart). Our clothing and the corresponding modesty makes a statement and gives non-verbal indications about topics such as:

    • Do I know God’s Word?
    • Do I take God seriously?
    • Who owns my body?
    • What is my attitude about sin?
    • What is my attitude about purity?
    • What is my attitude towards the opposite sex?
    • What is my attitude about money?
    • Am I in close fellowship with God?
    • Do I take my Christian testimony seriously?
    • Am I more like the world, or like Christ?
  • Am I more attached to the world, or to God?

There is a lot than can be “judged” about our “cover”, however, I’m not suggesting we start running around and “judging” or confronting every person’s spiritual condition based on a tight blouse or a pair of low-cut jeans. What I am suggesting is this:

    • Individual Christians should start seriously considering and evaluating what they wear, and in light of God’s Word, what statement is made publicly about our private spirituality
    • Parents should quit ignoring/minimizing this issue and realize that clothing and modesty is an integral part, and statement, about the spiritual lives of children and parents alike
    • Church leaders should evaluate the need for teaching and instruction in this area; and evaluate the spiritual effect on your flocks that results from ignoring the plummeting standards of modesty in our culture today.
  • Whether collectively as the modern church, or as individual Christians, our clothing, and our modesty, make very powerful statements to a watching and dying world about our faith, our God and our commitment.

Finally, I am sharing my outfits today as inspiration! My intention is to show you a way you can dress modestly on a budget. I am using ONE skirt to show how it can be paired up with different tops and shoes to make several outfits! I am in love with this skirt and packed it to wear while traveling during our trip. It is so comfortable and I definitely made a good choice in taking it. I think it mixes well with many different outfits!

OUTFIT FIVE 

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-17

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-18

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-20

Seasonal Skirt Hop-Summer-21

So where did I get my outfits?

Outfit 1: Sweater-Old Navy, White Undershirt-halftee.com, Jean Skirt-Christopher & Banks on sale, Shoes-Coach brand bought at the Exchange, Headband: Lilla Rose

Outfit 2: Headband-Garlands of Grace, Shirt-Old Navy Brand bought at goodwill, Undershirt-halftee.com, Skirt-Christopher & Banks, Shoes-Sperry bought at the Exchange

Outfit 3: Purple, blue and white stripped top-bought at Christopher & Banks on sale, Undershirt-Christopher & Banks, Skirt-Christopher & Banks, Shoes-SPerry bought at the Exchange, Headband-Lilla Rose

Outfit 4: Shirt Sleeved Sweater-bought at the Exchange, Pink and White Polka dot shirt- bought at the Exchange, Skirt-Christopher & Banks, Shoes-Sperry bought at the Exchange, Headband-Lilla Rose

Outfit 5: White shirt-halftee.com ( it is a long half tee), Red and White stripped shirt-Walmart on clearance, Sweater-Old Navy, Skirt-Christpher & Banks, Shoes-Goodwill, Headband-Lilla Rose

Come check out the other bloggers in the blog hop at the following links AND if your a blogger, come link up with us!!!

Dusty at To the Moon and Back

Erin at For Him and My Family

Kyndra at Sticks, Stones, and Chicken Bones

Selena at Look! We’re Learning!

Mrs. Warde at Sceleratus Classical Academy

Caroline at The Modest Mom

Melissa at Life Off the Paved Road

Dawnita at Fogleman Forerunner

Hilary at Our Homeschool Studio

Annette at In All You Do



In Christ,

Laura

The post Season Skirt Blog Hop: Summer Skirts and Modesty! appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 22

Epiphanie Bags Giveaway Winner

Congrats go out to Shannon Peterson! Random.org picked her comment number as the winner of the Epiphanie Bag. I hope she’s as thrilled with hers as I am with mine! Thanks to everyone who entered!

epiphanie-bag-giveaway-winner

Jul 21

The Bean’s Second Birtday

The Bean turned two on Sunday! I can’t believe another year has passed, and it’s so cool to see the little boy he’s growing up to be. He is the happiest little boy, a mama’s boy who is my biggest helper and partner in crime. He’s our good eater, and the best little buddy The Munchkin could have. Happy belated birthday, Bean. We love you very much.

mommy-panda-blog-bean-turns-two1

We started out the day with birthday pancakes, as one does.

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After breakfast, we headed out to Abilene to check out the waterfall in Brown Park. It was a pretty little waterfall that you could drive right up to. No hiking, yay!

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There’s a little paved path down a hill that leads you right up to the river below the waterfall.

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The Bean was thrilled.

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The Munchkin and John went wading a little bit, but The Bean has a nasty cut on his toe, so I made him keep his feet dry.

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After that, we went to the Russel Stover store and bought some goodies. The boys love the chocolate covered “marshmallow” bear out in front of the store.

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Afterwards we went to Sam’s Club, then headed home so The Bean could take a nap. While he was sleeping, I made him a cake! I haven’t made a cake since college, but The Bean doesn’t like ice cream cake (Which is what we usually get on birthdays.) so I decided to make him a white cake with fresh strawberries and buttercream frosting. It came out pretty good! The Bean approved. He was actually really excited to blow out his candles!

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Don’t be too impressed; it’s all from a box or can, haha. I made two layers of cake, and put strawberries and Cool-Whip in the middle, then covered the whole thing with the frosting and stuck a bunch of strawberries on top.

We Skyped with John’s mom while we sang “Happy Birthday” and ate the cake, but then she had to get offline.

mommy-panda-blog-bean-turns-two9

Once the cake was eaten, we Skyped with my parents while The Bean opened his presents. He got the rest of the Super Why Super Readers, and a coloring book. He was thrilled, and gave them lots of hugs. He received his big present, a train table, last month, because I couldn’t wait to give it to him. (And…where do you hide a train table?! Those things are HUGE!)

mommy-panda-blog-bean-turns-two10

Happy belated birthday, little Bean. May you always stay so sweet.

Jul 21

Everyone needs a little A.F.P

Everyone needs a little A.F.P.



What is A. F. P. ????




Aluminum



Formaldehyde



Polysorbate 80





Aluminum  and Formaldehyde and Polysorbate 80--- together.

Where can I find these three toxic ingredients?



I can find them all combined into the vaccinations given to babies.


They are given by bully doctors. They are given without medical history inquiry of reactions.

They are given recklessly all in in the name of preventative health.


Such a shame our country has bowed down to Pharma.

Such a shame all of our children that have been vaccinated are now contaminated.


So why aren't adults being bombarded with such harassment that new moms and dads get?

Why aren't they being bullied into rolling up their sleeves?

My hunch is this:

They know and they can speak to the reactions being taken in by their own bodies.
They are observant lab rats who can speak.

our children however,can only cry, get high fevers and slip away into Autism-- the ever ignored epidemic that has yet to been harnessed.


Why is this happening?

Greed.

Greed in the United States of America and no where else.





Jul 20

Modest Monday: The Master’s Hands

Today I wanted to share a poem with you that I just love:

The Master’s Hands

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the old auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
to waste much time on the old violin,
But he still held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
going for three …” but no.
From the room far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said; “What am I bidden for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand! And who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed it’s worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of the master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sun,
Is auctioned cheep to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like this old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine;
A game; and he travels on.
He is “going” once, “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

Join me later this week for the Seasonal Skirt Hop: Summer Edition! If you remember I posted the Spring one HERE. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a single post!
Modest Monday-Pink Chevron-3
Modest Monday-Pink Chevron
IMG_0724Modest Monday-Pink Chevron-2
Modest Monday-Chevron-4
(Photobomed by my moms dog lol)
Dress: Dainty Jewells Pink Chevron
Sweater: Walmart
Shoes: Bought at the Exchange
Belt: ummm not sure lol
Hair band: Lilla Rose
In Christ,
Laura

 

 

The post Modest Monday: The Master’s Hands appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 19

10 Things Husbands Can Learn from My 1 Year Old

The Bean turns two tomorrow, (!!!) so today is my last day to post this with it’s original title. I wrote this about a month or so after we moved to Kansas, and just recently found the paper while cleaning the clutter in the kitchen. The pictures in this post are just a collection of post-haircut pictures I have yet to share with you guys.

I’ve talked about how The Bean is my little helper, and I’m both proud and amused to say that he does all of these things, a lot of the time, without being asked. OCD? Yeah, probably. What can ya do? Here they are, in no particular order…

10-things-hudbands-can-learn-from-my-1-year-old1

10. Push in your chair before you leave the dining area.

9. Fruit is an acceptable side dish for dinner after a long day. Preferable, even. Always appreciated.

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8. Put things back into the pantry when you’re done with them.

7. If anyone spills something, wipe it up immediately. Do not continue eating until the mess is gone.

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6. When the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes, put dishwasher soap in it, and turn it on.

5. Close the cabinet door after you’ve retrieved your item(s).

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4. Throw out snack wrappers when the snack is finished. Don’t leave them on the counter or tabletop.

3. When the dog dish is empty, put food in it.

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2. When you’re done eating, put your dishes into the sink.

1. The correct response to anything cooked in the oven is “Wow!” even if it is just frozen pizza.

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If husbands did the things on this list, I think wives everywhere would be a little happier. Or, you know, wives in households with reversed gender roles. Or lazy roommates. Actually, these are things everyone should do, aren’t they? THINGS EVERYONE CAN LEARN FROM MY ONE YEAR OLD. (WHO IS GOING TO BE TWO TOMORROW, OMG!)

Jul 18

5 Things I Learned in Marriage Counseling

After my daughter had been in the hospital the first time and then the second time, I decided that it was time for my husband and I to see a marriage counselor. We weren’t on the brink of divorce and our marriage wasn’t “in trouble.” It’s just that we were having a hard time dealing with the all the stress that had happened in a few month’s time.

My son has special needs, then my daughter was born and it was one thing after another. I finally realized that we needed a little help or we were going to go insane dealing with all this by ourselves. We haven’t been back in a few weeks due to going out of state to get help with my daughter’s health issues, but we hope to get back into it soon as it has been such a huge help and encouragement to both of us.

We have learned so much in so little time in marriage counseling, so I thought I would share a few concepts that have really helped us and that maybe in sharing them, they will help you too!

Marriage Counseling

What I Learned in Marriage Counseling:

1. It’s Not About the Nail
Just watch the video. It will all make sense after you watch the video:

Did you watch it? Yup. It’s not about the nail…

2. Guys Need to Know When You Want Them to Fix it vs. When You Need to Vent
Yes, guys like to try to fix our problems, but what I have learned is we’ve got to help them out. Sometimes there are times I really want my husband to fix the problem, other times I just really need someone to vent to. Sometimes I need a little of both.

Now, instead of instead of letting my husband guess at what I am wanting or making him figure it out for himself, I tell him ahead of time, “I need to vent” or “I need you to fix this.” Sometimes if I get ahead of myself he will ask me: “Is this something I need to fix or are you needing to vent?” I love this method because it helps us communicate and helps us understand each other better.

3. One word: Expectations
It’s amazing how one little word can change everything. Our counselor introduced the idea of telling each other our expectations as a way to communicate. My husband and I are the type of people to assume. I assume he wants to watch tv because neither of us move to go to bed. He assumes the same since I don’t move either, but in our heads both of us really wanted to go to bed early.

Another example is this: My husband comes home from a long day at work, and all he wants is a few minutes to himself. A break. A nap. Something to help him unwind. My husband comes home from a long day at work, and for me, I see FREEDOM. Five minutes to myself, a shower, a snack, another adult to talk to… whatever.

The problem is we both expect different things. Both of us can’t get a break at the same time. We have kids to watch. Both of us are tired, both of us need a break, so we work on expectations. Some days, my husband will need a nap, other days I am going to really need a break. We have to work together, but we need to let each other know our expectations before he comes home.

Does he have a really bad headache? His expectations would be that when he comes home he needs a nap. And because he tells me his expectations I am understanding and willing. Did I have a really bad or draining day? Then I text him an hour or two before he comes home, “Honey, I just really need a break today.” Expectations. He knows that when he gets home it’s his turn to take the kids.

This has worked in so many areas of our lives and family. We will actually come up to each other occasionally and say, “Okay expectations…” and then give a list of some expectations we had for the day. When we began to understand each other’s expectations, we work together better and so many little things come together easier.

4. We are Different. And That’s Okay
My husband can be very OCD about things. He has a certain way he puts the groceries on the conveyor belt, a certain way the dishwasher must be loaded, and a place he always puts his keys. Me? It doesn’t matter what order I put the groceries on, I just get them on the belt. The dishes will get clean no matter how I put them in, and keys? Yeah sometimes they are in my purse and sometimes they are wherever I left them last.

We are different and sometimes those differences cause tension between us. But we are learning that differences aren’t bad. Just because I don’t do things the way my husband does, doesn’t mean it’s wrong and vice-versa. We have had to learn to let the differences go. We are two different people and that’s a good thing!

5. Men’s Minds Work in boxes, Woman Think Like Spaghetti
I don’t think I will ever forget it. We are sitting in marriage counseling talking, and my husband gets up and draws on the whiteboard next to us. He draws a bunch of boxes. Then on the other side he draws a bunch of squiggly lines that are all in a mess – he called them spaghetti.

The he explained how his mind worked within the bunches of boxes. First he would work at a problem within the first box. Then once that was solved, he would move on to the next box and the next box, until he finally solve the entire problem.

He said the way my mind worked was like spaghetti. I had all these thoughts going on and I was trying to think about them and fix them all at the same time. Each strand of “spaghetti”  was just a piece of the problem.

The point of this was to show how differently our minds work and how we attacked a problem when one came up. It’s definitely helped me stop and think sometimes and remember that his mind works differently than mine and and while that’s not a bad thing, I need to give him time and patience to work within his “boxes” and not overwhelm him.

Men and women are so different and it’s amazing how we can come together in marriage and learn all these things about each other and learn how to work together as a team. I know that marriage counseling has changed our marriage, and I am glad I didn’t give up on trying to go.

What about YOU? Have you have been to marriage counseling? What are some things you have learned about your marriage?

 

The post 5 Things I Learned in Marriage Counseling appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Jul 18

The First Day



  Ask any Army wife- The first day of deployment is the hardest. Your heart is so heavy and the thought of him being away for one year feels like eternity! 'You'd give all of your tomorrows for one single yesterday'(name that tune). Time seems to slip through your fingers until he's gone and all of a sudden the clock seems to tick a little slower...... Is it time to put on my jammies yet? Is it wine-30?

  Day one is done- Alleluia! My three favorite girls in the neighborhood all called and checked up on me before 9 AM. I'm not alone- I'm very loved and very grateful for my Army girls. You cannot survive this life without your girlfriends- Ask anyone who is still married;)

We Can Do This! We Will Survive!

Jul 17

Conquer Allergies With Young Living Oils!!!!

Allergy Pills Graphic

Do you suffer from Seasonal Allergies? Do you suffer from allergies to animals, dust, or any of the other countless triggers that set off fits of sneezing, watery eyes, and runny noses?

My husband has horrible allergies, especially where cats are involved! One evening, not long after I became a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils, we were invited to dinner at the house of a church member. They had cats and within minutes Clay’s allergies were out of control! His eyes were swelling, he was having trouble breathing, his nose was bothering him and his sneezing was out of control – basically all those typical allergic reactions we all know and love. Prior to Essential Oils, Clay would take over-the-counter allergy medicine then usually sleep until his allergic reactions were done. This would usually take at least 2 days, if not more.  He was miserable until he finally got over the allergic reactions his body was subjecting him to.  He went as far as trying to get a prescription allergy medicine, but his prescription was for the basic over-the-counter drug.  His doctor’s remedy was for him to stay away from what was setting his allergies in motion (keep in mind these are Army doctors).  He would continue to suffer from these allergies until I started making my own allergy pills with Young Living Essential Oils.

Here is how I do mine:

Allergy post-1

I take Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon. You can add the drops to the strength that you would like. I make Clay’s STRONG to nip it in the bud.  Usually he will clear up within 20 minutes of taking one of my oil pills!

For my husband I add 6 drops of lavender, 7 drops of peppermint, and 5 drops of lemon.  I use a pill capsule to put the oils in.

This time I am sending the pills to my husband overseas so he can have them there to use.  It makes me feel good to know that when my husband needs allergy relief that he is using something 100% pure! It also makes me feel good that during this time of him being away with the Army, even though I cannot be there physically to care of him, I am still taking care of him by sending him the oil pills.

Allergy Post-2

Have you tried Young Living Oils? I love their “purity” statement. They care about the oils so much they take great care to ensure they are 100% pure from the seed to the bottle!

Right now is a fantastic time to sign up for Young Living as a distributor. As a distributor, you can order your oils at my cost!!! If you sign up for the premium kit under my member number, I have some specials JUST for you!!! So go on out to my Young Living site and check it out! Let me know if you have any questions! My member number is #1726375

In Christ,

Laura

The post Conquer Allergies With Young Living Oils!!!! appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 17

What We’re Currently up To: Week 39

The past week, we’ve been…

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Saving shredded zucchini in the freezer. I’ve picked two from my garden so far, but most of them are left over from the collection I acquired while watching my neighbor’s garden. I see lots of zucchini pizza casserole and zucchini bread in our futures. I’m also eager to try a zucchini fritter recipe tonight!

Closing all of the jars of pickles I made because they’re gross. Like, so gross. They’re super garlicky and the only person who will eat them is The Bean, who has decided he suddenly likes pickles in general, and even then, he can only eat half of one pickle. Stupid Pinterest, you have failed me!!! Half the garlic next time. And don’t make four jars in case it’s still awful. I now have one jar sitting in water to see if that makes any difference. Blech.

We are also closing in on the end of summer, which I’m ok with. The Munchkin found his backpack yesterday, and has been talking about riding the bus and going to school ever since. He doesn’t want to “play” with his ABA tutors, he wants to go to school! He does play with them, of course, but he was quite the grump this morning. This is his second week of doing 35 hours of ABA a week, and it’s been rough for him. He still sucks at going to bed on time though…SIGH.

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Loving how the boys play together. They still play “animals” a lot, but the new game that The Munchkin made up is “Presents!” where they wrap themselves in a yoga mat or this sleep mat thing that is John’s army gear stash, and then wait for someone to open them up. Sometimes The Munchkin will yell “SURPRISE!” but usually he just laughs as we exclaim “Oh, wow! I got a Munchkin/Bean! I love Munchkins/Beans!” Sometimes, they present us with a “present” and it’s one of the baby Gabbas in this big mess of mat, ha.

Despising bugs, as I do every summer. I look like I have some kind of disease because my whole torso is bitten up. Jerks keep biting me THROUGH MY CLOTHES, and all the bug spray in the world doesn’t seem to help at all.

I put a pause on expanding my garden because I had two ticks ON MY HEAD, and that’s enough to make anyone go “Hmmm, maybe this isn’t worth it?” for a while. I think I might be over it for now, but I swear I had bug PTSD for a while.

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Throwing a birthday celebration of sorts for myself. My birthday was Tuesday. I don’t mean a party-celebration or anything like that, but John and the boys took me out for dinner, and then we got ice cream cake afterwards. It was a nice way to end what was an otherwise annoying day. Nothing major, but just little thing after little thing that shouldn’t have happened because it was MY BIRTHDAY! You know?

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Pictures: The boys secretly getting themselves into the van | Munchkin in my bed | Surprised Toodee
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Jul 17

Feeling a lot better now.

Jul 16

Persecuted: I will NOT be silent. {Review and Giveaway!}

Persecuted

Recently I was contacted by Flyby Promotions asking if I would review “Persecuted: I Will Not Be Silent.”  I have never read a “political thriller,” which intrigued me, but I was also looking for something fresh and new to read as well.

Here is what Amazon has to say about Persecuted:

“The framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.” –Reverend Billy GrahamThe Question Is Not If Attempts Will Be Made to Limit Religious Freedoms, But When.And When That Day Comes, Will You Stay Silent?A storm is coming.

The most popular evangelist of his day, John Luther, simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family. He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther’s endorsement as critical.But when Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands. His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option–putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation’s freedoms.

About the Author

Robin Parrish has written for over a decade as a journalist on the cutting edge of Christian culture, from books and music to film. He is the author of the Dominion Trilogy, Nightmare, Offworld, and Vigilante.Robin, his wife, and their children live in High Point, North Carolina.

Daniel Lusko
 attended film school at the New York Film Academy and directed the documentaries Inside the Revolution and Epicenter based on Joel Rosenberg’s New York Times bestsellers. Over the past two years Daniel has directed his first action/adventure feature film entitled 500 MPH Storm and a gritty crime drama, 11 Seconds. He is writer and director of Persecuted, produced with Gray Frederickson (The Godfather and Apocalypse Now). Daniel and his family live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
My thoughts:
When I flipped open the book I was immediately drawn to this quote in the forward:
”In America, we have become insulated in our lives to the point few people, if any, seem to understand what it means to take up their cross and follow Christ….This is not the case in much of the world today, as elsewhere persecution is something that is understood as part of the package in accepting salvation. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”…This is a wake-up call. Many of our freedoms granted to us by God will surely be ripped away unless we make a stand. This story is just the beginning.” — Daniel Lusko, writer and director of Persecuted.
One of the reasons that I decided to review this book are the parallels between John Luther and the direction this country is currently traveling.  I did not expect this novel to be so intense.  Although I rarely read suspense, I was engaged in this novel from the first page and could not put it down.  I was moved by the characteristics John Luther’s character exhibited – integrity, personal courage, honesty, and loyalty, just to name a few.  His character flamed with an intense fire to fight for what is right and true, regardless of the circumstances surrounding him.
“Freedom is fragile and costly,” John said with conviction. “It must be constantly protected and defended by work, by faith…. and even by blood.
This book is a must read, especially considering the the circumstances that surround many Christians today.  I plan to send my copy to my husband overseas. I hope he reads it and writes in his own thoughts later.  I give this book a 5/5 especially with it’s relevance to today’s time.
Now here is your chance! There is a movie coming out SOON!!! So you know what we homeschool moms say right? Read the book before you watch the movie. Well, you can order one off the links above at amazon AND I am giving away ONE free copy of the book! So enter the giveaway below!
In Christ,
Laura
*** I received this book from FlyBy Promotions for an honest and fair review***

The post Persecuted: I will NOT be silent. {Review and Giveaway!} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Jul 16

Favorite Instagram Posts: June

Geez, we’re half way through the month and I haven’t posted these yet!
Here are my favorite instagram photos from the month of June:

new-instagram-collage-june.

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine
(One & three are videos!)

In June, The Munchkin turned 4, completed his collection of Yo Gabba Gabba cuddle pillows, and both started and completed his extended school year program. The Bean got a train table as an early birthday present, tried on different styles of clothes (ha) and watched the cows. My parents came to visit, and I worked in my garden a lot. John hung out with us while on medical leave. Surprisingly though, I didn’t post many pictures of him last month. Blame it on me being used to taking pictures of the boys…or the fact that John was on the computer a lot, and that doesn’t make for too many interesting photos! I didn’t post any of my parents for that matter, either. Lame!

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Jul 16

Hope for Hunter

I sat there in awe watching a 9 year old boy who has Autism ride into the arena. Until that moment I thought he was just a rider, there learning the basics of riding a horse. As the owner and I spoke the two children on horses rode about the big arena and I made contact back and forth with her as I watched in awe as this young boy on a horse that had to be close to 17 hands tall rode with such confidence and ease. Once he was out of earshot she told me before starting at her facility he was in a contained classroom and unable to interact with peers, lacked in social skills along with self help skills. He is Autistic and when we were watching him I would have never assumed at all. I can spot a child more often than not a mile away but this time he was not on my radar. How? He was following directions, riding a giant horse unattended, making eye contact, and the real mind blowing part... When asked to tie up the horse where he was placed prior to the start of class he did, he even was then quickly untacking his horse after dismounting the horse all on his own.
Three years ago I was told this was not even in the forefront of their minds. That it was all they could do to get through the session and get him to ride. I looked down at H and started thinking this could be him. I just smiled. I felt comfort and peace suddenly. My child one day will ride unassisted and be completely self sufficient as this young boy has. The goal of the program.... complete independence. I love it. I want H to find his way through this life. To not need us as much as we might think he really does.
Chris and I had a fleeting conversation recently, we discussed the kids leaving the house and going off on their own. We snapshotted each child's departure and how we would anticipate how it would go. When we got to H we paused. We simply said he would stay with us a bit longer than his siblings. It makes you a bit sad but I feel one day he could live without us, maybe with a roommate or in a group setting. Heck he might just surprise us get married and do just fine.
I went back to watching this young boy moving about taking the tack off and not showing any signs of frustration when he was struggling. In fact the look he gave one of the volunteers was so quick and so calm I almost didn't catch what had happened. A smile came across the boys face as he carried his equipment off. Wow! It is possible to face a struggle and NOT completely lose it and let it ruin the session, the moment. I started to feel more hope and excitement. I think this is it. This is the place we needed to be. It felt like home, it felt like family.
This whole evening my mind has been caught drifting back to the possibilities that are now in store for not only for him but for us collectively as a family. Doors could possibly open that we might have thought would be shut for him. His education could be just as his siblings when we thought special education would be the norm for us. To some it might just seem like riding a horse but after what I saw tonight it was more like riding into a future of hope and endless possibilities.

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