Oct 24

Weekly Wears: Kansas Weather is Crazy

One of the things that frustrated me the most about fall in South Carolina is that it would be fall in the morning, and summer in the afternoon. It drove me crazy because I had to get basically two outfits together for everyone, which meant more laundry for me! Well, Kansas doesn’t seem to be any different. Grrr! What was fine when walking The Munchkin to the bus in the morning…

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Was by no means appropriate by the time he got home. I mean, I went grocery shopping after lunch, and I was SWEATING. Ugh. Changing outfits was unavoidable.

Outfit Details – Morning
Tunic – Thrifted
Black shirt – Arizona (JCP)
Cardigan – Wet Seal
Scarf – Handmade by me
Leggings & Boots – Target

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I guess you could call this “Two Ways to Wear a Tunic and Leggings?” As it was, this version was pushing it with the long leggings and side ponytail. If I’d needed to be outside for any length of time, I think it would have been too warm of an outfit. UGH. In OCTOBER. No.

Also, I’m well aware that some (most?) people would consider this “tunic” a dress, but it’s waaaay too short to be worn with even tights, in my opinion, so “tunic” it is!

Outfit Details – Afternoon
Tunic & Tank – Thrifted
Necklace – Kohl’s
Leggings – Target
Sneakers – Airwalk

Oct 23

A new Blog

http://studyteachlive.wordpress.com/Filed under: Holland

Oct 23

How to Use and Make Money with Fiverr

Have you heard of Fiverr yet? It’s an amazing website where you can buy or sell services for $5.00! I had heard a lot of bloggers talking about it and recommending it for services, but I was nervous about using it when it sounded so cheap. How much quality work was I going to get for only $5.00? Once I started selling services on it I understood it better and have now bought services on there as well.

Here is a better definition of what Fiverr is all about:

“Fiverr is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, referred to as ‘gigs’ beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed, from which it gets its name. The site is primarily used by freelancers who use Fiverr to offer a variety of different services, and by customers to buy those services.” – Wikipedia

Fiverr

How to Use Fiverr:

1. Find a Gig
A gig is a service offered on Fiverr. There are many many different categories and selections offered, you could spend hours just looking at them all. Here are just a few of the categories offered:

  • Logo Design
  • Business Cards
  • E-Book Covers
  • SEO
  • Blog Mentions
  • WordPress
  • Virtual Assistance

Once you find a category, then it’s time to search for a gig! Fiverr is set up on a rating and review system. You want to find someone that has a lot of good ratings and reviews. It will show you their percentage and also what level they are. From there you can decide based on their ratings, reviews, and how many buyers they have if you want to purchase their gig.

Some gigs will have portfolios of their work that you can scroll through. This is always nice to see if their gig is what you are looking for. If you are not sure if you want to purchase someone’s gig, you can “heart” it and come back to it later. I love that you can “heart all the ones you like and use them whenever you need them.

2. Purchase a Gig
Now that you know what gig you need, it’s time to make a purchase! In some cases the seller will ask you to contact them first, but in most cases you order your gig and then the seller’s instructions are automatically forwarded to you. Once you give them what they need to complete the service, they are on a countdown to finish it within the number of days that are set on the gig.

When purchasing your gig, some people will have what is called, “Gig Extra’s.” These are extra services that you can buy along with the main gig. They are not mandatory, but ways for the seller to make a little more money, and for the buyer to get more to suit their needs.

3. Rate and Review Services
Once the seller has delivered your service, Fiverr will ask you to rate them on three different areas:

Fiverr
You may also be asked to leave a review. It doesn’t have to be paragraphs long, just a sentence or two describing why you enjoyed working with the seller and how much you enjoyed their work. The seller will then be able to rate you and how you interacted during the process.

As a current Fiverr seller, I need to tell you how important this stage is for everyone involved. Fiverr is based on ratings and reviews and without good ratings and reviews it’s hard to run a good business on Fiverr. Of course if you had a bad experience then please, rate accordingly, but please try not to be too picky with your ratings.

How to Make Money with Fiverr

1. Find Your Money-Maker
What are you good at? Do you offer services on your blog or website already? These are going to be your starting point. Big or small there is a way for everyone to make money on Fiverr. Search out Fiverr and see what other people are offering. Can you do something similar? Can you do it better? What extra’s could you offer with it? Find your thing and start from there!

2. Set up Your Account
Setting up an account with Fiverr is very easy. They will walk you through every step of the way. The only things I want to point out at this step is knowing what your description is going to be and having a gig photo to start with.

Your gig description is very important, this is what is going to help people decide between your gig and someone else’s. It can be simple, or descriptive. Also, don’t forget to add what limits you may have. For example I have this disclaimer on my gigs:

No affiliate, adult or gambling pins/repins. Each pin must be FAMILY-FRIENDLY.”

Lastly, your photo is going to be what catches a buyer’s eye first. It needs to be your own photo not someone else’s. I just used a screenshot for my gigs or used a nice picture that I paid for to catch someone’s eye. You can also make a video of yourself describing the gig instead of using a picture. This is a very popular option on Fiverr, but not necessary.

3. Get Buyers
Now that your gigs have been approved, it’s time to wait for buyers. Keep in mind that this part is slow. New gigs have a hard time getting picked up because they don’t have any ratings or reviews yet. But don’t let that discourage you! Keep sharing your gigs, checking out the tips on the Fiverr Blog and Forum and once you have that first buyer, make it your best!

4. Level Up and Continue Building your Fiverr Business
Once you start getting buyers, things can pick up fast. The better the rating, reviews, and level you have, the more popular your gig will get. Add small goals for yourself to hit. Add gig extras when you are able, to help make more money. Don’t get overwhelmed too fast, but if you do, remember these two things:

  • You can take a vacation. You mean I can go to the beach? You can, but on Fiverr you technically don’t have to go anywhere to go on vacation! You can turn the “vacation” tab on to  take a pause or break to catch up on things. Potential buyers can still see your gigs and can sign up to be notified when you return.
  • You can change the number of days it takes you to finish a gig. When I first started on Fiverr, I said I could do my main gig in 3 days. As I got more and more buyers, that was just impossible. Now, my days are moved up to 8. This gives me enough time to work with everyone, and continue my blog and taking care of my family.

My Fiverr Business

Fiverr

I have been on Fiverr as a seller for a total of 8 months now. It took about 2-4 weeks for me to really get started and I’ve changed a few things and learned a lot along the way. Currently, I am making approximately $200. a month from Fiverr alone. It’s definitely been a life changer for me.

Right now, I only offer Pinterest-related gigs because Pinterest is a strong point for me. However, in the future I may branch out and do more. I have had a lot of buyers ask for different things because they like working with me and sometimes you just have to give the people what they want!

Please let me know if you have any questions about Fiverr. I would love to help you out! Meanwhile check out my profile and gigs on Fiverr and have a free gig on me!


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Oct 23

Why its important to talk about tragedies with the young

There are always going to be things that happen in this world that are beyond our control. Whether it be due to a natural disaster or a man made terror. We as adults are custom to trying to deal with what life throws at us. Our children are the ones that often times get forgotten in the chaotic aftermath of tragedy.

By now most of the world's children have either suffered  or have learned about the horrible stuff that goes on in the adult world. You don't have to be a child psychologist, to know that children understand the world differently. Their understanding of events that shape their lives, is a different reality to how we adults understand a situation. And that is the reason why it is important to talk about tragedies.

What I am not suggesting is an explanation that full of the nitty-gritty or the very serious nature of a situation. But talking to your child about how a certain situation made them feel. Most times, for a child, its fear. They will see the full range of emotions that most of us have, when something tragic happens, but to full comprehend those emotions, they just can't. They are going to hear about things that happen in the world, as we have entered into an age where information is passed so quickly and openly, that is its hard to tune stuff out. So you can't shelter them off from the world.

So what do we do to help our young ones understand tragedy?With so much going on in the world, its very easy to get confused.

There are so many things from Mr. Rodgers to Sesame Street that have excellent starting points on how to start a conversation. But you need to find a dialog that is appropriate for you, as well as your child. You know just how much your child can understand about things. Trying to find the right wording or basis can be hard. Its hard to talk about difficult things. Especially things that deal with death or a disruption of their daily life. Maintain that open dialog. Address those fear that they have. Make sure they know who to trust and who not to.

Children are ultimately going to learn about the world, whether we like it or not. But it is our job to make sure they understand that things aren't going to be rainbows and puppies. We, as parents need to be prepared to talk to our children about things, so they have a better understanding of this world. That they know if something bad does happen, certain feelings are ok.

For me, I have had to have the open dialog with my children, as their father is military. I don't get into the specifics of why their father has to go away. But they do know that there are people who live on this planet that aren't nice and that they do bad things. They understand who they can go to if something bad happens.

With the world being the way it is, it is important that our children know that fear is only natural. Its ok to be uncertain. But that they know they have trusted people they can talk to about their feelings.

The world is shaping up to be a scary place and our children need to be prepared for that reality.




Oct 23

What We’re Currently up To: Week 46

This past week, we’ve been…

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This is going to sound weird, but… The Munchkin has been anticipating his poops. Yup, I’m opening with poop. He will camp out on the toilet forever if he feels one coming on, haha. I had a parent/teacher conference on Monday, and he apparently does that at school too. They’ll be like “Are you done yet?” and he’ll reply “No! I gotta poopy still!” Hahahaha. Still, this is fantastic progress with his potty training.

The Bean spent some time contributing a coloring page to my latest mini care package for John. The Bean has gotten into tracing things, which is cool. Right now, they’re just broad, sloppy lines, but he traced his name on the coloring sheet and it really wasn’t half bad. I was impressed! Smarty.

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On Tuesday, I went to a seminar that was discussing positive parenting. Overall, it was kind of stuff I already knew/thought, but it was nice to have my opinions reaffirmed, and I picked up a couple of techniques to try. I’m going to blog in more detail about it next week.

The Munchkin has NOT been listening very well lately, but he hasn’t been as bad as he was the week before last. I think what helped is that I have reintroduced technology into his life. In small doses. I’ll usually let him use the Kindle or my laptop during The Bean’s nap. I think though, that I have to cap it at an hour and a half, otherwise he’ll start zoning out once he’s done playing. The only exception to this is Sundays. Last weekend was fantastic, so I think I’m going to format my weekends in a similar fashion, so we do ALL THE THINGS on Saturday, and NONE OF THE THINGS on Sunday. Sundays will be for sleeping in, eating a big breakfast, using the computer from 11:30-3:30, and then playing and hanging out. Nice, casual, easy. A total recovery day.

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Right now I’m deciding if it’s worth it to try and make The Bean Super Why pajamas for Halloween. Yeah, I’ve got the Why Flyer all done, but he and The Munchkin were Minions last weekend, and they both had fun with that. It makes me want to just keep that going and save the Super Why stuff for another time. I’m also feeling really lazy this week, but I already bought the fabric, so it’s lazy vs frugal. I suppose fabric doesn’t go bad…

What have you guys been up to?

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Pictures: From The Munchkin’s class field trip to Munson Angus Farms: Fall! | TM & a horse | Family shot
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Oct 22

Family Toolbox- A Program for Parents and Teens!!!

Family Toolbox

In order to correct a behavior, we have to find the root of the cause.  Do you want to reach your child’s heart and not just punish for bad behavior? If so read on…..

I was asked to become a member of the blogger team for Family Tool Box – a resource brought to us by the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

As a parent of three precious boys, my days are long and my job is rarely easy. In fact, the task can be daunting. Unfortunately, as my precious gifts entered the world, I was not given a handbook, or in this case a tool box, with instructions or recommendations needed to raise them. How much easier would it have been to follow simple instructions? Instructions like you have when assembling furniture or putting together toys?

We are taught at a young age to react. Depending on our environment (i.e. friends, parents, teachers, etc), we learn to react in either a negative or positive manner. We often apply what we learned when we become parents. We want to jump in and react to our children’s behavior and set up swift consequences because that’s how our parents often times dealt with our behaviors. However, are we reaching our child’s heart and reacting to the cause of the behavior, or are we just reacting to the behavior itself?

Family TOolbox-2

When Samuel was preparing to anoint a new king in 1 Samuel 16, he thought he could identify who that person would be. It was customary at the time for the oldest of the male children to be anointed king. However, God had a different standard for evaluating people. As Samuel stood pondering the various candidates for the job, God shared a different way of evaluating a person than Samuel was used to. God said, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  Out of all the boys in the family, God chose the youngest of the boys, David, who would eventually be called a “man after God’s own heart.”  (Taken from the Family Toolbox workbook page 6).

As you can see in lesson one of this workbook, it begins with the heart. For example, your child fails a test in school. Do you immediately punish the child or do you inquire why he failed the test? The heart of the problem could be in his realm of control (i.e. not prepared), or the heart of the problem could be behind his realm of control (i.e. learning disability). The reasons are endless, but the point is we must get to the root of the problem. Now, having said that, I’m not saying that at some point we should not remove privileges or take action.

This program is set up to help guide parents on how to get to the heart. I know it is difficult and often pain-staking. My long-term readers know that I have a child diagnosed with Aspergers. He is VERY high functioning; however, because he is SO high functioning, he continues to struggle with things that should be easy. We often have an exhausting time with finding a behavior modification that works with him. I’ve cried out to the Lord many times, “How do I reach his heart?!”

Family Toolbox-3

If your situation is similar to mine or if you have a child that is not diagnosed but has behavior issues, per se, then you’re in luck! This series will help with that.  It is broken down into the following sections:

Lesson 1: It Starts with the Heart. Being respectful even when it’s hard and how to develop internal motivation.

Lesson2: Follows Instructions Well.  Helps to develop healthy habits for following instructions. Looks for ways to teach a child to contribute to family life.

Lesson 3: Handle Pressure Without Losing Your Cool. Solve problems instead of generating conflict. Instead of sarcasm, develop the skills of a peacemaker.

Lesson 4: The Value of Correction.  Learn to value correction and to apologize well.

Lesson 5: The Importance of Responsibility.  Develop a plan for being responsible and take responsibility for your mistakes.

Lesson 6: Accept NO as an Answer.  Train Yourself to Accept No as an Answer. Avoid Arguing.

Lesson 7: Deal with your OWN Anger. View your family as a team and look for ways to work together. Learn Self-Control in order to manage your anger.

Lesson 8: Consider the Needs of Others. Practice flexibility when your plans change. Learn to handle unfairness well.

There are many tips I gained from this program. Previously, I blogged HERE about the Total Transformation program. The Family Tool Box is quite different as this program is more heart-based and weaves Scripture throughout the lessons. I love having the Word of God to pull from and help guide me in training up my children. This is an excellent starting point for families.

I did, however, struggle with a few things in this program. The lessons and tips were very good, but there didn’t seem to be a conclusion to the lessons. The lessons ended before I knew how to apply them to everyday life, or in this case, my situation. I needed to see a bit more the application process especially in learning how to apply the lessons to my oldest, who is also our most challenging child to raise. However, my specific situation may not be as unique as yours. I do believe this is an excellent program and very good starting guide for parents. This might be the perfect program for you. I give it a 4/5.

Follow them on social media:

NCBP: http://www.biblicalparenting.org/

The Family Toolbox: http://www.biblicalparenting.org/familytoolboxparentteenorder.asp

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Center-for-Biblical-Parenting/116883041645

Twitter: https://twitter.com/biblicalparent

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/National-Center-Biblical-Parenting-3874044?mostPopular=&gid=3874044

In Christ,

Laura

The post Family Toolbox- A Program for Parents and Teens!!! appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 22

TRICARE, DoD Officials Hold Roundtable With Stakeholders On ABA Policy

Over the last month, military families and service providers went ...

Oct 22

Seasonal Skirt Hop: My Top 10 Reasons to Dress Modestly

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10.  Modesty can reflect who we are as a person. I know we are not to judge a book by its cover, but our external appearance is the first thing people see.  If our skirt is conforming to our bodies or is revealing, what is the first thing people think of?  I posted HERE about how modesty began in the heart. When modesty starts in the heart, it naturally will overflow to how she dresses.

9. Protect your brother in Christ.  While each are responsible for his own sin, men are visual. Dressing modestly can help protect them. Honestly, I am a sister and I feel sorry for my brothers in Christ when a woman is nearby wearing next to nothing. A Godly man is no different. Of course he his trying to divert his eyes, but men are a product of their environment – meaning they are still human and will be tempted by fleshly desires when those desires are showcased. It is difficult on men ladies! We should care more!

8.  Dressing Modest can protect you.  Not in the way you’re thinking, although I do hold some belief that dressing modest can only help in that area. However, when dressing modestly it shows the world that you take purity serious. It shows that you went to great lengths to present yourself in a modest way. It also shows that you take sexual purity serious as well.  If you are single and waiting on God to send your “one and only,” dressing modestly will attract the right kind of guy. If you’re looking for a nice man who respects you, dress for the occasion.

7. It sets a good example to others.  Did you know that wherever you go and whatever you do, you are setting an example? Teens, young ladies, and young Christians need an example set for them on dressing modestly. I believe this should be part of our calling as Christian ladies to take a serious approach in setting an example of modesty. With the status of the world today and so many secular views concerning revealing clothing, setting a good example is even more important. It is important to take heed in dressing modestly. Young, impressionable girls watch videos of women wearing hardly nothing and grow accustomed to the popularity of the clothing.  When a young girl dresses in the same manner they see the popular secular artists dressing, one thing leads to another. That girl will receive the attention from boys and men alike, often unwanted attention.  Sound extreme? I beg to differ. Look at the shift in the world today and how women dress even in Christian circles. It is quite amazing, but not in a good way.

6.  Modesty is not about dressing as unattractive as one thinks.  As you can tell by my blog posts, you don’t have to dress in bags or or cover your body with window curtains to dress modestly. It is actually quite easy to dress modern, beautiful, attractive, and yet make it modest. It may take a while to find your style, but it gets easier! One reason I began this blog was to help other ladies in this area.

5. Mary Dressed Modestly.  Mary, mother of Jesus, in my opinion was the epitome of modesty. Why wouldn’t we want to be more like her?

4. It is NOT about your body.  I want to address two points here. First, dressing modest doesn’t mean you’re ashamed of your body. One reason a woman dresses modestly is because of self-respect.  Second, dressing modest takes the focus off “dressing sexy,” “looking hot,” and many of the other reasons for wearing revealing clothing. Instead, dressing modestly shifts the focus to glorifying our Lord and Savior.

3. Modesty is about WHO you worship.  In 1 Timothy 2: 8-10, Paul addresses the church on preparing for worship. The scripture speaks about ladies dressing modestly. This is an act of worship. However, modesty doesn’t apply to only church. WE ARE the church.  We are to be prepared to worship our Lord and Savior all the time. The scripture alludes to the importance of adorning ourselves in modest apparel at all time. Which brings me to the “come as you are” topic.  When we take a close look at scripture, “come as you are” means to come with all your baggage, all your sins and all your transgressions to lay them at the feet of Christ. It doesn’t mean to roll out of bed and come as you are.  Nor does it mean to dress in the clothes typically found in a Friday night club. A person’s choice of clothing is often an indicator of their heart. What do YOUR clothes say?

2. Women deserve to be respected.  Ask your husband, family member or another male friend about the respect shown toward a woman wearing revealing clothing. Most men will not give women the respect they deserve because of the skimpy clothing they wear. It’s a fact. A man, by nature, will focus instead on the woman’s body and some men even go as far as fantasizing. It’s a fact. On the flip side, how much respect do you give the scantily dressed woman who is speaking to your husband? It’s not about casting judgement upon any individual. As wives, we want our husband’s eyes and focus to be cast upon us and only us.

1. It is a virtue. A virtuous woman who can find? Having modesty as a virtue glorifies the Lord!

So now I want to share with you some of the outfits I have been wearing!!!

OUTFIT 1

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This outfit gives a good transition to fall!

Hat: Fred Myer

Undershirt:HalfTee.com

Pink T-shirt: Christopher & Banks a few years ago

Plaid Button Down: Christopher & Banks

Sweater in bottom picture: Target

Shirt: Christopher & Banks

Shoes: You cannot see them but they are Coach Brand

OUTFIT 2

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HeadBand: Lilla Rose

Tank: Christopher & Banks

Sweater: Christopher & Banks

Skirt: Christopher & Bans

Boots: Ann Klein from the exchange

OUTFIT 3

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Sweater: This sweater is so nice! It has a modesty camisole built in! Bought at Christopher & Banks

Skirt: Christopher & Banks

Shoes: Coach Brand..love them!

OUTFIT 4

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Fall-SS-04-03

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I am wearing the same skirt in this outfit as outfit 1. I wanted to show you the same as in my other Seasonal Skirt posts, you do not have to have tons of clothes to make a wardrobe. This skirt is very versatile. :)

Headband: Lilla Rose

Turquoise tank: Christopher & Banks

Brown and Turquoise 3/4 length shirt: Christopher & Banks

Boots: Ann Klein

You can check out my other Seasonal Skirt posts HERE and HERE.

Also, go visit the other ladies who are part of this wonderful series! Here are their blogs:

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

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 Seasonal Skirt Hop: My Top 10 Reasons to Dress Modestly appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 21

Visit Your Local Family Christian Bookstore!! {Coupon Included!}

FCC-Barboursville WV

I love going to family Christian Bookstores!!! Ever since the mall went in at Barboursville, WV-my hometown I have spent countless hours in our local store! Most of you all know from the amount of books I review that I love to read. Well before my blogger days I got a significant amount of my books from our Family Christian Bookstore! You can find a wide array of products there that will meet your needs!

Did you know that Christmas is only 64 days away? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Family Christian Bookstore is a fantastic place check items off your Christmas list!

Did you know they had:

  • Bibles
  • Books-Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • Cards
  • Bible Study Material
  • Church Materials
  • Music
  • Sheet Music
  • CD’s
  • DVDs
  • Toys
  • Kids items
  • Kids Books
  • Kids Bibles
  • Clothing for adults and Children
  • Art work
  • Home Decor
  • Seasonal Items
  • Other Gift items
  • Gift Cards
  • and MUCH MUCH more!

The Family Christian Bookstore ALL over including my store in Barboursville, WV has special days throughout the year. On the 31st of October, 2014 they will have a Veggie Tale Day for the kids!!! You can come and participate in the fun activities. If you want to, you are also welcome to come dressed as your favorite VeggieTales Character!

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On this day customers are encouraged to bring in their child(ren) dressed like Veggies!  Each child that is dressed like a veggie is encouraged to take their photo and share it onto Twitter/Instagram.  For inspiration on how to Dress like the VeggieTales check out this Pinterest board. http://www.pinterest.com/familychristian/dress-like-the-veggietales/.

Come look for me, I will be there! Here are some guidelines for the VeggieTale Day:

This is a contest!  To enter, the participants must have 1 child dressed up like a veggie (it does not HAVE to be a VeggieTales veggie…just a veggie).  Their parents must upload and share one photo of the child(ren) in their local store dressed like a veggie.  They must tag @Familychristian in their post and use the hashtag #FCVeggies

The grand prize winner will receive a $250 gift card for Family Christian.  Five runner ups will each receive a $50 appreciation certificate.

I have a very special offer for you! There is a gift certificate that Family Christian is offering to my readers!!! You can take it in to your local Family Christian Bookstore and redeem it!!!!

Click HERE for your coupon!!!!

In Christ,

Laura

The post Visit Your Local Family Christian Bookstore!! {Coupon Included!} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 21

Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Vaccines, Mercury and Autism

Oct 20

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me {Movie Review and 5 SONG EP giveaway!!!}

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Glen Campbell is a country music artist, songwriter and actor. He is best known for his country music song “Rhinestone Cowboy” and his starring role in the 1969 film “True Grit.”  He is also known for something else – redemption.

Glen Campbell battled substance abuse throughout the majority of his career. His addictions affected his career and his personal life. His choices became the center of many tabloid gossip magazines. However, in the 1980s, Campbell left Los Angeles, successfully overcame his drug habit, and became a born-again Christian! Praise God for his redemption and his abundant grace and mercy!

In 2011 Glenn Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His announcement struck a personal chord in my life. My grandmother lived with this disease during the last few years of her life. This horrible disease robs the mind of memories. I cannot explain the devastation I felt as I watched my grandmother live with Alzheimer’s. It was as if she left us mentally before her body failed her, if that makes sense. I watched my Grandmother transition from a loving grandparent and pillar of the community and church to a lady who viewed me as a stranger. It was gut-wrenching. She would walk a few houses down the road where my other grandmother lived, but wouldn’t know how to return home. I could step out on my porch and see her standing in my other grandmother’s yard. She bought me toys when I was a child and when I was a teen she was playing with the toys. By the time I was 20 years old, my grandmother’s mental status was like that of a baby. At this point in the disease, she could only eat baby food. When Glen Campbell announced his disease to the world, all these memories of my grandmother came rushing back to me.

After Glen Campbell was diagnosed, he decided to record one more song before the disease robbed him of his mind. The song was difficult for me to listen to because of what I witnessed with my grandmother. The song is reminiscent of my grandmother’s latter life. Here is a clip to the song:

I’ll Be Me - the movie is about Glen Campbell’s life’s work – is an amazing movie guaranteed to inspire and bring tears. The movie begins with Glen watching a video clip of a younger him and shows his oldest daughter and her mother the clip. However, he had no idea who these people were. He also did not recognize himself on the footage to include the clip from the Johnny Carson show. I shed many tears watching this movie. It is a painful reminder of how incredibly sad this disease is.

As the movie continues, many musicians and actors make special appearances, including Brad Paisley and Cheryl Crow. All these stars speak about this legend’s life, the legacy and impact of his music, and how he paved the way for the stars of today. The film features those who know and love Glen, including Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, The Edge, Paul McCartney, Jay Leno, Vince Gill, Jimmy Webb, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and Taylor Swift among many others. Rare vintage footage and extraordinary new performances of Glen’s most beloved hits immerse this moving cinematic account in the overwhelming talent of this humble family man. With joy and a tireless sense of humor, Glen and his family live each moment in the present while preparing for the future, all while playing their music to sold out venues on a star spangled voyage spanning the country from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. I highly recommend this move for all to watch. If you have a loved one who has suffered from Alzheimer’s, you will want to watch this with tissues. Glen Campbell has left his mark and legacy in the world and it saddens me to know how the rest of his life will be lived.

I give the movie a 5/5!

You can get Glen’s latest two CD’s at the following links:

You can also enter the giveaway for my subscribers by clicking below! If you’re not a subscriber then just got to the top of the blog, enter your email, check your inbox and confirm! It is quick and easy! This way you never miss a single post!

In Christ,
Laura

***Thank you to Propeller Consulting for allowing me to review this film! I was given the chance in exchange for an honest and fair review. ***

The post Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me {Movie Review and 5 SONG EP giveaway!!!} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 20

Overcoming the 9 Most Overlooked Marriage Threats

I recently came across an article on Huffington Post about the 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage. As I read it, I realized that a lot of these can be avoided or overcome in just a few small ways.

You don’t always have to look at your marriage as something that can or will be “threatened,” but you can be more aware of how to take care of your marriage and help it grow. Here is my response to Kelly Flanagan’s article and my thoughts on how to overcome these threats to your marriage.

Marriage Threats

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How to Overcome These 9 Marriage Threats:

1. Enjoy the Change
In Flanagan’s article, he says, “We marry people because we like who they are.” I think as people we do marry the person we see in front of us. We love them for who they are and also who they want to be.

But the thing we should remember going into marriage is that yes, people do change. Life changes. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. I don’t see this as a threat because all people change and grow and the best part of marriage is learning and growing together. Look forward to the change and enjoy it together!

2. Go to God When You are Lonely
The second point that Flanagan brought up is that, “Marriage doesn’t take away our loneliness.” I would have to say that he is absolutely right! Yes, sometimes we marry so we don’t have to be alone, but we can’t place our everything on our spouse. We have to learn to go to God. He is the only one who can replace our loneliness with contentment. If we count on our spouse for all of that, we will always be disappointed.

3. Only God Can Take Away Our Shame
Flanagan says, “Shame baggage. Yes, we all carry it it. We spend most of our adolescence and early adulthood trying to pretend our shame doesn’t exist so, when the person we love triggers it in us, we blame them for creating it. And then we demand they fix it.”

It’s true, a lot of us may carry shame and baggages into our marriage, but we can’t expect our spouse to carry it for us or to fix it. We must allow God to heal us and take our shame and in sin away

He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:19

4. Put Your Spouse First
For number four, Flanagan says that, “Ego wins.” This is true because of our sin nature. We are born selfish people and we have to learn and practice Christ’s example in showing love and putting others before ourselves. Marriage is all about the other person. We must learn to put away our ego and put our spouse first.


Marriage is all about the other person. We must learn to put away our ego and put our spouse first.
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5. God Controls the “Mess”
When Flanagan says, “Life is messy and marriage is life” he is definitely telling the truth! But what we see as a mess, God sees as our beautiful lives. He is in control and He knows what is happening. I have learned to stop blaming my spouse for the “mess” in our lives and start looking to God for help to get through the “mess” so that together my husband and I can grow.

6. Jesus is the Epitome Empathy
Flanagan says, Empathy is hard.” And he is right. In marriage we want our spouse to empathize with us and understand us, but as two different people, sometimes that just does not happen. Jesus is our perfect example, He always understands us and He will always be there for us. He showed so much empathy and compassion when He was on this earth. As a couple we should sacrifice our own desires and learn to empathize with our spouse. This was Jesus’ example.

  • “But when He saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36
  • “And When Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” – Matthew 14:14
  • “So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” – Matthew 20:34

7. God, Your Spouse, and THEN Your Children
Flanagan brings up a point that I see so often. He says, “We care more about our children than about the one who helped us make them. Our kids should never be more important than our marriage, and they should never be less important.”

This is SO true! Remember to make God first in your life, then your spouse, then your children. Everything falls into place when you follow this formula. Your kids will be glad to see such great examples in your marriage and know that you both love each other and them very much.

8. Respect Each Other
Flanagan lists number eight as the “The hidden power struggle.” He goes on to say, “Most conflict in marriage is at least in part a negotiation around the level of interconnectedness between lovers.” I don’t think there needs to be any power struggle in marriage. Why? Because it’s all about respect. Respect your spouse, respect each other. Treat each other how you want to be treated. Easier said then done sometimes, but something that is very important in our marriages.

9. Show Our Spouse Gratitude
Flanagan says the last hidden threat to marriage is that, “We don’t know how to maintain interest in one thing or one person anymore.” He says, “We live in a world pulling our attention in a million different directions.” This is so true. In a world where everyone wants instant gratification and where no one can be content with what they have, how are we supposed to keep up?

We can keep up by keeping our eyes on Christ, keeping our spouse first in our families, and remembering to be thankful for them. Thank you spouse every day for who they are and for what they do. Let them know that you need and appreciate them more than anything.


Thank your spouse every day for who they are and for what they do.
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What about YOU? Have you found any overlooked threats in your marriage? How have you overcome them?

The post Overcoming the 9 Most Overlooked Marriage Threats appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Oct 20

DIY “Super Why” Why Flyer Tutorial

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Hi guys! Halloween is just around the corner, so now it’s crunch time for making those costumes! If your child’s costume requires (or would be made better with) a plane or car or something, read on! I’ve got a tutorial just for you. It’s not hard, really! It just takes a bit of time. I was able to make these two “Why Flyers” from Super Why in a day. Granted, a day dedicated to making them, but if you split up the steps, you should have no problem getting them done by Halloween!

Materials Needed:

  • Thin plumbing tubes – I was able to get these at a local hardware store for about $1.50 each
  • Cardboard – I’d been saving boxes for a while, so hopefully you have some in your garage. You’ll need one to rest your vehicle on, and another for the wings/tail and other details
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or twine
  • Newspaper or brown craft paper
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Large mixing box
  • Wisk
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon
  • Packing tape

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Directions:

1. If needed, cut the tubes to your desired size. I wanted to attempt to make my Why Flyers look as rounded as possible, so I made the top smaller than the bottom. It would have been a better look if I’d done a third layer that was the same size as the top, (small-large-small) but I figured this was close enough. Save your scraps. You might need them later! Last minute, I decided to use one of my scraps to support the propeller on the purple and orange plane.

2. Since these tubes were designed for insulating pipes in winter (I’m assuming anyway) they already had a convenient slit cut into them. I just lined the slits up so that the top tube’s was pointing down, and the bottom tube’s was pointing up, and I inserted some cardboard into them. The cardboard kept the tubes the “proper” distance away from each other. I didn’t bother to glue them in place or anything, since I knew I was going to paper mache over the whole thing. I would recommend thick cardboard for this step, otherwise your cardboard might bend under the weight.

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3. The tubes will naturally make a circle once taped. If you want more of an oval, you’re going to have to make it an oval. Take your twine and tie it around the whole thing. Pull it tight until you have the shape you desire. Tie tightly.

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4. Now it’s time to get your paper mache on! Move your vehicle into an area that you don’t mind getting messy. I worked in my kitchen, since I could easily clean the tile floors. Cut your paper (newspaper or craft) into long strips. I didn’t worry about making them look pretty and didn’t bother to make them the same size. I just made sure they were long enough to cover the entire side and wrap around the edges of the tubes a little.

5. Make your paper mache mix. Using the big mixing bowl and wisk, combine 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of cold water, and 2 tablespoons of salt. (The salt helps prevent mold.) You can double the recipe if you don’t want to make a ton of batches, but I wouldn’t increase it any higher. I found that doing so made some of it dry out before I could get to it.

6. Once your paper mache mix is ready, spread it over your strips of paper and apply them to the vehicle frame, making sure to overlap pieces so there aren’t any gaps. Repeat until entire vehicle is covered. Store any left over paper mache mix, covered, in the fridge.

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7. Set somewhere secluded to dry. I put mine out on our porch so that the sun could speed up the drying.

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8. While the vehicle is drying, draw and cut out any wings, tails, or other vehicle accessories/details you want to include. Make sure you leave an extra strip on the bottom, and cut that strip into tabs. Fold the tabs so they go in opposite directions. These will be what you use to attach the piece to the vehicle.

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9. Once your vehicle is dry, you can use some duct tape to attach the pieces to your vehicle. Repeat until all pieces are attached.

10. Paper mache over the new pieces. Repeat until all pieces are covered. Depending on how long it took your vehicle to dry, you might have to make new paper mache mix.

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11. Continue adding more strips of paper to cover the inside gaps of the frame. Once that is done, set somewhere secluded to dry. By this time, my kids were in bed, so I just left them in the kitchen.

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12. Once the wings were dry, I added the tail…rocket propeller things, and “seat back.” I had to wait to do these, because the paper mache for the insides got the area that I’d planned on taping the tail pieces wet, so I couldn’t apply the tape. I couldn’t add these during the wings step though, because of how the “seat back” needed to be applied. *sigh*

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13. Again, apply paper mache, and wait to dry. FYI: I just placed paper over the ends of the tubes; I didn’t bother to make cardboard covers for them. Add touch up pieces of paper mache to any areas that have gaps in them. (Like that gap in the front inside of the plane above.)

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14. Once all of your pieces are attached, paper mached, and dried, draw your design with highlighter that is similar in color to your paint. I chose highlighter because I was sometimes working with light colors, and this helped the markings blend in a lot better than they would have if I’d used black marker or something like that.

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15. Paint! I was very very fortunate to have my mother in law help me out. Here’s a warning though, if you have someone help you out who says they’re not crafty:

I’m going to assume since you’ve gotten this far into the tutorial, that you’re a crafty person. Not everyone is. Some people really are not. I didn’t think it would be hard to paint around my lines, but I ended up needing to go back a lot to clean up lines because my MIL got too close to the highlighter, reapply some colors, and we lost an entire grouping of yellow stripes and the triangle in the front. So um, maybe let the non-crafty helper (who you are still super super grateful for having) paint the inside, haha.

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16. Set aside and let dry. At this point, I went to bed.

17. The next morning, I hot glued a scrap of plumbing tubing to the back of the purple and orange plane. The hot glue started actually EATING the tubing material though, so I had to cut a circle the same size as the tube, apply the glue to that, and then stick it to the tube. For some reason, this worked. So it went, plane-hot glue-cardboard-hot glue-tube. I just put the hot glue on the propeller and stuck it to the tube.

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18. To make the shoulder straps, I measured my boys to see how much ribbon I would need, and cut two pieces per plane. I used hot glue to keep the straps in place, and then added clear packing tape for extra support. This will be fine for Halloween, and worked fine for my youngest’s birthday party, but I’m trying to see if I can figure something more permanent (like grommets or something) so they can be reused again and again. I’ll update this if I figure something out.

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See? If those straps can survive races while being worn by multiple kids, they should survive some trick or treating. Happy Halloween, and I’d love to see if you make a version yourself. I think some CARS race cars would look great, no? Or maybe Thomas the Train? So many possibilities!

Oct 20

BIG, FAT, HUGE, Thank You’s







BIG, FAT, HUGE, thank you's to some incredible women in my life-

Thank you, Oma for keeping a 'tight ship' at Casa de la Rich- #1 at the bus stop EVERY morning(so I heard) AND I came home to a spotless house, fresh smelling laundry, and beautiful new Mums in my whiskey barrels. I knew if anyone could handle the Rich boys(AKA Damage and Destruction), it would be the woman who gave birth, raised, and survived, the one and only Flyboy;)


Thank you to our respite care provider, Suzie for helping Oma! You are one in a million!


Thank you to my Army sisters, Monica, Ashley and Lori for easing my worries..... I knew if there was trouble, my girls would be there locked and loaded- I could not survive this life without you!Thank you, ladies for letting me escape to the big city and show my girl where dreams do come true. Because of you, I was able to teach Shayne as long as you're willing to work, you CAN live your dreams! I was also able to bring the city back home to my boys and tell them stories about a magical place called New York City- "HOW many taxis, Mommy??" Also, thank you from the bottom of my heart for preventing a massive-mommy-meltdown and letting me find myself again. MUH!


And, of course, one more final thank you to my loving man, Flyboy- This trip would not have happened if it wasn't for you! Thank you for putting your family before yourself and spotting the dough and supporting this once in a lifetime trip. Counting the days until you are back in my arms♥

Oct 20

Modest Monday: Leather and Stripes :)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6 NIV

This is an outfit I wore to worship last Sunday. I absolutely love it! So comfortable!!

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Headband: Lilla Rose

Dress: Dress Barn on clearance!

Shoes: Same black bootsI have worn ALOT!

Jacket: Dress Barn on clearance!

I hope you had a blessed Lord’s Day this week! In the comments fill free to share a pray request and a praise!!!

In Christ,

Laura

 

The post Modest Monday: Leather and Stripes :) appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 17

Tiny Swag: Cowboy Bean

I don’t do nearly enough Bean swag. I tried starting a hashtag for it over on instagram, but I’m not very good at using it. Let’s flash back (Oh, hey! It’s Friday. Let’s pretend that wasn’t a coincidence and that I totally meant to make this topical by making it a #FlashbackFriday post!) to August, when my garden was still presentable, and I was taking pictures for The Munchkin’s August FabKids post.

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These two photos are the difference between letting your two year old play with rocks during a shoot and making him put them down and pose. Sometimes, you just gotta pick your battles.

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While we were getting dressed, The Bean said he wanted to wear a hat. I picked out one that I thought would go better with this outfit, but he insisted on wearing his cowboy hat. I think the South Carolina and Kansas in him are taking over. Now all he needs are some little cowboy boots, and he’ll fit right in here!

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The Bean is a little tomato thief. He’ll snatch them up, and pop them into his mouth. I was cracking up, because his hat kept hitting the tomato cages. He had to take it off to pick any!

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Didn’t my garden look so nice back then? Sure, the tomatoes were a little bare, but they were coming off of a blister bug infestation. You should see it now. Yikes! Fall gardening may not be my thing.

Outfit Details:
Shirt – Target
Jeans – Disney
Sneakers – Walmart
Hat – freebie from the JC Special Needs Rodeo

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Oct 16

What We’re Currently up To: Week 45

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been…

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I have recently been appreciating the cooler temperatures. It was a long time coming, but my body finally adjusted to them, so low 70s feels like long sleeve shirt weather + jeans, and mid to high 70s feel like jeans and t-shirt weather, not sweater and scarf weather. As it should be. 50s-60s are where the sweaters and scarves belong. The leaves are starting to change colors too. We’re still in the “yellow” stage of things, and a lot of trees are still green. I can’t wait to look out over the farmland and see all the pretty colors.

I’ve been feeling tired. Oh so tired. When The Bean naps, I’ve been napping a lot lately. My productivity has been at an all time low. I’m ok with that, though. Dishes can wait. No one likes a grumpy mommy. The other day, The Munchkin and I had this conversation:

TM: “Mom, are you happy?”
(I raise an eyebrow at him.)
TM: “You feel happy now, not grumpy?”
I laughed and told him that I’d had my nap, so I wasn’t grumpy anymore. Hahaha.

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Looking forward to Halloween festivities. We’ve already gone to a FRG Halloween party, and I just found out that the zoo’s Halloween party is this weekend, then we’ve got at least one trunk or treat thing to go to, as well as regular trick or treating. As usual, the boys don’t really care what they dress up as for Halloween, so I’m on the hunt for 5T overalls so The Munchkin can be a minion, and I want to get cracking on sewing some Super Why pajamas for The Bean, so I can make use of at least ONE Why-Flier that I made for The Bean’s birthday party. I was going to make two sets of pajamas; one for each boy, but then I realized that I’d be making The Munchkin wear pink and purple pajamas. As much as I don’t like assigning genders to colors (the boys can play with whatever color toy they please…) I don’t know if I can get behind predominately pink and purple pajamas. Damn you, Alpha Pig!

I also want to get my tutorial on how I made the Why-Fliers up here this weekend. Fingers crossed!

I have been regretting the “media ban” I put on The Munchkin over the past couple of weeks. If I let him play on the Kindle too much, or watch too much TV, he disappears into his head or something and stops responding to questions. So, I decided NO MORE MEDIA. NONE! Well, that might have been a little harsh. I think The Munchkin might be an introvert maybe? and needs some media time to unwind from the day, because his behavior has gotten BAD over the past week. He doesn’t sit well for lessons, and doesn’t listen…doesn’t follow directions, and he screams when he doesn’t like something. Just one, high pitched scream. We’ve talked about how screaming isn’t a good way to make a point, but I don’t know if it stuck. I also don’t think this is all happening because of the media ban. I think he’s bored with his lessons, which is a big no-no for him. The kid won’t do something if he’s bored with it. So, I’m trying to think of different ways to mix things up for him. The media ban hasn’t helped though, and I’ve begun to let him use the Kindle for a little while each day. That, combined with forcing myself to take them outside, seems to be making a happier Munchkin. It’s only been two days though. We’ll see how this goes over the weekend, when his day’s structure is all on me. Wish me luck.

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The boys have been playing outside, but not as much as they probably should be. I have to keep reminding myself that it will start snowing soon. Apparently, Kansas is like New York in that it can start snowing at the end of October. Fun! I’ve been making more of an effort to go outside with them and do things over the weekend, which is a drastic change from the super-hermit-mode I was in earlier in the month, when I thought it was so so cold out. Last weekend, we went to a festival at the local dairy farm, and the weekend before that we did a color run and a carnival on post. I think this playground picture was taken two weekends ago, when we tried to go to a festival in Manhattan, but ended up not being able to find parking. We went to the playground instead, so it wasn’t a total loss. I was surprised to see the splash park next to the playground was open. It was certainly warm enough that day, but I thought all water-related things closed around Labor Day. I guess not.

What have you guys been up to lately?

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Pictures: The boys at the on-post carnival| Twilight sleeping | The boys at a Manhattan playground
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Oct 16

15 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong During Deployment

Keeping your marriage strong is hard work, but keeping your marriage strong during deployment can be even harder because of the distance. Even though your spouse may be thousands of miles away, there are plenty of unique things you can do to stay close and keep your marriage strong.

Keep Your Marriage Strong During Deployment

Unique Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong During Deployment:

1. Read. Read Military Marriage Books, Read Deployment Books. Read the Same Book together and Then Chat/Email about it.

2. Find Creative Ways to Say “I love you” From a Distance.

3. Make Time to Get to Know Your Spouse Better.

4. Take the Deployment Love Dare.

5. Focus on Your Love.

6. Pray for Your Spouse Every Day.

7. Continue to Celebrate the Little Things: Dates, Anniversaries, Holidays… Just because!

8. Use Apps to Stay Close.

9. Protect Your Heart.

10. Send Kisses.

11. Remind your Spouse of your Love.

12. Incorporate Physical Touch From Afar.

13. Go on Deployment Dates

14. Fight for Your Marriage

15. Take a Marriage Challenge


Try these 15 unique ideas to keep your marriage strong during your next #deployment
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What are some things YOU have done to keep your marriage strong during deployments?

The post 15 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong During Deployment appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Oct 16

Favorite Instagram Posts: September

Hi guys! I’m happy to say that my two (three?) week-ish break from blogging, and limited phone usage have really helped out my hands! They don’t hurt all day anymore, and if they start hurting, I just put down my phone, and slowly walk away. I wasn’t too surprised to find out, during this little break, that my phone was the real problem. Instagram addiction, I have it. I did also decide to stop using my laptop on the couch though, and bought myself a mouse; both of which have helped my hands/fingers significantly.

I’m going to get back to blogging a little; trying to update here at least three times a week, but we’ll see. I had the bright idea to list the fall/winter items I have for Lil’ Peeps Vintage (Do you guys remember my shop?! Oh, my poor poor shop.) and even got around to dividing my inventory into groups, prepping them, and I started taking pictures today…when my camera all of a sudden decided to stop reading my memory card. I’ve since cleared all photos off of it, and hopefully reformatting it in the camera or whatever will fix the problem, but if it doesn’t…ugh. If I can’t figure out the camera thing, it’ll be photos I’ve already taken and iphone pics for a while.

But anyway, the main point of this post – I haven’t shared my favorite instagram photos from last month yet! Here they are:

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one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine

Five and seven are videos, and I highly recommend that you check them out. September was a pretty good month. We enjoyed the last few days of summer, the boys started going to hourly care once a week, I got back into regular thrifting, and I even had a kid-free night thanks to some FRG ladies. Not bad, September. Not bad.

PS: Can I just say that I LOVE how you can comment, like, and add people via instagram’s website now? I’m not sure when that happened, but I was pretty excited when I noticed that it did.

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Oct 15

Veggie Tales: Beauty and the Beet {Review and Giveaway}

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Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

Whether you’ve been following my blog for a year or only a month, you probably know that we adore Veggie Tales.  My kids were almost excited as I was when I was asked to review the newest Veggie Tale DVD!

Beauty and the Beet is the latest installment from those crazy and beloved Vegetables.  As winter is quickly approaching, this movie is a great lead-in with a lovely winter theme.  Of course, we all know each VeggieTale movie is centered around a common theme, a character trait that is emphasized to help children learn and understand how to treat each other in a Christian way.  The theme in Beauty and the Beet is Unconditional Love.  I’m sure you’ve also noticed the title of this movie is a slight play on the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.  The creators and producers of VeggieTales movies do a wonderful job of mimicking the major titles that we grew up watching, but put their spin on character traits.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians  5:22-23

The music in this movie is wonderful.  The songs feature the voice of Kellie Pickler as Mirabelle – a sweet potato singer whose family is on the brink of becoming a star with their group “The VeggieTones!”  She has a heart after God and tries to motivate others to show love even though Mr. Beet treats her poorly.  Mirabelle exhibits all 9 of the Fruits of the Spirit.  Some people seem to be unloveable and grouchy most of their lives, but they still need to be shown the love of Christ.  Mirabelle is Christ-like teaching Mr. Beet to sing while being kind to him and doing things for him—even at his worst.

Kellie Pickler sings 8 of the 10 songs on the DVD and  her voice is absolutely beautiful!  The music helps the viewer (even parents) relate to the theme of the movie in many ways.  The songs and music about Jesus in this film are an added bonus!

Of course, no VeggieTale movie is complete without “Silly Songs with Larry.”  Even us adults find ourselves singing along to “Where is my hairbrush,”  “His Cheeseburger,” and “My Lips.”  Beauty and the Beet features a new silly song – “Mac and Cheese!”  The new Silly Song is hilarious!  This song was such a hit for my family, especially since two of my three boys would survive on Mac & Cheese alone if I allowed them..LOL!

We have a lot to look forward to this fall from VeggieTales.  Beginning November 26th, a VeggieTale series will be featured on Netflix!!  The series is called “VeggieTales in the House.”  You can view a clip by going HERE.

You can get your copy of Beauty and the Beet by clicking below:

For my subscribers —– Click below to enter the Beauty and the Beet GIVEAWAY!!

In Christ,

Laura

*** I received a copy of Veggie Tales: Beauty and the Beet from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest and fair review. ***

The post Veggie Tales: Beauty and the Beet {Review and Giveaway} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 14

Weeks of Thinking…….

Weeks of thinking…….Weeks of rolling ideas around in my head……Weeks of wondering if I share too much?  Brian is 8 years old but because he is nonverbal I don’t have the luxury of asking him if he’s comfortable with me sharing so many personal things about his life, our life.  I’ve struggled with trying to decide if I’m causing damage to him by sharing his struggles, our struggles as a family, openly with the world.  If you’ve been following Bri’s story, you know he has so many challenges.

Then I think of everything he’s accomplished in the past 8 years of his life and I want to shout it from the rooftops!  Brian has so many incredible challenges he faces on a daily basis, and yet he’s still a happy 8 year old boy most of the time.  I often think about being in his place in this world and not being able to communicate basic needs to others, not to mention thoughts, feelings, dreams or desires.  I wonder what he thinks of “his people” and how we interact with him?  As a mom that has only been away from him for less than 2 weeks total of his entire life, I know what he wants the majority of the time when he drags me to a certain room, makes a certain sound, points to something, cries a certain way, laughs his “up to no good laugh”, grabs my hand, and I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.

Even with this strong loving bond between a mother and a child that is unbreakable, my heart and soul cry out every single time Brian tries to communicate something to me that I don’t understand.  As a parent I know many of you are frustrated when your child says something that you can’t understand because they can’t enunciate it properly.  This happens every once in a while with my 3 1/2 year old daughter.  Sometimes I have to get her to repeat the same thing 3 or 4 different times and ask her to say something in a different way before I will finally understand what she said.  Imagine having a child who can physically only say a handful of words and even those have taken years and years to master.  Imagine trying to have a conversation with someone that can only say hi, bye, go, up, and a few other words.  Imagine the intense frustration and anger that you would feel if you couldn’t talk to anyone in this world?  Imagine how lonely that must be!

I’ve been wondering lately how many humans on this planet are nonverbal?  The older that Brian gets, the lower that number seems to be and feel to me.  When he was in an integrated preschool, there were several other children who were nonverbal.  Then he started kindergarten in New York and the number dwindled lower, although he was in a classroom with other autistic children so he wasn’t the only one.  Now that he’s been in school in Alabama for 3 years, the numbers seem almost nonexistent as he gets older and around other children his age.  Meeting other parents with nonverbal children elicits such a mixture of feelings for me.  FINALLY, someone that truly understands how it feels to be the parent of a nonverbal child!  That alone is such a comforting feeling, but that quickly gets mixed in with all the frustration, sadness, hope, and anxiety that child and parent must also share.  I watch how frustrated Brian gets when he can’t communicate with others and I would never wish that on anyone.  Over the years Bri has learned to have such an incredible amount of patience with me and his dad when he really wants us to understand something.  After going back and forth with different words until the thought is finally communicated is euphoric!  Sharing that moment with others that have had similar experiences or that never have, gives you or them so much more strength to keep trying and believing in your precious child.  NEVER GIVE UP!!!  EVER!!!

Brian has a story to tell even if he can’t speak the words.  I hope one day he can, but more importantly, I hope one day to be able to communicate with him in whatever form he chooses.  That is one of my greatest wishes in life and I hope to help Brian find whatever means necessary to accomplish that.  Life of Bri is not just for Brian…..it’s not just for me……it’s not just for you…….It’s a journey that needs to not only be shared but celebrated and recorded.  When Brian is an adult, I want him to be able to read about his challenges, growth, adventures and life.  I want him to know one thing more than anything else in this world.  I want him to know that he is LOVED!  Brian – I love you with every single breath I take and will love you long after I’m no longer traveling this life with you on this earth.  You are loved!!!  I hope you and your sister never doubt that for a second!

I want to share Bri’s story but I also want to be able to share so much HOPE, respect and love with other parents, family and friends that have loved ones on the spectrum.  While I absolutely love reading bloggers that blog about all of the positive and uplifting aspects of autism, I want to keep “Life of Bri” as authentic and real as possible.  Dwelling on the challenging behaviors or hard days isn’t good for anyone, but by acknowledging that they do indeed happen and plow through them with as much humor and laughter as possible allows us to continue growing as human beings and truly cherish and celebrate successes and accomplishments!

I know there are parents out there that are barely hanging on……struggling to survive the rough days and often feeling hopeless…….I want to reach out to those parents and let them know that things aren’t hopeless!!!  Our autistic children are incredible human beings that want to be loved and accepted just like anyone else.  We shouldn’t strive to make them fit a “normal” mold and teach them to blend in when they were born perfect in their own unique way, just like every other human on this planet.  I hope by sharing our struggles, you will see you can’t give up!

Every single laugh…..every single smile…..every single moment of contentment far outweighs the struggles and challenges.

Out of every single person that has taught me something in life, Brian has by far taught me the most.  For that, I am blessed! 

Brian enjoying his favorite thing - TRAINS!

Brian enjoying his favorite thing – TRAINS!

Oct 14

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet { Review and GIVEAWAY}

BitterSweet

As a member of the Family Christian bookstore blogger team, I was asked to do a review of “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet.”

Here is the Bio listed on FamilyChristian.com:

This book will inspire readers to see every circumstance as a chance to know God more deeply.

What does it look like to know God’s nearness when your world falls apart? What does it mean to receive new life when earthly life remains barren? Sara Hagerty explored these questions when life stopped working for her. She met God in a new way, first, when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness, and when she was a new bride with doubts about whether her marriage would survive. This discovery of God unfolded as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. And years later as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived for years without a mommy’s touch.

In the tradition of Ann Voskamp, Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to show listeners a God who is present in every changing circumstance—and in every unchanging circumstance. With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet guides listeners to the place where God reveals himself anew as He shapes the bitterness of lost expectations into deep, new places of knowing Him.

 

My Thoughts:

Have you ever asked yourself, “Is God good? Does He like me? Have I been overlooked by God?”

If you have asked yourself these questions or many others, you will not want to miss this book!  In the first part of the book, author Sara Hagerty speaks of her struggle with infertility. Although I have not experienced this type of heartache, I was immediately drawn in the pain she felt.  As God began showing her a different path in motherhood, she wove the trauma and heartache of infertility into something beautiful.  While reading her book, I felt as though she was grabbing me by the hand, leading me through her life experiences, sharing her struggles and the beauty that came at the end of those struggles.  It’s a riveting story to read, but Sara’s life, like ours, is much longer than a few pages of words.  The light at the end of the tunnel is often dim.  Life doesn’t pause in between our own struggles.  Instead, life weaves us through both the bitter and the sweet.

My experiences are not the same as Sara’s, but I can relate to the ups and downs, the struggles and triumphs, the bitter and the sweet.  Her story gave me pause to think about all the times that God had His hand in my life.  Her story inspired and motivated me to want to have a more intimate relationship with God.  Her story is a comforting reminder in knowing life can be bitter, God’s plan makes it sweet.

Sara has a crescendo style of writing meaning that one chapter was gradually building up to the anticipation of the next chapter.  Her style of writing kept me intrigued, kept me going, kept me anticipating for the next word, and kept me relating to her struggles.

Many women read Sara’s blog, but I don’t think she wrote this book for only women in mind.  Her story can easily relate to men as much as women.  As my husband continues through Seminary, I like to read books that I can also add to his library.  Sara’s book, “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet” is definitely one I will encourage him to read and add to his library.  Sara’s story is beautiful, well-written, and just heart-moving!

I love this book and give it a 5/5! If you want a copy you can get it at FamilyChristian.com!

I am thrilled to announce a giveaway sponsored by Family Christian Bookstore! Enter below for your chance to win a copy of “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet.”

In Christ,

Laura

*** I received a copy of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet from Family Christian Bookstores as part of their blogger team. I was not compensated in any other way. ***

The post Every Bitter Thing is Sweet { Review and GIVEAWAY} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 13

The Missing Sensitivity Chip

Its not a big secret that this world has it's fair share of assholes.Most of us learn to deal with a great deal of them on a daily basis.The ones who cut you off in traffic or don't hold the door for you, we tend to just shrug them off.

Its the ones that are missing their sensitivity chip, who this post is for.It seems that this is a problem that is getting out of hand. More and more, people out there are forgetting just want it means to be sensitive to others or the world  around them. Either from just sheer ignorance or just plain malice. It troubles me.

I understand that people have a right to their opinions. Right or wrong, you are free to voice your thoughts about society and the world. But what bothers me is there is no filter on the statements that are being made. None. Zero.

It's easy for one to silently judge someone within the confines of their own head. All of us do it, whether or not you want to admit it to yourself is your choice. But we all have our own thoughts. The problem is those who verbalize their judgement and thoughts. As though they are immune to the sensitivity of the situation or person.

These past couple of years, with having special needs children, has opened my eyes to just how bad people can really be. From the stares to the comments. Even the suggestions are a lot to take in. Its almost like people can't help themselves. This verbal diarrhea syndrome.

I see it everywhere. It doesn't just apply to just my children. From the rampant racism in this country to the homophobic slurs.From conversations online from everything from parenting to how you cook your breakfast.  It's disturbing that people would treat or judge each other the way they do.

It does seem that most of the world is missing it's sensitivity chip. No one gives a shit about how their statements might come across as hurtful or demeaning. But whatever, at least they got out what they wanted to say.

So the next time you are tempted to say something about someone or a situation that you have no experience about, tap into your sensitivity chip. Ask yourself, how you would feel if the roles were reversed. Do humanity a favor and be a better person. And by better person I mean, keep those judgmental, asshole opinions to yourself. And if you can't, then be prepared for people to question your morality.

Please don't be one of the assholes that roam this planet.

I am not out to change the world. I am just a small, insignificant blog that normally writes about Autism and the joys of military life. But it does indeed scare me. With social attitudes the way they are, how is it that the next generation is going to learn anything about being more culturally or socially aware of their planet, when it's up to us adults to teach them. When in all honesty, we can't even help ourselves with that lesson.

Oct 13

Modest Monday: Modesty While Expecting

Maternity-6

When I was expecting it was very hard to find modest clothing! Part of the reason was honestly, I had huge babies! I wish I knew then what I know now about shopping for modest maternity clothes! I tried my hardest to still dress modestly but I had to look high and low to find them. This pinterest board has a LOT of great modern modest inspiration but were can you actually go to get modest maternity clothing?

Where to shop?

1.  Goodwill- I know it is difficult to find things there sometimes but you can find some amazing deals!

2. Thrift shops-a lot of ladies get rid of their maternity clothing and you can find some great clothing at little cost

3. ThredUp

4. New Creation Apparel

5.  The Modest Mom

6.  Zulily- I love Zulily and they have some great maternity pieces at much less then you would pay retail

7. Old Navy- Old Navy’s focus isn’t modesty per say so you do have to watch but I was able to purchase a lot of lovely things there.

8. Motherhood Maternity- They have maxi skirts and other things you can get that look great! My favorite maternity dress for 3 pregnancies came from there.

9.  Shabby Apple- Most are modest on there but not all meet MY standards of modesty.

10.  Lilo Maternity-Has a great selection of skirts!

11. Target

12. Amazon- They have a great selection of maternity skirts

13. Ross

I want to introduce you to a reader and friend of mine named Heather. Heather and I got acquainted because she was a reader of my blog and Facebook page. Well, when Trail Life USA kicked off in WA state, I was so excited to attend the first meeting with my boys. Heather walks in and says I am Heather, do you remember me? I read your blog!!! It was pretty neat! We have been friends ever since. Our time in real life was cut short because of our move, but she has really became a dear friend! Her whole family is just wonderful and I am so glad to know her! I also hope we get to visit and catch up when I visit Washington state again soon!

Maternity-1

Maternity-2

Maternity-3

Maternity-4

In the pictures above Heather was about 38 weeks pregnant with baby number 7 and her first baby girl!!! Isn’t she just beautiful?

She is wearing a Liz Lange Maternity dress from Target and her sandals that you can’t see are also from Target! :)

Since Heather sent me the pictures she gave birth to her precious bundle of joy! On October 6th at 5:01pm, weighing 7 pounds 1 ounce and 20 inches long! Congratulations Heather, Justin and your precious boys on the birth of this precious little one! Thank you for allowing me to share your joy and your pictures!

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Isn’t she precious? ( ALL photos shared by Heather, Thanks AGAIN Heather!)

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

In Christ,

Laura

 

The post Modest Monday: Modesty While Expecting appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Oct 11

A House Divided.

By now the news of Kelli Stapleton has reached a world wide audience. I wasn't going to write about her, but I feel that there are certain aspects of this situation that need to be addressed. It has indeed rocked the autism community to it's core. It has pitted parents against self advocates, the real world against the autism community and so on. I honestly believe that the house has been divided.  The people who support Kelli vs the ones who consider her a monster.

For those of you, who consider her a monster, I know that you can't fathom any parent trying to kill their own child. Whether it be out of malice or due the mental instability of the parent or the fact that the parent doesn't want to see their child suffer any longer, you can't wrap your mind over the fact that someone would do this. Murder is Murder.You want justice for that child(ren).

Those of you who have supported Kelli, you have understood that feeling of reaching the point of no return. When every outlet that you had, either slowly diminishes or goes away. That feeling of being backed into wall, with no where to turn.

The media has not been kind to this situation. It seems that, as usual, it has all missed the important component. Autism. Kelli Stapleton brought Autism out of the shadows. She made it possible for people to talk about it. In a very sad way, she brought to light, the pressures that most of us caregivers are under, while trying to make sure our loved ones are taken care of. It is remarkable just how much we can take, before we all snap. Kelli put that experience on the map.

It is sad to me, as a parent of not one but two children on the spectrum to see a community divided. To see the nastiness flowing so freely. Attacking one another like a pack of rabid dogs. Instead of talking rationally about how we can prevent circumstances like Kelli's. We can all agree that the final choice of Kelli's was a bad one. There is no one denying that trying to murder her children was a very poor judgement. But it was the judgement made by a person who had lost all hope. A person who thought that, this was the only way out. When she needed to have someone help her, she hit road blocks.

We, as a community need to learn from this. We need to stop pointing fingers at each other. Instead of victimizing and vilifying, we need to take a stand. So when we do have parents or caregivers out there, who have felt that they can't fight any longer or that they have reached the end, that there is a community out there that will support them. Help them get through a tough situation. We need to stop playing the blame game and stop being a house divided.

Be kind. Be accepting. Be there for someone.

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