Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Giving Our Kids a Heart for Missions

One of my greatest passions is leading our children's ministry at our church.  I got involved with kids ministry when I was kid myself - I was 12 when our pastor's wife asked me to help with puppets, and I've been involved with it ever since.

Missions is a huge focus of our children's ministry.  I firmly believe that if we instill a passion for missions now, when our kids are young, it will stay with them for life.  On the first Sunday of each month, we dedicate our entire lesson to missions, focusing on a specific country and the work being done there.  We have a snack from that country and hear a true story from missionaries there. 

Two amazing resources that I use every month are BGMC and Kids of Courage.  BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge) is the Assembly of God kids missions program.  Kids all over the U.S. regularly give to missions through this program.  Not only does it get kids involved in giving, it also teaches them to have a heart for missions.  Kids of Courage is the kids portion of Voice of the Martyrs.  They focus on countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith, but they present the information in a kid-friendly format.  Both websites are full of great ideas!

Getting involved in missions may seem intimidating, but there are so many simple ways to do it.  A few ideas to get started:
  1. Choose a missionary that your church supports and send them a care package and a note of encouragement.
  2. Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child
  3. Choose a country from Kids of Courage to study together as a family
  4. Set a goal as a family to give a certain amount of money for missions, then work together to earn it
  5. Post a map somewhere in your home and pray for a different country each day
What is your family doing to focus on missions?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Working Moms Myths

This is from a post that I originally wrote on my previous blog.  Have you dealt with these misconceptions about working moms?  How do you deal with criticism from others?

Working Moms Myths

1. Working moms choose to work.I heard that for years, and was even guilty of feeling that way myself - until I had to go back to work.  Most working moms work because they have to, not because they want to. Many of my friends are the co-breadwinner or the primary breadwinner in their family. Their husbands work, too - the wife just happens to be in a field that earns more money or is in higher demand. Or in some cases, she is a single mom, and is therefore the sole source of income for her children.  Some moms do choose to work and truly feel called to work, but at least in my experience, the majority of working moms don't have a choice.

2. Working moms could cut back their standard of living and stay home.
Again, most moms work because they have to. They struggle to stay within their budget, just like SAHM's. They clip coupons, shop from clearance racks, and plan their shopping trips carefully. They are working for living expenses, not extras and "toys."  Someone asked me recently why I don't just quit my job and focus on school.  I replied, "Because if I quit my job, I'll have to quit school - I don't work for extra money, I work because we have to have the money."

3. Working moms don't put their family first.
If staying home means your family going under financially, then going to work is putting your family first. As a working mom, I put priority on spending time with my family on my days off and in the evenings. Family mealtimes are important, and I spend every moment I can with my husband and kids. I even chose a career that allows a lot of flexibility so that I can be with my family more.

4. Housekeeping is easier for working moms because no one is home all day.
Same amount of chores - drastically less time to do them. Enough said.

5. Working moms have lots of support.
Do a Google search for Christian working mom. You'll find
a great website by Kimberly Chastain on the first two links...on the third, you'll find an article stating that a woman's only roles in life should be to "get married, have children, guide the house, and live a perfect testimony so not once can the adversary (Satan) say anything reproachful about you." There is so little support out there for Christian moms who work outside the home. Critics are isn't.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Beautiful Way to Pray for Your Kids

As I've mentioned before, nothing moves this momma to tears quite like the subject of praying for my kids.  I loved this idea the moment I saw it.  In fact, I loved it so much that I'm planning this as a project in our children's church class...

You can check it out here:

What verses will you be praying for you kids?  I'm praying over the perfect ones for my boys right now...I can't wait to make these!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Easiest Slow Cooker Meal Ever!

I am all about cooking with a slow cooker, or crock pot, or whatever you prefer to call it.  My slow cooker is the queen of my kitchen - in fact, my husband often jokes that we wouldn't eat without it.  It's a working mom's best friend.  Most of the time, I use mine two to three times a week.  I'm always on the hunt for new recipes to try.

This is seriously the easiest slow cooker meal in the world.  Are you ready?
  • One and a half to two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • One bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
Put them in slow cooker, turn it on low, and ignore it for ten hours...then shred up your yummy barbecue chicken.  This is great with potato salad and other barbecue fixings, or serve it up on a sandwich with some chips on the side.  I always have enough left over to make a second meal (which is always a plus) and the entire family loves it.  Fast, easy, cheap, and can't beat that combination.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Little Girl Who Dreamed Big Dreams

I stumbled across something recently, while I was saving documents from my laptop onto a flash drive.  I found an awesome poem template a while back as part of a blog hop, and I saved both the template and my poem.  The poem itself is a little long to share, but the main part that struck me is the end…

… from the little girl who dreamed big dreams and prayed big prayers and still stands amazed that God did so much more than she ever dreamed of, whose heart is full and happy.
I texted my childhood best friend the other day.  We’ve been friends since we were 10 years old…over 20 years ago…wow, that makes me feel old!  Even though we live several hours apart now, we’ve kept in touch over the years, both online and by phone, still getting together whenever we can.  As we chatted, I thought about how far God has brought us. 
We both came from broken homes…her parents were divorced, and my grandparents raised me.  We spent hours talking as kids about our dreams for the future – dreams that included happy marriages and normal families, things we didn’t see in our homes, things that other people took for granted.  We cried a lot of tears together and held each other up through some pretty tough times.
Now we talk about our husbands – both of us married for 12 years, our anniversaries just a month apart – and our kids, two each.  We talk about our careers – she is in nursing, and I am (almost) in dental hygiene – just seven more months!  We talk about missions trips – she’s signed up for one next year, and I’m looking into a possible one.  God has brought us so far.  It hasn’t always been easy – both of us have hit some major bumps in the road along the way – but God has been faithful.  So faithful…so much more than I ever could have dreamed as a little girl in a little town in south Arkansas.

Despite all His faithfulness, it’s easy to forget…when stress takes over and deadlines loom and life runs me ragged, it’s easy to forget how far He has brought me.  But I can’t forget.  He’s been too good for me to forget.  One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life is this: Don’t give up, no matter how bad things seem, because He is faithful.  Dare to dream big dreams, and see what He can do!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Win Jesus Calling for Your Teen!

Jesus Calling is my very favorite devotional – now your kids can make it part of their quiet time, too!  I was so excited to get the chance to review a copy for Tommy Nelson.  I chose Jesus Calling for teens, and although my oldest is not quite a teenager, he loves it!

Jesus Calling for teens is basically the full Jesus Calling devotional, with a fun design for a younger audience.  Your child doesn’t have to be a teen to love this book.  My oldest son is 10 years old and doing 6th grade homeschool work, and he has been reading this on his own every night.  He’s told me several times how much he loves it, and how each day when he reads, it seems to be just what he needed to hear that day.
You can check out more about it by checking out the Flipbook or visiting the Thomas Nelson website.
To enter, like the Jesus Calling Facebook page and leave a comment below!
For extra entries: (Please leave a comment for each one that you do)
  1. Subscribe to Grace in Our Moments
  2. Like the Grace in Our Moments Facebook page
  3. Share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog
 This contest ends on Tuesday, October 23 at midnight.  The winner will be announced Wednesday, October 24.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Are Your Goals Too Safe?

Do your goals and your dreams scare you, or are you being too safe?  I'm posting my thoughts on this today over at Must Love God

This really hit home for me, because in the middle of writing this post, I learned that a high school classmate was killed in a car accident at just 32 years old.  God was already dealing with me about dreaming God-sized dreams.  This horrible accident just confirmed it - life is too short and too fragile to not dream big.  Check out my post and tell me about your scariest goals!

Also, I'm really excited to announce that Grace In Our Moments is now on Facebook!  Check it out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fragile Gifts

It's the most fragile gift we're given, a treasure so easily broken, yet we take it for granted every day - until the unthinkable becomes reality.  The precious gift of life has overwhelmed me this week.

This past weekend, a high schoool classmate of mine died in a car accident.  He was 32 - my age.  Although we didn't really run in the same circles in high school, I knew him and his entire family.  He was living his life - and suddenly it was over.

This week, I've hugged my family a little tighter.  I've kissed my boys as they sleep.  I've lain awake in bed and thanked God for my husband breathing softly beside me as he sleeps.  I've been amazed at the simple things that are really extravagent graces - the sunrise, the leaves fluttering in the breeze, the ever-changing water of the river I drive over every day, the laughter of my family, the voices of my friends. 

Every moment, every breath, is full of grace.  I never want to take that for granted.  But the greatest gift is that life doesn't end when we breathe our last in this really just begins.  I'm thankful for life - in both this world, and, as my favorite author Ted Dekker so perfectly says it, in "...the real world behind the skin of this world, where everything really is beautiful."

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Can Someone Hit the Brakes?

I tend to be a little insane overbearing type-A sometimes.  I can get over-involved.  I can let myself get completely burned out.  I can get overwhelmed.  I can put too much pressure on myself.  I can slip into the "I'll take it easy when I'm dead" mindset.  Is anyone with me?

Unfortunately, I pay for my "I can do it all" personality...and my payback comes in the form of anxiety attacks.  After five years with no attacks, my unwelcome friends made their appearance again a few weeks ago, giving me my worst attacks ever. 

Part of it is the stress of my life right now, but I truly believe that this is also an attack.  God is moving in my life.  I'm drawing closer to Him than ever before, and He's leading me in new directions.  It's exciting and terrifying to be standing on the brink of some huge, God-sized dreams.  I just wish I wasn't fighting anxiety.  I wish I could hit the brakes and slow some of the craziness down a little. 

I can't slow things down, though.  I have to push ahead to graduation (in just 7 more months - woo hoo!)  I have to live my life and balance all the craziness.  I would really appreciate your prayers as I fight this battle.