The Big Six

SJ turned 6 years old on Friday. If you have spent any time around MessyMom.com then you probably know I like to party. SJ has had a Cupcake Party, Green Eggs and Ham Party, Donut Party, and Tea Party. However as I said in my blog post “How to avoid overboard kid parties” I don’t do theme parties every year and this is an off year. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun though! SJ still had a fabulous birthday and I still got to cherish all those gigantic smiles with FOUR teeth missing.

I started the day by sneaking in her room to hang some streamers in the door and throw some pink balloons on her bed. This might sound fancy, but trust me it was nothing you are going to see on pinterest. She woke up late so all 5 of us snuck into her room to surprise her (not hard to do with a deaf girl). We sang happy birthday as a family and she was beaming!

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Her birthday outfit was a shirt I got from a yard sale that had a number 5 on it, but I covered it with a pin that said “I am 6” and she also wore her cupcake headband from last year which was from a conisgnment shop.

No slaving over the oven this year. The cupcakes I sent with her to school were store bought and the 13×9 cake that we ate that night was all from a box.

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My parents and nieces and nephew came over for her “party”. It worked out great because they were going to come over anyway because their mom just had a baby and needs to rest. It made for a really great surprise birthday slumber party though.

Decorations $2

Birthday accessories $6

Birthday desserts $10

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So as you can see it was definitley a low budget simple year and I know SJ still loved it just as much as the years I go all out.

The fun continued on Saturday since the family was still around to hang out and ride scooters.

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Then Sunday she graduated to the big girl class at children’s church and yesterday she had her first daddy/daughter date.

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That’s the last of it though. The birthday festivities are officially over until next year, which may or may not be a theme party. I’ll warn you though, if an idea sparks, there is no stopping me!

 

By | March 8th, 2016|Frugal Living, Motherhood, Parties, Uncategorized|5 Comments

A Safer Internet

I knew the day would come when we wanted some kind of filter for the internet and with an 8 year old doing reports and searches online that day is here. I have been asking friends what they use and it’s been on my mind a lot lately.Except we aren’t at a place where we can afford a subscription or service like that right now so I have just been trying to keep a close eye on things.

Recently Z created a biography on Google Docs. It was really neat and creative, but I asked him where he got the images and it was basically a search engine. I took some deep breaths and explained that he wasn’t allowed to do that anymore.

Quick side note there is a book out there called “Good Pictures Bad Pictures” and from what I have read about it it’s a great way to open up discussion for if (or better yet when) your child is exposed to pornographic images. I haven’t ordered the book yet, but I’ll let you know more about that when I do.

There is bad stuff in the world and we can’t bubble wrap our kids, I get that, but it’s just depressing when you are looking up sing-a-longs on youtube and one of them is laced with vulgarity to be funny or you are trying to do a report on swing dancing but images of swingers show up and scar you for life. I am speaking from experience here.

So when I first heard about Kiddle the FREE safe search engine for kids, I immediately went to check it out.

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Then I typed in words like guns, bikini, Oscar dresses, farts, butts, Kim Kardashian, transformers, spice, swingers, beheading- any word I could think of that could trigger something inappropriate and it passed all of my tests! Most of my even slightly controversial words it said “Oops, looks like your query contained some bad word. Please try again” Although when I checked it today I noticed it said “Oops. Try again” I am not too surprised they modified this because I am sure people were not wanting their kids to think everything was a bad word for example menstruation.

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I am really relieved that Kiddle is here and paving the way for the internet to be a great resource for kids without damaging them. I mean it’s one thing when an adolescent goes looking for trouble, but  it breaks my heart when a child is trying to do something totally innocent and gets blindsided. You can’t unsee things.

Granted, some parents are still upset because they were able to find questionable content on Kiddle. My response to this is that it is not a replacement for monitoring your children. Disney Land is generally a family friendly environment, but there is a possibility that the guy in front of you in line will have a tattoo of a naked lady on his bicep. So yes, when it comes to censoring the entire world wide web by hand there is a chance that things are going to slip through or that a search for the word lesbian is offensive to one person, but not the other. At least from what I’ve experienced Kiddle is going to filter let’s just say 99% of the scary stuff.

One other minor thing that I haven’t seen anyone else talk about in their reviews is that Kiddle will not show copyrighted content. At least that’s what I am guessing is the case I’m not sure. This heavily limits the amount content available when you use the images tab. So let’s say Z is looking for a picture of The Rescue Bots or Sonic the Hedgehog (words that we actually “Kiddled”). A bunch of other random stuff comes up that isn’t relevant. There are tons of other options when it comes to looking for images, but I thought I would mention this little hiccup in case you were looking for a picture of Elsa and found this

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Instead of this.

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So needless to say I am really excited about this search engine. I am thrilled that it is accessible to everyone even those of us on the tightest of budgets.

I know I will still want some other filter eventually that will work on all websites and devices, but this buys me some time. My 8 year olds internet usage is very limited and heavily monitored right now anyway so I think this will cover us for a while.

Do you use any kind of filter or program in your home? If so I’d love to hear about it.

By | March 3rd, 2016|Family, Schooling|1 Comment

When Christine Met Brad

Today’s guest post is from Christine Leeb who has a burning message to share about marriage. Just when they thought theirs was over God stepped in. 

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Our journey together began in college in the fall of 1996. He was the Graduate Assistant for the marching band and I was on the dance team. The first time I saw him, I thought he was the cutest guy I had ever seen. It didn’t matter that he was wearing a Huckleberry Hound t-shirt, khaki shorts with white socks and sandals, he had the most amazing blue eyes. I was instantly smitten.

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At good ‘ole Eastern Illinois University—what’s with all the crackers?

Our relationship was not pretty. In fact, anyone who knew my husband and I when we first started dating would have voted us “The Couple Most Likely to be Divorced”. I’m sure that some of our friends that knew us are shocked that we are still together today, and frankly, so am I. I say this, not out of disrespect for marriage, but because we didn’t do anything right from the beginning. Even as a dating couple, we were a disaster.

We loved each other, but we didn’t do it well. There was a lot of breaking up, a lot of fighting and finally after 4 years of dating and an ultimatum later, he finally proposed. Why? Only God knows. Ultimatums are not a good way to start out a marriage. Regardless, less than 6 months later, on July 8, 2000, we were married,

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Marriage for us was not easy. In fact, a book describing our marriage for the first 8-9 years would be called What Not To Do For A Successful Marriage with a subtitle–Whatever Brad and Christine are Doing, Do the Exact Opposite! This was difficult for us because my parents had been married for 30some years and Brad’s parents had been married for over 40some years at the time. So why couldn’t we do it?

No one ever told us how hard marriage was. It was frustrating.
There was definitely love there. There was definitely friendship. There was definitely common ground. And when things were good, they were really good, but when things were bad, they were really bad. In 2009, our marriage completely fell apart. It all happened right after a 4 year struggle with infertility. Right after we miraculously got pregnant with our beautiful boy, Ben.

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That was when our marriage almost ended in divorce. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but it’s true. Now, our marriage is stronger and better than it’s ever been, but we can’t believe how close we came to ending it…to giving up. Don’t ever doubt Him! Brad and I get teary-eyed just thinking about the fact that had we not fought to save our marriage, we wouldn’t have had two more blessings added to our family! Thank God, for not giving up on us!

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Even though it seemed to us that Ben came at the worst time in our marriage God knew that it was the perfect time. He always does, right? God knew that if He blessed us with a child at the exact same time that our marriage was about to end, we would fight to save it.

And, so, we went to marriage counseling. I remember feeling embarrassed that we had to go. I didn’t even want to tell my parents. When I did, though, my dad says (in his Mattoon, IL southern accent–yes, we Illinoisans have a southern accent) “Well, I’m sure you’re mother and I needed marriage counseling, we just never went to marriage counseling.”

The first two or three maybe even four of our sessions were just Brad and I talking and yelling at each other while the counselor just sat there with his mouth open. For over a year we continued to go to counseling, and we made progress, but trust me, it got worse before it got better. It seemed that for every step forward that we’d take, we would take 100 steps back. It felt hopeless. It felt like we were never going to move forward and heal. I wanted to give up, but I didn’t.
At this point either one of us could have left. Either one of us could have given up, but we didn’t. We never gave up on us! We kept trying to make it work! It was tough. It was not fun to hold the mirror up to our faces and to really take a good at ourselves and see how much we had hurt each other. But we both faced our demons head on, and we were ready to get it all out! Look out!!!

So much came out during these sessions. We realized that we lived over 8 years with a marriage that was not God-centered. It was a marriage that was not protected. Because of that, the enemy attacked our marriage in every way. The enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy every marriage. We had so much brokenness that we didn’t even realize it. We struggled with jealousy, selfishness, lack of trust, disrespect, lack of communication, lack of time together, lack of making our marriage a priority, depression, oh—and, don’t forget the 4 years of infertility thrown into the mix, and the list goes on. All of this mess built up into 8 years of resentment, lack of forgiveness, and anger towards one another. It was ugly.
I will never forget the turning point for us: I got so angry at him one night that I screamed and screamed at the top of my lungs about how mad at him that I was. After that, I’m convinced that God said: “Ok, you’ve said your piece. Now be quiet.” He shut my mouth for eight days. Yes, eight days. We didn’t talk to each other at all. Instead we wrote letters. We wrote and wrote—page after page. We got everything out. Thousands of words. Miles of hurt. Eight years of questions. Eight years of pain. Eight years of destruction. Out. FINALLY—-We were free. Praise the Lord. There was hope.
Not to say that things were perfect from then on, but it was a start—a fresh start! A start to freedom. A start to a healthier communication. A start to an amazing NEW friendship and love. A start to rebuilding a marriage with a foundation of trust. A start of a new marriage with God in the center just the way He intended marriage to be!
In June of 2010, Brad and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. After a year and a half of literally starting our marriage over and building it from the ground up, we chose to celebrate our fresh start in a big way. We traveled out to Napa California.Napa Vacation 2010070

We wore our wedding attire and we renewed our vows on a hot air balloon ride over the valley. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was heavenly. I could feel God smiling.

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Even after almost 16 years together, we are still working on our marriage. Marriage is always a work in progress. We, as individuals, are always a work in progress. Brad and I thank God for pursuing us, changing us, and loving us so much that He used our past to help us build a better future. He helped us to grow closer to each other and to Him. And we are now able to set an example to our children as to what a healthy marriage should be. We are so thankful that God never gave up on us. He kept trying. But that’s not all there is—we had to never give up too. We had to keep trying too.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU

No matter what your struggle is- obviously for me, it was my marriage. For you, it might be your marriage too or it might be something else. No matter what your challenge is, just know that God will never give up on you and He will always keep trying to find new ways to pursue you. In any way that you feel hopeless, may God bring you hope.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12: 12
Together, Brad and I came up with a list of 10 tips that have helped us to have a healthier marriage. We pray they help you too…

1. Put God at the center of your marriage. Even though we have different religions, we still pray together. Pray for each other. Pray! Pray! Pray!
2. Grow together. Be willing to learn from each other.
3. Communicate. Don’t let little things turn into big things. Find out how you both communicate best. And Listen!
4. It is not your job to make each other happy. We are in charge of our own happiness. Instead, show each other unconditional love, encouragement, respect, and support.
5. Laugh together. Find the humor in little things. Always be on each other’s side.
6. Be honest—even if it’s not what the other person wants to hear.
7. Admit when you’re wrong. More importantly, tell your spouse when he’s/she’s right (even though it doesn’t happen that he’s right very often…hehe.).
8. Sometimes some things just don’t need to be said.
9. Don’t let solvable problems be the robber of your time, energy, thoughts and joy.
10. Find something you both enjoy doing together. Be willing to try new things together and get involved in each other’s interests. Be silly and have fun together!

Banana Peel CHRISTINE LEEB is The Real Mom–she has a messy kitchen, loses her patience with her kids, hides brownies from her family, and keeps motherhood real through 4Real Moms—an organization encouraging moms to be real while helping them be the best moms God created them to be. She is a speaker, writer, and Christian Life Coach. She is the author of In His Light: Facing Fear with Faith and three ebooks: Best In-Home Date Nights That Don’t Involve the TV, Blessed in the Mess: 10 Ways to Find Balance in Motherhood, and 22 Ways to Love Your Husband Like a Boyfriend Again which has an on-going 14-Day Challenge for wives to take– JOIN NOW. www.4realmoms.com
By | February 26th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|5 Comments

When Bill Met Loretta

It was 1963 and Bill was a Senior at Hub City Bible Insitue in South Dakota. When he met Loretta he knew she was the one. She was a petite blue eyed beauty who had plenty of boys pursuing her, but Bill didn’t let that stop him and he asked her out. Loretta decided to give Bill a chance and their relationship grew and grew. Being at a conservatie Bible school there were very strict guidelines about how much time a couple could spend “courting” and those hours were logged. Bill and Loretta were supposed to limit it to one hour a week, but they couldn’t bear to be apart that often so they decided they would spend their time together studying in the library. It was just the loophole they needed in order to see each other more.

Things began to get serious and it was time for Bill to meet Loretta’s family. Loretta’s family was of German descent and they went to a German church where it was customary at the time for the men to sit on one side and the women on the other. However the service was in German and Bill didn’t speak German. So yet again they found their loophole and they convinced those in charge they needed to sit together so that Loretta could interpret the service for Bill.

At this point they had been together for over a year and they were still spending their days “studying” at the library. The library was a special place for them. It’s where they really got to know each other and Bill cherished the significance of those moments enough that he thought it would be a great place to propose. So one day while they were at the library he asked her to marry him using a game of hangman. Of course she said yes and they began to plan a wedding.

Loretta wanted to make sure the day was perfect. She made her own wedding dress. She had family and friends enlisted to help with all the details. They even hid their car in a grain elevator so no pranksters (like Bill’s brother for example) would try to do anything to it. Then on October 23 , 1964 before their family, friends, and church they became husband and wife.

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They immediately began their ministry together. Everything they did was to build the kingdom and give glory and honor to their savior Jesus Christ. They were married for two years before they had their son Kendall and then a couple years later Jonathan. After 8 years Loretta wanted to try once more for a daughter. She convinced Bill that they were certain to have a baby girl this time. Soon enough they were expecting baby number 3. The nursery was decorated and the hospital bags were packed with all things pink and finally little David was born. That’s right . They had their third son.

It might not have been what they were expecting but God had blessed them with three healthy boys that grew up as strong leaders who serve the Lord. Loretta eventually had three wonderful daughter in laws that she was very close with. She and Bill also had the joy of getting to be grandparents to 11 grandchildren. Sadly, one of their granddaughters was still born and went to be with Jesus at birth. It was difficult for the family to experience this loss, but they clung to each other and to the word of God during this trying time.

Bill’s favorite Bible verse was “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal Isaiah 26:3.

That verse and the supernatural peace of the Holy Spirit is what carried them through many trying times, like when Loretta was diagnosed with breast cancer. Bill had to become her caregiver and it was season of testing, and trusting in God like never before . Everyone was praying diligenty in the midst of this hardship, and miraculously Loretta had an incredible turn around. She felt whole and was able to garden and cook and do all the things she loved doing. Her well being came at the perfect time because unfortunately this season of testing wasn’t quite over yet.

In the summer of 2015 Bill had an aneurism and it was Loretta’s turn to care for Bill. Due to a terrible fall off of a ladder along with his deteriorating health, Bill ended up in a nursing home. They never enjoyed being apart and it felt dark and lonely. Bill  wasn’t supposed to leave the nursing home at all until he was completely approved for discharge, but once again they found a loophole! Loretta convinced the medical team that it would be nice for Bill to step out just briefly since they knew he was on the mend. The staff approved this request and so they snuck off together. Bill took off his neck brace and back brace and those two crazy love birds managed to have a patriotic photo together that day for the church directory.

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Soon after that they were both back home going to church and having meals with family. Loretta was getting to paint the granddaughters nails and share stories with them while Bill was tinkering in the garage with the boys. They had been married for over 50 years and in ministry together that whole time. They were blessed and they knew it. Then when they least expected it Loretta’s health took a turn for the worse, again. Then one morning as Loretta was lying in bed under the careful watch of the hospice nurse, the nurse pulled Bill aside and told him that she thought she had about 30 days to live. Bill told her that he felt like she would be gone by the coming Saturday, 5 days from then. The nurse argued a bit wanting Bill to hang on to all hope, but Bill stood his ground. Then Bill looked her in the eye and said “and I will be going home shortly after”. He shared this with everyone from his son’s foreign exchange student to the pharmacist. He was insistant. The nurse was concerned and warned the family to watch him carefully for possible suicidality following Loretta’s death. Bill’s sons felt that although he implied heaven when he said he was going home, maybe he really just meant his own house. Five days later Loretta passed ways just as Bill had said.

It was a sad day for everyone. Loretta was a light that had impacted so many and now she was gone. The family mourned while at the same time celebrating her homecoming.

Bill went back to working on projects in the garage and spending time with his family. It was his first time alone in 50 years, but the peace of God was with him. Then a month after Loretta’s passing Bill had a sudden stroke that took his life and he too went to be with the Lord. It may have been unexpected to the family, but Bill knew it in his heart and spirit all along.

Bill and Loretta had a commitment to Christ and to each other that is the rarest of treasures. The legacy they leave behind is one that is evident in their families and will trickle down for generations and generations to come.

When Loretta passed away on October 17, 2015 they used that patriotic photo for her obiturary, but Bill was cropped out. When Bill passed away on November 18, 2015 they used that same photo and this time Loretta was cropped out. However, if you look really close in Loretta’s photo you’ll see Bill’s shoulder in the corner and if you look close at Bill’s photo you can spot some of Loretta’s hair. They were in eachothers obiturary photos. Just like they managed to be together in the library, or in the old German church, or the nursing home, they found their loophole.

By | February 25th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|7 Comments

When Amanda Met Les

Today’s post is a real treat as Amanda White shares the story of how she met her husband and embarked on their journey of serving God together. They are just too cute!

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My husband says I picked him up.

I say I’m just friendly.

We both went to a local community college. We had to park in the commuter lot and walk through the woods to get to the first building on campus. We had both been sitting in our respective cars waiting till the next class. I heard the music in his car and was pretty sure it was Jars of Clay. As a Christian music fan of the early 90’s, I could spot Jars a mile away.

Finally, we both got out of our cars and he was walking a few paces ahead of me. That was when I noticed his shirt. It was a concert shirt by the band, Dakoda Motor Company. Now, if you’ve ever heard of this band, it’s because you were in the throes of Christian Music culture like my family and I were. We went to all the festivals, stayed after concerts and collected every CD that the Christian music industry put out there.

Dakoda Motor Company was one of our indie faves!

I ran up to this Christian-music-fan and said, “Hey! Is that a Dakoda Motor Company shirt?” (He says THAT was the pick-up line!) and we started talking. I asked him what his major was. He said, “Religion.” Well, as any good Christian knows, religion is the word Christians use when talking to non-Christians about their major when they are really studying to be pastors or missionaries. Religion is a nice and basic word that won’t require a lot of eye-raising if you’re not a Christian and you run across a guy who wants to be a missionary as a college student.

I knew his game. So, I said, “Oh, yeah? What do you want to do?”

He said, “Be a children’s evangelist.”

Well. That one stopped me cold.

Because that was actually what I wanted to do, too.

My mom had been involved in full-time children’s ministry at our church almost my whole childhood. I was on puppet and drama teams, worked in children’s church every Sunday and really and truly couldn’t think of anything else I could do with my life. The evangelist part of it was just because I thought it would be fun to travel and be on the stage every night.

So, my next sentence probably really was my pick up line: “Me, too.”

I think we basically dated from that second on.

A few days later he called (I think there’s some guy rule about waiting two days before you call a girl.) and we began to meet for lunch at school, did homework together and essentially began planning our lives together. Because how often do you meet a guy who wants to do the same really weird job as you?

It was three years later that we were married. We moved into some government apartments in north Georgia and worked out the outlet malls while we went to a (different) Christian college. We spent our internship in Oklahoma working at one of the country’s premier children’s ministries. We started traveling around with our little truck and trailer to churches doing “kids crusades” with puppets and music and magic tricks and object lessons.

We spent the next seven years being Les-and-Amanda. We traveled all over the country–from Colorado to New York, to Georgia to New Mexico. We lived in five different states, worked at two churches, visited 35 states and half that time didn’t have a home to call our own. We were nomads doing exactly what we said we’d do the first three minutes we met.

When we had our first baby, a little girl named Lydia, our mission was still the same–tell kids about Jesus. But the kids turned to KID and our world revolved around leading this one little girl to Jesus. We ended up moving back home to Atlanta, lived near our parents and volunteered at a local church. Today, we have two kids and my husband doesn’t do puppets or travel as his daily job, but he empowers me to be at home with our kids leading them to Jesus. He owns three businesses, climbs roofs and makes sales so I can write and help parents lead their kids to Jesus. He sings in the elementary department at our church each Sunday–leading kids in worship to Jesus.

It’s weird how our lives move and change. We have the same passion for kids and God. It’s just moved into a different stream. We don’t just hop in our truck and drive to a new state and meet new people anymore. But we still get to work hard together every day–on daily marriage stuff, on raising our kids and preparing for our future as a family and couple.

Sometimes I forget our story. I don’t always like to look back to when I was a teenager and early twenty-something because let’s face it, that’s not the wisest years of your life. But when I do look back, I am amazed at how God’s finger has been writing our story–how God brought us together at that certain time and place, to meet and to connect and to one day form a family for Him.

And clearly, I’m thankful to Dakoda Motor Company for making music and concert tees!

 

les amanda

 

 

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Amanda White is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands and A Sense of the Resurrection an Easter Experience for Families. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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By | February 24th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|5 Comments

When Amanda Met Michael

Today I am kicking off the 2016 How We Met series of love stories with a  guest post from Air Force veteran Amanda Huffman. She will be  telling us the story of how she met her husband in the military.

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Michael and I met for the first time at a football game. We were actually volunteering for the Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) we were both a part of to help raise funds for activities throughout the year, but it was for a college football game, we were helping park cars. I was assigned to the Purple lot and he was the leader. It was his first time being a leader of a parking lot and when we were sent to the lot no one really had a clue what was going on. Huffman (my hubby) was receiving instruction from the people coordinating traffic and a group of us stood not knowing what to do. I asked one of the girls do you know his name, she said I think it is Huffman, I yelled “Hey, what are we supposed to do?” He made a hand gesture, which I now know means, I don’t know, just wait. Somehow, we got the point and we waited for further instruction and eventually got to our spots and began parking cars.

A few months went by and our paths crossed again. This time we were on a military base visit (Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas). His friend was my flight commander and so our paths kept crossing and it culminated with a group of 13 wandering from casino to casino down the Las Vegas strip.

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A few months later, I signed up for a trip to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I signed up to go because a guy I liked was going. My future husband was coordinating the trip so when he called to ask what tours I wanted to do I tried to find out what my crush was doing so I talked to him a lot to try and figure out what my crush was doing. The trip ended up being a great experience. Michael and I talked and at the end of the trip he thought I might be the one. I still had no clue.

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A few weeks later we ended up going to see Passion of the Christ with a few other guys and he walked me back to my car and we set up a “date” to help me learn a military maneuver I was struggling with. Driving to our “date” I remember wearing my love potion shirt and being so excited, nervous and confused. I wasn’t even sure I liked this guy and I was finally happy with myself. I had decided over Christmas break I was tired of trying to pretend to be someone so people would like me and just was free to be me. The trip to Lawrence Livermore was in February and we saw the movie in March. Each day our paths would cross, sometimes strategically by me, other times by him. We ended up spending a weekend in mid-March at an Army training that I am unsure how I got signed up to. The one thing I learned was how happy I was to be in the Air Force training program and my feelings for Michael started to grow. We spent all of our downtime together talking and getting to know each other and by the end of the weekend we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.

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I think it is funny that our paths crossed over and over and most of the time it just went unnoticed, but it was meant to be. We finally got the hints we were given and ended up together and then were never apart.
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Michael and I got married March 31, 2007 in his hometown. He was already officially in the Air Force and I was about to graduate college and follow him to New Mexico. I served in the Air Force for six years before separating to stay at home with our now two sons. We have lived in New Mexico, Ohio and now California. We have had so many amazing adventures together and life is so much more than I ever expected.

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Amanda Huffman blogs at Airman2Mom www.airmantomom.com with stories incorporating life experience from motherhood and daily life while occasionally throwing in memories from her Afghanistan deployment. Her blog is a source or encouragement and inspiration to others on their own life journey . You can follow Amanda by liking Airman to mom on Facebook page, or following her twitter.

 

Thank you for sharing your story Amanda and more importantly, thank you to you and your husband Michael for serving our country.

 

By | February 22nd, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|9 Comments

How We Met 2

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I am pretty excited, okay EXTREMELY excited about the 2nd annual installment of “How We Met”- a series of love stories. I’ll be kicking it off on Monday, but before that I wanted to take a look back at last year’s couples and give an update of what’s gone on since this time last year. I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a B and ends with abies!

Karin and Cameron (the couple that were found to be compatible in a Lifespan development class)12565401_10153815637325930_1320024551978135448_n are expecting their first baby! They are having a girl and she is due in a couple weeks. Congratulations to them. I can’t wait to get the text when that sweet little bundle arrives!

Kailei and Brad (the couple that met in preschool) had a baby last March. Kailei emailed me recently and says “She has made our life even sweeter and we have loved every minute of being parents!” Congratulations to them too. She’s beautiful.

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Andrea and Mike (the couple who met at the gym) ALSO had a baby! Solomon James was born November 3rd. He is their 8th boy in a row which the Doctor said is extremely rare. He sure is a precious little bird.

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Nancy and Richard (the couple who met in the school parking lot) have a new grand baby! It’s my sweet Elle.
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She is the 7th grandchild and my sister in law is due any day now. That will make 8 grandkids in 8 years for the Weavers.

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The next baby is a boy so it will be 4 and 4!

Anyway, I couldn’t help but share the baby news I have from these lovely Messy Mom contributors. Be sure to come back on Monday when “How We Met” returns.

By | February 19th, 2016|Marriage, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Acknowledging the Self Control Crisis

I recently did a book review of Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson. I mentioned the idea presented in the book to choose two character traits that you would want to be the main focus in your home.

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J and I chose Self-Controlled and Compassionate as our two character traits. J was the one to choose self-control and I went along with it because we are in this together. I have to be honest though, I really struggled with the idea of self-control as one of our main family goals. That did not sound like fun to me. It didn’t even sound biblical. Yes I do realize self-control is a fruit of the spirit, but subconsciously I hear the word “self” and I think “selfish” then add the word control and I think “controlling”. There is nothing I dislike more than a selfish controlling person. All we need is love right?

You guys must think I am crazy. The rest of you are probably obsessed with self-control and have it mastered.

So to avoid resentment about the very thing I am supposed to be imparting to my children I did a little research.

Scripture and truth about self-control began to resonate with me. It’s not glamorous. You won’t hear of people being honored at their funerals for how much self-control they had.

It’s a big deal though. It’s in the Bible for a reason and I am 100% on board with making it a priority in our home.

Obviously self-control that is contrived by legalism will only leave you feeling like a failure. On our own there is no way we can have a healthy balanced sense of self-discipline. Biblical self-control however is critical. It means having a backbone in the face of temptation and denying one’s flesh. It’s doing the exact opposite of what our culture says to do (which would only leave us hopeless in the end). The lust of the flesh is an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure as C.S. Lewis puts it.

Proverbs 25:28 says a man without self-control is like a city broken and left without walls. I have seen the affects of this. I’ve watched powerful ministries ripped to shreds due to a lack of self-control. It can cost you everything. You can have so much success that you are standing among the stars, but without following God’s command for self control the enemy has the perfect opportunity to kick the ladder right out from under you. Having self-control actually amplifies and supports the other spiritual fruits. It allows you to have integrity as you serve and move in the gifts of the spirit. I definitely want that for my children.

So when it comes to self-control as a core value in our home I’m still not like Ohhh yay! I love self-control. I know my kid’s will too. Now let’s practice by setting a jar of forbidden candy on the coffee table. Woo hoo!

What I do know though is that the media is screaming indulgence! Our society reeks of entitlement. We are a nation of instant gratification who would rather point fingers than take responsibility for anything. We have a self-control deficiency!

Enough is enough. It’s going to take an intentional effort on my part to teach my children the truth. God has given us instructions, a path, and a plan. The Holy Spirit guides us and has given us the reins of self-control. I want myself and my family to grab ahold of those reins.

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

-1 Corinthians 9:26

 

 

By | February 2nd, 2016|My Life, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hanging My Hat

I took this week off from blogging. Not because I didn’t feel like writing (because I really have). I just needed to focus on Elle this week. We had 4 different appointments so it’s been intense.

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After waiting a month for these evaluations, and really hoping for some concrete answers, we walked away with more questions. It wasn’t bad news. It was just conflicting. I feel like my hands are tied right now and I have prayed Lord is this just a season of waiting? Is there anything I can do to help my daughter? and I felt in my heart the word that was given to me at the beginning of the year. Next. And I was reminded to do the next right thing.

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So I called our current audiologist and asked if I could just come meet her in person and she graciously agreed. She allowed me to stop by right then! How amazing is that? We sat down and talked. She answered my questions. We came up with a plan. I needed a plan guys. I am a planner. I was willing to not have one if it was the right thing, but this was an answer to prayer for me.

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The plan right now is to hold off on hearing aids. With her head still being wobbly and her still sleeping so much, the hearing aid would be more of a nuisance than it would be beneficial. Once she is upright and on the move then we will do a hearing aid in the left ear.

Granted all of this could change. There is so much up in the air right now. I feel like my entire head is up in the air. My mom likes to use the idiom “where do you hang your hat?” and that is it. I needed to hang my hat on something! Another month of waiting for the next ENT visit, ABR, or genetic testing results would just make me go crazy. I can’t hold onto this hat. I need to hang it and so for now I know that is no hearing aids, I will continue with early intervention therapy, and continue monitoring for fluid and hearing tests. Even if it changes, I’m going to be okay, but for now that’s the plan . That’s the next right thing.

Thank you for all of the prayers. I know that they have made an impact.

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By | January 30th, 2016|Special Needs, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Strong and Kind

I decided that instead of a brief synopsis at the end of the year of all of the books that I remember reading, I would do a review (or at least share some thoughts) of the books as I read them one at a time.

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I just finished Strong and Kind: and Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed by Korie Robertson.

I feel guilty because I kind of gave the book a bad wrap when I shared on Facebook last week. I said I was anxious to move on to another book and admitted to falling asleep reading it. It’s not my all time favorite parenting book and I’ll admit, not being a Duck Dynasty fan probably takes away a lot of the appeal. However, I did glean some valuable wisdom from Strong and Kind and I am really glad I read it.

The title Strong and Kind are the two main character traits that the Korie and Willie Robertson wanted to instill in their kids as they were raising them. Toward the beginning of the book there is a list of character traits to pull from.

The idea is to choose your top two from the list and be intentional about teaching these habits to your children as well as exhibiting them yourself. Of course it’s hard to choose just two. We want all of them. Korie even mentions that in the book. You should want all of them and strive for all of them. But by choosing two above the rest you can really focus and have a better chance of actually following through because you are making it a priority.

Here is the list and I don’t remember if you are “supposed to” add your own, but I don’t see why not.

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I sent this list to J and it took him days to decide. I was more inclined to choose the first two that popped out to me. I’m not too surprised. That really is typical of our personalities. He chose words of power and determination, while mine were more about the heart and emotions. Again, I am not surprised. We’re opposites (remember my Ricky and Lucy comparison?).  I like to think that we balance each other out. So we settled on one of his words and one of mine. That is how we came up with Self-Control and Compassion. I bet you can guess who chose what.

I’ve been thinking and studying what these words really mean and what the Bible has to say about them. It’s been a very positive experience and I plan to share more soon.

What two words do you think you would choose for you family? I know it’s hard, but even thinking about it is a good exercise every parent should consider. So despite my skepticism in the end I did like Strong and Kind and if you like the Duck Dynasty clan then I would definitely recommend it.

By | January 21st, 2016|Parenting Tips|2 Comments