DIY Craft Supply Caddy

With three kids 4 and under, the opportunities I have to do anything crafty is very rare. Even when I do, it takes much longer than it would have before kids.

This project, start to finish, took two months. It started with the purchase of this pretty neat caddy. I’m not sure what it’s original purpose was, but I found it at Goodwill for 99 cents, and it looked like a perfect Craft Supply Caddy to me! A few weeks of can collecting and I was ready to put it all together.

craft caddy

I took the labels off the can and then ran them through the dishwasher to get the extra yuck off of them.

nice and shiny

Because I wanted to make the Craft Supply Caddy for my kids, I solicited their help in the decorating process. They used this really cool Color Wonder paper and markers. Have you heard of this stuff? It’s amazing. Anyway, the kids decorated and I glued them onto the cans.

using color wonder markers to decorate

 

larry boy

Here’s the finished product. Love it. And the kids do too!

craft caddy

If Not For Grace {Where Will They Be?}

There’s a fear as a parent that kind of sneaks up on you. I really don’t think it is there when you say I do. It may cross your mind when you see the (+) sign on the pregnancy stick. It may creep up here or there as you contemplate your little one’s future but as a wise friend shared with me recently, it definitely doesn’t consume your thoughts as you rock your sweet baby to sleep.

But over time it does come. For me, the fear has begun to surface now at the tender parenting age of 4. I’ve been doing this mom thing for 4 years now. Wow. Seems longer in some ways and in others so brief. I sure do know less than I thought I did four years ago.

As my eldest begins to grow in his understanding of good choices and bad choices, as he experiments with using kind words and mean words, as his will becomes iron clad {read: extremely strong and stubborn}, and as his thoughts become more articulate and his memory more photographic, it is now that the fear can overtake me.

Not always, of course but it is there all the same. The fear that I will fail in raising my children in a way that leads to them living their lives fully surrendered to Christ. It’s funny…ironic. I’m not worried about them failing in other areas.

Fall off your bike? No big deal! Dust the knees off and let’s get back on!

Make a C in Algebra? No worries! Let’s tackle this Math giant together.

Didn’t make the basketball team? That’s okay. Let’s practice this summer together and give it another try next season.

Make a decision that contradicts everything that Mom and Dad have tried to teach you about living for Christ? Utter. Fear.

Make a bad choice. No. I mean a really really REALLY bad choice…and I’ve failed as a parent.

Question your faith? Well, that’s okay….I want you to truly own your faith. But please don’t do something so terribly bad that it alters your future.

Deep breath.

Dom is only 4. Charlotte is sassy but that comes with 2 right? And Devin…his greatest transgression is going through 5 diapers in less than a half hour.

In time, however, all three will fail. Make the wrong choice. It could be as seemingly insignificant as coloring on the walls with crayons or as drastic as a rebellious stint around town painting graffiti on walls {do people still do that?}

How will I respond when these and the in-between mistakes happen?

We teach our children to love one another. Be kind to one another. To share. To forgive. To ask others for forgiveness.

Am I doing the same? Am I extending grace?

Or am I that example that says in a pharisaical way that only certain sins are forgive-able? Do my actions illustrate the lie that there are levels of transgressions?

OR do I show that GRACE is GRACE is GRACE!

Sure. There are natural consequences to each choice we make. There are results we must live with because of those decisions. Good and bad.

In the midst of every decision, do my children know that I love them without conditions. That more importantly their heavenly Father loves them without prerequisite. Do my children understand that although my actions and responses to their choices may be flawed that the love of God is without blemish…that it is UNconditional….pouring out…OVERFLOWING in buckets of grace.

How do I teach my children to make the best choices? How do I give them permission to fail when I am honestly so terrified to see them fail? When I fear the height from which they may descend before they learn to soar?

And then the verses come:

“…And while we were still sinners Christ died for us”. {Romans 5:8}

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” { Ephesians 2:8}

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. {Hebrews 4:16}

In that moment, I am reminded that my husband and I have been blessed with three beautiful children who are on loan as the saying goes. We feed them, clothe them, sing and dance with them when they are young. We read with them, talk with them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The SAVIOR who died to pay the insurmountable debt of sin.

So..in this scary world of conflicting statments and questions like:

“What is truth?”

“Doesn’t matter what you believe. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. It’s all good.”

“What does the Bible really say about A,B, and C?”

“That’s okay for you but I’m making my own path.”

In the midst of all that, I can love like Jesus, teach my children to do the same, love his word, teach his word, extend grace, receive grace, pray, pray, PRAY and watch the Holy Spirit stir their hearts and lead them on their own journey with Christ.

Will there be scabbed knees, literally and spiritually, along the way? You betcha! But I have to trust that the God who pursued my heart, who continues to call to me and remind me of His unfailing love for me, is calling out to my children as well. I have to believe that his grace is deeper, wider, and of greater substance than anything I can muster up on my own. He loves me faults and all.

He loves me just like:

Judas who betrayed him

Peter who denied him

Paul who persecuted him

His grace never ran out on them…it hasn’t run out on me.  And it won’t run out on my children.

They have amazing futures ahead of them. They will make lots and lots of mistakes along the way.

But that is okay because….GRACE.

parker_nb-77 (1)

Tea for Two {Charlotte Leigh’s 2nd Birthday}

 

Last Saturday, we celebrated our daughter’s 2nd Birthday. Her birthday is in March, but the arrival of our 3rd child in January has us a little behind.

Here are few highlights of this sweet little party we had with a few of her little friends.

 

tea for two

Charlotte’s Invitation. I found a teacup template online and used scented drawer liner paper for the teacup.

 

scarves and hats and jewelry

The dress up area. Hats, scarves and jewelry. I found those cute little suitcases in my favorite shopping destination: downtown McKinney!

 

Charlee dressed up

All dressed up!

 

trying jewelry

My sweet adorable niece picking out some jewelry.

 

putting together a teapot picture frame

I found these cute teapot picture frames through oriental trading.

 

tea time!

I found a super cute book about tea parties. I’m so sad I didn’t get a good picture of the tables. I found the hanging tulle through a friend raising funds for a ministry. Win-Win!

 

food

This is unfortunately the aftermath of the party but we had sweet tea (of course), lots of yummy fruit, teapot cookies and Strawberry Shortcake. Notice the bell on the table? We rang this to announce tea time! It has a beautiful butterfly on it. 

 

 

mason jar silverware

I found this metal caddy at a thrift store. {surprise, surprise} I bought the mason jars at the grocery store and the plastic ware at the dollar tree, napkins, plates and straws from Target. 

eating food

I created the place mats with the same drawer line paper. I used chalkboard cardstock for the place cards.

 

 

sweet little friends

Aren’t these the cutest tea party littles you ever saw?! In the trees I hung instagram photographs of Charlotte.

 

slide

What’s a tea party without a little girl time on the slide?!

 

friends

Thankful for such great friends!

 

everyone

Swoon! The banner says “tea for two”

 

charlee is two

Sipping tea

 

party favors :)

Party favors: I got the cute little purses in the Target Dollar Spot. The contents were bubbles, tea party stickers and a teapot necklace kit.

 

thank yous

I couldn’t resist the garden tools I found at a thrift shop!

 

charlotte leigh

Happy 2nd Birthday Charlotte Leigh!

 

I am really proud of how Charlee’s party turned out. Perfectionist me could tell you a million things that I forgot or didn’t do the way I envisioned but those sweet important little people didn’t notice. And that is truly all that matters.

My Body My Choice {A Repost}

I wrote this shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte Leigh. Since then, my body has changed even more with the arrival of not only a second child but a third! I needed to *hear* this. Perhaps someone else does as well.

Eighteen glorious months ago I gave birth to a beautiful 8lb, 8 and half ounce baby boy. On January 20, 2011, Dominic Truth arrived on the scene and our lives have never been the same.

Neither has my body.

Perhaps I should rewind even further to the day I found out I was pregnant. Little did I know how much would change in the 42 weeks that followed. {yes, I said 42 weeks}

From that moment of conception my body began a rigorous marathon of growing life. And growing my body to hold this life. In the ten months that followed, my hips widened, my middle thickened and my face rounded. My brisk gait became a waddle.

just found out I was pregnant! So little!

41+ weeks!

After Dominic was born I began the long process of losing the weight that I had so happily {and easily I might add} gained in an effort to grow a baby. I lost a huge portion simply from walking, nursing my baby and returning to pre-pregnancy eating habits.

And I am proud to announce that although it took me over a year I have been maintaining my pre-pregnancy weight for a few months now.

But it’s just not the same. My clothes don’t fit the same way. And my shape is…different. It’s just not the body I had before I got pregnant.

And this could make me sad. Some days it does. But then I remember the wondrous miracle that took place in this body that now houses more skin than I’d care to admit.

Then I recall that my body before Dominic didn’t always make me happy either.

In those days, I could easily look at myself in the mirror and lament it’s shape and size. I could seamlessly criticize every extra pound and unwanted curve. I could scrutinize every gap in my teeth and lament over the acne scars that accent my face. I could tear myself down and ridicule my body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

Or I could remember who created me. I could thank God for the body he’s given me. I can proudly look in the mirror and proclaim, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” {Psalm 139:14}

I can pull my shoulders back, lift up my chin and broaden my smile because it’s my body. And it’s my choice to love it just as I am.

You may not have had a baby or perhaps you’ve had several. Your body is beautiful. Created by God in a shape and size that is exquisite. You may not have had a choice in what you  look like but you do have a choice to love you and your body as it is.

It’s your body. How will you choose to regard it?

 

This post was originally published on journeytobecomingone.wordpress.org on July 30th 2012. 

a boy and his elephant

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

Things I don’t want to forget:

That my little girl says ‘nom nom’ to say thank you. The more nom nom’s the more thankful she is

brown eyes

That my eldest son randomly cleans his room after we’ve put him to bed. He’s also been known to change his clothes a few times when he should be sleeping.

dom

That my baby boy has a smile that truly lights up a room and warms his momma’s heart.

smiley baby

That my eldest is a planner and must ask daily: “where are we going today?”

Dom dressed as buzz

That my daughter, at 2, is already a fashionista…wearing clothing in uncoventional ways like socks for gloves and pj’s as a hat.

foxy little lady

socks are the new gloves

 

That my precious newborn resembles Winston Churchill….a lot.

dev looks like winston churchill

pic of Winston

That my 4 year old creator loves to make his farm animal duplo creatures super heroes.

dom with color picture

That my daughter loves strawberries and affectionately calls them Baubles

Charlee outside

That my little 2 month old chuckles in his sleep.

devin on his playmat

That my oldest has always been our little song bird waking up with and sometimes before the sun with joy in his heart and music on his lips.

listening to a message

That my middle child sways her shoulders back and forth when given a compliment

snow day with our little lady

That my youngest can sleep anywhere as long as he is in our arms.

devin looks like WInston Churchill

That my oldest makes sure to tell his daddy to “be safe on the roads” every time he leaves for work.

dom for fairy tale day

That, according to my daughter, no matter the animal,the sound he makes is “moo”

sofia nightgown

That my children love books but adore the Bible above all others.

d and c coloring

That big brother and sister love their baby brother and can’t wait to run and play with him.

charlee and devin

That our 3rd child has and continues to break all the rules reminding us that we really don’t know what we are doing but thankfully have the best kids on the planet.

devin sleepong

swing time

 

Can’t forget that. So blessed.

Life. Is. Beautiful.

 

 

Dom's penguin

Craft-A-Day {book review}

craft a day book

A little over a year ago, I came across a nifty book called Craft A Day by Sarah Goldshadt.  As the title suggests, the author provides a craft tutorial for every day of the year. They are broken up into 52 weeks of themes such as fox week and snowman week. On fox week you might have options to make a stuffed felt fox, or a fox greeting card. On snowman week, you may make snowman garland or a snowman cupcake topper. 7 crafts for each  theme subject. The materials are common and the crafts are very easy because all the patterns needed to make said crafts are provided.

visual table of contens

I initially bought this book for me so I would make myself take 10 minutes a day for me. I made it to week 2. Oh well. Fast forward to this past Monday when I had an exceptional mommy day with all three kids. I pulled the book out and had my eldest look through the pictures to choose a craft to do that morning. He picked the penguin theme. All we needed was parchment paper and pencil to trace the pattern provided, and construction paper, scissors and glue to make the actual penguin.

Dom's penguin

At Dom’s age (4), I did most of the work but he really enjoyed gluing the penguin together and drawing his eyes! We had so much fun that later that afternoon we found a robot pattern and made a greeting card for one of his little friends. (We put it in the mail before I thought to get a picture!) So TWO crafts, on the fly, in one afternoon! That’s pretty amazing!

Today we got a little more complicated and made a turtle magnet. I have to say that it turned out really cute.

turtle magnet precut

turtle magnet complete

This craft required cardstock, mod podge and magnet paper but, again, these were all supplies I had on hand. “You just happened to have magnet paper lying around?” you ask. Why yes I did thanks to the introductory chapter of this book that provides a shopping list of all the supplies needed to make all the crafts listed in the book. And they are simple things like construction paper, felt, card stock and of course magnet paper.

I really like this book especially in light of my recent crafting experiences with Dominic. I would highly recommend it for someone, like me, who might be looking for an entry point into crafting and I definitely think it’s a great investment for those with children interested in arts and crafts.

And just so you know, I’m not getting compensated for this post. I just really like this book and think you will too. Here’s the amazon link

Don’t let the price take you off guard. Remember it is a year’s worth of crafts complete with patterns, and seriously EASY instructions that even I can follow! That means they are really easy! And I’d say the list of supplies needed to be successful at crafting is a pretty good perk alone to the purchase of this book.

So to sum things up, here are my three top reasons for loving this book:

1. The crafts are really simple!

2. I can do crafts on the fly with my energetic 4 year old.

3. The finished product actually looks good!

Let me know if you pick this book up. I’d love to know what you think!

 

Devin’s Birth Story {part three}

This is part three of my son Devin’s birth story. You can read part one here and part two here. 

I had been assured that I would only be separated from my little fella for a few minutes; long enough to sew up my incision. And true to what I’d been told, I was wheeled back to the recovery room and my sweet Devin was placed on my chest.

So many feelings and sensations swept through my body and heart. Here this beautiful creature lay near to my heart and yet I couldn’t feel my toes!

I tried to take in every inch of him. His beautiful dark hair, his long fingers and toes, his eyes… were closed! Oh how I wanted to see his eyes. But he wouldn’t open them! Were they blue like his brother or brown like his sister?

We began to try nursing but for one reason or another, he wouldn’t latch on. Hindsight I really believe he was just tired and not interested but fear swept over me as rumors and half truths of connections between c-sections and difficulties in breastfeeding I had heard and read about filled my mind. I had breastfed my first two. It was something that was very important to me.

In addition to his disinterest in nursing, his breathing was hurried and irregular. The nurse told us that it was probably nothing but they wanted to take him to the NICU just in case.

And just like that, he was gone. My heart was hollow.

I was stunned. Devin was born at 8:02 and before 9 he was no longer in my arms. Shortly after this departure I was moved to my permanent hospital room. As they rolled me down the hall, I wondered when I would see him again. I would swing between thoughts of he’ll be fine to what if something is really wrong? What if he doesn’t make it? When I made it to my room, I was greeted by numerous nurses who helped move me to my bed, started checking my vitals, and helped me settled in. Marshall left to go see how Devin was doing and we learned the results of the chest x-ray. There was fluid on his lungs.

The most difficult reality was that I could not physically go to my child.

My body was numb from my stomach to my toes. I felt so defeated. The tears were silently falling in steady heated streams down my face.

The next few hours were a blur of checking vitals and my incision and waiting. I felt so alone and helpless.

Then I met my next angel: Kim. She was the nurse tech. She was such an amiable person. We talked about Devin and what was going on. She shared that her daughter had experienced a similar plight and like music to my ears she said: “Would you like to go see him. We can wheel you down there?”

I didn’t know that was possible. I was overwhelmed and so excited. I was going to see my baby boy! There was a glimmer of hope.

It took some time, a lot of assistance and a wheelchair but we were off to the NICU to see my sweet little guy. We had to wash our hands in this special sink and our phones aka cameras had to be placed in ziplock bags (all this to prevent spreading germs). They rolled me to his space and there was my baby boy.

Deep breath.

There were wires and machines connected to different parts of his body. They were measuring heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure. A lot of measurements! When I look back at pictures it doesn’t seem that bad but in the moment….oh my…seeing your baby hooked up to machines and you can’t touch him or hold him…it’s a dreadful feeling*.

In the NICU

In the NICU

Sweet baby boy!

Sweet baby boy!

<3

We lingered for about an hour and then made our way back to my room. We were told he would need to stay in the NICU overnight and so we made our peace with the situation and made plans to start pumping to provide him what milk we could and work on recovery for me. Our first night of Devin’s life was spent every three hours pumping milk for Marshall to take down to our sweet boy to receive. Marshall was able to feed him my milk along with some formula in a bottle.

Marshall fed him first.

I felt guilty for being jealous. I shared this with a few friends and was thankful for the affirmation I received. My dear friend reminded me: I grew this baby inside of me for 39 weeks. I underwent major abdominal surgery to bring him into this world. And yet another one of the most important things in the world to me didn’t happen. I was not able to feed my son. My feelings were valid.

When morning came I was hopeful for good news that my son would be returned to me. A phone call confirmed that he had a very good night and was waiting to be seen by the dr in the NICU. This was exciting news for me. We made plans to visit him. Most of the measuring tools had been removed and he was swaddled up looking so beautiful. And then I was able to hold him for the first time since those early moments of his life. I cried, I swooned, I found healing. There he was so perfect. The hospital dr walked in and shared that he was doing well and pending approval from our pediatrician, Devin would be moved to our room. We were hopeful we would see our baby boy no later than noon. We made our trek back to my room and I started working on trying to get some exercise walking around as suggested by the drs and nurses.

Noon came and went and no baby. Phone calls, questions and still no answer as to why my son could not be brought to me. I did my best to keep busy pumping and moving my body but the stress and the recovery got the best of me. The colustrum (milk) I had been successful in pumping was dwindling. Each time I’d mention it to a nurse, she would assure me that it was normal to wane but in my mind I felt like they were lying to make me feel better. I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt the most horrendous bring-you-to-your-knees pain. I began crying and trembling uncontrollably. I wasn’t sure if it was the pain in my body or my heart but both felt broken. And my baby was not with me. Adjustments with my medicine helped with the physical pain and tears relinquished helped with my emotional pain.

We continued to wait and wonder. My dear friend and angel Leigh Taylor aka Devin’s baby nurse (if they would let him leave the NICU!!!) had written a verse on the whiteboard in our room:

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

cc

Oh how shaken I felt but those words brought comfort. In the midst of all this we had made arrangements for Dominic to come by. Surely by 3 he would be in our room! We FINALLY got word that he was coming this way. We waited and waited and just couldn’t wait any longer so we asked again where he was. We learned he was now in the nursery being examined. At this news I completely lost it. He had been under watchful surveillance for nearly 30 hours in the NICU and now they were examining him. Of course I know there’s procedure and protocol but in that moment all I could think about is all the moments and hours and time spent without him.

And then Leigh Taylor wheeled him in and I saw him and the tears came and all the thoughts and words and hurts and anxieties I had been feeling spilled out onto LT’s kind ears. “I know this is so small compared to what many face in childbirth but this is so hard!” And she listened without judgment speaking only to affirm that my feelings were valid. And when I continued to struggle to feed my child, my dear friend went in search of the head of lactation to help me figure out what was wrong. When this woman walked in the room, the presence of Christ came with her, and the stress and fear melted away. Within minutes of her arrival, my son was nursing like a champ.

In that moment as I held my son, truly held him, and saw his beautiful eyes, God began redeeming the time lost in the past 30 hours. He was mine, he was perfect.

We had a few more challenges before we left the hospital and even some major sickness that hit our house after coming home…all shook me…all tested my faith and trust in God. But God remained faithful. He redeemed every moment that I felt broke me. From an unwanted delivery route to an unexpected stay in the NICU to challenges with breastfeeding….God redeemed every moment and brought angelic creatures into our lives to remind us of our Heavenly Father’s unwavering love and faithfulness to his children.

perfect little one

perfect little one

Devin is six weeks old today. He’s nursing like a champ, sleeping through the…well…we’re still working on that one. Our family is complete and whole and continuing to trust God in all things especially when they do not go as planned because as I believe with all my heart:

Life. Is. Beautiful.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

* My son was in the NICU for 30 hours. The most excruciating 30 hours of my life. I can’t imagine the difficulty others I know have faced in being separated from their child for much longer than this. I now understand and honor those strong parents who have braved the NICU with their baby for days, weeks, and months. You are my heroes!

When Friends are like Family

When Dominic was born four years ago, we had different family members come through and stay with us over the course of the first six weeks of his life. We had meals provided by friends, co-workers and church family for the same amount of time.

When our second child, Charlotte, was born, my mom flew in a week after her birth, and stayed for a week.  The meals seemed to come out of the woodwork yet again.

As we started to prepare for the birth of our third child Devin, we began to realize that no family was lined up to visit after his birth. Thanks to a dear friend we had a few meals in the freezer but that was it.

Then we found out that Devin wasn’t cooperating and that a c-section was looking inevitable. Ironically, all the help and meals we received with the first two was feeling more desperately needed with our third child.

Thankfully we had already figured out where our children would be during our hospital stay, but now, with a c-section on the horizon, that meant an extended stay in the hospital, a more difficult physical recovery, and quite honestly a time of emotional recovery.

We had been given offers here and there to help and I know those offers were sincere but we failed to make those offers into plans.

So a few days before Christmas, I took a deep breath, swallowed my pride and started reaching out for help.

And just like that we had meals planned, gift cards provided, offers to clean our home, plans for play dates with the older children and fervent prayers being offered up. Through it all, I felt God whispering to me: “I am with you.”

When we made it home after Devin’s birth, we had meals waiting on us. Friends were checking in offering to pick up groceries and we actually took them up on it!  The kids had play dates to give mommy and daddy a break. One friend brought us tons of snacks for the kids! Another dear one, on her day off, brought us food, flowers, dessert and cleaned our house making us feel like royalty. And another dear friend came to my home on my first day by myself with all three children. She brought me coffee and lunch for everyone. She saw me in my sleep deprived stupor, still in my pjs…no shower and she helped me with the kids.

Wow.

The past month, no probably closer to 6-8 weeks has been a beautiful gift to our family and a wonderful lesson learned for me.

I don’t know why but it seems to be easier to help others than to ask for the same help. It’s not so simple to receive the help of others. Even when help is offered pride often gets in the way. Someone says to us, “I’d love to bring you a meal or come watch your kids. Just let me know when I can help”. But we never ask. We never follow up. We fear saying, “You know I really could use your help. Can you {fill in the blank}?”

Why? Why? Why?

In the body of Christ this should NEVER be the case. And yet it is.

We fear asking for help. We don’t want to appear weak.

But the first church wasn’t weak; it was very strong.

Acts 2:44-47 says:

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

I remember nearly six years ago when Marshall and I first moved to Texas and found our forever home church: Legacy Church. A young couple had recently brought home their baby from the hospital. We didn’t know them. We didnt know much of anyone yet but somehow we ended up on the e-mail distribution list asking us to sign up to bring them a meal. So. We brought them a meal. Twice. Was it obligation? No! I can still remember being so excited thinking: “This is what the body of Christ is all about!!! It’s that Acts verse where we share everything and bear everyone’s burdens”.

Why, six years later,  was it so difficult to ask for help?To let the body of Christ BE the Body of Christ. To allow others the gift of joyous giving.

It was hard to send those emails and texts and have those “I don’t know what I’m going to do” conversations, but we did and the Church shone brightly in our lives. The gift of generosity gleamed ever so brightly in our family.

I don’t know why it is so hard to ask for help but I know God used our cicrumstances to humble us. Perhaps it is the firstborn in both Marshall and myself, or the ” I can take care of myself” self-sustaining culture of America. I know a lot of it is pride. It is probably all of the above.

Whatever the reason, God has brought me to a new place through the birth of our third child. It is NOT easy to ask for help, but now I know I should. I’m not done asking for help. I have three kids ranging in ages from 1 month to four years. I’m gonna need A LOT of help for a very long time!!

As I sit here, my heart is racing thinking about picking up my two older children from school this week. It’s less than a hundred feet from their classroom to the car but I’m gonna need help. For a multiplicity of reasons, I can’t do it on my own.

So on Tuesday afternoon I’ll take a deep breath, walk into the building with Devin in my arms and receive any help offered to get my kids to the car. And if no one offers, I’ll ask for help.

And I’ll keep asking for help.

Each time will require a deep breath and a reminder self-talk that we are all a part of the body of Christ and we need each other.

And when others need help??? Oh, the the renewed joy I will feel in bearing the burdens of a brother or sister in Christ!

I am so thankful that in our time of need, we asked for help, and our friends responded like family.

We are family after all!

 

Galatians 6:2: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

And the winner is…

And the winner is...

And the winner is…

This was such a fun week for me. I was able to ‘meet’ some new people and I loved reading the comments and learning a little about you. I hope we can do more of that throughout the year!

I was truly blown away by the amount of people who entered to win this amazing album. 30 names went into that fun glass jar! My husband did the honors and without further ado, the winner is….

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

Congratulations Leslie! I’ll be in touch to get your address and there will be a package in the mail shortly with some Little Praise Party goodness inside!

Everyone, thank you for participating and please check out Yancy’s stuff. Her music and ministry has been a huge blessing to my family and I know it will be for yours as well!

www.yancynotnancy.com

 

S10

Taste and See! {Music Review and Give Away}

S10

Almost three years ago, I was introduced to the music of an artist who is now my absolute favorite children’s musician ever and quite honestly one of my favorite music artists of all time in any genre. So when I was given the opportunity to not only gain access to Yancy’s latest album EARLY but also give one away to my readers, I was E-C-S-T-A-C-T-I-C!!!!* 

Here’s the Top Five Reasons why we love Yancy’s music and why we’ve already fallen in love with Taste and See.

5.  My kids enjoy listening to it and so do I! With three children ages 4, almost 2 and 4 weeks old I am going to hear plenty of preschool classics like Itsy Bitsy Spider, Mary Had a Little Lamb and so on for the next five years at least! It’s nice to have something that I and my children both enjoy that is so fun!

4. The music is easy to learn and memorable. From someone who has led children’s worship for over 10 years, finding music for preschoolers is NOT easy!! They need music that is fun and lyrics that are simple. Most options for preschoolers are either hard to listen to or the lyrics are just too complicated for them. But not this music. You love the sound and know the lyrics before the song is even halfway over! One of my favorites on the new album is Stop and Go!

Stop and Go!

Stop and Go! 

Stop and Go!

Go!!!!

Stop and listen to what God says.

Go and do what he tells you to do.

These lyrics are so easy to pick up and making up motions are a piece of cake! Can’t you just see how much fun a preschooler would have saying stop and go?  And how quickly they would pick up on the lyrics?

3. This music is written with Preschoolers in mind. I honestly can think of zero contemporaries to Little Praise Party. Preschoolers like to clap, march, shout, whisper, wiggle, jump and rock their air guitars. Taste and See gives plenty of opportunities for all of these preschool favorites!

2. It has a great message: How about these lyrics:

One, two, three, four,five, six, seven

Days a week

I can always count on God

This is the kind of message I want to instill into all three of my children and I can use this music to help me!

1. The music lingers in your heart and mind long after the song is over. One of my son’s favorite songs from a previous album is 1-2-3 Jesus is Alive. He sings this song all the time. About six months ago, we were at a baseball game and my darling little boy started singing at the top of his lungs:

1-2-3, Jesus is alive.

He died for you and me

but on day three

Jesus rose again

Jesus is alive.

What amazing words for him to not only have in his heart but to also proudly proclaim to all who will listen. That’s the kind of message I want my son carrying around in his heart always.

I love all things Yancy and I know you will too. Within the first 10 seconds of the first song, Super Wonderful, my 4 year old exclaimed how much he liked the song! I think your preschooler will have the same reaction. On top of some of the most amazing music you will ever hear,Yancy also has these amazing animated music videos that compliment each song. My son loves these!! He loves to watch and dance along.

Check out these beautiful screenshots from the videos!

MyGodIsNumberOne_2

 

Obey_1

 

MyGodIsNumberOne_1b

And now the fun part!!!

I am giving away one copy of this amazing album to one lucky reader!

Here’s how you can enter the drawing. You can do one or all of these things. Each one increases your chances of winning this fabulous album!!

  • Comment on this blog.
  • Like my brand spanking new Facebook Page here.
  • Follow this blog.
  • Follow me and tweet a link to this post and include my twitter handle @pattyparker
  • Post to Instagram a pic of how you would use this album (ie, a pic with your kids, your church small group etc) and be sure to tag lifeizbeautyful

So you could possibly have your name in my hat 5 times if you do all of the above. Or just do one of them. Good luck! The contest will be open until midnight (central time) on Friday February 6th and I’ll announce the winner first thing Saturday morning!

Of course there will be only one winner and I really do hope it’s you but even if it is not, I strongly urge you to make this investment in your preschooler. The cd’s are reasonably priced and there are also cd/dvd combos for use at home or in your car! If you are in children’s ministry they have great deals for church use as well. As you can see I can’t say enough awesomeness about this new album. But in the words of Reading Rainbow, “don’t take my word for it”. Check it out yourself! Click here to watch a video preview!

You can pre-order her album here* or if you prefer iTunes, go here*.

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Want to know more about Yancy’s stuff? Check out my blog post I wrote about Yancy’s Lullaby CD here!

 

 

*affiliate link- if you use this link and make a purchase, I get a little something too. Pretty neat huh : )

 THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!

THANK YOU FOR READING AND PARTICIPATING!!!