Eating Healthy With Kids

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I have to confess, I most certainly have a sweet tooth and would be content to eat nothing but a bowl of ice cream for dinner.  But, ever since I had my first baby seven years ago, I’ve been struggling to be a good role model for my kids when it comes to eating healthy.  I may look like I have my eating under control, but even thin people struggle with the foods they eat.

We have everything at our finger tips here in the USA and in many other places around the world.  Just around the corner is a McDonalds, Culvers, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Dairy Queen!  I’m sure I’ve missed a few more fast food places in that list, but I’m sure you know how I’m feeling.  We all have to drive past those places on our way to school, work, the store, and even at the most vulnerable time when we’re all hungry after church on Sundays!  Am I right?  The kids never fail to ask if we could just stop for a while at McDonalds or get some ice cream at Dairy Queen.  The kid inside all of us would love to do that very thing every day.  But, we know exactly what that would lead to and we don’t want to go down that path.  Not only would our belts and budgets be busted, we would also experience the quantity and quality of life God has blessed us with diminishing with every cheeseburger and blizzard we buy.

There is a verse in scripture I was recently given a new perspective on.  Some parents take this verse to mean that if we teach our children about Christ, they will eventually believe and be saved.  I don’t, however, believe this verse has anything to do with salvation.

The verse is Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Train a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I’m sure you’re asking “What does that have to do with healthy eating?”  I’m getting there!  You’ll just have to bare with me, ok?

When you see the word “train” in scripture, very often it is used when speaking of war.  Soldiers were trained for battle so they would have the best chance of survival.  Although in most cases we are not training our children for a real physical battle, the Bible talks about another type of battle.  James 4 addresses the war within us that wages each and every day.  It is a war of “passions.”

We need to be training our children to face these passions at an early age and overcome them.  We all know that it is much easier to develop good habits when we’re young than to try breaking bad habits when we are older.  I believe that is at the root of that verse.  If we train our children to eat healthy and develop other good habits, they will not depart from those good habits when they are older.


We should be establishing these good habits to ensure a bright future for our children and their children.  Not only are we at war within ourselves, we are also at war as a nation.  Our country is fighting obesity, diabetes, depression, and so many more conditions that are fueled by the foods we eat and our lack of physical activity.  If we fight against these bad habits now, our children are less likely to struggle as we do.

Throughout my childhood, and now into my adulthood, I have struggled with a sugar/carb addiction.  I never established good eating habits and I am now paying for it.  While in high school, I used to eat Fruity Pebbles for breakfast and come home after school to devour a few scoops of my favorite ice cream or get a blizzard at Dairy Queen after Tennis practice.  Sugar was my reward for almost everything.  It was my reward for waking up in the morning!  And, don’t even get me started on my birthday favorites.  Ok, I’ll get me started.  My birthday included French Toast (made with Wonder Bread) piled high with butter and powdered sugar, Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese for lunch, and Pizza for dinner.  And, don’t forget the birthday cake made out of Oreos and Cool Whip!

You may be asking, “How are you not overweight?”  Well, the answer is very simple really.  I never ate large portions.  I would eat throughout the day in small portions.  This kept my metabolism up.  To this day, I still have a hard time finishing an entire meal.  It’s just not natural for me.

Although I may have my weight under control, my emotions have been taken on a rollercoaster.  When I eat nothing but carbs and sugar, I become very irritable and sometimes depressed.  My emotions are all over the place and I have a hard time focusing on tasks.  Being a Mom of four young children already keeps my emotions on high alert and keeps me from completing tasks.  I certainly don’t need to be feeding my frustrations with “crabby calories.”  Eating donuts in the morning for breakfast might be fun while you’re eating them, but just wait a little while after that and you’ll be more likely to snap at little Timmy for spilling his milk again.


It’s important to find a way to kick your sugar/carb cravings.


Teaching our children good manners, healthy eating, cleanliness, and self control at an early age will ensure a life of good habits and can even give them a better chance of survival in this world we live in.  A rude, unhealthy slob with no self control will not survive and thrive the way we want our children to.


Breaking Bad Habits

If you are one of the many people that struggle with a sugar addiction or you’re just looking for ways to change your families eating habits, here are a few simple steps you can take to become healthier.

Step 1:  Education

Get Educated!  Sit down as a family and watch a documentary on food and how it affects your health.  You can find some good videos at  After you discover the facts as a family, discuss your findings.  Then, find some healthy recipes for meals you would all enjoy.

Step 2: Find Healthy Alternatives

Before you go on a rampage and throw out all of your favorite treats, you’ll want to take it one step at a time.  First, try replacing those treats with a healthier version of them.  I know these may cost more, but you are paying to keep the nutrients that your body uses to properly process the sugars.

 10 Healthy Alternatives to Kids Favorites

  1. Replace fruit snacks and gummy bears with dried fruit or Fruit Roll-Ups Simply Fruit Rolls
  2. Replace refined sugar with date sugar, a whole food sweetener made by simply grinding up dates.  Date sugar can be used to replace white sugar or brown sugar in most baked goods and it tastes just as sweet!   Check out my recipe for date brownies!
  3. Replace chocolate with carob chips or powder.  Read about the benefits of carob at
  4. Replace ice cream and yogurt with unsweetened fruit smoothies.  Try the recipe book Green Smoothie Recipes & other Healthy Smoothie Recipes to get you started.  Or, just come up with your own smoothie recipes and have fun with the kids!
  5. Replace regular peanut butter with Natural or Organic Peanut Butter with NO Sugar.
  6. Replace Pancake Syrup with 100% Pure Maple Syrup
  7. Replace Jams and Jellies with 100% Fruit Preserves
  8. Have designated “snack” times throughout the day to avoid hungry tummies and over eating at meal time.  Great snacks include fruit, string cheese, carrots, and dried fruit and nut mixes.  Read about the benefits of Snacking.
  9. Try to have your children help or just be in the kitchen with you while you are making dinner.  They will be more likely to eat what you’re making if they can participate somehow in the meal preparation.  And, maybe they’ll learn something!
  10. Instead of delivery or frozen pizzas, try making your own!  My family and I love socca pizza and it’s really easy to make.  We got our recipe from the Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Recipe Book.


Step 3:  Drink More Water!!

Drinking more water will help you stay hydrated and keep you from over eating.  Sometimes your body just needs water, not a bar of chocolate!

Step 4:  Stay Active

For some reason, this is the hardest thing to do for most people.  As a mom, I get tired just watching my kids jump around.  It also doesn’t help when your body is being dragged down by junk food.  The first week I cut out refined sugar, I felt horrible!  I didn’t want to do anything or talk to anyone.  All I wanted to do was focus on getting through the week without putting a spoon full of ice cream in my mouth!  But, once I got past the first week, I found that I had much more energy.  Not only that, I also felt less irritable and had a clear head.

Once I got my energy back, I started to force myself to exercise.  I couldn’t understand why it was still so hard for me since I had the energy to get through the workouts now.  Suddenly, it dawned on me!  Exercise can be fun!  I just had to find an activity that I loved doing.  I tried going for a run and nearly died of boredom.  I know I love tennis, but now it’s the middle of winter.  I also don’t have the time to go to a fitness center or join any yoga or zumba classes.  So, I had to think of something I could do at home while taking care of my four kids.

One day, I finally found the ear buds/headphones I had been looking for.  I plugged them into my iPod and started dancing around the house as I did laundry, vacuumed, picked up toys and clothes, etc.  Not only did this give me a great workout, it made me happy!  The kids found it amusing and I’m sure they noticed that Mommy was in a better mood.  I had finally found something active that I loved to do… dancing!

Step 5:  Treat Yourself!

While you may have gotten rid of all the junk food in your house, there are still those temptations outside of the house.  Once you’ve cleansed your body and gotten into a clear state of mind, you most likely won’t crave the junk anymore.  But, don’t fool yourself!  Those memories of sinking your teeth into a gooey glazed donut will not fade as quickly as you hope.  You can still treat yourself once a week without giving in to your addiction once again.  You’ll find the less you eat the sugar and carb filled treats, the easier it is to pass them up and only have them once in a while.

It’s important to teach our children that cake and ice cream are for special occasions.  They shouldn’t be something you keep in the house to eat after every meal.  Once that has been established, you and your children will begin to enjoy the healthy treats.  Your interest in different flavors will grow, and life will be that much more exciting!




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I Hope You Dance

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I love dancing, don’t you?  How about music?  I like music too.  The two go hand in hand of course.  You can’t really have one without the other.  Even if you’re not dancing outwardly when you listen to music, I bet you’re dancing on the inside.  For the past couple days, I’ve been walking around my house with my iPod in my pocket and ear-buds in my ears.  My husband and children have caught me dancing many times.

I’ve found that music motivates me.  It motivates me to clean the house and keep going until the laundry and dishes are all done.  It motivates me to be active.  Dancing isn’t the only thing we do to music.  I often see people out walking or running with their MP3 Player.

Depending on the song, it can motivate me spiritually by lifting up my soul to my Creator God.  A life without music and dance is a life that is unfulfilled.  So, not only do I pray that you’ll be motivated by music… I hope you dance!!!!!!!!


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What is a “Me Day?”

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Candace Me DayOur family just loves the cartoon “Phineas and Pherb.”  If you have never seen it, you have got to give it a chance.  This past weekend, I was thinking about one of the episodes where Candice is determined to give herself a “Me Day.”  Most of her summer days are spent trying to “bust her brothers” as they are building or doing something crazy and amazing.  But, this day was different.  While watching this particular episode with my kids, I began to imagine myself as Candice.  She looked so comfortable and relaxed in her robe and slippers just zoned out in front of the TV.  Why couldn’t I have a day like that?  A day where I could just turn myself completely off.  A day with no responsibilities and no parental obligations.  A day that I could call a “Me Day?”

Then, I realized that I’m not a cartoon.  I am no longer a teenage girl with a long summer break.  Nor am I a robot that can just be switched on and off.  I am a wife and a lover, a mother and a teacher, a sister and a friend.  I am a child of God, an intelligent human being, a lover of all that is good.  I am a blogger, an inspirational book reader, a gluten-free baker and cook.  I am a movie critic, a ballerina at heart, a quiet yet quirky soul.  I am a seeker of truth, an often overwhelmed thinker, a half-done homemaker.  I am Me!

So, what IS a “Me Day?”

To me, a “Me Day” is a day in which I am truly myself.  A day that is filled with everything and everyone that I love.  When I get to the end of a “Me Day,” I have the feeling of calm confidence and accomplishment.  I will have gotten up early to take a shower and make a large breakfast (something I did not do today!)  I will have spent time in quiet prayer and devotion before my oldest heads off to school.  I will have spent time playing with my children, connecting with friends and family, and writing notes of encouragement to my husband.  I will have danced to at least one song.  I will have eaten balanced meals and taken a walk to the park with my children.  I will have spent time teaching my children something new and written an inspiring blog post.  In the evening, I will have made a healthy and delicious meal for dinner.  After dinner, my husband would have taken over the parenting for the day while I get out of the house.  At the end of the day, I am in bed by 9pm for time with my husband.  By 10:30pm, we have talked about our day and spent time praying and preparing for the next day.  That would be my “Me Day.”

DepressionMost of my days, however, I would not call “Me Days.”  Most of my days start out with me throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt.  I get out the cereal for everyone to eat and quickly read through a Bible verse.  I rush through my morning, fill the dishwasher, and start folding laundry.  My 5 yr old and 2 yr old watch educational television while I take care of the baby.  Once the baby goes down for a nap, I plop on the couch to watch TV with my kids.  After a morning inside, we eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and take naps.  Since I have not eaten healthy food or had any exercise so far, my energy level is low and I don’t feel like doing much.  I sit down at my computer and have nothing to blog about, so I spend an hour or two watching a show on Hulu or browsing the web.  The kids get up from naps and I’ve hit another low point.  With the kids energy levels at their highest and my energy level at it’s lowest, this causes tension.  I rush to get laundry and dishes put away before it’s time to start dinner.  Since I didn’t spend any time thinking about dinner, I only have enough time to make something simple and high in carbohydrates.  My husband comes home with no desire to take on the mess he sees and quickly heads for the couch after grabbing a couple bites of pasta.  Since the kids have had no outlet for their energy, we spend the evening trying to relax while yelling for the kids to stop jumping around.  We rush to get them in bed and calm them down.  Exhaustion sets in and we both fall asleep by 9:30pm before saying a word to each other.

Normally, after a day like that, it is hard to recover.  I quickly realize that turning myself off like that only makes me feel worse.  It does not refresh the body or the soul when you have a day like that.  In fact, being unhealthy, tired, and overwhelmed can lead to depression.  Not what I’m going for!

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

We were not created to work ourselves into the ground.  Nor were we created to sit around and do nothing all day.  God has created us to “do good works.”  Those good works generally involve being a servant to others.  If we are not serving others on a daily basis, then we are not being who God has created us to be.  That is how I see it.  If I’m not being who God created me to be, then I’m not being ME!  How can I have a “Me Day” when I’m not being who God has called ME to be?

Now, I have never asked my readers a real question before, and I’m not sure If anyone is even going to read this.  But, I’d like to know.  What does your “Me Day” look like?  Try to picture a day where you’d feel the most like yourself.  I would LOVE to encourage you to be who God has created you to be!

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Public School or Home School?

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Abigail and Eliza
2nd Gr and K-4

We’ve had a lot going on these past couple weeks.  It all started when my husband and I finally went on a long overdue date, thanks to our wonderfully gracious Mothers who offered to watch the kids for a few hours.  We were able to talk through many things that have been looming over our heads during the summer months.  One topic in particular was the topic of this year’s homeschooling curriculum.  I had been asking him for weeks to help me get things set in stone for our 7 year old to start 3rd Grade Math and 2nd Grade Reading, Writing, Science, and so on.  We had gone through most of her 2nd Grade workbooks last year, but we were interrupted by my husband’s new job and our newborn baby boy, Timmy.

My husband had been able to help with homeschooling up until March of this year when he started his job as a web developer for a new company and was no longer able to work from home twice a week.  I had especially been needing help since our baby boy, Timmy, was born in December of last year.  Plus, I’m not always on top of things when he’s not there cheering us on.  So, needless to say, we were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.  Our heads just weren’t in the game like they should be.

Our conversation began over a couple of mocha shakes around 7pm.  We knew it was going to be a long night, so coffee sounded like a good choice at the time.  We began talking about what our schedules were going to look like for the Fall Season.  My husband talked about his desire to improve his health and activity level and I expressed the same desire.  We talked about the time we would need to focus on that and added that into the schedule.  Then, we began discussing our spiritual health.  We both would be signing up for our separate small groups in addition to our Sunday morning meetings with another couple at our church.  These things were all added to the schedule. Add in the date nights and grocery shopping trips every week and we had a full schedule to say the least.  Plus, my husband decided then and there that he would be signing up for a History course at our area technical college!  Well, that would mean that he would be maxed out for time.

After taking a few good sips of our mocha shakes, we came to the topic of education for our children.  Since being married, we had always thought that homeschooling would be a great adventure and superior to any public school education.

Some things we thought homeschooling would offer:

  • Flexibility with schedule and curriculum
  • A closer relationship with our children
  • A faith-based alternative to public school curriculum
  • The ability to advance our children as we see fit
  • Giving our children one-on-one teaching
  • Allowing our children to take part in daily activities and chores
  • A superior education and learning experience

What we’ve now discovered that homeschooling offers (in addition to those listed above):

  • An often stressful environment for parents with many small children
  • Distractions are everywhere!
  • Organization is a MUST!
  • Learning can take place at any time, not just during the day
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Having Mom in your face every day doesn’t.
  • “… with many advisors they succeed” Proverbs 15:22.  Having more than one teacher is a good thing!
  • A superior education and learning experience may be hindered at home

After discussing our findings from the previous homeschooling year, we trudged on to our options for the upcoming school year.  It was already mid-August!  What could be done?  We reflected on our public school experience and the statistics for the schools in our area.  We knew that our children would be in good hands if we were to enroll them in the public elementary school close to our home.  Our county schools are known for educational excellence.  If we were living in the city, we would not even have considered enrolling them in a public school.  But, we love the county we live in and know many of the people in it.

Our conclusion?  Add “start 2nd grade at the local elementary school” on to the schedule for our 7 yr old and call it a night!

The weeks following our date night were busy to say the least.  My days have been filled with paper work, e-mails, and phone calls to the school.  I was able to get my 7 yr old, Abigail, enrolled in 2nd grade and couldn’t be happier about our decision.  Everyone at the school has been very helpful and Abigail is super duper excited to start school next week!  I will still be homeschooling my soon-to-be 5 yr old (on Sept. 7th) since I couldn’t get her enrolled in Kindergarten for this year.  She is sad, but I know she will work extra hard this year to prepare for Kindergarten next year.  She may even be able to skip right to 1st grade!  Not sure she’ll want to, though.

We’re all excited for Fall and look forward to a year filled with learning and growing!


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The Importance of Women’s Fellowship

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women's fellowship

Our Fall Women’s Fellowship Bible Study sign up is here and I’m debating whether or not I should sign up.  I don’t know why I’m even questioning it.  I should have been zoned in to the sign-up table right after church on Sunday.  But, I hesitated and decided to think about it until next Sunday.


Some things that were going through my head at the time were…

  1. Is a women’s bible study important enough to take time away from my family?
  2. Should I spend money on the study book and the gas to get there every week?
  3. What if I can’t make it every week?  I’ll fall behind on the study.

All of these are, of course, excuses.  After all, I know the benefits of being in fellowship with other Christian women. 

For me, the benefits of Christian women’s fellowship are…

  1. Being lifted up every week through God’s Word and prayer
    Smile:  Maybe given a good face lift too from all of the smiling and laughing!
  2. Being encouraged by other believers
    Smile:  They’ll give you a good kick in the butt every week to be your best!
  3. Being refreshed and renewed, ready to face life
    Smile:  You’ll get a much needed break from the dishes, laundry, and crazy kids!
  4. Being blessed by new and developing friendships
    Smile:  We all need somebody to lean on… just call on your sister in Christ!
  5. Being fed spiritually
    Smile:  Maybe fed a few yummy carbs too!  Women love to bake!

So, what is my final decision?  I will be signing up first thing Sunday morning!  Praise the Lord!

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And the Winner is…

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Dean O. from Kirkland, WA, is our winner of two free bestselling Christian books!  Dean will receive his free books, “Sacred Marriage” and “Sacred Parenting,” for winning our blog contest for the month of June.  We will start another contest shortly, so subscribe to our blog posts to stay in the loop!

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Great Gifts for Dad!

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Time is almost up if you want to enter our free drawing for two free bestselling Christian books, “Sacred Marriage” and “Sacred Parenting.”

They would make great gifts for Dad!  Get it before Father’s Day by ordering now!  Or, enter our contest for a chance to get these inspiring books absolutely free!

CLICK HERE to find out more and enter our free contest, or just fill out the form below and submit!

*Contest ends June 15th

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Coincidence? I Think God!

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In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:6

Throughout our lives, we have seen God work in miraculous ways.  Some may say that they are coincidences or that we’re just lucky.  But, we know exactly Who is molding and shaping us as individuals, as a couple, and now as a family.  Our lives are a work of art.  They are expressions of God’s love and desire for us to be crafted into His image.  We’re not the type of Christian’s that go around telling people (or, even believe) that God will make your life perfect if you just follow Him.  In fact, we know from God’s Word that we will endure many sorrows and heartache in our lives.  But, as we’ve trusted Christ in all we do, there is an overwhelming sense of peace that follows.  When we’re sick, we are at peace.  When we’re poor, we are at peace.  When we are grieving a loss, we are at peace.  And, when my husband lost his job a few months ago, we were at peace.

I admit, there are times when I do not trust God.  Those are the dark times.  And, boy do I know it!  I can remember exact moments in my life when I was not trusting God.  I can tell you right now that those are the most depressing memories I have as a young adult.  I still go through times like that.  But, they are usually brief, because I know the cure!


God Moment #1: How We Met

The moments in our lives that are really God moments are truly amazing to us.  My first “God Moment” came when we were in high school.  I really really really wanted to be a part of the dance team at our school.  They were one of the best in the state, and I loved to dance.  I remember trying out for the team my freshman year and being devastated that I did not make it.  So, instead, I decided to try out for the school musical and the tennis team.  To my surprise, I was able to be a part of both!  This was a “God Moment” for me, because I didn’t have a very good singing voice and I wasn’t very good at tennis either.  I didn’t understand how I could be left out of something I was truly good at, but be welcomed with open arms into these two groups that I didn’t really fit into.  Later, I would meet my husband, Jesse, during rehearsal for the musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.”  If I hadn’t been rejected from the dance team and accepted into the musical, I probably never would have really gotten to know Jesse.


God Moment #2: Location, Location, Location

6 months after we were married, Jesse and I moved to Nashville, TN, from our home in Wisconsin.  While working for a flooring company, Jesse pursued music in the evenings and on weekends.  6 months after that, we had our first child.  We had moved there to see if other Christian musicians with a passion for the Lord and for contemporary Christian music would surface to form a group with Jesse.  But, something happened after Abigail was born.  We started to experience a string of “bad luck.”  I can look back now and honestly say that the Lord was working during this “bad luck” streak.  Jesse had just found, what we thought was a job as a guitar teacher.  It turns out, it was more like a scam.  The music school “hired” him to teach children guitar in their homes.  What they failed to mention was that they only had a couple of children ready to start lessons.  It ended up being more of a business start-up where the teachers would only be paid hourly.  We found this out AFTER Jesse had quit his job at the flooring company.  It was all down hill from there.  As we prayed for guidance, the Lord slowly answered in unexpected ways.  Jesse couldn’t go back to work for the flooring company and he was having a hard time finding work, so he had to leave Abigail and me for a short time to go back to Wisconsin and work for his father.  We also ended up having to pay for a fender bender.  So, all of this set us back quite a bit.  We started to feel claustrophobic, as if our dreams were about to come crashing down on us.  Then, we started to reach out to family and friends back home.  This was the “God Moment” for me.  Jesse began talking to a few guys back home that expressed an interest in starting a band.  My family offered to take us in until we got back on our feet.  Jesse’s Dad offered him a job working in the family business.  And so, we found ourselves preparing to move back home.  God was calling us home and we just couldn’t ignore His calling.


God Moment #3: What Makes a House a Home?

After moving back to Wisconsin, we quickly began searching for a place to live.  We had a little motivation since we ended up having to move in with my parents, grandmother, and sister upon our swift return home.  When moving back from Nashville, we had just enough money to buy gas for the trip home.  So, we needed to find a temporary place to live until we got back on our feet.  My parents were gracious enough to welcome us into their already crowded home.  Needless to say, things weren’t easy, especially since we had our six month old baby girl with us.  It was a house to live in, but it was not our home.  We prayed for the Lord to provide an alternative to our chaotic living situation at that time.  Then, Jesse’s parents told us the news that their tenants living above them in their duplex where going to be moving out.  So, as soon as they moved out, we got to work getting the place ready for us to move in.  It was an answer to prayer!  We ended up living there for two years until we could afford to buy our own house.  Then, it happened!  God Moment #3 showed it’s face at just the right time.  Timing was EVERYTHING when it came to how we acquired our first house.  First, we had just paid off our credit card, so we had a $0 balance on that.  So, what does the credit card company do?  They send us an offer for a NO FEE, 1.99% balance transfer offer for the LIFE OF THE BALANCE.  This was truly a God send.  We still had about $12000 left to pay on our car loan with a minimum payment of $350/month.  With that high of a payment, we could not afford to buy a house.  But, after transferring the balance to the credit card, which lowered the interest rate and payment, we could now qualify for a $120,000 mortgage.  But, where would we find a house at that price in Ozaukee County where the going rate was $250,000?  Within weeks of transferring our car loan balance, I got a rather unexpected phone call.  My sister called to say that the elderly woman living next door to her had just been moved to a nursing home and her son would be putting the house up for sale.  She told me about an estate sale he would be having that weekend.  I knew what my sister and brother-in-law had paid for their house, so I thought there was no way we could afford to buy one right next door to them.  But, we decided to go to the estate sale anyway and talk to the owner’s son.  We walked around the house and realized that we may be able to get a good deal on the place.  It hadn’t been updated in years!  So, we asked him how much he was looking to get.  Without going through a real estate agent, we were able to get the house for $115,000!  Praise the Lord!  And, on top of that, we were GIVEN a down payment from a family member.  We would finally have the house we’d been wanting since moving back to Wisconsin.  Now, if we could just get these updates finished, it may finally look like a home.


God Moment #4: Get a Job or Start a Business?


We started off February of this year with high hopes.  Jesse was expected to get a raise after his two year mark as a web designer/developer.  Unfortunately, he not only didn’t get a raise, he was let go because of budget cuts.  On the plus side, the company gave him about three weeks to find a new job.  Time to start praying hard for some direction, we thought.  Then, Jesse came to me with an idea. “Why don’t I start my own business?” he asked.  Jesse had developed some business contacts and was confident he could keep the work rolling in.  So, we began to ask the Lord if that was the right thing to do.  After really really praying about it, we still didn’t feel ready to make a decision.  We didn’t know exactly what was holding us back.  We just didn’t feel the Lord leading us to commit to starting a business.  Until we were certain of what the Lord wanted for us, Jesse continued updating his resume and portfolio (  He applied for a couple of jobs and waited for a response.  Then, it happened!  God Moment #4 came in the form of an unexpected conversation on Facebook.  Jesse had just been called in for an interview and he was up late the night before doing some social networking.  One of his friends from college, that he rarely talks to, suddenly popped up to ask him a question.  “Do you know what [this] is?” he asked.  He was referring to some sort of software that I’m not familiar with.  Jesse responded, “No, what is it?”  At that point, his friend continued to explain what it was.  Jesse suddenly remembered from his friend’s description that he had come across that software before and indeed was knowledgable of it.  He just couldn’t remember what it was called until just then.  That was the end of the conversation.  Jesse went to bed that night asking the Lord to be with him during his interview the next day.  During the interview, he was only asked 4 questions.  One of them just happened to be about the very same software Jesse had discussed with his friend the night before.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?  Just think, if he hadn’t had that conversation, he may have sounded like an idiot to the guy interviewing him.  For all we know, that was the question that put him at the top of their list.  He was offered the job within 20 minutes of walking out the door!  After that, we were certain of what direction the Lord was leading us in.  Praise the Lord!


Unfortunate Circumstances

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

I did not want to be rejected from the dance team.  I did not want to go broke and move back in with my parents.  I did not want to wait to have our own house.  And, I certainly did not want my husband to lose his job.  Those were all unfortunate circumstances that lead to amazing moments that I would like to call “God Moments.”  They are moments that remind you Who is in control.  They are moments that remind you not to be anxious about anything.  They are moments that remind you to give thanks in all circumstances, even the unfortunate ones.  You may just come to realize that they’re not so unfortunate after all.

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Enter to Win Two Free Bestselling Christian books by Gary Thomas!


I will be giving away, absolutely free, two amazing books by Gary Thomas.  My husband and I are currently reading through “Sacred Marriage” and have recently attended a Sunday school class based on the book “Sacred Parenting.”  I discovered these books at the perfect time in my life.  I was just beginning to think to myself, “What are the things that make marriage and children a blessing?  Why are blessings such a burden sometimes?”  I love my husband and I love my children.  These books helped me to discover God’s plan for marriage and parenting in a new and fresh way.  I now see my struggles in my marriage and within parenting as a blessing now more than ever.
I would love to be able to send all of you a free copy of these books.  Unfortunately, we don’t quite have the funds for that (bummer!)  So, this giveaway will be part of our giving for the month of May.  I hope that even if you do not win these free books, you will seek them out in your church library or purchase a used copy for a couple dollars.


Book #1 – Sacred Marriage

What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?

Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. Yet, what if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And, what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God? In this popular bestselling book, Gary Thomas uncovers how your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God and each other. You will learn how to:

  • Turn marital struggles into spiritual and personal appreciation.
  • Love your spouse with a stronger sense of purpose.
  • Partner in the spiritual growth and character formation of your spouse.
  • Transform a “tired” marriage into a relationship filled with awe and respect.

Book #2 – Sacred Parenting

How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

Parenting is a school for spiritual formation—and our children are our teachers. Instead of discussing how parents can change their kids, Gary Thomas turns the tables and demonstrates how God uses our kids to change us. You’ll be encouraged by stories that tell how other parents handled the challenges and difficulties of raising a godly family. Grow closer to Christ and your children as you learn to:?

  • Freely enjoy your kids for who they are.
  • Build a closer, grace-based family.
  • Reduce the pressure felt for your kids to turn out perfect.
  • Manage anger and negative responses towards your child’s behavior.
  • Increase your sense of worth and respect as a parent.

Fill out the form below to enter our giveaway.  The winner of these free, brand new, paperback books will be chosen at random on June 15th and will be notified by e-mail.  The books will be shipped by by the end of June.

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Free Radio, Music, and Christian Inspirational Songs

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Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.  Psalm 33:3

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

I listen to Christian radio a lot, particularly WVCY and KLove.  You can actually download a free song from iTunes on KLove’s website here.  And, when I’m on the computer, I’m listening to Pandora.  Listening to Christian inspirational songs and uplifting, joyful music, helps get me through the day with a joyful spirit.  Singing praises to God and having a joyful heart is directly related to our spiritual and even physical health.


And, the great thing about radio and music today is that most of it is free to listen to.  You may have to wait for your favorite song to come on, but while you’re waiting, you can enjoy similar songs when you’re listening to Pandora.  Pandora is a website that offers free custom radio stations.  You simply sign up for an account and start selecting your musical preferences.  You can create multiple radio stations from a musical genre, artist, or song .  For example, I have a radio station that plays all Contemporary Christian music.  I also have one that only plays songs similar to “Captivate Us.”  My husband has a radio station that plays smooth jazz while he’s working at home.  It helps keep him calm when he’s working on a challenging project.  We love Pandora.

YouTube and GodTube

Another way to listen to music for free is by searching for songs on YouTube and GodTube.  It is also a great place to discover new artists and songs.  I just recently uploaded a couple songs my husband recorded a few years ago.  Here are a few of my favorite Christian songs on YouTube and GodTube…

Kari Jobe – We Are (Official Acoustic Performance) from emimusic on GodTube.

Free Music Downloads

Free Christian Music Downloads |

Free Christian Songs from Unknown Artists

Free MP3 Hymns and Worship Songs

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