Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saying YES to GOD and a GIVEAWAY!

I have been reading Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough, by Kristen Welch , writer of We are THAT Family.

And ya' is SO good.

This book is real. It's about real life struggles, real life suffering, real life fears, real life doubts and real life faith.

In Rhinestone Jesus, Kristen shares her story of being THAT girl who wore a Jesus Pin to school everyday. She shares her growing pains, the ones that made her marriage stronger, made her parenting intentional and ultimately, made her faith in God brighter and deeper than when she wore that sparkly pin years before.

Kristen goes on to tell of her work as the Founder of Mercy House Kenya, a home that provides alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya. The stories, the lives, the children and the heart of Mercy's beautiful. I encourage you to visit the Website to learn more about the vision and the good work they are doing there.

Rhinestone Jesus, will change your life. It will fill you with passion. It will inspire and encourage you.

It will mess you up, but for good. 

God can use your mess, your imperfections, you broken and He can take you far beyond what you ever imagined. He desires so much for you to say YES to whatever He is calling you to, despite the fears, the challenges, the worries and the what if's.

"'Will this ever get easier...Will my heart always be only half willing to follow God?' Because, ya'll.
I'm still just that girl wearing that rhinestone Jesus pin. I still struggle with the same fear and doubt, the same inadequacy and uncertainty, the same desire to stay instead of go...If I have learned anything in this journey, it's this: the good makes the hard worth it. But getting to the good part requires making it though the valley of the hard" (p. 147-148). 

If you, like Kristen, will say Yes to God, He will show up and make your Yes enough.
If you will say Yes to what God is calling you to, your light will shine more than any rhinestone pin!
Your YES is worth it.

THAT is what Rhinestone Jesus is all about.

How will you say Yes?

I am giving away 2 Copies of Rhinestone Jesus to 2 lucky winners!

All you  have to do is enter to win below on the Giveaway Tool.
It's pretty simple, just fill in your information, leave a comment to primarily enter and then you can get up to 12 more entries!
Winner will be automatically generated and contacted via email and on a separate blog post On May 1st!

I promise you will be so encouraged and inspired by this beautiful book!

Thanks for Entering!

You can pre-order the book here before May 1st. 

Raising Boy-Men - How to Love Them Well

My son came up to me and gave me a big hug, "Boy man style." In other words, he leaned towards me and put his head on my chest as his arms dangled to his side.

I desire so many good thingd for my son. In my eyes, I still see him as that sweet little, roly-poly baby who I would rock to and sing to for hours. That sweet, little toddler who would dance with me in the kitchen and follow me everywhere I went.

Our first and foremost desire is to love our Boy-men so that they will become men who love like Jesus. "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put the ways of childhood behind me"Corinthians 13: 11 NIV.

It's difficult to think he is on his way to Manhood.

As mothers, it is sometimes hard to remember that this boy-man wants and needs to be treated like a man. Boys are naturally inclined to be aggressive, adventurous and competitive. They are prewired to think differently, love differently and see the world differently.

Personally, this is the one of the more difficult parts of being a boy mom.

The way my son responds, acts and feels to how I react to his natural behavior is sometimes very unnatural to me. Learning how to love my son well, despite his sometimes passive, sometime stubborn, sometime sensitive behavior can be quiet a challenge.

Yet, no matter the personalities of our sons, most importantly, as mothers, we are called to love our boy-men well and to be intentional about expressing our love to them.  

It is our love that will tenderly and effectively pierce their hearts and determine the kind of men they will grow up to be.

16 Ways to Love your Boy-Men Well

1. Love them with Honor and Respect 

The first thing you hear in most marriage classes is that your husband needs honor and respect. do your sons.

You sons need to be treated as important and should be recognized for the good they do.
Honor them with your words.
Recognize them when they succeed.
Praise them for who they are and who they are becoming.

Boy-Men need to be honored too.

2. Love them with Your Words

DO NOT belittle your boys, especially with sarcasm.
Moms, sarcasm is a cruel way to speak to your children. Many times children do not understand sarcasm and when you speak with sarcasm you speak with contempt and ill will. Sarcasm is defined at " a sharp...utterance designed to cut or give pain" (Merriam-Webster).
Death and life are in the power of our tongues and to speak sarcastically is to speak death.
When you speak harshly to your boys, you are piercing their hearts in shame, not in love.

Boy-Men should be spoken to with words of truth and life.

3. Love them with Your Ways

Do not yell, walk away or roll your eyes at your boy-men.
This one is hard for me. So many times I get frustrated with my son and I will yell in frustration or worse, walk off annoyed. If I did this to my husband, he would feel completely rejected and hurt and angry at my rude behavior; so, why do I think it's OK to act this way towards my son?

Boy-Men should be respected.

4. Love them with Encouragement

Speak words that encourage his heart and uplift him.

If you speak to the little boy in your son, he will act like that little boy. 
If you speak to the man in your son, he will rise up and act like a man.

God has great plans for you.
I know you can do this.
I can't wait to see how God uses you.
I believe in you.
God gave you amazing gifts.
You are so strong.
You are such a great brother.
You are such a good man.
You are a leader.
I am so thankful that you are my helper.
I know I can always depend on you.
God is going to use you for great things.

Boy-Men need to hear words that will equip him for the call of manhood. 

5. Love them and Serve them with Food

They say a way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
My son is a very picky eater, but he still enjoys when I make his favorite meals.
Feeding your boy is an act of service and eating is a sweet pleasure! Serving your son food he enjoys is a special memory that he will always hold dear.

Serving and loving your sons with food can become a sort of peace offering.
Many times when I want my boy to open up to me, I will serve him some toast and coffee and we will sit, and he will almost always starts to talk!
Or, when he is angry or has just been punished or sad, I will take him a popsicle or fizzy drink.

To a Boy-man, this simple act of love can soften his heart. 

6. Love them with your Time

Spend quality, one on one time together doing something that your son enjoys. Fill his tank with what He loves.
Play that video game, take him out for ice cream, go bowling, go fishing, go for a walk or run, take him shopping...Spend time talking and laughing together.

Time is how you build your relationship. 
Time is what will connect you.
Time makes memories. 

Enjoy your Boy-Man!

7. Love them by Letting Go of the Small Stuff

His room may never be clean. His clothes may never make it into the laundry basket. He may always have to be reminded to feed the dog or take out the trash or do his homework.
Don't harp on him for every little thing.

Choose two to three things that are important in this season, or that you need to train him in now and let the other things go.

You and your boy-man will be happier!

8. Love them by Establishing clear Expectations

There are certain standards that will not be lowered. There are rules that will have severe consequences if they are broken. There are expectations that must be met.

Set those expectations clearly and remind them of those things, especially when they will be away from you or in specific settings.

Boy-Men always understand and accept the expectations set before's a part of manhood.

9. Love them by Giving them Identity

Establish a family identity that proclaims who they are within your family.
If you ask our kids to tell you about who our family is/does and in turn, who they are, you would hopefully hear them say that we are Christ followers. We are lights in a dark world.
We do not give up. We love and protect each other above everything else.

Set them up to succeed.
Show your sons that they are courageous, heroic and strong; that they are leaders and loyal friends.

A boy-man who has a firm identity in who he is within his family will not only know that he is set apart, but will also take pride in his family and understand what is expected of him within his family identity.

10. Love them by Trusting Them

Say yes often. 
If you have set clear boundaries and they understand what is expected of who they are as a man in your them to walk in those expectations.
Trust their instincts. Trust their obedience. Trust their faith. 

A boy-man can't learn to trust himself if you never give him the chance to test his own standards and walk out his faith alone.

11. Love them by Giving them the Freedom to Make their own Decisions

Let them decide which sport to play, what clothes to wear, what shoes to buy, what meal to eat at a restaurant, what party to go to, what friends to make...

Some of these decisions will not be easy to handle or accept, but if you are raising a Godly man, and you have established your family identity and expectations...they may just make the right decisions.

A man will have to make decisions for his future, his callings and his family.
If you want your boy-men to make good decisions when they are older, you must start allowing them to make decisions at a young age.

12. Love them, Allow them to Fail...and Trust them Anyways

They will mess up. They will fail. They will stumble...hard.
Allow them to fail with grace.  
Give them lots of chances.
Sometimes the lesson is in the failing.

Allow your boy men to fail and have the grace to continue to train them and help them to rise up to whatever is challenging them in the season that they are in. Let them know that even when they fail, you will love them and trust them anyways.

Give your boy-men as many chances as your Father has given you. 

13. Love them by Allowing them to Suffer Consequences

Don't bail them out. 
Consequences are consequences and every decision has them.
Do not enable your sons to expect that you will save them. You can't do that, however, you can offer them grace and offer to walk through the consequences with them, if you are able to. Unfortunately, there will always be consequences that they will have to face alone.

Trust them and trust God who created them.
Your boy-men will be able to handle the's a part of manhood.

14. Love them by being Sympathetic and Sensitive

You sons need to know you won't laugh at them when they are being serious.
They also need to know that they can trust you to not get crazy mad when they are confessing their sins or telling the truth.

Yes, there will be many times when you are angry, and righteously so, but we must always practice being slow to anger. 

We must provide an outlet for them to share their secrets, confusions, thoughts and sins. If when they do so you laugh at them or quickly get angry, they will not confide in you.
Above everything else, you have to keep all lines of communication open with your boys, because one day they will have some big fears, hurts, secrets and even sins that they need your help and guidance on.

Boy-Men need a loving confidant, if they can't trust you, they will find someone else to talk to. 

15. Love them by Listening to them Well

When your boy-man has something to say:
stop what you are doing, turn towards him and look at him

This is so hard to do! Especially when it takes 5 minutes for him to explain or tell a story or when that joke just isn't funny or when you really don't care what happened on Jessie!

If you don't give him your attention in the little things, why would he expect you to give him you attention in the more important things?

Prove to him that what he has to say is important to you. 
Your boy-man deserves your full attention.

16. Love them by Praying for your Boy-Men

Daily, hourly, often.
There is a a lion seeking to devour your boy. 
There is a lion seeking to break your boys so that they do not have the chance to be men.

Pray for them Mom.
The love of a praying mother will abound over every evil intention that lies in wait to trap her sons. 

Pray hard. 

God has entrusted us with this amazing calling of being a boy mom.
Love your Boy-men well, sweet mama's.
Be intentional, do your best work and give the rest of it to God.

He will cover everything you can't and He will equip you to Raise Godly Boy-Men who will advance His kingdom.

Come back next week for Raising Boy-Men Part II- How to Train Them.
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You and your sons are HIS beloved,

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Appearance Vs. Reality

A few years ago a friend said to me, “Everything always seems to work out for you.”
A few years later another friend said, “You always seems to have it all together.”

I don't have anything together.

In my life I have 3 constants:
My God.
My Husband.
My Family (OK, so husband and family kinda fall in the same category, but then I would only have 2 constants…you see I've got nothing!)

“You seem to have everything together.”

In my Shakespeare classes of old, one of the major themes was appearance versus reality.
I appear to have it all together.
The reality, however, is so far from that appearance.

And that breaks me.
Because the truth is…I like appearing a certain way.

I'm really good at pretending.

How could anyone trust anything I say or do if they really knew the mess that I am?

How can God use me if people figure out the truth of who I am?

I broke a cup yesterday.
A sweet little espresso cup that I had bought in Little Italy the year before I got married. If you have ever visited our home, we mostly likely have served you Cuban coffee in these little cups.
The crack was barely visible.
It seemed to be together, but the reality was it was broken.

I don't have it all together.
I may have portrayed that before, because of my own pride and fears, but I am that cup
I am nothing, but broken and messed up. 
My life is a crazy jumbled mess that seems to be pieced together, but if you look closely, it’s broken.

If I were to let you in for real, you wouldn't see a woman who has it all together.

You'd see a woman who still looks at herself like that same little girl
who is afraid of everything.
You'd see a woman who can't keep up with laundry to save her life.
You'd see a woman who wants so many things, but is so afraid of failing
that she just sets it all aside.
You'd see a woman who wants to adopt or do something big for God,
but she is terrified of all the “what if’s,”
so she doesn't move.
You'd see a woman who yells at her kids more than she would like to admit.
You'd see a woman who sometimes criticizes her husband, who gets annoyed by her children,
who would many times rather escape than be present and who desires recognition despite herself.
You'd see a woman who in the last week hasn't picked up her bible once.


He has begun to mend the broken pieces. 
He can use my broken pieces. 
He can make a totally new creation out of my mess.

Seem is irrelevant.
Seem isn't reality.

The reality is that none of us have it all together.

NONE of us.

The reality is that this life is a mess.

It’s hard.
It’s brutal.
It’s scary and trying and tiring and crazy.

The only real in our life is God.
He is the only one that is true and faithful and good.

It is because of who He is, that I will give over all of my brokenness to Jesus and daily choose to say Yes to what He calls me to.

What seems to be simply isn't enough anymore.

Beloved, is your life as crazy as mine? Are you a broken cup, pretending to be perfect? Give your broken mess to Jesus. Let Him make your crazy life beautiful.

I am privileged to link up with Kristen Welch From We are That Family, for the launch of her new book, Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough.

In her book, Kristen writes about her journey and how she chose to say YES to God despite her messy, not perfect life. It is a beautiful story of God's grace and mercy and how God can use each of us when we say YES to Him and His callings.

You can pre-order the book here - 

Subscribe Here and never miss a post! 

You are His Beloved,

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Makes Me Weepy

 photo credit: Waiting For The Word via photopin cc

Usually, the Thursday before easter comes around and I start getting weepy. I start thinking about all my Jesus did for me on that Thursday 2000 years ago and the waterworks start to flow.

By Friday, I’m a mess.
Saturday is quiet.
And on Sunday…I know my Redeemer LIVES!

Sunday is good!

This year was a little different.
I reflected on Passion Week throughout the week...Thursday came, Friday was sweet and busy and fun, we went to Church on Saturday and had a lovely dinner with friends and I never cried.

Oh, but Sunday.

My spirit was heavy on Sunday.

We dyed eggs and had a feast. 
I pulled out the resurrection eggs and as I was talking to the kids about all that our Lord did for us, I had to hold back the tears.

I came into my room and started to listen to some praise and worship and classic Easter songs and I wept.

What do I think about on Easter that makes me cry?

  1. I think about Mary.
I'm a mom, so I think about Mary. At 15 did she have any idea what she would witness? Did she have any clue that the sweet baby she held and sung to; the sweet baby that wrapped His tiny fingers around hers would be condemned to a criminal's death? Did she have any clue that He would save the souls of mankind? As she stood at the cross and watched her baby boy brutally die, did she think of every tenderness, every kiss, every hug, every tear, every dream, every moment that made Him her precious child? I think Jesus thought of all those moments as he looked upon her, and even in His final moments he took care of her needs, the same way she had always taken care of His.

  1. I think about Jesus.
I think of the blood sweat anguish, the prayer, the turmoil, the strength, the love, the beatings, the mocking, the pain, the passion, the sacrifice, the walk to Golgotha, the blood, the cross, the nails, the thorns, the spear, the love…the love.

I think about the fact that hours before he was betrayed, he was loving and serving those He cared for most.
No greater love…

  1. I think about the disciples.
I think of Judas’ betrayal. Satan lied and entered him and then left him, desperate and shamed with no where else to go, but the potter’s field. I think of Peter and his denial. His broken heart, his guilt, the freedom he felt when he saw the empty tomb. I think of John. How did he look on His savior and best friend and watch Him brutally die? I think of the devotion he had to Jesus as he took Mary as his mother, caring for her for the rest of her days. I think of him running to the tomb and going straight in with complete, overwhelming excitement!

  1. I think about those who have no hope.
So many are lost. So many don't believe HE is Risen! So many don't know. So many are suffering, hurting and going through this life lost and as wanderers.

  1. I think about how unworthy I am that I have hope.
Father, I am so unworthy. Why me, Lord? Who am I that You would love me and choose me?

  1. I think about the Joy of salvation.
The Joy of my salvation is what propels me forward in this hard life. It is the hope of salvation that gives me the passion to teach my children of His love, His mercy and His faithfulness. It is the joy of my salvation that gives me a love for my husband and family, so that I can serve them and love them faithfully. It is the joy of my salvation that brings me to my knees and makes me thankful for his mercies that are new every morning.

  1. I think about the Resurrection!
He is Risen! Death could not hold Him! The tomb is Empty! He carries the keys to Sin and Death and the Grave and we have eternal life if we confess that He is LORD and Believe in our hearts, we can be saved and spend ETERNITY in heaven with Him!

There is Hope Beloved! He is Hope! He died for you and He is Risen! Believe and be saved!

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!" Luke 24:5-6

You are His beloved, 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Thing About Boys - An Introduction to Raising "Boy-Men"

My son came home from football practice the other day and gave me a hug.
He's 8 and all boy.
I teased him and shoved him away and said, "Eww, you stink!" Almost instinctively, he came over and started rubbing his head and chest on me, laughing as I was shrieking and trying to get away.
Boys! Stinky boys!

He comes up to my chin.
He wears a size 3 in shoes. I don't know if that's big...I think it's average...but yet, his feet are huge!
They use to be so small.

He use to be so small.

I was remembering a time when we were sitting and playing and I went over to sit in the rocking chair and he came over and sat in my lap and held me. We rocked and I sang and he said, "Mommy I love this."
It was one of the most precious moments in my life.
They are so many many I hold dear...and so many I have forgotten.
But that was beautiful.

The thing about that they don't stay little.
They sort of evolve into men.
My boy is still "small," and comes up to my chin, but he considers himself a man.

My husband and I have raised him to be a "man."
A strong "boy-man."
My husband takes great purpose in teaching him the ways of a Godly man.
He many times will say to the boy man, "This is what men do," or "a real man is..." kind, protective, loving, gentle, brave.

The way of "man" has been somewhat instinctive. He looks at things differently then my girls do.
His favorite color is red. He likes to break dance. When he laughs, it's with full force and great pleasure.
In the homeschool world, we would call him a "Competent Carl," in other words, a know it all!
He thinks he knows it ALL.
And he is pretty smart.
He understands football!
He is competitive.
He likes to ride his bike, and kill snakes, and go on adventures.
He likes to look out for hawks and burn ants with a magnifying glass.
He loves animals and dinosaurs.

He is sensitive too.
A rule follower.
A loyal friend.
He loves his sisters. He is their protector and he takes that calling in total seriousness.

He is my 'boy-man.'

Our relationship has evolved as well.
And that has not been easy.

His father is his best friend and who he desires to be exactly like.
I thank God for that.

I, am mom. Sometimes mommy.
Who he likes to tease and play with and sometimes kiss.

But sometimes, he doesn't want to kiss me.
I get side hugs most of the time...unless I purposely grab and hug him. Which I do. A lot.
He doesn't come and sit in my lap anymore.
I can't carry all 60 pounds of him anymore.
When I sing to him, he chooses weird songs for me to sing, like the Power Rangers Theme song.

There are tender moments.
Moments when he sits close and I scratch his head.
Moments when he wants me to "soft scratch" his back.
Moments when we lay in bed and he tells me fears and secrets and dreams.

Those are the moments I live for.
Those are the moments that I treasure.
Those are the moments I have to remember when the boy is driving me crazy!

The thing about boys is that they don't stay little.
And one day, I'll come up to his chin.

Every Wednesday for the next 3 weeks I will be posting about Raising "Boy-Men." I will be giving resources on how to Love them, Train them and Protect them. Don't miss a Post!

You are His beloved, 

And the Winner is...

Making Perfume from A Sense of the Resurrection
Learning about Mary Anointing Jesus

The Winner to the Ebook, "A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families," is
Jessica Martens!

Congratulations Jessica! Thanks for Commenting and Subscribing!

I will be contacting you via email and will deliver your prize!

Thank you to everyone who entered and subscribed!

If you want to buy this resources (which I highly suggest you do!) you click here and purchase this great resource for your Family right now for only 7.99.

Thanks again everyone and come back tomorrow for a post on raising a "Boy-Man."

Praying you all have a wonderful, intentional Easter!

You are His beloved,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This is What Passion Looks Like...

I'm up early on a Saturday Morning.
I'm sitting in a corner of Panera with a bagel and chai latte.
It's 6:30.
I woke up early with my notebook and laptop in hand, kissed my husband and snuck out before the children and the sun rose.

Driving here with only so many people on the road I thought...So this is what passion looks like.

I only ever wake up early for a few things.
A good garage sale or vacation!

I've always been somewhat jealous of those people who wake up early to work out!
I've tried to do so many times but I always find it so hard to commit to.
I never had a real passion for it.

But last night, when I thought "I am going to wake up early and escape to write"...for the first time in my life I was excited and driven.

This week is passion week and I can't help but wonder if Jesus woke up in a similar manner.
Not excited, but driven.

In fact, I wonder how much Jesus slept the last week on earth knowing what was waiting for him in the end.
I can't imagine the turmoil, the fear...the anguish.
I can imagine that he may have desired so much to call the angels down to rescue him; to take him away.
Yet, He kept walking towards the cross because of passion.

Webster defines passion "as suffering; a capacity of being acted on by extended agents or forces; emotion as distinguished from reason; intense drive or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection."

In our minds when we hear the word passion, most of us probably convey a love for something. I dont think we necessarily think suffering.

Yet, thats the first definition, "as suffering."
To desire so much for something that you are willing to suffer despite all sense of reason.

Jesus was passionate for us.
Despite all reason.
Despite the fact that we sin, that we msee up, that we fall and flail and doubt and lose the faith daily.

He was so passionate for us that He walked toward the cross.
He was carried on a donkey and praised, only to walk into a den of iniquity.
He walked into a garden to be betrayed.
He walked into a courtroom to be accused.
He walked into a palace to be handed over.
He walked toward guards to be brutally beaten, as 39 lashes scourged his back.
He walked up the hill as He carried His cross to have His hands and feet nailed, hanging on a tree like a criminal. Mocked and shamed.

His passion is what led Him. It was the unreasonable driving force...His ardent love for us....His passion.

This week, remember how much He loves you. Remember what His love bought for us.
His heart beat so violently for you until it could no longer beat anymore.

We have purpose, hope and passion because He was so passionate for us. He gave us all these things, because He was passionate about delivering us from the hands of sin and death.

The gifts and callings He has given us, He paid for on the cross.
We are not worthy of such a love.

Think about that this week as you live out the passions given to you by your Savior.

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You are His Beloved, 

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