Archive for Encouragement for Moms

CaringBridge Contest

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

It wasn’t too long ago that I posted about CaringBridge. Just to jar your memory the post shared about a family we know who used a site like CaringBridge to keep friends and family up to date on how their child was doing just after she was born with a rare condition. They still use the site today for the same reason since their child is still going through treatment several years later.

This post is to celebrate and support caregivers, the strong personal heroes who tirelessly help families get through one day at a time when experiencing a hardship, CaringBridge, the nonprofit caring social network, and Hallmark Cards are kicking off the “Caring Messages” card contest during National Family Caregiver Month.

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From October 28th through November 17th, the “Caring Messages” card contest encourages participants to draw on personal experiences as a caregiver or as someone receiving care and create a message of love and support appropriate for a caregiver. Participants can submit one card idea in each of the following categories to www.hallmarkcontests.com:

Support and Encouragement: What can you say to lift someone up or help them get through the day? Let them know you’re thinking of them, send happy thoughts and cheer them on.
Compliments and Appreciation: Let someone know how much you admire them: What they do and how they do it. Words from the Wise: If you’ve experienced something yourself you understand what it’s really like. Write a supportive message for others based on what you’ve learned or what you needed to hear.

This partnership aims to provide patients, caregivers and supporters with love, hope and compassion. Winners announced in February will receive a cash prize, and their entry will be sold at Hallmark.com with in-store sale to be determined.

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One Thousand Gifts Review and Giveaway #1000gifts

One Thousand Gifts book-cover-1

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

I am not sure what I was expecting when I agreed to read Ann Voskamp‘s book, One Thousand Gifts, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. All I know is I was interested in Ann’s book because she lives on a farm, has six children and homeschools. I thought she and I had a lot in common and I’d be interested in what she had to say. It turns out we had more in common than I thought.

Ann lost her two year old little sister when she was four years old. A delivery truck driver didn’t see her and backed over her. :( Talk about tragic. Talk about the family being grief stricken. Ann did not get over it easily, even though she was four years old, as a matter of fact, it seemed to take her years. Her journey is at the root of One Thousand Gifts. It is Ann’s story of going from a less than joyful existence to living more fully in the joy of the Lord.

One Thousand Gifts is not “candy” reading. Remember when I said I like to read “candy” books to relax and just get away from every day work and life. It’s my rest so to speak. This book requires deep thinking and even personal examination, if you are willing to delve into your soul on a new level. I know I couldn’t just zip through reading the book at high speed. I took it slow so I could digest its words.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ann’s word studies, especially on eucharisteo (you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is! ;) ) It really helped me see some areas in my life where I’ve been lacking. I will say one thing about living a joyful life, it is first necessary to be a thankful person. Discontentment is a sure fire joy robber.

I’d encourage all women who are looking for more meaning to life to read this book. It is definitely inspiring, soul searching and taught me enough to make me want to change my outlook from one of discontentment to joy and to choose to make gratefulness an every day habit. It’s definitely a must read.

Could you make a list thanking God for 1000 things in your life? If you could, how do you think that exercise would change you? Or would it?

One Thousand Gifts may be purchased at any major book retailer.

One Thousand Gifts Review and Giveaway

If you are looking for a great gift for mom, just because gift, encouraging gift, birthday gift, Christmas gift……enter to win a copy of One Thousand Gifts below!

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Saturday Top Five Laughs- Join the Blog Hop with Mommyhood Chronicles!

Please note: All of this up to #3 was written months ago, if not nearly two years ago, since my first and last Saturday Top Five Laughs was 2/24/12! I had good intentions of joining Saturday Top Five Laughs….

I keep meaning to participate in Mommyhood Chronicles’ Saturday Top Five Laughs but it keeps getting brushed aside for reviews and other things….not so this week!

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Here goes my top five laughs of the week late February 2012/Early March 2012:

1. My baby’s laugh. He has this laugh when he’s excited. Whether he’s excited to nurse, eat or be put to bed. It’s priceless and makes my husband and I smile or laugh every time we hear him.

2. We had a few emotional break downs this week (that’s what happens when you have teen girls and preteen girls!) and my husband said, “I wish you all would stop diving off the deep end.” Our Amelia Bedilia matter of factly states, “But there’s no cliff to jump off of Daddy.” My husband says, “Yes, my little Amelia Bedilia” and I pointed at him and said, “That’s exactly what I thought!”

3. My rock star son wet his hair and brushed it dry so that it was standing up on end. He’s hilarious. I don’t have a photo of him, but I just took this one of my other son for the sake of this blog post!

Funny Faces collage

Fast forward to 10/24/13…

4. My daughter cracked me up when she used a scarf to become Ninja O.

5. My youngest son has been giving us two thumbs up when he wants to say “ok”. We have no idea where he got it from because none of us do this on a regular basis. We prompted him for the sake of having a photo to share. ;)

Happy Saturday Top Five Laughs!

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The Long Awakening

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

The Long Awakening by Lindesy O'Connor

The Long Awakening by Lindsey O’Connor is a memoir dedicated to Lindsey’s youngest daughter, Caroline Aileen. This book is a story of Lindsey’s 47-day coma just after giving birth to Caroline, her journey of her recovery, and that of her family’s.

I have 2-3 pages of little bits from the book that touched my heart. After three pages I stopped because I would have an incredibly long review if I wrote about all of my notes. For the sake of this review, I will just touch on a few more important ones.

Let me start by saying I really enjoyed The Long Awakening and found myself reading faster to see what how Lindsey’s story ended.

First, I am always impressed when a family rallies around one another and does what needs to be done through difficult circumstances, such as the O’Connor’s 47+ day tragedy. For example, Lindsey’s oldest daughter postponed college in order to stay at home to take care of her baby sister. This is something no parent wants to force on their oldest child, but the fact that Jacquelyn decided on her own her baby sister needed to be in their family home and not “farmed” out to another home to be cared for showed her love, devotion and sacrifice to do what was in the best interest of not only Caroline, but the whole family.

Jacquelyn’s intuition about her sister Allison was amazing too. I loved reading about how she got her little sister to open up and showed her it was ok to cry, to grieve over what had happened to their mom. The O’Connor’s must have been so proud of her.

Secondly, Lindsey’s family had so much support, love and help that it was a sweet testimony to one nurse in particular, who said, “she’d never seen people come around a family like that.” They had a church that put love into action – for the long haul.

I’ve been taken to emergency surgery during a couple of my miscarriages, but I never uttered the words Lindsey did when she was being wheeled away:

“Please take care of me. I have five children now.”

Weird, but I felt guilty. Granted her situation was completely different but still. It’s amazing what another woman’s story can illicit from my own soul.

I could not have been as calm as Lindsey was when she found out she had an emergency hysterectomy. Listen to what her response was:

“Why does this matter? Uterus in, uterus out. A little rain. Get out the umbrella. I had no use for that body part anymore.”

Not having been in her situation, I can only imagine how I would have responded. I guess this was the least of her concerns at the time. More important matters had her attention, such as, communicating, moving, holding and bonding with her baby, getting her life back.

I could go on for another 500 words, but the last thing I wanted to share had a profound affect on me was when Lindsey spent two hours tapping a spoon against her bedside table only to be ignored. The reason they found out later was because this was a physical quality brain damaged people exhibited. Lindsey’s words were:

“I lay brain damaged and didn’t warrant a response.”

That made me so very sad. The hospital staff heard her but ignored her. Thank God she had her husband advocating for her!

I highly recommend this book. It will make you cry, but Lindsey’s story is a must read. Talk about triumphing over huge hurdles!

“Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Moms.com is Live!

A couple months ago I applied to be a part of a new beta moms forum called Moms.com. I thought it would be fun to be part of a new website for moms as well as earn a little extra money on the side. It has been a lot of fun getting to know the “beta” mom group as we have created content for the site, which is full of topics from trying to conceive to pregnancy, babyhood, toddler, preschooler, big kid to just for mom stuff. In just over a month of working together, I believe we have laughed, empathized and cried together/for one another through sharing our lives and experiences as mothers – from the first day of school memories to reminiscing about our children’s births and so much more. Unlike other mom type sites, Moms.com encourages moms to be themselves and enjoy the daily sharing of our lives without harsh words and criticism for individual parenting choices. All of the mom members so far come from a diverse background and are a variety of ages, yet we have come together to unite as we share our thoughts and experiences about motherhood, as well as encourage each other in the journey of being a mom.

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The Site

The site does require you to join if you want to participate in the conversations. Otherwise the site is very much public, not private. Though I just learned they are working on privacy controls, to be released soon, so this is about to change. When you join you will receive an email confirmation with your login information.

The Moms.com site has different sections such as Mom Moments where we can share photos or animated images in a card form with a few words as a description or caption. This section can be used to share photos of family, write an encouraging or humorous note.

The Best of Mom section is a catalog of topics where there are questions broken down and sub-categorized according to the different stages of Motherhood.

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The Find Moms search button on the site allows you to follow other moms, look for moms in your geographical location or for moms with children the same age as yours.

Join Now!

Moms.com went live to the public this week and is open to new members. You can join now!

Follow Moms.com on:

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Hope to see some of you there!

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CaringBridge

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

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We have friends in our old church who had a child born with a facial birth defect. She has had numerous doctors appointments, wonderful care and has experienced great progress in her growth and development. However, when she was first born many things were pretty much up in the air because lots of discussion and follow up had to be done in order for the parents and doctors to the right path of treatment for this child. In order to keep all of us who were surrounding them with love, care and prayer, the family created a webpage dedicated to update specific for this child. They used a site like CaringBridge to send out updates and photos.

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Most of us have experienced a life-changing illness or had a family member or friend who has. CaringBridge is a nonprofit organization which has served families for more than 15 years, offering hope and inspiration to struggling families. Sona Mehring, the founder of CaringBridge shares a collection of these important hope-inspiring stories in her new book, Hope Conquers All. The stories range from young children with cancer, to adults awaiting transplants, these first-person accounts reveal the importance CaringBridge had in their personal journeys. If you have someone special who needs your love and support through a troubling health issue, or you are even faintly interested to learn how brave these individuals were through such hard times, consider learning more or purchasing Sona Mehring’s book here: http://caringb.org/hope. All author proceeds will go to CaringBridge.

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My Word of the Year #InspiringMoms

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join a group called Inspiring Moms Network. One of the first emails from the network founder challenged me to participate in choosing a word of the year. The more I thought about it the more I wanted it to be a word that really defined my 2013 year.

I’ve been thinking that while I thought life was harder once I became an adult, compared to my teen years, my life since November 29, 2004 has been even harder still. In moments of weakness I pray, “Lord, when will it let up. It seems we have been on a downward spiral since 2004.” The downward spiral started with the loss of our son, Matthew in utero, accompanied by Robert’s long time boss selling the business, new boss, husband unhappy with job for the first time EVER, exhausting sixth pregnancy, loss of job, 19 months of unemployment, rough eighth pregnancy, and the seemingly awful struggle to survive financially.

If I were to go back and choose a word for 2012 it would be TIRED. Yes it’s uninspiring, but it’s the truth. 2012 was tiring. Yet it had pockets of hope filled moments.

Words I considered for my Word of the Year:

BETTER.

CHANGE.

IMPROVEMENT.

RESTORE.

JOY.

CONTENTMENT.

GRATITUDE.

Motivated

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Then after all those things passed through the endless web of thoughts in my brain, I finally decided that MOTIVATED is my 2013 word of the year. MOTIVATED encompasses being motivated to be BETTER, to be MOTIVATED to CHANGE and IMPROVEMENT, to be MOTIVATED to restore what the locusts have eaten, to be MOTIVATED to be full of JOY, CONTENTMENT and GRATITUDE for what I have now, for what I will have and for what I have experienced in the past.

*MOTIVATED*

 


a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : incentive, drive
~ Merriam Webster Dictionary

How about you, are you MOTIVATED to choose a word of the year for 2013?

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TOY DOZER Review

A CHORE NO MORE!

THE TOY DOZER MAKES TOY CLEAN UP FAST, EASY, AND FUN FOR EVERYONE!

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January is National Organization month so what a better way to celebrate but with a product to clean up toys! Our house is overloaded with toys…especially with Christmas just past…we are busting at the seems! This product gives an innovative way to clean up toys with a “scoop” of the wrist! More importantly this is a toy that teaches…by involving children in clean up time, children learn the importance of responsibility. I know that responsibility is a value I am trying to instill in my children…so I am very happy that a “toy” can assist in that venue!

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The Toy Dozer is a great product that helps parents and kids clean up all of the toys that we can find overwhelming and exhausting to clean up…just a little more fun! Check out the product in use in the video below:

What exactly is the Toy Dozer? It is a simple yet GENIUS invention! The product is similar to a dustpan … but instead of a broom to “sweep” in messes you have a handy little scooper. The one thing I like about this is the “scooper” Velcro’s inside the dustbin portion of the dozer. This is great… since I would hate to loose part of the product. Do you know how many times I have just wanted to use a broom to sweep up the toys my children have strewn all over the floor? But really…who want s to use an icky broom to clean up messes? The Toy Dozer created a clean way to get at those big toy messes!

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My children are HUGE Lego fans! My son builds legos almost everyday…and my girls just got into the Lego friends series of Legos so our house was constantly strewn with the little parts. I was constantly picking up pieces and putting them on building plates or in Baggies. WELL… with the toy dozer pick up just got easier. I have to say that this is a great invention for these little pieces. All I have to do is use the scooper and sweep them all into the receptacle container and I easily have cleaned up a huge mess and then can bag the Legos as needed in seconds! This is a time saver for moms and dads! The kids love the product too! Usually the fuss about having to pick up ALL the Legos…but now the chore is fun and fast!

I do have to say that I also think this product has worked will in our house for beading crafts! My daughters received some bead kids for Christmas and after we were all done with the craft we were able to use the Toy Dozer to effectively clean up the beads in one swoop! I think this will be a great addition to craft days in our house as well…. Since it picks up those little pieces that I am forever using a plate or piece of paper to clean up messes.

We have used this product so many different ways… I do not think you will be disappointed. I have to honestly say that at first I thought it would be a Lego picker-upper only…but we have used it for many other things, including Barbie accessory, crayon, and Doll clothes clean up. I hate to say this but my girls’ room often looks like a tornado went through it (I know I am not alone) …but the Toy Dozer has sincerely made clean up easier!

Overall, I am thrilled with this product! It has made a difference in our “Lego” world! What a blessing to have been able to review this product!

The Toy Dozer comes in a variety of colors: Blue, Red, Purple, and Yellow.

Toy Dozer is also MADE IN THE USA!

To find more out about the Toy Dozer please visit: http://www.toydozer.com/

 

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive free products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

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Over The Moon – The Broadway Lullaby Project

My daughter and I went on an inspiring and peaceful musical journey with Over the Moon – The Broadway Lullaby Project and I invite you to join us. This book and CD are not only fantastic for bed and nap time, it is very calming for adults also.

The Book  – Over the Moon - The inside cover says it best…

It’s often said that “a picture speaks a thousand words,” that “music is the universal language,” that “all the world’s a stage,” and that lullabies fill the special place where babies and those who love them come together.

I’ve never read such a true statement. This 48 page hardcover book is beautifully illustrated and written by many artists, each donating their time for the Over the Moon Book and CD. The CD is attached to the back of the book.

The CD - Pop this 2 CD set of 13 songs each in your player.  Sit down and close your eyes and let the music take you on a voyage. The calming flow of the music will take you and your little one away on a mini vacation.  All the artists on the CD have beautiful melodic voices, including Vanessa Williams.

As is said earlier everyone has donated their time for Over The Moon-The Broadway Lullaby Project, which will raise money for breast cancer charities including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Yound Survival Coalition.

Visit the Over the Moon Website to purchase your collaboration today!  You can also visit them on Facebook and Twitter.

This is such a wonderful book and CD. My daughter and I have listened to the CDs many times and we have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of them.  Perfect for a new baby or baby shower gift!

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive free products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms

The first several years of being a mom I was pretty uptight and stressed – a lot more than I am now. There were (and still are) so many things I didn’t know (still don’t know). However, time, experience and maturity has taught me what is important:

1. Prayer. I pray all the time for my children. After all, God is the one who made them and ultimately knows them.
2. Love. Kids need lots of love and it is a constant work in progress to show them I love them on a daily basis amidst the good, bad and ugly. Each of them enjoy what is often referred as “love languages”. When they know they are loved they thrive.
3. Doing My Best. If I am truly doing my best, then the rest is up to God. As finite humans there is always room for improvement but if my husband and I are jointly seeking what is best for our family and individual children, then things should be ok. Our children will make choices, but any bad or wrong choices won’t be our fault if we have taught them right from wrong – after all our children are human too with minds of their own. Some just have to learn the hard way, unfortunately, and I cannot beat myself up about it.

I still tend to worry about certain things, think that’s part of being a parent, but overall I have loosened up quite a bit. As a mom of eight, I do not have time to let my Type A personality rule me like it use to!

I know all of you moms with 2-3 children all think I am nuts for having as many children as I do, but in many ways having 2-3 is as much work as having my 8 now. I know you don’t believe me but it’s true. When I had three children 3 and under or even five 6 and under, I was doing everything. Everything. My oldest was just starting to be a helper girl. Now I don’t do everything because I have built in helpers, however, I do work for income within our home and without the children’s help we would probably never eat or have clean clothes! Not that they do it perfectly by any means because often I find myself finishing up what they didn’t.

When I was a young mom (making myself sound old now! ;)) I also remember reading a lot of books. Books for encouragement, books about parenting, books about children. I still have many of my favorites and yes, they are still an encouragement to me. I hope one day my daughters will benefit from them.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms

Kristine Carlson has written a book titled, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms, that has short chapters for busy moms. In it she shares “simple ways to stress less and enjoy your family more.” I think new and young moms alike would benefit from this book. She includes many reminders like:

- There’s no such thing as a “perfect” mom
- Practice breathing before you speak
- Gratitude is a family practice, and begins with you
- When all else fails, laugh
- Celebrate other mothers
- Guilt-free working mom

Plus many more in her little 100 chapter book.

You, too, can connect with Kristine and other Don’t Sweat Moms via:

Facebook ~ Facebook.com/DontSweatMoms
Twitter ~ Twitter.com/DontSweatMoms
YouTube ~ YouTube.com/user/dontsweatmoms
Pinterest ~ Pinterest.com/dontsweatmoms
Join the Twitter conversation using the hashtag #DontSweatMoms.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms
may be purchased at any Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive free products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

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