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August 2014 August 2014 – In The Wright Direction

Month: August 2014

You Grow Girl!

“Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the
word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” 
  1 Peter 2:2
My kids love to hear how much they’ve grown and being raised
in the South they’ve each heard their share of, “Wow, you are growing like
a weed!”  At this phase in life,
it’s easy to see how rapidly they are changing. 
It’s evident in the shoes and clothes that have to be replaced every few
months, the loss of teeth, a changing voice and an ever growing grocery
My daughter measures her growth by where the bathroom
counter comes to her waste as I style her hair before school and my son by how
easily he can pick me up off the ground. 
Okay, I have to just keep typing here because if I stop, I will cry
(possibly for days).  Seriously, I no
longer pick up my son and carry him on my hip; he picks me up instead!
Anyway, my kid’s excitement at seeing their progress has me
wondering why I no longer get excited by my own growth. 
Last night, I had the opportunity to teach a girl’s Bible
study class at my church.  When I
discovered the subject was managing your emotions, I just knew this was an
assignment straight from God.  It’s a
topic near and dear to my heart because I’ve actually been working on managing
my emotions for the last couple of years. 
As I sat down to pray and make notes for the class, I was amazed at how
much I had to pass along…because I have grown! I was elated to see
that I was a few inches taller in this area than I once was. 
Whether it’s in my work outs, breaking bad habits, being a
good mom, etc., I tend to focus on all I’m lacking.  All I can see is how far I still have to
go.  I never stop to notice just how far
I’ve already come!
Leading the Bible study gave me the chance to do just
that.  It was like standing with my back
to a door frame ticking off a pencil mark and stepping away to see a big gap
between the me of two years ago and the me of today.  It was exciting!
It can be so easy to
get tied up in striving for perfection that we overlook all that
God has already accomplished in us.  But it’s
comforting to know that God doesn’t overlook our changes any more than you
could go without noticing your own child’s growth.  He sees, He acknowledges and He celebrates
your growth each and every day!

Today, I hope you will slow down enough to see, acknowledge
and celebrate just how far you’ve come. 
It might give you just the encouragement and excitement you need to keep
going!  You’re doing it…inch by inch, and
heading in the (W)right direction!

8 fun and frugal ways to bond as a family this summer

I wrote the following for a guest post for Birmingham Bargain Mom.  I was excited for the opportunity and hope you will check her out at
If you’re like us, the school year is a blur of games, lessons and homework. Sure, we spend a lot of time together as a family but it’s way too structured for my taste and leaves me longing for the laid back, easy-going days of summer.
Now that summer has finally graced us with her presence, I want to make sure my family has fun and makes memories we’ll never forget. I’ve put together a list of our favorite family bonding activities and hope you will share yours with me as well.

1. Eat dinner together with pizzazz! – Eat outside on the porch, have an indoor picnic, eat hotdogs on fine china in the dining room by candlelight, eat with chopsticks, have theme nights (think Chimichangas and refried beans with salsa music and printed tidbits about Mexico), let the kids choose their favorites to prepare.

2. Family Fun Night – unplug, no TV or video games, gasp! Get outside and play 4-Square (we are hooked! Check out, hide-and-seek, badminton, catch lightning bugs, go for a walk, have a water gun battle or play in the water hose.

3. No Whining Wednesday – I thought this would be a tough one for the kids but I think it’s actually harder for me. First of all, no one is allowed to be negative or complain. Secondly, if you say something unkind to someone, you have to say 5 nice things about them. Lastly, I don’t get onto the kids unless absolutely necessary. I’ll stop them from punching each other but will try to look the other way as they chew with their mouths open, forget to say “thank you” or make a mess. Believe me, it’s hard at times but so worth it! I didn’t realize how often I gripe about the little things until I decided not to.

4. Get in the kitchen together – No need to spend hours over a hot stove on a hot summer day. No one will complain about getting to build their own pizzas (try individual pizzas on tortillas), subs, nachos, or smoothies. Have bowls of toppings and let the fun and creativity begin.

5. Science experiment or art project day – I love Pinterest! I have an entire board set aside for experiments and projects I think my kiddos will enjoy. Sometimes on grocery buying day, I let them peruse the board and pick out something they want to do together. We make a list of the supplies we’ll need and out the door we go. They never complain about having to go to the store when they know we are buying project supplies along with our weekly groceries.  (Bargain Mom note – here’s a story I did about water experiments with the kids that kept them busy for hours)

6. Start a hobby together – My son and I are currently working on our second model airplane!

7. Do something for someone else – bake homemade cookies and deliver them to your local fire department, visit someone in a nursing home, mow a neighbor’s yard, etc. You’ll have a day you can be proud of and raise kids to be proud of too. (Bargain Mom note, here’s the recipe for the cookies featured in the gallery)

8. And because you don’t want your home condemned by the time school rolls around,Set the oven timer and get to cleaning – This is my most genius mom idea ever! Set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes. Have everyone start in their own area and then expand, cleaning and straightening as fast as possible until the timer sounds. No one wants to clean but knowing you don’t have to do it for long makes it seem less daunting and even fun. Sometimes we look around in amazement at what all we were able to accomplish in such a short time. Then, back to building a sheet tent in the den!

5 tips for finding your perfect parenting style

The following post first appeared as a guest blog I wrote for Birmingham Bargain Mom.  I hope you will check out her website at
Like any good Type A mom, I started preparing for my first born before he was even conceived.  I began eating healthier, quit drinking caffeine and started prenatal vitamins. During pregnancy I avoided household cleaners, refused Tylenol and Tums and even covered my nose and mouth while pumping gas to avoid fume inhalation (cute, huh?).
My desire to be the perfect parent was even further magnified when I held my precious son for the first time. He was new and untarnished and I was determined to keep him that way.
The problem was, I had no idea how to do so! I say we skip Algebra class altogether (never tell my kids or any math teachers I said that!) and take a course on what to do when your child won’t eat anything green and you just know they will develop rickets or how to respond when your toddler throws a tantrum the size of Texas right in front of your mother-in-law! Now there’s a class we could all benefit from and there’s not a calculator in the world that can short-cut the minefield of parenting.
Anyway, I frantically began reading parenting book after parenting book searching for the “perfect parenting method” for raising our children. Like a fad diet, I would excitedly latch onto one method, follow it to the letter and then feel like a complete failure when I couldn’t make it work.

What kind of parent am I?

Next, I began copying a dear friend who seemed to have it all together. Her kids were well-mannered, well-behaved and always well-groomed. Hard as I tried to mimic her every move, that didn’t last either. I felt doomed to be a bad mom with kids who dreamed of running away to find a better mom: a mom who wore aprons while baking perfectly moist cupcakes and spoke in a soothing tone at all times.
Finally, I did what I should have done all along…I prayed for God to help me find my “perfect parenting style.”
This is what He has shown me:
1. There isn’t one. Nope!
2. Kids and life refuse to follow a pattern to be mastered. Each moment, each stage and each child you have will differ from the last so there can never be a “one size fits all” method.
3. Prepare but know you won’t always be prepared. I discuss what I expect with my children, let them know what will happen if they don’t behave and then follow through with my preplanned punishment if needed. That being said, there are times when nothing could prepare me for what the day brings. So, we have to learn to pray without ceasing, follow what we know in our hearts about our children and handle each situation as it comes our way.
4. Don’t be afraid to be yourself as a parent. We are going to be raising children for years to come so that’s way too long to try to force yourself into a parenting style that isn’t you. And that brings me to my favorite thing I’ve learned….
5. If God wanted your child to be raised like “so and so” is raising their children, He would have given your child to “so and so.” Take that in for a second!

Chosen by God

God chose you to parent your child for a reason. You are the best equipped person to raise them into who He wants them to be. That means that with Him you can do it and do it well.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t read parenting books or try to improve. Raising children is the toughest most important job we can ever have. It’s a huge responsibility that warrants us putting forth our best efforts, but it is okay to make mistakes. We are going to mess up from time to time and so are our kids.
I think the most important thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication with our kids open and keep praying.

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