My Fascination with Wedding Dresses

My Fascination with Wedding Dresses

My Wedding Dress…..and the Kiss the Bride moment. Yes, this is a photo of a photo. It was 2002.

Wedding dresses. I won’t say I’m obsessed because I don’t think about them ALL the time. I would say I’m fascinated with wedding dresses. 

Pretty often I find myself headed over to Kohl’s (because I actually am obsessed with Kohl’s). Do you know what is super close to Kohl’s in my town?

David’s Bridal.

I pass it, and I want to go in. I want to go in, and try on all the dresses.

And it’s an unrequited love. You can’t just go into David’s Bridal and try on wedding dresses when you have no intention of buying one. That’d be a good way to tick off some sales ladies.

I don’t want to buy one. I have no use for one.

I just want to drool over them, try 10 or so of them on, and feel like the Queen of the Day. Is that so wrong?

I can’t just put on my own wedding dress. There was that unfortunate incident. We talked about that here. My mom and I lost our wedding dresses in the same fire.

Even if my dress hadn’t died (and yes, okay, wedding dresses are special enough to die), I would not be able to fit it. The thing was tiny. Shake my head. I was obviously not finished growing yet.

Even if I did have a reason to buy another one, for say a 25th wedding anniversary vow renewal or something, I wouldn’t want to. Have you seen how much they cost now? It’s insane! I paid $450 for mine, before alterations, way back in the day.

Why would anyone pay $5,000 for a big white dress to wear one day, when that could pay for a whole Disney vacation? (for 2 people) No, thanks. (especially considering I’m already happily married…)

And yet, I still just want to look at them and wear them. I love to watch Say Yes to the Dress. Over and over. (You should see the boys’ confused looking faces. “Why are we watching this? Why is she crying?”)

Yes, I enjoy that show. Sometimes I even CRY at that show. Is it ridiculous? Yeah. yeah. I can’t explain it.

My Fascination with Wedding Dresses

my cousin, Amber, with her groom, Cale, so beautiful and happy

My Fascination with Wedding Dresses

Family friend, Sarah. Do you remember the girls who used to help with the boys for days while Alan was in Afghanistan? They grew up!

So, I just want to say, for the record, my name is April, and I love wedding dresses. I love to watch shows about them, drool over them in bridal magazines, and I day-dream about wearing them.

Who’s with me in my wedding gown love? Anybody?

 

5 Ways We Teach Our Children About God

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Our number one priority is that we set our children off on the right track spiritually.

We aren’t training them to live to please just their parents, society, or a set of rules.  Once you’re an adult, those things all become mushy anyway.

We’d rather they have a relationship with God. It’s not about religion; it’s about knowing how to pray, knowing why they believe, having faith, and making these choices on their own. It’s about feeling responsible to a being higher than ourselves.

We want them to know that through any crisis in life, and the good times too, they can cry to Jesus, to our Heavenly Father. Alan and I will eventually die. Their brothers will too, so they need someone who will always be there. That’s what they can find in their relationship with God.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Here are 5 super simple ways we foster their relationship with God:

 

#1. We teach them to pray.

From the time they are babies, we pray with each child individually before they go to bed at night. Sometimes it’s just Alan or me, but usually it’s both of us with each boy. When they are babies, I say all the words.

By the time they are talking, I let them say their own prayers, and I give them ideas for what to say by having them repeat after me. I change it up, not saying the same old thing every night.

For example:

“Thank you for this day. Thank you for my mommy, my daddy, my brothers, and (whoever else comes to mind). Thank you for my toys. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my food. Please help (insert sick relative) get better. Amen.”

By the time they are 3, they rarely repeat after me. They say whatever is on their mind, and sometimes it is adorable, and sometimes it is downright hilarious.

One of my boys used to say, “Thank you for

my mom and dad. Thank you for polar bears. Please help the polar bears. Thank you for badgers, raccoons, sun bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, beluga whales…” and he’d go on and on and on naming every animal he knew. So precious.

As they get older, we add in teaching them about praying for forgiveness when they’ve hurt their brother or disobeyed.

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Daniel, proudly displaying an award he earned at church.

#2. We take them to church.

It’s so much work when they are little to get them all cleaned up and dressed and to the church on time, but it’s so incredibly worth it. Hearing these Bible stories from another adult, hearing about how God loves them, and getting another Christian’s perspective on walking with the Lord is powerful. 

It backs up everything they are learning at home, encourages them in their faith, and exposes them to other leaders and kids like them. I have had so many mentors over the years that were my Sunday school teachers and other Christians who enhanced my understanding with their unique experiences.

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

#3. Talking about what the Bible says

I should actually do this more. I tend to remember when I discipline the boys. I tell them, “Hey, Mom doesn’t like to punish you, but it’s my job. God tells me to. The Bible says an undisciplined son is a shame to his parents.” And well, we all know that’s true.

I try to remember to use Biblical examples when I’m coaching them on how to handle difficult people or situations or jobs.

#4. Modeling good habits

Feel free to laugh at me here because I guarantee you I’ve taught about as many bad habits as I have good…ahem…

But that’s okay. Kids need to know that people aren’t perfect, and we have to love and accept all sorts of people and be very forgiving.

We all know “more is caught than taught.” I want my children to see me reading my Bible, see me praying, see me helping the poor, and know that I am a kind, loving person who truly believes what I’m teaching.

For example….

I remember when I was home-schooling. Caleb and I were both going through a phase where we were having trouble with our out-of-control emotions. His was probably the result of my BAD modeling because I was going through a difficult time, but at least I was able to coach him on how to control his own emotions, by learning from my own mistakes.

I said, “Caleb, you may not ever be able to master your feelings on your own. When you feel that anger start to rage, and you want to give in to it, immediately stop and pray. Pray for God to help you keep it together.”

So one day, one of my boys came in, all upset and indignant, to tell on Caleb.

“Mom! Mom! I accidentally (did whatever), and Caleb got mad, and he HIT me, and then he just got down on his knees and started PRAYING!” said the flabbergasted and deeply offended brother.

I was so happy I could have soared with the birds.

“Oh, wow! That’s wonderful!” I joyfully answered.

“What! Wonderful?? What! He HIT me!!”

“Don’t you see? It would’ve been much worse for you if he hadn’t stopped and prayed. He stopped and prayed to keep from hitting you any more. Be thankful!”

 

$9.94 on Amazon. The Story Traveler’s Bible by Tracey Madder

#5. Using illustrated children’s Bibles to teach them God’s Word.

Reading the Bible to the boys goes over a whole lot better when we use a book with mesmerizing pictures, like this one. You should’ve heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth we used to hear when Alan would make our 7, 6, and 2 year olds listen to an entire chapter of the KJV Bible straight up.

Bible time should not be torture. We’ve come a long way since then.

Allow me to introduce you to a fabulous new children’s Bible that our family is currently enjoying reading:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Includes 85 Bible stories

I love the details of the Bible stories that it includes.  Plus, it’s so helpful how she includes these memory verses in the margins!

5 Ways we teach our children about God 5 Ways we teach our children about God

The boys love the brightly colored illustrations by Tim Crecelius.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In fact, for a week I could not find the book, and I thought I’d looked everywhere. It finally turned up in my nine-year-old’s room, in his little reading corner.

Now that’s good silent reading material!

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Look at these beautiful pages:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In this book, 3 modern boys and girls travel through time and visit all of these old Bible stories and places.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

the Samson story

Can you guess why I’m showing you so many details about this children’s Bible? Well…..if you guessed “because it’s our newest giveaway,” and I want you to see how awesome it is, you are correct!!

Don’t you just LOVE a giveaway? This giveaway is sponsored by Tracey Madder, the author of The Story Traveler’s Bible.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

As usual, this one is easy to enter. Just log in below, and choose one an entry option listed here.

Best of luck! I’ll announce the winner in 1 week: May 2nd! I always email the winner well within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway.

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You can also order it here, for $9.94 from Amazon.

I hope you got some ideas or found some of this helpful. If you have any ideas to add or questions to ask, comment below.  Good luck on the giveaway!!

 

 

My Most Important Job

 

My Most Important Job

This morning was a struggle. Everyday is a race, but this morning was extra nerve-wracking. The trouble started at 7:40. The two oldest wanted to leave by that time so they could “be there early”. The middle boy was still brushing his teeth, and the youngest was still eating a waffle.

Somehow we managed to leave the house at 7:48. No idea how.

There was a short award ceremony this morning for AR readers, so we did that. I love getting to support the boys. Then we came home, just J.D. and me.

That’s when the struggle got real.

Why? Because I thought I could get work done with my 3-year-old at home. hahahahahaha

I have a giveaway I need to run, but the photos aren’t ready….because I haven’t taken them yet…I have an affiliate that I’ve promised paperwork to.

And I haven’t posted since Sunday, and I’m starting to feel like I’m on a treadmill set on 6.0 and I only have one leg, a feeling many of us know well.

Hilarious, isn’t it? Did you know that bloggers have work stress? Well, yes, sometimes we do.

Also, it’s sheet day, the day I wash sheets, and I am behind on housework as always. 

But I wanted to put my three-year-old first.

I wanted to be a good mom. Instead of working on all those things, I colored with him first. We traced letters, and we colored about 10 different pages of Peppa Pig. (We love the Pig family.)

I thought I’d filled his little love tank enough and I could move on to dishes, Bible reading, and checking email. People are always ridiculing me for not having read the emails they sent.

J.D. let me do the dishes and read my Bible, but once I sat down to do email, all productivity brakes were hit full force.

“I’m hungry.”

“I’m hungry again.”

“Can I watch Toy Story?”

“Not the one with the blue one. The one with Zurv.”

The one with Zurg is broken, so that was out.

“Okay, then, the one where Andy grows up and becomes a dad.”

I guess that’s what he thinks “goes to college” means…

Toy Story 3 was nowhere to be found. He went overboard with the whining. I had a moment….. By this point, the Benadryl I’d given him for his runny nose was in full effect. He was crying. I was whining and out of patience.  I sent him to his room.

He had his broken-heart face on as he sat in his rocking chair and cried. Gets me every time. I felt bad for the sweet, tiny person I’d offended. I went to his room, I picked him up. I comforted him, and rubbed his precious forehead.

And he fell asleep.

I rocked him, and I admired his sweet angelic face. I thought about all the times I’d gotten so worked up about stupid jobs that would earn me a few dollars, when here was this baby, this person who depended on me for everything. They need me to train them into successful, hard-working men.

But today he’s only 3 years old, and he and his brothers are my most important jobs. I can have a few less dollars and be fine.

Those blog jobs will just have to wait.

We can get a week behind on washing the sheets.

Priorities. If juggling 4 children, the military life, and my work has taught me nothing else, it’s the importance of priorities.

We only get one shot at our children. They grow right in front of us, and we can’t even see it.

My Most Important Job

back row, far right. “Singing” at church.

They are our most important responsibility. Our marriage is an even more important relationship, but our children are our job. If we don’t love them and meet their needs, probably no one else will. If all children were loved as they should be, there would be far less crime and hurt in this world.

My Maw-Maw, one of my favorite people in the whole world, wrote this poem. I bet she wrote it when she was around my age. I don’t know exactly. She was taken from us way too soon, at the age of 56, by untreated breast cancer that spread to her bones.

She spent many years as a single mom. You know my Bible journal? Yeah, she had a library of about 120 of those. She’d take poems, quotes, and Bible verses pair them with a pretty picture from a magazine or greeting card, and compile them into scrapbooks, organized by topics. They ranged from “love”, “God’s will”, “Humor”, to “Gossip” and “Life”. 120 different topics.

Here’s a poem she wrote about the dangers of neglecting our jobs as moms.

Please understand that my Maw-Maw was not against women working. She worked several different jobs over the years. She worked in a sewing factory, a grocery store, and she even owned and operated her own book store, Beth’s Books, not all at the same time, of course. She was a lovely, inoffensive person, who always smelled like Avon perfume and never left home without her false eyelashes on. She loved nothing better than reading a book with a cigarette and a glass of unsweet iced tea.

 

 

My Most Important Job

Beth

What’s Happened to Motherhood?

 

You compete with the men

And an equal right you demand

While you leave your children in the baby sitter’s hand.

The pleasure of motherhood

Is a gift God gave to you.

Giving birth to a chid

Is something no man can do!

The hand that rocks the cradle

Rules the world, you say,

But stop and think;

Who’s rocking the cradle today?

What’s happened to motherhood?

Is it old-fashioned or out of style?

What could ever be more important

Than caring for your child?

Sure, you love your child

More than you could ever say,

But have you taken time

To teach him how to pray?

When he has a problem

And needs to talk to you,

Can he come to you any time,

Or wait ’till your day is through?

While you work hard to achieve your goal

Your children so quickly grow.

And saddest of all is

What you’re missing you’ll never know.

~by Beth H. King

 

 

 

I know that poem may ruffle a few feathers, but I share it because

1.) I miss Maw-maw so much, and reading her poems brings her back.

and

2.) I think it’s a valid reminder of what is our most important job as moms.

 

We might as well enjoy this gift of motherhood. Love y’all. Have a great weekend!

 

Easter 2017

 

News about him spread all over Syria and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.

 

Mathew 4:24

A wise man I know once reminded me that God doesn’t always get his will. (Thank you, Pastor Schneider.)

Think about it. Is it God’s will for us to lie or cheat or act like jerks? No, it’s not, so God doesn’t always get his will here on earth. That’s why he tells us to pray for his will to be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

 

But on Easter, God DID get his will. Jesus prayed in the garden on Good Friday that this cup would pass from him, “but even so may your will be done.”

And so it was. It was the ultimate demonstration of love. He overcame death. He paid the price for our sins, and he did not stay dead.

Don’t punish yourself. The punishment has already been made. Let’s live in the victory. Let’s live in the age of resurrection, in the age of life and of love.

 

“And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”    Matthew 17:23

 

“But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”   1 John 2: 1-2

 

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”    Matthew 10:32-33

He loved us first, and he wants us to believe.

 

“Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”    John 16:32-33

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”   ~ Jesus   in Matthew 5:43-44

 

“The entire law is summed up in a single command. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out for you will be destroyed by each other.”  Galatians 5:14-15

Sorry Alan wasn’t in the photos! He went to church early to help out. I’ll get a photo of him yet, though. Don’t worry. 😉

 

“Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”   Hebrews 7:27

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Why live stressed when we have so much hope, faith, and love? I love y’all. Have a Happy Easter!

 

How we got banned from the library and my plan

I love to study. Sometimes it baffles me when children in this house do not share my desire to pour over books and take notes. I love it. This is what I do. It’s what I have done my whole life.

When JD, at 2 years old, would wake up in the morning, pull up a kitchen bar stool, and say, “Let’s study shapes, Mom!!” my heart would swell with pride. This is my boy.

When Joshua memorized all the species of whales at 3 years old, and checked out every single library book on badgers at 5, I knew that this apple was not falling far from the tree. (These days he memorizes sports statistics instead.)

By the end of my own kindergarten year, the library was my favorite place. It’s sad that all these years later we are banned from the library.

I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking it’s my kids’ fault, or my fault for not controlling my boys. But that wasn’t it at all. My boys love to go to the library, and while they are sometimes a little rambunctious, they have never actually caused any problems there.

It was me. I’m the reason.

In 2015, I paid $250 in library late fees, which included some fees left over from 2014.

In 2016, I paid ~$80 in library late fees, because I was trying harder and being more careful.

In Monterey, I could keep it under the radar. The librarians there were cool with us. Who doesn’t want the lady who donates $250 to the library?

But here in the South, I made the mistake, hefty mistake, of signing up for text alerts for when my books were due. I think the texts also went to the email account that I share with Alan, the same Alan who is very sensible with his money, maybe a little more sensible and organized than his wife…

Alan soon realized that I don’t bat an eye at returning a book a week overdue and continuing to use my library account.

I figure if the library lets me, I’ll just put it off until later, and they do always let me carry a balance. The library here is kind of far away, and I have trouble remembering where it is exactly and how to get there….

Poor Alan. The stress was too much. He was all calling the library to make sure we’d returned them all, going by there and paying all the late fees, and then he said it. He did.

“Can you please stop checking books out from the library?”

At least I think he said it. If he didn’t say it out loud, he was surely thinking it.

So I said it: “Okay. I know. I was wrong. I’m sorry. We will never check books out from the library again.”

I can be dramatic like that.

Alan was all, “Phew!!! Yes, I mean yes, obviously, you should not.”

Sigh.

And that was how we got banned from the library, and how I started shopping more at Book Fairs, Scholastic store online, and Amazon, so I’m not altogether sure we’re saving any money, but we do get to keep the books now…..which is actually sort of a storage problem.

And that is why the library is part of my New Year’s Resolution for 2017.

Yes, I’m aware that I didn’t actually make any New Year’s resolutions back in January, but I’m making one now. Right here, in the month of April, or as you might say MY MONTH.

I am getting my organizational act together!

I have actually been writing in and checking that planner that I bought. This is a BIG DEAL for me.

Every 2 to 3 years, we get completely uprooted, and I have to basically start life all over again, so maybe that helps you understand why I do not have the deeply engrained schedules that you may have. For a military wife, life changes drastically constantly. In 1 more year, we will probably move yet again.

Sometimes I’m guilty of feeling like why bother.

But you know what? I’ve got a lot of kids’ schedules to figure out now, and the older they get the more activities they have, and I’m going to have to get used to writing all this stuff down.

To be fair, it’s a lot of people to keep up with. 😉

So here’s my plan to lift the library ban.

  1. Look at my planner every single day.  I’m going to do that as soon as I finish this article.
  2. Take my planner with me, and write down each upcoming responsibility down on the calendar so I won’t forget.
  3. Check out 1 library book, write down the due date in the planner, and see if I can get it back to the library on time.
  4. If that works, I’m going to check out 2 books the next time!!!

 

So what about you guys? Have any of you ever paid $200 in library fees? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve also lost books and had to buy the library new ones. I didn’t feel like this made me a bad customer. I felt like it just made me a frequent flyer, and these things were inevitable. Right? I say yes.

Have a FUN weekend, y’all. Life’s too short to not.

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God. ” Ecclesiastes 5:7

 

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.   Psalm 20: 4-5

 

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