Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's a Master Makeover!

When my hubby and I moved into our house it was just the two of us.  We'd been married slightly over a year and bright, bold colors characterized our feelings, thus making their way onto our walls. 

At the time, burgundy and gold were in and we matched the paint design with the bed set we'd received as a wedding gift.

It was perfect for us until a dog and children started making way into our life.  Suddenly, our whole house felt busy, and I no longer wanted a "busy" room.  It was time for patterns and borders and multi-colored walls to leave in favor of a quiet, serene place that could, quite honestly, be a respite from a loud life.

Last summer I bought a new simple, classy bedspread that fulfilled this feeling.  Embarrassingly enough, my "busy" life got in the way of getting the rest of the project done and since the new spread clashed with the gold walls it did nothing but gather dust in the corner of my room.

For. A. Long. Time.

Knowing this. my mother-in-law and mom offered to buy the new paint and come over one day to get the room done as my birthday gift.  Score!  I'm blessed to be married to my best friend, but Charlie and I enjoy the rare gift that our families love each other just the same.  Not only do we do joint holiday celebrations and worship together, but they actually go out together without us.  It's cool and we love it.  To know that they wanted to hang together for the day and create our dream space was most definitely one of the best birthday gifts I've ever received.

Off to the store I went and we selected the color "manatee" out of the Dutch Boy "Room with a Story" line.  The swatch actually comes in the shape of a crayon because it's in the kids line, but, hey, we're kids at heart :) 

Charlie used his extreme height to literally walk around the room and pull down the border.

This is a definite bonus to being married to such a tall guy.

Then our family came over and once the guys cleared most of the furniture, the moms got to work.

Adios, burgundy.  Hello calm.  I already like what I see.

Since the deal was that they would do it for me I ran to the store for food to feed bellies and then laid on the bed and chatted with them while they rolled away.  I honestly don't remember the last time I was so lazy.  The kids were even out of the room by that point so I was temporarily excused from mothering duties.  Double bonus!

Once they finished and the walls were dry enough to put all the furniture back in place, a few treasures made their way back too.

Like my favorite wedding picture

And this gorgeous gift my friend who was the florist for our wedding gave us to forever capture our wedding flowers and invite from our special day {the flash made the paint look darker here}

My fav ever jewelry organizer that served the perfect feature on my side of the bed for the black accents

These treasured letters from my oldest two on the dresser mirror

And momentos from Charlie's trip to Africa as well as his treasured Elvis pez dispenser collection.  Told ya we were kids at heart :)

Finally the few new things that I got to finish off our space were added

(wall sticker from Amazon)
 (throw pillow from Target - and best camera capture of the true colors)

(black wire cross from Hobby Lobby)
And it turned out.....

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Also, don't forget to enter my Bare Naked Truth giveaway to promote purity in the life of the teen girl you love.  You have until noon, July 3.  Book and entry details here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Bare Naked Truth {Giveaway}

Do I have your attention?  Yeah, when Bekah Hamrick Martin wrote asking Pam and I to contribute to her new book it had mine too.

I wasn't sure I wanted my name in a book that had the words "Bare" and "Naked" right next to each other in a title.  It makes a traditional, Midwest girl blush.  :)

But I'm here to tell you this is a truth you want to hear.

Using humor to draw teen girls into thinking through the most important decision they will make in romantic relationships, Bekah shares her own hilarious stories to get at the root of a girl's heart.  I think reading it fulfilled the RDA for abdominal exercise.  Laughter galore.

But it is laughter with purpose - to help girls see the bare naked beauty in waiting for sex and the joy that comes in God's purity plan.  YES!  Love me another abstinence author!

"Safe sex begins with a safe heart," teaches Bekah, and inside each chapter is great teaching, a quiz, journaling space, and multiple bare naked tips.  Tips to help your girl think, that is.

Other author spotlights include Holley Gerth, Jan Kern, Mary Demuth, Sarah Markley, Susie Shellenberger, Tricia Goyer and countless more lovelies reinforcing Bekah's message and uplifting the Master design.

When it comes to sex, we cannot talk to young girls enough, and the more positive information we can give them to help them choose God's greatest the better.  Be sure to add this to the teaching tools you use with the teens you love.  Bekah's unique witty, entertaining approach makes this touchy subject fun to explore so readers will want to choose the bare naked best.

AND...ONE of you will be lucky enough to WIN a copy because Bekah has graciously offered a giveaway to one of my beautiful readers.  To enter, simply leave a comment (with your email) by noon on Wed, July 3.  I will use to pick the winner.  For additional entries share this post on facebook and twitter.  Be sure to enter separate comments for each entry opportunity.  Note: you must be in the continental US to enter. 

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Behind the Scenes of Father's Day: What Makes a Man

When the cute, brown eyed boy asked me out at 16 I based my "yes" on three things - his love for the Lord, the way he treated me in our friendship, and his desire to have a family.  I was in no position to be getting married but I had learned that dating could only be healthy if the field was narrowed solely to people possessing qualities I would want in a spouse.  Charlie proved to be the perfect blend of fun-loving and sincere, treating me with a respect and love that made me eager to become "Mrs. Nesdahl."

During pre-marriage counseling Charlie said he wanted six kids.  My heart hiccupped and I suggested two with agreement to pray over it.  Together the Lord has brought us perfect peace in our three.

At the time we never could've imagined that our complete family picture would be three little girls.  Although, to Charlie's credit, he did guess girl for our last (we always chose to be surprised in the delivery room) and one of my favorite memories about that day will always be Charlie pumping his fist in the air saying, "I was right.  It's a girl."

A proud papa of pink times three.  And three girls that are girly-girls no less.

This Father's Day we were near an American Girl store.  Our girls' love for American Girl cannot be overstated.  Ava just had a Bitty Baby themed birthday party because it is like an extension of her being at the tender age of two and Grace and Hannah put every dollar they get right down to the ones from the tooth fairy into their savings account with anticipation for their AG trip the next year.  And it is a love we support.  American Girl purposefully designs dolls, accessories, and clothing to help every girl have a doll like her, whether it be without hair because of chemo or in a cast or wearing a ballet leotard.  And, the enclosed charms and books all promote healthy virtues and family bonding.  These are messages we appreciate.  Still, I wasn't thinking it was the Father's Day dream and I suggested a different day.

"No," Charlie said, "It makes the most sense to do it on Father's Day."

I wasn't totally sure why but off we went.

As I looked at my man next to his girls through the lens my heart broke with a new love I never knew possible when I said, "I do."  Our Creator has this inventive way of showing us new beauty in the one we've long loved as they nurture our growing children.

My patient husband walked through the store, actually taking interest in everything the girls showed him along they way.  He got excited in their excitement.  He pretended not to see what they were doing and swallowed them in hugs when they presented their live Father's Day crafts to him.


And suddenly his comment was crystal clear.

It made the most sense to go to American Girl on Father's Day because it meant living the role.  Father's Day isn't a day to gloat about creating offspring but to celebrate the gift it is to have them.  So that is what my man did.

True manhood isn't about being rough and tough, raking in the dough, or being celebration worthy.  It is posturing his heart towards the Lord and listening for how to love well.  This looks different for boys verses girls and with kids of varying interests, but it boils down to the same common denominator - invested presence.

After Charlie and the kids finished off their mall experience with a laughter filled log-ride, we got in the car and I kept flipping back to the photo outside American Girl.  Surely Charlie's interest in our girls' love is teaching them that a spouse worthy boy will do the same.  His patience has to be teaching them that they should never be rushed or made to feel uncomfortable.  His hugs and "I Love Yous" leave the imprint that Godly love never hurts and always protects.  He is building them up.

Children whose father takes the time to laugh, cry, listen, and celebrate with them, are positioned for success.  A real man will live that out every opportunity he's given and both families and the future are strengthened in the process.

Thank you, Charlie, for gifting that to our kids.  You do amazing things behind the scenes!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Activity Circus: Growing Summer Family Time in an Overbooked Culture

School isn’t yet out as I sit with my cup of coffee to write this.  However, the near turn of the calendar page promises that very soon summer will be here.  Alarms can be turned off.  Little girls with bed head can be welcomed next to me for morning snuggles rather than hurried into the kitchen for breakfast.  Outfits won’t need to be pre-picked to make sure there are no clothing dilemmas hindering getting out of the door on time (although something tells me mine still will because they are true girly girls).  The live-by-the-clock pace necessitated by the school calendar and any accompanying extra-curriculars can be momentarily abandoned for a slower paced life of freedom and flexibility.

Or at least in theory.
Ironically the modern mom longs forward to this precious season yet in a culture that believes keeping kids busy is better we sit before a mountain of papers offering opportunity for basketball camp, soccer, dance camp, tennis,  swimming lessons,  and the list goes on.  Each, in their own right, is good and offers chance for our children to grow and excel and smile.

But are we sacrificing the most meaningful smiles in the process?
The other day I sat with a group of women.  “I don’t know how I’m going to do this.  Three kids at three different fields at the same time with only two of us seems impossible,” said one.  Feeling her pain, another piped up.  “Between all our schedules I don’t even know where we are going to find time for a family getaway.”  And the conversation snowballed with a group of understanding moms genuinely trying to do their best to gift their children with activities they like but finding themselves frazzled in the process. 

Stress is real before the theoretical “slow down” even begins.
I’m in a bible study with a friend who’s befriended someone new to our country.  By our standards we would deem her homeland impoverished and underprivileged.  Yet, as she spoke to my friend she said, “It’s so loud here. It’s too busy to hear the voice of God.”

Much to “the land of opportunities” chagrin we are scurrying around in the name of good and between the split directions, outside voices, and attempts to beat the clock we might be losing what matters most.  Focused, faith-filled hearts.  Family togetherness.  Fulfillment in the simple.

In The Message Jeremiah 2:25 reads, “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What's the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? But you say, 'I can't help it. I'm addicted to alien gods. I can't quit.”
And what are we after in these overbooked lives we lead?  Is it kids staying out of trouble?  Is it fun?  Somewhere buried underneath is it a status thing?  And how does this translate into our home?  Are we still experiencing the family table and getting the quality togetherness we longed for before the season started?  Or, is it snappy attitudes and shallow, rushed living?

Are we being pulled by alien gods that appear good but actually destroy?
When I walked away from that conversation I was convicted to prayerfully consider....

To finish reading my post please visit the newly done magazine style MODSquad site.  And, while you're there be sure to subscribe.  You won't want to miss an issue! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello Monday {Saying "No" Less & "Yes" More}

It's Monday.  A fresh beginning to the calendar week and an opportunity to say "Yes" to life in new ways.

I'm thankful for this gift because one of my biggest downfalls as a mom is saying "no" too easily.  I get so caught up in how I want things to look and my day to go that when the kids toss new ideas at me that weren't on my agenda I crush it before even considering the request.  It's not something I'm proud of but it happens and I'm making a conscious effort to change that.

For all of you fellow parents nodding your head in understanding (please tell me you exist), I'd suggest picking up Lysa TerKeurst's book "Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions."     I've been reading it while peddling away my midsection at the gym and it's a pretty great.

Over the weekend Grace and Hannah were invited to a skating party.  The birthday girl's mom asked if I could help chaperone and quite frankly the idea of 10 littles on the skates made me want to run for the hills.  But, with my hubby working my "no" felt validated and I considered it an opportune time to get some additional writing work done.  That was my plan

and then God worked on my heart, reminding me it was their first time and my friend really could use the help if I could swing it.  Out the door went my writing work but deposited into my heart were some beautiful memories and a whole lot of laughter with the kids. Turns out the skating rink does all the same games they did when I went there in the 80s.  Heck, they were probably the same skates, but I'm glad I put my feet in them again.  Hello, "downtown" and "dice game!"

Then Hannah left for VBS with different shoes on.  Both glittery and the same style on the correct feet, but one silver and one black.  Since they were sleeping at grandpa and grandma's the next two nights not correcting this meant her going to church for two days with different shoes on.  Hannah was all giggles thinking it was the perfect solution to not being able to decide which color to wear.  I, on the other hand, was thinking the adults present would be judging me the inept mother who repeatedly fails to notice that her kid is in mismatched stuff.  I know different socks are the "in thing" but I don't think different shoes have hit the new trends list.


The point of the week is that she is a wildly loved child of God, whether her shoes match or not.  Plus turning the van around felt like too much work and a waste of extremely expensive gas.  Hello, living on the wild side.  And this really is the wild side for me. 

The blessing in the older two getting special time with grandpa and grandma is that now I get an afternoon date with this adorable sassafrass who is 25 months old today.

We ventured out and she picked a chocolate mocha cupcake.  This probably stems from my letting her try a drink of my Starbucks and realizing she loved it a little too much, but, hey, there is milk in it so it has to have at least a little brain developing value, right?!  Who cares.  It is a rare event and she devoured every morsel.  Nap time happened later than it should've but her feeding me bites in between her own and offering me chocolaty kisses was totally worth it.  Hello, flexibility.

Time with our kids marches quickly and I'm well aware that every "yes" and "no" writes something on their heart.  I want them to know that I'm at least hearing and thinking about what they are saying before I respond.  And it's already made for some pretty amazing moments.  Join me in taking a deep breath & starting new.  "Hello Monday!"

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