Monday, July 29, 2013

Helping Our Kids Choose Healthy Friends {Free Printable}

As much as I want to slow time, school is about to start.  This year Hannah starts kindergarten which means I'll be home with only one most of the day.  To be honest, this makes me sad.  I feel like this summer the girls' ages have afforded longer trips to the zoo, more confident swims in the pool, and simple girl fun every day.  But, alas, I can't stop the turn of the calendar page.  So, I'm starting to talk with my children again about good listening and healthy friendships.  When I saw this quote I knew it was a kid-friendly way to share an important message so I made this free printable for you to use with the students you love.  May their backpacks be filled with supplies and heads full of smarts to make for a wonderful academic year.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

{Because We are all Royal} How World Vision Gave my Kids New Sight

Kate Middleton is in labor.  Since this morning we've been on high alert - myself included - watchful for news of the little one's arrival.  Once he or she does, I've read that there will be a live broadcast helicopter delivery of the gender and birth details to the palace where it will be displayed on a golden easel.  Gun salutes and cannon blasts will tell the world that they royal baby is here.

And we watch forgetting that our birth was just as royal because we are children of The One sitting on The Throne.

Our deliveries come with less pomp and coverage, but the Lord sees and loves and celebrates us just the same.

Some will call home a castle.  Some will live in a modest house.  Yet others will live without a roof but all are special and will make their impact on the Kingdom.

Nearly two years ago we fell in love with a toddler in Ecuador.  Having nothing more than her picture, we welcomed her into our prayer lives thanks to a bittersweet goodbye.  Through our partnership with World Vision, Andrea's family was now self sufficient and Nayely's sweet face come on a new brochure.

At the time our oldest two were three and five, just old enough to begin understanding and taking interest in what this whole sponsorship meant.  Just beginning to comprehend that there was a bigger world than their travelled Midwest and that compared to some we were rich even if local street blocks told a different story.  Conversations began about God calling us to help people in need and we shared with them ministries we choose to support living that out.

Quickly Nayely made her way into their hearts, maybe more so than even ours, because she was around their age.  They had a mutual understanding of love focused around play and dolls and jewelry.  Each time World Vision mail would arrive they'd excited run in the house and rip it open to see what treasure was inside.  And, they would use their own hands to make her pictures and jewelry, knowing in their hearts that God's princess twirl and love accessories everywhere. 

This sponsorship was about little hands crossing borders and children getting new sight of all people's value in a grander world.

Needless to say, when the folder arrived with "As One journey ends...your sponsored child's program has reached it's goals...another begins. Now say hello to another child who needs you" the tears fell faster from their faces than I could gently wipe away. 

"But I love her.  I don't want to say goodbye."

My heart hurt because I stood with the same tears of sadness last time.  And, while I too loved Nayely and the exchange we were blessed to have with her family, I found myself more in awe this time at World Vision's work.  In six years we've had two sponsor children's families go from in desperate need of help to happy, dancing, self-sufficient, faith-filled living.  A dream for every Royal child.  Well done, World Vision

Pulling my girls in close I explained what this meant for Nayely's family and the life-changing gift that transpired in all our lives because of our sponsorship.  When we put the girls to sleep my husband and I marveled at their heartfelt prayers for a girl they never played with but loved like she was the neighbor next door.

So now as we all wait for royal baby news, my girls and I are looking at pictures of tiny homes with a zinc roof because in one of them is another Royal.  One of God's little princesses named Kerly who is only one and adorable as all get up.  She is our new sponsor child.  I can't wait to see how God uses this sponsorship to mold all of our lives.

Life is a gift to be celebrated everywhere.  May we never forget how royal we are and use the gifts He's given in our lives to help give life to others.  In doing so, we will see the all the world in a more meaningful way.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

5 on Friday {Fitness Encouragement, Thoughts from My Week, & a Link You Shouldn't Miss}

I have a lot stirring in my heart that I'm excited to share with you all as God reveals when and how to post it, but in the meantime I thought I'd have a little fun linking up with Darci's Five on Friday link up.  Here's some info on new things in my life, thoughts over the course of the week, and a link you shouldn't miss.  Let's get going!

1.  My Fitness Pal

Remember how I declared this the year of "claiming my body?"  Well, I decided if I was going to get serious about that I should have a little more awareness about the things I'm eating.  So, I downloaded this free app on my phone.  (You can also use it online.)  You put in your weight and goals and then it tells you how many calories you could have in a day.  Then you enter everything you eat and drink, along with your exercise (which will "gift" you calories back based off what you burned), and you can track your progress.  Since we don't own a scale because I want my girls to know that it isn't about a number but taking care of the one body God gave us, I will probably only update that when I have scheduled doctor visits, but the awareness is a great thing.  I'll be honest and say it's a love hate relationship.  I called our 12th anniversary a bust when the Starbucks drink my wonderful hubby surprised me with took 650 calories.  Ouch! Still, that's the only day since starting that I have gone over and I think the increased awareness will help me make even healthier choices in food prep for my family so I'm excited about that for all of us.

Image Source

2. "7"

Our Bible Study just started Jen Hatmaker's "7."  I'm thinking this is going to be real food for thought in a culture that is always telling us we need more and if we have it there will be more happiness.  If you are looking to challenge yourself this way, you might want to pick it up.

3.  Gratitude for Great Reports

My grandma has been going through a slew of medical testing lately. She's been a trooper and I pray that when I'm her age I carry myself with the same grace and dignity she does.  I LOVE this lady with all my heart.  We've been super close ever since I was little and I cherish her more than words can express.  She was here for one final biopsy this week and it was confirmed that she is through with the rigmarole and they can make a final plan.  We are all singing praises to God who has walked us through this season and shown miracle after miracle.  Needless to say, when the girls wanted to celebrate her good doctor appointment the other night with a balloon, I was all game.  Sometimes you gotta lose the {bed time} schedule to live life well. :)

4.  Where is Summer Going?

I'm not on board with the back to school sales starting to fill my email inbox.  Over half the summer is gone and we've been having so much fun I'm just not ready for it to end.

This Instagram of Grace recently made our local paper (you can find me at @MelissaNesdahl)

and pretty much summarizes the carefree joy of our days.  Lots of the park, zoo, pool, family picnics, and get togethers with friends.  It's been a low key summer filled with super special days that I'm not ready to let go of.

5.  New MODSquad July Edition is Out!

Speaking of summer, the new July MODSquad (Mother's of Daughter's) edition is out and it's focus is summer.  You will not want to miss clicking over there because there is great summer printable Scripture, recipes, cheap entertainment ideas, and ways to be blessed as a family as this cherished time winds down.  While you're there, be sure to subscribe so you don't need this reminder in the future. :)  I consider myself blessed to write with this awesome group of ladies and I know you will be encouraged in your mothering journey with each month's posts!

So that's a little bit of what's been going on with me.  How about you?

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Nails

Recently my girls discovered nail art.  Up until this point they’d been completely content with one color per nail and it made being the mother of three girls easy.  We picked a color.  We painted.  We moved on.

Then Hannah’s preschool teacher showed up with watermelon nails and it upped the expectation bar.  I’m not gonna lie.  It required me to take a few deep breaths.  That “B” in elementary school art that caused the perfectionist in me to forever swear off the art wing once it was no longer required resurfaced and caused my confidence to wobble. 
At home Grace went full speed ahead with options.  Grabbing the iPad, I allowed a “nail polish art” search and she was in love.  Hannah and Ava took a seat next to her and for quite a while they ooohed and aahed over the many options.  Holidays.  Barbies.  Hello Kitty.  Sports.  Faith.  You name it.  It can be done.  Or at least theoretically. J

Inside I loved them as much as they did and I realized this could be a new way to bond.
So much of our summer fun is characterized by joy on the go.  We go to the park.  We go to the pool.  We go to the zoo.  We go to the library.  Smiles and laughter abound but it connection that doesn’t allow for lengthy discussion.

I want to know my girls’ hearts and this is fun that builds that in without awareness that I’m trying to do so.
Shortly after their discovery we were heading to Target field for a Twins game.  It offered the perfect opportunity to show our team spirit.  I got out the red, white, and blue nail polish and sat down at the counter with the girls.  They placed their hands on the paper towels and planted themselves for a long time.  After all, coat one had to dry before the red “stitching” could be added to the “baseball” finger. 

Loving the idea and excited to see the final result, they were like three little statues.  With the exception of their lips nothing on their body moved for fear that their fabulous nails would get ruined. 
But, boy did they have lots to say.  I heard more about...
Finish this post and read more summer posts in the July MODSquad

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July Waffles

Getting the kids to sleep tonight was tough... in fact they still aren't.  Holidays are cause for excitement in their world and after yard work and a movie today their first order of business was shopping for festive Fourth of July Shirts.  Tomorrow promises fireworks.  Sleep, apparently, feels over-rated.

To gear up for the "big day," we made a pre-Independence Day kick off brinner.  Grace hacked Charlie's pinterest and (with my permission) searched "Fourth of July holiday." She discovered this Flag toast and we decided to make a few modifications for our own version of patriotism.

Rocking the waffle iron, Charlie made these chocolate chip waffles.  I'm telling you, if you haven't tasted these, you need to.  They are GOOD!  While he did that, I washed blueberries and strawberries.  Then I cut the strawberries into thin slices. 

We placed the blueberries in the corner and then alternated the strawberries with canned whipped topping. 

Didn't they turn out cute? 

The whipped topping melted and moistened the waffles enough that you don't even need syrup.  Although, if you do, I would recommend strawberry syrup.  I may have added a tiny bit to mine. :)

While the kids made theirs they talked all about their new outfits and how we should do Fourth of July nails in the morning.  I guess I know what I'll be doing when they wake up. :)  Then we will have a day of meals and celebration with both sides of the family, including meeting some relatives that are visiting from Norway!

We are all hitting the pillow with anticipation for the joy tomorrow promises.  Hopefully yours will be filled with smiles and fellowship too.  Quoting the words of Grace's prayer tonight, "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest.  May this Fourth of the July be the best."

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Retaking the Dance Floor

I was just a toddler when I first took to the dance floor.  My feet expressed what I often couldn't say in words and through the point of my toe and gentle curvature of my arms I was swept away into possibility long before the world could say what I could or could not do.  Somehow the patent leather gave me permission to dream and on that wood floor my dreams took flight. 

As I hit grade school, I found Miss Jill and in her studio I felt at peace, focused in a way no other space offered.  Expecting professionalism but always wearing a smile, this faith-filled woman inspired each of us to have faith in ourselves.  She had to know that many of us would hang up the dance shoes, but under her instruction we gained the confidence to do what we were meant to and believe that we could do it beautifully.

My shoes went into storage in high school.  An ankle injury was slow to heal and I suppose some of my spirit shriveled with it.  Time, I was told, would heal it.

A little over a decade later I became pregnant with our first child.  We'd meet the face of a precious baby girl and shortly after that princess learned to walk she started to spin on her tippy toes and show a love of dance her own.

I knew exactly where she needed to go.  My teacher was still teaching.  She still had her form.  I didn't.  :)  She still wore a huge smile and carried herself with poise that promoted students who knew their beauty and value.  And, she still knew how to draw expectation boundaries yet somehow make living inside of them fun.  My husband watched one class and joked that she should come help raise our kids and I think he was only half way kidding. :)  Fellow staff and teachers that'd come along side her were amazing just the same and Grace was signed up before her third birthday.  Sister number two eagerly followed.  Baby girl number three wishes she was old enough and shows off her moves from the sidelines of this studio where movement gives birth to story and that story dreams of the magic God has molded for us in a future.

And I missed it.  Just like baby girl number three I found myself feeling like I was behind the scenes on the sidelines of a stage I was meant to share.  So, when the summer dance offering came out I jumped.  As a mom, I often live my life around everyone else's availability, but this was my time.  My opportunity to pull that last pair of dance shoes out of storage and take to the floor once again.

Ballet is not technique but a way of expression that comes more closely to the inner language of man than any other. - George Borodin

The shoes were tight and I know there were movements that looked better in my head than in the mirror's reflection, but Miss Daintry brought to life a passion that never died and in those moments words were expressed differently.

Ironically, I'd come home and pound out words on the keyboard quicker and easier.  Writing, the work the Potter molded me to do professionally, was ignited by an artistic flame within.

Time has healed me...and differently than I would have ever anticipated because not only is the ankle comfortable, but I can appreciate the ripple affects nurturing this love has had on other areas of my life.

Tuesday was the final summer dance lesson and I'm now limited to dancing around the living room during the credits on family movie night - a tradition the girls started - and playing "dance recital" on rainy afternoons with the little people I get the pleasure of watching weekly in the studio.  But, I'm going to keep doing it no matter how silly it seems because it brings joy and helps inspire a better, stronger, more capable version of me.

What is it that you loved?  Friends, I challenge you to try taking to the floor, the field, or whatever you called "home" once again because in this seemingly little gift to yourself you might find yourself dreaming big once again.  A land of possibility stands before you. 

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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.
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