A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Guest Post

Back in December, Heather reached out to me to share her harrowing story as a mesothelioma cancer survivor. As some of you may know, my sweet friend, Brittney, passed away from colon cancer 3.5 years ago. Since Brittney, cancer survivors and their families have been very near to my heart. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I run the Austin Half Marathon is because they partner with LiveStrong, The Lance Armstrong Foundation.  Heather has graciously allowed me to share her story on my blog.

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These are the last words you want or expect to hear, especially when you’re celebrating the birth of your only child. But on November 21, 2005, I was told by my doctor, “You have cancer.” Those three words were spoken to me just three and a half months after the birth of my daughter, when I was 36 years old. That’s when I found out that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma.

I have always been an optimist, a person who sees the glass as half full, not half empty. That optimism served me well as I prepared for the greatest fight of my life, the fight to stay alive, to live to be a mother to my little girl.

Everyone who experiences cancer has a different story to tell. Yet there is one common claim that all cancer survivors share; going through a cancer diagnoses makes us stronger. The three words “you have cancer” may have changed my life forever, but they changed it for the better. As with any cancer survivor, I had to make the choice not to be the victim.  I had to choose life, not death, and I had to learn how to mitigate my fears. That’s when I vowed to help others who were facing the same situation as I was; somehow, knowing that I could use my experience to the good gave me the strength to do whatever I needed to do to survive. I wanted to give others the same attitude of hope that I was naturally blessed with, because hope is the thing that you lose first of all when you get a mesothelioma diagnosis. 

As part of my cancer journey, I searched until I found one of the leading mesothelioma doctors to help me win my victory over cancer. When I found out that I was scheduled to have my surgery to remove the cancerous tumor on Groundhog’s Day of 2006, I even gave my tumor a nickname, Punxsutawney Phil, to encourage myself to believe that the tumor would no longer cast the shadow of winter over my life.  I also gave a new name to Groundhog Day: Lungleavin’ Day, the day I would be rid of the cancerous lung.

Now, I celebrate this day ever year, because it is the day that my life began again, the day that I conquered my fears and had the life-giving surgery that would give me back my very existence on this earth. This is a celebration of happiness, of hope and love, and I get to share it with my beautiful daughter. 

Because of this terrible diagnosis of mesothelioma, I met some of the most compassionate, remarkable people I will ever know, warriors in the battle against mesothelioma who have the strength to conquer and win over this disease. Because of my own battle, I now have the opportunity to join with these people on the front lines in the war against mesothelioma, bringing a message of survival and life to the millions of family members and loved ones who are going through the same ordeal as I did. You can win against mesothelioma, and I am here, alive and well, to prove it.

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Heather is wife to Cameron, mama to 6 year old Lily Rose and a survivor of mesothelioma cancer. She blogs about her survival story, gives people encouragement as they are battling against their own cancer, and talks about how she is doing now over at Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

I am super excited to have Rosann guest posting for me today. Her blog, ChristianSuperMom, is one of my favorites. She is constantly challenging me to remember what Christ has done for me and wants to do through me. I am certain you will love her as much as I do! 

 

A few months ago, a good friend and I decided to challenge ourselves.  The challenge was to memorize Psalm 91 in its entirety and be sort of an accountability partner to make sure we each did in fact memorize it.  Psalm 91 has always had powerful and personal meaning to me, so when I finally had it memorized {three weeks later} I felt ecstatic.

Since then my plans and busy schedule have sort of gotten in the way of continuing my scripture memorization journey.  I have good intentions.  Don’t we all?  But my intentions haven’t had the desired effect of a brain filled with scripture.  Thankfully, God’s agenda is much greater than my own.  And He’s always finding ways to challenge me, not only for my own spiritual growth but for my children as well.

Lately, my six year old has been coming home from Sunday school and church youth club with parent notes indicating various scriptures the children are working to memorize.  My mission, as the letters point out, is to help my daughter memorize these specific verses.

But there are so many to learn and she has other activities and responsibilities to tend to as well {aside from having time to just be a kid}.  There’s daily homework for school.  Chores. Gymnastics.  Girl Scouts and the various fundraiser work necessary with being a Daisy.

It’s almost too much to deal with some days.  Well, for me at least…since I’m the master planner and organizer of our family schedule.  But as I’ve spent time praying and meditating over how best to accomplish this calling God keeps taking me to the words of Proverbs 22:6…

Train up a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Setting an example through our own knowledge of God’s word, while encouraging our children to memorize scripture really needs to be a priority.  I mean, what Christian parent wouldn’t want their children to have God’s word stamped on their hearts?

 

There are definitely awesome benefits to memorizing scripture!

 

  • When we know God’s word, we make better choices for our life because His word gives us wisdom.
  • When we understand who God is, we are inspired to emulate His character.
  • When we face painful trials, God’s word is our source of comfort and peace.
  • When we have scripture memorized, our prayers become more powerful as we pray God’s word back to Him.

 

So what can we do to help our children learn and memorize God’s word?

 

We can start by praying for God’s wisdom and guidance, while also praying for our children to embrace His truth into their heart.  Then we need to put together a plan of action.

 

Here are a few things I’m implementing in our home as part of our plan of action.  What excites me about this plan is that my children aren’t forced to learn a bunch of complicated words alone.  Instead, it’s a family event where each of us will gain the benefit of knowing God and His word better.

 

Memorize Together.  Turn it into a fun family challenge and encourage one another.  Hold each other accountable.  Have a contest to see who can memorize the selected scripture first.  Allow each family member to choose the reward they will get if they win the challenge.

Study The Scripture Together For Understanding.  Scripture isn’t always easy to understand the first, second, or even the tenth time we read it.  If our children don’t understand it, memorizing it will hold very little meaning or worth.   Have a family scripture study time.  Read, dissect, discuss, and apply it to your child’s daily experiences.  This will go a long way in helping them remember the verse.  Have your child draw a picture of what the scripture means to them.  Then have them write the scripture into their masterpiece and hang it in a special place.

Post Scripture Throughout The House.  Deuteronomy 6:9 tells us to “write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,” so do just that!   Get creative if you like.  Use pretty cardstock or simply hand write it on a piece of scratch paper.  Then tape it to various places within the home where family members are most likely to see it…on the bathroom mirror…the refrigerator door…the coat closet.  You get the picture.  {I’ve also heard of using a dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror, but I’ve not personally tried this method.}

Include It With Daily Homework.  Keep a homework file handy at home.  Place all To Do assignments your child has for the school week within the folder.  Include the scripture needing memorized.  During daily homework time, have your child read the scripture multiple times.  For new readers this will broaden their reading skills and repetition is a great memorization method.  Writing the scripture multiple times will also speed up the memorization process, but this may be viewed more as punishment than something enjoyable.

There are so many ways to assist your child with memorizing scripture…and reap the benefits yourself!  Just be sure to keep at it, lovingly encourage your child, and provide the best learning platform there is – your example.  Who knows…one day you might be pleasantly surprised to witness your child encouraging one of their peers through God’s word.

 

Rosann is currently residing in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, Mark, and their daughters, Faith and Abigail.  After spending more than 15 years working in the auto finance industry, she now enjoys life as a stay-at-home mom.  Writing for her blog ChristianSuperMom, Rosann has a strong desire to glorify God while sharing the heart of her journey through a life of faith.

{photo credit}

I love my girls. Like, deep-passionate-they-are-my-all type love. And frankly, I think girls pretty much rock. But when we found out that we were having a little Joseph, I was thrilled. Boys seem like little cuddly Tasmanian devils to me {meaning, cuddly little balls of energy}. Yet, I have no real mommy experience when it comes to little men, so I was super glad when Alicia agreed to do a guest post on her thoughts on raising boys. 

I am the oldest of 5 girls (with one little brother thrown in the mix). Tea parties, dress-up, coloring princess pictures, quietly reading, imaginary fairy games, and painted toenails were common affairs.

Now, I’m pregnant with my second BOY. Our 1st little boy is almost 2 and of all the things listed above, there has only been a bit of quiet reading. But there has been huge fascination with things like bikes, tractors, dinosaurs, trucks, sticks, sand, water, noise, and BUGS. I’m just beginning my journey of learning how to raise little boys, but so far I’ve discovered that:

1) Mess = fun. The same goes for noise. Which means that this quiet-craving, neat-freak mama has to relax. Toys were meant to be dumped out in loud crashing glory. Puddles are perfect for splashing. One of my son’s favorite activities is to “help” me wash the dishes, which means more work on my part. It involves water on the floor, dishes rewashed, and squeezing my 7 1/2 month pregnant self in between the counter and the chair that he stands on. But is it worth it? Oh yes.

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2) He needs to take risks. On the playground, I step back and try not follow behind him every step with cautionary “be carefuls.” He’s very young, so the risks aren’t very big yet…but I know that will change.

3) The fact that “boys will be boys” does not mean that my son has to be an ill-mannered, reckless destroyer. He can respect boundaries and learn to use his “quiet voice” when the baby is sleeping. Being a boy is not a ticket for disobedience. And little boys can learn manners at a very young age! Lately, my reward (after much patient training) has been my son’s sweet voice saying “Tay-tu, Mommy!” (Thank you, Mommy!) and “Pees” (Please).

The Police and the Bad Guys (April 13)

4) He needs a firm hand. I’ve learned to command instead of suggest. Mommy’s word goes. I cannot be swayed by the waves of his emotions or will. When I enforce my words, life is simpler and happier for all of us, and my son is content.

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5) Regular “rough love” is a must! Tickles, pillow fights, and chases are like medicine to him, and his squeals of delight are like medicine to me.

6) The cuddles and affection of a little boy will fill your heart to bursting!

Hangin' (not sure why we're turned wrong way)

7) Having a little boy is thousands of times more glorious than I thought it would be. There is always adventure around the next corner.

What is your biggest challenge or lesson learned in raising little boys? 


–Alicia is a tea-drinking, book-reading, sushi-eating, candle-lighting, bread-baking gal who loves her family and all things domestic. She is a stay-at-home-mom to one squishy little boy (with the second on the way), wife to Andrew, and blogs regularly at Alicia’s Homemaking.

Since having kids, God has really shown me my need for communicating with Him through prayer. As the girls get older, it has become even more evident. Today, I have the honor of guest posting for Rosann at Christian SuperMom about The Power of a Praying Mother. I’d love for you to check it out.

I am super, super excited to have Katie of Hageration guest posting for me this week. We are both UT Alum, who didn’t meet until we had graduated and were living 2,000 miles away from each other {gotta love the internet!}. I’m looking forward to finally {in real life} meeting her, her husband and her adorable little boy this summer. 

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My obsession with baby wearing began innocently enough when I asked a friend what carrier she preferred.  She responded by digging out all the carriers they had tried.  I left her house with 3 in a bag.  Shortly afterwards I was given a Moby, and bought an Ergo off craigslist and just like that we had 5 baby carrying devices.

To say I love baby wearing is an understatement.  I adore everything about it from convenience to having my sweet baby nearby! Add to this a kid who has not been a great naper but liked being swaddled a LOT and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a lotta baby wearing.

Here is a run down of the soft baby carriers we’ve used plus a few others I’ve come across in the past 9 months:

Moby wrap

What it is: one long piece of fabric that you tie around your body in different formations and put the baby into pockets created by the folding.

Pros:

-One size fits all

-Very washable

-Easy to pack (we’ve taken in on many trips tucked away in a suitcase)

-Can be configured to many different holds (tummy to tummy, hip, front, etc.)

-Gives newborn benefits of swaddling

-Soft fabric provides a cozy way to carry your newborn nearby

Cons:

-Takes some practice to tie (I almost gave mine away before I had a friend demonstrate and watched a few videos on youtube)

-The stretchy fabric becomes less supportive when baby gets to be 14-16 lbs.  (or it did for me)

-It is challenging to  put the Moby on in public as the fabric is so long and it drags the ground which might seem fine until your standing outside your car in a dirty parking lot with no way to put it on while your baby screams in his car seat. Or maybe that’s just me

Baby Bjorn

What it is: I’m sure you’ve seen them all over.  The people marketing Bjorn are brilliant.  It’s the carrier you see where the baby dangles on the front of an adults’ body facing out.

Pros:

-Fairly easy to put on and take off.  I’ve heard it’s easy to remove a sleeping baby from the Bjorn and lay them down (unfortunately my baby woke up the minute you stopped moving or unbuckled the straps)

-Due to the above dad’s find them really wearable

-Some babies much prefer front facing position (see photo)

Cons:

-For the price this carrier is very limited as it only holds baby one way (on front of your body)

-I felt it become uncomfortable around 12 lbs. though it is technically able to carry baby up to 20 lbs.

-After trying other carriers I found it to be uncomfortable, period.

Ergo

What it is: Backpack style carrier with padded straps and hip support (waist strap) that can be worn in front back or hip positions. 

Pros:

-Multiple carry positions

-Padded straps

-Pocket built into front of carrier (at first I didn’t pay any attention to this but realized it was super helpful to carry my keys and phone while I took a walk or ran to the store for a quick trip).

Cons:

-I found it tricky to convert and put on in the hip position and never used it that way

-The built in pockets and padded straps make it kind of bulky

-Due to bulkiness the Ergo also made me very warm and I live in a moderate climate

-I found it uncomfortable after wearing for more than an hour

-Can be tricky to snap the buckle across your back (and many friends have said their husbands couldn’t get it snapped)

After flirting with all of the above I have found a new love and am ready to give up everything but the Moby and the…

Catbird Baby Pikkolo carrier!!

Why I love it:

– The fabric is lightweight and slim fitting making it the easiest to pack away while traveling and cool while wearing.

-It has the versatility of other carriers and is very easy to change positions.  I have often started in a front carry and over time changed to side carry while out and about.

-It is by far the most comfortable of all the carriers I’ve tried

-The 3 straps have two-way adjustment allowing you to get it just how you want it.

-It comes in a few pretty patterns

I hope this helps distinguish between a few of the common carriers and gives you something think about if your in the market for a carrier.

Do you babywear? If so, what’s your favorite carrier?

Visit Kristen at We are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

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Katie is a former special education teacher and current stay at home mom. She loves Jesus, her husband, son, and lazy dog Ellie. She also enjoys adventures, exploring places on foot, coffee, and fancy grocery stores.

I am super excited to introduce today’s guest poster, Kelsey. Kelsey is a friend from Iowa, who I personally think makes some crazy awesome recipes {several of them being “healthy sweets”}. Plus, she’s a dog lover and understands my blight of battling with doggy bed hogs.  
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My husband’s mouth has a radar that instantly detects a healthified snack. If I replace oil with applesauce, he knows. If I trade all purpose flour for whole wheat, he knows. If I reduce the sugar, the man definitely knows.

Until last week, when I made magically healthy oatmeal raisin cookies. Why are they magical? Because he didn’t know.


My husband had to make a late run into work, and my assignment was to concoct a filling, yummy, but fairly healthy bedtime snack. I started with a trusted recipe from Smitten Kitchen. She confesses that she actually reduced the sugar when she made the recipe. I reduced it a little more. (And to tell you the truth, when I make them again, I’ll probably reduce it just a little bit more.) Add in whole wheat flour and flaxseed meal, and I had a fairly healthy but sweet-tooth satisfying bedtime snack.

After we had eaten a few I asked, “Are they sweet enough?” My husband gave me a “What did you do to these?” look, but responded, “Yeah, they taste great!”

The next day, after work, I even got a completely unsolicited, “Man, those cookies are good!” It was music to my ears.

I recommend eating these with a glass of milk while snuggling and watching Cheers on Netflix. They just might taste better that way.

Magically Healthy(er) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/3-1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg or 1/4 cup egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (reduce to 1/4 if you like less salt)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)


Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.
Scoop the cookies onto the cookie sheet or plate and put in the freezer for 15 minutes. You can skip this step, but it might affect the texture or spreading of your cookies.

Bake the cookies about 2 inches on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. (Mine took 12. They are done when you see golden brown along the bottom, even if they don’t look all the way done on the top.) Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool. Makes about 30 cookies with a 2 teaspoon scoop.

Visit Lisa at Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

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Kelsey is a wife, teacher, Christ follower, and lover of all things baked. When she’s not at school or in the kitchen, she loves reading, snuggling with her puppies, and photography, which she posts at rocketsteady photoblog. She blogs at Mrs. Dexter about her pursuit of debt freedom and ethical eating.

Today is the first day of my week of guest posters. I am super happy that my dear friend {and fellow blogger} Leah agreed to write for me. This, of course, is after having just moved across the country with her husband and three kids {one who is still an infant}. A pretty amazing gal, right?!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m no scrapbooker.  At times, I really wish that I was, but starting now with 3 kids already?  Yep, that sounds just a tad overwhelming.  Just for the fun of it, I just did a search for “why should I scrapbook?” One of the results that I found was a ten step guide.  Ha!

Whew!  I don’t know about you, but just reading a ten step guide list makes me want to sit down, kick up my feet and pour myself a glass of lemonade. 🙂  My hat’s off to all you fabulous scrapbookers out there- but I’m 100% certain now, that I am not one of you!

However!  I really do want to have a few things that my kids can look back and remember things about their lives.  I’ve come up with a system that is working out great so far!  Perhaps I will call it “Scrapbooking for Dummies”. 🙂

My first item on my list?  A baby book. My mother-in-law give me a baby book when I was pregnant with our first child.  I remember looking at her and saying “Ok, well, I will need one of these for all my babies then– not just the firstborn!”  Sure enough, shortly after we announce that we are pregnant the last two times, she has provided yet another baby book.    And while there are definitely blanks not filled in and pages here and there that are completely bare, I’m proud to say that I have kept up with them…. somewhat.

Here are a few of my tricks of how I make sure they get filled out:

  • Write the “firsts” down on the calendar when they happen.  Smiling, rolling over, sitting, ect.  Just make a note on the calendar and don’t worry about dragging out the books to fill in one little date.  Quick and easy, yet is so fun to know when things actually happen!
  • I keep the kid’s books in their closet so they are easily available to me.  Usually when I start thinking about their birthday party for that year ( most of our baby books have pages for up to 5 years old) I try to get out the book and get a refresher of what the blanks are for me to fill in and it also reminds me to take an extra picture that day specifically for the “Look who is 3 today!” page.  And this is a really great time to flip through the calendar for the past few months and fill in some of those important dates.
  • Watch for great photo deals!  I follow several “deal sites/blogs” and quite regularly there are awesome photo print deals especially when you order 50 or 100 prints.  While that might seem overwhelming (and yes, some days it is!) – when I find a good deal on photos I really try to use that as an excuse to pull out their books and get them somewhat updated.  Plus, it goes along with my frugalista lifestyle to not have to dip into their college savings accounts just get all the pictures printed.  I’m kidding. 🙂

I love digital photography!  It is so awesome that I can store thousands of pictures of the kids and have them on hand.  However, my children very much enjoy turning the pages of photo books and saying “remember ______”  I’ve made it a goal to have a photo album on hand for each of them, in addition to their baby books.  When I find one of the above mentioned photo deals, I love to print off my favorite pics and tuck them in their albums without having to ad a title or story behind each picture.  Sure, we have 54 other pictures of my son rolling over for the first time stored on the computer, but I get to print my favorite one of him out for his photo album!  Plus, the kids love it whenever I get the books out of the closet!  A great rainy day activity!!

Another idea that I am trying my hand at is having a 3-ring binder with empty plastic sleeves to keep a few of their favorite drawings and/or art projects stored in.  My daughter was (and still is) very much into coloring and creating things so I have several of her pieces in there since she was 2 or 3 years old.  My son on the other hand?  Not so much.  He is more into building towers and then knocking them down or chasing his sister. I have a feeling his binder will not be quite as full. 😉

And last but not least…. kid’s say the darndest things!  For real, I’m so thankful that God gave 2 year olds such great quotes!  I decided long ago that I DID NOT want to forget those funny moments.  So I started a file on my computer that I have their awesome one-lines saved.  Absolutely hilarious!  The added bonus? When I’m having a rough day with one of the kids?  Reading through their quotes from over the years instantly makes me smile. 🙂 Here are a few of my favorites that I have kept!

“Where’s the flusher?” (aka- how do I flush the toilet)

“I tooted in my tummy!” (trying to describe a growling stomach)

“Mom, I’m winding (fanning) you!”

“Momineeakeenex!” (yelling from the crib- MOM, I need a kleenex!)

“Hold you me!” (Hold me please)

“I look like my daddy’s eyes.” (people always comment that she HAS her daddy’s eyes)

“It is VERY locked!”

Too cute, right?

Ready to start preserving your kid’s memories? Now go buy some scrapbooking paper and glue! It really can be easier and less expensive than the traditional route, and 10 or 15 years from now? You will be glad you did!!

Do you scrapbook? If so, have any tricks to share of your own? If not, how to preserve memories?

Visit Craft-O-Maniac for more Monday Crafts.

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Leah is a daughter of the King, wife and stay-at-home mom of three cuties who loves a great deal. She’s an entrepreneur at heart, enjoys an adventure and when she grows up she would love to be a comedian.  In her spare time she enjoys blogging at A Momma on a Mission where she writes about faith, family life, frugal and healthy living, and making just about anything you can think of from scratch!


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