Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Breakfast Staple ~ Smoothie Recipe

3/4 cup of coconut water
1 whole banana
3 whole frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
2 Tbs flax seed
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup kale

In order to keep my mornings simple and decision free I created this recipe.
I entered it into my fun little calorie counter, MyFitnessPal app on my phone.
Here are the nutrient details.

I no longer take my daily multivitamin and I'm actually eating my breakfast EVERY DAY!
It's a win-win!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boys, Learning and AD(H)D

A few weeks ago (well actually a couple of months ago now) I had my first parent/teacher conference with Zeke's 1st grade teacher and special resources teacher.

They were both very complimentary about his character and his overall attitude and respect for his classmates, teachers and other authority.

This mama's heart was beaming!

Now we all know that Zeke has some emotional and learning hurdles.  So it came as no surprise to me when, after the initial "Zeke is such a SWEET boy" comments, we dove head first into these issues.

Zeke's classroom teacher had just done some major studies on ADHD and was SUPER insightful.  This insight, along with the knowledge and expertise of Ms. Williams (his special resources teacher) have a great system for him.

In that short meeting I learned some interesting things about the way my boy learns and thought I'd pass them on.  It's always nice to hear that your boy isn't just crazy and that some kids really do learn differently, not just concerning curriculum or hands-on techniques, but things their body does WHILE being taught.

Ms. Williams does a lot in her room to help Zeke focus on his work throughout the day.  He is with her an average of 3-4 hours a day working on his reading, writing, processing issues and dyslexia.

She allows him to do work while:
bouncing on a ball
laying down with a clipboard
laying across a chair

All of these activities help engage his core, which triggers blood flow to his brain, which enables him to focus on the task at hand.  Now, instead of getting irritated with his natural tendencies to flail around on his chair and squirm to get focused, I try to bite my tongue embrace his uniqueness, knowing that this is the way that he will learn best.

Both of his teachers mentioned a thing called a "fidget".  This can be anything that occupies his hands to keep them moving and occupied so he doesn't get distracted with little things around him.  It could be a piece of Velcro sewn inside of a hoodie pocket, hand sanitizer in a baggie, a small gadget that moves back and forth.  It should be something that is easily concealed, so as not to draw attention or make the child self-conscious or embarrassed.

Zeke's fidget default is to pull the hair on the back of his head.  When he gets tense or anxious he's been known to pull hand fulls of hair out without eve realizing it.  That is one reason why we have been keeping his hair short.  The fidget keeps his hands occupied in a positive way to enable his brain to function in a more focused capacity.

Zeke's classroom teacher has also been very helpful in finding ways to keep Zeke's attention in positive, helpful ways.  They have a secret code (or hand motion).  If they make eye contact and Zeke shows his secret code to her she will, in turn, reply with the secret code which gives Zeke the okay to go get a sip of water, be a "helper" and grab her something off of her desk for her, or any other task that she can think of for him to do, in order to refocus and regroup.  Just this quick little errand helps to get the blood flowing to the brain again, and allows his teacher to continue to teach without interruption.

~ it's all about engaging the core ~ 
~ it's all about blood flow to the brain ~ 
~ it's all about positive "fidgeting" ~

Now when I catch Zeke hanging upside down on his head I'm not just realizing that this is one of the "warning signs" for these learning disabilities, but rather a natural way his body reacts to get that blood flowing to help him stay smart:)

Besides, superheros think better upside down anyway!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

When I'm down in the dumps and nothing seems to be going my way sometimes the only thing that brings perspective back into focus is finding something to laugh at...mainly myself!

I mean really, what better way to lighten the mood.

Today alone, I have found several things to laugh about.

Like the fact that I decided to run a half-marathon, on a whim, for the very first time (I was just going to go for typical 5.5 or 6, but why stop there?!) without eating breakfast and then entering the world of motherhood to 3 kids, 1 of which doesn't sit still for more than 16 seconds at a time, and on a day where there is no option BUT to go to the grocery store.  Every time my hamstring screams at me I just laugh at how idiotic that was, ha!  Not my brightest moment:-)

Or maybe when I was trying to be all proactive and get dinner prep complete before Rainy and Zeke got home from school.  I took one too many shortcuts and tried to snap the corn in half instead of cutting it, only to be showered with corn particles and juice all over the front of me, and then go to wipe my eyes with my onion-juice-soaked hands.  You can just imagine my reaction (it's not appropriate to type it all out, just in case I've accumulated some younger readers).

Hmmm, let's see...another one was when I change an ultra full diaper (come on, I KNOW I have some other ration-the-diaper moms out there!) only for Jude to poop within minutes of a fresh clean change.

And if today's laughs aren't enough I can move on to some all-time favorites, like when a black woman came up to me and asked, "So, what do you have GOING ON with her hair lately?"  Offended?  Not in the least!  Poor Alethia.  I'm a busy mama and I can get lazy in the hair department on occasion.

Or like when I decided that a U-turn into the 4 ft. ravine would be better than staying on the pavement, and busting the radiator and the entire right side of the vehicle.  Ok, maybe that one wasn't so funny, but I can at least thank God that we are all okay and laugh about conversations that occurred afterward, like Alethia telling me, "See, that's why I like DADDY to drive."  (Yeah, we're still working on that filter of hers;)

These little things may not be funny tomorrow (or after we get our insurance quote for the damage) but today I'm just gonna choose to laugh.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Free-For-All ~ the chill

I woke up yesterday morning and it took a while for me to notice, but eventually I realized just how nice and warm I was as I looked out the window as the crisp, cold breeze blew through the trees.  My eyes opened wide as I quickly made my way to the thermostat.  "He turned the heat on!"  "He turned the HEAT on!" "He turned the heat ON!" "HE turned the heat on!"

We ALWAYS wait until the last possible moment to take such drastic measures!  But he'd already made the decision.  Without me!  He didn't even give any warning that this day was even close to happening!  (maybe because it's been difficult for me to get out of bed when the thermostat reads at 63 degrees)

But then again, I really think this is one of the coldest Octobers we have ever experienced.  I remember Octobers past where my beautifully crafted pumpkin sat, rotting on the front porch, in the humidity and heat.  So, for the sake of the blue-lipped, cold-tootsied children in this house I will forgive you, Josh Via;)  And I apologize to all the rest of you who were counting on us to hold out on the heat-up with you, ha!

Speaking of Josh Via, he just headed out for the last fall retreat/camp/trip of the season.  We are all so proud of how hard my man works for this family and for The Kingdom, but we are already anticipating his return.

Speaking of an anticipated return, my anxiety level was a COMPLETE "0" yesterday!  It's been a L-O-N-G time folks, and I am already anticipating it's return...maybe today?

I just saw an add for Katy Perry.  I've never in my life listened to one of her albums...until now.  Not my favorite, but it's something different.  What are you listening to lately?

I just downed a mug of Alka-Seltzer cold and sinus:(

Here's to a weekend filled with warm heat, cold breeze, stuffy noses and new music.

Happy Friday ya'll!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fake It 'til You Make It ~ when it's more than just a choice

Sometimes, actually A LOT of times, joy is as simple as CHOOSING to be joyful.

choosing to stay focused on Christ
choosing to bounce your thoughts
choosing to see the positive
choosing to be grateful
choosing not to wallow in your personal pity party

It's a choice in the way you respond to the hand you've been dealt in life by the ONE who knit you together.

But for some of us, there are days, weeks, even months, where the inner peace and joy are much much more than simply a choice to "stay positive".

The choices for focus and gratefulness and thinking only on TRUTH are made, but sometimes that gut anxiety continues to linger and grow.

I have a mental list I go through when seasons like this come on.

Some of these are my own personal triggers that cause an onslaught of feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  Others are things that can bring feelings of accomplishment (even if it IS just getting a shower in that day) to keep one foot in front of the other to simply get through the day.

waking up on time for a quiet time - if I allow myself time to "wake up" and mentally prepare for the day and surrender my focus to Christ BEFORE the kids get up I tend to feel more prepared for what may come my way

exercise - exercise does way more for my mental health than my physical well-being

getting a shower - yes, that's right!  Get your butt out of bed and freshen up.  A shower can make the world a much brighter (and less smelly) place;)

getting dressed - get your butt out of those yoga pants you've been wearing all week, and get into some REAL clothes.  Don't hate!  I love my yoga pants just as much as you other women, but give it a try!

fixing hair - Yes, another one.  Can you tell that your appearance can really affect your self-esteem and mental health?

eating all my meals - so often my meals get skipped or forgotten in the frenzy of spill clean-ups, refills and "I'm still hungry"'s.  I wrote an entire post on this one day:) I can ALWAYS tell a difference if I've skipped a meal.  More than my stomach begins growling, if you know what I mean.

drinking plenty of water - you may think I'm crazy, but drinking plenty of water helps in a HUGE way!

limiting caffeine and sugar - same with limiting too much caffeine and sugar.

This list is not a cure-all for my days filled with unexplainable anxiety, but they at least help me get to the hope that is tomorrow.  Thank God for those new mercies that are promised to come in the morning.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making Room For More Piles

Zeke's "About Me" page ~ July 2013

Areyna ~ August 2013

Areyna ~ August 2013

Zeke ~ August 2013
His "happy place"
sitting under a tree outside
Cai ~ "C"

Zeke ~ depiction from family devotions one evening

Areyna ~ 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Words Worth Remembering

Josh:"So what kinds of animals do you think could hurt a sheep?"
Cai:"A vampire!"


Cai:"Where is daddy?"
Me:"He's in NY, remember?"
Cai:"Is that in the mall?"


Cai:"AHHHHHHH! I see the caterpillar that ated me!
Zeke:"It didn't grow back alive, Cai."


after a day full of disobedient moments...
Me:"Cai, do you LIKE to do things that daddy and I tell you NOT to do?!"
Cai:", yes."
Me:shocked that he actually admitted to his sinful nature, "You do? Why?"
Cai:"I don't know. I just do."


Alethia:"When I grow up I'm gonna sweat really lots when I go jogging."


Me:"Zeke, do you know if you have to pay tax at the book fair?"
Zeke:"No, you don't. Just money."


Josh:"Awww buddy, what happened?"
Cai: as he's hysterically crying down the hallway..."I almost did rundid into the wall and I did."


Areyna:"Hey, last night I stayed up super late and then I woke up with a happy heart.  Laughing, actually!  I think I'll try that again!"


Josh:"Highs and lows of the days guys.  Zeke, how was your day?"
Zeke:"Weeell, my low was...Emmanuel broke up with me."
(that means his best friend said he wouldn't play with him at recess:)


Cai:"I'm in business with Karis."


Cai:"Mom, one of my teachers today was old.  She was teaching me.  Mom, I DIDN'T tell her that she was old!"
Me:"Were you tempted to tell her that she was old?"
Cai:"No.  She did already know."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I Don't Go To Church

I don't go to church because I have life all figured out.
I don't go because I feel like I need to put on a mask and act like my family has it altogether.
I don't go because I never radiate negative energy.

I don't participate in the worship because I am holy and super spiritual.
I don't participate because I don't screw up any more.
I certainly don't participate to make myself look a certain way to other people.

You know why I DO go?
You know how I CAN go?

Because I am broken.
I am needy.
I DON'T have it all figured out.

Because He is safe.
He is dangerous.
He is gentle.
He is strong.

I go because I don't HAVE to put on a mask.
I go because His church is beautiful when it does what it is intended to do.

Besides, it's hard to BE the church if you are never WITH the church.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Free-For-All

It's Friday again.

It's another beautiful fall day (Just kidding, Jenn!  It really feels AWFUL! Don't believe a word I just wrote:)

For a girl that always has something to write about, I sure have had a time coming up with posts this week.  It's like my motivation and inspirations last long enough to give me an idea and then it vanishes into thin air.  And I'm a detail girl.  And when the details vanish so does the need to write about it.

Oh, the #FirstWorldProbz that I struggle through;)

Josh is sitting in the arm chair working on a session that he is teaching on building a worship team this afternoon.  I love him:)

Cai is piling all his superheroes into a dump truck and spilling them out over and over and over, while singing his superhero theme music.  I could listen to his cute little voice all day.

Alethia has asked me to dress (and undress) her polly pocket dolls over and over and over.  Playing contently in her own little world.

Jude is sleeping.  I love that he is reluctant to give up that early morning nap.

Rainy and Zeke only have a half-day today!

I think we'll play outside until the sun dips behind the horizon and we can't stand the cold anymore.

Even when my days are spent fighting the inner battles that plague me I see His favor on my life.

Through these little people.  Through this family.

God is good all the time.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Because I'm His Mama

Because I'm his mama I know that...

Neenee = Rainy

Sheesha = Jesus

bubu = bubble

Nawnaw = Eliana

nack = snack

baw = ball

boo = balloon

boe-dee = birdee

coh = car

no, no, no = "I'm not supposed to do this but I'm doing it anyway"

Some words actually sound like the actual word he is trying to communicate: cookie . Mama . Mom . Dada . bubby . bye . pizza . puppy . owie . uh-oh . boo-boo . ooh-ooh (the Via call)

I also know that when Jude gets my attention and runs to the refrigerator saying "toe-tee, toe-tee" he wants a drink.

I know that when I hear a door shut and Jude is coming down the hall crying, it is because he has been shut out by his bigger siblings.  And he HATES being shut out!

I know that I never have to wonder what his last meal was because I can always find remnants of previous meals on the tips of his hair.

The same word, with different voice inflection can mean a half dozen things, but I can accurately guess which one it is about 89% of the time.

And since I'm his mama I know that he loves to take walks and watch insects crawl on the ground and he would LIVE outside if I would only allow him to.

He is the sweetest thing, but is quickly learning the tricks of the trade from the bully of the family and now gives that bully a run for his money.

Stealing other people's favorite things and running away as fast as he can is his favorite past time.

He adores his sisters and pleads for Zeke to hold him as soon as he walks in the door from school.

He plays just as rough as the rest of them when wrestling with daddy.

Every fury animal says "woof, woof".

When I am only half-way paying attention to him he'll take my face in my hands and force me to make eye contact (melt my heart).

Oh Jude.
Sweet Jude.

You are the perfect end cap to this Colony.

And I am your mama.
Your proud mama.
And I'm excited to get to know you even more.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Free-For-All (and the longest run-on sentences in the history of mankind)

This time last week I was balled up in a corner, hiding from one of my best friends, who I intentionally locked out of my house, who had been called in as a reserve from my husband (I know it was you!), who was out of town (in NY for 5 days), because I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't talk on the phone (phones give me anxiety anyway), and kept ignoring his phone calls (sorry baby), and definitely couldn't talk to someone face-to-face (she still left me a sweet fall scented candle on my doorstep, so she still loves me:)...and then went to a HUGE event at our church full of games (tons of games), people (oh so many people), food (which was nice because food makes things so much better), candy (way too much candy), gospel presentations (which I uncontrollably cried through because I was SO proud to be part of a church who loves on our city and church body the way they do), my 5 kids (yes, F.I.V.E.), by myself (in a sea of people which also causes high anxiety), and tears (always tears) just WAITING for the right time to come flooding out (always perfectly timed), on my other friend's shoulder (sorry for the tear stains on your shirt), just because she said that I was an awesome mom and she didn't know how in the world I do it...

Man, I'm glad I'm not in that place anymore.
I'm pretty sure if I had to go much longer like that I would be balled up in a corner in a nut house!

Days like that are hard.
Man, they are hard.

But I'm not there today.

In fact, it's Josh's day off (praise the Lord) and he took the two older (Alethia and Cai), of the younger 3 (Alethia, Cai and Jude), to eat lunch at school with the older 2 (Rainy and Zeke), and the youngest of the 5 (Jude) is soundly asleep, and I'm sitting here (just me) wondering what in the world I should accomplish during this rare moment of peace and quiet (fold laundry, get a shower, catch up on emails from my kid's teachers that are piled up in my inbox, unload the dishwasher), and all I want to do is sit and enjoy this rare moment of peace and quiet...

and maybe write a blog that is full of the longest run-on sentences in the history of mankind.

But it's Friday.
And Friday is family day.
And this family day is chilly and dreary and WONDERFUL!

So I'm off to sit on my couch, staring out the window, as I sit in my jammies, unshowered, and enjoy this rare moment of peace and quiet.

Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Marshmallow And A Paper Crown

A conversation which took place on the way home from church today...

Cai and Zeke simultaneously: "Awww, look mom! A man who doesn't have a home."

Zeke began frantically looking through the car trying to find something to pass along to the homeless man through the window.

An idea surfaced!

Zeke:"Rainy, give him one of your marshmallows you got in your class."
Areyna:"I don't have anymore."

Zeke:"I'll look through the diaper bag.  Maybe there's something in there."

Another idea.

Zeke:"He could have one of my crowns!"
Areyna:"A what?"
Zeke:"I got crowns in my class.  He could have one of my crowns."

By then it was already time to move through the light.
Zeke was devastated that we couldn't provide anything for this man.
We decided that we could still be part of this man's life by praying for someone else to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading in order to help this man out.

To Zeke, a marshmallow or a paper crown was a heck of a whole lot more to him than it would have been to that man holding the cardboard sign, but Zeke was willing to give those things up to a man who was in need.  He was literally BURDENED for the man!

I hope that I am as sensitive as my 7-year-old little boy.

Our gifts may not be suitable to solve the longterm problems that are around us, and maybe we don't even have the resources to be able to give at all.  But maybe it's not about that.  Maybe it's about being aware of the need.  Praying for the need to be met (whether it's met through us or someone else).  Maybe it's not about the gift itself, but the heart behind it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

We're All About The Little Things Around Here.

For the past couple of years Zeke has slept on the top bunk.

This means that he tends to be close to the air vent.

An air vent that looks like creepy hands are coming out of a face that resembles Joker.

Josh and I quickly realized that the vent and Zeke were never going to be close friends so we pinned a pillow case in front of the vent between it and the top bunk to hide it.

One night last week when Josh was gone Zeke kept coming out complaining about being hot.

By the time I finally went into his room he had stripped down to his underwear and the room fan was IN his bed!

I tried to explain that the cool air wasn't getting to him because of the sheet covering the vent.
I mentioned maybe taking it down to allow the cool air to circulate.

After thinking about it a few minutes he reluctantly allowed me to remove the sheet from the ceiling.

I tried to lightheartedly remind him that the vent was only a vent.  It's sole purpose was to provide cool air when sweaty boys need it:)

After he finally got situated in his bed I stood by the door with the hall light on, just to make sure that the transition was going to go smoothly.

He gave me a thumbs up shortly after feeling the cool air on his body and he melted into his bed.

Relief from the heat.
Relief from the fear.

We had a breakthrough last week.

Zeke may never completely overcome his fearful tendencies, but this seemingly little thing is an absolute victory for him!

We're all about the little things around here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Voice Of Hope

We just finished up an amazing series at our church called SO-LU-TION-AR-Y.
YOU have been called to be God's hands and feet on earth.

"As a follower, you are either helping people follow Jesus,
or you are being disobedient." - Pastor Jimmy Carroll

How are you going to be a SOLUTIONARY?

Josh wrote a gripping song for the church to go along with this series.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Not Me Monday

Josh has been out of town.

I finally find myself sitting down to relax after getting all the kids in bed.

Not two seconds later I hear frantic scurrying which sounds like the rodent-fingernail-on-the-wood-floor type.

I'll take bad guys over mice or rats any day!

I carefully take a glance into the dark dining room where the sound came from.


No more scurrying.

Check the guinnea pig cage in the adjacent room.
Tanny, the tan one, and Geoffrey, the girl, are still sitting in their cage.
Always Eating.
Plump as ever.
Still there.

I grab the flyswatter (or "smasher" as Zeke likes to call it), it's all I could think of besides a hammer, and Josh has grounded me from tools of the sort.  There are NOT holes in the boy's room which caused this kind of groundation, by the way.  I eyed the closest available chair to jump on in case of an emergency, because one should ALWAYS have an escape route or emergency evacuation plan when it comes to rodents in the house.

I reached in as far as I could to get the light on, while trying to keep my toes from actually going past the line of light and dark in the dining room...and then I froze.

Still nothing.

But then out the corner I spotted it...

...the world map had peeled off of the wall and was draping over a side table underneath with the table's contents on the floor all around it.

Now THAT would be funny, ha!

What a silly story:)

So glad I keep my wits about me when Josh is gone and don't turn unpeeling packaging tape into rodent nails on a wood floor.

'Cause then I'd have to spend the rest of my night curling my feet up under me and sleeping with my phone JUST IN CASE a real rodent wanted to bite my toes.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

First Impressions (for kids)

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog about the creating an inviting and safe atmosphere for your husband to come home to.

That post got me thinking about the same kind of environment I try to create for my kids as I prepare for them to return home from school.

Over the years I have taken mental notes of things that frustrate or cause anxiety for each of my kids.

Areyna hates for her room to be messy when she gets home.  It also frustrates her to know that her younger siblings have gotten into her stuff while she is away.

So for her, I keep an eye out for her "stuff" being played with and try to redirect play with more age appropriate toys.  I also try to make sure that her room is generally picked up by the time she gets home.

For Zeke, Mr. Over-stimulated-by-nature, I have to work a little harder.  He likes structure.  He also appreciates pleasant smells and tidiness and overwhelmingly needs his own stuff to remain as is while he is away.

To create a place where Zeke appreciates coming home to I like to already have a snack in mind so that I can let him know what he can look forward to when he gets home.  At breakfast I kind of map out the afternoon plans so he knows what to expect.  I also work EXTRA hard to put his stuff out of reach so nobody can get into it.  When he is lucky the house is straight and "simmer" music is playing in the background.  I can also light candles as soon as we return home.

Here are a few other things I strive to accomplish while my kids are at school:
1-Keeping my word - If one of them requests that I do something while they are at school and I say that I'll do it, I REALLY want to do it!  This shows that I have been thinking about them while they are away and also shows respect.
2-Meal Preparation - In order to be able to really engage with them when they get home I HAVE to have a dinner plan in place.  When I am able, I get as much prepared for dinner (and/or snack) as I can BEFORE they get home.  ie. peeling and slicing veggies, browning meat, and laying out ingredients
3-EXTRAS - If I am out and about during the day I want them to know that we have thought about them.  For example, Alethia and Cai love to bring them home something from the treasure box at Trader Joe's.

When you are in a season where you have a handful of littles that keep you from being able to help out during field trips and activities, you can still find ways to show them that you love them, think about them lots and are proud of their achievements at school!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Not Me Monday (on Wednesday)

I am that good mommy who yells down the hallway, "NO DOORS!", gently reminds the kids not to play with doors.

Yes, doors can be fun.
Opened then closed.
Closed then opened.
The fun never ends...until someone begins to cry.

Doors are bad.
Doors smash innocent fingers.
Doors cause tears.
Doors, doors, doors.

To our surprise our kids have never smashed a siblings fingers in a door...yet.

So this good mommy would never accidentally smash her oldest sons finger in the car door.
Causing major tears and fear that "it's NEVER going to go away!".
Which lead to the first Colony fingernail loss, which was the root of more major freak-outs and fear that "it's NEVER going to go away!".

And then, not even six months later, smash her youngest sons finger in the bedroom door, resulting in immediate gushing of blood and 45 minutes of consoling and wagon rides to calm the poor child.

That would just be TERRIBLE!
This good mommy would feel absolutely beside herself as to how her instructions to "not play with doors" would turn on her and she would be the cause of the only 2 finger smashing incidences to date.

I'm sure glad that's never happened around here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just Because Summer Is Over Doesn't Mean The Reading Has To End

I just finished reading three great books over the last couple of weeks.

The first one was Fit To Burst by Rachel Jankovic.  I love everything Rachel writes.  She writes with such whit and ease.  Her chapters are short, easy to read and full of biblical truth and wisdom.  I always read her books so quickly because as soon as I finish a chapter I just want to get a glimpse at what the next one is about and don't realize I've been sucked in until I've completed another!

Next on the summer reading list was a book that was recommend by many friends and family around us called When Helping Hurts: how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor...and yourself by: Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  This book has been very controversial in the Christian circles.  I agree  with many of the ideas and principals they are seeking to form around the poverty stricken people in the world, but I did find myself disagreeing with some specific things that I feel are God-given convictions for me.  I certainly do not believe that the guidelines in this book are the ONLY ways of accomplishing ministry (sometimes ministry happens FAST and decisions have to be made quickly leaving no time to set up the "system" they believe is the best way to do things.  I also don't believe that all "help" needs guidelines and prerequisites.), but this book has been a great resource for us over the past several weeks.  Last month the Lord handed our family a life interruption.  Josh met a homeless mother and daughter who were about to spend another night in their car.  Josh called me and told me their situation and immediately God gave us both a peace about them coming to stay with us that night.  Over the next 4 weeks we lived life together as they made our living room their home.  We provided shelter, food, a loving family atmosphere (man was the accountability of ALWAYS having someone watching great for the patient tone of voice I'd been needing to work on with my kids) and the love of Christ as we walked alongside them to help find a solution for their situation.  I'm quite certain we didn't do everything right, I mean, we'd never been in this situation before, but I believe we did what the Lord had called us to do.  This book helped open our eyes to specific directions in this fragile relationship that we needed to take.  So I'd say, read with an open mind, but read none-the-less.

Lastly, my Squad (that would be TRIAD with 4 members, who asked another to be a part of it, then one moved to Uganda and another soon-to-be member moved into town leaving us with 6 and who wants to say Sextet, so we kept it Squad...I digress) and I read through Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson's Desperate.  Instead of telling you how awesome this book is and how much EVERY woman needs to read this book, no matter what stage of life she is in I'm just going to write down a few of my favorite quotables from the book.

"A wise woman is one who copies wise women."

"We need advocates, someone who goes to bat for you, who watches out for you and protects you.  That person is on your side and wants the best for you...Going at it alone is, without a doubt, one of the most common and effective strategies that Satan uses to discourage moms.  Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, 'But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.'"

"No matter how wonderful a man may be, he is not crafted by God to meet all of a woman's needs."

"Rules, laws and boxes tend to kill the soul when it comes to expectations of motherhood."

"Give yourself to them [your children] without rush...let them know that you are on their team; that you are for them and not against them; that you will forgive, always, just as the Father forgives."

"What other people think of our path is irrelevant."

"A happy mom, who is secure in herself and at ease in her life is a rare gift that children love and appreciate."

"Children do not thrive with authoritarian, perfectionistic parenting, because they can never live up to perfection. And neither can you."

"many have not understood that the home is a battlefield where sin and selfishness must be overcome, and that the taming, subduing, and civilizing of a home will be a woman's honor."

"I believe that if moms understood how strategic their roles were in this battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation, they would grow in excitement about the great job God created them to fulfill."

"Wrong expectations produce anger and depression."

And that's just within the first 4 chapters!

I've got another round of books going that I'll share with you when I complete.

Happy reading!