Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peyton's brain.

The 3 Dudes (aka The 3 Doods-- symantics)
I have a funny feeling that these guys are NOT nice.

Agh! Aliens.

Making it to the moon.

You [must] get past the sun first.

But beware of the aliens that might just capture you and suspend you in a cage over a fire and boiling lava.
They're a tough crowd.

Worn out and relaxing beside his masterpiece.
{you can do that here in December}

I guess Peyton isn't worried about the boiling lava. *shrugs*

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

His Goodness Never Fails

Some of you know that we have a been in an epic battle for Peyton's health. What started out as some wheezing about two or three times a year when he would pick up a respiratory infection, has morphed over the past two months to a round-the-clock regimen of breathing treatments, oral steroid doses and lots and LOTS of prayer. Nothing breaks my heart more than knowing the pain that Peyton feels and seeing him strive so hard to control all of the frustration and irritation caused by sleepless nights and his aching body. What a terribly helpless feeling.

For some reason, the house that we moved into when we came to Texas seems to be a culprit. We know that Peyton is allergic to dogs, dust and mold-- especially (and most significantly) mold. We live one block from a lake in a home that was built in the late 60's. Unfortunately we highly suspect that mold is lurking somewhere and silently attacking our little guy. What is acceptable to the rest of our family, wreaks havoc on Peyton. Because of this (and because what parent WOULDN'T move heaven and earth to keep their little one safe and secure), we had to find another place to move.

Moving meant breaking our lease. Ugh. We adore the owners of the house that we rent. They love Jesus. We love Jesus. We respect each other, and I want God to prosper them richly. And the last thing that we wanted was to leave them without a renter. But, at the same time, we needed to get Peyton out of there-- like yesterday.

So we found another house and got it secured. But we needed to find new renters for the house we were in. We tried. And nothing. No bites. I mean, seriously, in the most sought-after community near Lindale? What was going on? I was losing my hope. My faith was strong, but my hope felt gone.

Finally, yesterday morning I stood in the shower, and I simply surrendered. Surrendered Peyton. Surrendered my circumstances. Confessed that I have been allowing my peace to come from the perfect outcome rather than the perfection of the Orchestrator himself. My stress takes a toll on my health, my family and even *gasp* my faith (even though I don't always recognize it). And yesterday, I couldn't do it anymore. I just let go of it. And I asked my Daddy to come to my rescue.

And He did. My God rode on a white horse yesterday afternoon. Our friends-- the owners of our house-- called to tell us that they had spent time praying about what to do, and they knew that they were supposed to simply release us from our lease effective IMMEDIATELY. They are going to do some work to the house that needs done. My heart is still overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness. That picture of Peyton sleeping a sweet peaceful sleep up above, my prayer is that we will get moved into the other house over the next week-- and that Peyton will sleep in sweet peace again. I believe that there will be no more fitful nights with two or three rounds of breathing treatments just to open his lungs in the middle of the night. And most of all, I believe this: Psalm 4:8 "[Peyton] will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make [him] dwell in safety."

I sit here and weep. Because I'm thankful. Because I'm exhausted. Because I understand just a little bit of what some of my other sweet momma friends have gone through with their children (things I have never before fully understood). I'm too drained to go back and edit this post. If it's disjointed, oh well. It's all I can muster at the moment.

But the praise report was too important not to share. I love you guys!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Friendship for Grownups by Lisa Whechel

A copy of the book Friendship for Grownups by Lisa Whelchel (also known as "Blair" from the 80's sitcom The Facts of Life) arrived for my review at the end of April...just as we were packing up and shipping out of Indiana. Not quite ready to dive in to a new book, this gem sat patiently on my shelf until I opened it up one evening in June when all was silent around my house and all of my loves were tucked cozily in their beds.>

Let me just tell you, I could not put this book down that night. I sat in the recliner and tears streamed down my face. To say that I could relate would be an understatement. I even picked up my laptop and wrote a very heartfelt email to a friend. If you have ever felt just a little bit uneasy about the dynamics of genuine friendship, then this book is so worth your time. I will probably read through it again just to pick out some of the scripture and other literary references for my own quest into intimacy within friendship.

Lisa shares, quite poignantly, "Isn't that what we all want? To be seen, in all our glory, for better or for worse, the good, the bad, and the ugly and still be embraced?"

I do. I want to be loved for me...with all of my flaws...and with all of my strengths.

I've failed my friends in the past. And I've been failed by friends-- but that doesn't make me want to lie down and quit. I want to love more. Love bigger. Love stronger. And Love harder.

In any case, Lisa shares her own stories-- with raw vulnerability-- and I could relate. It was a breath of fresh air. In fact, knowing that she lives just an hour-and-a-half away, it makes me want to give her a call and invite her out for lunch. ;)
Doesn't that sound lovely?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Monday Bloggity Blog

Happy Monday, friends!

I'm so glad that this Monday is off to a great start for the Smith family. How about yours? Did you know that I have categorically found the trick for warding of nasty cases of "the Mondays"? Really. It's true. You wanna hear???........


Here goes......

Have your home and heart in order *before* Monday morning! There. Voila! Done.

If you simply take the time to prep for the week, all of the things that have to happen don't seem quite so overwhelming.

In fact, I'm off to throw in some laundry, play a few puzzles, finish those 25 headbands that I need to complete, eat lunch with my girlie, cozy in for some precious Jesus time, and maybe even clean a couple bathrooms!

If I had to look at a huge pile of unfolded laundry or walk over toys this morning, I would already feel too overwhelmed to dive in. But tidiness helps me scale the mountain of chores. Whew.

You know, maybe if my mom (who is a certified neat-nik), would have explained why being so clean all the time was such an advantage, it wouldn't have taken me 30 years to get into a working groove. ;)

In other news, we *really* need another vehicle, but we are doing our darnedest to steer clear of vehicle debt. Prayers are appreciated. Please and THANK-you very much! I'm motorin' all over East Texas taking kiddos to the bus stop, hubby to work, Peyton to soccer practice, etc...but, I'm considering it all joy in the meantime. We're in a great place. Lovin' this beautifully complex life.

Have a sweet Monday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

$100 Giveaway to Marie-Madeline Studio

Hi friends~ It's no secret that I drool over the comfortable, colorful fabrics that the sweet Long ladies over at Marie-Madeline Studio carry! Well, here's our chance to snag a $100 gift certificate to use at their site.

Angelina over at Pioneer Beauty is giving this generous gift away to one blessed reader! I thought I should share too (and snag a few more entries-- you know, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!)!

I love you sweet friends.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Start of Something New...

If you follow the adventures of the Smith family, then you know that we have been on this whirlwind roller-coaster of living life filled with obedient expectation of whatever God had in store over the course of the last (almost) two years. For our family it meant stepping out of comfort and into the unknown. It meant packing our bags, selling our house, saying goodbye to our friends and family and moving across the country from Indiana to Texas without knowing "why," but trusting the peace that told us we had to go.

That all sounds well-and-good, and it WAS well-and-good. But once we were here, we knew that we were still waiting for the completion of this chapter. It still hadn't arrived entirely, but we could confidently say that we were situated for the next action-- for whatever was ahead.

Well, over the past few weeks, the rest of the chapter was written. And, as of today, a new chapter has begun. Instead of writing a novella, let me just bullet point. (Don't you love bullet points? I do. Nice and efficient!)
  • Peyton started school this year at Christian Heritage-- as school run by YWAM. His teachers are all missionaries who choose to serve OUR children by pouring Christs love on them. While I had fully planned to homeschool, for Peyton this has been the perfect environment. And for those of you who really know us well, the teacher had no idea that Peyton was ever a *ahem* handful! God.is.good!
  • With one kiddo in school and another kiddo who is easy-peasy, I've found myself with a lot of time on my hands during the day. So in order to fill the space, I jumped into three separate ventures. (It's like throwing spaghetti against a wall, right? Just give it a shot and see what sticks!)
  • I signed up as an Independent Consultant with Tastefully Simple. While TS is everywhere in Indiana, it's still relatively unknown in Texas. I couldn't think of a product that jibes more closely with my lifestyle! I love the products-- and I get to meet new people in my community. Perfect!
  • I am also working on a line of custom designed children's clothing and accessories called Peyton Lane- Ador{n}able Custom Clothing and Accessories. It's fun, but I haven't had a huge chunk of time to get that ball rolling as quickly as I would like. I'll link you to my, as of yet, empty, etsy store. Maybe it will light a fire to get some things up asap!
  • I have also joined forces again with The Winn Group. I will work on some copy writing and help them to establish a public relations arm of the company. It should be a grand adventure. My heart is to see the Winn Group continue to grow and prosper-- they have been an enormous blessing to our family and we hope to continue to give back to the Winn Group for years and years to come.
  • And here is the BIG news...
As of this morning, Jeremy is serving as the Director of Strategic Marketing for Teen Mania Ministries!

In addition to his new role with TMM, Jeremy will continue to work with The Winn Group. This is going to be a season filled with adjusting to new schedules, new obligations and finally settling ourselves into life in East Texas. I will keep you posted (or at least *try* to keep you posted) with more updates on our everyday life as it happens.

Thank you for praying us through this season of transition. Now we're just looking forward to a season of settling in. Becoming content-- without ever growing complacent-- is our desire. Please pray that for our family-- that we would always look more and more like Jesus.

I sure do love you guys!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marie Madeline Giveaway!

I interrupt my regularly scheduled Scotland preparations to bring you *this* little slice of precious...

Visit Marie Madeline Studio for a chance to win an entire Flower Sugar2 Fat Quarter bundle!!! This would make an entire quilt top-- I think I'm in love.

Enjoy friends.

Love, me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


(and even that isn't quite emphatic enough...)

Tonight, July 6, 2010-- The angels rejoiced-- moreover, they partied like it was 1999 (or something like that) as they inscribed the name "Peyton Calloway Smith" in the Book of Life!!!!

This is for you my son:

Dearest Peyton,

From the moment God placed you in my womb, I've prayed for your heart to belong completely and fully to Him. Even though I want to hold you close, hear your giggles, kiss your sweet cheeks and listen to your boundless questions every single day that I have left on this Earth, my heart knows that you are mine to hold only for a season. And when that season ends, I've longed to know that we will be together on the other side of eternity.

Tonight, my deepest prayer for your life was answered. You decided that you want to be God's friend and commit your entire life to loving Him and making His love known to the world. You have asked so many deep and introspective questions for such a long time. Yet, even though you asked question after question-- and told us repeatedly that you loved Jesus-- you knew that something was incomplete. And so you kept seeking. You kept praying. You trusted us to share everything that we know about our Father with you-- and we did, we are and we ALWAYS will.

Tonight you and Daddy sat out on the back porch with a caramel Drumstick and you asked some very pointed questions about being baptized. Daddy patiently answered your questions.

When it came time for me to tuck you in, you told me that you wanted to say the "special" prayer. I checked and made certain that you understood what it meant-- that "the prayer" in and of itself is just words, but the commitment that you make in your heart to enlist in God's army (just like Teddy in Teddy's Button) means everything.

You went and got Daddy and we all three sat on your bed as you shared your heart with us. Daddy helped guide the words of your heart-- and you responded with the most sincere acknowledgment in prayer that I have ever seen from you, precious son. As I sat beside you, holding your hand, and with tears streaming down my face, I realized that *this* is why I am a mommy. To lead you to the heart of God-- and to be an example of how we, together, help lead other people to Him too.

Afterward, you were smiling the BIGGEST smile ever. It was a new smile-- and it was contagious. You were giddy with excitement. You told me that God gave you your new smile.

You asked if you could call Halley [Skidmore] tomorrow to tell her, and I said, "of course." You also asked if Pastor Randy could baptize you. Since we are all the way down in Texas right now, this is going to be QUITE the undertaking, BUT it is soooo worth it. We'll do everything that we can to make it happen-- I pinky promise, Peyton!

Next, you called Mama and Papa (more phone calls are coming in the morning-- Jeremy and I were in the middle of a conference call so we couldn't share the news personally with anyone else tonight) and they had just prayed for you when they crawled into bed. Isn't that awesome?

To cap off the night, as I was leaving your room, you asked, "Is God in it [my heart] now?" To which I replied,"He sure is!" You (in your typical Peyton-y way) responded, "I guess He's moving all of His stuff in!"

And you couldn't be more right.

I love you. I am so proud of you. The Holy Spirit working in your heart will transform your life. What an adventure we have ahead. I'm in for the entire ride-- always and forever...for all of eternity.

Your favorite mommy

PS Daddy said that was the most important ice cream dessert ever!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cutie Patootie

{This} is sweet.
Precious. Adorable. Fun. And most importantly...Spunky!

{This} is for sale!
Fits especially sassy baby girls~ sizes 6mos-18mos depending on weight.

The tank top is 12mos.

The ribbon is sewn on.

The flower is a clip and can be attached to your favorite headband!

*I will custom make a headband and bloomers for an additional fee*

Look for an Etsy store and website coming soon!

Special "I'm so exited to share this with you" Price: $35 (includes shipping)

Love, me.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Texas Showers

Is there any legitimate reason in the world
that kids shouldn't experience the pure bliss of playing in a rainshower?

I don't think so.

This our Wednesday.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

bits of my weekend- vol. 1

I've been silently following Michelle over at Six in the City for quite a while now. Seriously, I live vicariously through their adventures in NYC. I think that living in New York just might be the most foreign way of life that I can imagine-- a hut in Africa would probably seem a little more familiar to me! It's strange. It's fascinating. It's weird. It's...fabulous! (It's probably the introvert in me that begins hyperventilating when I consider sharing my laundry room with 300 strangers [give or take a few].)

On to more important matters, Michelle has invited her readers to share "bits of 'their' weekends" on our own blogs. So here I am-- 18 weeks later. Don't judge me.

Peyton had his friend sleepover. They did a fantastic job including Parker. Way to go, Big Brother. You score major points for that one!

While the kiddos (and Daddy) lounged and watched a movie, I got creative. I even have my own little sewing space now. Love it! --complete with raspberry, strawberry, vanilla iced tea from the Anchorage Cafe at Mercy Ships HQs just around the corner from our neighborhood. Double love it!!

My night of cutting and stitching unveiled!

On to Sunday: The beach...and then two clean kiddos munchin' on Teddy Grahams.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sew Love Transform



{Create }

This is how I spent my Friday night: Sewing.

Peyton had a friend sleepover.

Parker wished that her friend, Helene, was here *so sad!*
(she has also asked for Ruby and Andy and Claire multiple times too)

Turning the ordinary into something extraordinary is therapeutic. It's joy.
It reflects the yearning in our spirits.

Just look what can happen to an out-grown, plain-white tank top when you share a little love--
I can only imagine what happens to a shriveled-up, lonely-old soul when you do the same.

~Be Change. Live Love~

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quilt Blocks...Fun!

I {heart} sewing.

In case I haven't shared with you all before, let me just tell ya...sewing is so cool!

I'm participating in an online quilting bee called "Live, Laugh, Bee..." {check out the button on the right!}

...and these are my first attempts at quilt blocks!

None of these are for me, but my turn comes in November! I think that it might just be the right time to finally break down and buy some Darla by Tanya Whelan. {wink}

In other news, my creative space is severely limited in our new house. My family may just have to permanently eat picnic breakfast, lunch and dinners on our living room floor. {Thank you for your sacrifice sweet family ;)}

On to working on some goodies for Parker tomorrow!

What have *you* been up to lately that inspires your creativity?
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Like Papa, Like Peyton

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I'm not quite sure which kid is more excited to live the cowboy life, but around these-here parts I have two rootin' tootin' ranch-hands!

Seriously? It's too stinkin' cute!

Um, please pardon the construction on my blog. You know that unkempt room that you never want to enter in your house because it just makes you crazy? Well, that's pretty much how I've felt about my blog. I still sorta do, but this temporary makeover is giving me a boost.

For the past two weeks my mom and dad have been here visiting with us. It was awesome! We can't wait until they make Hideaway, TX their permanent home. :) In unfortunate news, I sorta forgot to take pictures while mom and dad were here-- except for a few adorable shots of Peyton and Papa looking just alike (I'll post those later!)

So my plans for this week?
1. Sign Peyton up for science camp! Check this out
for details if you live in the area. I'm going to try to enroll P in the 'Mad Scientist Lab' the week of July 5th! So fun! (He earned this camp privilege by taking his oral steroid this week-- because he was officially diagnosed with asthma. Yech!)
2. Make a Facebook shout-out to all of our friends to join us *this* Sunday night at the Skyvue Drive In to see Toy Story 3! (Texas friends, consider yourselves invited!)
3. Clean the house
4. Spend lots of time at the beach and the swimming pool-- study materials in hand (see #7)
5. Work on two quilting blocks for the Live, Laugh, Bee that I'm participating in this year! (check out the linky!)
6. Start working on a tank-dress and coordinating bow for Parker
7. Get my driver's license, passport and CPR certification updated because WE'RE taking a BUNCH of crazy teenagers to Matamoros, Mexico next month! Suh-weet! {details on that later too!}
8. Too many more things to post...If I write them all down now, I'll even overwhelm myself. Suffice it to say, I will be a busy momma this week!

Oo-k. Gotta go. Battery is about to die and my charger is in the other room. Love you all!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


{This} is joy.

The past three weeks have been filled with:
playdates on the beach.
making new friends.
reconnecting with old friends.
visiting churches.
driving {LOTS of driving}.
And mostly...loving.

Loving life. Loving people. Loving God.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Texas: Week One

Aloha! Oh wait, wrong state. Let me try again.

Howdy, ya'll! (I swear that I steer clear of saying "howdy" in real life, but it's simply too charming not to pick up saying "ya'll." Don't judge me.)

So we made it-- in once piece. Let me see if I can update in a nutshell what our week has entailed. How 'bout if I just do a day-by-day recap. M'kay? [Update: No nutshells happening on this blog today. I think I'll break this story down into bite-size pieces.]

Thursday/Friday- The kiddos and I set off ALONE on a 10 hour drive from Lafayette, IN to White Hall, AR. You know what? They were ah-maze-ing. Seriously! Who would've known? It makes me a little less nervous to consider throwing them into the van whenever I have a wild-hare (and let me just pause to tell you that I had to "Google" that phrase before I typed it. I guess I hadn't ever written it before. Let's just say that there is a significant amount of debate surrounding whether or not the term is "wild hair" or "wild hare"-- stick this tidbit away in your back pocket for future meaningless banter with strangers-- unless you're an introvert like me who would never, under any circumstances, discuss such things. And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog update. Thank you for your patience) to load up and go on a grand adventure. [insert deep breath]

On Friday the kiddos went to the zoo with their Grammy and Poppy (Jeremy's parents. Their house was our stopping point). I sat in a Rally's parking lot and wrote a blog post. Jeremy made it down with the big moving truck-- less the things that are still up in Indiana because they wouldn't fit-- on Friday evening. And yes, I did say that not everything fit in to the moving truck. Those things will just have to make it down a little later. *shrugs* What can you do?

I think that's probably enough for today or this post would be too long for you to actually read. In the meantime, enjoy the photo collage. They are a little glimpse of what's up next:

New friends. Old friends. A rodeo. Fried pies. Whataburger. Swimming. Brittani Cicirelli. And Boxes.

Well, maybe I'll spare you and leave the boxes out of it. ;)
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Road Trip

I'm 2/3 of the way into our big move to the huge metropolis of Lindale, TX. It's pretty much the southern equivalent of Lafayette-- only add lakes, wild boar, scorpions, fire ants, and subtract our close friends and family. 1 out of 5 ain't bad, right? I mean, who doesn't love wild boar?

In all honesty, the 10 hour van ride down with the kiddos went swimmingly. They were polite and joyful the entire day. We stopped at a rest stop for lunch and ate at a picnic table with an adorable 80-year-old woman. It was a joy. When we stopped the next time, Peyton and Parker just kept hugging each other. I mean, really? If you have any doubts about the power of prayer, yesterday was PROOF. (Let's not discuss this morning.) Moving right along...

Peyton and Parker are visiting the Little Rock zoo today with Grammy and Poppy while I get to soak up some alone time. If I weren't in the armpit of the United States, that might just be delightful. BUT rather than sipping a steaming raspberry mocha and sinking down into a couch at Panera, I'm sitting Indian-style in the drivers seat of my van, in the parking lot of Rally's pirating WiFi from the KFC next door. And no, I'm not stealing it for real. I bought my drink from there, so I'm gravy folks. Pine Bluff, AR is a doozy.

Isn't "doozy" a weird word? I'm not entirely comfortable with it. But I'll let it stay-- this time.


Our Internet will be up and running at the new house on Tuesday evening. I'll post pictures then! *Really* Stay-tuned. I promised to bring you on the adventure and right now the adventure is at a Rally's parking lot, but tomorrow it will be in TEXAS! That part will be more fun. Lots to explore. Lots to talk about. Lots to see.

(wink...see ya soon!)

PS We couldn't fit all of our stuff in the moving truck even AFTER selling half of our stuff. Don't you love those little curve-balls. We'll get it sooner or later. *shrugs*

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's time.

...to share our news.

We are officially moving down to Lindale, Texas the first week of May!

On one hand, it feels like I'm finally letting out a deep sigh after a year-and-a-half of waiting. On the other hand, I know that a new and entirely unknown journey is about to commence.

Lafayette brought us precious relationships.
Dallas brought us a job.
But Lindale/Tyler/Garden Valley feels likes it's bringing us home.

We don't know why. We only know where. And that's enough for now.

I promised in this post that when the time came I would invite you all along on the journey with us. Well, it's time. Let's get ready for an adventure.

More to follow soon.

In other news (far less exciting news): My blog needs a face-lift. It's about to drive me nuts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Score! Clip, Give, Repeat.

Ok, I've been slow off the mark when it comes to couponing, but I think that my past couple grocery trips have officially convinced me that it is decidedly worth my time and effort to clip away.

I snagged all of these goodies for a grand total of $15.43 at Payless this morning. The count?

4 boxes of Betty Crocker gummy items
2 Nature Valley Nut Cluster packets
4 bags of Chex Mix
4 Snickers bars
2 Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls
1 5lb Gold Medal Flour
3 boxes of Fiber One bars
2 individual size Shamrock milks
1 box Special K Fruit Crisps
2 Betty Crocker Warm Delight bowls
=25 items

That equals less than $.62 per item and over 71% savings! Wow.

Clip away and head to the store. Stock up. Save money...so you can make a difference in the world by giving the rest of your grocery budget here, here, here or here.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

And the Winner Is....(This has *nothing* to do with Oscar either!)

Comment numero cinco from my giveaway last week!

Or for those individuals with a Spanish deficient vocabulary, that is comment number five...aka Rachel of Must Share, Read If You Dare (and really, you should dare). Anyhow, you won, Rachel! One little comment and you snagged yourself a free book. It'll be shipped out this week.

I have two more thoughts to share with you today:

Numero uno (#1)- I went back to Meijer on Saturday to snag another bag (or 10) of the incredibly awesome buttery goodness that are Rold Gold Butter Pretzels-- and guess what? They were gone. Turns out that the display was a fluke. FOR REAL?!?! You canNOT mess with a girl's emotions like that. Simply.not.cool.

I'm calling Frito Lay today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Numero dos (#2)- *Much* more importantly, as a follow-up to my post last week about One Million Arrows, please *please* take a minute to click on two very profound and shockingly alarming blog posts that both came through my reader this morning.

The first one is by Lindsay at Not2Us, and although I haven't yet made my way through the Compassion bloggers' blogs (wow, that was a tongue twister), it is now on my MUST do list. I have a feeling that you won't regret putting it on yours either.

The second is by Anne Jackson at Flowerdust (and apparently she removed the post), but suffice it to say that she echoed Lindsay's sentiments about how uninterested people are in the posts that deal with getting their lives just a little bit messy and really examining the condition of the hurting, the hungry and the broken throughout the world.

I love *you* a whole lot today. If there is anything that I can do for you...prayer, a meal, time together...you name it, shoot me an email at kirstencallowaysmith@gmail.com.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Million Arrows

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

If you know me in *real* life, then you know that my heart has been stretched, broken, transformed and reshaped over the course of the past year-- maybe two. I can't point to any one single reason, but the sum is always great than it's parts...right?

Enter One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change The World by Julie Ferwerda. I opened this book not entirely sure what to expect; although, I had a suspicion that it would just jibe with where I am in life.

I was right!

It's like Julie snuck into my heart and read.my.mail. Not only does this book encourage parents to raise their own children to live a life characterized by a passionate pursuit of God (and to do it now), but it pushes the envelope even further and exhorts us to include all of the orphaned, abandoned, hopeless and hurting little ones throughout the world. "Will the world change your children, or will your children change the world?" Now *that* is a call to action!

Rather than saying anything more myself, I would like to invite Julie Ferwerda as my guest today! Sit back, grab a fresh cup of coffee and let you heart be transformed...

1. The title of your book is, One Million Arrows: What is that all about? The title originated with a man I met in India by the name of Dr. M.A. Thomas. He’s received many national awards in India such as the Mother Theresa Award and the Padma Shri for his humanitarian efforts, especially for his work with orphaned and abandoned children that he started in the 1970s. In the 90s, Dr. Thomas read a verse in the Bible that describes children as a gift and a reward, like sharp arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior (Psalm 127:3-5). He realized that all children, regardless of background and circumstances, should be seen as a gift and a legacy to society because they can make a significant and positive impact in the world if given the proper training and opportunities.

India has as many as 80 million orphans so he set a goal of rescuing one million orphaned and abandoned children, sharpening them with love, education, and spiritual nurturing, and launching them back into society to bring positive change through the power of the Good News about Jesus. To date he has raised over 16,000 orphaned and abandoned children who have become doctors, nurses, teachers, politicians, missionaries, and leaders, and he has planted over 21,000 churches in India and South Asia.

Relating to us…the arrow vision of raising children to be a gift and heritage to their society is for all parents, all countries. So many parents in our culture have lost their vision as to the incredible opportunity we’ve been given to shape—not just tomorrow’s leaders—but today’s leaders and shapers of their peer groups, schools, and communities. But this takes vision and deliberate investment and training. One Million Arrows casts a vision for parents to sharpen and launch our children right now to make a positive impact on society.

2. You mentioned the notion of parents investing in or training their children. Isn’t this what parents already do? Some parents do invest in and train their children to some degree, but there is also a lot of hands-off parenting in our society today, especially in training character development as well as teaching our children how to live for the big-picture—like what were they made to do in this world, what are their unique gifts and abilities, and how can they use them to make a difference now?

We have to train our children to serve others—it doesn’t come naturally. But for many of us, once our kids head into kindergarten, it’s easier to let someone else take over a lot of the training, or to allow our kids to fade into their entertainment-driven culture in their spare time. We need to see parenting as a much bigger opportunity and invitation than that!

I use an illustration in OMA from 9/11 about victims, bystanders, and firemen, the roles people take when lives are at stake. We must teach our children to see themselves as the firemen of this world…the heroes who are willing to set aside their own comforts in order to make a radical difference for others who are suffering or even in danger. There are so many in our world—whether the world around us or the world at large—who need our help and care in order to be saved from terrible circumstances.

I am so encouraged to see a great movement of young people in our world right now who are joining God in His work, coming back to historic levels of competence, purpose, and service for their fellow man. OMA emphasizes helping your kids find what they are passionate about and then training them to use it to serve and positively impact others.

3. Can you give us an example of kids who are using their talents and passions to serve others? Many of these kinds of young people are featured in the book, such as Chloe who is currently majoring in filmmaking in order to positively impact her culture by communicating truths that will spur her peers to make positive choices in life. She’s already received Film Festival awards for her work on the film, “The Enemy God” by (10X Productions), Ivan uses his love for extreme sports to hold events worldwide for sports enthusiasts where he shares a bold Gospel message and then plugs youth into local churches. My oldest daughter Dani uses her love for music and working with kids to impact hundreds of kids during the summer as a Christian camp counselor. These are just a few of many inspiring examples!

4. You have an emphasis in OMA for families to invest in taking care of international orphaned and abandoned children through established organizations. Why is that? Investing in other children is one of the best ways to get your kids hearts interested and engaged in serving and helping others. Also, there are so many children worldwide who are the truest victims and have no means to get out of the gutters of life without help. As mentioned, these kids are currently being rescued and shaped to become spiritual leaders and contributing citizens of their own countries. Our family can make a true difference in the world by impacting lives of these children, which will in turn impact whole villages and cities as they grow up. What a great investment of our time, talents, and money! Many organizations will even allow you to visit the orphanages and ministries you help support.

We love to make it known that all proceeds of OMA go to international orphan ministries.

5. Is this a “how to” parenting book? We do share many principles-based parenting tips from several successful arrow-raising families. But there are already many how-to books on the shelves and I’ve had publishers tell me that parents ask for them but then don’t buy them. That’s because parents need inspiration: “What’s possible through our family if I commit this kind of energy to deliberate parenting? Can our family make a true difference in the world?” The major emphasis in OMA is inspirational aspect of parenting—casting a vision of the exciting ways your family can plug in to make a difference.

6. Is there any place parents can go after reading the book for more inspiration and guidance? We are currently developing our website (OneMillionArrows.com) as a community where parents can share testimonies as well as spiritual training helps. We are also adding many resources on our site such as unique orphan ministries to consider getting involved in, suggested books and resources, daily spiritual training helps, and stories of young people around the world who are making a difference.

I cannot encourage you enough to pick up a copy of this book by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds of this book go to supporting international orphan ministries world-wide. If you are interested in purchasing the book in bulk for a church group, study or just to give away to friends to spread the word, click here.

As an added bonus, I'm going to leave you with FOUR different ways that you can win a copy of One Million Arrows!

1. Leave me a comment. That's all. Just let me know that you stopped by.
2. Link to this post via your FB status. You tag me in the post just so I am sure to see it, but please head back here and leave an additional comment letting me know that you did so.
3. Link to this post via Twitter. Just leave an additional comment letting me know.
4. Write your own blog post and link to onemillionarrows.com. (Same rules as above apply!)

You can enter your name up to four times. The winner will be randomly selected on Friday! Whether you win or not, I highly recommend that you buy a copy (or ten)! *wink*


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Napping Beauty

I just peeked in to see if my little punkin' was snoozing soundly. Sure enough, snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug. I guess she thought that she needed to accessorize for nap time. She *must* be related to Mama(w) Darla.
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