Saturday, April 30, 2011

Be A Hero To Children With Cancer

Check the notes in each Prize Category to see who won! 

 Congrats to Heroes For Children and Congrats to all our Winners!





Our DFW Metroplex Cadillac Dealers are running a “Cadillac Cares Challenge.”  Mamas WriteDevotion Mama, and Mama Hall have the unique privilege of supporting Heroes For Children in this challenge.  

The Cadillac Cares Challenge
Head over to Metroplex Cadillac Dealers Facebook page to vote for Heroes For Children daily!  The charity with the most votes when the contest ends on May 9th will win $50,000 worth of advertising.  

Why Vote for Heroes For Children?
Heroes for Children does so much for families of children with cancer.  There mission statement is:

A few weeks ago I highlighted their Laptops For Love program.  Today I'd like to tell you about their main focus to help families.


"Heroes for Children provides direct financial assistance to families with children battling cancer.  The average gift is $750 to assist towards such necessary expenses as mortgage/rent, utilities, car payments, or even funerals for children who have lost their battle to cancer.  This is the largest program and main focus of Heroes for Children.  More than $45,000 is spent each month on direct financial assistance."
Wow!  That's a huge help for families!

How Can You Help Heroes For Children

Support DFW Charity and Win Some Great Prizes!!!

I really want to encourage you to get involved and vote for YOUR favorite charity in the Cadillac Cares Challenge.  So LATE last night I sent out tweets and messages and Facebook posts.  And incredibly there were some awesome sponsors still awake and willing to donate prizes!  The giveaway will end on May 9 at 11:59 pm at the same time the Challenge ends.  We may add new prizes and opportunities for entries as they come in so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates!  To enter fill out the form below.  You can come back daily to tell us which charity you voted for to earn extra entries!  This giveaway is open to residents of the US only.


Please check out the following sponsors websites for more info and to buy their products!


The prize packages are:

Prize Package #1
   Bella Bug Boutique  


Congrats Leah Walker!   Entry #179
  • White Bib with a Guitar Tie applique ($7 value) Find it here
  • Matching Baby Wipe Box ($15 value)
  • Matching Burp Cloth ($7 value)


Prize Package #2
   Apologia


Congrats Christina Dario!   Entry #148
  • Good Morning God hardcover book and coloring book This product is perfect for preschool through 2nd grade. ($18 value)  See the book here and the coloring book here



Prize Package #3
   Apologia


Congrats Heather Schonrock Lyons!   Entry #49
  • How To Have A H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman ($13 value)  Find it here


Prize Package #4
    Apologia


Congrats Gale Langley!   Entry #73
  • Read For The Heart by Sarah Clarkson ($17 value)  Find it here


Prize Package #5
   Apologia


Congrats Rachel DeMille!   Entry #161
  • Who Is God and the Who Is God coloring book.  This is the first book in the new Biblical worldview series - What We Believe ($47 value)  Find the book here and the coloring book here


Prize Package #6
   Happy Baby


Congrats Alicia Crenshaw!   Entry #108
  • 3 boxes of HappyBaby baby food and the HappyBaby Prenatal Yoga DVD ($57 value) Find the food here and the DVD here



Prize Package #7
   Devotion Mama


Congrats Jessica Hennings!   Entry #200
  • Signed copy of The Pioneer Woman Black Heals to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond 


Prize Package #8
   Mabel's Labels


Congrats Cindy Lushaj!   Entry #4
  • Limited Edition Camp Combo ($39.95 value)  Find it here












Entries:
  1. Mandatory - Like DFW Area Cadillac Dealers on Facebook
  2. Mandatory - Vote for your favorite charity and let us know who you voted for
  3. Like Bella Bug Boutique on Facebook
  4. Like Apologia World on Facebook
  5. Like Apologia Academy Online on Facebook
  6. Follow Apologia on Twitter
  7. Follow Metroplex Cadillac Dealers on Twitter
  8. Like Happy Baby on Facebook
  9. Follow Happy Baby on Twitter 
  10. Follow Devotion Mama via GFC
  11. Like Devotion Mama on Facebook
  12. Like Mama Hall on Facebook
  13. Follow Mama Hall on Twitter
  14. Like Mamas Write on Facebook
  15. Follow Mamas Write on Twitter
  16. Like Mabel's Labels of Facebook
  17. Follow Mabel's Labels on Twitter




Disclosure: This is a paid post.  All this fun is due to the generosity of the DFW Area Cadillac Dealers.  Thanks Cadillac!  The giveaways offered were donated by the generous sponsors!



Friday, April 29, 2011

How To Eat A Taco



For those of you who don’t know, my husband is Mexican.  Which in turn makes my children half Mexican.  So let’s just say I’ve learned a thing or two about tacos.  I thought I’d share my insight in true Devotion Mama style today.
Taco Tip #1  What you see in the picture above are NOT tacos!!!  They are an American fast food called tacos.  For the real thing you’ll have to go to Mexico or to a very select few taquerias here in the US owned by Mexicans where the cooks are Mexican.  Even then you run the risk of eating Tex-Mex which while it is not necessarily a bad thing isn’t Mexican either.  In Mexico there is no such thing as crunchy vs. soft tacos.  All tacos are soft and they are all made with corn tortillas.  A flour tortilla turns it into something completely different and could be called a burrito or a “gringa” (white girl).  
Taco Tip #2  A taco is generally served with just the meat inside.  This is usually NOT ground beef.  It can be made of a variety of meat including, but not limited to: steak, pork, tongue, and intestine.  Customers can typically garnish their tacos with lime, salt, salsa, onion, and cilantro.
Taco Tip #3  Regardless of what kind of taco you are eating, be it authentically Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Taco-Bell, do NOT eat it like Matthew in the above picture.  Doing so leaves you at risk of emptying the contents of said taco into your lap.  
We couldn’t help but laugh as we watched Matthew pick up his taco and bite into the bottom middle.  My first instinct was to correct him, to show him the correct way to eat a taco.  But I held my tongue.  I began to think.  Is there really a right way to eat a taco?  Sure there’s a cleaner way.  There’s certainly a more efficient way.  But is there a right way?  Is he really doing it wrong?  Isn’t the point to get the food in the tummy?  Isn’t the taco made to be enjoyed?  Can’t I let him be creative?  Maybe he’ll actually come up with a better way of eating tacos!
As I read through my taco tips I gain a fuller understanding of what a religious spirit does.   It takes something pure and good and adds unnecessary rules and regulations to it.  While I may be 100% correct in my taco tips in the end there is nothing wrong with enjoying an American style taco.  There’s nothing wrong with calling it a taco.  Regardless of whether or not you follow my taco tips the taco will still be a taco and you will enjoy it just as much.  
What unnecessary rules and regulations are we adding to God’s good, pure Word?  Can’t we be free to enjoy a relationship with Him without all the red tape we find so often connected to the word Christian?  Can we get back to His goodness and enjoy who He is?
Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that's not the way of Christ.  Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don't need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him.  When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.
Colossians 2:8-10

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Checkups



Today was Caleb’s 9 month check up.  When you have a baby you’re in the doctor’s office quite a bit regardless of how healthy they are.  If I’m counting right a completely healthy child will go to the doctor for well checkups about 8 times in their first year!  While they can be a pain checkups are helpful to make sure your baby is developing on schedule.  
When we come to Christ we develop spiritually much like babies develop physically.  But while any one of a large number of pediatricians in DFW could let me know how Caleb is doing in his physical development, there is only one physician who can assess our spiritual development.  
He is the one who knows us inside and out.  He knows our weaknesses.  He knows our strengths.  He knew us before we were born.  He formed us.  Our Creator.  God.
When we allow Him to examine us.  He gives us a clear picture of who we are and what He is making us to be.  We can hold ourselves up against the standard of His Word.  Look at our lives in the light of the example of His Perfect Son.  And although we will never achieve that perfection.  As we allow Him to work in us we will get closer and closer.  We will become more like Him.
Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about;24 See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong-then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Psalm 139:19
There's more: God's Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.  Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?  Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
Psalm 19:11-13

Monday, April 25, 2011

He Is Risen Indeed!



Josiah stayed with us in church today.  He didn’t want to go to his class, I wasn’t needed in the nursery, and my husband wasn’t playing the keyboard today so we kept him with us.  I had told him he needed to be quiet if he was going to be there.
He sang along with the worship and yelled right along with everyone “He is risen indeed!”  My heart soared and I couldn’t resist plastering some kisses on his sweet cheeks.  As the pastor spoke images appeared on the screens on either side of him.  Every time a cross would appear Josiah would exclaim, “Look Mami!  It’s the cross of . . . of . . . Jesus!”  And I would respond, “Yes sweetie, shhhhh.”  
Yes, I hushed his passion.  I hushed his excitement at hearing and seeing the gospel presented.  When I should have been reveling in the awesome gift God gave us and the power of His sacrifice and resurrection I was shushing instead.
Lord, I am amazed by your glory!  I am in awe of your presence.  I am grateful for your sacrifice.  I rejoice at your resurrection.  I am humbled by your forgiveness.  I am touched by your grace.  
But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.  There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man.  Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scripture Sunday

Your descendants will become well-known all over. Your children in foreign countries Will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed.

Isaiah 61:9


This is a new link-up.  Link up a verse every Sunday for your family to focus on that week.  Let's start the week in His Word!  

The only rule for this link-up is that it be to a post of a scripture you will focus on this week.  I would love to have you follow my blog and leave comments, but it's not required.  


Friday, April 22, 2011

A Kind Word



I’m on day number two of attempting to go grocery shopping with my boys and failing.  We’re in a discipline stage right now with both older boys and Caleb’s teething seems to be a never ending painful process.  We’ve gotten to the store two days in a row only to end up grabbing the absolutely necessary and run out the door.
It’s a difficult stage and I’m exhausted and quick to snap at them.  Somehow my boys have discovered something that can always change the mood though.  A kind word.  It can come in the midst of chaos or in the middle of discipline.  A sweet face, a “mommy, I love you,” or a impromptu snuggle.  And suddenly the storm has calmed.  My anger has subsided and there’s peace again.  All because one of my children has given a gentle answer.
And now it’s my turn.  To watch.  To learn.  To absorb the wisdom my small boys show.  And to live the power in giving gentle answers and kind words.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Listening Ear



A few weeks ago I took my boys with me to a craft show a couple of my friends (Ruby Leon Jewelry and Bella Bug Boutique) were participating in.  I found some great handmade goodies and got to chat with friends.  
I was happy looking around, meeting vendors and exchanging business cards.  But after about a half hour of that my boys patience began to grow thin, and we hadn’t even made it half way around the room.  
I was so glad when he found a lady to talk to.  She was so sweet and listened to him tell her everything he knew about dinosaurs for a few minutes as I was meeting other vendors a few steps away.  He had been fairly quiet and shy up until that point.  But he found something in that precious woman.  Something that made him open up and share everything he thought she might want to know.  He found a listening ear.  
Something happens when we recognize that someone is actually paying attention to what we say.  It inspires us to say more.  And to use words that have value.  When someone is listening we want to share things that are worth hearing.  
 I believe that God’s Holy Spirit speaks today like He did in Biblical times.  I don’t think the Holy Spirit has gone dumb, I think we’ve grown hard of hearing or in some cases even deaf.  I believe the Holy Spirit is active and seeking the same thing Josiah sought that day.  A listening ear.  Will He find it in me?  Will He find it in you?  If He does, there’s no limit to the wisdom He will share with us.
Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Mark 4:9
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:7

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Change In Authority - Meeting My Husband - MY Story Part 18



When I met my husband I had returned to the US, back to my mom’s house with just a suitcase.  I returned with every intention of fundraising to go back to Mexico longterm.  But while I felt prepared to minister in a foreign land to a foreign people, I wasn’t prepared to face my land, or my people.  I wasn’t prepared to fundraise.  I had no idea where to begin.  I wasn’t prepared to face, or minister to my own family either.  
Somehow it’s always harder to share with your family who God is and what he’s done in you.  The thing is that your family sees your faults.  And unless they are truly able to forgive, they will always see you with the same faults and weaknesses you had as a child.
And again I struggled.  It was the same battle between being who God said I was and being who my mom said I was.
A friend invited me to a Spanish speaking church and I attended their singles group.  And there he was.  Leading the worship team.  My Samuel.  
He asked me to join the team and I said no.  He asked me a second time and I said I couldn’t get the extra time off work.  He asked me a third time and I gave him the same answer.  
Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.  He said I was placing my job above serving Him.  So I asked Samuel if I could join the worship team.
From there we got to know each other.  Became friends.  Started dating.  And got engaged.
When we got married Samuel told me something that changed me forever.  He said that I was under a new authority.  His.  He would lead me.  He would protect me.  He would love me.  
And with that my long struggle ended.  It’s what I needed.  A change in authority.  I was no longer under the influence or authority of my parents, but of my husband.
Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.
Genesis 2:23
This is how my change in authority came about.  If you need a new Godly authority in your life seek it out.  It doesn’t have to be through marriage.  It can be through finding spiritual parents.  Seek God in all and He will lead you to the right people.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sponsor Saturday “Cadillac Cares” Facebook Challenge




Our DFW Metroplex Cadillac Dealers are running a “Cadillac Cares Challenge.”  Mamas Write, Devotion Mama, and Mama Hall have the unique privilege of supporting Heroes For Children in this challenge.  

The Cadillac Cares Challenge
Head over to Metroplex Cadillac Dealers Facebook page to vote for Heroes For Children daily!  The charity with the most votes when the contest ends on May 9th will win $50,000 worth of advertising.  

Why Vote for Heroes For Children?
Heroes for Children does so much for families of children with cancer.  There mission statement is:

Of all the things they do what really touches my heart is their Laptops For Love program.  It provides new laptops to teenagers battling cancer allowing them to keep in touch with family and friends and keep up with their school work.  Considering my attachment to my own laptop and how much I loved having it with me during my short hospital stays, it’s a program I am honored to write about and support.

How Can You Help

Disclosure: This is a paid post.  All this fun is due to the generosity of the DFW Area Cadillac Dealers.  Thanks Cadillac!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Unstoppable Baby - Matthew Turns Two


Lessons Learned from Matthew.  This was originally posted in April of 2010.

At eleven and a half months my son Matthew is unstoppable.  He doesn’t run yet, but he will chase his brother crawling!  He’s learning and developing so much each day that it’s hard to keep up.  Here’s a picture of his latest achievement.  Yes he pulled off the baby proofing on the fireplace and climbed up by himself.  The good thing is that I was in the living room with him at the time because a minute or two after I took the picture he tried to go headfirst back to the floor.  Don’t worry, I caught him.  
Matthew is a very determined little man.  When he has something he wants to do, he won’t give up until he’s done it.  If you interrupt him in the process he get’s upset and starts screaming!  I could learn a lot from Matthew.  Not from his attitude when he doesn’t get his way, but from his perseverance.  It can be easy to give up when things get difficult, but if we are walking in the path that the Lord has set out for us we shouldn’t.  We should be like Matthew and “throw off everything that hinders”.  
Is there something the Lord has spoken to your heart?  Have you put it aside because it was to difficult?  Did you think, it must not be the time?  If it was God’s timing things would just fall into place?  Even when it’s God’s will and timing it takes work and perseverance to accomplish it.  Pick it back up.  Start again!
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 10:36
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rest - Matthew Turns Two

A sweet picture and blog from when Matthew was a baby.  This was originally posted on November 24, 2009.




Whoa!  What a day I had.  It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right and everything took longer than planned.  I’m not sure if you’ve had one of those, but I have my fare share.  I was ready to leave the house when the baby started crying to eat.  I fed him and then it was time for diaper changes.  Then we couldn’t find my son’s special race car.  It’s really become a security blanket for him lately and he takes it everywhere!  We still haven’t found it.  Then the things I was looking for at Dollar Tree, things they always have, weren't there.  There are also no men's sweaters at Wal-Mart.  And so the day continued.  I had a coupon for formula, but they wouldn’t accept it.  I had an appointment and the lady I was supposed to meet forgot.  As I am writing this at 1:19 AM, baby Matthew woke up crying and I had to feed him and get him back to sleep again.
It is in these moments when I fight my biggest battle.  Controlling / avoiding frustration.  Just ask my dear husband what my biggest weakness is and I’m sure he could answer in a heartbeat, frustration.  I get frustrated easily, especially with things I feel I should be able to do perfectly, but can’t.  Somehow knowing it was someone else's fault helps me face situations with a little more grace.  But today it was just a mountain of little frustrations attacking my peace.  It’s so good to have God’s word to go to when we need rest.  Some of the scriptures below help me fight against my frustration, and to rest even during the busiest and most frustrating times in my life.  I hope they will do the same for you.
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest;  even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.”
Exodus 34:21

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29

. . . My soul finds rest in God alone;  my salvation comes from him.
Psalm 62:1

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;  my hope comes from him. 
Psalm 62:5

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1
All in all the Lord helped me to rest in Him today, and it turned out pretty great at the end.  An awesome meal, the company of not only my husband and children, but also of my two nephews who came to stay the night, and a nice cup of hot chocolate.  Now the house is quiet and dark and it’s a perfect time for me to REST!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two Years Ago - Matthew Turns 2


“Watch, do it just like this.”  I attempt to jump from one foot to another in a dance move I was teaching at church.  I fall.  We hear a snap.  Hmmm.  Ok maybe that’s not how it goes.  
I broke my foot.  6 weeks on crutches.  Josiah was a little over a year old and he still wasn’t walking.  X-rays, pain meds, and not being able to carry around a crawler was interesting to say the least.  It got even more so when I started being exhausted and having morning sickness.  Now I was a pregnant mom of a crawler on crutches!
But the baby was healthy.  Praise God!  Despite the X-rays and pain meds.  The baby was healthy.  And just the right number of months later he was born.
It was Good Friday and my husband and I were leading worship.  I sneezed and my water broke.  Right there in front of the congregation.  But no one could tell.  We kept singing until the pastor came up to pray.  
As soon as everyone’s eyes were closed I scooted over to Samuel.  I whispered in his ear that it was time and I’d meet him at the car.  And I walked out.  My husband followed me a few minutes later and we were on our way.  
You can guess what happened next right?  Labor, labor, and more labor.  Everything seemed to be progressing like it should but the baby just wasn’t lowering at all.  18 hours in (that’s a few more than I was in labor with my first) and they told me they didn’t know what was wrong.  
They said they had to do a c-section and wheeled me off to the operating room.  It wasn’t until they opened me up they saw why he wasn’t lowering.  He was wrapped in his cord.  Even with the c-section they had a hard time getting him out because his head was stuck in my hips.  In the process my uterus tore.
But the baby was healthy.  And beautiful.  And born.  And two years later we celebrate him!
His name is Matthew.

"When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain.  The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you.
John 16:21

Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrating Matthew - Matthew Turns Two



Today my Matthew turned two.  We celebrate his life and the blessing he is for our family.  I am honored to be his mom.
In midst of all the party planning I received a call from my sweet friend Cammie (You can find her at Ramah - WORD!).  She left me a message about wanting to know what Matthew would like as a gift.  She was so sweet to think of him and something she said gave me a new understanding and appreciation for why we celebrate birthdays.  She said, “We’d like to try to get him something, even if it’s nothing really big or major.  Just something nice to say, hey, we celebrate you, we’re happy that you were born!”
So this week I just want to let Matthew know, “Hey, I’m glad you were born.  I love having you as a son.  You are a BLESSING!”
Here’s how we celebrated him today:






Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.  Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.
Philippians 1:3-4