the American Girl Doll stage of life

Yesterday morning Faith talked Jason into making Lunchables and Capri Sun drinks for her American Girl Doll, Stephanie. That’s right – her American Girl Doll needs Lunchables. Listen, these dolls are high maintenance. First we had to start tucking Stephanie in at night and now we are having to feed her.

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Stephanie + #roadtrip

I don’t know what to tell you. This is the stage of life we are in right now – the American Girl Doll stage.

Anyway – if you are also in the American Girl Doll stage or just like making tiny food out of chick-fil-a sauce packets, this is for you!

You Tube video on how to make American Girl Doll Lunchables & Capri Sun

Instructions* can be found on this crafty cute website: www.americangirlideas.com
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*instead of craft foam, we used colored paper that we had on-hand.

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waiting on God

After 15 months of praying for a child and trying to become pregnant, the Lord said to me on May 27, 2002, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son.” (Judges 13:3)

And He kept His Word.

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I named him Samuel because I asked the Lord for him (1 Samuel 1:20).

On March 2, 2003, Samuel David Cole was born.

And now he is thirteen.

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EEEEKKKK!

I was looking back through a prayer journal and I found this written on October 12, 2003:

Sam is the most precious gift. He is absolutely adorable, so handsome! He is so curious and smart. Already climbing up our stairs!

Clearly, I was smitten. Right underneath it I wrote:

The north campus (FBCC at American Indoor) – God has blessed our church. Our plans to build are on hold but we are growing. It is so exciting. . . .

The “soccer church” as we liked to call it, was the north campus of our church First Baptist Church Carrollton. We met at an indoor soccer field for a year and then those of us that gathered there went back to the main campus because our plans to build our own church building were on hold. The neat thing about finding this journal entry yesterday is that the FBCC north campus – now called the Church at The Fields – is opening in two weeks. The plans were on hold in 2003 and now they not only have their own building, but a sports complex that serves the community.

I’m in awe of God and His perfect timing.

His Word does not return void. When He says He is going to do something He does it. Lately He has been teaching me to wait on Him. He is mostly teaching me this because I was not doing it. I have to admit, it is hard to wait on God when I can order anything I need from Amazon and have it in two days.

Just last week I ordered a tall flat white from the produce section of the HEB and picked it up at Starbucks a few minutes later. I didn’t even have to stand in line – my drink was sitting on the counter when I walked in.

But sometimes God asks us to wait. And there’s not an app for that.

I am reminded of all those who went before us in Hebrews 11.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40)

We will not take hold of all of His promises here on this earth. Yet, He keeps His Word. We will see it fully when we enter into eternity. There we will see how He wove the thread of our lives together into a beautiful tapestry.

I know that does not make the waiting easier – maybe that is where the trusting comes in. I felt the Lord telling me I didn’t wait on Him because I didn’t trust Him. It’s true. Jason was losing his job and I didn’t trust the Lord to provide for our family. He told me to wait but I ran ahead. Ironically, my running didn’t get me anywhere – if anything, it slowed me down.

Jason got a job. I got exhausted.

I’m still learning to trust God and wait on Him. I’m trying to remember His promises and hold onto them even if it doesn’t seem like they are going to come into fruition in this lifetime.

How do you wait on God? Leave your comment below! I would also love to know – is there something specific you are waiting on?

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On May 11, 2003 we dedicated Sam to the Lord at that indoor soccer field. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28

 

talking to your kids about CSA.

image from thinkandactblog.wordpress.com
image from thinkandactblog.wordpress.com

The statistics are alarming: childhood sexual abuse (CSA) affects 1 in 5 children before the age of 18 and over 90% of the time, the abuser is a relative or someone in the family’s inner circle of trust.

This is not okay.

I want to help parents talk to their kids about CSA. I’ve had several friends ask me “What if this happens to one of my kids?” or “How can I talk to my child about this?” I’ve asked myself those same questions. I’ve been there. Here are a few suggestions; it doesn’t have to be as awkward as you think.

1. Talk to your kids on their level. I have a different conversation with Sam (age 12) than I do with Faith (age 5). With Sam, I feel comfortable naming body parts. We talk about sex and he also took a Family Life and Sexual Health class in fifth grade where he learned a “crap-ton about sex”. These were his exact words. I know, I can not believe it either. I am still in shock. With Faith, I say “private parts” and “bottom”. I am not quite ready to call the parts by their proper names with her. If you are comfortable doing that with your kids, then by all means, do it. The main thing is to not be uncomfortable when you talk about it because they will be able to sense that. Use the language that you are comfortable with now and that you think they will understand. As they get older, you can change the language that you use.

My conversation with Faith went something like this:
Me: *waits for Faith to mention some “private part” so I can ease into the conversation.*
Faith: Hey, Momma, wanna see my booty!? *Shakes her booty at me.*
Me: *trying not to laugh* Hey princess, that reminds me, you know that those private parts that you’re supposed to keep covered with your underwear belong to you, right?
Faith: Uh-huh
Me: And no one else is supposed to touch them, right? No grown-ups, no older kids. Maybe if you have a boo-boo and I need to put on some medicine or a doctor need to look at them – that might be okay but we still need to ask your permission first, okay?
Faith: Yep.
Me: You know that you can tell me anything, right? And you don’t need to keep any secrets from Mommy because I love you no matter what.
Faith: I know! *kiss*

2. Have short conversations often. Don’t just talk about it once and think you are good. Just like we remind our kids to look both ways before crossing the street and to wear their bicycle helmet – you keep reminding them because you love them and you want to protect them. The first time that I talked to Sam about abuse was a little more difficult than talking to Faith, mainly because I had to change the subject to bring it up. Like I mentioned before, he has apparently completed some sort of master level sex-ed course and thinks that he knows everything. I know that he does not know everything and I can’t leave the conversations up to his teachers and classmates. Sometimes I am going to have to be the one to bring it up – that is the hardest part, the rest of the conversation isn’t so bad. When Sam and I talked about abuse that first time, I knew that a short conversation could potentially prevent a lifetime of hurt. We talked about sexual abuse and also physical and emotional abuse. I defined what abuse is and gave him examples of each kind. I asked what he thought and let him ask questions so that it was more of a conversation and less of a lecture.

3. Be your child’s Safe Person. Connect with them on an emotional level. I think this gets harder as the kids get older. Remember when they were little? They would fall and get hurt and then they would run to you to make them feel better. Or maybe you had to go to them and pick them up and tell them “Mommy/Daddy’s got you now. You’re going to be okay.” When they get older they don’t fall down as much – their hurts are on the inside. We have to be intentional about having conversations and finding out what is going on inside of them. We need to be a safe place for them so that they will still run to us when their feelings are hurt and we can still hold them and tell them that it is going to be okay. My hope is that having the conversation and raising awareness will help prevent CSA but if it should happen; children need to know that they can tell someone. If you are ready to talk to your kids about CSA, I am sharing a link to a great tool from the UK that I found while I was doing research for my children’s book.

From the NSPCC: simple conversations to keep your child safe from abuse

Feel free to comment or send me an e-mail! I would love your feedback!

Beauty from Ashes

So I started high school in 1991. I wasn’t the prettiest girl in school or the most popular. I wanted boys to like me though and I made a lot of mistakes. Again, Taylor Swift was only two years old so I didn’t have anyone to tell me that in my life I would “do things greater than dating the boy on the football team”.

I didn’t know it at fifteen. I am going to tell my daughter though. I did not think that I was ever going to have a daughter of my own. Jason and I have a son and I will write that story down at some point – it is an oldie (because I have told it so many times in the past seven years) but a goody (because, as usual, God changed me through it all.) We tried to have a second child when Sam (that is my way cool seven year old son) was still in diapers. I was tired of trying and I just wanted to know God’s plan for my life. One morning I lay face to the floor asking God if we were going to have any more children. He said to me, “You and Jason will raise spiritual children.” That was enough for me. If that was His plan for us – then I was content.

Jason and I worked with high school students at church. We loved it. We loved them. We went to retreats and camps and we went to their football games. We watched them play in the band and cheer on the sidelines. We watched them grow up.

Then we moved to the pacific-northwest where we felt God confirming our calling to raise spiritual children. Jason became the children’s leader at our church and I eventually became the Pre-school leader (after my flesh threw a temper tantrum, but that is another blog posting for another day!). Anyway, God continues to call us to work with and love children.

In February 2009 I found out I was pregnant. We couldn’t even wait for a doctor to confirm it (we thought two pregnancy tests was enough) before we started telling our family and friends! They were all as shocked and excited as we were!

I begged God for a girl. I finally had to change my prayer to something like, “God, if it’s a boy – let me be okay with that.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my son and would wrestle a Sasquatch for him, but I really needed a girl. I needed beauty from ashes.

Over the years I have been able to share with many teen age girls my past mistakes in hopes that they would learn from mine and not repeat the same things in their own lives. If my past can help someone else’s future then that, for me, is beauty from ashes. And if I can re-visit that teenage girl that I used to be and get to the root of why she gave herself in the first place and find healing. Then, I have beauty from ashes.

My daughter’s name is Faith. I call her Beauty.

For my Super Hero

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Who knew a trip to Goodwill could make a girl so emotional? As I unloaded a box out of the trunk I saw Sam’s old Spiderman glove on top and it almost made me cry! I quickly dug through the box to find the match and threw the gloves back in the car! What happened to my little boy? My crime fighting three year old is now in second grade!

I remember when dressing up like superheroes

wasn’t just for Halloween

I remember taking Spiderman to the grocery store

and playing Batman at the park

But you’re growin’ up now. . .

You don’t need me to walk you to the bus stop

I’m not your sidekick anymore

I pray that I can be the mom you need

to help you grow into the man God needs you to be

Cause you’re growin’ up now. . .

He said that you’ll grow in favor with men and with Him

and you’re going to be His mouthpiece

This calling is as much for you as it is for me

Cause I’m growin’ up now. . .

Learned a lot since I’ve been here

And He’s not finished with me yet

Even though your cape wearing days are over

I hope you never stop trying to save the world

Go ahead, I’ll be okay, you can grow up now. . .

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