To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Time to Build Up

It is clear in God's word that we are to "build up" one another. In other words, encourage each other! Being an encouragement to others, whether it is when I encounter you face to face, on Facebook or through this blog, is something that is really important to me. It's something I pray about and try to be very intentional about. Encouragement can manifest itself in many forms and I am fortunate to have several encouraging people in my life that I can learn from. Recently I have a lot of friends who are looking for ways to provide for their family from home. We live in a time where there are more opportunities then ever to earn an income from the comfort of your home. This is a really great thing and for some, the difference between putting food on the table or not. I want to use this blog post to highlight some of the businesses my friends have with you. Maybe one of these great products they sell will interest you! If it doesn't, that's fine but I would ask that you take a few minutes to encourage them by clicking the links, taking a look and maybe even hitting the 'like' button on their Facebook pages!

1. Thirty-One with Kathy: Kathy recently became a consultant of Thirty-One products, as a way to earn money to bless others! That's right! Kathy has raised her family and has a full-time job but wanted to have extra funds in order to give to others who are in need. Whether it's a Pastor who needs encouragement or a neighbor in need. However the Lord leads her and her husband to give, is how they use all the money she earns selling these products. She is such a testimony to me of someone who is kind, generous and always goes above and beyond for others! If you have never had experience with Thirty-One products I will tell you that I have always been pleasantly surprised with the pieces I have purchased. They are of quality construction and always roomier than you expect. Click the link to go to Kathy's page and maybe consider hosting a party or making a purchase from an existing party.
2New Hampshire Home Made Creations: My good friends recently started their own Etsy shop selling things they make; from furniture to purses! There is a piece in their shop, a hand made wall tree, that is absolutely beautiful! It is quality craftsmanship with attention to detail and definitely worth taking a look at. I am purchasing the 'cup cozies' to give the kids teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day and the cups to go along with it (the cups are not on the site yet but will be soon) because I have a set and use it everyday! I think this set with a gift card to a coffee shop is the perfect way to say thank you to the awesome ladies who teach my kids each day! Click the link and encourage this young couple...and buy a cup cozie; you won't regret it!
New Hampshire Home Made Creations
NH Home Made Creations Facebook Page

3. It Works! with Tara: It Works is a company I had not heard of before. Tara and I went to high school together and I began seeing her post special's the company was offering on facebook. One particular offer really sparked my interest and so I contacted her and dug deeper. I have since become a fan of the products I have used. I am still very new to it so I would not be the best person to ask questions about it (that's Tara's job!) but I can tell you I am a satisfied customer. I  particularly love the line of supplements they offer. The 'Greens'-Berry flavor is so good and I add a scoop to my morning smoothie. That is just the beginning of what they offer! From body wraps to skin and hair care it's all there and you can check it out for yourself by clicking the link!
It Works! with Tara

4. doTERRA essential oils with Amy: You may remember a blog post I wrote awhile back about my recent experiences with essential oils. If you missed it, you can read it HERE. Amy is the one who introduced me to essential oils and she also sells them. As the wife of a youth Pastor and a busy mom of 5 children who also homeschool's, selling essential oils has been a great way for her to not only earn a little extra money but also earn free oils for her and her family. Amy has a facebook page where she shares a lot of helpful information about the oils. Take a minute to visit and if you are interested in getting started with oils, leave her a message on her page!
Revealing Natural Solutions Facebook Page

5. Ambit Energy with Laura: This is a brand new one to me but I really wanted to share this with you! Laura is the sister of a friend of mine who has recently become a consultant with Ambit Energy. Her husband is attending seminary right now and they are raising 3 young children so in an effort to help make ends meet, Laura has signed up to sell energy. As it has been explained to me, Ambit provides energy and natural gas services in deregulated markets across the United States. In short, they can provide electricity through your current supplier at a reduced rate. I'm still learning about how this works but I am intrigued. Laura was sharing with me some great incentives this company offers to anyone who signs up including a 2-night hotel voucher and the ability to earn free energy! One thing to note is this is only available in 14 states currently, so click the link to see if you live in a state it is offered in. Lucky for me I do live in one of them!
*Ambit Energy
*Ambit Energy with Laura
*Prospective Consultants Click HERE! (FREE enrollment ends tomorrow night at midnight, Pacific time)

This list contains a lot of fabulous people selling some great products! I hope you can spare some time to show them a little encouragement and visit them via the links I provided. If you are reading this and you have a home business or Etsy shop and you'd like to get the word out, you have an invitation to include the link and a brief description in the comment section! And if I may add...while you are 'liking' Facebook pages, don't forget to stop by mine and show a little love by hitting the 'like' button or becoming a follower of this blog!
To Everything There is a Season Facebook Page

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Time to Labor in Love

According to Daniel Tiger "Love Day" is for telling people you care about how much you love them. This is what I was listening to in the background as I was preparing Valentine's Day treats for our Good News Clubbers. It was a tedious job of cutting foil, filling it with treats, wrapping it up, tying it with ribbon and attaching a Valentines Day card (that had already been hole punched and sticker affixed!). I was definitely thinking in my head what a labor of love this was! Which then lead me to thinking what a labor of love committing the past 6 years to Good News Club was. Then the thoughts came flooding!

Talk about love...this man truly loves the
Lord and is so passionate about these
kids learning the love of God. What
 a testimony he is to me in this area.
I don't talk a lot about our Good News Club but I wanted to take the time to share with you what it is about and why we do it. Then you can, as you think of our family, commit this to prayer because we need them and these kiddos need them. If you are not familiar with Good News Club, click the link HERE! and educate yourself on this wonderful program. These clubs are a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship where trained teachers meet with children (who have parental permission to attend) in schools, homes, youth centers, etc. and learn about Jesus and the Bible. Each club is run in a way that suits its needs and purposes but ours includes a Bible story, craft, snack and song time. My husband grew up in a church that was very involved with CEF and it's various ministries. When we saw Noah was approaching Kindergarten Ben had a burden to start a club in our town's school. As we began researching we realized there already was a club so we contacted one of the ladies who led it and that is how we got involved with this club....6 years ago! The Lord knew what he was doing and his timing, as always was perfect. The lady who had been teaching for several years was having some health issues and they were in need of a new teacher. Ben was eager to get involved and more than happy to teach the Bible lesson. I have been along side him in this ministry of ours from the start. You will recognize me as the lady with the babies in the double stroller. That piece of information is important to understand where my heart is at times. If I want you to hear the next part I have to say I feel it's important to be transparent with you and not sugar coat this. It is very hard for me at times to be involved with Good News Club. And it has nothing to do with not understanding it's importance or fully supporting its mission. It has everything to do with the fact that I am a mom with young kids and I am selfish at times. When I have been home with babies some days the last thing I want to do is cut nap time short and head out in the dead of winter, all bundled up, and go to Good News Club...only to get there and have to deal with a few out of control kids who can be rude and disrespectful. Because lets face it. Not all kids are a joy to work with and they too have bad days....some have really bad days. I get there exhausted and many times my heart is just not in it. My babies that I bring with me are not always up for it either.Sometimes my baby is little and still on a bottle so I have to run the craft while walking around feeding a baby their bottle. Then they grow a little and don't want to be in stroller so I walk with them on my hip as I lead the craft. Then they grow some more and are walking and really just want freedom and they are running here and there and everywhere. Some days they do fabulously because I do try to train them to sit still and be content but life isn't perfect and some days they are cranky...I say they because in the 6 years of doing this I've always had more than one little one to take care of as I try to build relationships with our clubbers and lead the craft time. From trying to meet the needs of my little ones to running around trying to meet the needs of our clubbers I'm in an all out sweat by the time club is over. In a perfect world I would say I go home filled with joy in my heart and a love like no other for these kids. The reality is that a lot of days I go home frazzled and exhausted and wondering what the point of me being there is. Then the guilt sits in. I don't want to feel this way and I start to think about the horrible selfish person I am because club is NOT about me. Club is not there to make me feel good about myself and what I'm doing. Club is for those awesome (yes, even when they are mouthing off and not listening they are still deep down beyond the attitudes, awesome) kids and to show them the love of Christ.

That leads me to my next part. Truly Ben and I have such a passion and burden for children to know that they are loved and that no one loves them more than their creator, God. Because we have received the free gift of salvation and because we know the difference it has made in our lives we have a burden to share that with these kids who might otherwise never hear this great news. We have a burden for our own children to see the needs of the kids they go to school with everyday. As their parents we want to set the example of selflessness and a willingness to do God's work even when we don't feel like it. We have to lead by example because talk is cheap. And that is what I want to say to you reader, who already knows the love of God in your own life...TALK IS CHEAP. It is not enough
to say you love God and know that it's important for others to know about God. You have to put action behind those words. I understand that working with children is not for everyone but there are other people in this world with hurting hearts who need someone to tell them there is a God out there who loves them more than they could ever know. Is it easy to get involved? No it's absolutely not, especially if you are raising children. Satan will put every obstacle in your way to convince you and deceive you into believing you don't have time to invest in others because your family is your first ministry. While I completely agree that our families are our first priority and that it has to be in order, I also KNOW that God CAN and does provide the energy and ability to do more than that. I know on Friday's that things are rarely going to go smoothly and that I will have to fight thoughts of convincing myself not to go to club. The last thing Satan wants is for us to teach these kids about God. I can come up with a laundry list of reason why we shouldn't be involved with Good News Club and some of them might be valid reasons. At the end of the day though, we do it because we love God and we want to serve him. He has given us a burden for children so that is where we serve. It's not easy and I don't always enjoy it but that's not because of the kids and it's not because we shouldn't be doing it. It is because I am a sinner and I'm selfish. Period! I am telling you this because there are hundreds of schools in ME who still allow Good News Clubs to be held in their building but...

Our club has grown so much we
have to divide the kids into two groups.
This is Ben teaching the first group.
"the laborers are few". A club needs someone who is willing to submit their will, get outside their comfort zone, set themselves aside for a couple hours and be willing to go teach kids about the love of God. Yes, mom of young kids, even YOU can do this. It won't be easy but God will give you what you need to do it. It's important that we stop making our laundry list of reasons why we can't and just take the step of faith and DO. If Good News Club isn't where your burden is that figure out who you are burdened for and start ministering to those people. Christians, talk is cheap, and people see through it quickly. Don't just say you care, show you care. There are way too many Christians sitting on the sidelines talking about how horrible this world is instead of putting some action behind those concerns and actually making a difference. It may not seem like you can do a lot. Trust me, I feel like that most of the time. How much impact are we really having? That isn't for me to worry about though. Our job is to plant the seed and let God do the rest.

So I guess my passionate challenge to you this "love day" is to extend Christ's love to others, even if it means sacrifice on your part. What I have learned over the past 6 years in Good News Club is compassion. I have learned to love these kids even when they are unlovable. My heart has changed so much as I've watched these kids and I am so thankful for that. My burden only grows stronger and my prayer is that God would keep those schools doors open to us so we can continue to show love to these kids. They are so worth it!

****There are two other ladies who share our burden for these children and who give of their time to show these kids how loved they are. Without the two of them, this club just would not function well. They are a blessing to us and to our clubbers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Time to Put the Boxing Gloves Down

Meet Oliver!

Life seemed simpler when I was having a baby...and it was only 11 years ago when I had my first one! I was recently visiting my best friend who just had her first baby, (seriously, how cute is he?!) and I said to her how thankful I am to have had my first few babies before the world of social media. For that matter, I am thankful I had my first baby before I was really even internet savvy. I wasn't bombarded daily with the all the ways I could possibly mess up this whole mom thing. I wasn't daily "googling" articles (was it even around 11 years ago?) and I wasn't reading every book or magazine article there was out there. I honestly wasn't that worried about anything...maybe I should have been but I wasn't

My new saying lately is, "people who live in glass houses should not be on Facebook!" I say Facebook because it is the only social media outlet I use. Don't ask me what twitter is all about because I have no idea and I don't understand the point of hash tags either. #cantyoujustsayitnormally? What I am trying to say is that if you find yourself easily influenced and prone to being over-sensitive then Facebook might not be the best place for you. There are so many posts and status updates dedicated to raising kids, keeping babies alive and being a mom....and they aren't all helpful or encouraging. If I was a new mom I would be so overwhelmed and intimidated by all the information out there. I am very confident in my choices as a mom but even I have days where I want to hide just about everyone in my newsfeed and if I see one more article or post calling moms who vaccinate ignorant and how all the kids in public school will just end up stupid because of Common Core I'm going to scream! When did it become so okay to be so critical of every parenting choice one can make? Has all this judgment always been there or is this all part of the social media generation? I'm sure judgment was prevalent before, but maybe not as "in your face" as it is now. I just don't remember watching my parents over analyze every parenting decision they made. Granted, some decisions probably could have benefited from more thought but I am positive my mom wasn't stressed out about whether or not my blankets were made from organic cotton. We are talking about a generation who fed their kids Vienna sausages!

I don't know why I have felt such a burden to write this post...I feel something like this has been written a million times. I just have it on my heart to encourage you, mom, who might be struggling today, or yesterday or tomorrow. I have a burden to let you know that you are doing a great job...even though you probably don't feel like you are. I can say this right now because I have an amazing support system of people who encourage me daily and remind me that I'm doing a good job. I need that desperately because most days I feel like I am failing! I want you to know that as useful as some articles or books can be in helping us make informed decisions they cannot replace your mother's heart for your child. I am confident in the decisions Ben and I make on behalf of our kids because we trust God to give us wisdom...our confidence comes from Him. God is the one who will show you without a doubt what the best choice is for YOUR child. Sometimes he uses other people's experiences to guide us, and that is a wonderful thing, but ultimately the only thing you have to concern yourself with is what the best choice is for you. It's not my job to convince another mom to do things the way I do. It is my job to seek out Gods will for my kids. That is a full time job in and of itself, so I really have very little time to be telling other moms what they should be doing! 

I think it is great when I see a mom who is very confident in the decisions she is making for her family (Dads too obviously, but I'm not writing to them). I know how good I feel when I can be immovable in my choices as a mom. It has to be exhausting to be constantly second-guessing yourself. And this post is for that mom...the one who is so unsure and worried she isn't making the right choices. To you I want to say that you do know what is best for your child, even if you don't realize it yet. God gave that child to YOU because he knew you were the best mom for him. Take confidence in that and trust yourself, that you ARE making the right decisions for your family. Keep praying and asking for wisdom (which God gives liberally to those who ask for it) as you raise your family. To the confident mom, I say gracious, be kind and be gentle. It is not your job to convince every other mom to do things they way you are persuaded to do for your family. Choose wisely the words you speak and the articles you post on social media and put new and more insecure moms first by considering their feelings and fragile hearts. There are articles and words that are truly helpful and encouraging and then there are some that are just plain rude. Don't be the "in your face" mom. That kind of approach is only hurtful. Be the kind of mom who gently mentors and encourages other moms to seek out what Gods will is for their families. There will be times they land at the same conclusion you have on a matter and there will be times they don't...and that's okay! 

In my life, being allowed to be a mom is one of the best gifts God has given me, second only to being Ben's wife. I feel so blessed to be allowed this journey and I know I love it so much in part because of the great mom's God has put in my life to mentor me and gently guide me along. I also know the hurt some caused as I navigated some more challenging decisions. It's tough. I don't want to be that kind of mom and I pray often that God would give me grace and compassion for other moms. It really is one of the hardest jobs we will ever why not do it together in love and support of one another? 

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Ephesians 4:32