Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts

What You Need To Volunteer At A Pregnancy Resource Center





It was a little over a year ago now that I sat down and actually watched one of the videos from the Center For Medical Progress.  Up to that point I had just read articles about the videos, describing the callous behavior and illegal actions of Planned Parenthood officials.

But for some reason, that day I decided to click open the video and watch myself.  I watched an interview with an abortion worker.  Then the video changed, and they were walking into a lab.  And I put my hand over my eyes and peeked through every now and then.  I saw a bloody tray.  I saw the backs of Planned Parenthood employees as they worked.

And I peeked through my fingers and felt my baby kick right under my heart as one of them proclaimed "it's a boy!".

That baby boy would have been born a couple weeks after Clarice.

The tears started then, rolling down my cheeks as my girl rolled over in my womb.   I cried for that baby boy, whom some have named Emmett, who never had a chance to kick his mama, or cry, or laugh, or have a first birthday, or start kindergarten.  I cried for that mother, who will never know the joy he might have brought into her life.

I still want to throw up just thinking about it, and even though I have been pro-life as long as I've known about such things, I knew it was time to stop pretending this wasn't happening.   It was time to stop forgetting about it unless it was an election year. 

So a few months later, on New Year's Eve, I made a secret resolution.  This was the year I'd get involved.  This was the year I'd do something.

You'll see me talking a bit more about my pro-life beliefs on here as I get my thoughts together.  I have a post with ideas on different things you can do, including telling you a little bit more about the shirt I'm wearing (hint: donate here), but today I wanted to share one way I've tried to get involved in stopping abortion - volunteering with a pregnancy resource center.  It hasn't looked like I thought it would, and I have a bit of advice for those of you who have considered volunteering yourselves.

Head over to the Save The Storks blog to read about the one thing you should know before you offer to volunteer at your local pregnancy center!





What I Never Knew About Being An Aunt

What I Never Knew About Being An Aunt | Through Clouded Glass



"We're having a baby!"


As those words fell joyfully from my sister's lips, I began a journey that has been one of my most treasured aspects of my life. I gained a title before my name and it changed my world. 

"You get to have all the fun of kids and at the end of the night you get to give them back!"



This is the tongue in cheek attitude towards being an aunt that everyone talks about, 

but there is so much more that no one ever discusses. 


What I Never Knew About Being A Working Mom




I am a mother who works. I didn’t intend to end up this way, but I didn’t avoid it, either. I never spent a lot of time deciding whether I should stay at home exclusively or split my time between chasing little kids at home and caring for sick ones in the hospital. Yet that is where I find myself, and I’m learning more about motherhood through my work than I ever realized.

I was lucky to find my way into the nursing profession, mostly as a skill to use working overseas. While my husband and I worked in Cambodia with a nonprofit for three years, we decided to have a go at parenting. We gave birth to our son, and I stayed home with him for the next eight months, until we moved back to the States. There really wasn’t another option. Daycare doesn’t exist in Cambodia, and I wanted those precious first months with him.


What I Never Knew Before Having Kids | A Guest Post


What I Never Knew Before Having Kids | Through Clouded Glass



Despite growing up a full-on Alabama Southern Belle, I never fantasized about my future wedding or played with baby dolls. I grew up with boy cousins and preferred to play outdoors. In my teens, I opted for waitress and desk jobs over babysitting. The thought of really getting married one day never entered my mind until I became serious about my husband in college.

I loved children, but not babies. This became more evident as years passed and all my friends started having babies. I relied on the Boppy® pillow to help me cradle the fragile life that was plopped in my lap whenever I visited a new mom. The scared and awkward look on my face revealed to my friend (and all of social media) that I was not comfortable with a newborn.


Your Husband Isn't Your College Roommate (And 4 Other Things I Never Knew About Marriage) | A Guest Post


Your Husband Isn't Your College Roommate, And Four Other Things I Never Knew About Marriage | Through Clouded Glass



Cards on the table: I don’t write this post as a sage, old, married woman. My husband and I are inching closer to our three year anniversary; a lifetime to go and countless lessons more to learn. Even still, if you’ve been married for over 24 hours you’ll know that this sacred union isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s downright hard. Difficult. Devastating. Sometimes marriage drives you to consuming a tub of ice cream alone on your couch, watching Love, Actually and wondering, “Why doesn’t he act like that?” (A purely hypothetical situation, you understand.)



What I Never Knew About Friendship | A Guest Post

What I Never Knew About Friendship | Through Clouded Glass




I like to think of myself as a "life long learner". That phrase was first introduced to me in a 100 level education class when I was a freshman at Wheaton College. I have always love learning - and the more I learn the more I realize I have yet to learn. So, when I became a mom a little over a year ago, I knew that there were lots of things I was going to be learning. One area I was surprised that I needed to learn about was friendship. I thought I had the making-and-maintaining-friendships thing down pretty good...but it turns out that there were a few things I needed to learn and re-learn during this past year.



Things I never knew about friendship...


Favorite Things For Summertime

We are still on vacation, enjoying our last days on our camping trip!  You can see everything we are up to by following me on Instagram.  I'll be back early next week with a (late) pregnancy update, but for now enjoy this post by one of my blog friends, Keri, on her favorite items for beach trips!  She is the person to write to you about this, since I don't have much beach experience in my land-locked state...

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Hello, my name is Keri and I share over at Living In This Season. I am a mama to three little ones (ages 6, 3, and 1) and wife to my husband of almost 10 years. I love connecting with others and sharing about living life fully in our current seasons of life. Stop on by and say hello!

Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year. We live in South Carolina near the coast so are grateful to have what seems like an extended summer. The beach is one of our favorite places to go as a family and I have found a few products to be absolutely necessary for our beach trips.

favorite summer products

Sunscreen- I have loved using Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen. It is perfect to use for the whole family and provides plenty of protection.

Headband- Recently, I was given this headband from Mag Soul Shop to try out and I am loving it. It easily holds back my hair and all those fly aways I have. They have so many cute headbands- see more HERE.

Flip Flops- Honestly, I probably wear flip flops the majority of the time. My sister convinced me to try Reef flip flops and I am loving them so far. They are so comfortable and cute.

Umbrella- As much as I love the sun, it is really nice to have some shade when you are at the beach as a family. I have seen a lot of people using these umbrellas and wonder if it would work better than my regular old one from CVS...

Water & Snacks- What is it about the beach that makes me so hungry?! We always have some snacks to take to the beach along with plenty of water. I am currently looking for a good water bottle- any favorites?

Sand Toys & Fun- My kids love having some sand toys to bring along. I have learned to just bring a few items because most of the time they end up playing with the drift wood and shells. It is also so important to go to the beach ready to have some fun as a family. Some beach trips end up being filled with some tantrums or tears, but I try to enter the time ready for whatever. It is always a choice in how I react to the circumstances- joy or anger?

What are some of your favorite beach necessities?


Note From Keri: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, to read my disclosure policy go HERE.

10 Ways To Bless A New Mom

Since I am off enjoying sun, dirt and campfires with the family this week, I asked one of my dear blog friends, Natalie, to share a guest post with you guys!  Natalie is a blogger at She Builds Her Home, and she is a mama to two adorable little girls - and her family is in the process of adopting another sweet baby! I love reading her tips on adopting, homemaking, marriage, and motherhood.

Natalie is going to share some tips for ways to bless new moms, and I found myself nodding my head to all her tips - especially the last one! Moms, please add your own experiences or tips at the end.  We'd both love to read what you found helpful after having your baby(ies)!


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I've been that mom twice. The one who just had a baby, is tired, is sore, is hungry, is emotional. If you haven't been in those shoes (or sometimes even if you have!) it is hard to know what will bless her the most. What will help her, what will make her feel most loved, what will make her life a little bit easier. So I've compiled a list of some of the things I think would most bless a brand new mom with a little one(s).



10 Ways To Bless A New Mom | Natalie @ She Builds Her Home



1. Text, don't call her. New moms never know what's going to be happening when. If they're trying to figure out breastfeeding, or simply cuddling their baby, they won't have an extra hand to talk on the phone. They might be sleeping at 2 p.m. - you don't want to be the guy that wakes them up! A text will give them the freedom to respond when it is convenient for them and not feel pressured to answer the phone or call you right back.


10 Ways To Bless A New Mom | Natalie @ She Builds Her Home


2. Bring their family a meal. Try to make this as easy on them as possible by bringing disposable containers so they don't have to wash and return them to you. If they are getting multiple meals it may be hard for them to remember which ones belong to which people.


3. Offer to stop by and bring her something. Anything. Maybe she needs more diapers, maybe she wants Starbucks, or maybe she needs stool softeners - ha! I didn't say it will be glamorous, but just ask her what she needs. Getting out of the house to run to the store with a 4 day old is hard. She'll appreciate the offer.


4.  Lend an ear. Ask her if she wants to talk. Maybe she will, maybe she won't. If she does, be prepared that she might make no sense at all. She might tell you that she actually misses her baby so much it physically hurts (you know, the baby she is holding at the moment she says that). She might cry about how she feels so skinny and fat at the exact same time. Maybe she'll even confess that as tired as she is, she can't sleep because she can't stop staring at that beautiful creation and wondering how it belongs to her. Whatever it is she tells you - be supportive. Laugh with her, cry with her, hug her (if she wants a hug), just be there for her.


5. Ask how you can help her around the house. Let her know you're willing to take and do her laundry, scrub her dishes, or clean her bathroom. Those things are probably at the bottom of her to do list. They come after: feed the baby, snuggle the baby, feed the baby, change the baby, snuggle the baby, snuggle the baby, feed the baby, nap, eat, feed the baby, change the baby, snuggle the baby........


10 Ways To Bless A New Mom | Natalie @ She Builds Her Home

{^^ those moments? WAY more important than house work.}


6. Send her a card, a care package or just an email/text with no agenda. Just to say 'hey, I'm thinking about you and you're rocking this mom thing!' Don't expect a response, a thank you card, or anything else - just do it to let her know she is doing a great job!


7. Offer (with no pressure) to come and hold/rock the baby while she takes a nap or shower. Sometimes new moms feel like they just physically cannot put the baby down because the time is so fleeting. Don't be offended if she says NO WAY!


8. If she has other kids, ask her how you can help out with them. Could you take them to the park? Maybe to the library? Maybe you could even just come over and cook lunch for them while she focuses on the baby for an hour or two.


9. Give her some space and don't take things personally. A lot of new moms have tons of scary emotions going on. I bawled 10 times a day because I loved my babies so much, and that scared me because no one told me it would happen. I wanted it to just be me and my family in a bubble for awhile and some people were offended by that. Don't be. Try to understand that this is precious time for them!



10 Ways To Bless A New Mom | Natalie @ She Builds Her Home



10. When you come to visit the new baby or bring a meal (not when you come to help out), don't linger. She will probably be un-showered, her house will be messy and she'll have a baby attached to her chest. She probably won't feel like entertaining guests. Drop off the meal, tell her how beautiful her baby is and don't stay longer than 30 minutes tops.



Mamas-what else would you add? 







From One To Two - Becoming A Big Sibling



When I was writing posts for my "From One To Two" series, I got questions from several people asking whether I had any tips for helping your toddler with the transition after having a new baby.  However, this was one subject I felt I didn't really have any good tips on! Wyatt adjusted pretty easily after we had Gwen, and there weren't a lot of difficulties that would give me a good basis for advice.  

However, I knew one of my dear blog friends, Kara, did have more experience on helping a toddler who is having trouble adjusting to baby, and I asked her if she would write a guest post for me.  I have to say, I love all her tips!  Kara is such a godly mother, and I loved reading her perspective on this.  I knew she would have good advice, just as she always does on her own blog, Just 1 Step.

I'm keeping everything she mentioned here in mind for when we have this next baby - Wyatt will be a little older, and it is yet to be seen how he will react to a new baby now that he understands a little bit more.

So without further ado, for tips on helping your toddler with the transition from only child to big sibling, read on!


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As I neared the end of my second pregnancy in the summer of 2012, I had several friends tell me stories about their first-born children struggling with the arrival of their second child. Most of these tales involved toddlers who became angry and defiant toward their mothers. Given that our then 2-year-old, Krewson, was a HUGE Daddy’s boy and gave me very little attention anyways if Daddy was around, I figured things couldn’t get much worse and that there would be no reason for him to lash out at me for bringing home a baby. I listened to their stories, put them in a “could possibly happen but probably won’t” box in the back of my brain, and excitedly prepped for the arrival of our second son.

Our second child, Greyden, was born on July 28th, 2012. I was so excited for Krew to come meet Grey at the hospital, but the encounter was far less exciting than I had hoped. Krew looked at the baby, sort of half-smiled like what in the world is that thing and what is going on, carelessly dropped the ball we’d purchased for him to give as a gift on top of Grey, then proceeded to run around the hospital room playing with all the relatives, never giving his new little brother a second glance.




We arrived home as a family a couple days later, and it became obvious fairly quickly that Krew was not overly excited about having a new sibling. He showed absolutely no interest in the baby and strongly disliked the crying. My husband (Dave) and relatives showered Krew with attention while I tended to Greyden, which seemed like the best thing to do, but before long it started to backfire.


For some reason that I’ll never understand, Krew started to avoid me and lash out at me, just as I had heard others relate. It absolutely broke my heart. He didn’t want to be in the same room as me, and flat out said so. He wouldn’t let me touch him or hug him. He would push on me and tell me to go away. He would gleefully run to anyone else, especially his daddy, but gave me a cold shoulder almost every time I initiated conversation or contact.


I cried and cried and cried, wondered what I had done to my child that he would hate me so much, questioned how I’d ever thought it would be ok to bring another child into our home. I felt like I’d ruined Krew’s life and mine. It was a difficult experience in the midst of dealing with a newborn and all the raging hormones and life changes that go along with that.


I’ll never forget the day that marked the turning point in those struggles with Krew. Dave had to leave for ultimate frisbee practice for the day, and so Krew had to stay home with me and the baby by ourselves for the first time. As Dave was leaving, Krew was hysterical crying. I yelled to Dave, “Lock the door!” because I knew Krew would try to run out the door after him as he left. Sure enough, as soon as Dave was gone, Krew hung by the front door, sobbing, pounding on the door screaming, “Daddy come home!! Daddy come home!!” I sat in the living room, nursing Greyden, tears of hurt and betrayal and uncertainty pouring down my face. At one point Krew’s screaming stopped, and he came walking into the living room. He took one look at me, turned around, ran back to the front door, and started sobbing and yelling and pounding all over again.


After 10 to 15 minutes, Krew realized his daddy wasn’t coming back and came whimpering into the living room. I asked, “Do you want me to hold you?” He answered, “Yes.” I put Greyden down on the floor and pulled Krew into my lap, and as I did he angrily kicked the Boppy I had been using to nurse Grey. Then he curled up in a ball in my arms and cried and cried and cried.


It was an incredibly emotional day, but we had a breakthrough. Once the tears ended, a wall had been knocked down. Krew started acting like my little boy again. That night I laid in his bed with him for a while, and he reached over and grabbed my arm and pulled it around his little body. I cried silent tears of relief and thanksgiving and thanked God for that moment a million times over.




I’m writing this blog post because Callie asked me to share my tips on helping a toddler transition to having a new baby in the house. I felt that it was important to share my story first so that you understand where I’m coming from. Our transition was anything but easy, and one of the most painful times in my parenting experience so far. But I do feel that I can provide some helpful advice as a result.


1) Make sure both parents are spending equal amounts of time with the toddler.

In most cases, as in ours, I would assume that the dad tends to spend a lot more time with the toddler than the mother. But I can imagine there are situations where it is reversed. Whatever the case, just make sure the toddler is getting an equal amount of attention from both parents. If one parent gives a lot more attention to the toddler and the other gives a lot more attention to the baby, this sets up the parent with the baby to be the bad guy. Not a good at all.

2) Make sure this time with the toddler is QUALITY time.

When parents are spending their time with the toddler (#1), make sure a good chunk of this is fun quality time. Do things the toddler wants to do. Read a book, play a game, go outside, run in circles through the house, have a tickle fight, whatever. Just make sure you are doing activities that bring your toddler joy. Forget the housework and to-do list for a bit and instead focus on bonding with your child and reassuring him that life is still ok.

3) When relatives offer to take the toddler to give you a break, ask them to take the newborn instead.

This is counter-intuitive, but it’s very important. Your toddler needs moments where he feels like he still has his old life. He needs time with his parents, time to be the center of their attention. Although he will enjoy attention from relatives, this won’t help at all to reassure him that his parents are still as devoted to him as they were prior to the new baby. So hand off the new baby, not the toddler.



4) Do not allow aggressive or defiant behavior.

Maintain your rules and your methods of discipline. When Krew pushed me or spoke rudely, he received the same reprimanding that he would have received prior to Greyden being born. This does two things. First, it prevents any defiant or aggressive behavior from becoming acceptable and habitual in the toddler’s head. Second, it maintains consistency in the toddler’s life. The same behaviors that were unacceptable prior to the new baby are still unacceptable after the baby.

5) Allow non-defiant regression.

Krew wanted to suck on a pacifier, lay in the baby’s crib, and lay on the changing table. All things he hadn’t done for quite a while. But we let him. I’d read about this type of regressive behavior, and I’d read to just go along with it. We did, and it all passed fairly quickly.

6) Try having your toddler “help” with the baby, but don’t get your hopes up.

Prior to Greyden being born, I had read that it was good to have your toddler help with the new baby in order to keep him feeling involved. I tried this, and it didn’t work. I would ask Krew if he wanted to help with little thing (baths, getting me a pacifier, talking to the baby, etc.) and 9 times out of 10 the answer was NO. We didn’t push it, and I really think it was the best choice. No sense in making him see the baby as even more of a hindrance on his life than he already did.



7) Pray for your toddler and for yourselves.

I wish I had done more of this. Pray for your toddler, and pray for you and your spouse as parents. Pray that God direct you in the best way to handle your situation. Every family’s situation is unique and will need a slightly (or drastically) different approach. Pray that God help you find it. Also pray that God take away any fears, anxieties, or hurts in your toddler’s heart. He knows better than anyone what is going on inside that little toddler’s soul, and He can help you better than any book, article, or blog post.

8) Be patient.

If you do end up with a struggling toddler, healing and adjustment to the transition will take time. You must be patient. I have heard of toddler acting up for months when a new baby arrives. MONTHS. Thank the Lord this did not happen for us (our biggest struggle was just for a couple weeks), but it does happen. You have to be strong and have faith that this too shall pass. Maintain your consistency, follow the steps above, and wait. It’s hard but necessary.

9) Finally, give yourself grace.

I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to mess up this thing called parenting. You already have, I already have. We’re fallen adults trying to raise fallen children in a fallen world. We cannot ever know how to best handle every parenting situation, and even if we did know, I don’t think we’d have the willpower or strength to follow through with it. Learn to rely on your Father to guide you. Extend yourself grace for your messups just as you know He does. He gave you your children, and He’s there to help you raise them. Listen for His voice and follow His direction. You’ll make it through.



Now, Greyden at 18 months and Krew at almost 4.

What I Want For My Kids


"There are a lot of things I want for my kids as their mom.  I'm sure you other mamas can relate.

I hear a story about a child who was seriously injured falling off a bunk bed - I have visions of my kids tumbling down stairs and emergency trips to the hospital.  I want them to stay safe.  So I redouble my efforts to baby-proof the house. 

I watch the news and see a story about a child that was kidnapped.  I worry about my kids being around strangers when I'm not there to watch them.  I want to protect them from the world and the evil that is in it.  So I interview nursery workers and watch my kids like a hawk at the grocery store to make sure they don't wander off.

I took a couple nutrition classes in college.  I know what my kids should eat to get all those essential nutrients.  I want them to grow strong and healthy.  So I beat myself up when I can't get my son to touch a vegetable (or many fruits for that matter)...

(...)


I think all these desires for my children are good things, and all the things that we moms do for our kids to help them and give them the best start are things we should be doing.

But isn't it all exhausting sometimes?"

DSC 3096blogcolor

Go check out the rest of my guest post on Natalie's blog!

An Adoption Story

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from my blog friend, Bridget, telling me about her friends Emily and Tony who are adopting two girls from Africa.

Tony and Emily

I've mentioned before that adoption is something that weighs on my heart - it's not something that we can do right now, but I love the idea of adoption, especially for Christian couples.  

When the Bible speaks about "looking after the widow and orphan" (James 1:27), I think that applies not only to couples that welcome these orphans into their homes, but to those of us who can't be involved so directly - we should still find ways to help the fatherless and the widow.  So when I had the opportunity to help Emily and Tony get the word out about their adoption, I jumped on it!   I may not be able to adopt myself (at least right now), but I love the idea of being able to support other Christians who are adopting.

I checked out their blog, and was impressed with how they both actually write on it!  A lot of times couple's blogs don't actually turn out to be written by both people (nothing wrong with that, just sayin').  I skipped back in the archives and read their story from the beginning, and there are so many ways that it was clear to me, even as just a reader, how God is orchestrating this family being brought together.  

We Love You

So I asked Tony and Emily if they'd write a guest post for me, telling a little bit about their adoption process.  Here they are to tell you a little more about themselves and their girls!

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Emily and I have known for several years that adoption was in our future. We had no idea how soon in the future it would be, but we both knew it was clear that God was telling us our family would grow in that way. We can remember talking about it in simple conversation years ago and it slowly evolving into something more concrete. We officially started the adoption process on paper this fall, September 5, 2012. To be completely honest...that seems like just yesterday to me. We started with a TON of training and quite a bit of paperwork. Two things we had heard would be reoccurring throughout the adoption process.

Huge questions came up when we first realized that our time to adopt was now. Where do we adopt from? International? Domestic? Black? White? Asian? Hispanic? Boy? Girl? One child? Two children? A baby? A teenager? These are all legitimate questions and when you're not sure where to begin those are just a few that will wander through your mind! We saw so many facets to adoption that it was overwhelming to even start the process. Emily and I felt that our first big hurdle was to decide whether to adopt independently or with the help of an agency, but even before that was answered...where do we adopt from?

We were able to decide early on that international adoption from Africa was on our hearts, but how in the heck do we decide what country? Well...we started to look at different countries and talking about them, but never wanted it to feel like shopping. We'd look up a country, do our research and see if we would get a sense that our child was there. Then we'd move onto another country, rinse and repeat. We relied on God nudging us toward one country and finally that happened. It came up in casual conversation by me saying to Em, "What about (insert name of our country)?" A couple of seconds went by and she responded, "Yeah...I could see us adopting from there." We prayed about it, again did our research, talked about it and that one kind of stuck. We never moved on. Fortunately for us, Emily and I are part of the Orphan Care Ministry at our church and we have a LOT of resources through the adoptive families involved there, so we immediately reached out to some of our connections with "our" country in mind. We asked several people many questions surrounding adoption, but our main goal at that time was to decide whether we should adopt independently or through an agency. Ok, ok...I'm rambling....here's Emily to finish off our story.....or at least the continue it!


Tony's right when he talks about all of the questions we had. Even now, with as much progress as we've made, we still have many unanswered questions. However, today we can share that we have the answers to all of the questions Tony listed above. Today, we know that we have have not one, but two daughters! They live in East Africa (name of country must be withheld from all social media platforms until they arrive home). We know they are black and we will have the experiences of a trans racial family. We know that our international adoption is being completed independently (that's a whole other post on it's own!). We know their faces, their names and we know that they're ours!

Shortly after making contact with our children's home, we received the referral for one child, a 2-year-old girl. We were told that she was sweet, shy and has a chronic health condition, but with the love and care of a family she would flourish. We were asked to pray about it, because "maybe she's your daughter." And what do you know...she is! Once we accepted the referral we were given her name, a photograph and some more basic information. We began to fall in love. In the days that followed we ask more questions and I couldn't seem to get settled until we knew more about her birth family. Tony felt the same. The answer to one question changed everything for us. She has a sister. Not only does she have a sister, but this little girl (at the time not living at the children's home) was also in need a family's care. That is when our family got a little bigger. We have two daughters! Our oldest is 8-years-old. She is very lovely, healthy and kind of grown up for her age. 

At the start of our adoption we didn't have a clue about the things bigger and better than our plans that lay ahead. If we had, would it have seemed like too much? Even with only a small amount of hindsight we are able to see that this story had to unfold in this way. The four of us are meant for each other. Everything so far has aligned to allow for these two girls to become ours. Some new plans on our end have had to be set in place; medical plans, education plans and financial plans. A few special exceptions have had to be made for us by folks on the other end as well. However, each new curve in the road is building our faith and each word of encouragement and helping hand blesses us in ways we'd never imagined. We can't wait for the two halves of our family to finally be together!

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I was so touched reading about Emily and Tony's adoption journey, especially about how open their hearts were to receiving both of their girls into their family - I can't wait to see updates on their blog of the four of them all together!

Emily and Tony are getting so close to being able to bring their girls home!  They are in the process of getting ready for a month long trip to East Africa, and after that they get to come home with their two beautiful daughters!  I'm looking forward to following their blog through this last exciting step in their adoption.

Love makes a family  adoption

Adoption in general is so expensive, and I'm excited  for this opportunity to be a part of Emily and Tony's Valentine's Day fundraiser.  From now until Valentine's Day they are asking people to consider donating 14 dollars toward the last of their adoption costs.  If you were touched at all by their story would you prayerfully consider donating to their adoption?  This is a great opportunity for those of us who are not adoptive families to still "look after" the orphan by helping two specific orphans finally join their family!

If this is something you would be interested in supporting, you can donate by clicking the button below - you can also donate anonymously if you prefer that.  If you'd rather send them a check, instead of donating through a website, please send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to get their address for you.  And be sure to stop over and follow their blog to keep updated on their story as it unfolds!


Give here botton

{Guest Post} Laura's Testimony

Laura from The B Family Blog was kind enough to write a guest post for me while I figure out this being-a-mom-of-two thing, and I was so excited when she told me she was going to write about her testimony! I love reading stories of how people come to know Jesus, and Laura's is a cool story that can only be attributed to the Lord "nudging" her, if you will. Thank you so much for sharing your story and guest posting for me Laura!

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Hi! I’m Laura and I blog over at The B Family Blog. I’m excited to guest post for Callie while she is busy snuggling the newest addition to her beautiful family. A little about me, I’m a wife to an amazing man, Joe and mommy to the light of my life, Olivia. I’m 29 years young and a (new) lover of Jesus. Here’s a little bit about my journey to finding the Lord.




July 11, 2012 is a day that really changed my life, the CORE of mine and my family’s lives. On July 11, 2012 I accepted the Lord as my savior and became a Christian. First, I guess I should back up! I grew up in a (non-practicing) Roman Catholic household. My family fulfilled the minimum requirements so I could be baptized, make my 1st communion and confirmation. That was it, no more church for us. Rarely any talk of God in our home other than before meal prayers on major holidays, obligatory things, if you will.

In 2010, my husband and I got married and were expecting a baby girl all in the same year. Once Olivia was born, we baptized her at the urging of our family but something just didn’t feel right. After her baptism we never went back to church. A year and a half later I began to feel a nudge from God. I discussed how I was feeling with my husband and he too agreed that something was missing. That following weekend we decided we’d do some ‘church shopping’. Right near where we said “I Do” is a fairly large church that always has a ton of cars in their parking lot every Sunday morning. That was our first stop… and we never left.

When we walked into the church that Sunday morning we were immediately greeted and made to feel welcome. We were showed the nursery and ushered to a seat, a seat that is now our home every Sunday. When the service started everyone stood and the music was so joyful and beautiful. Everyone there was praising Him and it was such an amazing moment to be a part of. Tears stung my eyes as I felt the Holy Spirit working within me, telling me this was it, this was where I was meant to be.

I spoke with a woman, who is now my ‘mentor’ after the service and she invited me to participate in a discipleship program with her to learn more about Christianity, their beliefs and help me grow in my relationship with Jesus. I accepted and have been meeting with her weekly since July. We talk about real life, how to glorify Him in everything I do, how to pray, how to be a Godly wife and mother…the list goes on and on. She’s truly been such an important part of my salvation and I’m so thankful that God put her in my life at that moment.

Finding the Lord has truly changed my life for the better. My marriage has improved, my parenting has gotten better, my desire to do good has changed, all because of Him. I’m still learning and very, very new at this so I make tons of mistakes and need help praying and growing in my faith but knowing that I serve a forgiving God who loves unconditionally has made all the difference in my life.

Callie – congratulations on your sweet baby girl. Thank you for sharing your blog with me and letting me share my heart!

{Guest Post} A Delicate Balance?

Today I'm sharing a guest post from my long-time blog friend, Katie from State of Change!  I asked Katie to post about balancing blogging and motherhood because we've had a few conversations about finding that "balance".  I think she has some great things to say, so read on!  Thanks, Katie, for guest posting for me!

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Hey Through Clouded Glass readers! I'm happy to be entertaining you today while our Callie is off smelling sweet baby hair and learning more about being a mama to a little girl. I'm going to write today on something that I'm sure you have heard brought up a thousand times in the blogosphere: the balance of blogging.

How do you balance maintaining a blog and also a home?

How do you spend the golden amount of time on your blog to grow it and also help some little kids to grow?

How do you spend time with your family, have dinner on the table, have a clean home, catch up with friends, and have a blog post scheduled for the same time every day?

My answer to that? You don't. At least, I don't.

I know there are plenty of people who have a formula. Stay up late. Blog X Number of Hours during the day divided between naps and after the kids are in bed. Set aside a big chunk of time on the weekend. But you know what? That just doesn't work for me.

I feel like those things put my blog as the priority. It makes it seem like in order to thrive I have to set aside time for my blog. I have to help my little blog business grow. I need that time. When truth is, I don't.

I need to love and care for my children. I need to cherish my husband and our time together. I need to make sure that I've done the laundry so that we have clothes for the next day and I don't have to wear my old maternity pants to Target (not that this has ever happened...ahem...).

Sure, there are things that need to get done. But in my life, blogging should be on the want list rather than the need list. I want to write. It is a way for my soul to breathe. I always want it to be that way, and I know that I don't want it to become strictly an obligation. I also know what should be getting the greatest amount of my time, energy, and focus isn't a space on the internet, it is this:



In a way, instead of worrying too much about balance, I treasure a little bit of imbalance.

Do you have a blogging balance? Or do you embrace the imbalance?




{Guest Post} Marriage And 101 In 1001

Today I have a guest post written by Leslie at Did You Hear About The Morgans?! Leslie is going to talk about marriage today and how she has incorporated a 101 in 1001 list into that - it's a great idea, I think! Read on to get all the details, and thanks Leslie for guest posting for me while I adjust to having two kiddos!

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A few months back I started reading a little ole blog called Through Clouded Glass written by Callie. ;-)

I have no idea how I found it but I did and I love it. I connect with Callie so much because she is a Christian wife and a mom. I'm two of the three and hope to be 3/3 one day in the future. I was honored when Callie said she would like for me to write a guest post for her blog so HERE GOES!



I'm Leslie Morgan and I blog over at Did YOU Hear about the Morgans?  I have been married to my husband, Matt, since 1/1/11. We live in Spartanburg, SC. I'm a Speech Language Pathologist and Matt works at The Home Depot and is a Photographer as well!  We love our little life and are just chasing our dreams.





Matt and I have a great relationship. We enjoy traveling together and doing other fun things together. Because of that, we decided to do a 101 in 1001 list TOGETHER. Well, let's be honest, it was my idea but when I mentioned it to Matt he was all for it. I was thrilled because I knew it would be a great relationship builder and fun at the same time.



We made our list together of 51 goals and then we each made 25 individual goals. Y'all, it was hard to come up with 101 goals. We wanted them to be achievable obviously BUT not just easy peasy goals either. Since we got married on New Year's Day we decided that our first anniversary and the first of the year would be the perfect day to start! The end date is September 28th, 2014.



Side note: We chose a 101 in 1001 list because it was over a longer period of time but not too long. Also, it goes throughout each season several times so if there are a couple of "big" things that we can only do in certain seasons, we have time to do them all!


You can link here to find our most updated list and all of the goals we have met.



Some of our favorites have been....



-Sell something on Etsy---We have become a little crafty mostly out of necessity at first and then for fun! We have sold 7 items so far. We have been super busy with other aspects of life so we have no sold much in a while but plan to get back to it in the new year. 

-Visit the Biltmore---We did this in August when my Mom was in town! SUCH A BLAST! If you live local or visit the Asheville area, you must see it! 



-Start a small business----We have actually done this TWICE. Matt started his photography business and I have started a Scentsy business. We are still on the ground floor of both but it's so fun. 

-(one of my goals) Find a yummy Low Country Boil recipe and make it---Delicious, I tell you! This was a a good goal. 

-(one of Matt's goals) Take Leslie to an Air Show---The Mr. grew up with his Dad in the AF so they loved Air Shows and until we met, I didn't even know what they were! We went this past summer and it was so fun. Hope to do it again some day. 


So there you have it, our 101 in 1001 list. Guys, this has been one of the most rewarding things we have done in our short 2 years of marriage. If you are looking for a way to reconnect and/or just grow in your marriage, I think this is a good way to do just that! 

Thanks for reading! Come check out our blog sometime and Keep Callie and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they enjoy their time as a family of 4! 


P.S. If you have any questions about a 101 in 1001 list, let me know. Also, if you're interested in Scentsy, check out my site :)


{Guest Post} A Love Story

Today I have a sweet post for you from Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals, talking about how she met her hubby. It's a cute story, trust me! Thanks for guest posting for me today, Kaitlyn!

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What a lovely, romantical picture....

It's safe to say, on the evening of my 25th birthday, I was pretty convinced a day like this picture would never come for me.

I grew up in a Christian home, always hearing from my parents that I didn't need to "settle" for boys and that I needed to pray and God would bring me my knight in shining armor.

Well I tried the waiting and the praying, but by the end of college I was upset. What the heck?!?! I wanted to get married, just like my parents, straight out of college. Well that plan was obviously out the window.

I went on, for the next 3 years, getting more and more worried that I would never meet "the one". I moved from Orlando to Atlanta for work. I knew no one, but I looked at it as a new adventure and a fresh start. Over my year there I fell in love with the city, my church and my friends.


I kept an eye out for "potentials" at church, but nothing really came of that. I'd go out with my friends, but always thought, "I'll never meet anyone at a bar...."

Well, I hit a low - and I'm about to admit something that few people know:

I tried online dating...yep, eHarmony.

I just didn't want to look back at 40 and say 'Well, I didn't try EVERYTHING'

I met really nice Christian men, but again, nothing stuck. (This isn't to say it doesn't work - my friend just got engaged due to eHarmony's magic) I found out in November of 2011 that I was being transferred to Nashville, TN, against my will. I cried and cried and prayed, begging God not to make me move again to a strange place where I had no friends...


Cue: my 25th birthday, December 2011.
Quarter life crisis, crying in my hotel room with my girlfriends, sad I was still single, completely unhappy about this house hunting trip we were on.

I decided to use that weekend to go with my girlfriends to find a new place in Nashville. 2 days after my breakdown, the last night of the trip, we went out to a bar. The details of that night were not by chance. I wasn't supposed to be at the hotel or bar that we ended up going to...and right as we were about to leave the 1st bar & head to a 2nd, I saw a cute boy and yelled to his guys friends, "Hey, why don't you bring your friend Dimples." (Ryan has dimples)

I don't know why I made that comment, but it caught this boy's attention and he followed us to the next bar. I soon discovered that somehow I managed to find an awesome, handsome, Christian man AT A BAR!!

We went our separate ways at the end of the night. He got my number. He texted me every day of that 3 week Christmas break...and he drove to Atlanta to spend New Year's Eve with me and my friends. 3 days later he helped me move all of my stuff to Nashville and we've been inseparable ever since.

In March this year (2012) he asked me to marry him & I said yes! Just 3 months later we got married and had a beautiful ceremony and reception in Nashville. One week later, we moved to Arizona.

Now if you did the math you might be freaked out. We were dating 3 months when we got engaged, 1 day short of 6 months when we were married. Did my parents freak out? Yes. Did we get a lot of kickback from other people? For sure.

But Ryan and I had been praying for each other for years. 2 weeks before I met him I prayed that I wouldn't have any other men put in my life until it was "the one"...I was just so burnt out on dating and it never going anywhere.
I couldn't have asked for a better husband. I love him so much and he completes so many things in areas where I fall short. It sounds cliche, but he's literally my best friend.

I just wanted to write this to encourage any single ladies out there who have the desire to get married, but still find themselves single. Don't worry, pray and trust God. 1 year ago I didn't even know my husband...things can happen quicker than you can imagine. You may meet your future knight in shining armor out at the grocery store, at church or EVEN at a bar this weekend...

It happened to me....

Come say "Hi" if you want to! I'm normally over at Wifessionals, blogging my life away (:

{Guest Post} Choosing A Spouse

 

Today I'm sharing a guest post from Lauren over at The Unlikely Runners, as she talks about her relationship with her fiancĂ© (congratulations again Lauren!), and choosing a spouse.  Thanks for guest posting for me, Lauren!

 

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Hi! I’m Lauren and I blog over at The Unlikely Runners. Most of the time you can find me talking about running, working out, healthy eating, fitness and marathon training, but I just recently got engaged so now you will often find posts that document my adventures with my fiancĂ©, Alex.  When Callie first asked for people to volunteer as guest posters I was a little hesitant; I am not married {yet} and I don’t have kids {yet}, so I really didn’t fall into the category of her main readers. However, I feel like God has blessed me in so many ways over the last 2 years of my life and I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share with you how He has worked in me. 


Columbus half


You see, a little over 2 years ago I was living in a place that I knew God was not happy with; I had made many poor choices in my life through college and I ended up in a marriage that was detrimental to me and my family as well as living a life with no real career path and no focus or motivation. I grew up attending church and I was surrounded by Christian morals my whole life, but during this time in my life I lost many friends and hurt many family members and I hurt myself in a lot of ways too. But God is faithful in all ways. 

My then husband made some very, very poor choices and it eventually led to our divorce; a divorce that was painful at the time but a true blessing in disguise from God. It was at this point that I was able to experience true, unending love from my Heavenly Father. He gave me family, He gave me new friends and a new church and He gave me the therapy of running, all of this leading to a healing process that I am still in awe of.

Fast forward to one year after my divorce and God brings a wonderful, Godly man to the single’s group at my church. His name was Alex. After several months of hanging out with Alex within the boundaries of our single’s ministry and after much persuasion from a friend I agreed to meet him for coffee, just to talk! I had no intentions of dating anyone, I was very happily single, I was enjoying my job and my friends and running races was my passion. But God clearly had other plans for me, and I’m so glad that He did.


Engaged3 edit


One year and 15 days after we officially started dating Alex asked me to marry him! We are planning a Memorial Day weekend wedding in Texas and I have never been happier in my life. 

But why do I tell you all of this? While I am no expert at relationships and while I clearly don’t have all the answers I did want to share with you some things that God has taught me about relationships, specifically in how to chose a proper spouse, in hopes that you might take on some new insight, whether that be for your future spouse or current spouse.

Be Like Minded

This sounds so easy but it can truly be a challenge. Just because you seem to enjoy the same things or meet doing something you like or think is important, it doesn’t always mean that you are like minded. For us there were several things on this list (we each had separate lists we had made prior to even meeting each other) that we both knew neither one of us were going to compromise on. For example, it was important to both of us that Church and our beliefs be the same, it was also important for us that things like jobs and financial security/budgeting were important to us as well as what we wanted out of our futures. Being like minded for us meant finding someone that you were compatible with in the deep root issues but someone who could still push you and grow you in new areas of your life. Alex and I take our faith seriously, we both desire strong careers, we both agree on children and the timing of them, and we both think our families are very important to us, just to name a few things.

Be Humble

One of the things I love most about Alex is his willingness to put my needs and desires way above his own, he does this not only because he loves me but because Christ called him to. I try every day not to take this for granted and to imitate his behavior and consider his needs and desires above my own. This is hard, I have to constantly be in prayer about my own selfishness, but I love and more importantly respect Alex and I realize that our happiness as a couple is dependent upon each of our needs being met. In planning for our future we make sure that we listen to each other first and respect that we will sometimes have differences of opinions or we may want different things but if we honor each other through the process we will be better for it.


LAE 69


Respect

This one is huge for me because coming from my last relationship I realized just how little respect there was for me and my family. I wanted to make sure that I found a man who not only respected himself enough to take care of himself and his friends and family but also one who respected me and my life and my family. God has shown me so many things about His love for me in the way that Alex respects me and my family, each day is another blessing. For Alex and I, respect can be as simple as me allowing him time to do the things that he loves (like play tennis with his friends 2 nights a week, goodness knows he respects me enough to let me train for a marathon) to something as big as us making the decision early on that we wanted to respect each other by not having sex before marriage. Respect is something that is so minuscule, but it speaks volumes.

Share

I love to run; I think that’s pretty obvious. I haven’t always loved to run but it is something that has become very significant in my life and it gives me confidence and joy, so I run, a lot. Alex on the other hand doesn’t really like running, most Saturday mornings I’m up and running 10+ miles before he even thinks about waking up and doing anything for the day. I like to spend my weekends traveling to different races, Alex likes to clean and tinker with his “toys” (aka, electronic stuff I know nothing about). But what ultimately makes our relationship work is for each of us to take interest in what the other person loves to do. It took us a while to find a balance in sharing our passions with each other; initially I had visions of he and I training for Ironmans together on the weekends while he had visions of sitting on the couch and getting his robot working. We have had to slowly learn that some things can be shared but only to a certain extent. He does a much better job at this than I do because quite often he will come with me to races whether he’s running or not. And while I may not be able to help him with his robots I can most definitely ask him about them and listen while he shares his passions with me.


LAE 81


Laugh together

Alex and I both tend to be your more serious, type-A kinds of people; we like plans, schedules, maps, details, information, etc. At times we both have our ideas of “the right way” to accomplish certain things or we both have the “right answer” for a certain problem but underneath all of that we can laugh at each other and make fun of our high maintenance ways. Just the other day we were arguing {discussing, mind you} about our guest list (oh heaven help us, did anyone else have guest list issues?) and it got to the point where I was nearly in tears over the matter. But low and behold Alex makes a light-hearted comment and we are both laughing at the matter. And now we joke about it. Although our guest list does still bring lots of discussion we are now more light-hearted about it and generally laugh and make jokes about our disagreement. At the end of the day we will probably always be serious people but we do know how to make each other laugh and I think that’s so important.

Before I leave I want to give you a passage that has really spoken to me as we have been preparing for our engagement and our wedding and that is Philippians 2:1-18.

Thank you for letting me share and I hope you get a chance to stop on by and say HI!

{Guest Post} Christmas Candy Clump Recipe

I have a guest post for you today from Veronica from Adventures of D and V, and she has a great recipe to share with you!  Thanks for guest posting for me while we adjust to having another baby around here, Veronica!

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Hi there! I hope you are having a wonderful winter day! While Callie is snuggling her new little girl, I get to share a special (and super easy) recipe with you! But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Veronica. And I am the "V" in the Adventures of D and V. "D" is my best friend and husband Daniel.


About 3 years ago we embarked on a great adventures ~ married life! 
We started our little bog to document our every day adventures that we have together.

We have adventures in
and LOTS of 
Just to name a few.

Many of our adventures revolve around our little fixer upper house. 
We are currently in the middle of "Operation: Finish Basement".
Click {here} to find out more about that!

My favorite room in our whole house is the kitchen! 


I have so many good memories in kitchens. I loved watching my mom, grandmas, and great-grandmas cook. I loved when they would let me "help" when I was little. And when I got older they would teach me how they made the most delicious treats for me and my family to enjoy. Now that I have a kitchen of my own, I love making meals for friends and family. You could say that cooking is one of my love languages! Many of the recipes I make have special memories attached to them, which makes the treat all the more special. 

Every Christmas my Grandma Seger would make a smorgasbord of different Christmas candies. Special treats that she would only make at Christmas time. Chocolate covered cherries, peanut brittle, and turtles to name a few. All home made. She would package the treats in little boxes. And she took requests to make each box special. My special order was peanut brittle with out the peanuts. (yep, I'm a little weird like that!) Anyway, EVERYONE who knew my Grandma Seger (and even people who didn't know her) hoped each year that they would get a box of this special candy. Sadly, my Grandma Seger passed away this summer {You can read my 10 favorite memories of here HERE}.  Now she is in heaven with Jesus, but while she was still here, I got to learn how to make some of her special candies! And today I am going to teach you how to make a family favorite. 


All you need is 5 ingredients: 2 c. Rice Krispies, 1 1/2 c. Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, 1/2 can of mixed nuts, 2 c. mini marshmallows, and l package (24 oz.) Vanilla Almond Bark (normally found by the chocolate chips in the baking section of the grocery store).



Step 1: Melt Vanilla Almond Bark.

You can follow the directions on the package. It can be melted in the microwave, on the stove top, or in the oven. My Grandma melted hers in the oven, in a glass baking dish, so I do too. I set the oven to 250 degrees and stir evey 3 minutes or so....



Until it is melted like this


Step 2: Carefully mix in all the other ingredients. 

Tip #1 - You kind of need to work fast because as the almond bark cools, it hardens.

Tip #2 - Mix the cereal and nuts in first, add marshmallows last, it helps so the keep their form, you don't want them to melt too much. 



 Step 3: Use a spoon to scoop golf ball sized clumps of the mixture on to a wax paper lined cookie sheet.


 Step 4: Let the clumps cool completely. It should only take 20 minutes of so. 


Step 5: Peel off and enjoy! 


They are a little salty, a little sweet, a little crunchy, and a little squishy. 
Something for everyone! 

Do you have any special memories attached to special recipes? 



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