An Encouraging Read [For Every Mom]

Read More at http://www.thebettermom.com/

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[A Beautiful Thought]

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Give Oodles Games A Go!

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End-of-Summer Sale at the Oodles Store!

Now through the end of August! Be sure to use coupon code SUMMER25 at checkout when you shop the Oodles Store today: www.oodlesstore.com

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Oodles World at #SBCPC13

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Rippy and the Oodles Team’s on another great adventure at this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference in Houston, Texas! Here are some fun highlights from the conference. Comment letting us know which one’s your favorite! Top #SBCPC13 Quote: “There is nothing … Continue reading

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[Oodles World Exclusive!] Introducing “Wonderfully Made”

Oodles World is very excited to release a new single from Cassie Byram’s upcoming album, “Wonderfully Made”!

“Wonderfully Made” is an early release of Cassie Byram’s follow-up album to “Sweet Dreams,” her first lullaby album for kids. Deeply loved and quickly memorized, the lyrics and music that Cassie sings lets joy and life into the home like no other children’s music available. With lyrics straight from the Bible and music straight from the heart, memorizing scripture has never been this fun or sounded this good. Watch the video highlight below of Cassie’s first performance of “Wonderfully Made” at this year’s Women’s Garden Party at The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, CA!

An Oodles World Production, this up-tempo, Scripture song will have everyone singing, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

Download a copy for your family today! –> CLICK HERE

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{Announcement} This Sweet Voice at The Church On The Way!

Oodles World is pleased to announce that award-winning vocalist and Sweet Dreams featured artist, Cassie Byram, will be showcasing original songs from the beloved bedtime lullaby album May 18th during the Women’s Garden Party at The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, CA! You can get more information about this great event by clicking here.

Find out more about Cassie at www.cassiebyram.com. Visit the Oodles Store today to listen to samples of Sweet Dreams here!

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Mustard Seed Faith: Do you Believe?

Have you ever met someone who just “gets it” when it comes to her Faith in God? She never seems to doubt. Worry or fear, you don’t see it in her. Do you know someone like that?

I actually do. She is a woman who was happily married. But, she and her husband were not blessed with babies. She was heartbroken and yet she didn’t let it bring her to despair. She actually just amped up her time with God and intensified her worship of her Heavenly Father.

She struggled with not being able to have a child, but she did not struggle with her belief that God would bless her. She knew that He would care for her and comfort her. And, one day she saw the fruit of her faith. She heard God speak through her spiritual leader in her community. This leader simply said God was going to grant her request. Keep in mind, outside of God telling her spiritual leader that He was going to come through for her, nothing else changed in her life. She wasn’t any younger, no miracle drug, or fertility treatment…nothing had changed. But she believed. She had Faith that God always keeps His Word. She left and, from that moment on, began living her life knowing that she was going to be a mother. And guess what? She got pregnant and had a baby boy! You can find out more about this amazing woman who truly lived her faith in 1 Samuel. Her name was Hannah.

I love the beautiful examples of faithful women in the Bible, but why is it that some of us Gals have so much trouble putting the same truths to work in our own lives today? Why do we sometimes think that Faith like that is only for Bible times? Let’s bring it forward and see what we can make of some Mustard Seeds…

One Potent Little Seed
One Potent Little Seed

Sometimes it seems like it is easy for us to put our Faith in God for big things. I look back on the biggest test of Faith in my life, or at least, what looked like the biggest test: The discovery and treatment of a tumor in my brain. It came out of nowhere. I had no symptoms, no idea. I simply needed to get a new prescription for my contacts. But, a regular screening sent me down the path of hearing that I could lose my vision and needed to meet with a neurosurgeon. During the entire process, I had moments of fear, but never panic. I had this overwhelming sense that all would be well. God reassured me and my husband over and over. He kept His word. Now, I am tumor free and seeing just fine!

But, if you look at those mustard seeds… a brain tumor is definitely bigger. Sometimes, I find it harder to live in Faith with Mustard Seed-sized issues. I am talking about the little things, the daily things, the basics. Why is it easier to dump the big, towering issues at the feet of Jesus, but we can’t seem to let go of the control over things like meeting our daily needs? Why is it that we live with stress and worry over the very things that God wants to cover for us? Matthew 6 is a great place to camp out for awhile and absorb the foundations for the kind of Faith Jesus saw in us and wants us to live out daily. A strong prayer life – Give us our daily bread.  A strong trust factor – Do not worry.

Looking at that picture above… would you believe that the tiniest of those seeds could contain enough power to tell a mountain to go jump into the sea? It could. Jesus told us so. You believe Jesus, don’t you? You do Believe, right? Do I believe?

I discovered that the secret to a Biblical Faith starts with Spirit-filled Belief. I have to truly, fully BELIEVE! Believe is a verb. (Yep, that means action is required.) To Believe is to accept as true or real. To have confidence in the truth or value of something, or in this case, Someone. (Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:7)

Ron Dunn, an author who is quickly becoming one of my favorites, shared some powerful truths about Biblical faith in his book, Faith Crisis.  He says, “Faith is an activity of the mind and the will. There is little or no emotion involved in Biblical Faith.”

So here’s a little exercise that I am going to do right along with you. Make a list of the issues/concerns in your life. Then categorize them as a Mustard Seed, something you consider too small for God to bother with, or a Mountain, an obvious moment for God to shine…

Example:

  • Brain Tumor – Mountain
  • Covering the power bill – Mustard Seed
  • An unexpected illness – Mountain
  • Tackling the House Cleaning when you’re exhausted – Mustard Seed
  • Getting the kids to do homework without complaining – Mustard Seed
  • Getting enough rest – Mustard Seed
  • Knowing what to say to your children in daily situations – Mustard Seed

You have a glimpse of my list. What is yours looking like? Now, write down why you think God isn’t capable of covering those mustard seeds? Be honest, because cutting God out of the tiny stuff doesn’t give Him the full reign in your life that He desires and deserves. I am tell you right here and now, I am guilty of doubting the power of the God of the Universe. But, I am praying for Him to turn my fledgling faith into the Mustard Seed Faith that Jesus described. We need to keep our minds and wills in tune with God’s (Matthew 6 – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”)

If you are reading this and realizing that you’re in the same boat as me, I pray that God will touch your heart the way He is touching mine. Can you imagine what will happen if we all reach that point of Mustard Seed faith?

"Hey Mountain, Move!"
“Hey Mountain, Move!”

There won’t be a mountain that can rise against the plan God has for our lives. Glory to God!

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Tourist in Your Own Town: Finding Family Fun Anywhere

Can you feel it? The excitement is so thick you can almost cut it with a knife! I’m talking about Spring Break. And, while I am tempted to go into the fact that where I grew up we did not have a Spring Break, that was solely a college thing, I won’t, promise!

Instead, I will celebrate the fact that my family is going to get some time off from school and work to enjoy being together.

Spring Break begs the question, “Where are you going?” And, for us the answer is no major trips. We often stay close to home. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun!

We like to be Tourists in Our Own Town. We take advantage of the fun awaiting for us in our own backyard. When you’re blessed to live in a beautiful setting like the mountains of Western North Carolina, you can make the most of walking out your door and into a variety of adventures. We can be in a State or National Park within minutes. So hiking, mountain biking, and picnics are all great options.

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And yes, friends, I do hear you asking… “What if we don’t have the Blue Ridge Mountains to play in?” Well, here is a way to get started discovering what is great about where you live. Search out the history of your town. There’s a reason for your town to spring up where it is now all those years ago. A quick search of the town where I grew up (Clarion, PA) showed its strong ties to the iron, lumber, and oil industries. That took me to a nearby city, where the discovery of oil put the region on the map. And, there happens to be a historical museum there which includes tours. Score!

http://www.drakewell.org/

(See where I’m heading with this?) The Cook Forest State Park was the site where Cecile B. Demille filmed the movie, “Unconquered”. And, the park is home to some great hiking trails.

So, take a minute and search about your town. Find out what is exciting and make your plans. Local Tourism Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and Downtown Development groups are great resources for events and locations to visit.

We love to check out what is family-friendly in communities. You know us Moms, we are all about the no-cost or low-cost options. When the weather is right, you can turn your backyard into a water park, for instance!

kids in water sprinkler

Think about themes. Transportation day could include a stop at local Depot and Train Museum. We have them in Hendersonville and Bryson City, NC. Look for the festivals happening within your desired driving distance. Dillsboro is home to great events. The Dogwood Crafters and other local groups work hard to put on several family-friendly events throughout the year. How about a day of discovering local authors? In our community that includes Thomas Wolfe and Carl Sandburg. If science may be more of what you’re looking for, look into local kids science museums like Health Adventure or PARI: Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.

So grab a map, pull up the local tourism board, or chamber site, and get the family ’round the table! Whether you’re planning for Spring Break, a Summer Vacation, or simply some weekend fun, it isn’t hard to be a Tourist in Your Own Town.

Let me know where your family likes to go when you’re being tourists in your own town. Comment below!

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Crazy Stuff My Kids Say {and a rare-perfect redirect}

Five-year-old Li’l Bro comes to the dinner table in nothing but his underoos and a play cowboy hat. “Yeehaw,” he declares matter-of-factly.

Nine-year-old Big Bro erupts, “Don’t go in my room!”

Li’l Bro: “I didn’t…”

Me: “Umm… where did you get the hat?”

Li’l Bro, without taking a breath or batting an eyelash says, “I saw it on another floor and I picked it up and I put it on my head and I said, ‘Yeehaw.’”

[Dubious. But points for creativity and diversion.]

Meanwhile, I had a split-second decision to make: should I try to unravel what really happened (did little Sis maybe carry the hat from Big Bro’s floor to… “another” floor, for example), or should I go another route?

I chose the road less traveled. Instead of spending the next several minutes trying to sort out what really happened, where the hat came from, etc., etc., ad nauseum…

I decided it just wasn’t a battle that needed to be fought.

So, pretty much as jokingly dramatic as I could, I repeated Li’l Bro’s words.

“I saw it on another floor

and I picked it up

and I put it on my head

and I said, ‘Yeehaw.’”

We literally spent the remainder of the day and half the next repeating it–Big Bro, Li’l Bro, and I–in animated over-expression.

“I saw it on ANOTHER floor

and I picked it UP

and I put it on my HEAD

and I said, ‘YEE-HAW.’”

We laughed until our sides hurt. Even Sissy laughed and laughed (not because she knew why but because we were, I think).

So here’s the thing: In this adventure called motherhood, sometimes um, oftentimes we have to play the referee or the disciplinarian or the detective or some combination thereof.

And occasionally we make a real-time decision that’s actually right. We choose to commemorate instead of correct, to inspire instead of investigate, to laugh instead of litigate.

Because [believe me] the squabble over whether or not Li’l Bro actually took the silly dress-up hat out of Big Bro’s room and whether that really mattered anyway since they share all the toys and are forever in and out of each other’s rooms without incident was quickly forgotten

But we’ll be joking about that little cowboy saddling up to the dinner table with his “yeehaw” silliness for a long time to come. It was a rare moment of effective and perfect redirect. And as a mother, I will treasure it.

“A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

We’re all about that sort of medicine over at CampClem. Won’t you come over sometime and see how we weave laughter into our days?

So, how will you add a measure of “good medicine” to your time with your kids today? Do tell!

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