Secret Santa…Guilt!

I have Secret Santa guilt! 

Gifts are on my mind a lot. I don’t live to get presents, but I like them as much as anyone else. It’s worse when I give gifts because it’s so hard for me to choose something great and I agonized over trying to give the very best thing. I need to be smart with the $$, but honestly, if I had all the $$ in the world, then I’d agonized over giving too much. Or I’d worry about sending the wrong message by being too lavish. Yup, I’m not a win-win thinker, I’m a no win thinker.

Some people are amazing at choosing just the right thing…

Secret Santa, not necessary for a thoughtful giftMy site is called The Ribbon on Top. That name just screams, there’s a present involved here otherwise, why would we talk about a ribbon on top? Intangible gifts are the ones with the deepest value. I love to give of myself and I try to notice when others put out on my behalf; a compliment, a thoughtful gesture, a hug, etc.; those are precious gifts. No Secret Santa necessary. 

Decorations are coming out, Christmas music is playing at the mall, I’m planning my dinner and the wish lists are being written. It’s getting exciting.

The craziest thing happened at Christmas a while ago, and I can’t get it out of my mind. Small packages started arriving at my house with the names of each one of my kids on them. Inside each package was a $100 Amazon gift card in a pretty tin snowflake box. The married one’s got $200 gift cards.  

Amazon.com $100 Gift Card in a Snowflake Tin (Happy Holidays Card Design) (Affiliate)

You’d think I’d jump for joy!

Instead of jumping for joy, I started to panic. ‘What have I done? When did I order gift cards? Here’s the funniest thought that I had. “Did someone hack my account and buy everyone in my family a gift card?” OK, that doesn’t make any sense? Who would hack your Amazon account and buy you a gift card with your money for Christmas?! 

I actually checked my Amazon account, my bank account, and then I called Amazon. They tracked the orders and said that the cards were sent anonymously and it was all legit! No one else knew these gift cards had arrived because if it was a hoax, I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed.

Let the Happy Dance Begin!

When I finally broke the news to everyone, there was a major happy dance. It was like they’d been given a million dollars. That was a pretty fun day. You know, it gets real good when you take the kiddos to Amazon and let them start shopping and dreaming. Oh the excitement of picking out the gift, the anticipation, and then getting the goodies in the mail. The happy dances went on for days.

So, back to my guilt. You forgot that I started this whole story by saying I have Secret Santa Guilt. How could someone know all of my family, be shockingly generous to us and give each of us $100. That’s $1,400.00 and leave us with we o one to thank for it !!!

      14 times!

Honestly, I am so grateful for a mystery giver. I thought about posting our pics on Facebook with a big thanks, but, I was sure that somehow, some way, I’d inadvertently discover this mysterious, kind, thoughtful generous person or people. But I did not!

So this is my Scret Santa guilt…I wanted to say thank you, personally, to our Santa.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

Now I am saying thank you, Mystery Person, from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of my whole family. You gave us fun, a treat, a lesson in generosity and a great memory. God Bless You.

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The Value Of A Gift is More Than Stuff

The value of a gift is more than stuff. It’s never about the stuff.

I love my babies, but when they grow up, there’s no better friend for life than your own grownup little dear. Your little one will become a friend who is priceless! Your precious kiddo is the gift; someone you deeply care about, and hopefully they care about you too  😉   

My Friend Birdie (7 children!) – Quote –  ‘If I’d known how great my kids would be when they grew up, I’d have had more!’

When I met Birdie, her children were grown and she had many grandchildren. I only had 5 children, 9 and younger. Life was crazy and I was swamped and in over my head! Nothing was neat and tidy, and guess what, I had 4 more children and they were boys.

It wasn’t always total chaos at our house, but it was crazy. I appreciated Birdie’s advice to love the kiddos, not the perfectly made bed. Now that many of them are grown, most of the beds are made, but the memories of chaos is fun and I’m extremely proud of them.

I’m serious when I say the value of a gift is not the stuff. The value is in the fact that my dear, precious children were thoughtful enough to make the effort to give me the gift.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuff

Fast forward a few years from when I met Birdie, and those babies have grown up into thoughtful, generous young people. They give me the best gifts.

This year the girls really decided to treat me for my birthday. Of course the guys went along with their idea. They set me up with top of the line stuff. The works, all to make my nails fabulous. All I had to do was to learn how to do my nails.

I had a nail kit before, but I hadn’t mastered the skill. They researched the best equipment to accomplish the goal and sent me the whole deal for my birthday.

My nails aren’t naturally beautiful. I haven’t cared for them either. I used to go to the salon, but it can be expensive, and its time consuming. Obviously I needed some help, and these thoughtful kids came to my rescue.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuff

The secret is in the ‘magic oven’. Actually it’s called the Gelish Harmony 18G Pro LED Nail Polish Curing Lamp and Fantastic Four Kit. Sure this is an affiliate link, and I’m telling you about it because you’ll love it, too.

It’s amazing and it’s fast. That’s the one thing that stopped me from having great nail success. Going to the salon took too long, and doing it myself took too long. I love having my own little beauty set up and I’m grateful that these babies cared to get me the best equipment for the job.

You know and I know that love is not stuff. But in this case, the stuff, took a lot of effort and coordination between my sweet kids, that the thoughtfulness and the work that they put into me gift, showed the love.

I was pretty pleased with my first try. Don’t judge me, I’m not a professional, but I had such fun. Practice makes perfect and I will definitely get better.

Our house is a real home, with children, teenagers, and grown up kids coming and going. The ‘new marrieds’ came home for a long weekend. We have some sweet times together.

The problem is that people need to eat and nails can’t be a priority when there’s food to prepare. I wanted the girls to try out my new set up, and I didn’t have time to play:( I started on food and set the girls up with my new gadget, right where I could watch. With a little you tube tutorial, they got real good.

It’s funny, the things that bring us all together. There were kids all over the place, everyone running around, supper being made and nails being worked on. Nicole, my sweet daughter in law, did my son’s girlfriend, Tori’s, nails. I loved the fact that we were altogether. It was spontaneous, and natural and sweet. We worked, we visited and we enjoyed each other. The little things, the unplanned events when we’re together, are some of sweetest memories I have.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuffThe beauty and sweetness of babies lasts for such a short time. It’s precious, wonderful and exhausting. If you raise your sweethearts right, you’ll glide past the hard work, into the friendship phase and the rewards are more valuable than you can imagine.

Now when I do my nails, I think of them and I am happy that I was able to do the work and have the honor of raising them.

The value of a gift is not the stuff, but the stuff reminds me of the value of a gift of children. I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

I‘m so proud of them and grateful to have so many wonderful children, big and small. Like Birdie said, ‘If I’d known how great my kids would be when they grew up, I’d have had more!’

P.S. These are the colors that we chose that day. I know Tori’s hands are lovely, like a hand model’s hands, but other that that, which color is your favorite?

Gelish U V Gel Nail Polish “Glamour Queen” 01407  This color is mine and its a beautiful and definitely classy, neutral color.

Gelish Gel Polish Harmony U V “Red Roses 01343” This color is on Tori’s beautiful hands and its bright, stunning and glamorous.

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Don’t be a Helpless Parent; 3 Steps to Well Behaved Children

 Don’t Be A Helpless Parent! 3 Steps to a well-behaved child; Even when you’re out and about.

I'm a mom of 9. I have 3 Steps to well behaved children. Don't be a helpless parent1. Teach them to obey your voice at home.

Our first baby was already independent by 18 months. I had crazy fears of him running out on a busy street. It was extremely important to me, that he responded to my voice immediately. I wanted him to obey me instantly, because someday, it might save his life. I was determined to not be a helpless parent. It was important to me to work diligently to train him and teach him to listen to my voice and obey, because I loved him and I wanted the best for him. If I taught him to respond to my voice at home, he’d listen to me when we were out and about.

When I  travel, I’ll see a helpless parent desperately trying to discipline their children and then give up. What happened to the olden days when children respected their parents? Little ones are acting up in public, teenagers are mouthing back and their parents look nervous, stressed out and then apathetic.

I'm a Mom of 9, and I have 3 steps to well behaved children. Don't be a helpless parent

We had a great trip to Europe. In London, unfortunately, the tube was on strike, so we had find our way by catching the overcrowded city buses.

This poor, little old lady got on our bus,  and she was obviously struggling to find a place to sit. No one offered her a seat!  Finally she asked a woman if her 9 year old kid, would allow her to have his seat. The mom asked the kid if he’d let the lady sit down, but that child just ignored his mom and looked away! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a child looking away, because having his mom talk to him wasn’t important to him! The mother looked slightly embarrassed. She said she was sorry but the he didn’t want to.  Seriously?!! He didn’t want to? ‘Who’s in charge there?’I'm a Mom of 9 and around the world we have helpless parents. I have 3 steps to well behaved children

After a few minutes, she must have felt everyone’s eyes boring into her back as the old lady was almost falling down. She got her courage up and asked her kid again if he’d get up and let the lady sit down. The kid said he was tired! The mother said she was sorry; there was nothing she could do about it, because he was tired. That kid looked fine to me! Finally, for some unknown reason, the kid got up and allowed the lady to have his seat. We all breathed a sigh of relief. That mother was helpless and she had lost the respect of everyone there.

2. Consistently uphold the standards that you expect from them.

They will test you at home, but they’ll really test you in a public. You could have a super compliant little sweetheart, and the minute you’re in a restaurant, they sense that they can get away with some pranks. They think you won’t be able to do anything about it, right? It is your job is to be consistent. Public or not, they must obey you. You know what’s best for them. The most important thing for you to do, is to deal with a problem immediately. It’s for their sake that you’re training them. Don’t let them down!

Little kids everywhere are being unruly in public and they have a helpless parent. We took a chilly tour bus in Paris. Sitting in the front under the canopy with us, was a Mom, Dad and their 3 children, about 10, 8 and 5 years old. 

I'm a Mom of 9 and around the world we have helpless parents. I have 3 steps to well behaved kids

These little darlings were running all over the bus screaming. And when I say screaming, I mean at the top of their lungs, and non-stop. I think the canopy was magnifying all their racket. Truly, I don’t mind other people’s children when they’re acting up. It’s really none of my business; it’s not my problem. Sometimes I chuckle as I watch a helpless parent. Sometimes I feel great sympathy; like ‘been there, felt that’.

It was getting really unpleasant, and David looked at me and said, ‘If they don’t stop screaming and smashing into me, I’m going to say something’. It was like a millisecond after he said it, that and he turned and hollered at them to sit down and be quiet. Normally I would have been absolutely mortified that he yelled at someone else’s kids, but he startled me so much, that I started to giggle. That poor father just rolled his eyes and looked away, like a typical helpless parent. Their mother started nodding and agreeing that they should sit still and that it was a good idea. The children were so surprised that a big stranger yelled at them, they instantly obeyed and became still and very quiet.

We fly all the way across the sea, only to find that parents in Europe had the same problems as parents in America. Children are unruly, disrespectful and they have terribly helpless parents.

(A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone – Billy Graham)

Why are parents so helpless these days? Are they uneducated or untrained? Do they lack the skills to handle their children? Are they afraid of confrontation in public? Don’t they actually care about the way their children behave?

I don’t believe for a minute that any of that is true. Parents really do care. I mean I care, and I know you care, so what’s the problem? Why are 6 and 7 year old children so blatantly disrespectful of their own parents and other adults?

When I had babies, I was untrained, too, but I was determined to do my best to care for them. I felt the weight of responsibility more and more every day. Their little lives are in your hands, and that gets you real serious. Caring for them became more than feeding, changing, hugging and kissing.

I teach my babies to learn important life skills. It is my job to raise them to become successful adults. As much as I love them, they’re not my little pets, and I need to teach them and train them about what’s right, even if they don’t like me for it.

3. Say what you say; Mean what you say. This is my motto.

Mommy’s can talk a lot; too much. Don’t babble on about what your little one is supposed to do and why they should do it and what’s going to happen to them if they do and what’s going to happen if they don’t….yadayada! You know what I mean. I’ve gone on and on myself, only to realize they’d tuned me out 10 minutes ago.

Tell them what you expect them to do, and then, expect them to do it! Let them make the choice to obey. Give them the consequence if they don’t obey, or the reward or praise if they do. Children need secure, clear boundaries and they are looking to us moms and dads to give them that security.

We moms get really tired and burned out. A lot of us moms didn’t have someone who was a great example. Some of us don’t have mentors to guide us in training our children. I can’t brag about any of my successes. I was blessed by the consistent training I received from my own mom. Trust me, she was not a helpless parent. She was a strong mom who was determined to equip us for success in life.  I was also blessed by a mom in law who was a successful mom as well who only gave me encouragement, not excuses.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

Sign up for my blog and read my stories. I will give you tips, goals and encouragement.

P.S. I’d love to get your opinions. Are we becoming helpless as parents? Do we know what to do with our babies and how to do it?

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I Don’t Tell My Kids – ‘Vote Your Conscience’

‘Vote your conscience’!

I do not teach my kids ‘vote your conscience!’ Do You? I am telling my children to Pray!

I'm a mom of 9 kids and I don't teach my kids to blindly vote your conscience but to pray‘Vote your conscience’ is definitely the thing to say in this crazy election season. We Americans are turning out to be a very passionate group of people, but often to the point of being very rude. Opinions are flying back and forth with wild abandon. Political conversations are getting heated and quickly becoming very uncomfortable.

If you want to get out of the argument with overly passionate people, just say, “Vote your conscience”. 😉 If you’re not really up on the issues, just say, “I’m going to vote my conscience”. If you don’t want to admit who you’re voting for, just say, “I’m going to vote my conscience and you should, too”. It’s a great cop-out line! It’s a great line to use if you want to appear to be taking the high ground on an issue when you don’t know all the facts.

We use the word conscience out of context; especially definition #3. It sounds like I’m slamming the word, but I’m talking about how we use it.

Conscience (Noun)

  1. The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: “to follow the dictates of conscience.” (Can be used as an excuse to do or not do something)
  2. The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual. (Says who? What is your measuring stick?)
  3. An inhibiting sense of what is prudent: “I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me.” – (False guilt – haha, I say this all the time)

I'm a Mom of 9 and I don't tell them to vote your conscience, I tell them to prayWhat dictates or controls your conscience? Is there an angel or a devil on I'm a Mom of 9 and I don't tell my kids to vote your conscience, I tell them to prayyour shoulder? Which one do you listen to? If you’re like me, you might be tempted to listen to the wrong one. I am definitely influenced and shaped by those around me.

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”? (Jim Rohn-Business Insider) If you don’t have a foundation and a strong sense of who you are and what’s right and wrong, your associates will ‘shape your conscience’.

Vote your conscience? Be careful; your conscience will go with your feelings. It is so easy to be talked into other people’s opinions. I watch and listen to ads, news stories, polls and people’s opinions. If I believed everything I heard and saw, I’d be convinced that one candidate was amazing. The next day I’d be convinced that the other candidate was amazing. If my beliefs and opinions are based on what I hear from our media, I would form a strong, definite opinion. I could say with great conviction, that I will vote my conscience and believe that I was absolutely right.

It’s so funny, because while I actually know that the media manipulates me, I’m still swayed when I hear them speak with great conviction. My friends state very strongly, the pros and cons of a certain candidates. I know that they’re quoting their own chosen sources and they are being subconsciously manipulated, too. If you are willing to choose your favorite TV station and absolutely believe what they’re telling you, then you’ll be able to vote your conscience based on the info you’ve been given. News people are very believable.

But what if they’re lying?!

We’ve been having frequent, intelligent conversations with the kids about the candidates and the issues. It’s a scary time in America right now. I think we all know that the media is not unbiased with their news but, it is definitely fascinating. It’s a privilege to be living through such a transitional time in history and I hope our votes will make a positive difference.

We doing our best to follow credible people in the news, on social media and in person, as I’m sure you are, too. It’s impossible to understand and know all the issues. Do your best! Be an example to others by sticking by your principles and not compromising.

I'm a Mom of 9 and I don't tell my children to vote your conscience, I tell them to prayThe most important thing you can do is to teach your babies to Pray. Help them understand that having Wisdom is what we need to have. The only place to get real wisdom is from God, and He will give us wisdom if we ask. 

Wisdom is not being really smart and being able to win Trivial Pursuit. ‘Wisdom is knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.’ We have people in our country who are whipper snapper smart but they don’t make good and wise choices. (Your conscience cannot come up to the level of Gods knowledge – Joseph Prince)

Explain to your little dears the foundations that your principles are based on. When your principles are based on The Bible, you are Golden. Help your little dears understand how important it is to ask God to help them make the right decision. Teach them to obey God. Tell them to ask Him to speak to their conscience, spirit, mind, soul, heart because then, and only then, will they vote their conscience and their conscience will be right.

We teach our babies every day by words and by example. You do too, even though you may not realize it. Even though we’re not teaching them perfectly every day, they learn from us, whether we’re talking politics or puppies.

I am not telling my kids who to vote for. I want them to freely make their own decision. Having said that, I can’t be quiet about what I’ve learned and which one I think would be the best pick 🙂I love flowers, they're like the ribbon on top. I can help add beauty to Moms by encouraging you and telling you stories of the many things I've learned over the years

Live by principles and this will shape and develop a conscience that you can trust. Be careful what your principles are base on. Teach Godly principles to your children.

Your principles are your code. Do you agree? Tell me what you think. Surely I’ve made you mad, or very happy, because you have someone who agrees with you.

 

 

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Ultimate S.A.H.M.

Home Sweet Home is where I try to be the Ultimate SAHM and I have ideas to share with you so we can become ultimate S.A.H.M.s together. I can help you become the Ultimate S.A.H.M. who is also a W.A.H.M.

Home sweet home is my turf where I  want to be the Ultimate S.A.H.M. 

I’m very happy about being a stay at home mom, but I wasn’t always confident or secure with that identity. Now, after being home with 9 children, I can look back and see the benefits. I’ve had children that were at almost all the phases of life at the same time. We’ve had newborn babies, toddlers, middle school, high school, college, married children and grandbabies, all at the same time.

I sure don’t remember any classes in school on how to be the ultimate SAHM. Back in the day, this is how we were influenced to see things, mostly by TV. I hope our views have improved about the way we Moms live our lives now. It seemed like there were 3 kinds of women.

a) Women who appeared to be massively successful at raising their children and working a fabulous career at the same time. 10 out of 10 points to them! Oh my goodness, to be that amazing.

b) Women who were SAHM’s and stayed at home with their children and didn’t work a job at all. 1 out of 10 points to them. Yeah, we don’t get a lot of respect, right?

c) Then there were the women who worked long, hard hours at their jobs, for low pay. They had to juggle the kids, daycare, and keep their house civilized as well. 5 out of 10 points to them and a lot of sympathy because that’s a really rough road. Hang in there, girl, you’re doing your best.

The Bible talks about a woman who is the Ultimate S.A.H.M.

She is Amazing. Just read this:

  • The heart of her husband trusts in her. (He respects her judgment and abilities and no wonder, because her desire is to do her best for him. You’re rockin’ it, girl!)
  • She seeks wool and flax and works willingly with her hands. (Good job, woman! You’re willing to get down to it and do the work it takes)
  • She brings excellent food to her family (You’re not born with cooking abilities. She tries hard to learn the skills to find and prepare food that brings health, nutrition and pleasure to her family)
  • She rises while it is still nighttime and provides food for her household and her servants (My first thought…she has servants! Yes!)
  • She considers a field and buys it, then plants a vineyard with her own hands (She’s not a sitting around the house watching Netflix all day. She’s out there working the finances, the Real Estate and doing actual labor as well)
  • She is strong, (Physically strong, because she actually works with her hands and mentally tough because she’s figured out how to succeed in the work world)
  • She knows her merchandise is profitable and she works at her business into the night (Skilled and knowledgeable and is willing to work long hours)
  • She uses her own hands (to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle and makes handcrafted goods)

Not a bad a list, I’d say, but there’s more.

A Proverbs 31 woman is the Ultimate S.A.H.M.

  • She shares with the poor and actually helps the needy, personally (Kind and loving and she’s earned enough to share with the less fortunate. Only the wealthy can financially help others significantly, don’t knock it.)
  • She’s not worried about snow because her household is very well clothed. She makes her own quality bedding and clothes herself beautifully. (This girls understands that quality is important and she looks her best and makes sure her family looks good too)
  • She makes bed coverings for herself and her clothing is fine linen. (All I know is that handcrafted bed coverings would beat the thin, ##-Mart bedspread I’ve got)
  • Her husband is known in the gates, respected, when he sits among the elders of the land (Maybe it’s true that behind every good man is a good woman)
  • She makes linen garments and sells them and delivers things she makes to merchants (another business venture! First Real Estate, then a vineyard, and now handcrafted clothes)
  • She is strong and dignified, (It’s obvious the way she’s dressed, and by her appearance that she’s strong and dignified. I suspect that whatever she wears, she’d look fabulous, because she has strength of character that comes across the way she carries herself
  • She opens her mouth with wisdom, teaches kindness (Willing to share her knowledge to help others)
  • She looks well to the ways of her household and isn’t idle (She isn’t lazy and her first priority is her own family, beautiful)
  • Her children call her blessed. Her husband praises her. Her works praise her in the gates. (Great reputation, from her family to her community)
  • She knows that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (This girl has rocked it beyond any other woman. She deserves whatever praise she gets)

Well, Girls, this is the goal.

If you are a stay at home mom wanting to be the ultimate S.A.H.M.; work hard, do your best and have your family love and appreciate you when it’s all said and done. Then, read Proverbs 31 for yourself. You’ll be inspired. I’m inspired to achieve more because when I dig deep, I know I can do better.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

So, I used to be a stay at home mom and I did not get offended when people asked me if I worked, because I knew what they meant. But now I can say that I’m a Work At Home Mom. How does that sound? Are we on the same team?

Working from home is getting to be more and more popular. So, we are now hip! BTW, the new handle on the street is W.A.H.M., because that’s who we are, girls!

P.S. I’d love to hear your story. How have gone evolved from a S.A.H.M into a W.A.H.M?

 

 

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Mama Wants to Look Good Too!

My life isn’t all kids, although that’s such a huge part of my life and I love it. I also have a business with makeup and skincare, so I recently took an amazing refresher course on fashion and style. I focused on learning to analyze body types and how to feature your best qualities and downplay our challenges. I still want to look good and not give up, and if I can learn a tip or two, then I’m going for it.

Mama wants to look good, too. As a stay at home mom, it's easy to not take care of myself, but when I take some extra time, it sure helps my self image to improveIf the course had only taught about which clothes are in style right now, I’d have all the info I needed to go out and buy lots of fashionable outfits. Then I’d be in style right? I’ve noticed that certain trends are not always my best look so then what do I do?

Its so liberating to know that I can still look good, even if I’m not flaunting the latest fads in clothes because I’ve learned some tips and tricks to look my personal best. 

I’m not a fashion diva or a trend setter, Ha ha, I don’t know if that’s good news or bad news. I just have one goal. That is to look pretty wherever I am. If I’m going to watch sports, I’ll be wearing jeans, but my shoes will probably have sparkles, my makeup will be done and I’ll have some kind of top that’s girly.

I have friends who’s main goal is to be comfortable, whether its casual or fancy. I have other friends that are so trendy, they stand out in a crowd and beautifully show off the next season’s fashion hits and they look amazing. What’s your style and are you comfortable with it?

What did I learn, you ask?

  1. How to choose the best colors for me; the ones that will make my eyes come alive, my skin appear healthy and youthful; colors that show harmony, balance and confidence with my hair, skin and eyes.
  2. I learned about the different figure frames; who is lighter on top or bottom or straight or curvy. Everyone’s figure style has their own challenges and their own great features. Fashion isn’t always designed for your style. We learned some techniques to work with our own figures to look our very best. Mama still wants to look good!
  3. I learned how to accomplish an ‘all-together’ look. I didn’t always know how to do that. Do you know there are tips and tricks that help you look your personal best? What if you knew them and it could make the world of difference in your overall appearance and confidence?
  4. I learned why we should consider how we look when we’re dressing for success. I’m talking success in life, not just work. When we’re interacting with other people we are creating an impression about ourselves with our appearance.

Why is that important, you also ask?   😉

If you don’t care about fashion, or shop much, you should be asking ‘Why do I care?’ Well, here’s one thought. I have a friend who says that if she gets ready in the morning and knows she’s done her best to look nice and she looks appropriate for the occasion, then she can forget about herself and spend the rest of her day focusing on others.

Do you know that people watch you every day, looking for clues as to who you are. You know this is true because you do the same thing:) There’s so much that you can learn about others at a quick glance, but if you’re inadvertently sending out the wrong impression, you might be smothering your true message.

Here’s a few startling stats to give you some perspective about how women see themselves in the world.   http://dove.us

9/10 – girls want to change at least one physical trait.

6/10 – are so concerned about how they look, they won’t do normal daily activities that they’d like to do

4% – of women worldwide, think they’re beautiful, only 4%

72% – of women experience pressure to feel beautiful especially through social media

80% – of women think there’s something beautiful about themselves but they don’t know what it is.

7/10 – girls feel that they are not good enough to measure up, looks, school, etc.

98% – of girls feel pressure to look a certain way

92% – of teens want to change something about themselves and their weight is #1

4/5 – negative tweets on beauty are from women about themselves.

11% – of girls ages 10-17 are comfortable describing themselves as beautiful

Girls aspire to be confident. And 65% of girls  describe the women that they look up to, as confident.

Girls, Ladies, Women, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. These stats really tell a story about how we as women feel about ourselves. I feel empowered with some knowledge now that I can use some tips and tricks to look nice and then move forward to do what I’m called to do in this world.

I do quite a bit of speaking in business conferences, but this is a topic I really enjoy. I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on topWouldn’t you like to feel confident and empowered with some knowledge that you are prepared, and you look good and you don’t have to be self conscious?  

I can come and speak to your group and I can help you have the freedom to know that you look good and then you can get out there in world and get some stuff done!

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Successful Double Wedding? You need 5 Things!

Well, we did it. We successfully made it through 2 of our kids getting married at the same time, at the same church, with the same pianist and the same wedding coordinator and the same reception.  We used the same poor lady at the church to organize us all and we certainly gave her a run for her money. None of us had ever been to a double wedding, let alone planned one before. The funny thing was that when we announced the double wedding, no one assumed that we meant that it would be together, together! A lot of people thought we meant a week apart, or on the same weekend a day apart, but not us. We did it all together. I loved it.

T have a Successful Double Wedding, 4 people and 3 families need to show love, kindness and unselfishness with each other. I'm so proud of my kids. What a beautiful double wedding we had

Events overlap in a big family, so when our daughter, Abby, got engaged at Christmas time and said they wanted to get married soon, we had to figure something out quick. Michael and Nicole were already planning their wedding in 4 months. They started talking about different possibilities and came up with the idea of getting married together. I thought this was a crazy idea, but they were excited about it. Everyone wondered how they would get along and not get upset with each other, but that was no problem at all.

The challenge for us was in working out the details and one of the trickiest things was communication. I know, you’re thinking that communication is easy these days and it doesn’t matter where you are: Skype, Hangouts, Face Time, etc. but it’s not always that simple. With Abby in Oregon, Pete in Calgary, Michael and Nicole in Texas and the rest of us in Michigan, there were time zones, jobs and just plain old time constraints! The moment someone would have a great idea and we’d want to talk about it, someone else was sleeping or at work. But it all turned out to be absolutely amazing and truly beautiful. I’m so proud of everyone. It was the event of the season for our family.

You need 5 things to have a successful double wedding and I’m not talking about pretty flowers or big diamond rings. You need:

1. Unselfishness

Without being incredibly unselfish, the stress of it all will bring out the dark side! How do you agree with someone else on how to do your day if you are very selfish?! This is the day every girl dreams of, right? If you don’t get to have your own way with everything you ever dreamed of and wanted, wouldn’t that be unfair? I proud of them for being very unselfish.

2. Generosity

What I mean by that is to have a generosity of heart. An attitude that says, I want to give to the other person so they’ll be happy. It’s a word that means you’re willing to give or give in to another person even though it’s your day. What if you want pink and frills, and the other girl wants black and gold, you can’t resolve this if you’re not generous in your heart towards each other. There was only so much money for the wedding and it had to be shared between them and I watched them work together to make it all beautiful.

3. Flexibility

Ouch, being flexible can be a real toughie. It’s your day, right? So why shouldn’t you have things the way you want, and to have to be flexible, ugh, that means that you don’t get your own way. The ceremony was really tricky to plan out. 2 Brides, 2 Grooms, 3 sets of Mom’s and Dad’s. That was at least 10 people with important, valid thoughts and opinions! Now factor in 2 sets of bridesmaids, 2 sets of groomsmen, and 2 pastors. There was so much give and take and everyone was really sweet. Not only were they flexible with each other, but their bridesmaids and groomsmen put their own needs aside and really served the 2 couples.

4. Kindness

Kindness is the opposite of selfishness. Kindness involves the action of love. The girls planned so much of their double wedding together on the phone, for months before, but when they arrived at my house, 2 1/2 weeks ahead of time, all I saw was 2 girls having so much fun, doing all kinds of wedding, shower and bachelorette things together. I couldn’t have been happier with them. They treated each other with absolute kindness. You Go, Girls! In case you think I’m forgetting the guys.

The Guys were both the coolest;  Calm, not demanding, they tried to please their women; They rocked it!

5. Love

Love does not envy or boast. Love does not insist on its own way. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends. This is what I saw happen at their double wedding. 2 couples who were unselfish and very loving to each other.

Credit goes to Pastor Brady Courtner for setting the tone right away at the beginning of the ceremony. He created an atmosphere that day, so that each couple not only had a double wedding that was so fun and shared with each other, but he made it 100% special and personal for each of them.  

There’s so much of the talk in our culture that its all about –  ‘My day’  When girls are planning their dream wedding, the idea that ‘It’s my day’, goes completely against the 5 qualities that it takes to share a wedding. It is sort of the height of self-centeredness. But even if you’re not sharing your day with another couple, the 5 qualities that are needed to have a successful double wedding, are the same qualities it takes to have a successful single wedding and a successful marriage. There is no ‘my’ about it.

A wedding is a time for 2 families (3 in our case) to come together to celebrate the joining together of a man and a woman in holy matrimony, to bless them, to celebrate them and to give to them with their time, money and love.

Do you agree with me?

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