Have you heard about the new feature from Build a Menu?
Every year at Christmas, Tropical Traditions offers a free quart of virgin coconut oil with any $19 purchase. This is a fabulous deal since the coconut oil is normally much more expensive than that on its own! It's the highest quality coconut oil I know of.
I would combine it with current sales to get the best deal.
As one idea, their raw honey (it's absolutely amazing! — unlike any honey I've ever had!) is 50% off. So you could order 2 honeys at $10.99 each and pay a total of $21.98 for 2 jars of honey and a quart of coconut oil. (Plus shipping.)
Those would normally cost you $61.99!
Let me know what you get!
I've been asked by a couple different readers about some good resources to help direct them in their quest toward Biblical parenting.
First and foremost, if you want to parent Biblically, the very most important thing you can do is get to know your Bible better!
Study what the Bible says about the parent/child relationship. While books are very helpful, it's even better to know for yourself exactly what the Bible says; not just what someone said the Bible says.
Study what the Bible says about Christian living. We can't teach our children properly if we don't know for sure what God says about how we should live.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to spend the majority of your time in the Bible and not reading man's words. He has truly given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
However, there is a time and place where books written by men are appropriate. When men are putting forth Biblical truth and helping to explain what God's Word says rather than just spouting psychology or their own ideas, that is good and helpful. When they give practical ideas for applying God's Word to everyday situations, that is very helpful also.
I know there are many, many books about Christian parenting out there, and I surely haven't read all of them. I'm sure there are some really good ones that are not on this list.
But…I have read a lot.
This is one of our bookcases. The top 3 1/2 shelves contain books about marriage, parenting, and the Christian home. I haven't read every single one of them yet. (Side story: we walked into a thrift store one day, and there was a sign that said ALL of their books were FREE. They had a book section the size of a real bookstore! And the limit on free books was one full cart. Oh my! Talk about the need to say, “Pinch me! I think I'm dreaming!” So we went 2 different times and brought home boxes and boxes of books! That was several years ago, and I still haven't read them all. I'm gradually working through them and weeding out the ones that are no good.)
Anyway, all that to say…out of all the books on Christian parenting I have read, I've whittled my favorites down to the best of the best, and here they are:
I was introduced to this book long before I was married or had children, and I'm so glad I was. It really helped give me an understanding of the need to reach the heart of the child rather than just making sure their outward behavior was right.
Another very Biblical and practical book offering insight from an experienced parent.
Buy Here (They don't currently have them on sale from Amazon, but you can purchase it from a 3rd party seller.)
This books gives lots of practical advice for reasoning with your child Biblically. Since younger children do not have the reasoning capability of an older child, it seems a better choice for older children. (My oldest is 7, and I feel he is old enough to understand the concepts presented.)
This book made me excited to put its ideas into action! It not only gave me hope that we could work through some of the seemingly insurmountable issues one of my child is dealing with, but it gave a step-by-step plan for doing so!
Bonus: This one isn't for the parents, but for the children…
This is a study for children on Biblical obedience. It teaches children to obey for the right reasons by teaching them biblical truth. As your children learn about people in Scripture who struggled with obedience, they will learn for themselves HOW, WHEN, and WHY they should obey.
Like I said earlier, I surely haven't read every book available, and I'm sure there are some gems I haven't even heard of. Please feel free to share your own suggestions!
Dear Mr. Policeman,
I began writing this to let you know how concerned I was that you put my life in danger. You were driving so fast that I didn't even have time to hear your siren before you were on me. I was being even more careful than usual to be aware of my surroundings that day, and you seemed to come out of nowhere. When you flew past me on the shoulder of the road, you startled the daylights out of me. Cops don't usually pass on the right, and especially not on the shoulder of the road. I instinctively swerved to the left to get out of your way, but afterward realized how dangerous that was. If there had been a car coming toward me you may have been abandoning your urgent mission to deal with a head-on collision.
If I had heard your siren and pulled to the right like every driver knows to do, I would have side-swiped you, most likely injuring you and me both.
I know you must have needed to get where you were going in a hurry since I was driving 55 mph on a straight stretch of road and you were out of sight within seconds. When I saw a second officer come through the next intersection going just as fast as you were I knew there must be something extremely urgent that needed your attention.
I knew that someone's life might be in danger at your destination. Perhaps it was one of your fellow officers who desperately needed backup. But I didn't want you to endanger more lives on your way to save lives and I wanted to express my alarm at the not-so-safe way you were driving.
Before I left the house yesterday, I had determined that if I saw a policeman I would thank him for putting his life on the line every day to protect the citizens of this country. Instead I was surprised that the only one I encountered endangered my life and I wanted you to know that I was concerned.
But lest those who are reading this open letter are finding themselves nodding their heads in hearty agreement, wagging their fingers at the horrible way you did your job, or lest you continue reading flabbergasted at my audacity, will you allow me a moment to drastically change the course of this letter?
You see, while it probably appears at first glance that I am irate at the potential danger you caused, I am in actuality hoping this letter will encourage those who would want to agree with it to stop and give you the benefit of the doubt instead.
I want everyone to remember this:
Perhaps you had already visually cleared the left side of the road and knew it would be okay if I swerved over there (although I don't know why you wouldn't have just passed on the left if that were the case.) Perhaps you knew that you were driving so fast that you would be past me before I even had time to pull to the right. Perhaps you had factored everything together in the blink of an eye and you knew that there wasn't as much danger as it felt like to me.
But what if you hadn't considered the danger to me? What if you didn't know whether the left side of the road was clear or what if you didn't think about what would happen if I had pulled to the right?
Does that make you a jerk who doesn't care about people and who was probably only driving fast because you thought it would be fun or because Dunkin Donuts radioed and said they had a hot batch of donuts coming out of the oven?
Of course not!
I know that if you were called to a dangerous situation you must have had adrenaline coursing through your body. Out of curiosity I looked up how adrenaline affects a person's cognitive ability, and do you know what I found? I found forums where policemen and firemen and EMTs were discussing how they sometimes have a hard time driving safely when they're headed to an emergency situation. The adrenaline gives them tunnel vision and they can't think clearly. Everything is happening so quickly and yet they must focus on so many things at the same time that it's impossible for the human body to do a good job at all of it. And as I read the discussions on these forums I saw that the policemen were torn up about endangering the lives of other drivers on the road. When the dust of the day had settled and they mentally reviewed the things they had done, they realized that their driving was not the greatest in the heat of the moment. And they wished they would have done better. And they wanted to learn how they could keep their mind from shutting down when the next adrenaline-inducing situation arose. As a citizen, I appreciate that. It's nice to know you're not being flippant about your job and that you want to do it well without endangering anyone more than is necessary.
So, Mr. Policeman, once again I will remind myself and the other readers of this letter of the simple fact that heroes are human. I can't expect your human body to function any differently than mine.
But the difference between my human body and yours is that yours has the word hero attached to it.
You've undergone intensive training that most people would not be willing to undergo. You put your life on the line day in and day out to protect people who only turn back around and tell you how badly you did your job. You endure disgraceful treatment by the citizens of this country, yet you continue to serve them.
No sir. I'm not calling you out for endangering my life, I'm doing what I started out to do yesterday – I'm thanking you.
I can't think of any better way to end this than to share Paul Harvey's thoughts on “What is a Policeman?” I think it expresses my thoughts better than I can say them:
Final note: These days it seems that so many people hate cops and every move a policeman makes is suspect. Sure, I was alarmed that the policeman drove unsafely, as would most people. But that is exactly why I am pointing out that even though he made a mistake that could have been costly, let's remember that he lives inside a human body and appreciate the fact that our policemen are trying to do all that they can to make sure those types of things don't happen. Let's be thankful for these heroes who put their lives on the line day in and day out. In this day when hatred toward our police officers seems to be the popular attitude, let's instead give grace when we don't perceive a policeman's actions as perfectly executed. Let's be grateful for what these officers do rather than critical of their every move.
But they've added a new feature that I really like too – the DONE FOR YOU meal plans — and for a limited time they are FREE when you buy the original menu planning service (reg. $30!)
So, what you get is:
I got the Done4U plans several months ago, and I'll admit that I rely on them much more often than I should! But as long as my family is getting fed I shouldn't feel guilty that someone else is planning my menus, should I now?
Buy the classic plan now for $35, get the done for you plan FREE! (make sure to use the coupon BAM15_Classic when you check out.)
(This is for a full YEAR's worth of menus!)
P.S. This sale is only going on until September 21. After that the service goes back up to full price and the Done For You plans are NOT included.
My motivation for naming this blog that way was to be a safe place where women could be reminded that they are not alone in their imperfections.
Before I began blogging here, I would see all these blogs with gorgeous crafts and delicious recipes, profound parenting advice, or home organization tips that would blow my mind.
And I would come away discouraged.
I can't cook. I can't keep my house clean or organized to save my life. When I do a craft people think it was my kindergartner's art project.
And when I would see these bloggers and their beautiful lives I would feel hopeless, knowing that there was no possible way for me to enjoy those things in my home.
I'm having a good day if I get a shower. And if I shave my legs, it's an AMAZING day! If I get my toenails painted somewhere in there, I think I am on top of the world!
Until I realize that it's 5 pm and I have no idea what I'm making for dinner, and the baby decides that would be a perfect opportunity for her to start screaming, and the kids decide they're going to fight and argue and one of them pulls a jug of milk out of the fridge and spill the whole thing on the kitchen floor.
And then mama loses her cool in the midst of it all.
And then I realize I'm not so on top of things after all.
So I started this blog as a place to show more than the highlight reels of life.
But I got off track a little bit, and it wasn't done by accident either.
I simply got tired of being hurt.
When I would try to be honest about my struggles with keeping a clean house, inevitably someone would comment about how I just obviously wasn't working hard enough at it.
When I would share some crazy antic that my child did, someone would be sure to let me know that if I were just more present with my children, my toddlers would never get into any mischief.
I got tired of people who don't struggle with the same things that I do not understanding where I'm coming from. I got tired of hearing the women who have the gift of magic sparkle saying that if I would just do x, y, and z I would have no trouble keeping my house clean or my brain screwed on straight. (The gift of magic sparkle is what women have who seem to effortlessly keep their house sparkling. They're the ones who apologize for their messy house because they found a crumb on the floor. I just made that up in case you wondered.) They don't seem to know that I've tried over and over to do x, y, but z and my house still looks dirtier at the end of the day than it was before I started cleaning.
And when I say I've tried and failed, they say I'm making excuses and that I could do better if I just tried a little harder. They don't know how much I beat myself up every single day for not measuring up to the standards I've set for myself and that their well-intentioned comments are only aiding my discouragement.
And I knew if I was feeling the condemnation, those of you who struggle in the same areas were probably feeling it too. So I started keeping the struggles to myself. I decided not to even bring the hard parts up and just focus on sharing the successes once they were reached.
But I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I had to realize that my feelings of condemnation are not coming from a place of truth.
I was letting what other people said to me (or what I perceived they were thinking about me – yeah, I do that one a lot too) get to me.
But I failed to remember that they aren't perfect either.
I saw a quote somewhere that said,
There are no perfect people; some just hide it better than others.
I was looking around at everyone else with their perfectly clean houses, their perfectly behaved children, and their perfectly planned meals and thinking that I was a miserable failure compared to them.
And that's where the big problem comes in — that little word compare.
The Bible says that comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. (II Corinthians 10:12)
When I look at others I'm always going to feel like I'm not as good as someone else. There's always going to be somebody prettier, more talented, more organized, more Godly, etc., etc., etc.
But the point of life isn't to find the most perfect person and try to be like them.
Because the most perfect person might not have any problems that show outwardly – she might have a gorgeous house, serve gourmet meals, and have little angel children, but there is no doubt she has her own problems. Maybe she is not very wise or frugal with money, or maybe she yells at her kids or argues with her husband when no one is around, or maybe she struggles with overeating.
That very person who is making you feel like a failure may very well be feeling shame over how fat she is or how ugly she is. She who looks so perfect might be wishing she could better control her tongue or her thought life.
So it's time to stop setting other people up as our standard for living. It's time to stop feeling like a failure because we don't measure up to some preconceived notion of who someone else is.
When we realize we are all in this together – this journey to holiness and to improving ourselves in the areas where we are not as skilled – we will be able to release ourselves from the condemnation of not measuring up.
When we see others who struggle in one area where we are more talented, we will be willing to help without judgment.
Let's release ourselves from the myth that there are perfect people.
Let's strive to help one another toward holiness and be understanding when we fail.
Let's each be the unique person that God made us to be and live the life that He intended us to live.
Your friend on the journey,
I began this conversation today in my weekly newsletter and I was absolutely blown away by the responses. I know this is something that people want to hear more of. I think we all need a reminder that no one is perfect, and it helps to see a little more of the “real life” side of bloggers. If this is you, and you're not afraid of my getting a little messy in front of you, I encourage you to sign up for my weekly newsletter where we can connect a little more often!
I'm working on gathering up supplies for a “back-to-school survival kit” for college students.
One of the things that I never bought for myself when I was in college was nice razors (I went with the 99 cent kind!)
So I headed over to Walmart and grabbed a pack of Schick Quattro disposable razors to put in there. (I'm still cheap, though, so I made sure to find a pack with a bonus razor included! 😉 )
I also found out that Schick is sponsoring a sweepstakes right now called the #SchickSelfieSweeps. If you know a college student (or you are one!) be sure to let them know they can win $10,000 toward their college tuition when they post a selfie on Instagram or Twitter with the #SchickSelfieSweeps hashtag. (Official rules here.)
In the meantime, this package of razors is lonely! Can you help me figure out what else to put in a “Back-to-School Survival Kit”? What would you like if you were the recipient or what would you include if you were giving one to a college student? Please leave me a comment with your ideas and watch for a follow-up post with the completed package!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schick®. The opinions and text are all mine.