March 1st, Decorating on a Dime with Beckie Farrant!!!

I have known Beckie now for 3 years!  I am blown away by her creativity and her servants heart.  She will be speaking to us about how to “decorate on a dime”.  She is a very talented and famous blogger including 2 sites she started:  Knock off decor and Roadkill Rescue.  Click here to read more about Beckie!  And bring some friends with you because  you won’t want to miss hearing her!!

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M2M Childcare workers ROCK!

We are so blessed to have Grace Yeaton back again for another semester of Mom2Mom!

Clay Yeaton is the younger, but taller, brother of Grace Yeaton. Clay is 14 and is also homeschooled. He enjoys reading old books, hiking, and shooting his rifles. He is very involved in the boy scouts (Troop 620) and especially likes the campouts. His dream is to go West Point when he finishes high school. Though he doesn’t have any younger siblings, Clay is a natural “big brother” to little ones.

” Hi, my name is Sammy Gratz. I graduated from high school this December and this semester will be working in the nursery, babysitting, and taking a few online classes through IUPUI. I love working with kids and have been babysitting ever since 7th grade and can’t wait to start working with the kids here! ”

My name is Jalin Irene, I’m 18 and graduated high school in 2011. I absolutely love working with children of all ages. I enjoy spending my time reading books and writing blogs you can check out my blog at: www.freeofchargejournal.blogspot.com. This past fall I lived in Uganda for 3 ½ months as a missionary where I went into schools, hospitals, a couple villages, and learned a lot about how to live among the people.

Behind the Scenes: who you are when no ones looking, Shannon McBeath

What an honor it is to have our own Shannon McBeath speak to us at our next gathering on February 16th!  Shannon has been married to her husband, Shawn McBeath for 14 years.   They have 5 beautiful children who keep them laughing, guessing , and forever on their feet.   Kaleb, who is 11, is the oldest brother to four children whom the family has recently adopted.   Brianna (9), Isabella(6), Gabe (5) and Roxie (4) have lived with the McBeath’s and been a part of their family for the past 3-4 years;2 sibling groups finding their way home at different points.

God has blessed their family richly and has taught them so much about the world he created through these children. Shannon’s passion is now expanding  to share with others how the roles of marriage, years of teaching experience, and motherhood have opened her narrow sighted eyes a bit wider to seeing the raw truths of this world.

When you meet Shannon, you may think she is a bit animated.  In fact, she has left some wondering if her entire skeletal system is made up of funny bones.  She packs as much as she can into a conversation every time you meet….covering everything from children’s antics on through her daily battles of what she calls “playing ping pong with the devil.”  Be warned….she has 5 kids….some of her stories may not be suited for those with weak stomachs or for those with a heart condition.

Some of you are already aware of the event she calls, ”playing ping pong with the devil.”  Those little mishaps, like spilled milk at dinner, bickering kids, barking animals, poopy pants-your out of wipes. You’ve been there. All those little annoyances, that  get served up on a daily basis.  The devil is just standing there waiting for your reaction….your children are watching…it’s your chance to return, do you do so with a smile, or do you pack a punch that sets the ball sailing… straight into the litter box?  The choice is up to you.

Hopefully, you will make the choice to come and hang out with us this week. Shannon promises to serve up some real life drama, as she discusses her matches of playing ping pong with, not the devil; But, herself, during the biggest hardships and struggles of her life…a battle of infertility, the loss of a parent, the worthy opponents she met along the way, and the family she won in the end.

On your journey with her, she will give you a behind the scenes look into her life of who she was while no one was watching.  She will shed light on some of the darkest corners of her heart, through her memories and experiences of heartache.  Then, time after time, she will grab you by the hand, and walk you through all of the ways Jesus met her where she was at, comforted her, and illuminated her heart and mind with his presence.

Time permitting, Shannon will share with you some creative, educational games that you can make at home.  By using objects you already have around the house or that you can find at your neighborhood dollar store.   These games will open your child’s heart to a love of learning and will give you a creative outlet at the same time as meeting your children’s needs.  As a teacher for 8 years, Shannon picked up a ton of really crafty, teaching tools” behind the scenes” and would love more than anything to share these great ideas with you.  Hope to see you there…..this will be one you definitely don’t want to miss out on!

Loving your “valentine” well???

Teresa Mason has been blissfully married to Bland for 17  years, blessed to be a stay at home mom to Jordan (16), Hannah (14) and Sarah (10).  She is a church planter/pastor’s wife, lover of homemaking (all things decorating), passionate about women & marriages,
LOVES her girlfriends and LOVE, LOVES the beach!  Teresa is one of my mentors.  God strategically placed her and Bland in Patrick and I’s early years in marriage.  We served in ministry together under their leadership for several years.  They are now planting a church, City on a Hill, in Boston, MA.  It has been amazing to watch God’s hand on their work the past couple of years.  Their marriage is such an example to Patrick and I and I pray that God would use her words to speak to you as they always do to my life.

If you are anything like me, Valentine’s Day can bring a flood of positive and negative emotions.  As a single woman, I always dreamed of having that “someone special” to share the day of love with and was painfully reminded that I was, in fact, alone.  Now, after being married for almost 18 years, I am blessed to have an amazing man who I love more today than I did the day we married.  However, there is now a different, sometimes more difficult, ideal that society places on us…being provocatively dressed, romantic, sexy women with abundant time and endless energy for pleasing our husband’s deepest desires.

The truth is most of us have an unending “to-do” list for our homes, children, church, friends, work, etc., but where do our husbands fit in?  They tend to get what is left over at the end of the day or week, which doesn’t amount to much.  You may be thinking, “I am doing the best I can.  There is nothing left to give.” I get it!  I have three children who demand time, attention, affection, counsel, food, clothing and the list goes on.  The challenges are different depending on the ages of our kids.  Now that I have two teenagers and one preteen my job has shifted from teaching them to share to helping with relationship issues; from helping them get dressed to helping them understand why they are not allowed to dress in a particular way; from nursing to making sure I have enough food to feed a growing teenager and usually friends…different but draining.  We feel tired and overwhelmed by all that we have to do and our marriages are often our last thought.

However, the greatest gift we can give our children is a healthy marriage.  This requires time, energy and devotion.  In a few short years, we will have raised our children and they will have (hopefully) moved out and on with their lives and we will still be married.  In Titus 2:4, Paul says, “…so train the young women to love their husbands and children.”  Please notice we are to first love our husbands.  In Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney, she says, “The word used for love in Titus 2:4 is phileo.  This word describes the love between close friends.  It is a tender, affectionate, passionate kind of love.  It emphasizes enjoyment and respect in a relationship.” (p. 32)

The adjectives used in this description resonate and even convict me.  Am I tender, affectionate, and passionate toward my husband? Do I enjoy and respect him?  We find it easy to walk in agape, self-sacrificing love, but phileo is more difficult for us.  We clean, cook, care for the children, do laundry, buy groceries, manage schedules, etc. all in service, but how much more should we be showing affection and tenderness toward our husbands. We are so busy serving him that we forget to enjoy him.  Are we taking opportunities throughout the day to communicate care and encouragement? Do we show physical affection through hugs, kisses and flirtation and even sexual availability?

Hugs, kisses and flirtation are easy enough, but sexual availability is something completely different.  If you are the mother of young children, the thought of someone else touching you at the end of the day when you are already exhausted is overwhelming.  If, like me, you are the mother of teenagers or tweens, you are often emotionally spent and want to disengage.  Ladies, it is no surprise that sexual intimacy is essential to a healthy marriage.  We must be passionate about our husbands.  Practically, this means we need to be available to him sexually.  We must be tender toward his needs.

For a time in our marriage, Bland was always on the offensive while I was always on the defensive.  This made our sex life less than enjoyable for both of us; in fact, it became a source of conflict.  Bland felt that I didn’t “want” him, yet my reasoning was that I was tired or had a difficult day with the kids.  I felt that he wasn’t being sensitive to me.  Through prayer and Bible study, I realized I was not loving or respecting him.  What I learned from the Word and from Bland, was I needed to trust that he wanted what was best for me.  By being available to him, I was trusting him and giving him the opportunity to love me by choosing to set aside his sexual needs in order to do what he thought was best for me.  This thinking is counterintuitive because it is selfless.  By changing my attitude and actions and seeking to be tender toward him, our intimacy has grown in trust and enjoyment.  Bland now feels respected and valued.

RESPECT is the most important way we show love to our husbands.  As my sweet husband says, “this is the big E on the eye chart.”  You can’t miss this!!  In the eye-opening book, For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldman, she shares some amazing facts about the way men think.  She conducted a study that found three out of four men would rather feel unloved than disrespected or inadequate. “If a man feels disrespected, he is going to feel unloved.” (p.23) In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul gives instruction on how husbands and wives are to treat one another.  At the end of verse 33, Paul says, “let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  Paul never tells the husbands to respect their wives or the wives to love their husbands; this is our default setting.  What we must understand is that respect equals love to our husbands.  I have learned that respect is not just something we feel, but something we show through our attitudes and actions.

As women, we often want to control how and when things are done.  For example, we think that the children should be bathed or fed in a certain way, so we correct our husband=inadequacy and disrespect.  We have the “honey do list” that doesn’t get completed on our time schedule so we remind him=inadequacy and disrespect.  During an argument he doesn’t see the issue our way so we cry=inadequacy and disrespect.  We are hanging out with friends and jokingly tease him about a failure=inadequacy and disrespect.  He comes home from work and sits down in front of the television, we assume he doesn’t want to be helpful=inadequacy and disrespect.  A reaction of anger toward what you have said or done is an indicator of him feeling disrespected.  This same study found that most men believe that their wives respect them, but the wives do not show it.   We must remember that words are important but our actions speak as well. As wives, we need to hear we are loved, but for a man it is deeper.  Feldman shares, “We as women hold incredible power—and responsibility—in our hands.  We have the ability to either build up or tear down our men.  We can either strengthen or hobble them in ways that go far beyond our relationship because respect at home affects every area of a man’s life.”  Consider this man’s plea:  “She has to make me feel respected so I can command respect out in the world.  If she defeats me emotionally, I can’t win the race and bring home the prize for her.”

I know this seems like a lot to swallow, but ladies, our marriage relationship is the most important relationship on this planet.  Our marriages point others to Christ and the church.  The most amazing news is that we are able to live this out because of the grace we have received from Jesus.  When we have received this grace vertically from our Savior, we are able to bend it out horizontally to our husbands.  Being married for 17 years has taught me that Bland has never nor ever will sin against me worse than what I have sinned against a holy God.  Forgiveness and grace are not optional.  You may be in a place in your marriage where you have no feelings of love.  Sister, be encouraged by Jesus.  First John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Jesus loves us even we are undeserving and hostile.  As we submit to Christ, He will show us how to love.

I pray that God will strengthen you today to walk in phileo toward your husband by embracing the moments to show tenderness and affection, by making yourself available for passion (even seeking it out), by enjoying the man that God has given you, and by respecting him even with his flaws. I pray that you will operate toward your husband in attitude of grace, knowing that you are forgiven, therefore, you forgive.

Teresa