Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Evolution of the Swimsuit

Jessica Rey from Rey Swimwear explains the history of the bathing suit and where the bikini came from.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pregnancy Made My Body Better

I am going to say something that is just as shocking for me to write as it is for you to read.
I think pregnancy made my body better.

Hold up, you say. Does pregnancy not completely ruin your body??

Sometimes Most of the time, it seems that way. Let's be real. The stretch marks are not attractive. The extra flab after delivery is not something you were thinking about when you were decorating the nursery. I was a size 4 when I became pregnant with our son three years ago. Now, after two children? I am a size 8 that can sometimes squeeze myself into a 6 if I starve myself for, like....a few weeks. I'm not going to play with you; that is hard for me.

But I still think pregnancy made my body better.

I know you are probably curious. And I am not writing this lightly. No doubt, I will have to come back to this post many times and re-read to remind myself that, YES, my body is better now.

I understand that some women go through pregnancy and childbirth and come out looking the same as always, if not better. Some women lose all the baby weight - plus some! - within a month of giving birth. Some seem to have their tight stomach and abs back before other mommy's (like, ahem, me) are discharged from the hospital. If you are one of those of women who show zero signs of a pregnancy, this post may not be for you. It is for my fellow "bearers" - the mothers who bear with the aches, the flabby skin, the loss of hair, the disproportioned body, and the occasional feelings of complete and utter self-disgust.

This is for you.

My body is not what you would see gracing the covers of magazines or gliding down red carpets. But it is the body that has bourn two children. You may be like me and have avoided the mirror. You may have had a hard time letting your husband look at you again. You may have wondered again and again why the whole process of bringing forth life has to be so....ugly.

It's for a bigger purpose.

My stretch marks may not be what is considered beautiful by today's standards. But they remind me of the scars Jesus took upon His body to redeem me from sin.

My extra skin that isn't as tight and toned as it used to be may not seem that appealing when I look in the mirror. But it does make me remember that the Lord looks at my heart - not my outward appearance.

Those few pounds that I just.can' may frustrate me and make me feel completely unattractive. But they serve to overwhelmingly bless me when my husband takes me into his arms and tells me I'm beautiful.

We need some perspective, girls. And we need some joy. God gave us children - a heritage - whom He calls a blessing. What price can you put on a reward from the Lord??

When I look - I mean really look! - at these little faces, the stretch marks, the extra few pounds, and my size 8 jeans don't bother me anymore. These little munchkins that wreaked havoc on my physical body have brought me closer to Jesus. They have shown me my spiritual appearance and have made me fall at the feet of Christ time and time again. From the very first kick in utero, to the midnight crying and daytime tantrums, they have given me a glimpse of the depth of God's love. They are worth every bit of labor pains and weight gain. If healthy eating habits and exercise don't quite get me back to my pre-pregnancy body, it's okay.

It's okay.

Because I have a husband that loves me more now than the day we were married. I have two adorable and completely squeezable children whom I love to bits!

And I have a Creator who made me to be exactly what I am.

So yeah, pregnancy made my body better. I'm a woman who has been given the honor of being a wife and mommy, and who has learned more of Jesus and His glory through my human imperfections.

It's better that way.

Proverbs 31:30
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

10 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

We all have those mornings when we think, "What am I going to feed these people??" For those mornings when  you just don't have the time to whip up a huge breakfast, here are ten easy and quick breakfast ideas.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Scriptures to Prepare for Birth

It was 1:58 a.m. and the room was swarming with four nurses. My eyes opened and closed as my head moved side to side. I heard, "Okay, push again." And I pushed as yet another contraction hit. I was in pain. I was struggling to stay focused but my mind swarm with terrifying thoughts.

What if she won't come out?

What if something goes wrong?

What if I die??

Finally, at 2:04 a.m. I heard a strong cry and I held my second little one in my arms.
My baby girl is now five months old. It's so hard for me to comprehend that I gave birth to this sweet little feisty female five whole months ago! There have been many new little ones coming into the world lately and it has brought me back to that cold night five months ago. It was intense. It was beautiful. It was scary. And it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. My husband likes to remind me about what he calls "my dramatic moment" but hey, it's called labor for a reason! It's hard work. And birth? It's scary! Am I right?
I had a hard time delivering my first child and as a result of that, I had a much longer list of fears as my second delivery came closer. I spent a lot of time preparing my body, but I also spent a lot of time preparing my spirit. I frequently meditated on certain Scripture passages that gave me peace and quieted my heart. And I would like to share them with you.

2 Corinthians 12:9 - "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  - This is one of my favorite verses and it applies to both childbirth and motherhood. We are so vulnerable in labor. We are at the mercy of each contraction. This verse became my theme for my daughter's non-medicated birth. The power and strength of Jesus Christ is offered to us in our weakness and our frailty. And we can glory in our labor so that His power can be manifested in us. What a beautiful promise from our God.

Isaiah 26:3 - "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." - Read that again. Perfect peace. Isn't that what we desperately need in the days and weeks leading up to delivery? Steady your mind on Jesus and trust Him and He will give you peace. That's a promise, sister.

Philippians 4:6-7 - "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - As difficult as it may be, do not worry or be anxious. I often thought about all the scenarios of what could go wrong. Be informed, but do not worry or fret. Talk to Jesus and tell Him your fears. Spend time in His presence and He will give you comfort and a peace that passes all understanding.

John 14:27 - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." - With both my children, I was afraid of childbirth. But I am thankful that we are given a peace - a supernatural peace - that quiets our hearts.

Psalm 56:3-4 - "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." - This goes right along with the above verse. When you are afraid, put your trust in God. Has He ever failed you?? Has He ever left you helpless? No. Trust Him. Do not be afraid of all the "what if's" - just simply put your life and your unborn baby's life in the hands on your Creator.

Isaiah 40:29 - "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." - In childbirth, I felt faint MANY times. I felt numb with pain. Isn't it a joy to know that our God gives power to the faint and increases our strength when we feel like we have nothing left?

Isaiah 66:13 - "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted..." -
If you are a mother already, you will understand this verse. You have comforted your baby. You have dried their tears and kissed their scraped knees. You have softly sang lullabies and rocked them to sleep. Just as you have comforted your children, the Lord promises to comfort you.

These are the verses that encouraged me and gave me peace when I was tempted to be afraid. What verses do you have that calms your heart and can prepare you for labor?

Friday, July 19, 2013

More Modest Swimwear

I bought two new swimsuits this year. Although I shutter when I squeeze my mom-of-two body in a swimsuit, I am thankful that there are some modest suits out there! Last year I posted a list of websites where you can find modest swimwear. I used one of those websites to purchase one of my swimsuits this year.

Being a mommy of two littles, a swimsuit for me has to be cute, functional, and modest. Cute because...well what lady doesn't want to look nice? Functional because I have a two year old that can run and a five month old that likes to pull on my hair and my clothes. And modest because 1 Timothy 2:9-10 commands us to be modest and to honor God with our dress. I understand that it is hard to find a swimsuit that fits all three of those things but it IS possible! Besides scouring the racks of every store at your local shopping mall, there are websites that offer some great suits that cover well and look cute! Below are more sites where you can find modest swimwear.

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 Lime Ricki has some pretty cute one-piece swim wear. Their tankini's also have some modest choices and the option to choose your own bottom, some of which are skirts!

Swim Modest swimwear is a high coverage line that was designed by a mother and grandmother. It offers swimwear for women and children - including boys!

Another high coverage swimwear site is Modestly Yours. It is similar to Swim Modest and created by a husband and wife team with their two daughters in mind. Some of the patterns are simply adorable.

Essentials Swimwear is a more affordable website that offers some lovely and modern swimsuit designs.

If you go to Popina, you will have to look around. Some of the swimsuits are very immodest. But some have fairly good coverage. They also have cover-ups like Rash Guards and mesh Sarongs.

Mod Cloth is ridiculously high in price, but I'm posting modest swimwear, not cheap modest swimwear. Some of these swimsuits are adorable! If you catch a good sale, you can find yourself a nice swimsuit.

I follow Olivia from Fresh Modesty on Facebook and I love the outfits she puts together. At only 20 years old, she offers awesome tips on modesty - and modest swimwear!

Swim dresses are so elegant to me. Becoming Apparel has some beautiful designs that fit every body type. They are a bit pricey, but they are modest.

Jen Clothing does not have that many options to choose from, but what few it does have are cute and modest.

*** OR you can do what my sister does and go get yourself a modest top and bottom or one-piece from Wal-Mart and wear a big t-shirt and basketball shorts over it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't Show My Son That

My family and I just returned from our yearly vacation to the beach. As always, it was a wonderful trip and we had a lovely time. But while there, enjoying my little boy splash in the pool, I watched as little girls and their mothers entered the water; some wearing less than your average undergarments. Some of these precious girls playing alongside my little boy were wearing string bikinis that matched their mothers'.

I'm not okay with that.

I thank the Lord that my little boy is still too young to understand the battle that's ahead for him. But even in the midst of my thankfulness, I am bothered. It won't be long until he does understand. It will be sooner than it ought to be before my little boy looks up and sees the scantly clad women all around him. And he will be tempted to indulge his eyes in it because they refuse to cover up.

And I'm not okay with that.

I am a woman. Somewhere inside me is a fleshly desire to dress sexy and show off my curves. I get it. I struggle too. But I am a Christian woman; a woman bought with the innocent blood of a holy God who commands me to honor Him with my dress. And though I may struggle, my biggest desire is to obey Him.

I know we live in a society that tells us to flaunt "what God gave ya!" But coming from a mommy who loves Jesus and wants to protect the purity of her little boy, don't show my son that! My son doesn't need to see your skimpy outfits. He doesn't need to see your cleavage or your thighs. He doesn't need to watch you swim in nothing more than your bra and panties (yes, I said it). He doesn't need to see that. You can tell me to simply teach him to exhibit some self control. You can tell me to stay home if I don't like how the real world is. But let me encourage you to let Christ have control and let Him lead you to honor Him with the way you and your children dress. Let me encourage you to come out from the world and be ye separate. Let's help one another in this battle for purity.

We are already forced to live in a sex saturated culture. Movies, magazines, music, TV shows, commercials, billboards - it is all soaked in lust. You can't even watch a hamburger commercial without being exposed to a sultry woman baring half her body and using seductive tactics. From a mother, let me tell you that my job is going to be hard enough. Help me out, okay? Don't show my son your body.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Staying Pure While You're In a Relationship

When you begin a courtship relationship or are engaged, there are new questions, new temptations, and new battlegrounds that isn't often written about in books. Throughout our engagement, my husband and I fought battles that, many times, we weren't sure we would win. The temptation to compromise was strong. And Satan did a good job of filling our minds with "reasons" to justify going a little further. It was only by His grace that we made it!

So how do you stay pure when you are in a relationship? Below are seven ways that I have discovered to be immensely helpful!

  1. Pray, pray, pray. During my husband's and my relationship, I prayed more than I ever had before. I remember one day literally feeling sick because my every thought was "Lord, give us strength...Lord, help us honor You....Lord, steady my heart..." Purity is a war and our biggest weapon is prayer. The closer we get to Christ, the more Satan will flee. The more we look at Jesus, the less we will look at sin. Pray. Pray for each other. Pray for yourself. Pray for others. Just pray and pray a lot.
  2. Do things in groups. That's not to say you can't ever be alone. Pray and allow God to direct you in those decisions and let Him show you where boundaries need to be. But I would encourage you to do most of your interactions in a group. There is more accountability there. With my husband, we went witnessing with friends. We went to concerts. We spent time with our families. We went bowling and hung out with others. It is a lot less likely for something to happen when you are surrounded by people.
  3. Read the Bible. Reading Scripture will allow you to keep your focus where it needs to be. There is always an emphasis on being physically close, but marriage is a package. It is not only physical. It is also emotional, mental, and spiritual. If you want a healthy marriage, Jesus MUST be the cornerstone. He must be the foundation that holds you both together. Reading the Bible together will open up Biblical discussion that will lead you away from "baby, baby, baby, ooooh" and towards "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there's just something about that name." It will bring you closer to the heart of God and get you both aligned with His will.
  4. Don't talk about your future physical relationship. Save it for marriage. Not just your body, but your talk too. Don't discuss your future physical relationship. Don't talk about what will happen once the vows are said. Do not allow yourselves to think of that because once that can of worms is opened, the worms slither out and you will have a time trying to shove them back in the can. Don't worry about the wedding night or the honeymoon. God made it. God blessed it. And God will bless you. No need in trying to "prepare" yourselves beforehand. It will just lead to more problems.
  5. Don't have a long engagement. Once the question is popped, get yourself a tux and a dress and get married! --okay, maybe not immediately...but do it soon! :) I speak from experience. My husband and I were engaged for 14 months and it was the biggest struggle for us to keep our bodies and, most of all, our minds pure. Once you enter into engagement, there is a whole new level of temptations and Satan will try to get you to succumb to the slightest compromise. The Bible says that it is better to marry than to burn. I would recommend that if you are able and have the freedom to do so, have as short of an engagement as possible.
  6. Take every thought captive. Sin starts with the mind. We may not have ever touched or been touched, but if we let our minds roam into the perverted room of lust, then we are doing just as much damage to our purity. This is a toughie, I will admit. I found that in my engagement, my mind was my biggest enemy. God's Word says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to take every thought captive. Memorize that verse. When a thought comes into your head, immediately pray and ask God for help and forgiveness, and then make a conscious decision to take your thoughts and bring them back to the throne.
  7. Make your goal be to glorify God. When you're in love and heading for marriage, it is very easy for your vision to become so clouded that every conviction you ever had can easily be justified and tossed out the window. You cannot expect to remain pure if you go into a relationship with simply a list of do's and don'ts. The odds are slim. In the heat of the moment, you can make excuses and look at that list as a set of legalisms. But if you go into a relationship with the desire to honor and glorify God, you stand a bigger chance of having a pure mind and body. Make your goal be to bring honor to Jesus. If that stays in the forefront of your minds, then not only will you stay out of trouble, but you will be setting a very good foundation for your future as husband and wife by making Christ the King of your hearts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Smile at Your Husband

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Marriage takes work. Life is hectic and, I don't know about you, but it is easy to loose each other in the hustle and bustle of our comings and goings. As wives, it's easy to let our day-to-day tasks overcome us and make us....well....a bit mean. So let me just say....

Smile at your husband.

I'm learning that this is important. Very important. My husband has told me so. He doesn't want to come home to a grouch or to a woman ready to start firing demanding remarks.

He wants a smile.

Yes, the laundry is backed up and there are dishes in the sink. Yes, the children have kool-aid stains on their faces and dried, crusty peanut butter in their hair. Yes, you are in your sweats and a t-shirt covered with spit up. Yes, you are frustrated. Tired. Maybe a bit angry.

But smile at him.

It is easy to greet my husband with an "it's about time" attitude when he walks through the door. You know what I mean. I've been cleaning your house, washing your clothes, and training your kids all day. Now that you're home, where is my reward?

No, sister. Smile.

You were created by God to be this man's help meet. Not his boss or his criticizer. He made you to complete this man and to compliment this man. He made you to be his partner. His friend. His confident. His forever mate.

Smile at him.

Your husband chose you. He chose you to be the queen of his home, the mother of his children, and the love of his life. No, he's not perfect. He's a fallen sinner, just like you. All the more reason to offer him grace and love...

And a smile.

Life is full of the unexpected. The dishwasher breaks. The children get sick. The bathroom floods. The tires go flat. The bills stack up. The demands demand more.

But in the middle of the chaos, we can choose either to be full of joy or full of pouts and complaints. It's our choice. Through the dirt, sweat, spit up, or throw up, we make a choice every day to either build up our marriage with a sweet smile and a little flirtation, or to tear down our marriage with a short fuse and sarcasm. I encourage you, no matter how your day goes, when your man walks in through the door, turn your head to him, bat your eyes....and smile.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Getting Sand Off Of You and Your Kids

Last week we vacationed at the beach. It was thoroughly enjoyable listening to the sound of the waves and watching my little boy play with his daddy. I like the beach. But I'm not particularly fond of sand. Oh, I love walking on it and looking at it, but I do not like how it gets everywhere. It is impossible to leave the beach without having sand stuck to your skin. I am a very organized person who likes things neat and tidy and so sand all over the place just doesn't go on my list of an easy-peasy experience. And going to the beach with a baby and a toddler, well, let's just say I wasn't looking forward to the cleanup post-beach trip.

But I discovered a - dare I say miracle working - sand remover! Baby powder. Yes, your everyday baby product. When my little boy tossed a handful of sand onto me, all this momma had to do was rub some baby powder on and voila! the sand came right off. I can't tell you how exciting it was for me to be able to sand down myself, my husband, and my kiddos with something so simple. Try it, mommas. It works.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Five Ways to Instill a Love of Missions in Your Child

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I don't know about you, but I want my children to have more on their minds than the latest blockbuster movie or cell phone upgrade. I want them to have a heart that beats to make a difference for Jesus. These days kids are taught to succeed in life by making good grades, landing a good job, and being productive members of society. Those are great and needful things. But we often miss the foundation for it all, which is to raise our children to love Jesus and His work. It is God's job to individually call my children to an area of missions; whether that be a 9 to 5 job, a doctor, a Pastor, or an overseas missionary. It's my job to raise my children to seek His face and His will and to be an obedient disciple of Jesus Christ. It's my job to plant seeds of faith and ministry in my children's heart. No matter what our children grow up to be, they should still live with a missionary mindset because that's what it is all about - to serve Jesus and make Him known to others.

There are many opportunities where we can instill a love for missions and ministry in our kids. Here are five easy ways:

  1. Teach them to pray for others. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and He taught them. It is our job to do the same with our children. Teach them to talk to God and then teach them intercessory prayer; teach them to pray for others. Let them hear you pray - for your pastor, family, for our brothers and sisters all over the world - then teach them to pray for their friends, their Sunday School teacher, etc.
  2. Bring them to concerts like World Hope's Children of the World or His Little Feet. These choirs are made up of children from all over the world - most of them orphaned. By exposing them to children their own age who have been rescued from poverty and other desperate circumstances, you are showing them that there is a need beyond what they see in their own little world.
  3. Give and let them see you give. Give to your annual Lottie Moon Christmas offering or Annie Armstrong Easter offering. Or maybe your Church supports a missionary family overseas. However you do it, GIVE and let your children see you give!
  4. Read stories of missionaries in Christian history. Heroes of the Faith has an excellent series for adults and for children that present stories of great men and women in our history who have done amazing things for Christ. Tell them about Evangelists, missionaries, martyrs, and Church planters. Voice of the Martyr's has a wonderful DVD collection for children called the Torchlighter series that I highly recommend.
  5. Sponsor a child and involve them in the process. There are over 140 million orphans in the world today. Thousands die daily from preventable diseases, a good percentage being children. Do something about that. Websites like Danita's Children, Acres of Hope, Cry of the Orphan, and All God's Children are just some of the places where you can make a difference in a child's life.

Monday, July 1, 2013


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