Thursday, February 28, 2013

Friday's Favorites- Our Top 3 Travel Spots

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Naples, FL (one of our favorites)

Roslyn and I love to travel.  We are blessed that our families are able to travel together yearly.  Whether it's a road trip to a family reunion, a beach trip with our girlfriends or a peaceful week in the mountains, our vacations are always an exciting time.  We are busy moms, wives, and career women who work hard so naturally we should play hard!  Even God rested during the time He spoke creation into existence.

Genesis 2:1-2 (NIV)

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

A "time-out" is necessary for reflection, restoration, and relaxation.  We thought we would list our top 3 (ok, we gave you 4) travel spots to help inspire you to take a well deserved break.

North Carolina/Tennessee State Line
August 2012

  1. Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  2. Savannah, Georgia
  3. Red Rock Canyon, NV
  4. Hoover Dam
    Red Rock Canyon, NV
  5. BONUS:  Florida beaches

Miami Beach, FL

Life is precious.  Time will not wait for you.  Live. Love. Laugh.  You are a child of the precious King.  Enjoy the beauty He surrounds you with each and everyday.  While you're enjoying life, let us know your favorite travel spot.  It just might inspire our next vacation.  (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Top 3 Parenting Must Do's

Renee's 2011 Family photo shoot
Photo credits: Delana Brooks
Roslyn and I are both mothers.  Between the two of us we have four beautiful children.  One thing we know for sure, parenting is the most rewarding privilege but it doesn't come without challenges.  Holding your baby in your arms while they are infants and toddlers provides security not only for the baby, but also for us as parents.  While they are young we have complete control over their little lives.  We select their foods, plan their play dates and choose their friends.  We have a big part in determining who they will be in relationship with.  Once they start to mature into their tween and teen years, they begin to establish their own bonds with youngsters their age.  We only have a short window of time to be influential regarding their relationships

As parents, we are the greatest influence in our children's lives.  Good or bad.

It is important for us to maximize the time we have to inspire our kids to make respectable choices regarding their friendships.  The Bible has several scriptures that discuss the dangers of bad people connections.

Proverbs 13:20 (MSG)

"Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces."

Proverbs 27:17 (NLV)

Iron is made sharp with iron, and one man is made sharp by a friend.

From early on in our children's lives, we must be intentional regarding their relationships.  It is vital for their success.  A friend relationship implies that there is an attachment.  One of love and concern.  It's hard not to imitate those we love.  Whether their actions are positive or negative.  Here are 3 parenting must do's:

  • Encourage and nurture your child's relationship with Jesus Christ.
    • Pray with them
    • Read scriptures with them on a daily basis
    • Attend church with them on a regular basis. 
Deuteronomy 6:5 (MSG)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!

  • Be deliberate with the adult relationships for your children.
    • If they're not talking to you, they're talking with someone.  Strategically placing adults in your child's life with similar morals and values will prove very beneficial. 
    • Become a small group or youth leader in your church and build strong relationships with other adult leaders who will be a great influence on your children.
    • Find mentors in your family or community (coworkers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, community leaders)
  • Allow your children to participate in community service events.
    • "Something powerful happens when you partner with other influences who desire to instill a sense of mission into the hearts of your children." (Excerpt from Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof)

Luke 12:48b (NIV)

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Posted by Renee)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Look close.  Spring is in the air!

It's been a month since my surgery and I'm finally released to take slow and easy walks outside.  My daughter walked with me the other day and she gently asked me to stop and enjoy the views along the way.  We saw a charming red robin fluently flying from tree to tree.  Some of the trees were still stripped of their leaves because of winter, but there were a few with flowering buds (pictured above) that signaled, spring is near!  These were the first signs that a new season was on the horizon and I was encouraged.

New growth.  New possibilities. 

Trees, flowers, even animals that hibernate or lay dormant during winter will come alive in springtime.  In our own personal lives, the same holds true.  Everything has a season.  A right time for everything.  Suffering won't last forever.  We have the hope of a new day in our lives and the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes (MSG) states it so eloquently.

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

Our prayer for you this weekend is that you would hold fast to the hope and surety of a brighter day.  Don't you dare worry about what tomorrow holds.  The battle is already won! (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Peace in my Pieces

3 weeks since surgery
Thanks to each of you for your prayers!

There are times in my life when the peace of God overtakes me and I feel like I can conquer the world.  I stand confident in the fact that nothing will hinder God’s purpose in my life.  Those are the moments when I truly live out the promise that God will give me peace that passes human understanding. 
Then there are times when I feel like God is nowhere near.  I pray and I wonder if He hears.  I try and find peace in the middle of my doubts and fears but the worry of the situation can take over.  Even though I’ve grown up in church, study His word, and share it with others, I still have times when I have to search for peace like so many others.
I’m not sure why those moments of uncertainty creep in because God’s word is clear.  Early in scripture Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”  He also tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV), “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  It’s obvious that God wants us rock solid in our faith!  He desires for us to have peace but for us to bear the fruit of peace, we must possess it within.  We can’t give to others, what we don’t securely own. 
It’s important to understand that peace is not the absence of adversity.  Instead, it’s calm in the center of turbulence.  Challenges in our life are a given but peace can only come through Christ.  I wanted to share just a few ways that I find peace:
Having a simple conversation with God will be of great assistance to encourage you.  Crying out to Him while sharing your doubts and fears help to bring a positive outlook on the situation.
Reading Scriptures:
There are scriptures to deal with every challenge under the sun.  Whether you’re dealing with children, finances, marriage or other issues, there are passages of scripture to encourage you along the journey.  Most Bibles have a glossary that will lead you to scriptures based on common subjects.
Sometimes the peace of God arises within me after I have soaked my journal with tears.  Writing is a place where I can explode through the written word.  It provides me an opportunity to spill out my feelings on the paper because keeping my emotions bottled up can be detrimental.
Focusing my thoughts:
I often focus on the problems in my life.  I hesitate to give full thought to how much God has blessed my life.  I’ve come to learn that whatever you focus on will expand in your mind.  A simple thought will soon become a large, worrisome, avalanche of a problem.  Satan knows that if he’s able to take our thoughts away from the wonderful provision of Christ, he would have accomplished his task.  Whenever I feel myself concentrating on the problem versus God’s blessings, I quickly stop the thought process by reciting out loud Philippians 4:8 (NLT) Christian brothers, keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of.  If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things.”
My prayer is that in the middle of your circumstance, you will find peace.  It starts with an ability to trust God at His word.  Once the peace of God rises within, you will be able to share it with others.  (Posted by Renee)

Today's post is a repost from my guest post at GFC Beautiful Blog.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Friday Favorites-LIPGLOSS

Essence Magazine-March 2013
We thought it would be fabulous to share with our readers some of our favorite things.  

I have a secret obsession with lipstick and lipgloss.  I don't wear much makeup but I love a great lip.  I am always searching for a new hot color-red, pink, bronze, orange, matte, glossy, lip shimmer or frosty I will try it.

A few of my fav MAC lipsticks!
My top cosmetic lines to buy are Bobbi Brown and MAC.  But, I will even pick up a nice shade from Cover Girl while buying groceries at Publix. My Essence magazine provides the perfect inspiration on the hottest lip trends.  Below is a sampling of my stash!

Here are my top 3 picks:

  1. MAC Rebel Lipstick
  2. Bobbi Brown Black Ruby 8 Lipgloss
  3. MAC C-Thru Lipgloss

P.S. On any given day I carry about 10 different colors in my handbag, I told you I'm OBSESSED!!

Send us a comment and let us know one of your favorite things. (Posted by Roslyn)
Lipgloss Mania

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Love Day!

Well it's Valentine's Day.  A day where we celebrate LOVE.  Whether you are single, engaged, or married, it's a wonderful day to remember the power of LOVE and all that it means to be in LOVE.  Enjoy this gentle reminder from I Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG):

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Live. Love.Laugh

Share a hug with a co-worker, laughter with a friend, a kiss with your spouse, or an encouraging word to anyone that will listen.  It's LOVE day! (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Purpose of my Surgery Pain

1 day after surgery
I'm writing this blog exactly one week after having major surgery.  Over the coming weeks I will have to give my body time to rest so that it can swiftly flow through the healing process.  I wanted to share a little of my experience and the lessons learned along the way.

Heading into surgery I was nervous because I've only been in the hospital to give birth. The thought of iv sticks, having blood drawn and feeling pain was overwhelming.  When they allowed my mom and husband to finally say good bye from the pre-op area before surgery, I lost it. 

Tears flowed.  I was so nervous and scared.

In the weeks leading into surgery, my husband had only one request, please don't cry when they roll you away.  So much for that.  I blew it.

I realized that even though I fully knew and trusted God's ability to heal me, my thoughts of the procedure over took my knowledge of His ability.  In the midst of my tears, my mom whispered, "Renee, say some scriptures."  I couldn't even remember one verse in that moment.  I guess that's why the father in Mark 9:24 cried out, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I certainly believed that God would bring me through, but the unbelief as to how and when weighed heavy.  Thankfully surgery went well and two days later I was discharged to heal at home. 

Pain has been apart of the healing process.

Even though doctors try and help you manage the discomfort, there will be pain that comes with healing.  I soon realized that the pain was necessary to trigger my awareness of my limitations.  With numerous stitches, if I didn't feel some pain at times, I could move in the wrong direction causing a tear and major damage.

My pain served a major purpose.  On the days when I felt just a little better, pain would remind me that I was still healing and it would be a process to full recovery.  At the time of this writing, I am still pretty tender, unable to drive, and fatigued most of the day with even the slightest task, but with each passing moment, I'm that much closer to a full recovery!  (Posted by Renee)

1st week after surgery.
Well wishes from my sister and her family.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fun Friday-Kid Celebration!

I have a little extra time on my hands these days so I decided to organize my kids artwork.  Whenever they bring home new art pieces, they are so excited and I love it! 

I wanted to share some of my favorites, hoping they will bring you some joy before the weekend.

Hannah brought this home last year.  She's always loved the color purple.  In this painting, she used several shades of purple to create a beautiful masterpiece.

We loved this painting so much we had it matted for framing.  We find it's such a cost effective way to honor our children's artwork and lovingly display it in our home.

I always LOVE my little man's hand or footprint on artwork.  It captures his growth in such a fun way!

Here's another example of Jordan's "handy" work.

We hope this post inspires you to celebrate and honor your kids this weekend.  They are so precious in God's kingdom.  Mark 10:13-16 shows us just how much:

Mark 10:13-16 (MSG)

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Share some of your kids artwork on our Facebook  page.  We would love to see it! (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mind Your Own Business

I love to "gather" information.  Some might say it's being nosy, but I beg to differ.  If a friend shares she's not feeling well, I'll want to know why.  If I find out that someone is in the hospital, my next question might be, "Oh no, what happened?"  For years in my career I was tasked with asking questions to investigate claims.  It's now spilled into my personal relationships.

Recently during a conversation with my mom's friend, she shared with me her guiding principal in life.  It stems from the text in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV):

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands....

WOW!  What an awesome scripture.  Since reading it, I've tried to make it apart of my daily living.  It is how I will aim to please God as we are directed to in I Thessalonians 4.  Let's look at this simple text a little further.
Peaceful St. Pete beach

  • Make it your ambition
    • This is our goal in life.   An uncomplicated way to live that delights God.
  • Lead a quiet life
    • Some translations of this scripture admonishes us to lead a quiet and peaceful life.  Keep your atmosphere free from drama and stress.  Stay calm and don't worry.  Trust God and share with Him your problems and fears.  Try your best to stay in an environment that is composed, tranquil, and serene! 
  • You.....mind your own business
    • Even though others around you might not be working toward this goal, YOU should.  The words are very direct.  Mind your own business.  Don't gossip or spread rumors.  You have your own issues to be concerned with. 
    • 2 Timothy 2:16 (NLV)
      Do not listen to foolish talk about things that mean nothing. It only leads people farther away from God.
  • Work with your hands
    • Let me quickly point out that we are supposed to work.  The word of God tells us if we don't work, we don't eat.  Do your work.  Earn your living by your own efforts.  Not the efforts of others. 
    • I Thessalonians 4:12: "We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends." (MSG)

Share with us the scripture that's a guiding force in your everyday life. (Posted by Renee)