Be a Part of a Miracle with #MiracleMom Products!

This post is part of the #MiracleMom campaign with Children’s Miracle Network and Chico’s FAS, Inc. I was given these gifts as part of the campaign. I was not compensated in any other way for this post.

I have been connected to Children’s Miracle Network since my high school days. As part of our high school Key Club, every year we would stay up late working the phones for the Children’s Miracle Network telethon! It was so much fun and we heard lots of amazing stories of children saved through the medical care they received at CMN hospitals.

Now, as a mom, the work of Children’s Miracle Network hospitals is even more meaningful to me. Last year, I had the honor of touring our local children’s hospital and it moved me to the core. These hospitals that specialize in the care of children are so important, so life-changing, so necessary.

I am proud to be partnering with Children’s Miracle Network and the Chico’s FAS, Inc family of brands as a #MiracleMom to share a way YOU can be a part of the miracle through a few special purchases this week!

Support your local Children's Miracle

Every year, 10 million children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment. That’s 10 million miracles. Some miracles are small, some are large, but they are all made possible by donations.

Each of these special products from the Chico’s FAS, Inc family of brands provides money to your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. These funds help provide so much for local kids receiving treatment for every illness and injury imaginable. Things like blankets in the NICU, child life services often not covered by insurance and funding towards research or specialized equipment.

Let me tell you about some of the beautiful products being offered as part of this fundraising effort! 

CMN charm bracelet

Chico’s will donate $10.00 from every $20.00 purchase of their “Miracle Charm” bracelet. I’m not usually a charm bracelet fan because they are often too big for my wrist, but this one is adjustable and has so much meaning! That balloon is my favorite – the symbol of Children’s Miracle Network!

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White House Black Market will donate $15.00 from every $30.00 purchase of their “Convertible Miracles” necklace. What a beautiful, delicate necklace that means so much. You can wear all three parts together – which looks fabulous – but you can also wear each piece separately or mix and match! It can go with any neckline! I included the picture above so you can see where each part of the necklace hits on a regular crew neck top!

Two other opportunities to purchase with a purpose  for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals include:

I love these opportunities to shop and support the causes we love. Children’s Miracle Network hospitals are definitely one of those causes for me. Get out and shop these #MiracleMom products – or shop online in your PJs! – this week to make a difference!

Which #MiracleMom product is your favorite?


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MOPS: The Community I Needed at Just the Right Time

As if having a second child isn’t enough of a change, we also went through me leaving my job to stay home, trying to sell a house, and The Hubby starting medical school all at the same time back in 2008.

I’m pretty sure we had gone insane.

Being these things we are life changes we really wanted, we were happy to go through them. But I also knew I needed a little help getting into my stay-at-home mom groove. You may think being a teacher would have prepared me to be at home with little ones all day. Um, no. It’s very different.

And that’s when MOPS entered my life. Actually, I had been jealous of all my stay-at-home mom friends attending MOPS for two years after I had Big J while I continued working. I was ready for it.

The first morning of MOPS arrived and I was getting the kiddos – 2 years old and 2 months old – and Little J had one of his biggest blowouts EVER. Yes, it was that memorable. At least it was at home, but all you mamas out there know how that can just throw off your morning, right?!

We made it to MOPS…somehow in clean clothing…and Big J had no trouble going to childcare. I happily settled in to a table with some warm breakfast foods and pretty tables and I was surrounded by other ADULTS! I was still reeling a little from our messy morning, but it just felt so good to sit there and have a conversation.

Now here’s my favorite part, because this is when the community of MOPS became just what I needed at just the right time…

The MOPS coordinator got up to introduce the leadership team and each one was giving away one of her favorite things. She started and said her kids were prone to massive blowouts and that a stain stick had become her best friend. The person whose child had most recently had a blowout would win the stain stick! BINGO! I was the winner!

It may sound weird that I bonded with these moms over poop, but it’s true. It doesn’t get much more real than that, people, and in that moment I felt like they GOT ME.

May 17, 2011_2_opt


Some of my MOPS friends at our glam end-of-the-year awards ceremony!

I continued in MOPS for three years, with two years as a co-coordinator, and stopped going to homeschool Big J. Those three years of connecting, bonding, encouraging moms really changed me in so many areas. It was great for my transition to staying at home because I was surrounded by moms going through the same daily joys and trails, as well as ones who had been there, done that, and SURVIVED!

And what makes MOPS different is that faith is at the center of it all. Even when we are home along with our kids, we’re never actually alone. He is walking with us every step of the way. One year, the MOPS verse of the year was from Psalm 139 and I think of it often…

even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast. ~Psalm 139:10

Even there represents EVERYWHERE. He is always with us, always seeing us, always guiding us, even in the laundry room and the kitchen and the doctor’s office and the playground and the grocery store.

I am feeling very blessed today to share with you about MOPS because I believe so strongly in what they are doing to connect and empower moms in Christ, but I’m even more excited because I get to giveaway a one year MOPS membership! Just enter below!

Thank you to MOPS for asking me to be a part of this fun month and giveaway! Check out the MOPS site for all the benefits of membership and to find a group near you. And take a peek at their brand new blog, Hello, Darling while you’re there!

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The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Getting My Spark Back

It’s not just because of winter. I’ve felt a little dull for a while now.

Not dull as in boring, but dull as in not bright, not sharp.

I used to be bubbly and optimistic and a total social butterfly. Yep, I’m the one who constantly got a check next to the “talk too much” box on her report card. In elementary school.

I’m not sure what exactly to blame the dullness on – lack of sleep, the hormone rollercoaster that comes along with being pregnant and nursing, a never-ending to-do list that felt like it was swallowing me whole – I can’t really pinpoint it. I have not felt sad or hopeless or depressed – just BLAH. And the strangest part is that 2012 was a GREAT year for me and for our family – one of the best ever. But still…

Late last year, partially thanks to reading Desperate, I started to realize that I did NOT like my current frame of mind. I related so much to this quote from Sally…

Sitting in the dark, I could suddenly sense the Lord whispering in my ear, “Don’t neglect to see the beauty of life around you while being overwhelmed by the duties of life.”

I don’t know that many people would notice much of an outward difference in my behavior, but ho-hum, cynical, sometimes pessimistic thoughts had taken the place of my old eternal optimist self. I wasn’t feeling like there was much to get excited about in my day-to-day.

I kind of felt like a punch in the gut to make this realization, but a good one, if that makes any sense at all.

What in the world do I have to feel pessimistic or cynical about? Nothing, I tell you. And allowing those thoughts to take over had stolen some of my spark for life as well.

Then God got a hold of me in a few ways to say, “You have LOTS to be excited about, my dear, and I’m going to help you find that spark again!”

It started with my word for 2013: celebrate. Celebrate isn’t about parties and presents, but about the way I want to live every day: celebrating the life God gave me, the calling He has placed on me, the people with which He has surrounded me! One day it meant dancing in the kitchen with Double J, another meant making homemade donuts just to see the smile on the faces of all of my guys. Challenging myself to find reasons to celebrate has made me smile and be silly and I’m loving the word He gave me for this year so much already!

The word of the year choice also naturally led into my commitment to take Ann’s Joy Dare – counting 1,000 gifts in my life in 2013. I used to write a Multitude Monday post here every Monday counting my blessings, but it started to feel unnatural to share those blessings for all to read, so I stopped for a while. Now, I’m craving the counting and, just 14 days into 2013, I’m so glad I took this dare! I have a little moleskine notebook next to my bed to record these gifts each night and my soul rests well when I end the day with gratitude.

Desperate also helped me realize how good creating is for the well-being of my mind. Sally wrote this in a note to Sarah Mae…

Celebrate life in your home in the ways that bring your pleasure. Cultivating the art of life in your home not only brings you happiness, but it makes your home a lively, fun, fulfilling place.

I love making beautiful things, whether it is food or a crochet project or decor for our home. Creating is calming and exciting for me, all at the same time. And a creative project can be completed, which feels like a major accomplishment in the world of laundry and dishes and diaper changes that just don’t stop! I’ve made it one of my goals to do something creative each and every day, even if it is only for five minutes!

And to round this all out, God sent me one more way to bring my spark back. The opening sermon series at our church for 2013 is called “Ignite.” I kid you not. It’s all about bringing back the spark in our relationship with God. He really does give us the desires of our heart when they are lined up with His, doesn’t He?! I know my joy and spark for life are truly found when I am regular communion with Him.

This week’s sermon was about the study of God’s Word. My passion for daily morning study of the Word has come and gone in recent years, but this Advent, I dove into the Good Morning Girls Advent study using the SOAP method and rediscovered how much I LOVE starting my day that way! I’m now working through the current She Reads Truth: Fresh Start plan on YouVersion using the SOAP method. I crave that time in the Word as much as I crave my morning coffee. I call that a “win” towards getting my spark back!

I’m not content to live a dull life, expecting each day to be just like all the rest, missing out on the joy of living with Him and for Him and surrounded by His blessings. The life of a mom is full of routine and responsibility, but it does NOT have to put out your spark for life!

If you’re feeling like I was, let me pray for you and me and all who feel like life is making them dull. There is joy in the midst of the every day and we must each find what ignites the spark in our own lives and make those things a priority!

And if you are a mom feeling this way, I must recommend you read Desperate. You will find encouragement and hope and understanding there. Read it with a friend. Share your feelings with someone who will listen and pray and help. You are not alone.


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The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook