Does God Really Move Mountains?

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This week I was thinking back to an event my husband and I hosted and planned for our youth ministry.  We had talked for years about doing something that is never done in a small community like the one where we were youth pastors.  We wanted to bring a Christian concert to our community – not just for our church and youth, but for all the rural communities around us!  And in thinking about the process of doing something we had no clue how to organize, I realized something….

If you want to see God move mountains, you have to dream big enough to be standing in front of a mountain!

Ok, so we started with a HUUUGE budget of $5,000!  Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?  But for us, this was about the same yearly budget we had to run the entire youth program!  And, to be honest, I have never been accused of thinking too small.  I’m a dreamer.  I see glorious visions of what I want the future to be, and most of the time it seems right out crazy.  So, we took this $5,000 beginning budget and did what we had been talking about wanting to do – bring in an awesome Christian artist to do a concert in the middle of a small farm town!

Now, the actual concert itself was awesome.  We faced some weather that made it a smaller event than it could have been (something about tornadoes ripping through the area made people leery of coming).  And, the speaker we had that night probably weren’t the greatest for the audience we reaching – teenagers.  But, I will tell you that the actual event wasn’t where God moved mountains; it was in the preparation for the event.  The mountains God moved weren’t visible to many people, mainly just my husband and I.  But when you witness God move, it does amazing things to build your faith!

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To try to keep this short, we ended up raising about another $5,000 to put on the event by reaching out to other churches, community members, doing fundraisers, asking for donations, etc.  We were able to rent a stage, use the school, bring in a second band to also do the sound and lights for less than just renting sound and lights would have been, bring our entire church together to serve free concessions, raise donations for the local food pantry (that was the “cost” of the concert), rent inflatable games and activities for pre-concert fun, giveaway autographed guitars and other prizes, train youth on how to lead others to Christ, provide an amazing lunch and dinner for the bands and speakers, get free speakers, and have many, many people offer their time to make this event amazing.  We had lots of bumps in the road, but we saw God provide in unbelievable ways – even as amazing as literally parting the storms full of tornadic activity to go around our community!  We saw donations come in from unexpected places.  We had businesses offer discounted prices for the event.  We got to talk on the phone with the actual band members and hang out with them before and after the event!

We had no idea what we were doing.  We knew it was a big task.  Yet, it was a desire we couldn’t shake.  So we stepped out in faith and God provided!  Are you ready to see God move some mountains?  Are you ready to see your faith grow in ways you never dreamed possible?  What dream is in your heart?  It doesn’t matter if it seems ridiculous, crazy, far-fetched, impossible, because God is the God of the Impossible!!  Step out!  Do it!  Start working for it!  And when that dream mountain seems to loom in front of you as blocking your path, pray hard for God to move that mountain and watch your dreams come true!!!

Could It Be That You Are The Perfect Parent?

Some of you may know that my husband and I are licensed for foster care.  Our current little guy, that we loving refer to as C-man in public, has been with us for over a year and a half now.  We have had some good times, and we have gone through some ugly times.  All part of the fostering process.  Recently, we have switch to trying to be ultra-consistent with C-man when it comes to consequences. One, so I can try to keep my calm better. And two, to help him connect the dots between behavior and consequences. Sigh. It’s amazing how you can go from normal day to shaking in frustration in 60 seconds.

So many people share with me how they feel like they aren’t the best parents and don’t know how we do what we do. Let me just take a moment to share this – parenting isn’t about doing everything right all the time; it’s about love. As a matter of fact, our children need to see us mess up, get angry, feel sad, shed tears, fail, even hurt others. Sounds crazy right? But it’s in the moments that follow all those things that really teaches our children most skills they need for life. They need to see us fix what we have messed up. They need to see how we act and calm down when we are angry. They need to see us reach out for comfort when we are sad. They need to learn that emotions are real and okay, even when the tears are flowing. They need to see us handle failure and then get up and try again. And they learn the value of humbleness and forgiveness when they see us rectify a wrong we have done to others.

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So, just for moment, give yourself a break. Perfect parents are not those who never find themselves instantly annoyed at something their kids are doing; they are not those who appear happy all the time. Perfect parents are parents who are real people with real moments who show their children that mistakes do not define us but help us to learn and grow. You and I, we love out kids. Our kids know we love them. When they hurt, they come to us. When they fail, they hear our voices telling them it will be okay. And because they have seen us move forward, they can be sure that they can too!!!

So, here’s to imperfect perfection!  Cheers!

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Nikki, The Skinny Wrap Mom

Read my story here.

When Mom is Caught Unprepared!

Just the Day in the Life of the Everyday Mom!

I have to set the stage for a moment this week when one small event sent our home into total chaos for about ten minutes and makes me chuckle just to think about it!  But, I have a feeling you’ll be picturing your own scenario very similar to mine pretty quickly!  The kids are all ready for bed and clothes are laid out for school, and they have a few minutes to play with their Lego creations before we read the bedtime story (we are currently reading through the Magic Tree House series).  I am working at the computer.  My husband is playing a game on his phone and watching a ball game on TV – a rare, quiet moment in our home (we have 5 kids between the ages of 4 and 10!).  All of a sudden, the kids come bounding up the stairs, declaring one of them has been stung by a bee!  No one is crying or screaming at this point, so my husband and I haven’t moved much yet.

Now, my 7-year-old comes to the top of the stairs from the basement, yells, “I was stung by a bee!!” and immediately begins wailing in pain!  I spring up from the computer.  My husband bounds downstairs to find this bee hanging out in our basement.  I realize I have been caught unprepared.  You know that moment when you know you must act, and you have a partial idea of what needs to be done, but you aren’t sure what to do??  And panic sets in!  The other four kids are going crazy!!  They don’t like that one child is getting so much attention from Mom and Dad, and so the game of “The Battle for Mom’s Attention” begins!  I’m trying desperately to figure out if my 7-year-old has really been stung or if he just stepped on a Lego and it pinched him (you know how much those little things hurt when you find them with your feet and toes!).  I finally see that dreaded white circle with a hole in the middle on his little pinky toe – sure enough, he’s been stung.

 

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Again, panic sets in!  I know you can mix something with baking soda to help with stings, but I can’t think of what it is!  I seem to remember reenacting my middle school science project of making a volcano explode using baking soda and another ingredient last spring when my daughter was stung three times on Father’s Day, but in the spinning of children asking questions, saying my name over and over, and my 7-year-old screaming bloody murder, I can’t seem to think of anything else!  So, I do what every good mom does…put the injury under cold water (it fixes everything right??)!  So he’s crying in the bathroom with his foot under the faucet in the tub, and I’m scrambling to read up on how to help stings!  Holy cow!  Do you know how many ideas there are???  And I didn’t have ANY of the things I was reading available!!!  Until I see Windex helps!!  So I run and grab the Windex, secretly laughing in my mind because all I can picture is the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his obsession with Windex, and head for the bathroom to dry off and then spray my son’s toe with Windex!

Then back to the computer because I am just POSITIVE the thing I want has something to do with baking soda!  Now mind you, the other four children are still playing their game of get my attention!  My head is spinning.  My heart is racing.  And in frustration I declare spankings for anyone who tries to tell me something about their Legos or ask me a question before I get everything figured out….and there is no way I would even have the time to stop and really follow through!  But, I think it did the trick for a good 30 seconds!  Whew!!  Then I find the secret recipe to help all stings….baking soda and water!!!  Ah yes, last time I tried vinegar and the white explosion had followed immediately!  Water.  So simple.  But now, WHERE IN THE WORLD DID I PUT THE BAKING SODA????  Is it in the lazy Susan?  Nope!  By the washing machine (gotta keep it from smelling!)?  Nope!  Where can it be????  My husband, like a valiant knight saving the day, finds it under the sink (of course)!!  Finally, mom to the rescue!!!!

 

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We quickly whisk my son from the bathroom to the living room, dry off his foot, and drench it in baking soda paste.  Relief!  He has calmed down.  All the children are in awe of this magnificent paste that has saved the day and are excitedly bouncing from chair to couch to couch in all their excitement!!  And now, it’s time for bed and everyone is all worked up, mom feels ready to collapse, but we sit down together to read two chapters of Jack and Annie’s adventures in the Wild West.  As we are finally getting the kiddos headed to bed and my son cleans the baking soda paste from his foot, I see him smile and declare that he will be sharing this story with all his friends at school tomorrow!  Oh yes, boys and their battle wound stories!  At that moment, this mom, though 15 minutes before was thrown into a moment of chaos made worse by being completely unprepared for the emergency, had to stop and smile at the thought of my son capturing the attention of all his little first-grade friends as he shared his tale of pain and victory over the sting he encountered while playing with Legos in the basement.  Oh yes, my heart was happy!

Why take the time to share this with you?  Well, maybe you had some moments of unprepared chaos this week like I did – short moments or events that lasted most of the week.  I know I have certainly felt like I was caught unprepared for several days in a row (ok, that was all of last week).  But in the chaos of living life as a parent, it is in those moments afterwards that we can often hear the quiet praises from our children.  No, they are directed at us with showers of affection and I love you’s.  But you can hear it in the safety of your child’s voice as they share that they feel good enough to retell their tale another day.  Yes, mom…dad….their praises are sung at us indirectly, but they are singing them constantly!!  I hope that when all the chaos pauses that you can hear the thank you and I love you in the thoughts of your child!

Also, I wanted to share, with spring finally here (I think anyway), that you should have a big box of baking soda in a spot you will know where to find it and be prepared to mix it with water when your child gets stung while playing!

Can You Own Your Own Time and Still Walk Out Your Faith?

A Moment of Transparency – From Mom to Mom

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Each and every month I find myself ever so grateful for the incredible leap of faith I took two years ago. I know what people say about my choice to pursue this business behind my back, and that’s ok. I realize it’s not the norm. But what many don’t realize is that I get to stay home with my family, take on the role of fostering, dance with my daughter before lunch, take the kids to the zoo on days off school, and make a real income!!! And it’s sometimes overwhelming. God is so much bigger than we can fathom. We tend to put His work in a box, even when we are trying not to limit Him. When you look past what you think you know, you find that opportunities to glorify Him can be found everywhere! I am reminded every month that other families are experiencing freedom from the bondage of living in debt, of trying to cut corners, of worrying about what they will do if their car breaks down unexpectedly because I took a chance – not only on myself but the chance to help others!

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From the outside looking in, home-based business owners look like weaklings who fell for a pyramid scheme and are out to just sell their friends and family. But, from the inside looking out, the picture is quite different! You see men and women desperate for a better life for their family. You see dads who are tired of missing their kids’ ballgames and victories in homework that can now retire from their job and work from home and never miss those moments again. You see moms who spend hours looking through sales and cutting coupons and balancing finances so that at the end of the month they hope to have a little leftover to pay down their credit cards. From the inside looking out, you see families with no hope they could ever stand on their own two feet owe taxes for the very first time because they actually made more than enough money to support their family with no assistance. From the inside, you hear and see the stories of lives changed because of products made from nature that literally change the health of those using them!! You see people freed from pain. You see people walk away from prescription meds they have been taking for years. You see people find hope that they can once again feel confident about who they are! You see people find hope because they have never had someone else believe in them.

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Each payday is a reminder that my life is an example of hope – hope for better health, hope for God to move mountains and heal broken spirits, hope for a future full of freedom! Can I just honestly say that it is very overwhelming? Thank you, Lord, for using my life, all of it, for Your glory!! And may it always be a reminder that better things can come when you take a chance on something new that can forever change the lives of others!!! And I want to leave this as an invitation for you to join me. Others may not understand why you decide to do this, but eventually the picture of why will be painted for them when they see others constantly grateful for the role you have played in helping them live a better life. I can’t imagine a greater opportunity for anything in the world! You’ll never know what God will do when you take a step of faith! Better things are certainly yet to come!!!  If you’re ready to take the step today, message me!  And I’ll help you get started on your own journey to inspire others!

5 Diet Myths Debunked

Have you tried to figure out what information about dieting is true and what’s myth? I have wondered the same thing too!!! So, let me share five thoughts I have found to be myths!!

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Myth – Diet Drinks Help You Lose and Maintain Lost Weight.

Truth – The artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks actually confuse your body and end up triggering your brain to crave MORE calories and sugar!! When the diet drinks fail to provide this to our body, we usually end up feeding that craving with something else in order to alleviate the cravings! Crazy, huh? Long-term, diet sodas actually increase our chances of gaining weight and encountering more health problems.

Alternative: Try mixing 1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice in 12 ounces of seltzer water!

 

Myth – Cutting Carbs is the Key to Weight Loss.

Truth – Good carbohydrates found in whole grain foods, beans, fruits and veggies are actually your body’s source for vital nutrients and fiber! It’s the sugary, refined-carbohydrate-rich foods, such as white bread, pasta and doughnuts that can cause health problems. However, even pasta in moderation can be great for you! Sometimes, it’s not the actual food that is not great for your diet, it’s the toppings you use!

Alternative: Instead of white breads, find breads that are rich in whole grains! And, instead of using sauces and cheese atop your pasta, try a little bit of olive oil and salt!

 

Myth – Eating After 8 pm Will Make You Gain Weight

I, for one, am glad this one is a myth! Calories can’t tell time! But, let’s be honest, most late night snacking involves unhealthy choices! This is one of the many reasons for this myth’s popularity. But, if late-night snacking is going to be part of your daily routine, cut some of your calories throughout the day to allow for these evening calories!

Alternative: Protein-rich snacks can help fill you up quickly and leave you satisfied for the evening. So try grabbing a few crackers with cheese, a protein bar, some fruit or yogurt for a snack! And drinking a glass of water first can help in case you’re not really hungry but thirsty!

 

Myth – Coffee Isn’t Good For You.

Truth – Coffee has actually shown in studies to have great health benefits, but all in moderation. Studies show that coffee helps stimulate brain activity and increase metabolism, which is great for aiding in weight loss!! They are also linking coffee to lower risks of certain types of cancer, diabetes and many other diseases! The problem with coffee is more with drinking too much or the things you might add in for flavor!

Alternative: Drinking black coffee instead of loading it with creams and sugar can help keep it healthier! If you find yourself drinking coffee all day long, finding a natural supplement, like our Greens, can give you the energy you are looking for along with many, many other health benefits!

 

Myth – The Less Fat You Eat, The Better.

Truth: Not all fats are created equal! Saturated and Trans Fats, found in foods like high-fat dairy products, red meat and processed foods, are fats to limit or avoid. However, healthy fats are actually vital to provide energy, rebuild cells and production of hormones. Healthy fats can be found in foods such as fish, avocado, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds. Most of the time, foods labeled low-fat may not actually contain less calories! So, it’s important to check the labels and compare to see if it’s really worth choosing the low-fat option!

Alternative: Choose foods like peanut butter, avocado, fish, nuts and seeds for healthy fats that will help fill you up!

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Can Spiderman’s Struggle With Identity Teach Me About Success?

 

I finally broke down and let my kiddos watch the Spiderman movies starring Tobey Maguire; so yes, from over 10 years ago!  My boys are at the age where superheroes invade their thoughts and imaginations.  So, after months and months of asking, we finally watched it with them.  In the second movie, Spiderman begins to lose some of his powers – his web doesn’t shoot and he falls to the ground, he can’t scale a building are the beginnings of the downhill spiral for him.  The rest of the movie is about Peter Parker struggling between being a superhero who misses out on everyday life events or setting aside his gifts so that he can be dependable and have the things he sees others getting in life.

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In the car a few days ago, my five-year-old son was talking about how Spiderman didn’t become Spiderman until the end of this movie, but it was the second Spiderman movie.  In talking to him, it occurred to me that this movie reflects the choice that all of us must make in our lives.  And of course, as a parent, it was an amazing moment to teach my son about how each of us is uniquely gifted to change the world around us, but in embracing those gifts, it may require us to sacrifice the norm.  You and I have gifts and talents given to us to use to change the world around us – to make it a better place than before we lived our lives.  We are taught by our parents at a young age that we can be anything we want to be, but as we get older, that teaching is replaced with “responsible living.”  We learn a trade. Get a job.  Get married.  Start a family.  Be the best parent we can be.  And for many of us, even the idea of retiring is more of a dream that a part of the norm.

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I don’t believe this is all that life is meant to be.  Even as we tackle the daily tasks of life, and as people teach us what they think our lives should look like or be like, I believe that we have the choice to use our gifts to change the world!  So, now we, like Spiderman, become faced with a choice – do we want what is a normal life or do we want to live a life that inspires others?  We don’t have to save life’s by swinging down at the right moment like Spiderman.  But, we can look at our gifts and talents and use them to be successful in whatever direction we have chosen to take in life – or even to pursue something we have been too afraid to do before!  I think that when we live a successful life infused with actively using our gifts and talents, we become a person that inspires others to be able to break free from the norm and live a bigger life.  That is what I want to do!  And that is what I want to encourage you to do.  Choose to live a different life.  Choose to embrace the superhero within you.  Choose to inspire others to see their gifts and talents and to embrace the life they could live working those!

Spiderman1As soon as Spiderman realized being a superhero was truly greater than being normal, he  found out how many people truly supported him AND, in accepting his destiny, he was able to allow others into his life that celebrated his uniqueness!  You and I can have that too!!  Be courageous!  You were meant to be so much more!!

There is HOPE Even When Life is Stressful!

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Just wanted to share a little from my heart today.  I’m a stay-at-home mom full time.  I’m a foster parent full time.  And I run my own business from home part time.  I try to serve at church, keep my kids active (with the hope they will have enough to look forward to and stay away from drugs and alcohol when they are older), and try to keep up with friends and family.  To be honest, life can be pretty crazy at times.  Maybe you can relate.  I forget which day is library day.  I have a note to get a certain kind of picture for one of the kids for school, but I fail to actually get it done.  I try to remember the dates of all the kids’ games, tournaments and competitions.  My job as a mom is to tutor, cook, clean, heal, organize, fix, sew, mediate and maintain my composure.  As a business leader, I teach, encourage, train, equip, lead, and work to build my own business as well.  I’m also a wife, friend, servant, daughter, sister, aunt, niece – you know all the “hats” we wear as women!  And fostering, while an incredible opportunity to impact the life of a child in need, is also a whole other world of it’s own.  Sometimes, I battle loneliness, frustration, disappointments, failures.  But, overall, I have opportunities to experience blessings others dream of doing!  I share this all to let you know I found something that has helped my thrive in all these areas, wearing all the “hats” I need to wear in life!!!  It has changed everything for me!  I don’t want any prescriptions to help me through what I feel is normal life.  Can you relate??  But maybe you,  like me, could use a little something to help you focus and remain patient through it all?  That’s when I tried a supplement called Confianza!  It’s an all-natural anti-stress supplement!  And, wow, has it made a world of difference for me!!!  And not just me, but I have heard countless other stories of others who were struggling, in all the blessings around them, to live with joy!!!  Maybe it will help you too!!!  Click on the picture to learn more!!

Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser and Giveaway!!!

breast-cancer-awareness-month-1024x853Between now and October 31st, I am donating 10% of all extra orders (outside your regular monthly order) of all my loyal customers (whether you have been actively ordering or not!) to help breast cancer awareness!!!  PLUS, anyone who places a retail order between now and October 31sth will also have 10% of their order donated as well!!!  Then, at the end of the month, every person who helped raise money by ordering will have their name placed in a drawing to win a FREE product of choice!!!  Spread the word!!!  Let’s help raise more awareness and help save lives!!!  (To be entered, please e-mail me, TheAmazingSkinnyWrap@Gmail.com and include your order # for you entry into the drawing!)  One name will be drawn and announced on my facebook page on November 1st!!! Click here to order now!

Cheesy Baked Eggs with Bacon and Avocado Recipe

3169-large_Cheesy Baked Eggs with Bacon and Avocado.jpgThis looks AMAZING!!!  Enjoy!

  • 1 tbs olive oil or melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cups roasted red pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cups sundried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cups steamed kale or spinach, chopped
  •  a couple pinches of dried thyme
  • 2 strips bacon, crumbled
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • medium avocado, sliced

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Butter or oil ramekins or individual pie dishes. Add two eggs each to the ramekins. Season eggs with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Layer the ramekins with shredded mozzarella. Add the red pepper, tomatoes, and steamed kale to the ramekins. Bake for 10-15 mins, take the eggs out around 10 minutes if you prefer runnier eggs.
  2. Once the eggs are done to your liking, set them aside for a few minutes to cool off. While the eggs are cooling off, slice an avocado. Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the eggs and top it off with the avocado. Serve immediately.

Let me know if you try it!!

Making the News!! Wraps for Traveling…Yup!!!

Grooming Products Made Easy for Fall Travel – Published by Beauty News NYC.

Another skeptic has tried the wrap and found out how incredible it really is!!!  Check out the story for yourself here!!  It’s a must-have item for your traveling man this year!  Get your wraps NOW!!!  Or click “Buying Options” at the top to learn more about what options you have to purchase your wraps!

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