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Friendship

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the boomerang effect {on friendship}

God created us to live life together.  The beauty of today is we can still be friends even if we don't live right down the road.  Good friends are an investment in life; something that we can't do without. If you've ever had to move and leave good friends behind, may this post encourage you on how to keep those friendships alive. 

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women are scary {+ mother's day giveaway winners!}

One thing that I love about writer's conferences is you meet other writers. Seems obvious, right? But, it surprises me every time. This past year at Allume, I sat at the same dinner table as Melanie Dale and instantly fell in love with her wit and humor. Melanie blogs at unexpected.org and is the author of Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends. To get a taste of Melanie, check out this video about the book:

 Melanie describes herself as a geek on a God-ride, a minivan mama and total weirdo that stinks at small talk. She says in her book that finding mom friends is a lot like dating and I love how she has coined this awkwardness as "momlationships."

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Just like there are bases in dating, she says that there are bases we have to run to when we are trying to become friends with other women. We start at First Base, the place where we "date" and make small talk, trying to figure out if we want to go to second base with our friend. If we make it there, you will learn how to "Wield your wildnerness like a boss" and once we do that, we are running towards third, the place where is gets real (and also the place where we have to navigate your child's social awkwardness). She says that if we can do this, we make it to fourth base, the base that declares us as the ultimate friends. Melanie also gives advice on how to navigate a momlationship break-up and praying for a bromance to happen with your husband and hers.

This book is full of fun and humor! But, also real advice. While reading this book, I get these two completely different quotes on the same page, "My dream last night was Jane Austen meets Inception. People in knee pants were worrying about a helix and fiddling with gadgets. My brain is weird" and then "Life is more comfortable when we're ourselves, and the more you just be you, the more you'll attract two types of people, people like you and people who like you." I just love her wit and I think you will too.

So, if you've just moved or are starting over in the momlationship department, I'd highly recommend you pick this book to read. Even if you have a good set of friends but are wanting to get to know the other moms in your kids class or baseball team or the mom who sits in the bleachers at gymnastics and you just smile at one another as you sit in silence the whole time....this book could be good for those kind of momlationships too.

Thanks again to everyone that participated in our Mega Mother's Day Giveaway!

The winners are:

Women are Scary is Kristin Hill Taylor

Mom's Night Out - Ruth G

May the Lord Bless You Print - Courtney Szollosy

Surprised by Motherhood - Michelle Cain

Be on the lookout for an e-mail from me if you won!

Till next time, let your light shine,

Blessings, christen

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the truth about Easter

One of my favorite memories of the past year was hosting our church's small group Easter egg hunt. It was so much fun to watch all the kids run around our new yard searching for eggs and to capture their giggles as our sweet baby chicks (who now rest in peace) flapped their wings in their hands. I hope you enjoy this post today as we get ready for a weekend full of egg hunts and Easter fun. :) The azaleas are blooming bright white and magenta pink here in the south.  Grass, prickly and green, shoots up making way for bare feet to graze. Our days are getting longer, warmer. Easter is almost here, reigning in the sweetness of spring. 

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Children enjoy baby chicks, coloring eggs in soft pastels, hunting. They wait for a bunny to bring them gifts of chocolate, a new dress, toys. They learn about Jesus and a cross; how he died for us then came back to life three days later. The real is mixed with the make believe;  coloring their perception of the holiday. 

Why do we combine a sacred act with secular activities? 

Two thousand years ago Jesus gave up perfection for our imperfections. He suffered death on the cross so we could live.  This was ugly, painful, sad. But, you know what was the ugliest, painfulness, saddest part of it all?  Many people still did not believe that he was the Chosen King, the Redeemer, the Son of God. 

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So, somewhere between then and now, those that did believe mixed in the hard Truth around a holiday that celebrates spring; rebirth.  Because maybe, just maybe, a child may learn the symbolism of Christ's rebirth too.  Or, a mother might dress her family up for church this one time of the year and hear some good news that she didn't even know she needed to hear. While eating the Easter spread of ham and casseroles, some might bow their head and genuinely say thanks.

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We combine Jesus' sacrifice with bunnies and baby chicks as an act of celebration.   Finding chocolate hidden in Easter eggs can be a way to teach kids about finding Christ.  Picking flowers and wearing sundresses reminds us to be joyful for the life that we've been given.

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This is the beginning of Holy Week and the end of the Lenten season. May we enjoy all of the celebrations of the season while remembering the cost of the first celebration. Might we use the secular activities to teach the sacred act. Let us be joyful and thankful as we are reminded of the mercy we are continually shown.

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Happy Easter week sweet friends.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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25 Reasons to Come Out of Hibernation this Spring

Happy Holy Week friends! As you prepare for Easter this week, might this post help you to fully embrace spring and all that this season has to offer. Make sure you download the free printable at the end. :)

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When it comes to spring, I have this insatiable need to start over, have a better outlook, feel fresh and new. It has to be a seasonal thing, much like cleaning out my closet, making room for the bright shirts and swing dresses instead of the heavy coats and worn out shoes. On Sunday, as I greeted families attending our church and later as I watched Les Miserables at home, I understood why this need thrusts out of its' place where it has been hiding all winter: tomorrow has come, a new season has arrived, and Jesus has defied all laws of science just so I can live free another day, another spring.

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Easter seemed so early this year but it was in fact right on time. For me, at least. Because Easter this year was more than the meal, the new dress, the perfect picture. It was about realizing that life is a gift, death is real, and love conquers all.

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Families don't eat the Easter ham and grandmothers don't cook the favorite dessert just because. No, we gather out of love, to celebrate this victorious new day, new season, new beginning to the way we view life.

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Love has to reside inside us for it to come out of us and reach others.

Jesus taught us that love is a sacrifice of self for others. Boy, do I need that lesson right now. During lent, I was gently and acutely aware of how selfish I really am. I've been told that I'm selfish since I was a little girl and each time I heard the words they stung; like a hot skillet touching the flesh. But, this year, as I finally admitted my selfishness, I breathed deeply, asking for help. I realized this Easter that I am selfish but Jesus is not.

And, if I look deep inside , I can discern his voice over my flesh.

And, that voice is love.

And hope.

And, it's not too late to get past this and have a better tomorrow.

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I thought becoming a mother would prove to everyone (and myself if I'm being totally honest) that I wasn't selfish. But, as my toddler twins beg for my attention, dinner has yet to be made, laundry is everywhere, work is heavy, all I want is to run. Run to a place where I have no responsibility and can just focus on me. This past year, moving closer to family has given me more opportunities to take time for myself. It's been such a treat but it has made my selfishness increase instead of decrease. Some days I've abused this alone time and it has caused more loneliness, less rejuvenation. I think last week, as I refocused my energy on my family, I realized that I'm less selfish when I pass out love instead of just focusing on what matters to me. And suddenly, I had nothing to prove.

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Even if snow is on the ground where you live, spring is here. Jesus is offering us this chance to grab his hand and delight in the reawakening of our hibernated, selfish souls.

Just as we receive candy from our Easter eggs, Jesus gives us 25 reasons to come out of hibernation this spring to begin living better tomorrows and start over fresh and new {download for free}.

25 reasons to come out of hibernation this spring

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1. bright eyes to start your day: having enough will to get out of bed, be alert, and begin a new day

2. nourishment in the slow instead of frantic in the fast: slow down, sit, breathe in spring because it only lasts for a little while

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3. dates with dad: he is the boy who will walk you down the aisle one day and give you away...cherish this man who gives you so much.

4. a place to kneel: life is so incredibly hard if we do it on our own...finding a spot to offer your humble pride in prayer can change your life.

5. warm breezes: may they sweep you up and set you free. open your arms, tilt your head toward the sky and inhale deeply.

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6. curtains pulled open to allow sunlight to invade your insides: don't let your soul hide behind dark drapes - be authentic and let his light in.

7. local honey drizzled on fresh-out-of-the-oven biscuits: can't think of a better food to start your day, pick you up at lunch, or offer you comfort in the evening.

8. destinations unknown: travel with your spouse or friend, have an adventure, don't worry about the schedule.

9. parties to celebrate miracle lives: another way to say thank you for another day with the precious people you adore.

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10. play dates where shoes are lost and smiles are found: go to a park or a friend's house, don't stress over having it all together and just. be. happy. because your responsibility will still be there even when you leave the playground.

11. nights for walking: the best way to get what's off your chest and absorb God's beauty and grace.

12. fields full of families on blankets and flying kites: enjoy your Saturday and leave the housework at home. spring is a gift for families to enjoy one another.

13. for sale signs signifying courage to take new steps: pray for direction and pray for who will live in that home once you are gone.

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14. notebooks to capture memories and dreams: even if you don't say your heart out loud, write it down.  there is something incredibly powerful that happens when you see the letters of your heart written.

15. strawberries to remind us that life is tart and sweet: without the tart, we wouldn't know just how sweet life really is. so allow the tart instead of controlling; allow it to contort not only your face but your soul into a position that offers sweet sacrifice enabling you to grow.

16. bold colors to stimulate our souls and energize our brains: get caught in color and let it move you!

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17. a new bloom of flowers brings a new bloom in you: what better way to have hope for the future?

18. mama's bed for slumber parties: go ahead, break the rules every now and then.  take a deep whiff of their freshly washed hair and hear the steady rhythm beating of their hearts beating in the middle of the night.

19. finances to bless others: if you can, what's stopping you?

20. words to keep in your pockets: some words we need to hold on to; these words help us find the strength to press forward, believe.

21. friends to shower: laugh big, hug tight, and show the people most important to you just how much you care about them.

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22. candlelight dinners on the back porch: tuck the kids in bed, pop the cork, eat the steak, and take time to talk.

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23. the smell of fresh grass after a mid-afternoon rain: reflect on how rain washes the dirt away and watch the tiny green heads grow a little taller.

24. fresh bread to welcome new neighbors: how scary it is to move somewhere new; why not give a little comfort?

25. first toe's dip into the water's edge: you know it is going to be icy cold but you do it anyway.  dare to accept the challenge of this crazy thing we call life.

Be sure to download these 25 Reasons to Come Out of Hibernation this Spring for free today.  Make up your own 25 reasons too.  What are some of your reasons?

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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more than family {find me at the mom initiative today}

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My sister-in-law, Kari Beth, is more than family to me. She's my friend.

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Before she and I married brothers, we shared a suite in our freshman dorm. It was totally arranged by God that we would be suitemates because we had actually met as little girls through a mutual friend who had moved from Kari Beth's hometown to mine. So, when her dark ponytail bounced through our bathroom door to say hello on a blazing hot August day ten years ago, I knew that this was someone meant to be in my life.

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Since then, we've shared pizza together in a trailer, books on the beach, and stood by each other's side as we married two amazing guys. She's been there for me, and I've tried my hardest to be there for her even though we've lived in two different cities for the past six years. Because that's what you do - show up and support each other - for family and for friends.

To read more, head on over to The Mom Initiative.

REGISTER NOW for the

2014 M.O.M. Conference ~ BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd,

 Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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