Archive for the ‘#ultrablog’ Category

February Bloglovin’ Blog Hop

Join the February Bloglovin’ Blog Hop here! I’m still paying forward the blog love!

Leave me a comment with the # of your blog and I’ll give you at least one extra social media shout out! 😀

Leave me a comment with the # of the favorite blog you READ on the list and I’ll give you AND that blog at least one extra social media shout out! 🙂

Co-Host Carrie

Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up
Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up


Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up
1, Please follow your host and co-hosts.
2. Add your link directly to your Bloglovin’ profile in the linky. You will need to manually upload your profile photo.
3, Visit and follow at least 2-3 other bloggers.
4. Tweet and share this hop! 
Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up

Happy Kids, Inc.


Beautifully Broken

At the end of the sermon Sunday, a video was played showing several people engrossed in their electronic devices while life was going on around them. One of the images was a proposal taking place in front of a sunset.

For some reason the image reminded me of vacation.

Typically our family takes a beach vacation. I sit under an umbrella and read book after book for a week or more while the rest of the family scavenges for shells, shark’s teeth, sea glass, sand dollars, and various other treasures. Every so often I will join them in the water to cool down a bit, but I never stay too long for fear of burning.

Vacation is my chance to catch up on recreational reading that I don’t get to do much of during the rest of the year. Some years I have read as many as twenty novels while lying on the beach under an umbrella.

This year my teenagers started making comments about me reading months before we packed for our dream trip to Sanibel Island. They weren’t being mean, simply dreaming out loud what vacation would look like for all of us.

However, it kind of hurt my feelings that they were counting me out of their plans. They had already decided that I would sit in one spot, babysit our belongings, and read by myself while they did all the things we had been talking and dreaming about since they had been in elementary.

Not this year. I thought. This year I’m going to do everything everyone else does. I’m not going to be holder of the stuff. I’m not going to be the responsible one, the good behavior example. We only have a couple summer vacations left before they leave for college. Who knows if we’ll ever travel as a family again after that. I’m going to participate. Not watch.

When it came time to pack, I didn’t include any physical books. I didn’t download any e-books onto my Kindle. I didn’t even grab a magazine for the road. And I didn’t say a word about what I wasn’t doing to anyone else.

When we headed to the beach on day two, no one even packed chairs down the path. If mom wasn’t sitting in them, no one else would feel a need to go keep her company every so often.

All three members of my family had found extremely unique, amazing shells within a day or two of combing the beach. I spent pretty much the entire time on the beach searching for my something special, and hadn’t found anything worth showing off.

After being excited for one of their umpteenth awesome finds, I found myself sitting in the sand digging through an enormous pile of shells, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed, and just a wee bit jealous.

God, out of everything out here, I just want to find ONE special thing. I don’t need to find tons, but I’d like to take ONE thing home that I can say I found. One special shell that is whole. No missing pieces. No brokenness. One perfect, special shell just for me.

And when I looked back down at the pile of shells in front of me, all I saw was the same pile of shells that was there before I prayed.

It wasn’t long after that when I rose to take the daily sunset picture. Sunset on Bowman’s Beach was the daily highlight. We made sure we were present for God’s nightly light show. Every night was something different.

As I struggled to frame my shots of the sun melting into the ocean around all of the other attendees, I again became frustrated.

Just one perfect shot! If only those people would move! They are intruding on my view of your show, God.

It was in that moment I finally heard what God had been trying to say and my eyes filled with tears as I realized what I had been doing.

I wasn’t looking for special; I was looking for perfection. I was totally missing the special in my search for something that doesn’t exist outside of God.

Carrie, I created each of those people and each of those shells. They are all absolutely special and perfect. You’re looking at the wrong things. Of course they’re missing pieces, cracked, broken, and discolored. They’ve weathered the storms of life. Been battered by an uneven, rocky ground. They’ve been out their depths and totally washed up. And they are beautiful. Stop looking for perfection and see the beauty that is within each one.

Immediately I was humbled and had an entire new outlook on the images before me. Handcrafted by God. And He knew not only every individual chip, crack, broken piece, and hole, but He also knew the events that caused each imperfection to exist.

I wonder how often we get caught up in perfection that we miss the beauty God has placed right in front of our faces. See, I put down my electronic devices and books, and I still almost missed it. I spent most of my time searching for something that wasn’t even what God had prepared for me.

Has God placed any beautiful broken things in front of you this week? Are you trying to fix them or are you simple loving them as God’s creation?

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The Deliberate Mom

Co-Hosting Week #3 of Chain Linky CLIMB Party

Remember when we were kids and we tried to climb EVERYTHING? Join us this week as we CLIMB from blog post to blog post! 

God’s Growing Garden

Share your posts and share other’s blog posts!We’ll have a great time swinging around from post to post!!!

If you read this blog post and join the CLIMB, please leave me a comment so I can make sure to give you an extra shout out on social media!!!

Co-Host Carrie

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God’s Growing GardenGod’s Growing Garden

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It’s the month long Networking Blog Hop 

Networking means helping each other grow!!  If you want to promote a CLIMB link, then use #ChainLinkyCLIMB on Twitter or Google+ so that we can all help each other grow!

Here’s how the Giveaway & Co-hosting works – the co-hosts from the previous month’s CLIMB will have the opportunity to participate in a Giveaway during the next CLIMB – that gives co-hosts 2 months in a row of blog growing fun!!  (If you would like to co-host please sign up at the end of this post using the last “Linky”)

Also, our CLIMB GIVEAWAY! Please enter below -one person will win:

– $20 Paypal cash from Sew Crafty Angel & from Cuddlebug Cuties 
– 1 Ad Space on A Peek Into My Paradise – $30 value

– 1 Monthly Ad Space on God’s Growing Garden – $15 value

– A gorgeous Necklace with natural raw marble beachstone by ShorelineDesigned – $20 value

 photo CindyFebruary2_zpsyioj9vr2.jpg
Marvelous Marble – Natural Raw Marble Beachstone from Lake Michigan, Black Waxed Cotton Cord, White Recycled Glass Krobo Bead Unisex Necklace“Simple and elegant Stone. Glass. Fiber.  I have found and drilled this Lake Michigan raw black and white marble beachstone, hand drilled a 5 mm hole, hand strung it onto a quality waxed cotton cord and topped it with an ice-white recycled glass Krobo artisan bead.  This unisex necklace can be worn long as is – perhaps for layering with others, or you may snip and re-knot the cord to your liking.  As is, the necklace as tied will hang a long and leisurely 27 inches including the 2 inch glass and stone pendant.”

by ShorelineDesigned

Total prize value is $85!!

CLIMB Giveaway Rules & Conditions: – this is open worldwide (void where prohibited)

– You must be 18 years or older to enter 

– You MUST have a blog to win the Ad spaces (otherwise these will become a second place prizes)

– You must live in the lower 48 of the United States to win the Necklace (otherwise this will become  second place prizes)

– You MUST have a valid PayPal account to win the Paypal Cash (otherwise this will become a second place prizes)

– This Giveaway is open from January 31st, 2015 until February 28th, 2015

– Winner must respond to email within 48 hours or a different winner will be chosen

– Giveaway Hosts & Co-hosts can NOT enter this Giveaway!, however – FEBRUARY 2015 CLIMB blog hop co-hosts ARE allowed to enter this Giveaway (provided they are not also part of the Giveaway)

– correspondence is done through email and the winner’s email addresses will only be used to deliver or set-up e-prizes.  Email addresses will NEVER be sold or shared.
– All prizes will be delivered by the contributing Bloggers/Shop Owners.
– if you have any questions or concerns about this Giveaway please email one of the hosts:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now onto the CLIMB (blog hop):We have changed it up a bit – instead of linking your homepage you may now link up to 4 of your family friendly blog posts per month!!


CLIMB by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbIntro_zps6919dad8.jpg

CLIMB by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbRules_zps77e9b7a4.jpg

By participating in this blog hop your understand that your link might be featured &/or promoted on our blogs & social media.  Also, by participating in this blog hop your email address will be added to our CLIMB list & you will be sent an email reminder next month. 

CLIMB by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbLink_zpsf527c076.jpg

Remember – If you co-host you will receive a free Weekly Sidebar Ad and your blog button will appear on both Angie’s blog & Angel’s blog!!

(The Ad will run live a few weeks after you have co-hosted)

CLIMB by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ClimbCo-host_zpseca2ac09.jpg

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Sign up to receive emails about the CLIMB

Love–Don’t Panic

If we were having coffee, it would have to be later in the day this weekend. I’m tired. Exhausted, really.

Sometimes I can plan and prepare for this type of physical and emotion attacking week, but this one I felt I was totally prepared for.


I wouldn’t say anything bad happened, but when you hit survival mode by 8:15 on Monday morning, well, it gives you an inkling of what’s coming.

So, I did what all overwhelmed, panic attack looming, over-time employed, mothers of teenagers do when they find themselves hanging on by a thread.

I drank more coffee, ate more sugar, got up earlier, stayed up later, and made sure to spend a bit of time doing things for me. I left work when everything wasn’t quite finished. I read a book that I have a book review coming due on. I went and watched a movie. I had dinner.

Yeah. I’m a party animal!

At one point during the week I could feel the panic attack coming on. My breathing pattern was changing. My eyes were expanding in my head. My thoughts were racing.

This is new for me. Recognizing the symptoms before they get too far.

So, I shot my hubby a quick e-mail at the break.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed today. Tears…panic attack pending…

And in less than two minutes I got an e-mail back.

That stinks! I love you anyways 😉

Um, who wouldn’t stop and smile at that reply?

Take a deep breath. Assess the situation. Nothing terrible is happening today. What do you need to do right now? One thing. Not everything. Do that.

Yes, I still went home exhausted. Wore out. Feeling emotionally wiped out. But with one quick e-mail response, the full-blown panic attack was averted.

What do you do when you get overwhelmed? Can you recognize the symptoms of impending meltdown?

Do you need someone to strategize with you? Talk you down? Or just remind you that you are loved?

Do you have to withdraw from everyone even if that means leaving work or your own family immediately?

I’d love to hear what others do. I will need to find some other strategies as my husband will soon be released to return to work and won’t be able to respond to me immediately for much longer.

Let’s Go to the Hop! The Valentine’s Day Hop!

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! 

I’d love to help you grow your blog love this week, so join us in the Valentine’s Day edition of the Bloglovin’ Blog Hop! I read some AMAZING posts from our contributors last week, and can’t wait to visit all your blogs this week!

Share love with your friends and invite them to hop with us!

I’d also like to encourage everyone to try to leave at least one person you don’t already know on the hop some comment love, repost their blog on Twitter, and share your favorite post from someone else on your Facebook page. You’ll be surprised by the love you’ll receive in return!

Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up

Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up



Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up

1, Please follow your host and co-hosts.

2. Add your link directly to your Bloglovin’ profile in the linky. You will need to manually upload your profile photo.

3, Visit and follow at least 2-3 other bloggers.

4. Tweet and share this hop!

Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up

Happy Kids, Inc.

Put the Stones Down!

In the past two days I’ve done quite a bit of reading where Christians have made harsh statements about other Christians based on decisions they make. One instance was a church website that went as far as to say that anyone that didn’t share the churches beliefs wasn’t actually a Christian to start with and would burn in Hell.

Another included many Christians arguing about the legality of Christians watching a particular movie. It ended with many Christians stating that born again believers would not have a desire to watch said movie. Therefore, anyone saying they were going to watch the movie and claiming to be Christian were either never saved to start with or living intentionally in direct rebellion to God’s will.

And then the Christians on the other side throw out the “Judge not…” from Matthew 7. The “judging” Christians comeback with Ezekiel 3:18-19 if they’re talking to non-Christians and Matthew 28:15-17 if they’re talking to Christians.

I really want to just put on my teacher voice and yell, “Knock it off! What is this argument benefiting either side? Why did you even bring these subjects up?”

You see, Paul addresses a similar topic in Romans 14. I’m going to change food to wine for a contemporary topic that is still very much relevant.

Let’s say two Christian families attend a non-denominational church that has no strong belief on partaking in alcohol. Believers are left on their own to decide what God speaks to them about partaking of alcoholic beverages. It is not condoned nor condemned.

One family has searched the scriptures, prayed, and waited for God’s answer. They are at peace with the decision that Jesus water to wine was not grape juice, but fermented juice that is present day wine. They do not drink to become drunk, but they do enjoy an alcoholic beverage with dinner several nights a week.

Family two has an adult member that has struggled with an alcohol addiction. After being sober for 16 months, they have returned to church and are becoming grounded in the faith they were raised in. They feel that alcohol is not only a sin, but will destroy their family if given any foothold at all in their lives.

Both families meet for dinner on a Friday night. Family one goes to order a bottle of wine. The recently sober member of family two asks if they could please not drink in front of their family because they have pledged not to have anything to do with alcohol to God.

Which family is right?

Most of us want to choose a family to be right. We want the answer to be black or white. Right or wrong. One way or the other.

The truth, however, is somewhere in the gray.

Scripture speaks of alcohol taken to cure stomach ailments. It talks about alcohol and men of leadership in the church. It speaks of Jesus turning water into wine. It speaks of the crowds thinking the apostles were drunk when they were preaching.

It also speaks of being sober-minded. Too drink or not to drink?

The answer is clear.

Let. It. Go.

Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Romans 14:3

Sometimes we are free to live according to the promises we have made God as long as it doesn’t create a problem for someone else.

If I’m a recovering alcoholic and you drink in front of me, you’re causing a problem for me. If I’ve made an oath to God that I personally will never eat beef, that’s not your cross to bear. I can’t expect everyone else to live by the promise I made with God.

Yes, sometimes we are called to warn someone that they are headed down a slippery slope called sin. But we warn them and then we pray for them. We don’t berate them publicly. We don’t harass them. We don’t stone them.

I may choose not to participate in what they’re doing. I may even separate myself from their company because of their decisions. But I don’t proclaim for all to hear that they are on a one-track path to Hell with no hope of returning to God.

We can choose not to condone without choosing to stone.

Will you join me in putting the stones down? Let’s help somebody up instead of reminding them of just how low the world thinks they are.

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A Fresh Start

Motivation Monday

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Divine Devouring Fire

I came across the above quote on my facebook feed today, and it really caused me to think. It had no scriptural reference. Nor did I recognize the name associated with the quote.

“Your Lord is a fire…”

No. No, He isn’t. He’s mercy and love and creativity–not destruction.

What an awful way to present God. And this is a Christian site sharing this!

Well, I ran across the image a couple times this evening, pausing to ponder its meaning each time.

Before reading The Crucible with my high school Juniors, we do quite a bit of background work to make sure we understand the history behind the witch trials. In order to understand the history, we must familiarize ourselves with the core beliefs of the Puritans.

As part of the front-loading process, we read an excerpt from the sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. My students don’t typically appreciate the excerpt. However, it gives them a clear picture of how the Puritans of this time viewed God.

And every time I scrolled past this image, I kept seeing God gingerly holding a spider between His index finger and thumb, as if it were the most vile thing ever created, over the raging fires and flames of an inferno called Hell.

The God I know created the spider from His imagination and creativity. He loves His creation. He does not abhor His creation.

Discipline? Yes. Give them freewill to choose heaven or hell? Yes. But to barely hold them over hell and then intentionally let them go? No.

So, imagine my surprise when I was reading the Bible this evening and stopped with Hebrews 12:29.

For our God is a devouring fire. Hebrews 12:29

Our God acted as a devouring fire when He consumed (burned up) all of our sin when He accepted His Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins. Our sins are ashes once we invite Jesus to become our personal Lord and Savior.

Where do we all gather when we’re camping?

What about the church hayride and bonfire?

Christmas Eve to read the Christmas story?

When it’s cold outside?

Don’t we rush to the fire? Don’t we draw in and huddle close? Do we find ourselves inviting others into the circle so they don’t miss out?

That fire isn’t all a destructive thing.

It brings warmth. Ability to cook. Light to the darkness. Fellowship. Protection. It provides comfort.

So, if the Lord is a fire, and He lives in our hearts, what condition should our hearts be in?

Cold? Lukewarm? Or bonfire blazing?