The Mommyhood Life

Faith

Let’s Join Walmart to Fight Hunger and Spark Change!

This post is brought to you by Walmart’s Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

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According to the USDA 1 in 8 Americans struggle with hunger.  As a mother the idea of food insecurity frightens and saddens me.  When 42 million people, including 13 million children are hungry in our country, we’re doing something wrong!

Luckily Walmart has committed to providing meal to people in need.  As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is in a unique position where they can engage with both suppliers and more than 140 million customers to help make a positive impact on the fight against hunger. 

During the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign which runs from April 17 through May 15th, Walmart is aiming to reach a total donation of $3 million for Feeding America.

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Feeding Tampa Bay

People say we live in paradise, we are surrounded by the beautiful beaches, pristine ocean waters, with the sun shining almost every day.  However, if you look deeper there is a large hunger issue, and according to Jayci Peters at Feeding Tampa Bay, “in Tampa Bay, almost 70% of the population is not even aware there is a food insecurity issue.”  That’s a scary thought!  Being relatively new to Florida, I am always humbled by the kindness of the people in Tampa Bay, but when we’re unaware of such a heartbreaking issue, it’s hard to help.

So, if you didn’t know hunger was in our backyard, you do now and Feeding Tampa Bay needs your help!

“ The one valuable asset that every person in our community has and can share is the gift of their time.  Come in and volunteer.  Most all food relief happens because volunteers supply the labor.  This is, after all, how food banking started to begin with.” – Jayci

Feeding Tampa Bay is a vital charity in our area, they offer several programs that improve the lives of our neighbors.  Including My Mobile Market which is a pop-up style grocery store that offers low-cost items.  They also work with back-to-work programs to help workers find good paying positions with the food bank.  Also, they work with different intern programs to provide training.  These are all in addition to their food distribution programs such as mobile food pantries.

These programs are making our community a stronger place and feeding our neighbors in need.  Now it’s up to us to give our time to Feeding Tampa Bay and engage with Walmart to “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” And remember;

“It’s not a character issue.  It’s your neighbor, your child’s teacher, the local firefighter or retired veterans who are needing help.  It’s those who’ve worked hard, leaned in but can’t make their financial ends meet.” -Jayci

How You Can Help

Online Acts of Support with Social Media:  Every time you show support online, Walmart will donate the equivalent of 10 meals to Feeding America on behalf of member food banks, up to $1.5 million.  You’re on social media, make it help your community.

Facebook – Create original content that uses #FightHunger; like, share and/or react positively to campaign content; click on Walmart-provided campaign content.
Instagram – create or share content using the campaign hashtag #FightHunger; like or share Walmart-generated campaign content.
Snapchat – Use Walmart provided Fight Hunger. Spark Change. filters nationwide on April 21.
Twitter – Create original content that uses #FightHunger; like, share and/or make a campaign tweet a favorite; retweet a message featuring the campaign hashtag #FightHunger; click on Walmart-provided campaign content.

Purchase Participating Products at Walmart: For each participating product purchased in Walmart stores, the supplier will donate the equivalent of one meal on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits.
 Additionally, for every Discover card transaction made at U.S. Walmart stores and Walmart.com during the campaign period, Discover will donate the equivalent of one meal to Feeding America and its network of member food banks, up to $1 million.


Donate: Donate to a Feeding America food bank at the register during checkout.

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  These are all simple ways that everyone of us can make a big impact to Fight Hunger in Tampa Bay.  No one, especially a child, should be going to bed tonight hungry, so let “Fight Hunger, Spark Change“!

War Room DVD Review and Giveaway!

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
I am so excited to share this War Room review and giveaway with you.  From the first time I saw the preview, I couldn’t wait to see this movie and was counting down the days till it was released on DVD.
If you havent seen the preview take a look:
About War Room:
From the award-winning creators of Fireproof and Courageous comes WAR ROOMa compelling drama with humor and heart that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives.  
Tony and Elizabeth Jordan seemingly have it all – great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house.  But appearances can be deceiving.  Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage.  While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth’s bitterness only increases. 
But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth’s newest client, Miss Clara, challenges Elizabeth to a prayer “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family.  As Elizabeth begins to fight for her family, Tony must decide if he will make amends.
As Miss Clara wisely says, “Victories don’t come by accident!” A #1 movie in theaters, WAR ROOM is filled with more of the authentic characters loved by millions in previous Kendrick Brothers’ films and a vivid reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon.  

What I Thought:
I watched War Room over the weekend with my husband and we both loved it.  It is such an empowering and moving movie that spoke to us in so many ways.
The power of prayer is incredible and this movie brings that to life and puts it in front of us in an entertaining way.  As the movie ended, I thought to myself “man my prayer like is luke warm too” and this movie gave me a boost to get my passion for the Lord back on fire.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to see this movie yet, I definitely recommend seeing it!
Connect with War Room
Now for some fun, a Giveaway!
Enter to win a copy of the DVD War Room
Giveaway ends December 28, 2015
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification

ESV Journaling Bible Giveaway! #JournalingBible #FlyBy

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
The ESV Journaling Bible is a great bible option for those who like to reflect, highlight, and take notes while reading their bible.
I know some people like to read and study internally or in a separate notebook, I personally like to take notes directly into my bible.  This makes the ESV Journaling Bible perfect for me.

Prior to using this bible, I was trying to squeeze my notes into the tiny margins of my previous bible I was using to study.
This bible gives you so much room, I have been able to keep my notes, praises, and prayers directly next to the passage I am reflecting on.
The ESV Journaling Bible is also perfectly constructed with a beautiful cover, quality paper, and a one-year bible reading plan.
The retail price of this beautiful bible is $37.99, and is available for purchase on Crossway’s website
Giveaway:
Win a ESV Journaling Bible of your own!
Ends: November 20th, 2015
Disclosure: Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Let’s Take the Time to Thank the People who Helped Shape Our Lives ~ Here is my #ThankList

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Greetings. All opinions are 100% mine.
Is there someone in your past that helped shape your life in such a way that it still resonates strongly within you? Have you said thank you to them? Told them how they changed your life for the better? I know, personally I haven’t thanked the people who have helped me grow through life nearly enough and I’m willing to bet most of you haven’t either.
That must be why research has shown that 95% of Americans believe we have an incivility issue in the United States.

That number at first comes as a shock, until you stop and think about what you did today. How many times did you have your face buried in your phone? Were you walking around with your headphones on, tuning out the world? How many cruel things did you read on social media today? Our world has become so disconnected. I fear that there will no longer be opportunities for us to impact the younger generations lives in the way our elders were able to shape us.

Therefore let’s make a change. It’s November, the month of thankfulness. Let’s take some time to reconnect and join American Greetings’ ThankList campaign. Identify those who deserve your gratitude, whether they are in your life now or someone from your distant past. Take a moment to thank them for all they did by creating a ThankList on social media with the hashtag #ThankList, and  for every #ThankList created on social media channels, American Greetings will donate $1 to United Way for hunger prevention!
Who stands out in your mind as a person who deserves your gratitude?

I’ll start by sharing some of my past, it is certainly not a past I am proud of, however the person who deserves my immense gratitude helped me make it through to the other side.

As a wife of 13 years and a mom of 3, I rarely talk about my teenage years beyond a few giggles with old friends. That’s because I was “that kid”, you know the one you would never want your child to hang out with. I think about it now and the thought of my daughter having friends like the teenage version of me, scares me to death.
I would sneak out of the house at night, drink and smoke too much, get suspended from school, and act out in every way possible to make my parents miserable. I was an angry person, I covered it with a smile most of the time. Most people, besides my close group of friends knew me as a hyper giggly person, but I was angry, angry and extremely sad.

I still don’t know all the real reasons for having so much anger back then. Some of it was resentment towards my birth father, some of it was an undiagnosed learning disability, and I’m sure some of it was just teenage rebellion.

However, with everything I didn’t know about myself back then, and still don’t know now, there is one thing I do know and I know it with all my heart. I would not have made it through those tumultuous years without one special person in my life.

I was kicked out of my house repeatedly, failed out of classes over and over again, wasn’t the most modest girl in school, and was a walking basket of drama. However, one amazing lady helped me every step of the way, she was a trusted ear to talk to, a wise voice to listen to, a hug to collapse into, and even a ride to court or lunch money provider when needed. Her name was Helen Devlin and she was the social worker at my high school.

She was amazing. As I look back at the countless hours I spent in her office, talking with her or simply doing puzzles with friends (we didn’t have cell phones back then), I remember that feeling, that was my safe place.
It was the safe place for all of us. All us messed up teenagers going through life issues that were never featured on afternoon television shows. We were dealing with horrible self-esteem, messed up family lives, drugs, pregnancy scares, depression and more. We were the unteachable, the unworthy, and the unlovable of a high school class. Yet Helen Devlin saw beauty in us all. With her soft voice and stern look, there was an undoubted trust that everyone who leaned on her could feel.
The memory of one afternoon has always been embedded in my mind. I had just got into a full-fledged fight with a girl that was my absolute best friend at the time. This girl had let me live with her countless times when I would have to leave my house, she was like a sister at the time. Then there were lies said and things escalated quickly like teenage drama does and before we knew it, we were throwing punches.
After we were separated, we were both supposed to go to the office and then the nurse. While that part doesn’t stand out in my mind, the image of me running down the hall with tears racing down my face as the nurse hustled to catch up to me will always be a vivid memory. I remember that feeling of desperation, as a kid feeling as though I had lost everything in the world, and all I wanted was to get to Helen’s office. It was a need so bad in my heart that no nurse was going to stop me.
I burst through her office door and a few moments later so did the nurse. While yes, I did get suspended that day for fighting, Helen was able to get me off of an emotional ledge that would have lead me to destruction. She was able to do this in just a few minutes; she was that good.
That friendship was mended, and that friend is still my friend to this day. We are now in our thirties, both with 3 children of our own, and once in a while still look back at our ” we need Helen” days.
Helen has since retired, I run into her around town sometimes and despite being in her seventies, she still has that same “safe place” feeling about her.
The last time I got the chance to truly tell her how much she meant to me was when she attended my wedding. Not many teachers attend past student’s weddings but Helen, she was more than a teacher, she was more than family, she was my Hero.
Helen was so special to me and we all have a special person who deserves our thanks, but may not hear it enough. So let’s take a moment to express our gratitude to those who helped shape us and just maybe with this change, we can take steps to make the world a more caring place in the process.

Remember for every #ThankList created on social media channels, American Greetings will donate $1 to United Way for hunger prevention!

VeggieTales “Celery Night Fever” DVD ~ Review & Giveaway

About the Film:
In Celery Night Fever, the retro funkadelic sights and sounds of polyester leisure suits and disco balls take center stage — along with a timeless message of friendship and forgiveness. Actor Terry Crews provides the voice of Bruce Onion, a nefarious real-estate developer who plans to turn the serene, green Celery Park into a parking lot. His unsavory scheme spurs Laura Carrot and Junior Asparagus to enact a bold plan: reuniting the long-lost 70′s band The Groovy Brothers to play at a fundraising concert. The problem is, The Groovy Brothers haven’t spoken to each other in decades, and the members have little interest in getting back together. The long-simmering feud spills over to affect Laura and Junior. It’s not just Celery Park that’s in jeopardy: if best friends can’t learn to forgive each other accept each other’s faults, the veggies might lose their cherished community gathering spot. Celery Night Fever features six original songs, including a rousing number from Bruce Onion, showcasing the musical side of Terry Crews. Celery Night Fever debuts Aug. 5 exclusively on DVD. 

What we thought:
My kids love VeggieTales, we have a large VeggieTales DVD collection and they also watch the VeggieTales shows that are available on Netflix.  The kids enjoy the characters and the stories keep them entertained.  I love that the stories are wholesome, educational and faith based.  VeggieTales is a trusted brand in my family and I like that I can let the kids watch a DVD or stream an episode, and walk away to do a chore and not worry about what might be inappropriate in the show. 
VeggieTales didn’t let us down with their newest release “Celery Night Fever”.  My kids sang along with the songs and had a great time watching this DVD, so much so that I was able to hide Lilly’s favorite princess movie for days!  The topic was perfect too, Forgiveness.  The boys seem to be fighting non-stop now that summer is here and they are together allot more.  This story has given me an extra source to use in reminding them that God is quick to forgive and that they should too.
Giveaway:
Enter to win a copy of VeggieTales “Celery Night Fever”
Giveaway ends:  August 11th, 2014

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

God gained and Angel and Broke our Hearts!

 
“God broke our hearts to prove he only takes the best!”

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write any posts for a few weeks and I wanted to let my following readers know why.   My family lost an amazing, smart, loving little soul in the beginning of June.  My baby cousin and Lilly’s bestie was taken from his loving mommy and daddy and made into one of God’s perfect angels.
 
I cant understand why, I cant rationalize this in any way, it feels like a nightmare as the memories run through my head.  This little boy was surrounded by so much love!  His mommy is the best mother I know, every breath she took was consumed with love for her baby boy.
 
He was smart beyond his years and loved everyone, so I have to believe that God needed him for a mighty job up in Heaven.  However even knowing my precious baby cousin is in God’s kingdom does not heal our broken and bleeding hearts.
 
We love you baby boy and we will see you again one day when you meet us up in the sky!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Devotional Bibles ~ The Devotional Bibles we use Everyday

 The devotional I read everyday is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  I love this devotional, it has a small paragraph to read everyday along with 2-3 Bible coordinating bible verses to look up.  This is how I start my day every morning, on the couch with my coffee, Bible and “Jesus Calling”.  Each day I get a great message and as a busy mom I appreciate that I can finish each day in about 10-15 minutes and feel like my day is starting in the right direction.

Each night we try to read a little from each of the kids devotionals before bed.  I chose God’s Little Princess Devotional and God’s Mighty Warrior Devotional for the kids because they both have creative ways of grabbing the kids attention while teaching them God’s word.  These are my favorite devotionals we’ve used thus far!
 
*This post contains affiliate links to products for your convenience, I purchased these products on my own and all opinions are 100% my own*

Thanks for the Lesson 2013 ~ 2014 Bring It!

As 2013 comes to a close, I cant help but look back at all the laughs, all the tears, and most important all the lessons I have learned.
This has been a year full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  So to recap my year I’ll start off with the happiest times!

 
Brazil Trip 2013!
The hubby had to go down to Brazil for business purposes and so on a whim we moved our vacation we were thinking about for the winter of 2014 and went as a family in the spring of 2013!  We stayed for a month, enjoyed the beaches, shopping, and food.  Took time to relax on the family farm, enjoyed the crowds in Rio at the Cristo Redentor Statue, and reconnected with family and friends we had greatly missed.
 
 
Who doesn’t like Camping on the 4th of July?
We took our usual family camping trip over 4th of July weekend to the campground we used to go to for years when all us cousins were little, Pine Acres.  Most of my fondest memories of summer have always revolved around these summer camping trips.  S’mores, swimming, fishing, dancing, and laughing around a fire till security came.

 
I turned 30!
Really, like yikes! I don’t feel thirty at all but man I guess I’m all grown up now.  I got to celebrate with a bunch of family up at Old Orchard Beach for the weekend and it was a blast. 
 
Anthony got to see New York City!
After asking, and asking, and well asking some more, we finally cracked and took the drive down to NYC.  We spent a couple of nights and saw some of the main attractions that were on his list. It was a bit stressful with Aidan and the busy city but in the end we went home with a very happy boy.
 
Finally got to see the South!
We made it down to South Carolina to see my brother, this was Antonio’s 10 year wedding Anniversary gift to me, and my amazing man new exactly what I needed most a mini vacation, awesome, but seeing my brother, the best!  He had moved down there in the Spring and I was devastated that he wasn’t a short ride away anymore so this was a perfect surprise.
 
We had a Blizzard that gave us snow totals higher than the kids, we finished potty training both twins, We had an awesome Easter egg hunt, Had lots of summer cookouts and Pool fun.
Then to wrap up the year we did all the Fall favorites, apple picking, pumpkin picking, and many farm visits.  Then Christmas brought another visit with my brother and lots of family time.  Looking back, focusing on the good, I must say it was a pretty amazing year and God blessed us in so many ways!
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However in the midst of all the fun times, inbetween the vacations and the parties, inbetween the laughing and memories, my family was falling apart.  Or at least what I once thought of to be “family”.
Fight after fight, the drama seemed to just keep making circles through out the year.  There has been lies and rumors started but some cant see through the dysfunction to understand it.  There has been tears and screaming, name calling and backstabbing.  Yet though it all my loyalty never shook.  I am loyal to a fault (I guess its the Italian in me, or so I’ve heard).  I couldn’t let go of these people I loved, these people I’d lay down my life for, the ones I always thought would be there no matter what.
Unfortunately I had to learn the hardest lesson yet.
~Family isn’t always… Family~
I can forgive so much and have but when my position in the family was called into question, I learned I had to just let go.  Some words can never be erased, they can be forgiven in time, but never forgotten.  Some words can be spoken in the heat of a fight and destroy an entire family, making the most loyal of the bunch turn and walk away with the knife still in her back.
So when the mention of me not being a “real” family member started, that was what I had to do, with tears in my eyes and the knife in my back, I walked away.
My Dad has been my Dad sense I was in diapers, I never felt the need to doubt his love for me, he chose to take the place he has in my life and that’s something that wouldn’t need to be questioned.  Especially by the people who I called my own,  but when a family cant see through their own dysfunction to understand a love that’s not obligated, my Dad and I did they only thing we could think of to stop any doubt and at 30 years old, after the diapers were changed, the stories read, the walk down the isle, and the grandbabies came, I was officially adopted.
I gained a piece of paper that never really mattered, and lost the “family” I always thought did.
 
This year I learnt so much!
I learnt those things your parents tell you when your growing up, but you shrug off, there true.
I learnt to guard my heart and to be loyal based on actions not on position.
I learnt I am stronger than I ever imagined.
I learnt my heart will always heal with Gods help.
I learnt sometimes moving on is harder then fighting.
I learnt all I need in this world is God and my Babies.
I learnt this to shall pass and I will be OK,
AND SO MUCH MORE!

“Whats in the Bible” DVD series on SALE!

The “Whats in the Bible” DVD’s are on SALE!
 
I was so excited when I found this Coupon Code!
 
20% off this Memorial Day Weekend!
 
I have heard such great things about this DVD series and have been wanting get it for the kid’s sense I looked into it about 6 months ago.  However the $100+ price tag for the complete series kept making me postpone the purchase.  Of course while I was waiting more episodes where released to start the New Testament which is awesome but also meant getting the full series was even more $.  WELL I just ordered the complete 1-11 video series for $97.99!
I am so excited to have these in time for summer break, I have been looking for something the kids would find fun to aid me in their biblical teaching during the week, and this looks perfect.
 
It’s created by the “veggie tales” Creator, which my kids also like.
 
Follow the link over to “Whats in the Bible” add the DVD’s you want and in the final step of the check out process use the coupon code “MEMORIAL” and see the 20% savings, also receive free shipping on orders over $25! 
 
 
The coupon code works on all there products, My OCD just made me “need” to buy the whole series.

Give and it shall be given unto you

Growing up as a catholic going to huge buildings for holiday mass services or weddings and only using a bible as a nightstand decoration I always considered the idea of “offerings” and “tithes” as some sort of scam.  I remember being a teenager when most of the priest sex abuse allegations became daily news and from then on out never thought much about the idea of religion until my late twenties.  Sure I got married in the church, got the kids baptized in the church but this was all done more as a ritual to appease the older generations in my family, than as a meaningful event between me and God.
I have a vivid memory not more than a couple years ago of myself talking to a close friend of mine about tithing while sitting in adjacent recycling bins collecting coupons (I know what a subject to be disgusting between dumpsters, right?) anyways, I kept saying “I just don’t understand why churches are always asking for money, for what? To build more huge churches, or pay legal fees for all these pedophiles they have as priests!  I liked the Christian shows on TV until I noticed all they do is ask for money!”.
That was the first day I started to understand tithing.  My friend was brought up in a born again Christian family, she didn’t tithe but her mother did so she began to explain that it’s all about faith.  God gives it to you, so if you give it back to him willingly and with faith, he will always take care of you and bless you back.
After that night I started to understand it, but never truly believed in it, that is until I myself started building my own faith.  I found an awesome church, a nondenominational Christian church.  It wasn’t a huge cathedral building with gold ceilings.  It was in a corporate office building with a large room with a simple cross and a stage where they held two services every Sunday and a group of classrooms in the back for all the children’s Sunday school classes.  It was simple but by far much more beautiful than any of the churches I had been to in my life.  The people where calm and loving, you just felt comfort walking in the door.
From that first Sunday service, my family has been going every week.  The pastor speaks in a way that I can understand what he is saying, I can see it all in my bible, and see that Gods word is real and it has changed my life.  This is when I felt a strong calling to tithe, and I listened!  I feel blessed that God has put me in a place where my tithes have helped build schools in Kenya, and feed orphans in Haiti.  I give back what God has blessed me with, without a second thought because I see every week how amazing he is in every way.
Of course at first, knowing we live on a tight income with me being disabled and having three little ones with autism, it was kind of scary but I listened to God and he has taken care of me ever sense.  I now write a check once a month with 10% of any income to my church as my tithe, then the rest of the month give whatever cash I have on hand in the collection plate as an offering.  I can honestly say that from day one I have not once had to worry about that money missing, God always keeps his word and blesses us back.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure,pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.