right husband; jewel in his crown

How to Find the Right Husband

A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer

jewel in his crown : the right husband
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I picked up this book for some insight into writing a post about self-esteem. As I expected, Priscilla Shirer is right on target. As with her preaching, she gets right to the truth of the matter and makes us look deep into our own lives. She will open your eyes to the source of your low self-esteem and actions that come from it. If you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up soon.

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What I Wasn’t Expecting

I know that how we look at ourselves can obviously affect our relationships not just with friends and family but also with men who would be potential dates or husbands. I was surprised to find a chapter on finding a mate right smack in the middle of this book on self-esteem.

Having made the same kind of mistakes when it came to love interests, I found myself connecting with Priscilla. She shared how she sabotaged relationships and I realized that I had done the same thing in my college years.

We Were Made for Relationship

Today’s society will beg to differ from Priscilla’s words but she has taken her ideas straight from the Bible. Here are some truths she brought forward.

  • We’re made to be a helper.
  • God created us to be in a relationship with men.
  • Our primary purpose is to come alongside a man and assist him.

Ironically, the very thing we were created to do, the very thing we want to do the most, is the very thing that often contributes to our low self-esteem.

One reason for this is the way we prepare ourselves for relationships. Most of us don’t spend time waiting for God’s chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom. Instead, we read novels, go to movies, and get hooked on soap operas. We buy into a fantasy world, and we secretly hope that it will one day become the portrait of our lives.

A Jewel in His Crown, Prscilla Shirer
Most of us don't spend time waiting for God's chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom . – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthatfirstdate Click To Tweet

The Sin of Control and its Curse

God placed a curse on women. And it follows with her sin. She wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did it. Still today, we are most tempted with the matter of control. We aren’t willing to wait on God to fulfill His plan for us. So we take things into our own hands.

We chase after men rather than letting them pursue us. Men aren’t made to be “captured”. They were made to be the pursuer; to search us out and “win the prize”. When we are falling over ourselves to get their attention, it causes them to lose interest.

We are never, and I mean never, to throw ourselves at a man. – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthefirstdate Click To Tweet

Do We Trust God Enough?

We are often afraid that if we wait on God to bring the right man into our lives, we will miss our chance and end up alone. But God has a beautiful plan. If we draw close to God and His principles, our spiritual beauty will draw the right kind of man to us.

When it comes to taking you from where you are into the phase of life He has chosen for you, will you trust in the Lord to take you to the other side? Your destination may be a whole lot closer than you think. You need to trust Him through patient obedience as you wait on Him. Remember, you are a jewel – a jewel on layaway.

A Jewel in His Crown, Priscilla Shirer

He’s Got This Worked Out

It’s hard for us to believe, but God has this figured out. He knows exactly what kind of man you need for the right husband. You can rest easy knowing that at the right time and the right place God will bring you together. You truly can sit back and wait.

You are of matchless worth. Believe it. And rest in the fact that you are a valuable jewel saved for that one special someone. When we are always chasing after a man it is because we think we aren’t worthy enough, not beautiful enough, not desirable enough to draw that man to us on our own character.

When the Right Husband Comes Along

So as we wait on God for the right husband to come along, we need to spend our time reading His Word, meditating on the scriptures, praying for wisdom. As we grow in Christ we become more attractive on the inside and the outside to the spiritual man you actually want and need.

When someone comes along, you can look for a few specific things.

  1. He will cherish you. He will do whatever it takes to please you. You will feel like a princess. When he talks of you, it will be praise.
  2. He will be the leader in your relationship. You will have been chosen by him without you chasing after him. He will be a great decision-maker. This does not mean that you will be treated like a floormat. If he is doing #1 above, he will include you in the decision making process. He will want you to be happy with the decisions.
  3. And, of course, He will have a strong relationship with the Lord. Not because you love the Lord, but because he has made a firm choice to follow Christ. It must be real or it won’t last.

Are You Attracting the Right Husband?

  • What tendencies do you have in the way you relate to men/your husband?
  • Do you truly trust God to take you to the other side of singleness?
  • What relationships in your life need to be given to God?
  • What do you expect from men whom you choose to date?
  • Do you want to date at all? Why or Why not?
Mandy Farmer
Celebrating JEsus this Christmas

Celebrating Jesus at Christmas

I finished wrapping gifts at 3 am that Christmas morning.

too much christmas
image credit:Gerard Gellinger at Pixabay

I looked around somewhat in disgust as I realized that I had gone overboard once again… really overboard. There were gifts everywhere. And we only have two little ones. There has to be a better way to celebrate Christmas without making it all about the gifts.

Who’s birthday is it anyway?

We are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the World. But we are teaching greediness and debt. How can we find our way to Christ in the midst of this materialized world? I shared earlier that family advent devotions are one way that we can turn our attention to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.

How to Celebrate Jesus This Christmas

Celebrating Jesus
Celebrating Christmas ~ image credit: Jo at Pixabay

When I was small, I learned a little acronym for joy – Jesus, Others, You. We can find real joy if we serve Jesus first, then others, and then yourself. Let’s consider this acronym for celebrating Jesus this Christmas. 

This week I’m writing over on Lullaby Lark. It’s a short and sweet devotion to Finding JOY in Jesus this Christmas. Join me there today on her Cultivate Joy Series.

curleque by Coffee at pixabay
legacy link-ups

There’s still time to share your Christmas thoughts on our Holiday Legacy Link-up

How do you create a legacy during the holidays? Link-up below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thanks for participating!

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We are always looking for guest writers to introduce our Legacy Link-up. If you are interested in being a guest writer click here for upcoming topic ideas and then contact us to begin the process.

Mandy Farmer

Last-minute Shopping

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4 Gift-Giving Ideas for Christmas

image credit:Gerhard-Gellinger at Pixabay

Christmastime with littles can be so exciting. It’s so much fun to watch them opening gifts with glee. We want to do so much and it’s easy to spend too much and buy too many gifts. Yes, sometimes, we go a little overboard with it. That is why we must be careful about the traditions that we are setting into place.

Be sure to talk with your spouse about your dreams and expectations of celebrating Christmas (actually all holidays.) Trust me it is tough to pull the reins in once you start the overindulgence of gift-giving and celebrating. It’s also too easy to end up in debt up to your gills. Placing Jesus first at Christmas needs to be our main goal.

In all truthfulness, those first few years are more for the parents and grandparents than for the child. The child really has no idea what is happening but overindulgence leads to spoiled children who will always expect large amounts of gifts which become more and more expensive.

What are you giving to Jesus for Christmas?

After all, it is His birthday. We seem to more concerned about whatever it is WE want for Christmas. I think we have it all backward. We might find if we focus on doing something for Jesus during the season He may bless us beyond our imagination

Consider these Gifts

Free photos at Pixabay

As a family, select a project you can do together as an offering to Jesus. There are many established projects you can do as an offering to God and to serve the community. Check your community for ways to reach out or give some of your time. If you can’t find a local project, select one of the wonderful nationwide projects such as The Shoebox Ministry, The Heifer Project, Angel Tree Project, or check with your pastor. Your church may have projects of this type. My own church has lists of projects that need support (like digging wells, building homes) or child sponsorship.

Invite friends to a birthday party for Jesus. Select one of the above-mentioned projects and raise the money and have each donate the gifts to fulfill the need. It would be a wonderful party and you would be helping someone out at the same time.

There is no better time than during the Christmas season to teach about caring for others. The excitement of giving can be wonderful to watch as it grows year after year in the hearts of our children.

Santa or No Santa?

I personally don’t have an opinion on this one. I don’t see a problem with it other than when and how you tell them that it’s all a fantasy. Our culture is so inundated with Santa that it’s a bit hard to remove it completely from your family. If we talk about the truth about Santa from the beginning, I believe you can include Santa with a rewarding end.

Patsy over at Insta-Encouragements linked up this “Explaining Santa to your Kids” Idea on the Legacy Linkup last month. You might want to check out what she says.

Here are a couple of other suggestions:

Book Reading and Discussion

There is a day some may not be aware of… St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 5th or 6th in the US. This would be a great time to read a book about the tradition of Santa and have a discussion with the family. A few books that might be helpful. {affiliate links}

One note, if you do not want to celebrate with Santa, be sure to explain the reasoning to your children. Also, encourage them to be understanding and to NOT spoil the tradition for those who do.

We are the Real Santa

I loved the idea I heard just last year… You and I are Santa Claus. Have each person in the family select a person and be their Secret Santa. Chose a person who has a need and then YOU secretly give them a gift without them knowing who it was from. Read the sweet story that I read here.

Three Gifts Just like Jesus

I recently heard that some families participate in this tradition. If Jesus received 3 gifts then we should only receive 3 gifts. The three gifts are based on the gifts given to Jesus from the Wise Men, a child receives:

  1. Gold (something valuable, their greatly desired gift)
  2. Frankincense (something spiritual to help them spiritually: a Bible, a devotional, worship CD, etc), and
  3. Myrrh (something for the body: clothes, perfume, etc)

See Keeper of the Home for more explanation. If I had learned of this tradition when my children were small, we might have worked toward making this a tradition.

Mandy Farmer

Legacy Link-up – Your Turn

Holiday Traditions Is Now Open

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The Joy Of Including Jesus In Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and if we blink our eyes we will find ourselves enjoying Christmas Day. But all our plans to include Jesus in Christmas will have been thrown out with the wrappings.

The way to have success is to plan ahead. My family always razzed at me because I was planning the next holiday before the present one was barely over. But the fact of the matter is that, if we don’t plan ahead, it ain’t gonna happen. So let’s talk about the joy of including Jesus in Christmas. After all, it IS HIS BIRTHDAY.

If you don't plan ahead, it ain't gonna happen. #preparingforChristmas Click To Tweet

Keeping Jesus in Christmas

Family advent devotions every night in December confirms that Jesus will not be left out of the celebration. As a child on the farm, each night before bed, we all sat around the coffee table which held our cardboard nativity set. Mom or Dad would read the devotion and we would learn and discuss one little portion of the Christmas story. It might have been about one character or maybe about a prophet from long before. We took turns being the one to add a new piece of the nativity each night until Christmas morning when we added baby Jesus.

Advent Devotions appeared a simple thing to do when I was growing up but as a parent, it seemed to be a huge struggle to make it happen. Possibly, you find it a challenge as well. Thanksgiving preparations can keep us very busy; we never think about the fact that the first Sunday of Advent happens just three days later. All of a sudden, it’s Advent and we haven’t found the creche nor the devotions to go with it.

Start Now, even if you’re late

First, let me say, “so what if you are late”. Get started and you will find it really doesn’t matter. Your children won’t remember that you missed the first week or a day or two in between. (I’m pretty sure it happened in my family.) Remember the saying, “better late than never”?

Include Jesus in your own way

Also, remember that you don’t have to do it just like your parents did. It’s a different age and a different world. Life is much faster and crazier. Try a different time of day. Enjoy the lesson during a meal. Breakfast could be the only time the family congregates together. Time management sources so do the most important things first in your day. So many Advent lessons should be done at breakfast rather than bedtime.

Possibly, it is just too difficult to get the entire family together at the same time every. Just select a time that the majority of the family is together and start. Make it clear that you want everyone to participate as much as possible and go forward from there.

Find a Way to Include Jesus

My greatest desire for the Christmas season is to be sure I have included Jesus in the season. The first way to do this is through your family devotion time. We need to find ways to include the Lord in all our activities of the season; however, Advent devotions keep Christ forefront and center every day.

Find a Creche Now

Once you have purchased one, you are set forever. Though you may want to change it up as your children grow. Start with something non-breakable and work yourself up to the beautiful porcelain display. Here’s a thought, once you have one, maybe you should store it with the Thanksgiving decorations instead of the Christmas decorations.

If you are creative and plan way ahead, you can go to a ceramics class and make your own pieces. Then purchase just the stable. I did this for my mother and we added pieces each year. Of course, this is for once your children are old enough to understand not to touch them. 🙂

For your preschoolers, purchase a toy set that they can play with. If you want the pretty set, go for it. Just purchase the playset for your toddler to enjoy.

Here are a few you might like:

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The Advent Devotions

Some nativity sets will come with a booklet of devotions. However, you may need to find something appropriate for the ages of the children. Of course, you could certainly just read scriptures and have a discussion. Here’s a Bible Reading Plan from a friend of mine.

Many free advent devotions can be found online. Or search out the myriads of books you can use. If your children are small, select a few Christmas Bible storybooks.

Children love hearing the stories over and over and that would be fine. For years, I purchased a new Christmas book every year. My children had their favorites from the collection which they still seek out when they are home for the holidays.

Advent Devotions for Families

My good friend and blogger, Bettie Gilbert, offered this free Advent devotional for families on her blog this year. She said I could offer here as well.

US Advent Devotions

Otherwise, a bit of goo-gling will certainly turn up many other possibilities. Here are a few others I have enjoyed.

Other Advent Alternatives

1) Jesse Tree Devotionals – The Jesse tree is based on Isaiah 11 where the prophet foretells the coming of Christ through the “stump of Jesse”. The lessons are the genealogy of Christ beginning in Genesis through Jesse and King David and on up to Mary and Joseph. Ann Voskamp has a wonderful book your family will enjoy, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. {see above link}

2) Mary and Joseph’s Journey to Bethlehem – an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf using Mary and Joseph. I just learned of this idea the other day. But it sounds wonderful to me. Check it out here.

Some Favorite Christmas Books

Must Have Christmas Books
Photo credit Sobima at Pixabay

I made a habit of purchasing a new Christmas book every year. Some of these became favorites which we were sure to read every year. Others make beautiful coffee table decor. Find my list of Christmas books here.

The Best Way to Include Jesus in Christmas

Keeping Jesus in Christmas makes all the difference in how the season turns out. Focusing on Jesus during the season also keeps our hearts and minds set straight.

Actually, it’s something we should be doing all year long. As God instructed the Israelites long ago…

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

I encourage you to start an Advent devotion tradition this year of including Jesus in Christmas and then continue into the New Year, focusing on Jesus every day. You will find joy in the journey.

Mandy Farmer

Your Turn … Legacy Link-Up

What are some of your favorite traditions and recipes at Christmas? Share the joy and link up below!

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4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriage Book Review

I have noticed lately that there is a lot of talk about a joy-filled life in recent years. It seems at every turn you can find someone talking about finding joy. Even the Bible is filled with references on finding joy. Got Questions says that The Bible refers to finding joy over 300 times.

As it turns out, authors Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey have found there is a scientific basis behind it all.

There is no more powerful motivator in life than joy.

Chris Coursey

Warner and Coursey discuss finding this joy in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages.

It takes a plan to achieve a joy-filled marriage

Our emotional capacity is directly proportionate to the amount of joy we have. When you have large amounts of joy, life is just better. Note here that joy is not the same as happiness as we learn in the above-mentioned article from Got Questions.

So first, what is emotional capacity? It’s the ability to bounce back after a difficult situation.

And how can I have more joy? It takes a little work but it’s really not that hard. Make a plan, just a few minutes a day for 30 days can change your whole outlook on life. Ann Voskamp shared in her book, A Thousand Gifts, that finding joy through gratitude changed her life radically. She took a few minutes a day to think of three things she was grateful for and her life has never been the same.

Chris and Marcus say we can decrease our joy gap in 30 days. Our joy gap is the amount of time between feelings of joy. The way to do this is through your own intentionality. They say if you follow the instructions in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages and do the prescribed exercises…

“… you will almost certainly begin to see changes for the better in your marriage. If you do them for sixty or ninety days, you will develop habits that make joy the new normal in your marriage.”

OK, What’s the plan for joy-filled marriages?

I was glad to find that my husband and I have been following the plan without even knowing the plan. 🙂 We have been doing many of the things Chris and Marcus suggested and I’d say it must work because Michael and I consider our marriage joy-filled. There are four habits discussed in the book easily remembered by the acronym P.L.A.N.

  • Play together
  • Listen for emotion
  • Appreciate daily
  • Nurture Rhythm

I would say that these are quite self-explanatory. I mentioned that my husband and I feel that we have already been doing these things. Some suggestions we follow are:

  1. Going on dates. This does not have to be expensive. You don’t even have to spend money here. Take a walk. Goo.g.le “Things to do for free” in your city. You will be surprised at what you can do. Check out what we can do in Savannah. When we lived in Milwaukee, citizens could visit the museums for free on certain days. We hit these as often as we could.
  2. Listen for Emotion. Make sure when you are talking that you are actually listening to your mate. Keep eye contact. And LISTEN, don’t start thinking about your reply. Hear what they are saying to you. The book will give you some wonderful exercises to teach you to listen.
  3. Appreciate Daily. When is the last time you said, “Thank you” to your spouse? Not for the big things but the small things like taking out the garbage. Take notice when they do a small kindness and show appreciation.
  4. Nurture rhythm. This is about routine. find a routine and stick to it. Don’t continue to break the times you do have together. Michael and I always enjoy breakfast together and in the evening, we watch some tv together. These are times you have to catch up with what is happening with your spouse. This is important.

An Easy Read

You won’t have trouble reading this small book. The first three chapters explain the brain science behind it all and then how and what they have developed to helped others have joy-filled marriages.

The remaining chapters discuss the PLAN and give you plenty of simple exercises to do together. The exercises are very simple. Some of them might feel awkward at first if you haven’t already been doing them. (ie. eye smiles.) You may not be in the habit of looking into one another’s eyes but they explain how to work on it and lengthen the time.

I did get caught in the last chapter. They actually said if I was like them I hadn’t done the exercises. ha! They were right. Seriously, for us, we do these things so, in a way, we did the exercises. I would encourage you though if you need more joy in your marriage, read the book, do the exercises.

Need a more joy-filled marriage? Read the book, follow the plan, do the exercises. #joy-filledmarriages #marriage #moodypress Click To Tweet


Men who have done these exercises faithfully with their wives have commonly reported feeling more secure and less anxious in their marriages. The same is true for women, who have reported feeling more highly valued and cared for by their husbands.

You have to be careful though. One man who went through the process wrote, “I work from home and I had to cut back on the exercises because my wife and I found ourselves in bed too much during the day and I was not getting any work done!” You’ve been warned.

The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages
Mandy Farmer

I express joy-filled gratitude to Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey along with Moody Press Publishers for providing a copy of the book. This review is my own words and not affected in any way by the publisher or authors.

Book Giveaway

Who wants my marked-up 4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriages book? You will be entered in the drawing each time you comment during November. Comment on any post during November 2019 for an entry in the drawing. Winner to be announced in the December 3 newsletter.

Speaking of Ann Voskamp

There is a free Bible Study of her book One Thousand Gifts coming up on Faith Gateway beginning November 18. Come join me to learn how to create a joyfilled-life. Sign Up Now.

my former life

Grieving My Former Life Before Chronic Pain

Do You Think You Will Come Back to Work?

I’m grieving my former life before Chronic Pain. Fibromyalgia and other Chronic Pain illnesses are classified as “Invisible Diseases”. For the most part, one can look at a Pain Warrior and not see anything wrong. And yet this person stops working, turns down invitations sometimes at the last minute. They seem to be checking out of life. But in all reality, they want nothing more to be in the middle of life. Often grief is part of their illness because they want so much to have their life back.

So what are we to do as a friend? Do we continue to include them in our lives and plans? Most definitely! Here’s a bit from my point of view.

curleque by Coffee at pixabay

About this time of the year, in 2011, I lost my former life. I grieved for quite a while because I truly did miss it.

I was busy, too busy really

Let me share a list of the things I was involved in.

too many irons in the fire
Too Many Irons in the Fire
  • Mom – two children still at home
  • Homeschooling – be this time only one high school student left
  • Homeschool Co-op – Director, teacher
  • Pastor’s Wife – ’nuff said
  • Children’s ministry director
  • Sunday School teacher
  • play director – two a year
  • Bible Quiz coach
  • Regional Bible Quiz Moderator
  • Church Office Manager
  • Women’s Ministry Leader

Now, just writing these things makes me tired. But back then I was quite a go-getter. I always had several irons in the fire, so to speak. They say that those with fibromyalgia seem to be Type A personalities. I don’t know if it’s true but it is certainly true with me.

Grieving My Former Life

Grief can be very real for the one who loses everything they once loved. It’s a process and just like losing a loved one, there are seasons that are harder than others. For instance, after my husband and I left our full-time ministry, we grieved the hardest during the holidays. One thing we loved to do was create exciting services, especially at Easter. It’s probably still the hardest time to go to worship and only be a participant rather than the leaders. I wrote about this not long after Michael retired.

It Just Takes Time

The rawness of one’s loss can be very difficult to bear. Dealing with the “why’s” and the “how did this happen” and “what did I do to deserve this?” On top of that, we just missed those activities just as you would miss your loved one when they are gone.

One of the first things I did was start a blog. I came across a challenge to write every day for an entire month. So, I decided I would write about my journey with Chronic Pain. I wrote about the pain, the waiting, the doctors and more doctors. I dealt with the process of the Why’s and the How’s and the Now What’s?

This turned out to be very therapeutic. Not only have I been able to help people become more aware of my illness but it turns out that writing about the frustrations of chronic pain helps relieve the pain.

Plus, I have met a world of new friends, literally from around the world, an unimaginable support group full of love and understanding. They also became my greatest cheerleaders, encouraging me to keep writing. They shared new things they had learned and connected with me because of our similar issues. (I also found that I didn’t have much to complain about because there are many people who have much worse issues than I have.) Two of my favorite Facebook groups, Fibro Bloggers Directory and Medical Musings with Friends.

Lessons from Flat on Your Back

For the first few months, I was flat on my back, unable to even roll to my side without a great deal of pain. I had to drink my meals and have assistance doing all those normal life activities like using the restroom and taking a bath. Believe me, this was hard to take for this Type-A girl.

But while on my back I did a lot of reading and assessing my life. I found myself getting much closer to God, realizing that in some ways I had left Him completely out of my life. Instead of placing Him in full control. I spent a lot of time reading The Holy Bible. I set to reading it through in a year and ended up reading it three times in three versions.

My favorite book was suggested by a friend. I had heard of it but never read it, Now that my pain is managed well, I sometimes slip into grieving my former life. I begin to wonder, “If God is my Healer, Why Am I Still in Pain?“. I wrote about that recently.

But I know this new life is much better. Walking with Jesus step by step, day by day is wonderful. Having this pain is like having a reminder of WHO is in control. And it’s not me!

People will often quote Romans 8:28 claiming that God has a plan. And yes! He does have a plan. I don’t believe that God caused my disease, but He did allow it “for my good”. I may not see the reason why in this lifetime, but I will see it from heaven and rejoice. So I will do as Jesus did as he faced the cross.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

God can take anything that happens and turn it into good. Are you trusting Him with your trial today? Whether it’s pain, or sickness, or loss He can turn your tears into rejoicing. He sees the whole picture and His plan is a good one! Trust me on that.

Mandy Farmer

P.S. I have created a verse of the day calendar for October. The scriptures are all about comfort. Download it for free by clicking on the image below.

October Calendar

Suggested Reading {affiliate link}

celebrate one year #topposts

Our Top Posts on Mandy & Michele

We’re Celebrating One Year

celebrating one year top posts
image free from pixabay

Michele and I are amazed at how fast this first year of blogging has flown by. We hope that you have been enjoying the ride with us. Today, we take a look back and share with you some of our top posts. The first category is Keeping the Faith. That is posts that show you how to Read Your Bible, Pray, Share Your Faith. The second category is called Leaving a Legacy where we write about Marriage and Family, mentoring, and remembering others’ legacies.

Which post has been your favorite this year?

Top Keeping the Faith Posts

How to Have an Effective Bible Study

8 Benefits of Regular Bible Study

Never Despise Small Beginnings

The Great Commission ~ Who? Me? Make Disciples?

How to Improve Your Church Attendance Experience

Top Leaving a Legacy Posts

Self- Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

An Heirloom Wedding Gown

Adoption Changed My Legacy

The Greatest Legacy: A Father’s Love

From Generation to Generation

Top Posts from Recipes, A Bit of Fun and The Spice of Life

And now how about a little fun and spice? Michele has really kept me laughing this year. I hope she has for you as well. Here are the top favorites from her repertoire.

spice of life favoirte top posts
Enjoy Michele’s Humor About Life

Amish People in Rural Wisconsin

A Few of My Summer Recipes

Recipes Long Forgotten

A Recipe For Life

The Joy of Scaring My Brother

Mornings: Sunrise, Coffee, Jesus

Friday Night Fish Fry

The Cold Roast Beef Sandwich

Observations and Thoughts

Many of these posts are written by guest writers. That tells me we need to continue having others write so that their followers come and find us. This summer we started a monthly link-up called Legacy Link-ups. This has been a good way to increase our traffic as well. We may continue this as well.

The top posts written by Mandy are those about chronic pain. We will share those in another post this month. Michele provides the humor on this blog. If you haven’t caught her Spice of Life posts be sure to go find them.

Tell us what you would like to see in the coming year.

I have created a quick survey. Please go take the survey and we will give you a small downloadable gift for your time.

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Take a survey & receive a free downloadable

Return all Month for more Celebration. Plus another This and That interview with Mandy and Michele!

Mandy & Michele
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The Joy of Scaring My Brother

I am basking in sheer joy, remembering all the fun of scaring my brother Jason. How do I even convey the merriment that resulted from all the planning and plotting? The quiet moments I patiently waited in his closet or under his bed. The restraint I mustard to crawl slowly into his room to scare the wits out him. I enjoyed scaring my brother.

I can’t remember why I started scaring my brother. Maybe it was the usual older sister/sibling rivalry type of thing. But whatever the case, mischief lay in my heart and it sought its way out through this avenue.

Plan your work and work your plan

My plan was very simple. I was to scare my brother and make him scream like a little girl. The plotting of “when” and “how” to scare my brother became my biggest challenge. These were elements which required great thought. It needed to have the biggest impact- making him screaming like a girl.

I probably picked a day when he pestered me the most. You know… kinda let all the frustration build. Like marinating meat, all day. I let the frustration marinate my mischievious thoughts. Revenge may be best served cold, but this revenge was best served in the dark.

Michele are you in here?

The five best words to hear him speak were “Michele? Are you in here?” He spoke them with a trembly voice. Mahwahahaha! I had him! Once he spoke those words, I knew the fear was in him. He knew to keep tabs on me in the evening. Watching me, seeing if I was in the kitchen, or brushing my teeth or in my bed. And if I wasn’t, it was time to be afraid… VERY AFRAID! I would make sure to get ahead of the evening’s bedtime routine. Shutting the light off in my room gave him a false sense of me being at bay.

I will start with my very best scare. I decided that I would lay under his bed, near the edge so I could watch for him. Waiting silently, patiently- for the sound of his feet padding down the hallway. Finally, I could see his feet standing in the doorway, pausing for a moment and then the words “Michele? Are you in here?”, followed by silence as he slowly entered the room. Pausing at the closet door he threw it open. But no Michele there. Silence again.

I could tell in the silence he was trying to decide if it was safe. Unfortunately, for him, it was NOT! Hardly able to contain my excitement, I would mentally tell myself to keep calm; the best part is coming! I resorted often to holding my hand over my mouth for fear he could hear me breathing, or worst yet, snickering to myself.

Scaring my brother

The pounding of my heart indicated that if I didn’t yell “Boo!” or “Rar!” soon, I was going be the first child at the age of eight to die of cardiac arrest under her brother’s bed. NO WAY! That wasn’t gonna be me.

My brother had decided the coast was clear and hopped into bed. I could hear him settle in. I slowly took my position nearest the edge of his bed, got my right arm ready, cause I was gonna swing it up and grab him! READY? Taking a deep breath in, I prepared myself for one smooth motion which would be followed by “Rar!”. SET? All systems are “go” Michele! GO! My hand swings up to the top of the bed and it hits his right shoulder as I scream out “Rar!”

JACKPOT! He screams like a girl while launching straight into the air. Blankets flying. I can hear the clatter of coffee cups and chairs shuffling about as my parent’s rocket from the living room to the hallway and then to my brother’s room. Asking him what is going on, why all the screaming?

But I am not even in his room. No, no… I already had done my “roll and run”, assuring that I would beat the parental calamity coming down the hallway. I was neatly tucked in my bed, faking sleep. So innocent. I had my mouth agape with a bit of drool trickling down to make it look sincere.

The Spanish Inquisition

Then I heard it. The tribunal coming down the hallway. I think my dad wore 4 x 6 ‘s on his feet as well as his hands. They knew the routine. They knew it was me, but they would never, EVER catch me at it. “Michele!”. “Michele, get up!”. I opened my eyes as if in a dream state, but there is no fooling mom, especially when I have such a “flair” for these events.

My dad was a big man. 6′ 7″ of him stood, looming in the doorway. Behind him, my brother, sniveling softly. Scaring my brother was totally frowned upon. He did not see well and I took great advantage of that once he removed his glasses. Somewhere I knew I felt bad, just a bit, for scaring him. But the joy of hearing him screamed outweighed whatever punishment that would await.

One Last Time, For Old Times Sake

The last scare, one of many good scares, was in our late high school years. I remember reading a book and seeing my brother come by my room and could hear him getting ready for bed. Then, like lightning, it hit me that I had not scared that boy in years! No time like a present, let’s do this one last time. Can’t let him think I’ve lost my touch!

A grin spread across my face. I wished I could have slinked out of my room, up and over items laying in the way- just like the Grinch did when he was stealing all the Christmas gifts from the Who’s in Whoville. But I was no Grinch and this was going require ninja-like moves. He was all the way across the other side of the basement.

The creature from the other side of the basement

Hiking up my jammies and putting my hair into a ponytail, I prepared for the ambush. I walked half-way slowly, one foot in front of the other, like the Indians did- not making a sound. Then as I could see his doorway, I dropped to my knees and began crawling. The same old joy began effervescing up from my mischievous heart. I had to stop a few times and put my head down to keep from laughing. Man! This was going to be epic! One last time is about all I have because we are not eight and seven years old anymore. I am seventeen and he is sixteen. He is big and fast.  I am extra vulnerable because I am crawling on the floor.

No longer having carpet to crawl on, I begin the trek across the cold linoleum. I am thinking about what I am going to say or do. But the merriment overcomes me and I let out a little snort. I freeze. Jason calls out, “MICHELE?!” I remain silent. Ah! Deep in the recesses of his mind, he remembers and then I remember all the scares, all the waiting in the closets and jumping out. All the screaming like a girl. Till finally, the hilarity of it all makes me bust out laughing and collapse on the floor.

Jason lets out a scream and throws on the bedside lamp. I am on the floor heaving with laughter. Putting on his glasses, he grabs a pillow and begins to give me whop after whop. But I don’t care. It was a great scare and probably my last scare. Scaring my brother was terribly fun and somewhere I know I should be sorry, but it was just too therapeutic.  Maybe the biggest scare is this story made it to print! HA!

#surrogate mom

An Interview With A Surrogate Mom

Years ago I saw a movie about a mother who became a surrogate for her daughter who wasn’t able to conceive a child. I thought, “What a wonderful gift of love; a wonderful gift of legacy.”

What a wonderful gift of love and legacy. #surrogacy #surrogatemom Click To Tweet

Surrogacy is probably something most of us haven’t really thought about unless you are struggling with infertility. Other than seeing that movie, I know I haven’t really given it much thought. And still, I never thought that surrogacy would touch my life until a few years ago.

My nephew’s wife, after having their own three children, Chelsie decided she wanted to be a surrogate mother.

Chelsie was more than happy to share her experience as a surrogate mom. So, we will do that today in a Q & A format. If you have more questions. I am sure that Chelsie would be willing to answer them in the comments.

NOTE: There is much debate about whether surrogacy is a good thing or not. We are not here to debate the right or wrong today, but rather to share in the joy that Chelsie gets from being a surrogate mother.

So, Let’s Get Started

Chelsie thank you for talking with me today about your experience as a surrogate mother. I am excited to share it with my readers.

Tell us a bit about you and your family

I’m 32 years old. I have 3 of my own children. Morgan is 14, Braylon is 13, & Nolan is almost 12. My husband Landon and I have been married for 14 almost 15 years. He works full time, is going to college, is the football & wrestling coach for our son Nolan’s teams.

I work full time also, & am also currently take a few college classes. My favorite things to do are to spend time with my family, running/working out/hiking, traveling, reading &  anything outside.

Wow! You have a busy life! How did you become interested in surrogacy?

I first became interested in surrogacy after reading a book. It was a surrogate telling her story. I then met people through one of my jobs & they really inspired me. Landon also had 2 close friends who were experiencing fertility issues.

I looked into it when Nolan was just a baby. And I realized how much time & energy I would have to devote to it & decided now was not the time.

6 years later, I had a conversation with Landon and said that I still had been thinking about it and really, really, truly wanted to be a surrogate. Landon still to this day doesn’t understand my desire to be a surrogate. He thinks it’s a little weird & that’s okay, a lot of people do. 

I’m glad that your husband is supportive of your dream to be a surrogate mom. It’s important in any marriage to be supportive of one another’s dreams.

How many times have you become a surrogate mother?

I have been a surrogate twice. The first time I delivered twins for intended parents that live in Prague, Czech Republic. I also delivered a singleton with parents that live in Wisconsin.

Yes, I plan on doing it again. As a matter of fact, I have just started medications last week to hopefully become pregnant again. I always get my husband’s & children’s blessings before I start on the long surrogacy journey. 

So, how did you find a family for whom to be a surrogate?

I used a surrogacy agency. I researched multiple agencies. After finding the one that I liked best, I completed an online application, they responded and we made an appointment to meet with the agency.

The meeting was 6 to 7 hours long! We discussed everything you could think of. For example, how many embryos are you willing to carry, what are your thoughts on selective reduction, how much interaction would you like with the intended parents before, during & after pregnancy.

Landon & I had each took a 2.5-hour long psychology tests, verbal and oral.

The selection process to become a surrogate

After the long appointment at the surrogacy agency we waited to see if they would accept us. I got the phone call that they accepted me a few days later. We had to wait for the psych tests to come back.
Then you wait until the agency calls you and tells you that they think they have found intended parents that would be a good match with you.

Getting a Match.

They tell you about the couple & if the surrogate is interested & thinks the couple might be a good fit the agency sends the surrogate a letter the intended parents wrote along with a picture.
The surrogate tells the agency yes or no. If yes, then the intended parents would then get the surrogates letter and photo, if no then the agency would let you know when they think they might have found different intended couple.

The Match Meeting.

If the intended parents say yes to your letter and photos a match meeting date is set. The match meeting takes place at the agency. I was so nervous! There you meet & discuss everything that will eventually go into your contract.

Medical Approval.

If you agree on everything and decide to move forward, the next step would be getting medically approved by the intended parents choice of infertility doctors and clinic. Once you get medically approved and your contract is signed, a transfer date is set, your medications will get delivered, and you’ll begin your medications & set all of your upcoming appointments with the fertility clinic.

Did they use your eggs to create the embryos?

The agency that I decided to work with only works with gestational surrogates. That means that the surrogate is not using her eggs. The intended parents can either us their own egg or sometimes they have to use a donor egg. In my 2 surrogacy journeys we have used the intended mother’s egg. The other intended parents had to use donor eggs. 

I could never give up my baby, how can you do that?

It was never my baby. You go into it with a completely different mindset. I felt more pressure for my surrogate babies to be healthy than my own. The parents are trusting you with the most important thing in their lives! I didn’t take that responsibility lightly.

Do you think about the babies?

Yes, I do. I always explain the relationship as me being an aunt. I love them, I think about them, I wonder & worry about them. The most amazing part though is that then I usually get a picture or a video of them, if not I’ll text the parents.

Did you get to hold and see the Intended parents holding their baby/babies after you gave birth?

Yes! It was always the most important thing in our match meeting with the intended parents. My children must be allowed to go to the hospital and see the intended parents holding their baby. I felt it was really important for my children to be able to see the baby with their parents. We are very fortunate to still have great relationships with the families and still get to see the babies and their families.

That’s awesome that your children can have a part in the whole process.

What is the best part of your surrogacy experience?

This is my favorite question that makes me get tears in my eyes! Seeing the parents holding their babies. Then as they grow, just watching them with their children. It makes my heart melt. I love that I’ve taught my children it’s okay to do something different and that not everyone agrees with.

Chelsie, thanks for opening up your heart with us today. This has certainly helped me understand more about surrogacy. And I feel it has for others as well. We wish you well on this next journey of surrogacy you are beginning.

I’m happy to share with you. If you have questions please ask. I am sometimes amazed at what people think surrogacy is. “I know I have made a huge impact on so many people’s lives.”

“I know I have made a huge impact on so many people’s lives.” #surrogacy #surrogatemother Click To Tweet

To learn more about surrogacy, go to Hope Surrogacy. Or feel free to asked Chelsie your questions in the comments. She will be glad to respond.

Mandy Farmer

There’s Still Time to Link-Up

New Legacy Through Adoption #legacylinkup #infertility #adoption #surrogatemom
Click here to Link-up your Adoption and Surrogacy Stories Here until August 31, 2019

#godsstrength #myweakness #hymn

I Boast In My Weakness ~ In Christ I Am Strong

It’s Friday. Time to join the crew at Five Minute Friday and write on a prompt. Prompt: Weak Weakness

Five MInute Friday PRompt Weak
image provided by Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday

This post was originally published in 2018 on Leaving a Legacy, [GGMANDY dot COM and linked up on the Five-minute Friday Link-up.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Sadly, I can relate to the Apostle Paul. He had some type of ailment or thorn in the flesh as he called it. He asked God to remove it several times, but God said,

“My grace is sufficient ..” 

Yes. It is true. His grace is sufficient.

First, I just reached the 8-year mile marker of a journey with chronic pain. And I have learned that this pain causes me to rest on Him. In the past, I trusted in my own strength, but now His grace is sufficient for me.

Secondly, even in ministry, I found myself doing everything from my own wisdom and my own strength my weakness. So God had to take me down a few notches. He needed me to look to Him for wisdom and strength. Oh, how it is so much better to lean on Him. So much more can be accomplished through Him when I allow Him to do the work. And it is so much more exciting to see Him do it!

it is so much better to lean on God. So much more can be accomplished through Him when I allow Him to do the work. Click To Tweet

Been There, Done That

Consequently, I have been there with Paul asking, “Can you take the pain away now? I have learned my lesson.”

And God responds,

“Really? Do you really think that you would continue to lean on Me or would you fall back into your old ways and begin again to trust your own strength?”

Regrettably, I think I know the answer.

I believe that no matter my good intentions, I would fall back on my own power.

So I accept my weakness, this “Thorn in the Flesh”.

I accept my weakness, this Thorn in the flesh. #chronicpain #weak #justathought Click To Tweet

For me, it is very literal. But I accept this pain and I lean on Him. Because His grace is sufficient. And His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Mandy Farmer
It is true. His grace is sufficient. Click To Tweet

Hymn Favorite by Mosie Lister

(1)     Many times I’m tried and tested 
As I travel day by day 
Oft I meet with pain and sorrow 
And there’s trouble in the way. 
But I have a sweet assurance 
That my soul the Lord will lead 
And in Him there is strength for every need. 
O, His grace is sufficient for me. 
And His love is abundant and free. 
And what joy fills my soul, 
Just to know, just to know 
That His grace is sufficient for me. 
(2)     When the tempter brings confusion 
And I don’t know what to do, 
On my knees I turn to Jesus 
For He’ll always see me through 
Then despair is changed to victory. 
Every doubt just melts away 
And in Him there is hope for everyday.
O, His grace is sufficient for me. 
And His love is abundant and free. 
And what joy fills my soul, 
Just to know, just to know 
That His grace is sufficient for me. 

Here’s a version of the song I grew up hearing on the old Magnavox record player.