Money-Saving Wedding Ideas: Invitations for Less

With the upcoming marriage of our daughter, there were so many options for invitations it made my head spin. I found several I loved on Etsy at reasonable prices, but when you’re really trying to save every dollar, and you’ve got a large guest list, making them yourself is the way to go.

And with easy-to-use programs like Picmonkey, it’s easy to create whatever your heart desires.

I created this simple design which I uploaded to Vista Print. They ended up being $.70 each, PLUS, a quick Google search for “vista print promotional code” rendered a 25% off code, saving me $26 on my final order!

 

How to design:

  • I clicked on the 5 x 7 design in Picmonkey, found a cute flower and added it (overlay–your own)
  • Under “effects” I chose “cross process”, “intrepid” and “rapture”, adjusting them a little to get the desired effect.
  • Oh, and if you look closely, just for a fun effect, I added their initials in the background and then used the fade tool.

Using the same flower, I designed a return label and RSVP card, uploaded those as well, and ended up spending $110 for 150 invitations, cards, envelopes and labels.

Another huge money saver: we simply created a free website and a place to RSVP then put that on the card which didn’t require an extra stamp (thus doubling the cost). The perks are, it’s easier for the recipient to reply and it’s easier for you to keep track of replies.

My favorite thing about create your own is how easy it is to reflect your daughter’s personality and get exactly what you want in an invitation for cheaper than you could buy them. You could add photos, art or any other creation you can dream up.

Have you been able to create invitations cheaper? I’d LOVE to hear your ideas!




What Parenting Really Is (Because We’re Not Perfect)

 

This is my sweet daughter. My first born who will marry the love of her life in 33 days. It’s both glorious and gut-wrenching, as I’ve written about.

Preparing to turn loose of one of your children forces a lot of soul-searching. There are always regrets. That’s normal. (I wish I had spent more time on X.)

It is surreal to walk into her bedroom and see it being dismantled. The place where she has been almost every night of her life for over twenty years is about to be empty. (Deep breath.) And a whole lot more hard stuff I’ll refrain from writing.

But yes, it causes me to look back over the twenty years with her at the joy and the time that seemed to fly too quickly. One thing I’ve realized the older I am, is that you really don’t ever “get” this parenting thing. I mean you do, but it’s always changing. What you need as you mother little ones is not the same thing you need to handle the deep questions of your adult children. Nor is it what you need to carefully handle the emerging ones as they grow into their own independence.

As Bria and I have more heart-to-heart talks lately, I know I made mistakes. In my zeal as a first-time-mom, I probably did what many first-time-moms do and expected more than I should. But now I get to look at her and as she gives me enormous grace for my imperfections, I assure her that she, too, will make mistakes. There is no perfect parenting. And that’s OK and normal.

You need to know that: there is no perfect parenting.

What there can be, though, is deliberate parenting, and extending grace to your children when they mess up the way you hope it is extended to you when you mess up. I don’t mean chucking authority and abdicating our responsibility to train and guide them, but to do it with a tenderness and understanding so they know, no matter what in life, we’ve got their backs. Children need that kind of security.

I’m learning about that grace…how to give it to myself as well, and how to give others the benefit of the doubt the way I hope they give it to me.

That’s what walking through this life is. Learning, growing, grace. Being deliberate but being real. Expecting much, and extending much.

I’ll probably walk through this thing nine more times. This is just the beginning and I’m thankful for that grace, that I can learn and hopefully improve as a mom.

And I see God’s grace in the lives of my children, that even despite our mistakes, He is making it right, renewing our strength each day, and allowing us to see the fruit of our labor.

Parenting is little more than being tirelessly intentional, admitting when we’re wrong, asking forgiveness, getting back up and going at it again. It’s keeping our eyes on the goal–seeking first the Kingdom of God and ushering our children into that chief pursuit alongside us.

 




What Makes Jesus Indignant?

“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”   Mark 10:13-16

John MacArthur expounded on this passage and his points stirred some of my own thoughts.  If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I feel like Christians, generally speaking, have adopted a jaded view of children.  The comments made about larger than normal families reveal that we really do view children more as commodities–and therefore, too many are a burden.  My ongoing prayer is that those who proclaim Christ (myself included) will imitate Him.

And as it concerns children, this passage is one that gives us particular insight about Jesus’ heart toward children.  MacArthur pointed out that the phrase “he was much displeased” is from the word translated “indignant” and is used only a few times in the Bible.  Jesus was often disappointed and/or frustrated with His disciples, but only a few times was he “indignant.”

Indignant.

We don’t like to see this side of Jesus.  Not the always-kind, never harsh one that we’ve conjured up.  He was livid. And really, it seems like such a small thing, doesn’t it?  The disciples simply told the parents to stop bringing their children to Jesus because they were interrupting His teaching.  They were seeing the children as a burden.  (By the way, MacArthur also points out that these children were infants–according to the translation.)

I think this passage has two implications.  First, is the general attitude we are to have toward children.  If Jesus was indignant at those He loved for speaking of these children as burdens, does He not become indignant with us as well when we do it?  I’m just pointing out a very plain observation.

And how about children “coming to Jesus” in church services?  Isn’t that where we meet the Lord?  Where we worship? Where our children see us lift up His name corporately and learn about spirit and truth?  How many of you have ever been told you need to remove your children from the service because they might disrupt or interfere?

I think we are not afraid enough of our Lord’s indignation.  What does he get angry about?  Maybe we should take notice.  Maybe it should make us angry too.




Helping My Children Speak Life to Each Other

I literally almost cried.

Lately I’ve been so burdened to be more intentional with my busy family about how we speak to each other, treat each other, and how we can grow in the fruits of the Spirit. I’ve been thinking I needed to write some sort of study to go through and just really shift our focus to deliberate, daily studying of how God’s Word says to handle conflicts, control our tongues and treat each other with gentleness.

Because I know without a doubt, I can “remind” and rebuke all day long, but what I want is heart change. And that only comes through the power of God’s Spirit, planted in our hearts by His Word. All else is outward pruning.

And it’s too easy to just go through the motions of a day, allowing ourselves to get distracted by the trivial so we don’t have to do the hard stuff of the eternal.

Do you struggle with this?

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

This year I was asked again to be a part of the The Ultimate Bundle, it’s focus on Christian living. To be able to tell you about it, I opened up the document with the list of ebooks. The first one I saw and chose to open was Learning to Speak Life. That’s when I almost cried.

It was exactly what I need and I got so excited, I almost stopped what I was doing to print it off and get started right then! (I love to print off ebooks and put them in a binder, or easier than that, have an office store do it and bind it for me!)

The 9-week study includes the following categories for each of the fruits of the Spirit, found in Galatians:

Scripture What is? (Explanation of the particular characteristic for that lessons) -Confessions – Copy Work (I love copy work!) – Role Play – Silly Sayings – Short Story – Family Discussion – Family Project – Prayer – and Digging Deeper

It’s a tool that will force us to be intentional, to look into God’s Word and remind us every day how we are to live in a way that honors the Father.

When I feel burned out as a mom, I can almost be sure that part of the problem is a lack of intentional discipleship on my part. But I feel so inspired to go through this study with my children!

That’s just one of so many fabulous books in this year’s bundle. Here are just a few other titles I’ve been devouring:

Extraordinary Grace

Gary Chapman, Chris Fabry

 

 

 

,

Managing Money God’s Way-31 Day Devotional

Bob Lotich

 

 

 

 

Your Supernatural Marriage

Bob & Audrey Meisner

 

 

 

d

From Grouchy to Great

Ruth Schwenck

 

.

 

,,Even

Even Tempered Mother

Tabitha Philen

 

 

 

 

Just these 6 ebooks retail for $40 and with the bundle you can get these plus 79 more for $34.95!!! These bundles really are the most incredible deals on the internet.

Click HERE and see the other 75+ titles AND bonuses that you can get for 5 days only at 94% off!

 

 




The (Ultimate Christian) Bundle That Has My Heart + I’m Giving Away a KINDLE!!

It’s that time again, and if you know about The Ultimate Bundles, you know you better jump in and grab it.

But this bundle….it has my heart.

I long to become more like Christ, to become a mother that leads my children more and more to Him, to become a wife that is a sweet blessing to my husband, to become a woman through whose life the love of God shines.

But I struggle. A lot.

And I’ve actually been thinking lately that I haven’t immersed myself enough into God’s Word, into books that would challenge and strengthen my heart. It’s too easy to browse Facebook or read a snippet here and there, and I don’t know about you, but before I know it, I can begin to feel the dryness of a life not filled up with Him.

And I am resolved to be more deliberate. This bundle is such a breath of fresh air to me. Yes it’s for sale and I make a commission selling it, but that doesn’t lessen its worth ONE BIT.

With great kids, a loving marriage, a successful career or business and a closer, faith-filled walk with the Lord. But for many of us, making that a reality is big challenge!

That’s where the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle comes in. Ultimate-Bundles.com called in some best selling authors, leading experts and top business professionals to address the most common challenges faced by families and individuals today – all from a solid, Biblical foundation.

For the family…

The bundle contains 11 wonderful books focused on incredibly inventive ways you can craft the marriage you signed on for. To complement that subject, they added 8 more books focused on parenting and passing on your faith to your kids. That wouldn’t be complete without books just for kids so they also included 8 children’s books that parents can read with their children. To close out the content for family life, the Singing Bible MP3 version that Focus on the Family so highly praised was added (a $25 value all by itself). It actually teaches children the story of the Bible not just random stories.

For your professional life…

You will find John Muratori and Michael Pink’s six -hour Christian Wealth Building course ($77 value) which was complemented with Bob Lotich’s 31-day devotional Managing Money God’s Way. There are a total of 14 business related books and courses including Zig Ziglar’s powerful Born To Win course (that Seth Godin and Dave Ramseyrave about), Dr. James B. RichardsWired For Success – Programmed For Failure and Untold Secrets for Creating Wealth by Brig Hart and John Beehner. You’ll even find one of the best selling Christian business books of all time,The Bible Incorporated – In Your Life, Job & Business.

To ignite your faith…

Rounding out the package, Bridge Logos and Moody Press made a series of classic Christian literature available from generals of the faith like Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, A.W. Pink, E.M. Bounds, Calvin, Wesley, Edwardsand more who wrote about grace, prayer, faith and an overcoming life.

In addition to these wonderful classics, the Ultimate Bundles team snagged 14 heart-stirring devotionals from authors like A.W. Tozer and Nancy Leigh DeMoss that speak to matters of faith that are sure to inspire. Let’s not forget Gary Chapman’s Extraordinary Grace or Ray Comfort’s Way of the Master for sharing your faith with others. Both heartbreaking and inspiring, don’t miss Philip Cameron’s, They Call Me Dad, the story of one man’s fight to save orphans from human trafficking.

So as you can see, the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle is an extraordinary value.

(Psst…how about it also includes The Christian Classic Series with titles like The Pilgrim’s Progress and Absolute Surrender?!)

But it still gets better…BONUSES!

The Ultimate Bundles team asked several sponsors to step up to the plate and with no strings attached, provide meaningful BONUS GIFTS. One of the first to step up was Dayspring Greeting Cards who offered a choice of heart-warming gift card packages to choose from.  Another, is a downloadable DVD workout series for getting in shape and maintaining health. With a retail value of $62.99 it includes a Biblical study guide for stewarding your health.Bonus gifts alone have a total retail value of over $160

So now you know…

For as little as $34.95 you can receive over $1,140 worth of valuable eBooks and eCourses that address the issues of life most of us face at one time or another, from a profoundly Biblical worldview. The BONUS GIFTS alone are worth more than four times the price of the bundle! So, if you want to ignite your faith, strengthen your family and help your professional life, there’s no better place to start! All the hard work has been done for you…

The low price of the bundle is like buying a pass that gives you unlimited access to an online shop, and you get to be like a kid in a candy shop.

The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am (EST) on Wednesday, November 5th until 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, November 10th.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 18,500 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone!

You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day guarantee: you have a full month to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don’t feel like it’s made a huge difference to your family’s life, you’ll get your money back in full!

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, November 5 until 11:59 p.m. (EST) Monday, November 10 (or until 18,500 bundles are sold)

What? 75 eBooks plus eCourses and more, PLUS over $160 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle HERE.

Click HERE to see all the titles in this bundle. You will LOVE them! Here are the categories:

  • Business & Personal Finance
  • Christian Classics Series
  • Christian Living
  • Devotional Life
  • For Children
  • Inspirational Novels
  • Married Life
  • Parenting
  • Reaching the Lost

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth over $1,140, and it’s yours for as little as $34.95. Sweet deal, right?

When you’re ready, you can either buy here directly, or right through the website. It’s fast and easy, and you’ll have your bundle sent to you via email within minutes.

Click here for more info or to buy now.

AND….I’m giving away a Kindle to one of you to put all your new books on (or give away for Christmas)! There is no purchase necessary to win. Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, November 5th to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, November 10th (or until 18,500 bundles are sold).

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

 

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Obama’s Feminist Remark: It’s Not About Choice

You’ve probably seen the quote from Obama’s speech Friday but in case you haven’t, the statement that rightly has stay-at-home moms up in arms is this:

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

He called for more taxpayer spending on preschool so moms won’t “have to make that choice.”

Besides some really obvious reasons this statement was so ridiculous, it disturbs me on a couple of levels.

Feminism Isn’t What They Say it Is

The leader of our country has just worn feminism’s true face, delivering a clear message to the young men and women at a college in Rhode Island (and everywhere): “It’s not really about choice.”

Feminism is an enemy of the traditional family and all that represents. Women may be technically free to make the choices they want, but women who choose home will be stigmatized more and more, as feminists (like our President) continue to belittle the role of a home-career.

Is it All About the Money?

From his statement, yes, apparently it is. And do you know why? Because somewhere, somehow, very slowly, we forgot how important it is for parents to invest in the lives of their children, that raising people is the most important job in the world, and that neglect to do so, deliberately and wholeheartedly, will bring negative consequences on all of us. So if it’s not important, why would any woman choose to do it when she could make money doing something important? It’s kind of a no-brainer.

The news is rife with a “world gone mad” and we scratch our heads and talk about solutions to crime and send police officers to school and implement “mass shooting drills” and the list goes on, and all the while, no one suggests that maybe, we should go back to the cradle and start honoring people-raising as a career and remind our young women coming up that they are the ones who can rule the world, and that is pretty important.

But feminism’s true face wants mammas and babies separated as soon as possible. Do you wonder why? Let me remind you that Hitler wanted the same thing. The earlier the state can get our children, the easier it is to make “good citizens” out of them. Nothing good has ever come of that.

But they can’t say that exactly so it comes out something like:

“You poor, underprivileged stay-at-home mom who has to clean up messes all day while other women are earning a paycheck in heels. Let me help you out…” Don’t buy it.

Obama, if he really cares about our nation and the people in it, needs to say,

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. But there’s no better investment she could make for her family and for our nation. Thank you mothers, for trading a fleeting paycheck for the priceless investment of the next generation.”

I am mother, hear me roar.




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