Friday, September 30, 2011

I Imagined Myself There

Enjoyable!  Refreshing!  Fun!

Those are the first words that come to my head when I think about the Women of Faith conference that I got to attend last weekend.  Let me set the stage for you.

The Bobcats Arena in Charlotte is full of thousands of women (and about 3 guys) all singing, praising and listening as a panel of speakers tell us what God has done in their lives.

Let's back up a little bit now.  Earlier in the summer, I applied through Booksneeze to get 2 free tickets to the Women of Faith conference in Charlotte.  I got accepted.  Yay, me!  I picked Charlotte for the tickets because my brother and sister-in-law live there.  So, naturally, I invited my sis-in-law, Desha, to join me for the conference.  (And I had a free place to stay and some wonderful home-cooked dinners- wahoo!)

Desha could not make it to the first session on Friday, so I braved the drive downtown all by myself.  I do have to admit that I was pretty proud of making it down there with no wrong turns (although I did get honked at once on the interstate - oops).  I am NOT a city driver.  Rush hour in my town means 10 cars are at the traffic light, but I digress....

Friday's day sessions were very laid back and casual.  That session (and all sessions) started with worship music from the Women of Faith praise team - 4 great women singers.  Then we heard from Dr. Henry Cloud and from Sheila Walsh.  The theme for the weekend was "Imagine" and I have to admit, Dr. Cloud did the best job of incorporating the theme into his talk.  He had us imagine a life of happiness and he talked about the necessary endings that must take place in our lives to achieve that goal.  As Christians we talk a lot about "joy" but not that much about "happiness," so I like that he chose that for his talk. 

The praise team

A box lunch was provided both days with our tickets.  The food was simple but very good.  It was nice to know that you didn't have to go find food somewhere else.  My only complaint was that if I wanted my daily lunchtime caffeine I had to pay the exorbitant arena concession prices for it, or sneak it in (you weren't supposed to bring in outside food or drink).  I won't tell you which I chose to do.

Friday evening brought with it all the bells and whistles.  The panelists all wore their best black and silver outfits complete with bling.  There were theater lights, entrance music and all that jazz.  We heard from Christian comedian Ken Davis that night.  He was HIL-AR-I-OUS!!!!!!  We were laughing so hard we cried.  His humor was definitely one the best parts of the weekend. 

But the absolutely best part of weekend?  Natalie Grant's concert on Friday night.  It was SO good!  That girl can hold a note out for 10 minutes!  My favorite was her singing "Your Great Name."  Besides the great music, she was so real with us, telling us about her struggles with infertility and motherhood.  That concert just really made my weekend.

 Natalie on stage

After getting some rest on Friday night, were back bright and early on Saturday morning.  We heard from Lisa Harper, Sheila Walsh (who is Scottish and has a wonderful accent), Nichole Johnson and Karen Kingsbury.  All of the speakers were engaging, but I was very excited about hearing author, Karen Kingsbury.  I have enjoyed her books for years now.  I tried to get her autograph but her line filled up quickly and was closed by the time I got out there.  Karen is not a regular Women of Faith speaker but only attends a few of the conferences.  So we were lucky to get to hear her.

Karen Kingsbury on stage
This is as close as I came to getting her autograph.

Saturday afternoon brought us another concert.  This time by Gospel Hip Hop singers, Mary Mary.  They are sisters but neither one of their names are Mary - go figure.  They got us up and moving.  I don't know about you, but I love to dance during lively concerts.  So my hips were shaking a little - even if I am Baptist.  After Mary, Mary, we heard from Luci Swindoll.  She is definitely an interesting character.  She's 79, never been married and very into doing her own thing.  She spoke from experience about how we need to enjoy life more, to step out and do something different with our lives. 

Mary Mary

All in all, it was a good conference and I enjoyed it.  Previous conferences that I had been to were very centered on Bible teaching, where you focus on one section of Scripture and unpack it to see the truths in it.  This was not like that.  This conference was more about the testimonies of the individual speakers and how God has worked through their lives.  In fact, after the first session, I didn't even bring my Bible.  I don't think that's a bad thing.  I just don't want someone to go to a Women of Faith conference thinking that it's an in-depth Bible study, because it's not. 

Since this is a review, I do have to mention both the ups and the downs.  So... I do have a few critiques of the conference, if that's what you want to call them that.  One is that the women who spoke all came from broken homes and had very broken childhoods.  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that.  God healed them and used them.  But since I didn't have a broken home and I had a great childhood, it made it kind of hard to relate.  I think Karen Kingsbury and Luci Swindoll were the only two who didn't have something bad happen to them at age 5.  While I enjoyed hearing their stories and hearing how God has made something wonderful of their lives, I sometimes found it hard to apply any of that to me.

My second critique would be that the praise team felt a little over-polished to me.  Everything they did was very choreographed and very perfect.  I like that they were practiced and prepared, but it felt a little fake at times.  I hate to critique them that way because they sounded good, but it sounded like we were listening to a CD the whole time not to a live group of singers.

My last critique is of the lady taking pictures at the autograph table.  We were assured that a volunteer who was "great at taking pictures" would get a picture of us while Mary, Mary signed our programs.  Look at this picture.

Do you see me in there?  I'm not photoshopped.  That really is half of my head poking in there.  And Desha is there too, right next to me but completely out of the picture.  The "expert" was, apparently, not very good at taking pictures.  So I was a little disappointed in that.

Thank you, Booksneeze for the tickets and thank you Matt and Desha for the free place to stay and the good food.  I had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reflecting Him 10-week Bible Study: Review and Giveaway

 This summer I was privileged to try out a new Bible study by author Carla McDougal.  Reflecting Him is a 10-week Bible study all about breaking down the barriers between us and Christ.  In it you are reminded who you are in relation to who God is.  You will see how God has a plan for you and is leading you. You will also discover new practical ways to apply Scripture to your life.

While I didn't have the opportunity to complete the whole book, I loved the parts that I did go through.  The study is insightful, well-written and convicting.  Along with the individual workbook, there is a video series and leader's guide you can use to lead a small group study.  Feel free to watch the short video below by the study's author, Carla McDougal.  

Also, scroll on down to the bottom and see what's included in the giveaway.  All you have to do is comment on this post with an email address so I can contact you later.  All comments from all blogs participating in this tour will be entered into a grand prize drawing.  One lucky reader will win!

Author Bio:

CARLA MCDOUGAL is founder of Reflective Life Ministries headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. Her true passion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shines brightly, whether she is speaking or writing. She shares experiences from her own life to encourage women to live every day for Him. God is sending Carla around the world to speak to women from all walks of life—those living in the best of circumstances to those who have hit rock bottom.

Carla’s book, Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It, is a 10-week study that encourages you to open your eyes to God’s daily life lessons. The more you ask God to be in your life, the more you will recognize His hand on everything you do. For more information on a growing number of products from Reflective Life Ministries, and to see about booking Carla for an event or interview, go to

Grand Prize Giveaway:

Reflective Life Ministries
Instant Leader Kit:
Video Teaching Series
Bible Study Book
Leader Guide
Music CD

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exercise the Fun Way

Yeah, I finally get a "day off" from all my volunteer responsibilities, well, most of a day anyway. (I have a PTA meeting this afternoon, but that's another subject.)

What I'd love to talk about today is how to exercise the fun way.

For some people that may be running races, for others it's hiking or kayaking.
Those are all good, outdoor, fun activities, but they are not the way our family chooses to have fun exercising.

For us, exercising the fun way is making up a new game outside, usually with a ball.
I'll give you two examples of games we have made up (obviously, the possibilities are endless.)

Football catch/deck basketball:
OK, for this game you'll need a soft football (like a Nerf one) and a short basketball goal.  We have a nice back deck that we played this game on too.  You need at least 3 players - 2 competitors and 1 judge.  Player 1 and 2 throw the ball back and forth to each other.  If you catch it, you get 1 point.  When someone catches the ball, both players run for the deck.  Then comes the confusing part (remember this game was made up by a 6 year old and an 8 year old, which makes the rules rather interesting).

If player 1 catches the ball and makes it to the deck first, they can try to throw the ball into the basketball goal.  If they make it, they get another 6 points.  Player 2 (the one who did not catch the ball) can "block" the goal by running over to it and putting their hands across it.  That stops player 1 from scoring those 6 points.  Additionally, if player 2 makes it to the deck first, they have stopped player 1 from getting the chance to score and have held them to their 1 point.  We played to 40 points.

Clear as mud?

So what is the judges job in all this?  Well, as usual, when two siblings make up a new game and try to play it, fights usually happen.  That's where the judge comes in.  The judge declares when a catch is made (sometimes those are subjective decisions, especially based on the children's ages and athletic skill).  The judge also rules on who touched the deck first.  The judge can also call a "re-do" in case of a tie.

We played this game many times over the course of an afternoon and everyone got a chance to be the judge (and take a little break from all the running!).  And the rules did evolve over time. 

Playset basketball toss:
We are so blessed to have an awesome new playset in our backyard.  The set is 3 levels.  When you are a 6 year old boy, what is the most fun you can have up on the third level of a playset?  Why, it would be to throw things off of it, of course.  So pretty soon a little game came from that.

To play this you need a high structure, a ball and a basketball goal.  We used our smaller, plastic, portable basketball goal, the same one as in the game above and a round red ball - red, so we can see it better (at least that's what David told me).  Player 1 goes up to the third level with the ball and tries to throw it down into the basketball goal.  Player 2 is on the ground and gets to chase after said ball when it, most of the time, doesn't make it into the goal, but rolls down the hill that is our yard.  Then player 2 tries to throw it up to player 1.  After several attempts, player 1 catches it and the process starts over again.  Player 1 gets 5 tries to make it into the goal, then they must trade places with the other player and give them a shot.

With my kids, this game goes on forever and not many goals are made, but they don't care.  They are running around and having fun.  Julie even made her own pulley system out of jump ropes just for this game.  Instead of tossing the ball up to the person on top, they now put it in a loop at the bottom of the jump rope and pull it up.  Just another way her imagination gets a workout along with her body.

Making up games, creating solutions to "problems" encountered while in those games - all those things involve your brain and your imagination.  So not only do we make up new games to get exercise the fun way, we also exercise our brains that way and learn to be creative in problem solving.  My kids are very imaginative and I love it that they use it in this way.

Clorox 2 has declared September 24 to be Worldwide Day of Play to turn off the TV and play outside.  Visit this link: and pledge to play outside!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blogoholics Anonymous

Rather sheepishly, I admit that it has been 13 days since my last post.

I feel like I'm in rehab or something:
"Hi, I'm the Stay in the Car Mom and I'm a blogoholic.  It has been 13 days since my last post..."

Oh, if only my excuse were that good, 
But no...I've been in the land of busyness.

Complete and utter busyness - swamped with new responsibilities.

Tell me again why I signed up for all these leadership roles?

Oh yeah, because I like being a leader.  I forget that sometimes...or multiple times a day.

However, all those leadership positions have had me hopping...

So...if I don't post regularly, you'll know why.

And you'll forgive me.
Because you're a good friend like that. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

IKEA: Oh, how I've Missed You

This weekend we decided to come to Charlotte to visit my brother and his family...and IKEA!!

Just for the record, we did not come to Charlotte just to visit IKEA.  Regardless of what my sister-in-law says, we really did come to visit them.  IKEA is just an added perk.

And oh, how I love that perk.

So many ideas...

Alas, I cannot get it all.

Here is what I did get.

 Plastic bag dispenser, one where the bags don't fall out of the bottom.
 Small bench for my small entryway. 
I hope to find a cute cushion for this and us it when putting on shoes.
 A really big mirror (65" long) to put horizontal over our couch.
Now I just have to paint the room so I can put this up.
OK, so my husband can put this up.
Julie braved the store with us, so I decided to buy her a little something.
We actually got this lamp in lime green, but they didn't have that color pictured online.
This is for her new desk.

There you have it my IKEA trip in a nutshell.  The store was insanely crowded since it was a holiday weekend, but it was still fun to go visit.

Have you been to IKEA?  What is your favorite thing to look at there?

Sadly IKEA did not give me any compensation for this post.  I just think it's a neat store.