Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Contests

Mother of Pearl: “She’s My Everything” AND Giveaway!


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series – a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

She’s…My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.

–Cardinal Mermillod

Just a few more months. My mother was hoping Dad would hang on long enough so they could celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary in April. But on January 1st, as the sun rose on the new year, my dad’s worn out heart beat its last. Dad had battled Alzheimer’s Disease for ten years. As many of you know, AD is a long, hard journey. Hard on the one afflicted with the disease, hard on the caregivers.

But not without its blessings.

Four years ago, as I began researching stories for Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, my path crossed with a handful of Plain families who were coping with Alzheimer’s. It was just about the point when Dad’s illness was shifting from early to mid stages AD and the timing was a divine accident. I learned so much as I observed the calm acceptance of these families. Rather than waste time shaking a fist at God for allowing this disease to take their loved one, they put their energy into trusting God’s sovereignty. They didn’t deny the difficulties and complications and sadness of Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t dwell on them. “God has a plan,” one woman told me. “He always has a plan.”

Something else I noticed was how privileged my Amish friends felt about caring for their loved one. Caring for the elderly, they believe, is the time to give back to them.

Those encounters shaped my perspective of Dad’s illness. I started to pay attention to how God provided answers to new wrinkles created by Alzheimer’s, just in time. God may be slow, but He is never late.

I started to cherish special moments or good days with Dad—just as he was at each point in his illness. Not mourning the past, not dreading the future.

I really miss my dad. I miss his scratchy whiskers and the way his eyebrows would wiggle at us, even as words failed him. Yet I have such peace in my heart that he was well loved and well cared for, right to the very end. And as hard as Dad’s end of life has been, it isn’t the end. We will meet again. As the saying goes, “Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.”

There’s a beautiful story that illustrates my parents’ 59-year marriage. This event happened about a year or two ago. My sister had accompanied our mother to the doctor appointment for Dad at the Stanford Memory Clinic.

Dad had declined quite a bit that month. He was weak and lethargic, even to the point of whispering, as if it took too much energy to project his voice. During the doctor’s appointment, the doctor told my mother and sister that Dad was now in late stages of Alzheimer’s. Dad didn’t have much vocabulary left, but when the doctor asked him who mom was, he whispered something back. The doctor looked at Mom and asked, “Did you hear what he just said?”

Mom shook her head.

“When I asked him who you were, he whispered, ‘She’s…my everything.'”

###

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a writer of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on toginet.com, and writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post. Suzanne can be found on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.
Re-printed with permission by Cooking & Such, www.sherrygorebooks.com.

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Contests, Parenting

Mother of Pearl – “Priceless Treasure” AND Giveaway!

I am so happy to be able to host this wonderful blog series once again for the week leading up to Mother’s Day.  I hope you enjoy the guest bloggers, and feel free to enter the giveaway for a beautiful pearl necklace, too. ~ Kimberly

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series – a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

Priceless Treasure by Cindy K. Stiverson

We’ve heard it said and often find it true:
You don’t know the value of a treasure until you’re without it.

We take for granted the things in life that seem so readily available.
A paperclip or rubber band, to hold things together.
A tissue or napkin, to wipe our nose to clean our face, to absorb our tears.
A Bible to speak words of wisdom and instruction and life and love.
And a Mother, who is all these things and more.
She is readily available.
She holds things together.
She wipes our nose, cleans our face (and our fingers, and, well…everything else!)
She absorbs our tears and calms our fears.
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)
She loves.

Within hours after my mother passed into the gates of our heavenly home, I was missing her. Her quick wit…humor…charm. Her warm smile and melodious laughter, which served her well to the very end, as did our Lord Jesus Christ, who so graciously allowed her to slip quietly and peacefully into His arms.

She simply stopped breathing.

As I stood at her bedside in those priceless moments after her passing, I wanted to touch her skin as much as possible while there was still warmth in her body; to nuzzle my nose against her head and breathe in the scent of her hair while she was still there. Priceless treasures I was guilty of taking for granted, clouded by unmet needs. I was so consumed with what she was not, that I never fully appreciated who she was. It’s like I was blind, but now I see!

I see her strength, her commitment. Her perseverance…sacrifice…her unspoken love. I see how much she meant to me, how much she did for me, how much she taught me, and how much of the good in me was modeled by her.

She was a virtuous woman, as described in Proverbs 31 of the Bible.
“Her children stand and bless her… a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise (vs. 31).”

This last verse of the poem serves as an epitaph for the woman of virtue. It speaks of the legacy she leaves in her passing. It spurred me to write a personal epitaph for my mother, which I read at her funeral.

We publicly declare your praise today,
and in the days to come,
for you deserve to be praised and blessed,
“We honor you, Mom, for all you have done!”
In my earliest of memories,
You worked so hard, striving for the rest.
You persevered through great trials
and did your very best.
I know you are being rewarded
in ways far beyond our reach.
We honor you now by practicing what you’ve taught,
and even what you preached!
You’ve stood for us for all these years,
Today, we stand for you!
I pray that our applause on earth
will reach your heavenly ears.

With the reading of this poem, I asked everyone to stand. We clapped our hands in celebration and praise of the life of my mother, Margaret Alice Stiltner.

Imagine our surprise to discover that she had left a poetic epitaph for us! She had clipped it from an old magazine and framed it. I found it when I was cleaning her home, on a nightstand by her bed. My mother was never versed at expressing emotion. This was her sweet way of kissing us good-bye: a priceless treasure to remember her by.

###

 

Cynthia (Cindy) Stiverson is a speaker, writer, and artist.  In 1998, she founded Woven: Women of Virtue Network, a spiritual formation and friendship ministry. She pastors the women at Newark Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. She is currently working on her fourth Woven Workbook, and also a book for mothers and daughters on the subject of sexual abuse. Cindy considers raising her daughter, speaker/author Nicole Braddock Bromley, to be her greatest achievement. She loves the men in her life, hubby Mark, grandbabes Jude and Isaac, and son-in-law Matthew. You can find more of Cindy at www.WovenWomen.blogspot.com and www.CynthiaStiverson.com

 

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Mother’s Day Blog Series Finale & Winner of the Necklace!

Here is a note from Amy at Pearl Girls.  Congrats to the winner of the necklace!  I hope it was one of my readers 🙂

Thank you all so much for following along with the Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. I pray you laughed, cried and were touched by the translucent stories of real life written by new moms, stepmoms, grandmoms, adoptive moms, and moms without moms. Iridescent reality. And how poignant that the translucent nacre which coats the sand stuck inside an oyster’s shell is called Mother of Pearl. Mothers surround children with their love and with God’s love so they can grow in grace. I hope you’ll join us this December for the third annual 12 Pearls of Christmas series.

AND … thanks too, to all of you who entered to win the beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. I’m thrilled to announce that the winner is …

Jennifer (heavensent1)!

Jennifer, please email amy@pearlgirls.info with your mailing address.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. The purpose of Pearl Girls is to connect women so that together, we can make a difference in the world.  All proceeds of the Pearl Girls book go in full to two charities: Wings (women in need growing stronger) to help fund a safe house in the Chicago suburbs and to Hands of Hope to help build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products to help support Pearl Girls.

Please stop by the Pearl Girls blog and connect with us there.

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Happy Mother’s Day! Blog Series & Necklace Giveaway: May 8

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother’s Day!


Each Life is Unique by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. II Peter 1.3 (NIV)

Moms, God wants you to know that He has given you everything you need for life — your unique life. He does not plan to give you what you might need to live the life of your best friend, or your neighbor, or even your favorite mother-model. No, God has called you to the life that He planned. I suspect that for most of us, it didn’t turn out to be the life we thought it might be… so long ago when we were young and dreaming of ‘growing up.’

On Mother’s Day I often recall my own dreams to one day be a mother. I grew up playing with dolls and looking to my own Mama as a model for that particular role in life. However, by the time I reached my thirties I was still not a mother! God did, however, have a plan. It just wasn’t what I imagined.

My own unique life would find me becoming a mother through the adoption of my first three children who were ages 9, 7 and 4; and then much later giving birth to our fourth child. Of course I was shocked when God revealed this to me, but I was ecstatic as well. It’s as though I could hear Him saying, “Well, you’re not getting any younger so I’m just going to just give you a jump start with three at one time!”

A huge blessing! A huge adjustment! A joy and a struggle. Change is often like that, isn’t it? We finally get what we want then we have to deal with it. May I just offer a bit of advice if you just got a great answer to prayer, but perhaps not in the way or form you imagined? Just receive it. Embrace it. And be willing to move forward into a new paradigm for your life. So what if you’re not like all the other mothers you know? So what if you’re not like your own mother? So what if your family unit is different? I guarantee God has a plan.

Not only did he want me to embrace my own story, but He called me as a mother to do perhaps one of the most important tasks of all — to nurture my children to live their own unique lives. Not for me to try and squeeze them into what I hoped and dreamed they would be. Not for me to try and live my life through them. But to recognize how God made them, gifted them, and called them to their own special place.

All of my 4 kids are different from one another. Let’s take sports, for instance: I have one child who wins gold medals in international tennis competition, one who is a born equestrian, another who competes nationally in obstacle course shooting matches, and yet another who manages to dance onstage in 3 inch heels, do cartwheels and splits while singing at the same time. Now, honestly, I do none of these things. And yet they do.

I don’t remember placing my order with God for these things.  But I do remember when that tennis player turned 9 years old and I enrolled him in Special Olympics for the first time and how it changed his life… and ours. I remember getting a counselor job at an exclusive summer camp so that my daughter could take English riding classes. I remember being a Cub Scout leader (even though I knew nothing about boys) so that son could one day become an Eagle scout and pursue his love of the great outdoors. And yes, I remember enrolling my preschooler in dance lessons. Later when all the little girls were scared to go on stage for the recital, she exclaimed that she had endured a whole year of lessons just so she could go on stage.

Don’t compare yourself to someone else. And don’t live vicariously through your favorite reality show star. Live your own story. And Moms, raise your kids to embrace the unique life God has for them.
Remember, He has given us everything we need for life!

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, is the author of 10 books including “Role of a Lifetime,” “Amazed by Grace,” “Spa for the Soul” and the new Bible Study “Fit and Healthy Summer.” She is an international conference speaker and enjoys being a Pearl Girl from “Sunnyside” – her home in a New England village. Visit Cindy at www.EncouragingWords.net

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Mother’s Day Blog Series & Necklace Giveaway: May 7

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

What is a Grandmother? by Suzanne Woods Fisher

“A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.”
Amish proverb

I arrived late in the night in Rhode Island, anxious to meet my two-day-old grandson, Blake, after a full day of flying. My daughter and son-in-law had just returned home from the hospital and felt like they had been in a train wreck. There was stuff everywhere.  Already, the needs of this little eight-pound bundle of joy were enormous: an all-terrain stroller, plenty of diapers, onesies, spit-up rags, an assortment of pacifiers to try out until he found the ideal one.

And he was perfect.

I know, I know. “Every mother crow thinks her own little crow is the blackest.” But this little dark eyed, dark haired boy really was perfect.

I spent the next seven days (and nights) getting to know this little guy. His schedule (he had none), his hunger cries (very similar to his every other cry). His pirate look–one eye open, one eye squeezed shut, as if he was still surprised by all that had taken place to him in a week’s time.

I felt surprised, too. How could my baby possibly have had a baby? How could I be a grandmother? I had just turned fifty-one. Shockingly young! How could a kid like me give up playing tennis three times a week to settle into knitting and crocheting and Friday night bingo? And shouldn’t I alter my appearance to fit this new label? Give up my jeans? Switch over to below knee-length calico dresses, thick black socks, practical shoes, gray hair pinned in a topknot. Think…Aunt Bee on Mayberry R.F.D.

As soon as people knew my daughter was expecting, I was bombarded with advice from my well meaning friends—even those who weren’t yet grandparents. “The best way to avoid getting on the nerves of your daughter and son-in-law is to not say anything. Ever.” Or “You’d better pick your nickname or you’ll be stuck with something hideous, like MooMoo Cow.”

What should I be called? Granny? No…reminded me of The Beverly Hillbillies. Grandma? No…sounded like The Waltons. Grammy? No…it was already taken by the in-laws.

But no one really explained what it meant to be a grandmother. I didn’t know myself, not until I held baby Blake in my arms. In that moment, I realized that he was one of mine. He belongs to me. He will be on my mind and in my prayers, every day, for the rest of my life. There’s a bond between us that can’t be broken. He has altered my life forevermore.

I had become a grandmother.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, and The Search, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California. www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Mother’s Day Blog Series & Necklace Giveaway: May 6

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

When Mother’s Day is Difficult by Holley Gerth

I have a confession (anyone surprised?). I have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.

On one hand, I love celebrating all the women who have made a difference in my life (thanks, Mom!).

On the other hand, a long journey of infertility has left my heart with some tender places.

On May 8th, we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day once again. For many, it’s a time of appreciation and joy. For others, it can be one of the most difficult days of the year. This is often true for women facing infertility, families who have recently experienced the loss of a mother, and many other painful situations.

At one point in my life it seemed as if I couldn’t take another step. In addition to infertility, I was facing several other losses. I felt as if I were in a dark cave. But then I sensed the Lord gently and lovingly speak to my heart, “You may be in a cave, but you still have a choice. You can sit in despair or you can diamond-mine your difficulties.” I decided I was not leaving that time in my life empty-handed. I was taking every hidden blessing I could find. Of course, I still had difficult days. But choosing hope made a difference.

As a reminder, I now wear two rings. The one on the fourth finger of my left hand represents my commitment to my husband. The one on the fourth finger of my right hand is a simple silver band inscribed with the word “hope” and it represents the commitment I have made to God and myself to hold onto hope no matter what happens.

The story of an inspiring woman named Terrie also reminds me to hold onto hope. She endured the loss of four pregnancies and waited seventeen years before adopting a little girl. She told me, “I think one of the most important parts of this journey is learning to trust God. I don’t mean the flippant kind of trust. It’s easy for people to say, ‘You just need to trust God.’ It’s much harder when you’re in the middle of all this pain. But he is trustworthy. Through it all, God has given us an amazing story. I wouldn’t have chosen this road, but he has been with us. I can look back and truly say every step was worth it.”

I don’t know how my journey will end and you probably don’t know how yours will either. I also don’t know how many of you will be silently grieving your losses as we sit in church together on May 8th. But I do know that God sees each one of us. He knows how many hairs are on our heads and how many cares our in our hearts. Whatever you’re going through this Mother’s Day, you’re not facing it alone. As King David, a man who experienced many losses in his life, expressed in Psalm 34:18 NIV, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” May God surround you with love, fill you with hope, and give you strength for each moment—especially this Mother’s Day.

Excerpted from When Mother’s Day is Difficult.

Holley Gerth is an award-winning writer for DaySpring, a cofounder of the popular web site (in)courage, and licensed counselor. Holley loves chocolate, coffee, Jesus and connecting with the hearts of women through words. Her next book, a devotional titled God’s Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman (Harvest House) will release this July. You can find Holley online through her blog Heart to Heart with Holley.

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Mother’s Day Blog Series & Necklace Giveaway: May 4

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

Adoption, a Mother’s Greatest Gift by Tricia Goyer

I held the small baby in my arms, wrapped up in a receiving blanket to keep her warm from the chill of the delivery room, and a voice spoke to me. “Congratulations, Mom.”

The congratulations came from an unlikely source–the grandmother of this child, the mother of the sweet birth mother who chose adoption for her baby girl.

To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Thankfulness filled my heart–to God who’d answered my prayers and to the birth mom who’d chosen our family for her daughter. I also ached that my joy would be another’s heartache. Working with teen moms for ten years, I was often an advocate for the young mother. I knew that while the weeks and months ahead would be a time of celebration for our family, they would be ones of heartache and grieving for this woman.

Adoption is a wonder and the beauty, and the sacrifice of it is never so clear as on Mother’s Day. My new daughter is one-years-old now and she huge is a part of my heart. Her life is a gift to my days and her smile can make even the most dreary afternoon bright. I can honestly say there is no difference in the love I feel between her and my three other children. If anything the love feels even more special because she was an unexpected gift. John and I learned about her life just 2 ½ months prior to her being born. The years of prayers to expand our family were answered quickly and beautifully.

The sacrifice of adoption makes my heart ache, for I know on this Mother’s Day another woman will be thinking about my daughter—her daughter. As I rejoice, I’ll be crying tears for her. I’ll also be sending up prayers that God will wrap His arms around her in a special way.

This Mother’s Day I cannot help to think about Christ’s sacrifice to make our adoption into God’s family possible. Maybe it’s because just a few weeks ago we were celebrating Easter, but I’m reminded anew that my gain required His loss, His pain. The greatest love, it seems, is not shown with flowers, chocolate or a diamond bracelet. The greatest love is shown when, because of your love for another, your desires and comfort are laid down for the greater good of someone else.

As Ephesians 1:3 says, “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son” (The Message).

Perhaps you know an adoptive mother. Take time this Mother’s Day to let her know that the beauty of her gift is not missed by you. Also, take time to thank God for adopting you into His forever family, thanking Jesus Christ for His sacrifice. I wouldn’t be the mother I am without this Gift of Love.

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Beside Still Waters, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. www.triciagoyer.com

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Mother’s Day Blog Series & Pearl Necklace Giveaway: May 3 (including some fun with photos!)

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

3 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts that Celebrate Family By Beth Engelman

This Mother’s Day, celebrate family with this crafty games the whole family can enjoy.

Block Photo Puzzle
Not only does this 6-sided photo puzzle provide hours of family fun, but it’s also a great way to reuse favorite family photos.

Materials:
•    9 – Wooden Blocks (Use old alphabet blocks)
•    6 – 8 x 10 Photograph Prints or Colored Copies
•    Ruler
•    Scissors
•    Mod Podge and Paintbrush

Directions:
1.  Arrange blocks in a square and measure the length and width of the square.
2. Measure and cut print to the exact same size as the 9-block square.
3. Place blocks in a square on top of print. Position blocks so they’re lined up neatly and as close together as possible.
4. Trace and cut the outline of each block.
5. Glue print pieces to blocks using Mod Podge. Set aside to dry and then seal with 1-2 top layers of Mod Podge.
6. Repeat process until all 6 sides of the blocks are covered with different photographs.
Thank you to the creative folks at www.photojojo.com for sharing this idea!

“Go Fish with the Family” Card Game

This gift is perfect for Moms who like card games. Another bonus?  There’s always room to “grow” the deck.

Materials:
•    Camera
•    Double stick tape, or a glue stick
•    Several pieces of cardstock (one color)
•    Scissors

Directions:
1.    Take pictures of each family member and develop the pictures in duplicates (3×5 or 4×6 is fine, just make sure all the pictures are the same size).
2.    Turn the pictures into playing cards by gluing or taping a piece of card-stock to the backside of each picture.
3.    Game ideas include “Go Fishing with the Family” which is similar to “Go Fish” but, instead of matching numbers, the object is to collect matching pairs of photos. “Memory” is another fun game to play.  Place the cards face down in a grid and try to find matching pairs of photos.

Family Bingo
In my house, Bingo is always a big hit because regardless of age or skill level, everyone has the same chance to win.  However this version is extra special because the playing boards are populated with pictures of family members.

Materials:
•    Color Coordinated Game Boards (download here)
•    Images of Family Members (use photographs, drawings or clip art)
•    Bingo Markers (pennies, pebbles or buttons)
•    Glue and Scissors

Directions:
1.    Create the game boards:  Download and print desired number of game-boards. Remember each player gets a different game board.
2.    Color-copy and paste images of family members onto each game board.  Remember to paste one person per square and make each board slightly different.
3.    Make “call-out cards” by writing the name of each family member in yellow, green, blue, purple and pink (which coordinates with the colors on the board)
4.    To Play: Game play is similar to traditional Bingo except the caller will randomly select a call-out card and then read the color and person.  For example, “Blue, Grandma Mary” means there is a picture of Grandma Mary in a blue square.  Just like Bingo, the first person to get 5 in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) wins!

Beth Engelman is a columnist for the Sun Times News Group’s Pioneer Press. Her column “Mommy on a Shoestring,” appears in over 30 local papers around Chicago area as well as on the Sun-times website where you can also view her Mommy on a Shoestring video series. She is also a regular on “You and Me this Morning” on WCIU and is frequent contributor for WGN America’s Midday News at Noon.  Recently, Beth was chosen by a celebrity panel from NBC Universal and iVillage to become one of 15 national  “mom” correspondents for NBC’s popular website, www.ivillage.com (over 3 million visitors a day) where she reports on issues that affect moms, families and communities such as bullying, divorce and weight loss.  For more information visit Beth at www.mommyonashoestring.com

Posted in Contests, Parenting

Mother’s Day Blog Series & Pearl Necklace Giveaway: May 2

To lead up to Mother’s Day this Sunday, I thought I would join in on this great blog series.  Enjoy!

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series. The series is a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

PEARL PINS by Margaret McSweeney

At age 49, I am a mom without a mom. This deep longing for my mother continues to surprise me. During milestone moments, I imagine phone conversations with her.

“Can you believe that Melissa is graduating from high school in June? I’m so glad you will be flying to Chicago to be here with us.”

“Wasn’t that a fun family dinner we all had last weekend to celebrate Katie’s ‘sweet sixteen?’ I am so glad you could join us.”

“Isn’t this exciting? I just got a new book contract. Will you please edit my manuscript before I send it in?”

Sadly, this will be my eighth Mother’s Day to spend without my mother. She has missed some poignant milestones in my life and in the lives of my daughters. Both Melissa and Katie were very young when she died so they don’t have a full reservoir of memories about Grandmommy Rhea. However, they do have the legacy of faith that she helped instill in them as toddlers. She loved to send Veggie Tales tapes, Children’s Bibles and devotional books.

Melissa and Katie were blessed to have Nana, (Dave’s mother) around for much longer. Nana passed away two years ago. A few years before Nana died, she gave me a beautiful necklace with a diamond pendant made from her wedding ring along with a pair of diamond earrings. She asked me to give these special gifts to Melissa and Katie for their sixteenth birthdays. Even though Nana wasn’t around to celebrate, my daughters were so happy to receive such special keepsakes from her. Hugs from heaven.

Last week on Katie’s 16th birthday, I discovered an unexpected blessing that had been tucked away in a cardboard container of my mother’s things. A jewelry box with three pearl pins! I gave one to Melissa as a belated 16th birthday gift, and I presented one to Katie for her 16th birthday. This Mother’s Day, I will wear my mother’s pearl pin as a tangible reminder that a mother’s love (and a grandmother’s love) is an everlasting gift from God.

Finding these gifts made me think about what I might leave for my own daughters someday. It isn’t the external value of the gift that matters, but rather the love that it represents.

Is there a special gift or letter that you would like to leave your children?

Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband, David and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs.  After earning a master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, Margaret moved to New York City to work at a large bank where she met David.  Margaret is the editor of Pearl Girls, author of A Mother’s Heart Knows and co-author of Go Back and Be Happy. Charity and community involvement are very important to Margaret. She has served on the board of directors for WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) for over eight years. For more information, find Margaret at www.pearlgirls.info and www.kitchenchat.info.