All the Small things

Is your heart right with God?

TSFriends1That’s a really important question to ask yourself. Do you go to church weekly, with a joyful and worshipful heart? When in the service, do you actually listen to what you’re being taught? Do you go home and read your Bible and think to yourself of what you could work on to make your relationship better with God? When we are saved and Christ’s Spirit lives in us, not only do we have a fresh start, but it also allows us to be forgiven of a past we may be ashamed of. Unfortunately, many people don’t attempt to grow in their relationship with God. Some people just go to church because their family or friends do, but we should be going with a heart that is open to hearing His word, and ready to worship our King.

Forgiveness is key

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. Offering forgiveness to others will not only help you grow in love, but it will also show the person that you don’t expect them to be perfect. They may need your support and love.

We should remember that we are to be imitators of Christ (Rom. 5:1), forgiving others just as He forgives us. All of us sin. As Christians, we should desire to be forgiven. And the only way we can truly forgive others is with God’s help.

Be willing to work

Telling others about God can seem intimidating, but prayerfully seek to build relationships with others so they may be more receptive to hearing about His love. Be an example to them, and look for opportunities to share God’s love.

Love and encourage others, while being careful to not approve of their lifestyle if it’s sinful. Romans 14:12: “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.”

Spread the Word

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Knowing God’s word and spreading it are two different things. Though you go to church, hear His word, and have other Christians to share it with, it’s also important to share God’s love and His salvation with the people outside your church. Be an example to others, be ready to talk about His love with excitement and joy, and pray that the Holy Spirit will work in their hearts and lead them to Christ.

With Love,
Michelle Jane

Fun Fact Friday: Free museum entry across the nation!

FFFSept25Tomorrow (September 26) is National Museum Day! Visit for details, and check out their venue page to find a participating location near you. Many museums participate in this day, even without a pass, and will allow guests to visit for free, so check online or call your local museum for details. I checked our area, and our local museum not only offers free entry on National Museum Day, but they also have special events and activities – all free – going on throughout the afternoon! This would be a great free family activity in most areas of the country!

If you could visit any museum in the world, which would it be and why?

– Davonne Parks

Style Sense: Swap, Don’t Shop

SS1I love saving money, and I have a hard time tossing down huge amounts for clothing (Goodwill, anyone?). Now, there are some things that are worth paying a little more for—good-quality classic pieces that will outlast the trends. But especially in this economic climate, and especially when our size is often changing with age, pregnancy, and diet, spending a lot on clothing can be impractical—and unnecessary.

I love to spend time with my friends, and I love new clothes. So may I suggest a perfect combination—no shopping required. For some “new” additions to this fall’s wardrobe, swap, don’t shop. Round up some of your friends, “old” clothes in hand, and enjoy the pleasure of a new wardrobe from the comforts of your living room. Leave the kids and the cash at home.

Organizing your swap

Inform your friends. Let your friends know that you’re organizing this swap. Grab some girls from your mom’s group, church, carpool, or neighborhood. There doesn’t need to be a limit on the number, but keep in mind how much space you’ll have for the swap. One thing to consider: styles and sizes may vary. Make the best attempt to invite those who have similar tastes and body types.

Choose a time and location. Make sure the location is large enough for your group and all their clothes, and that there is a clear-cut starting and ending time. It’s also nice if there are several “dressing rooms” for girls to try on things.

SS2Collect your clothes. Make sure all clothing is in good condition. Items should be clean, without stains and dirt. Don’t even bother bringing clothing with holes, unless the pieces have been well mended. Remember, if you wouldn’t want it, why would anyone else? The reasons for parting with your clothes is because your style and size change, not because they’re unwearable. Also consider including shoes and jewelry—I have had plenty of unworn accessories in the past that could have had a much better home elsewhere.

Determine the rules. How will the swap be handled? I don’t recommend a free-for-all. Perhaps have a drawing, where each girl chooses a number and you continue in that order until everyone has had a chance to accumulate some pieces. Swaps may also have the restriction that you may take as many items as you brought.

Make it enjoyable. Turn on some great music. Clear the house of men and kids. Set out some snacks, desserts, and drinks (each person may contribute one food item). Acquire some great “new” pieces, clear out some of your own that are cluttering your closet, but most importantly, have some great fellowship with friends.

As you are hauling your new wardrobe back to your house, after an enjoyable time with friends, you may be planning your next swapping adventure. Who knows, maybe you’ll never shop again.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Fun Fact Friday: Play-Doh

FFFSept18September 18 is National Play-Doh Day!

Play-Doh started out at one color (off-white) in a 1.5-pound can. By 1983, there were eight colors, and in 2006, Play-Doh’s 50th anniversary was celebrated with 50 different colors of Play-Doh!

If your play-doh starts to dry out, there’s hope in reviving it! Just wrap it in a damp paper towel and return it to its container overnight. Or, you can knead water, one drop at a time, into the play-doh until it returns to its original state.

For more fun facts about Play-Doh, visit

Go here to browse play-doh recipes you can make at home. You can also look through this page for ideas on making your own play-doh creations (I love the cupcake!).

What’s your favorite thing about play-doh?

– Davonne Parks

Desktop Image: September 2009

If you’d like to have our theme image on your desktop this month, simply click on “standard” or “wide-screen” underneath the photo, then right click on the image and select “set as background.” Note: laptops are generally wide-screen, and desktops are usually standard images.

Pierce my heart in the small stuff, Matthew 5:18 “…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

September 2009, Created by Michelle Jane – Standard

Cooking Corner: Chocolate Chip Cookie Prayer

CC1Hannah Smith recently sent me the following recipe with this note attached: “I found this ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie Prayer’ paper that I got in a girls’ class at R.U.S.H. at Freed-Hardeman last year. It reminded me of something you and Lily would enjoy together…” Hannah knows us well, as baking is one of Lily’s and my favorite things to do together (and hopefully something Grace will also love as she grows older!).

The recipe proved to be fun and full of learning and insightful conversation, but if I ever make these again, I will probably use our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and use this recipe as a lesson guide.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Prayer

We are unsure who the original author of this recipe is, so if anyone knows, please tell us so we can give proper credit to the person who wrote it!

½ teaspoon vanilla
Adds flavor. Write down the names of the people who add flavor to your life. Pray that their creativity and talents will be used for God’s glory and that you will appreciate them and all they do for you.

1 cup flour

Thickens the mixture and slows the beating process. Pray for the people who you wish you could slow down and spend more time with. Ask God to help you make time for your loved ones.

½ stick softened butter
Saturated fat–unhealthy. Pray for the people who tempt you to do things you know you shouldn’t. Ask God to help you overcome the temptations and be a shining example to all.

½ teaspoon baking soda
Rising. Thank God for all the people who raise you up. Ask God to show you a way to thank these people and to show you a way to raise up your friends and family.

¾ cups sugar
Temporary or false satisfaction. Ask God to help you be a true Christian friend. Pray that He will surround you with true Christian friends.

CC31 egg
Solidifies. Brings it all together. Pray for the people who fill you spiritually and make you a stronger Christian.

½ teaspoon salt
Seasoning and preserving. Think of the people who you have trouble dealing with. Pray that God will take the “bad taste” out of your mouth and make you more tolerant of others.

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
The bonus. The prize inside. Pray for the people who make your life super special. Thank God for placing them in your life.

Mix it all together, bake at 350F until golden brown, and thank God for your many blessings!

By Davonne Parks

Fun Fact Friday: School’s In!

FFFSept11The first public school was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in April 1635 and all students were required to take three to four years of Latin! Public schools, however, didn’t become mainstream education until the mid 1800s. Most people received their instruction, including college instruction, at home until that time.

For more information, visit,, or

Go here for free Bible-based printable school worksheets.

What is your favorite back-to-school activity or tradition?

– Davonne Parks

Deals and Steals: More Bang for Your Browsing

Search & WinIn the process of finding great deals, online and in-store, I do a lot of web searching. And I get a lot of deals. But what if I could be rewarded with deals just for searching on the Internet? I recently discovered that I can! Simply by searching from the Swagbucks home page, which uses Google and as its search engine, I can earn “swagbucks” just for browsing online.

Now, I’ve known many of these “great deals” to be not so great. They actually turn out to be more of a hassle. But Swagbucks is so simple—and that’s what I like. After registering on their site, you simply start searching. Checking out eBay? Type it in to the Swagbucks search engine. Looking at the weekly Target ad? Get there via Swagbucks. By making Swagbucks my homepage, I use it to do all my searching.

You may be wondering why I would take this extra step to search. I do it for the bucks—swagbucks, that is. Randomly throughout your searching, you are awarded swagbucks–$1-5, $10, even $100 (haven’t seen that one yet!). Where it gets really simple compared to other award search sites is in the redemption of bucks. When you’ve reached a Swagbuck amount that will gain you a “prize” you’d like to purchase, simply click on the Swag Store link, and it will take you to a page where you can browse for prizes. From t-shirts and cell phone applications to gift cards (my favorite!), there are prizes for everyone. Follow the directions for obtaining your prize, then keep your remaining bucks and start accumulating again.

Search & WinIf you’re going to be online searching anyway, why not be rewarded for it with little effort on your part? Register at and start being paid to search.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Friends: Playgroup—For Kids or for Moms?

Friends1Every week for the past two years, with few exceptions, I have faithfully attended…playgroup. Sure, my boys love playing with the other kids. And they learn valuable lessons in sharing and getting along with others. But most importantly, I go because of the moms. This group of women includes some of the most significant friendships I have. Not only can we share in the fun stuff, like couponing and hobbies, but we more importantly share with each other the trials and victories of motherhood and marriage. This is not the typical playgroup, where much time is spent complaining of daily chores and comparing our children’s talents and milestones. We encourage one another, not only in our hard times but also just to be more godly women, wives, and mothers.

Forming your own “mom’s group”

Gather some other moms. You need moms for a mom’s group, of course. Ask some of your friends if they’d like to join, but don’t limit it to that. Seek out a new mom at church who may need some encouragement, or ask a neighbor to join you. The group may work best with moms around the same stage of life, even if some are a little older or younger. Make sure you consider how many kids each mom has. If you have too many interested moms, you may need to split up and meet at two different houses or on two different days. Four to five moms and 8-10 kids is probably max—more than that can get a little crowded and chaotic.

Decide on a day and time. Once you have your group, get together and decide on a day to meet. Will you meet weekly? Bi-weekly? Moms with school-age kids may have more conflicts, or the freedom to come whenever. When you have a day, choose a time to meet. I definitely think that mornings are best. This is when the kids—and moms—are (hopefully!) well rested and in good moods. It allows plenty of time to be together before naptime breakdowns.

Friends2Plan the details. In my mom’s group, we have a schedule to alternate houses each week. The hostess always provides a morning treat and coffee for the moms. Decide whether the hostess will provide lunch for moms and/or kids, or if everyone will bring their own. Determine an approximate time when you will finish, or the kids will determine one for you (aka naptime breakdowns). Also, have a plan for the kids. Where will they spend their time? What are the ground rules? It may be a good idea to have moms take shifts to monitor the kids, or to keep kids in the same area as the moms.

Serve and encourage. The best part about the group is the encouragement and fellowship. We talk about everything! But the nice thing is that we hold one another accountable—we don’t come to complain about life, marriage, or motherhood. We encourage one another through tough times, and have a great time together. And we’ve recently started serving before we leave. In order to not leave the hostess feeling frazzled, we clean the kitchen and bathroom, and vacuum and mop floors. This allows the moms to host without feeling like they have to clean before—and after—each meeting.

After being in a mom’s group for more than two years, I can’t imagine life without this group of women who encourage and support me in so many ways. And as much as the play time is great for my kids, the far superior benefit for them is that I am gaining weekly encouragement and wisdom from godly women who desire for us all to have amazing relationships with our husbands, children, and God.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.” Proverbs 27:9

– Lisa Grimenstein

Pierce my heart in the small stuff: CHANGES ANNOUNCED

“…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18

ItI1Our (not so small) changes

Our articles may be about small stuff this month, but the changes on the magazine are no small thing! As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve already started changing the layout; but it doesn’t stop there—we still have many exciting changes to come, including new colors, a new logo and mission statement, and new columns! In last month’s issue, we included details about our thoughts regarding the changes, so please be sure to read that article if you haven’t already. While the teen girls still hold a special place in our hearts (we’ve been there and know how tough it is!), we are very excited about our new direction of reaching out to stay-at-home Christian moms, and encouraging them to enjoy this season of life. We know that all moms need encouragement, so if you work outside the home, please feel free to read our articles too, and offer your own insight on our comments section.

Check back often to read articles from our brand-new columns, focusing on everything from marriage to family fun to discipline—all from a biblical perspective! We’re also keeping many of our other columns, but changing gears with them to reach our new target audience. We appreciate your patience and support as we continue updating the site and tweaking our material to better suit the needs of our readers.

This month

This month we’ll be focusing on the little things, from our new Fun Fact Friday (with an interesting small fact each week!), to taking small steps to take care of the bodies God gave us, to little things we can do to help our husbands feel loved. We’ll also be focusing on the small people in our homes, with a special devotional-recipe, ideas for family nights, and a list of ways children can be included in reaching out to others.

There’s also a great book giveaway coming up for moms, plus there will be a few tips on how to get rewarded for browsing the web, and how to get “new” clothes without spending a dime!

Let’s not forget about the little things in life—we shouldn’t neglect them, but we shouldn’t obsess about them either. Let’s strive to live today for today, let tomorrow take care of itself, and relish the feeling of knowing that He Is, and always will be.

Enjoying the Smallness,
Lisa and Davonne