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Grateful for Grace

Updated: 2018-03-06T05:10:24.982-06:00


I've moved!


I am not at all tech savvy. I thought that when I moved to Wordpress and my blog was redirected, that was that. Turns out there are feeds involved and some other such stuff that I am clueless about. So... if you've thought that I stopped blogging on June 9, you are wrong. I apologize for not knowing or understanding that many of you haven't known about the move.
I have a new blog set up and design and address ....

So, please come see me and adjust your reader settings as necessary!

Thank you, GfG

Works for Me: Instead Softcup


My Works for Me Wednesday is a super tip, but it's for ladies only. So... if you are a man who enjoys reading this blog (anyone?) or who has happened upon this blog... please vacate the premise. Seriously.

If you are over 6o, you probably want to leave also. I'm confident you won't want to read this.

Please come visit again tomorrow and/or scroll down to read my other posts!

Ok, my tip is sort of a follow up to a tip I shared awhile back that brought the most comments I've ever had on a WFMW post. I shared a environmentally and financially friendly as well as a healthy option for dealing with menstrual periods: the Diva cup. Love it. No more bleach in my innards. Yea!

Click here to read about that.

The tip this time is for someone who may want to have a test run of trying something outside the tampon or pad box.

Last week, I found myself out of town without my Diva cup and no way of getting to a health food store for bleach free tampons. I was concerned. I drove to CVS and prayed. I know, I know. It seems silly to pray for tampons that don't have bleach in them, but... once you are behind that, you're behind it. So... God answered my prayer!

On the bottom shelf was a little box that was unusual and said "Instead". Intriguing name.

Guess what it was? Nope, not bleach free tampons! Good guess, though. Sure, I led you to that guess and it was still wrong. Mean of me, yes?

Well, instead I found disposable Diva cups! Yes, seriously.

It is called an Instead Softcup.

For $7.99 I bought a pack of twelve Softcups.

Here is what they do NOT have:
  • No Strings
  • No Wings
  • No Residual Fibers
  • No Dryness
  • No Bleach
  • No Pesticides
  • No Dioxins
  • No Carcinogens
  • No Polycarbonates
  • No Bisphenol-A
  • No Lates
  • No Polystyrene
  • No Polyvinylchloride
  • No Phthalates
You use one every twelve hours. That's changing only twice a day, girlies! And they work! It took me one time to really get the hang of inserting it, but I did. I'm sure my experience with the Diva helped. Also, I was leaving and heading home so I gave the pack to a friend who happened to start her cycle while I was there. She gave it a go!

The Softcup is nice for all the reasons above, plus you don't have to save it. You empty it and throw it away. So, if the thought of reusing a product again and again bothers you, Softcup is the way to go.

If you are interested in trying this or the Diva, please contact me at gratefulforgrace(at) and I will email you some directions/tips. They really will help. Trust me. And know that there is a 'learning curve' for these items. Just sayin'.

Anyway, bleach free, environmentally friendly, easy and less frequent period products work for me in both the Diva and the Softcup! Check out We are THAT Family for tips on all kinds of things.



So... these are my very deep thoughts from last night:

1) Who would win in a timed mission to save New York City from terrorists, Jack Bauer or Chuck Norris?

2) What requires more effort, folding and putting away laundry or sweeping a 1600 square foot house?

3) Which melts in the mouth quicker, a chunk of reconstituted chocolate chips or fresh from the freezer Dreyer's All Natural Dutch Chocolate ice cream?

4) What is harder to do for a novice, make a car do a complete 180 while speeding down a street or shooting at bad guys [adding because my readers are good:] and hitting some of them who are chasing you while leaning out a window?

5) Who would win in a timed mission to deliver a Culver's concrete malt, add caramel, made with chocolate custard, Jack Bauer or Chuck Norris?

Cast your votes, people. Cast your votes.

HFCS Challenge


The night we finished watching "King Corn", the kids and I went to the grocery store for a challenge: see how many items had no high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, corn syrup or dextrose in them. We also looked for any kind of corn derived ingredient: corn starch, dextrin/maltodextrin, or anything with the word corn. Honestly, we couldn't remember every ingredient that is derived from corn. You wouldn't believe how many there are! Unless you've watched "King Corn" too or studied the topic. While it was interesting to see how many things have corn derivitives, the main concern is seeing what has the biggies. ( Do you know what high fructose corn syrup does to the body? )

It was quite an experience.

Because of the movies and discussion we've had previously, we were not surprised by some, but others, including a store made potato salad, surprised us by having high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup solids in them. One of us was really disturbed to find out that the sushi she eats and thought was pretty healthy had HFCS! (image)
We are trying to raise our children to eat healthy. We are trying to teach them to consider what they put in their bodies. We are trying to retrain ourselves.

It's not easy. Reading labels is an important first step though.

After our little excursion, I decided to set up a three day challenge.

For three days, read all labels and keep a tally of how many items you eat and your kids eat that contain high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or corn syrup solids. Anything bought as fast food that doesn't contain an ingredient list goes onto the HFCS list. Trust me.

Every participant gets their name put into the random generator for a prize!

Who is up for an enlightening challenge? We will start Wednesday.

Need Sunday School?


Years ago a woman at church chastised me for not bringing my children to Sunday School. She said, "GfG, your kids need to be in Sunday School!"

I was stunned.

Really? My kids need to be in Sunday School?

Sadly, I know that she meant all children should be in Sunday School and that she wasn't singling my children out. She knows me well enough to know we teach our children about the LORD, but she really believes all children, including mine, need to be in Sunday School.

If that were true, then it would mean that My Sweetie and I are doing something wrong, seriously wrong, in the area of discipling our children. If our children need someone else to teach them about the LORD and His ways, then that means we are not. If our children need to sit at the foot of someone other than their parents for teaching of Biblical truths, then that means they are not getting it where they should be getting it. If our children need someone to explain God's redemptive plan to them in a way they can understand because their parents don't seem to be able to do that, then that means their parents are not trying hard enough.

My Sweetie and I recognize that God has chosen to give us six beautiful children. They are not just blessings to enjoy and clothe and feed. They are meant to be arrows for Him.

The main goal of parenting is to disciple our children. It's our job. Not Sunday School's.

This is one of the reasons I am not a fan of Sunday School anymore: it encourages the beliefs that 1) church is responsible to teach a child God's ways AND 2) it encourages parents to turn the reigns over to the Sunday School teachers.

My kids don't need Sunday School. And I plan to keep it that way.

Small Town Honor for a Homeland Hero


(image) Jonathan and Jesse Leicht, Jacob's older and younger brothers, holding his Marine Corp photo.

Today I could not have been more proud to be living in small town America.

Today I could not have been more emotionally moved by small town Americans.

Despite the heat and the glaring sunshine, thousands of people of all ages and sizes stood along the road with flags in hand as the casket of Jacob Leicht slowly drove through the streets. Over one hundred biker veterans rode in his procession as did almost every police and fire fighter from the city, county and nearby counties.

My children and I stood with our flags at the very beginning of the route. I'm pretty sure we were the first flag bearers my sweet friend saw as she sat in her brother-in-law's military funeral procession. We hugged briefly through her Suburban window and I knew that she was in for an emotional ride. Everyone had turned out in our town. My children and I were able to join the line just as the last police officer pulled up, thankfully, so we were able to see the crowds ourselves. Tears filled my eyes as I considered this moment. I hadn't thought of grabbing my camera, but I sure wish I had. It was event my kids and I will never forget. The silence of the crowd with red white and blue banners over them was as thunderous as the motorcycles.

Not many people get to experience the privilege of honoring a military family like my town was able to do today. Not many military families get to receive the honor from their community. Not many of us stop to think about the fallen soldiers.

The 1,000th American solider to die in Afghanistan was honored for his sacrifice. His family was shown respect for their loss. Our city was humbled to perform this small act of gratitude.

I am so proud to know both the God loving, Christ serving family, the Leichts and this small town.

(And, yes, I know this shoots the whole "I'm not telling where I live" gig right out of the water, but today was simply too moving to ignore and not tell you about.)

World Collapse Explained in 3 Minutes


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Mama: not just a noun


Turns out Wee Babe's dictionary is different than mine for his favorite word/word of choice/only word for months and months. It's a great word. One of the very best words. The word I would choose if he was going to say only one word for quite awhile. It's just that I had no idea it had quite this many meanings.

So, here is what Wee Babe's dictionary says, not Webster's.

ma•ma /mah-muh/

noun: 1. woman I adore
2. woman who needs to get something for me
3. only person who can get something for me
4. healer of all injuries by smoochy kisses
5. person who will come pick me up out of my crib when I sound pitiful enough and will give me a snuggle

adjective: 1. lovely, delightfully pleasing
2. dear or cherished
3. resembling a person who can get something for me

verb: 1. to be emphatic, firm, or resolute in a matter, usually said in a strong tone (syn. insist)
2. to prevail on as by urging, especially said in a sweet sing song voice (syn. persuade)
3. to challenge or dispute

interjection: 1. help
2. help immediately, as in now
3. an explanation of surprise, wonder or elation
4. used derisively to question the comprehension, intelligence or common sense of a person being addressed

Consider this your language lesson for the day/week.
You're welcome.

Wordless Wednesday



Allegiance (with an addition)


Jesus was not and is not American.

Neither is God, the Father.

And the Holy Spirit does not think that America is God's Country. Another nation already has that title. No kidding.

So many people seem to get patriotism mixed up with faith. They are two different things and call us to allegiance to two different things. One is holy. One is not.

I am grateful to live in America and enjoy freedoms that other people in other countries dream of and long for experiencing. Very grateful. I am grateful to the men and women who laid down their lives defending our country. Very grateful. They paid the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. Sometimes it makes me sad to think of what many thought they were defending compared to what our country has become and is becoming.

It bothers me to see so many Christians put their love of country on the same level as their love of God, though. It bothers me when I see people who are willing to stand when moved by a patriotic song, but not a Christian one, even if in church. It bothers me when people believe they should cover their heart out of respect to a nation's flag, but give their heart to the God of the Universe.

While America is a wonderful country to live in, maybe even the very best, it is not a Christian nation. It is not a country that honors the LORD. It is also not a kingdom that is promised to reign forever.

This Memorial Day, I am grateful to live in a country whose freedoms are worth defending. I am thankful to the men and women who paid that price for me. Today, I challenge you to think of the one man who paid the ultimate price so that we may experience freedom that no country can offer: freedom from the penalty of sin. Freedom to stand before God with a clean spirit.

My heart lies with the kingdom that never ends and the One who made my citizenship in that kingdom possible. It is He that I am eternally grateful to. He has my allegiance.

What about you?

Edited to Add:

Just to be sure you hear my heart. I am thankful that there are those who are willing to defend our country. Very.

Last week a sweet friend lost her brother-in-law in action in Afghanistan. He was a Marine. I am grateful that Jacob Leight was willing to defend our country. I am even more grateful that Jacob was a Believer. His family is a wonderful example of right priorities. They are a fragrant offering of Christ to those around them. The love the Lord. They know they are blessed to live in the United Stages of America. They put their heart on the eternal.

Jacob was in God's army first and foremost. His family knows where their true allegiance lies.

That's as it sure be.

Memorial Stones: Mountain


On the 30th of every month, I pause to share a story of God's faithfulness, loving kindness or mercy to me, just as the Israelites made memorial stones to share a time of His faithfulness to them. I don't want to forget the things He has done, I want to pass them on, and I want to bring Him glory. I would love for you to share a story of your own. Read the full explanation here.On a chilly night in January of 2007, I was driving to my sister's house and was beginning to be overwhelmed with tears and emotions. See, we were about to drive even further together to Houston to meet up with my mom and Papalou at Methodist Hospital. They were on day two of a stay there. Mom was having some testing done to confirm that she had ALS. It was really a formality that her local neurologist recommended.Mom was slurring her speech. As a registered nurse, the moment it happened, she went straight to the ER. They took tests. They ordered MRIs. She met with a neurologist, Dr. N. She didn't tell me any of this until Christmas Eve and then she whispered the words, "We're pretty sure I have Lou Gehrig's Disease, sweetie." She cried and I prayed. I tried to be strong. I'm a first born. That's what we do.My in laws arrived, she left and I went to my closet and bawled like a little baby. Then I called a friend to pray. Still in the closet. In the fetal position. After awhile, I came out of the closet and pretended I was fine. I'm a first born. That's what we do.The next eight days I did what moms all over America do: we make the holiday for our family. We tie heart strings together with traditions and merriment. That year though, my heart was breaking. The more I thought about Mom's symptom and the tests that had already ruled out the other biggie neurological diseases, the more I realized Dr. N was probably right.Since that moment in my living room, I had acted strong. Chin up, first born.But it was all cratering as I drove to pick up my sister that January night. Fear and pre-grief (I've made up this word for people who have to walk through a terminal disease with a loved one. I'm sure Webster will be calling soon.) threatened to necessitate me pulling the car over. Just then lyrics to a song permeated my thoughts. The sob stopped. I listened. The song was perfectly portraying my heart that very instant. It was the prayer I hadn't spoken yet because I had yet to cast my cares on Him.I listened to the whole song and then started weeping again. This time, it was like the sobs of a hurt child being held in a parent's lap. I wasn't alone. I was loved. Greatly loved. I shared my heart with The Lover of My Heart.Right then, I knew that, though it was not going to be a picnic, I would be ok as I climbed this mountain with my mama. This first born wasn't going to have to be strong because He was going to climb it for both me and my mama.And He did.Bebo Norman, "I Will Lift My Eyes". God, my God, I cry outYour beloved needs you nowGod be near, calm my fearAnd take my doubtYour kindness is what pulls me upYour love is all that draws me inChorus:I will lift my eyes to the MakerOf the mountains I can’t climbI will lift my eyes to the CalmerOf the oceans raging wildI will lift my eyes to the HealerOf the hurt I hold insideI will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to YouGod, my God, let Mercy singHer melody over meGod, right here all I bringIs all of meYour kindness is what pulls me upYour love is all that draws me inChorus:‘Cause You are and You were and You will be foreverThe Lover I need to save me‘Cause You fashioned the earth and You hold it together, GodSo hold me nowChorus:I couldn't find a video on YouTube that I thought did this song justice, but please go listen to it somewhere.And if you don't know The One who loves you more th[...]

"King Corn"


We just finished watching "King Corn". Can you tell we are educating our kids on healthy eating and agriculture in America? You know, since we watched "Food, Inc" two weeks ago.

"King Corn" is a wonderful documentary on where an acre of corn grown in Iowa actually goes. I felt almost as sad as the two young men in the movie felt at the end of their journey. The journey they thought was going to end much differently. You could see and feel their disappointment and their shock throughout their year as corn farmers.

High fructose corn syrup is not a food. We need to wake up to the damage it's actually doing to our bodies, our farms and our country.

I highly recommend this movie.

The spoof below is from the "King Corn" film makers in response to the Corn Refiners Association's commercials. It's hilarious.

And sad.

Wake up, America!


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Sunday is the 30th


I thought I would remind my readers that Sunday is the 30th and therefore it's a Memorial Stones in Words day. I would love to hear a story or two about how God made Himself known to you. Think about it. Then write it up.

Family Favorites Friday: The Great Fly Attack


I'd love for you to join in by sharing a family favorite story: sweet, sappy, or silly. Read the full explanation here.

Christmas is such a special time of the year. The decorations. The atmosphere. The fellowship. I enjoy it all. As wonderful as it is, I try to be sure the kids understand why Christmas truly is wonderful. Jesus' birth makes it special. Not the fanfare.

Years ago when HB was four or five, I noticed her by the tree at bedtime. I paused and watched for a minute to gather what was happening. I caught my breath. She had lined up all her favorite stuffed animals under the bedecked tree and was conducting a lesson. She was quietly telling the captive audience the entire Christmas story. I smiled. She ended by saying, "And that's what Christmas is all about." Then she just laid down under the tree with her animals and enjoyed a quiet moment.

It was so, so dear to me.

And definitely a favorite.

Works for Me: Darling Swimmers!


(image) I can't tell you how rare it is to find cute and modest swimsuit for the girls, especially since our definition of modest means I don't want other people seeing their thighs, bellies, or backs. Tack on the idea of having them wear skirts, and things get pretty tough. At this point, though I do, our girls do not wear only skirts or dresses, just mostly. Last year, My Sweetie was ok with our girls wearing swimming shorts and shirts. This year, we wanted something better. I scoured the internet. Seriously. Scour.ed. I found some really interesting sites (ex: did you know there are sites that sell swimsuits for Muslim women that show only their faces? nope? I didn't either) and some really interesting suits (I'll spare you the details. You're welcome.). Practically none of them were in the cute category (in my opinion, of course... I was the one shopping, so, ya' know). Then, a friend, tipped me off on a site that I didn't come across myself until later. Dressing for His Glory.

The swim suits are darling. They are even cuter in person. They arrived yesterday and my girls couldn't wait to try them on. Sadly, Princess' was too small. Thankfully, Dressing for His Glory had wonderful customer service and we are exchanging promptly.

While these suits cost more than we used to spend on suits (they are made to order), they are modest and we only buy one suit a season (vs. friends who buy a few for each kid). Since we are at the camp pool three to five times a week and at the river in addition to that, we really need good suits. The other plus about these suits is that they are two/three pieces. Last year the two youngest girls had to wear a suit under their rash guard and shorts because finding shirts that weren't see through was hard. Potty breaks are going to be much nicer this year.

These darling suits are well made and claim to hold up nicely. We will certainly be testing them out this summer. I haven't decided on a suit for myself yet. Last year, I couldn't find something I really, really liked in my budget. This year, I may splurge. I may also get one of the women's skirts from Dressing for His Glory. Since I don't get in the water until it's scorching/melting/holy-moly-I-might-die hot, I still have some time to decide. The children have been swimming for a week now, so they needed their suits quicker.

So far, I highly recommend Dressing for His Glory and their darling, truly modest, swimwear. My tip to you is to think outside the traditional American idea of swimwear for girls and have your daughters look like little girls and be modest.

Don't my girls look edibly cute? Seriously.

Modest and cute swimwear works for me! Check out We are THAT Family for hundreds of tips on all kinds of things.

O, Sharpie


"How I Love Thee, O Sharpie? Let me count the ways... "

How do I love thee, O, Sharpie? Let me count the ways.
I love thee for the thickness and blackness and solidness
My eyes can see, when labeling all things
With the surety of permanence and clarity.
I love thee to the fondness of every item's
Most wonderful need, by notebook or Rubbermaid.
I love thee freely, as women strive for marking;
I love thee purely, as they search for lame pens.
I love thee with a functionality beyond all hope.
In school days, and in organizing days.
I love thee with a love I believe is well founded
Even though my husband rolls his eyes, --- I love thee for your dependability-
The smell, the look, I love it all!--- and, if I may,
I shall but love thee on every thing I can get my hands on.
Unless I finally get a label maker.

- GfG

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who is spinning in her grave.



A crime has been committed.A crime against an innocent.A crime against I present to you the case of Family v. Mama.Two weeks ago, I was accused of throwing away a “precious new Webkinz” with no regard to my daughter’s love for said Webkinz or to the general well being of my daughter. There was no proof. The original accuser, Princess, walked in on the carnage hitherto known as “Mama ransacking the toys and closets in general” (not to be confused with “Mama is attacking and brutally weeding out the clothes in the closet” because that incident is still pending). She came in after one bag was already mostly full and sat and watched me place stuffed animal after stuffed animal in trash bags. Once, or maybe twice, but I’m not officially admitting anything more than once, she said, “Mama, that beagle is a Webkinz”. I double checked and sure enough it had been a Webkinz, though I had been trying to make sure I did not toss out any such cherished item (even if we have 53 of them). The room and closet and shelves finally submitted to my whims and the chaos was over, plus we could claim about fifty less stuffed animals on top of all the trash cleaned out.The day after My Sweetie dropped off the bags of items at the Ronald McDonald donation center, Princess was in tears. It seemed that “Jasper” was missing. Jasper the tree kangaroo Webkinz. Jasper who had been a member of the family for only a few short weeks, but was loved much, was no where to be found.All eyes turned to me.I pleaded my case. I said that I didn’t giveaway any Webkinz. I checked paws for the mark before placing a stuffed animal in the doomsday bag. The Boy whispered the tale of the near tossing of the cherished Webkinz beagle (“Beaux”, if you’re wondering, cuz’ I’m sure you are). Princess whispered something about some Webkinz not having the mark on the paws, but on the rear.All eyes continued to stare at me. More tears. Some seriously down cast faces. Knowing looks.All circumstantial evidence, I tell you.Not a single accuser could present any evidence of my throwing away (or "giving to poor and needy children", but that plane wasn’t flying) Jasper. Not a shred of proof.Yet, I sit here today telling you that the people I care for every day, the people I feed and teach, the people I pick up after, the people whose toilets I clean, and the people who are supposed to love me most, declared me guilty without even deliberating.Granted, there had been some serious carnage on the day in question.Granted, I’ve tossed out many a dear item when in cleaning mode.andGranted, the witness saw me place a Webkinz in the bag.But, I tell you, none of that proves I chucked out Jasper. None of it.Didn’t matter. Despite my claims of innocence, the long faces, the tears and the “what are you going to do about this, dear”s surrounded me.I submitted to the court’s ruling and ordered a replacement Jasper from Amazon. Princess was happy. All was well in the world and the court, even if I now had a rap sheet and still claimed innocence.Not even two days later, I was redeemed.After nap time, Cutie Pie bolted out of my room with a tree kangaroo Webkinz and an ear to ear grin, running to Princess, who hugged Jasper with glee. My jaw dropped while the siblings celebrated the lost, but now found Webkinz. The joy was sure, but the sudden silence was golden.Suddenly all eyes were on me. Again.Instantly, I loudly and boldly declared my innocence. Again. I delivered quite the diatribe on circumstantial evidence, loyalty, betrayal and love for mamas.Would you believe all those stinkers[...]

Food, Inc.


Please watch this movie. It's a well done primer documentary on why we need to rethink our food decisions. Please watch it. You can rent it from Netflix, iTunes, Blockbuster, etc. I know it sounds like a crazy theory that what we are eating is not healthy or good for almost anyone, but it's true.

Please watch it.