Monday, June 8, 2015

Living Proof LIVE! with Beth Moore

Girl time + scripture = time well spent! This weekend Beth Moore will be at the USF Sun Dome and I have a pair of tickets for a Mom Squad Blog reader! Living Proof LIVE, which is now in its 17th year, both challenges and encourages women to grow deeply in their faith. Dove Award winner Travis Cottrell will lead worship, so warm up those vocal cords and grab a couple tissues!

So how do you win? Well, I want to do a little info gathering. Just put in the comments your name, how many kids you have & their ages. No kids? That's ok! I'll draw a winner today (Monday 6/8) at 1pm.

Living Proof Live starts Friday, June 12 at 7pm with doors opening at 5:30, and concludes for the evening at 9:30. It starts back up the following morning at 8:30am and ends at 12:15pm. Tickets will cover both days of the event and cost $69. Want more info? Click here.

*** Congrats to 6 month old Quinn's mommy, Lindsay. She won the tickets. Quinn, be good to daddy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dinosaurs + Trains = Happy Kids

I had no idea my guys watched Dinosaur Train on PBS. Turns out it comes on right after Sesame Street which is a weekday staple and occasionally Annie the Nanny allows some, "extended viewing" or a "double-feature" we'll say.

I got my little guys tickets to see Dinosaur Train Live - Buddy's Big Adventure this Saturday and as a Mom Squad inside scoop, I'll tell you we're giving away a Family 4-Pack of tickets tomorrow morning (Wednesday, 5/13) between 8:10 and 8:20am. You'll have to listen to a brief conversation I had with Liam and answer a question based on what Liam says. Not too difficult, but you'll have to put your listening ears on!

If you want to purchase tickets, there's a 1 and 4pm show. It's this Saturday, May 16th at the Straz Center in Tampa. Here are more details! Look for my guys at the 1 o'clock show!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Does He Like Pina Coladas?

The other day I was scanning the radio "dial" which is no longer a dial, but that still seems to be the best way to describe the act of checking out what is playing on all the stations. I stopped on an oldies/classic rock station and heard a song that I've always thought was super-catchy, yet super cheesy. Rupert Holmes' The Pina Colada Song. I knew the chorus but hadn't listened to the verses much, until now. The opening lines: 

I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long
Like a worn out recording of a favorite song
So while she lay there sleepin' I read the paper in bed
And in the personal columns, there was this letter I read

Cue the chorus and the famous personal ad that speaks of what this woman likes (pina coladas), what she doesn't like (yoga) and what she dreams of (making love at midnight and getting caught in the rain - clearly she has easy-to-manage hair). 

I fell for it, hook line and sinker. I was getting angry hearing Mr. Holmes sing about how his relationship with "his lady" had gotten to be routine and dull. He replied to the ad and asked to meet up. What a jerk! And don't you know, Rupert, that these things you are finding interesting are frivolous? Don't throw away your relationship because some chick likes high-calorie, sweet alcoholic drinks. Where is your sense of commitment?! 

Then comes the "punch-line" if you will. Rupert and the woman from the personal ad meet up. And... shocker! He says, It was my own lovely lady and she said 'Aw! It's you!' Then we laughed for a moment and I said, 'I never knew. I'm going to set aside for a moment that the woman was attempting to cheat just like Rupert was and that neither seemed bothered. What grabbed my attention and made me pause was this:

Why didn't they know any of these things about each other? Did they stop talking? Did they stop sharing their hopes, fantasies and dreams? 

I've learned a lot about marriage in the past year-and-a-half. I noticed that when a relationship is new we want to ask every probing question to get to know the person's likes and dislikes. Once we get married, those questions often stop. Is that because we feel like we know everything about our spouse? Is it because we are afraid of the answer? To not ask questions is to imply that your husband will never experience something new and decide he has a preference or distaste for something (or that you don't care if he does). Sure you might not know the questions to ask - I had no idea you tried and enjoyed that fruity drink! - but why not after 20 years of marriage ask , What is something you think I don't know about you? or Have you tried anything new lately? Or even better, why not try new experiences together

And one thing I didn't know until I looked up the song on You Tube, it's actual name is Escape - The Pina Colada Song. He was looking for an escape, but what he was running away from was due to his own ignorance and lack of effort in his relationship (and hers too). He thinks the grass is greener, but the truth is, it's just another yard. And jokes on you, Rupert, in this case, it turns out it's the same yard!

Need an ice breaker to raise the topic with your husband? I give you... Escape - The Pina Colada Song. Your welcome. You'll be singing it for at least 24 hours. 


And P.S. Isn't our relationship with Christ like this? Just when we think we know everything about Him, there is so much more to find out! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Be - The Journey of Rol, A Free eBook for Your Young Reader!

My sister was a big reader when we were younger. She read all the Nancy Drew and Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. I think she was into The Babysitters Club too. Me? Not so much. My mom used to buy me all the Calvin & Hobbes comic books because she was just happy I wanted to read something. Anything! 

Just like when we were kids, there are a lot of options for pre-teens/tweens/whatever we are calling kids age 9-12 these days, but not all of the options are going to feed their minds with things that are good. Enter, Be - The Journey of Rol by Ric Colegrove.


In Be - The Journey of Rol, the main character, Rol, is a fourteen-year-old boy whose guardian-and-mentor uncle unexpectedly disappears. Faced with the life-determining decision to travel the easy path or the long, difficult route to return home and reunite with his family, Rol chooses the latter. He encounters, among other interesting characters and creatures, traveling companions Kearth and Fhfyrd, whose relentless banter both entertains and antagonizes Rol throughout his journey. In his quest, Rol is forced to confront internal and external obstacles, learning to rely on his positive attitude, as well as hope, for a successful outcome.

There aren't many books that can provide your young reader inspiration, values, faith, and humor, so if you want a copy of Be - The Journey of Rol there are a couple of ways to get one! 

1. The first person to email me at abby@spiritfm905.com with the subject line, "I want a copy of the book!" will win a copy.

2. The eBook version of the book is free on Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1v7ASs2) - but only until the end of the day today (5/5/15)!!


Read more about Be - The Journey of Rol here.







Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Woman's Walk with Jesus & Who IS Veronica?

I love the Stations of the Cross. Even if I can't get to any other service during Holy Week (other than Easter Sunday mass) I try to make it to the Stations of the Cross.

If you've never heard of them, it is a spiritual meditation on the final moments of Jesus' life, broken up into (typically) fourteen events - from being condemned to death to laid in the tomb. Typically on Good Friday if you go to a reading of the Stations (many churches, including mine, have them every Friday during Lent), one reader will read the text for each Station, followed by "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you." Then the congregation says, "Because by your Holy cross, you have redeemed the world." The priest and altar servers will process around the church and stand in front of each station as it is read. On that note- if you're in a Catholic church and you see stained glass or wooden images with roman numerals under them, chances are, you're looking at the Stations of the Cross!

They date back to the 4th century when Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land would recount the walk that Jesus took to Golgotha. When Muslims captured Jerusalem and it became too dangerous to make the pilgrimage, Christians brought the concept home and viola! They are also knows as the Via Dolorosa, Way of the Cross or Via Crucis.

There is something so sad yet beautiful about walking with Jesus on this road. To reflect on these 14 moments and think about how long and arduous that journey was and what it did for us is the perfect way to close out the Lenten season and get my mind and heart ready for Easter.

Thanks to CatholicMom.com I came across A Woman's Stations of the Cross. Now these aren't going to be read in a formal setting at church, but that doesn't mean you can't take them and sit in church by yourself and do a little quiet reflection. Or how great would it be to bring these to your next women's bible study?! I'm sure everyone would appreciate it & grow from it.

On a separate but related note, a couple of years ago a dear friend of mine accompanied me to a Friday night Stations of the Cross. She is not Catholic. She asked me about Veronica. The sixth station is "Veronica wipes the face of Jesus". I said, uh... it's Veronica. I was baptized at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Milwaukee. Of course there's a Veronica! She's not in the Bible? I figured she was mentioned in just a verse or two and I had missed it. So I did my research. Here's the gist (source, bustedhalo.com):

Regardless of how much you search and how closely you read the text, you won’t find an account of what we know of as the sixth station of the cross, Veronica wiping the face of Jesus, because it isn’t in the Bible. It is one of our Catholic legends that grew up after the Bible was written. The sources of the legend are varied, but it is noted in some medieval texts and includes the detail that after Veronica gave Jesus her veil to wipe his face as he walked to his death on Calvary it bore an imprint of his face. In the 1800s, a Carmelite nun, Sister Marie of St. Peter, reported a vision of Veronica wiping away the spit and mud from Jesus’ face. The name Veronica itself is sometimes said to derive from “Vera Icon” meaning “true icon.”

Stations of the cross numbered three, seven, and nine — recounting Jesus falling three times — are also not to be found in the Bible although they, too, have become part of the popular imagination around Christ’s Passion.


I encourage you to join me (and more importantly, Jesus) before Lent ends. You'll be glad you did!

Money Laundering?

It's a crime how much we spend on laundry detergent. Isn't it? (That's the end of the pun. No more money laundering associations possible.) The other day a friend posted on FB that she just completed a new batch of DIY laundry detergent that would last her family of four like, eight months! Come again? Eight months?

There's little more painful than going to the grocery store for a quick in-and-out trip and remembering you're almost out of laundry soap. $16.99? Seriously? So when I saw that this concoction was supposedly going to last 2/3 of a year and not cost much more than a single bottle, I was willing to take the bait.

I mentioned it to my housemate/landlord/mother and she asked if it contained lard. Ah... no. It's not quite THAT DIY.

Here's the "recipe". And before you even ask, it says it's safe for HE/front loading washers.
The only tricky part is the Fels-Naptha. I started out by grating it and then put it in the food processor. It didn't get as fine as shown in the "Happy Money Saver" pics. In fact, I don't know how she got it that fine. When you put it in the processor, even on pulse, the heat causes the Fels to melt enough that it became little balls. I put some of the Gain in and the dryness helped a tad. Bonus - it only takes 1-2 tablespoons per load, and the Oxi Clean comes with a scooper that is slightly more than a tablespoon.

As I write this, my first load is in the dryer. I checked out a piece of my 1 year old's clothing that had... how should I say... leakage on it and it came clean, but I have yet to look at the entire load. I was a little concerned that there might be a film or waxiness on it and from what I've seen it looks good-to-go.

Worst case- I put this aside and only use it on loads that aren't super dirty. All the materials were about $22 at Publix, so in my budget's opinion, it was worth testing out.

Happy legal laundering!
(Okay. I lied. One more laundering pun)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Holy Week in Handprints

Catholic Icing - such a great website for moms of compact to mid-sized kids (yes, I size up the kids just like rental cars)! I love this idea to help bring Holy Week to life and give them another way to connect with each day. It's $2 for the download - for a limited time only! :) Check out the site here.




Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thomas the Tank Engine is Rolling into Town!

We are thick in the world of Thomas the Tank Engine at my house. My big guy loves him and you can often hear my little one shouting, "Choo! Choo!" Boys and trains. I don't get it. I have to say though, I am good with sitting down for an episode (or two) of Thomas. It's relaxing, smooth and instills good morals, which is more than can be said for a lot of the other shows out there.

All this week we've been giving away tickets to Day Out With Thomas at The Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish. The event stretches over two weekends, March 14-15 & 21-22. There are two more giveaways - one tomorrow and one Friday. Here's the inside scoop - tomorrow's (Thursday's) giveaway will be between 8:10 and 8:20am!

The gist of the giveaway: You listen in on a conversation between me and Liam and then I quiz you on something he said. So it's a little bit of listening comprehension. Yikes. To be honest, as he's pointing to characters in the Thomas book we are looking at, I HAVE NO IDEA what he's talking about. He can see one episode and know the characters' names. I'm still figuring out the difference between Thomas and the other blue one!

For more on Day Out With Thomas click here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What is She Waiting For? What are We Waiting For?

I had a handsome lunch date on Tuesday. After a visit to check out a preschool, Liam and I sat across from each other at a two-top at Chick-fil-A, swapped one grilled nugget for one fried (because I needed to at least TASTE the fried sweetness that is Chick-fil-A chicken), chatted about ketchup... it was noontime perfection!

As we pulled out of the parking lot, he noticed a woman standing in the grass holding a sign. The conversation went something like this:
L- "Mama, what's that lady doing?"
Me - "She needs help."
L - His response could fuel a political debate, "Why is she just standing there?"
Me - "Because she is waiting."
L- "What is she waiting for?"
Me - "For someone to give her money."

And before the words came out of his sweet little mouth I knew what he was going to say, "Why don't we give her money?" 

My response - "I don't have any cash." Lie. I had $2.

The truth was, I didn't want to give her my last two dollars- I never have cash! I didn't want to reach over to the other side of the car - What if I couldn't reach? That would be awkward. I didn't want to hold up traffic coming out of the parking lot - I don't want to make the people behind me angry!

I am full of it. Excuses that is. And they need to stop.

If I remind myself of the gospel of Matthew where Jesus says in the parable, Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me., I would realize that Jesus is saying to me, Abby, you made a lot of excuses for why you didn't help me. A lot. 

When we make the excuses, we are basically telling God that those obstacles are bigger than him.

But I think my son's response is another great example of having faith like a child. He doesn't think of the obstacles. He doesn't make excuses. He sees someone in need and says: They need. We have. Let's do it.

What are we waiting for?