Nov 20 2017

Congratulations to Our Lego® Gator Winner!

Congratulations to Our Winner!

I want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated in our LEGO® Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator giveaway and helped make it a success!

I’m happy to announce that Elicia P. is our winner. Congratulations on winning a LEGO® Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator.

Her name was chosen at random, but everyone who participated had to leave a comment. I thought you might enjoy her comment about the ways she is providing STEM play in her son’s life.

Here are her comments:

What are you doing now to help your children with STEM play?
I have actually gotten him so neat building stem kits,

What is one thing you wish you could do to help your children with STEM play? nothing, my son has a really good mind and his problem solving is good. Although, it does take me backing down on some things when he has trouble figuring it out.

Which of Bear’s projects (above) look the most interesting to you? Why? the dice tower looks pretty neat. I am sure my son would like that.

Have you ever participated in a Snapology event? If so, which one? I have not.

May God give her wisdom, grace, and strength in her role as a mom and as she leads her son in STEM play.

Backing down and letting him wrestle through problem-solving is a good gift she is giving her son. Giving children “just right” challenges is the best way to help them grow.

If you missed the giveaway, you are not all at a loss. Check out the post here and dive into the benefits of STEM play. Providing opportunities for STEM play will help your child now and prepare for his or her future.

This giveaway was fun for me. Who doesn’t love to give away play?


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Nov 18 2017

Book Review: True Identity by John C. Majors


True Identity by John C. Majors


True Identity by John C. Majors* (affiliate link) is all about helping teens understand who they are in Christ. From identity to mission, John Majors helps teens navigate purpose. I look forward to my teenagers reading it now that I’ve finished.

What I like

I like the author’s conversational style of writing. He communicates his message through stories and practical examples. He puts in humor, which is always a winner.

He addresses many difficult issues straight on and in a biblical and compassionate way. Transgender and same-sex attraction are two big topics that need addressing our world today. Because his focus is on rooting a person’s identity in Christ, the answers have a bigger perspective than simply how someone is feeling at the moment.

My favorite parts

I enjoyed the stories he shared about his own life. He didn’t always have it together. Life is a journey of growing in Christ. Through his life, the reader can find encouragement.

Final thoughts

My biggest takeaways:

  • Understanding who we are matters.
  • Our sense of self has many influences.
  • We have a purpose. When we have a Christ-rooted identity, we can fulfill our purpose knowing God made us the way we are for a reason.

I recommend this book for anyone who has a teenager in their life. (Don’t forget to read it first, there are good words in there for all of us to remember.)

Resources at the end of the book

At the end of the book are some recommended books like CS Lewis* and Oswald Chambers*. The author sites throughout the book the impact of good books. Good books are wonderful additions to the living-life-together mentors God puts in our life.


I was given a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House Book Publishers. My opinion is my own. Unlike a biased view of my kids (the best in the world), the review is my honest thoughts and reflections.

Links in this post contain affiliate links (marked with an asterisk). If you choose to purchase products mentioned on this page, I do benefit—at no extra charge to you. My intention is to bring to your attention products I recommend. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Nov 18 2017

Kick the excuse and get it done

The Five Minute Friday word for today is excuse. It’s Saturday. I’ll give no excuse. Here are five minutes about excuses and then a little more on how to kick the excuses.

Kick the excuse and get it done


As a committed procrastinator, I know how to explain away or put off for another day like a champ. The excuses flow easily. But when I really need to get something done right away, I need to kick my excuse in the pants and just get it done. Here are a few items I consistently put on my to-do list and put off for another day:

In a pressure situation, I get it done. But I want to practice giving myself less excuse and do more of getting it done without the pressure.

Can you relate?

Some super-productive, non-procrastinators might be amazing in most areas, but we all avoid at one time or another. Here are some big to-do’s that are easy to put off even for non-procrastinator types:

Do you put off…

  • Asking for help
  • Asking for or giving forgiveness
  • Dealing with unresolved conflict
  • Working through past emotional pain or trauma
  • Taking care of your body, mind, spirit

Why do we all delay? Even though these important issues fit into many of our “should” boxes, we continually put them into our “someday” box because of a great excuse.

So, if you’re a go-getter or do-later-er, we all need help with kicking our excuses so we can actually do what we say is important.

What’s the best way to kick an excuse? Follow this two-step process:

  1. Recognize the excuse for what it really is: a reason why we don’t do what we say is important while still claiming it to be important.
  2. Answer the excuse with something more powerful: helpful truth.

Recognizing the excuse

Because making excuses comes so naturally, I don’t often recognize it as a feel-good lie I tell myself. Instead, I believe my rational and happily bypass the significant (writing project) and give my energy to fluff (Facebook stalking). So when the pressure’s on, like a deadline, I get honest with myself, check the facts, and get busy.

In recognizing excuses, we need to be honest with ourselves. If this is on my priority list, what’s keeping me from moving on it? What’s my real issue? Am I blame-shifting? Am I afraid? Did I set unrealistic or unclear goals?

A word of caution

There are reasons for not accomplishing a goal. Real life comes with unexpected twists. While putting margin in your life is a great idea, circumstances can squeeze out the margin. That’s when rethinking priorities and adjusting expectations come into play. Keeping to your busy schedule when your family is battling the flu or grieving over an unexpected death isn’t realistic. Give yourself grace and adjust.

Keep this in mind:

An excuse is a reason we give for not doing what we claim is important. Grace is being kind to ourselves when we’re facing our human limitations and frailty. Ask yourself which message you are giving to yourself. Surprisingly, giving grace to ourselves is harder than coming up with excuses. But when we cut the excuses, we will face our human frailty and need the encouragement of grace. God is our ultimate source of grace. He knows all our weakness and loves us unconditionally. Giving ourselves grace is agreeing with God’s perspective and letting that truth sink into our hearts.

Answering the excuse

Recognizing the excuse helps only so much. If we’re scared of what people think and now recognize the underlying reason for our excuses as fear, that might make us more committed to not stepping out. Staring down fear isn’t easy. But if we answer the excuses with helpful truth, that’ll serve to overpower our reasons and embolden us to take that first step.

How does this kicking excuses work?

  • Know what your priorities are. (Sign up for my PARK plan to learn about inviting God into directing your priorities.)
  • When you realize you’re avoiding something important, ask yourself: What is my excuse?
  • Give yourself a good answer to your excuse—one that is helpful and powerful.
  • Include in your answer appropriate adjustments and realistic, attainable steps.
  • Give yourself grace along the way.
  • Celebrate your progress.

Many priorities are a process, not specific tasks. In thinking through priorities, be sure to identify clear steps. Baby steps are still steps. When you’re taking a step in the right direction, you’re kicking that excuse to the curb.

How will you kick your excuses and get it done?

Let me know in the comments below:

  1. Name your priority.
  2. Name your excuse.
  3. What answer will you give your excuse?


Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

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