Big Changes

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Leaning back in the examination room, trying to ignore how full my bladder is, I crane my neck to see the screen. Any moment I’ll get to see our baby. Remembering back to seeing Rebekah for the first time, around 11 weeks along– kicking away like crazy, her little legs like a soccer player. This time all I see are blobs. And the dark, watermelon size balloon that is my near bursting bladder. Mitch has a better angle. He is totally engrossed. I rest my head back on my thin pillow, hoping for a better view later, or the ultrasound nurse to enlighten me about this strange … Read more…

10 Simple DIY Presents for Christmas

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One of the ways I make our tight Christmas budget stretch is by making many of our Christmas presents. I told myself I would scale back on how much I was making. And well, I had the best of intentions . . . Let’s just say that I need to set aside some serious sewing and crocheting time over the next couple weeks! 1. DIY Cookies in a Jar from Raining Hot Coupons 2. 15-minute Pillowcase by Craftsy Who doesn’t love a fun and funky pillowcase?! 3. Simple Crocheted Hat (any size) by Oombawkadesign Many family members requests my simple beanie hats at Christmas. … Read more…

Make Christmas With the In-Laws Merry Not Miserable

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I don’t do many featured posts by others, but I thought Clare’s post on in-laws and the holidays had a lot of good thoughts to share. I love my in-laws and have no complaints, but anytime you marry someone, you marry their family too. That means things like working out holiday schedules and expectations. Please welcome Clare to The Engaged Home! It’s your first Christmas together as a married couple, what could be sweeter? The joys of decorating your tree, curling up together and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and strolling the streets admiring neighbors’ twinkle lights… or, not. The … Read more…

Advent as a Family: Waiting, Hope, and Peace

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Advent–the time leading up to Christmas when we reflect on Jesus becoming flesh and dwelling among us. But even more so, we anticipate Jesus’ second return. This is what I truly cherish about Advent. We not only get to celebrate Jesus’ willingness to become man–experiencing temptation, filth, hunger, pain, and grief–but we get to look forward to his return where he will make all things right. Advent is not practiced by many people in the churches of Christ, our faith heritage. In fact, some churches of Christ hardly acknowledge Christmas because of the dating inaccuracies. (Of course this varies greatly from church … Read more…

2016 Family Gift Guide

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(This post contains affiliate links.) As usual, we are going the frugal route for Christmas. I make the majority of my Christmas gifts and will be posting on some of my favorite DIY ideas soon. However, with so many family members asking for ideas, I thought I would share some Christmas present recommendations with you for different ages. Though keep in mind, most of these are products that we (Mitch, myself, and my 19-month-old daughter) love. Enjoy our 2016 family gift guide! 1. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name I’ve recommended this before, but I will keep on … Read more…

It only takes a spark

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A mere spark ignites a great fire. Forest fires ignite from dying campfire ash. Small actions, thoughts, and words hold the power to foster healing, inflict pain, summon joy, and much more. Often a person’s faith and character are not tested by the greatest trials in life, rather the small daily battles. For better or worse–Life happens in the details. Thanksgiving began as a three day festival where the Pilgrims celebrated their autumn harvest, alliance with the Wampanoag, and–after a brutal winter–their survival. This shared celebration later became a national holiday. Our heritage calls us to celebrate, to give thanks, and to remember some … Read more…

When Life Shakes You and Leaves You Broken

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“We are made in the image of God. And wasn’t God’s heart made to be broken too? Wounds can be openings to the beauty in us. And our weaknesses can be a container for God’s glory.” – Ann Voskamp from The Broken Way When life begins to crumble around me, or doubts and fears flood my mind, I tend to tense and close up. My hands snap shut to grace. They form determined fists, ready to fight for a way out. Instead of opening myself up to walk through the trial ahead, I dig in. I retreat. I pull the shades … Read more…

Walking The Broken Way to Abundant Life

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I think our long wait for autumn may be over. I dug out my sweaters from storage and started wearing them. Many trees are in garbs of orange, red, and yellow. Still, others are completely green. Rebekah and I keep examining our young Silver Maple in the front yard. It is holding out as long as it can before it turns red. This past week we’ve spotted a handful of leaves just beginning to turn. The red seems to travel up the stem then slowly encroach from the edges of the leaf. Catching a leaf in transition is one of my favorite things … Read more…

Serving Together

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Giving back and loving others doesn’t have to be complicated. Though sometimes with words like philanthropy and charity it can sound complicated and reserved for those with wealth. Philanthropy may be a big word for your children to get their heads around, but the actions of compassion, empathy, and loving others can be taught and modeled. Children learn by example. So it’s a good idea to show generosity and humanity throughout all you do in and outside of your home. Serving together with your kids can leave a powerful impression on them. The life lesson of giving back is an … Read more…

St. Louis Travels

A dad and his girl in St. Louis

I have not pressed my fingers into my keyboard hardly at all the past couple weeks. The desire has been there, but along with many other things, it fell by the wayside with my lack of motivation as I battled through some sickness. Some days my only goal was survival and keeping food down. Other days were better, but they were busy because due to my sick, get-little-done days I had gobs of laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. to do. Though Mitch has been pitching in a ton and frankly keeping us going and fed some days, despite being quite … Read more…

A Missouri Heat Wave

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I kept spotting glimpses of fall in the turning of leaves and feeling it in the cool mornings and evenings. But this week pounded us with the resurgence of an Indian Summer heat wave. I even considered getting back out the wading pool. It feels odd to be crocheting on leg warmers and a winter hat when our heat index is pushing 100. But I found such easy and lovely patterns for leg warmers that I could resist. I made the simple ones for Rebekah to match her hat. But I think I am going to experiment with this pattern and some sparkly … Read more…

Save Money on Household Bills

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Paying bills is a part of adulthood. I still remember setting things up with the electric company and Verizon before Mitch and I married. It really was a “you are an adult now” reminder. Whether it is our grocery budget, electricity, or the internet, we learned quickly the value of shopping around and cutting costs. Here are some tips to help keep your family’s expenditures under control. Take a long, hard look at your spending and budget Get real here. How much are you actually eating out? Did you sign up for the free month of Audible and forget to cancel the subscription? If you don’t … Read more…

A Coloring Experience and Giveaway

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We weren’t sure what the teens would think. At least the guys. Teen girls almost always love coloring, but boys tend to be “too cool” for such fun. But our teen guys took to it as readily as the girls. Maybe it was the cool designs that didn’t feel innately girly, like so many generic coloring books. The teens chatted as they chose their medium (colored pencils, crayons, or markers) and decided on a color scheme. Even parents and volunteers joined right in on the fun. The only complaint we received was that we did not give them enough time to finish. … Read more…

Nebraska Adventures

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Rebekah and I spent a lot of our time in Nebraska visiting friends and family. However, we had a unique chance to do some of my favorite “Nebraska” things and even mark something off my bucket list. It was a last minute trip, but we packed in a lot to those six days. Several downtown Grand Island businesses hosted a free concert series. As a teen I loved going to local concerts. It just so happened one of my favorite musicians from my teen years, Connor Oberst (Most known for his work with Bright Eyes.) was set to perform while we were in town. Dad … Read more…

Yarn Along: Winter Hat Ready

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I tend to be a tight hooker (good ‘ole crochet joke). But this hat I made for a baby fits my 16-month-old daughter just fine. I decided she could keep it as a warm winter hat. She loves wearing it, even in the summer. I have several projects stewing in my mind, including cute leg warmers for little girls and Rebekah’s fall outfit. I would love to knit her outfit, but I doubt I can pick up knitting that quickly. Meanwhile, I am reading through the moving novel Gilead (affiliate link) by Marilynne Robinson. Rooted in Christian spirituality, it was praised with high acclaim, even winning the … Read more…

Going Home–An Anchor Set in Shifting Sands

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Going home simultaneously feels familiar and foreign. Traveling back to my roots and my hometown in Nebraska reminds me that few things stay the same. And yet, some things never change. Though many of the changes in my hometown are positive and full of hope–I still find a part of me mourns the change. I think I want to preserve something in this life that feels ever familiar. Nostalgia I guess. In theory, isn’t that why so many people romanticize going home? They dream about their mom’s cooking or drive by the old house they lived in for 30 years. But instead they … Read more…

A Prayer for Students, Parents, and Teachers

A Prayer for Students

Sunsets, camps, sticky games, water balloons, devotionals, campfires, cards, classes, and sleepovers filled our summer days with our amazing teenagers. My husband is a youth minister–so summers for us are a festive and crazy time of year full of travel, camps, and special memories. We know it is for you as well. Fitting in all the summer appointments, camps, and even vacations makes June and July fly by! Though the weather is still warm, summer is drawing us into its final act. School is starting this month all across the country. This week we are joining their parents–and parents across the country … Read more…

Faith in Action and Hearts of Compassion: The My Life Clinic

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On our back patio sits a spindly Marigold. It grew from a single seed. After we moved, I transplanted the tender plant three times. This summer blasted it with heat, wind, and more rain than soil can absorb. Still, it grew and bloomed. As a blossom fades, it drops its seed into the surrounding soil, increasing its beauty all the more. Recently, I met Shirley, a woman living a beautiful life sprung from the seed of God’s love. She took her battered heart, fears, inadequacies, and set them at the feet of Jesus. As a result, our Ever-faithful God held … Read more…

Jesus’ Vulnerable Life of Love

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I’ve thought a lot about vulnerability over the past year or so. The concept challenges me, excites me, and terrifies me. I know that the moments I am the most vulnerable yield the deepest connections and the most rewarding experiences. Still it is a process that lays me bare. It’s like one of those dreams where you are delivering a speech and realize you are completely naked. And I am the first to withdraw, close up shop, and slip back into my “everything is great” mask. And to be fair, oftentimes everything is great. Or fine. I’m not always lying when I say that. Just … Read more…

Motivation

Motivation for Annabelle

This week I sent off Benjamin’s blanket with a prayer and good wishes. Lately, I’ve had endless motivation to crochet. Mostly because in the evenings I avoided dealing with our taxes. I spent months attempting to resolve the issues with our 1095-A before we could send everything off. (Last night we finally put on our “adult pants” and tackled them. More on that later.) This week I bordered a light-weight receiving blanket for sweet Annabelle, our friends’ new daughter. She is all that is a sweet little newborn. We can’t wait to celebrate her birth at their shower this weekend. If time allows I will crochet … Read more…

I am NOT a parenting expert.

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Mistake #1: Impulse buying an Oreo milkshake during Happy Hour from Steak N’ Shake. (It was hot outside and sounded good. I promise we are mostly healthy eaters . . . ) Mistake #2: Buying this milkshake right before grocery shopping at Walmart with my 15-month-old in tow. Bad idea all around . . .  Mistake #3: Letting my screaming 15-month-old have a sip. This sip then turned into several long–DON’T YOU TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME MOM BECAUSE I WILL SCREAM BLOODY MURDER–sips. Who knew she would like an Oreo milkshake so much! 😉 Mistake #4: Giving in and letting her suck down … Read more…

For Benjamin

Yarn Along for Benjamin

I keep thinking about starting new fall sweater for Rebekah. Yet, all the sweet new babies entering the world and the pregnant mamas that are due in the next couple months are foremost in my thoughts and prayers right now. As a result, I am crocheting around fleece and cotton blankets, and trying my hand at newborn clothing. As I mentioned last week, my dear friend from church embroidered Benjamin’s name for me on his blanket. I kept his blanket simple and cute, crocheting two coordinating receiving blankets together. This is one of my favorite styles of blanket to make because it is … Read more…

Inviting Imagination: Storytelling and Illustrations

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Children are natural storytellers. They love to spin tales birthed in the purity of their imaginations not yet as tainted by harsh realities. Stories also draw children into new worlds. Storytelling draws adults in as well. Why else would we bing watch shows on Netflix like The Office or Doctor Who? We connect and relate to stories on a deep level. We compose them to preserve history and memories. Even throughout scripture, God uses stories to teach and preserve. Jesus’ utilizes parables to impart the wisdom and truths of heaven. Maybe God wrote storytelling into our DNA. As a result, some children are … Read more…

Beauty in the Details

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This past week has been full of outdoor adventures: Running barefoot through the grass or squealing as we dart through the sprinkler. I lather Rebekah and I with sunscreen every day. We both have very fair skin. And if she is anything like me, the sun will blister her skin long before she ever tans. This Badger Balm Kids Face Stick SPF 35 – Tangerine and Vanilla works great and smells amazing. Though it is a bit hard to rub in. I worried about finding summer sunscreen that would not irritate Rebekah’s sensitive skin. Fortunately, this face stick hasn’t caused a single … Read more…

When Community Feels Like a Challenge

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I once knew a highly religious lady. She wore her “Jesus Saves” button everywhere she went, her long white hair piled on top of her head, and her mouth always over pouring with the good news of Jesus. I came to know her somewhat well over the course of a couple years. You see, my mom can’t resist making friends. Even with the people most others avoid. And, to my 12-year-old dismay, this woman, Twila, always cornered my mom in the grocery store for hours.  Already hating the long trips to the grocery store, my heart would sink when Twila rounded the corner of … Read more…

When the World is Dark

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Some days I wonder if the world has gone crazy: the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, running for Senate, mass shootings beginning to feel like weekly events in America, ISIS spreading violent, vehement hate, racial tensions and fears regarding the law and order system, and politicians spewing lies, slander, and no one bothering to care whether the information is true or fabricated. Hatred is far from a new phenomenon. And though violence and angst may seem to be on the rise, I believe there is an opportunity that lies at the center of all of this darkness: “You are … Read more…

Light Yellow and the Nature of Gentleness

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There is something so clean, refreshing, and sunny about the color yellow–especially a nice light yellow. And now I can officially knock off having a pale yellow kitchen from my bucket list–Yay! I find myself drawn to this color over and over again. A couple weeks ago our dear friends had a sweet baby girl. I made a darling little yellow dress, headband, and diaper cover for their sweet Annabelle. Isn’t that a sweet name, deserving of a sweet color? It was so good to see them and their sweet daughter. So many emotions washed over me as I realized that … Read more…

A Summer Birthday

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Being born in July can be rough. I do have several “classic” birthday memories from my childhood, but often my birthday was overshadowed by the fourth of July, church camp, or a big transition–like moving across the country. But I’m not complaining. I don’t care to make a hoopla out of my birthday. I prefer to keep it simple. However, the past couple years it has fallen at very busy and stressful times. And though we are still quite busy with camps and a recent move, we were actually able to do a bit of celebrating this year. And I’m glad we … Read more…

Yarn Along: Sweet Babies

Angel Wings Dress

It occurred to me today how far behind I am on making baby gifts. I’ve had three friends and a cousin-in-law have babies this past week alone. And that’s not counting my friends that are due very soon! I need to pull out and set up my sewing machine and spend a couple evenings sewing. After baby girl goes to sleep of course. Pins, scissors, and babies do not mix well! Hopefully I can finish this Angel Wings Pinafore for a friend who just had a baby girl. It has been an easy pattern to follow, and I don’t think it … Read more…

Blue Box Gifts

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Do remember that moment when you came home from the hospital with your new baby? Or that day a couple weeks later when all the family left? Or that one 2AM feeding with tears streaming down your face from exhaustion because you couldn’t figure out what was wrong: I thought I was supposed to have a mom-instinct for these things?! Wait, I am a mom?! And I have no idea what I am doing . . . Babies should come with instructions . . . I remember those moments well. Becoming a mom requires a lot of trust and prayer, … Read more…

Freebie for the Fourth: Weather Unit for Kids

Weather Unit Freebie

Keep your kids learning and having fun inside and outside this summer, and all year, with this free weather unit. It is adjustable for age, with several different activities. I am slowly beginning to create educational units to use with our children as they grow, so this is the first of many. I can’t wait to share it with you, wonderful readers! I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here it has been rainy and stormy. So I thought, what better place to start off then a weather unit! I’ve created this weather unit complete with weather … Read more…

What is Enough?

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Contentment is made elusive by comparison. Our culture tells us that enough is never enough. We always need just a little more money, time, talent, success. We sit in our air-conditioned homes, richer than most people on our planet, and we feel empty and emotionally bankrupt. No amount of money in our bank account brings the love we desire, the excitement of each new success or conquest wears off, and we try desperately to jam everything we can into the limited time we are allotted each day. We rush forward, failing to just be. And when we look around at our kids we … Read more…

Unexpected Grief

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Like a flash flood in the desert or the sudden, raging storm across the prairie, unexpected grief can wash away those we love, leaving devastation in its wake. Quick as a flash of lightning, it can cut into our souls and singe our hearts.  This past month, my heart has swelled like a lake against a dam that threatens to give way. I’ve bore witness as acquaintances, friends, and family members encountered deep loss and grief that they never could have foreseen: the loss of a mother, the sudden loss of two uncles, innocence destroyed, a close-call with death that still … Read more…

After a Long {Unintended} Break and 15 Things I Love About Our New Home

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Well, if I ever proved my greenness with blogging, it was with my complete failure to have posts scheduled ahead through our move to our new home. I actually think I did a better job scheduling posts when we moved across the country with a 3-month-old last year! But in my defense, I did not anticipate not having internet at the house for a week . . . (excuses, excuses). Apparently, our new location is a bit hard to service for cell phone reception and internet. I feel like we went off-the-grid–ha! We are now within city limits, which we were not … Read more…

Teaching Your Kids About Quiet Time

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

This is a topic I want to talk more in depth about over the coming weeks; however, I am on a major time crunch today. First of all, this affiliate resource I am sharing is only available (in this amazing bundle) until the end of TODAY! Yikes! Also, we are in the middle of our move–so this may be one of the quickest posts I ever do. (You’re probably like–“Yay short!”) But I knew I had to share it with you. Putting affordable and quality parenting resources into your hands, especially ones that help build your kids’ faith, is one of … Read more…

Excitement All Around

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I think this week can be summed up in one word: Exciting. The right house, for the right price opened up for us a couple months ago, and this week we closed on it. It is our first time buying a home, and it is a landmark moment for our family. Owning a home means we get to live somewhere longer than a year and a half. We have moved five times in five years. We are laying down roots. Maybe it won’t be a forever home, but we are anticipating all the memories that will resound within its walls: … Read more…

Tips for Mastering the Family Road Trip

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With summer now upon us, I am excited to share a guest post by Marie Nieves about ways to have an enjoyable family road trip! As you set off this summer for your own road trips, family time, and adventure, my prayer is that you may be blessed with safety and lifelong memories. – Nathana Most youngsters are prone to showing defiance when removed from their common environment (their room, the company of their peers, etc.). Road trips can be troublesome due to the long ride in the car. As the pumped air circulates through the car with the smell of stale Cheetos, … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum: Motherhood

Faith in the Home Forum

Thank you for those who joined in the Faith in the Home Forum conversation last week! I really appreciate your input. I cannot wait to talk about motherhood and how we can overcome the societal pressures that draw us away from what is really important. Here are a couple responses from Andrea and Jessica last week about intergenerational mentorship, dealing with doubts, and keeping your faith vibrant: “We have been very intentional about making sure our kiddos have several people in the church to connect with in part by having high school kids and college kids babysit but also by … Read more…

Thomas Locker Wins My Heart Again

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Sometimes there are books that appeal to the teacher in me, or the mom in me, or the historian, or poet . . . But rarely do I find a book that wins the whole of my heart. Thomas Locker has a way of stunning me on all fronts. Every page in a Thomas Locker book is a work of art. His landscapes are worthy of being framed–and many are in prestigious museums. I am slowly buying all of his books for our personal collection. Home: A Journey through America (amazon affiliate link) celebrates the beauty of the different places across America … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum and a Giveaway

Faith in the Home Forum

Welcome to the first official discussion for the Faith in the Home Forum! I am excited you could join in the discussion today about creating a “Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids”  (affiliate link) through intergenerational mentorship, navigating doubts, and modeling genuine faith. Now, I did share some resources/homework for those who were interested, but it is not required to join in the discussion. I would love to hear your input as a parent, young adult, or from the perspective of whatever season of life you currently reside in. In Kara Powell’s research she found that intentional intergenerational relationships, … Read more…

Join us for “How to Save Your Marriage From Your Kids”

How to save your marriage from your kids (2)

The foundation of a healthy family has got to be Christ. But, I think once we start having kids, it can be easy to forget how important it is to continue to cultivate and care for  a strong marriage. Too often, with the demands of kids, work, and everyday life, our spouse fails to be a priority. Mitch and I swore this would never happen to us. We were so dedicated to the idea of marriage maintenance. But when you are busy with kids, it is so easy to fail to connect with your spouse. And the busyness and demands of parenthood can almost … Read more…

Spring Adventures

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  This spring has been full of adventure for us. From picnics in our backyard, first birthday parties, visiting family, exploring Branson, going with our families and teens to the Leadership Training for Christ, and buying our first house! Sometimes it is tempting to get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle and pressing deadlines, but spring always makes me want to slow down and soak in life. The unfurling of every new green leaf and emerging flower bud seems to proclaim “Take time to notice me and give praise!”  And so, today I strive to give praise for the blessings … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum

Faith in the Home Forum

Alright wonderful readers and friends! I have a proposition for you . . .  The Faith in the Home Forum.  Above all else, I believe our calling as parents is to introduce our children to their creator. To nurture and model what authentic faith looks like in daily life. But how do we do this? I want to start a discussion here at The Engaged Home about nurturing faith in the home. Mitch and I love to share what we are doing in our own family, and we have experience working with teens and their families. But we know that you also … Read more…

Gathering Around Inspirations: Losing Yourself in a Good Book

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This past week has not been my most productive. At least not in the practical sense of productivity. I have always loved reading, so much so that I have to be careful it does not consume all my free time. I could lose myself in a good book for hours. And this past week I have become totally sucked into good books. It started with Because of Winn-Dixie (affiliate link). I’ve read this book several times, but I decided to start reading it to Rebekah while nursing her. It is a quick read and hard to put down, even on your fifth time reading … Read more…

Is Imitation the Greatest Form of Flattery?

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Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately. Rebekah wants to do everything I do. She will sling her mini purse over her shoulder and walk around perusing her toys. She’ll pick up her baby doll and feed her with a toy bottle. She will sit and look at books, slowly flipping through them, studying the pictures and words she does not yet know. She will imitate sounds that I make, tongue clicks, and blowing air. When we are playing, she will mimic silly faces back at me. A few weeks ago she … Read more…

How to Make Learning Fun at Home

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A love of learning and a natural curiosity are traits I am seeking to develop in Rebekah and our future children. A heart that loves to learn (in my opinion) is more valuable in life that straight A’s or a 4.0 GPA. Part of cultivating young hearts to love to learn is realizing that most kids love learning already. It seems to be innate to their very being! They are curious about the world around them. Sweet Rebekah will sit and slowly flip through a board book, pondering each picture. (Though she is very much in the “independent” phase of reading. … Read more…

The New Recipe I am Obsessed With: Miracle Dough

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Okay, so I could go on and on about how awesome this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is and how it is such a great deal. But I won’t. If you’ve checked out the bundle, you will realize that for yourself in seconds. And, to be honest, these bundles are a great value, but sometimes the amount of resources can be overwhelming. So I thought instead I would highlight the ebook that I have gotten the most use out of so far. I have started several of ebooks and one ecourse. It is hard to pick a favorite. I feel like I … Read more…

Get Back on Track This Spring with These Organizational Resources

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I used to consider myself an organized person. But since I became a mama, my free time to reorganize all of our closets greatly diminished. Now, as we are preparing to spring clean, buy our first house, and host a garage sale, I am realizing how full our closets have become! I also was not prepared for how much stuff we would acquire after Rebekah was born: baby clothes, baby toys, baby paraphernalia . . . Her stuff is slowly encroaching on all of our living spaces: toys and books in the living room, toys in the kitchen, diapers and wipes … Read more…

Six Tips for Caring for a Baby with Sensitive Skin

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Out of nowhere, our one-year-old daughter, Rebekah, decided baths were synonymous with torture. Every time we started a bath–she’d start a tantrum. She kept trying to stand up and crawl out of the tub. So not safe! To complicate the bath situation further, she has also been battling mild eczema for the past three months. We just ended the bath standoff this week–hurray! We have successfully had two baths where she didn’t scream or try to escape this week. I think I even saw her smile . . . Switching her bath time to morning or midday when she isn’t tired, like … Read more…

Cost vs. Value: The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Bonuses

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I am very careful about what I promote and put my name on as a blogger. But the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle pretty much sells itself once you look into everything it has to offer. What originally drew me to it as a buyer, before a blog was ever a dream in my mind, was the quality of the bonus offers. There is no doubt the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a great deal for the quantity of resources that you get. Remember you get this entire bundle of 93 resources for only $30! But the real question is “Is it worth it for you?” … Read more…

Yarn Along: Thinking of Others This Week

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This week I am trying to finish up a couple gifts to mail off to encourage some special people in my life. The first is a hanging towel (I will make a matching dish cloth too) for a blogging friend who got married last year. It will only be a year late, so let’s call it a one-year-anniversary present . . . 😉 When I saw this kitchen towel, I knew it would look great in her kitchen, and it reminded me of them. My aunt has recently undergone some serious surgeries for a bad break in her leg and … Read more…

The First Time I Changed a Baby’s Diaper

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Many kids grow up babysitting or taking care of younger siblings. I did not. Well, I did babysit, but mostly later in college. I somehow managed to make it all the way until college without ever having to change a baby’s diaper. So when my friend and I enlisted to sub for another friend in the one-year-old Bible class, I thought how hard can changing a diaper be? To be fair, it is not that hard. Ahem. As long as the child is not actively using all their strength to squirm away from you . . . Rebekah! (We’ve improved a lot … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Spring Learning Activities

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I need to get outside ya’ll!  Spring is in full swing here, and I love it so much I could just cry with joy! To be fair, I love every season. But when winter turns that corner into spring, I feel consumed with excitement. It is like the whole earth is waking up and unfurling before our eyes after its long winter slumber. The birds are singing all day long, the grass, trees, shrubs, and bushes are all the richest of bright greens, the weather is that perfect 75 degrees with a light breeze, the rain makes everything bloom, the … Read more…

Do your friends speak truth into your life?

true friendship

Sometimes it is hard to find a friend (and to be a friend) who speaks truth. Not that there are tons of people out there just lying left and right to their friends. No, I don’t think most people are liars. 😉 But I do think people are guarded. And I get it. I do. We can’t “go deep” with everyone. It would wear us out. Plus, having some fun, surface-level relationships can be refreshing! However, I do believe we all need at least one person in our lives to speak perspective and truth. Maybe that person is a friend, maybe that person … Read more…

What are you afraid of?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my relationship with God. And I think that there are two fears that most people, myself included, struggle with overcoming. If we believe that the Holy Spirit is powerful and active, as outlined in the Bible, we are either afraid that 1) If we ask God for something, He won’t show up, or 2) That God will show up and ask us to do something we don’t want to do.  I grew up in a rather conservative church, especially when it came to the Holy Spirit. I did find faith there that I made my … Read more…

My Blogging Mistake and “The Truth About #MomFail Culture” Free Video Series

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Have you ever had one of those days where you know you have reached your limit, but you are determined to press on anyways? Well, I hit that wall on Saturday.  Last Saturday was Rebekah’s birthday. My parents were in town, we were throwing her a birthday party at the park. I was determined to blog about her birth story on her birthday. If I had been more on top of things, I would have prepped the post earlier in the week. But alas dear friends, I did not.  As a result, I was sitting in bed typing away after a fun, but loooong Saturday (Mitch … Read more…

One Year Ago Today . . .

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One year ago today, sweet Rebekah, you were born.   Your dad and I paced the house, walked the block, and walked the mall waiting for your arrival. 10 days you made us wait. I guess due dates are more of suggestions anyways . . . 😉 During those days we nested, rested, and dreamed of meeting you. We had to go in for a 7-days-over-due ultrasound to make sure you were okay. And you were great–but we barely glimpsed your face because you were so cramped in there. But a two-second glimpse revealed your expression and filled my dreams … Read more…

Make Your Home Kid Ready for Summer

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With summer right around the corner, most kids will soon have more time on their hands. How can you prepare your home and plan ahead for ideas that will stimulate children’s imaginations and keep them from mischief? With a 12-month-old toddling all over I am trying to answer that questions for myself. After all, we all know what is said about idle hands . . .  I will be talking more about summer activities that engage the family, learning, and creativity over the next few months. But, if you’re wondering how you can make your home more fun for the children, consider these … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: The Life Giving Home

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When you walk into somebody’s house and feel at home, what is it that makes you feel that way? Is it the physical environment? Probably not, though that can contribute to it. That feeling of home that embraces you like a warm hug is often a combination of things. But most of it is relational in nature. Casting a vision for your marriage, family, and home is crucial. We all need direction and focus. Without it, we wander aimlessly. Meandering about letting our days and precious moments with our families slip away from us. To recapture and engage the hearts of … Read more…

Plan to Be Surprised

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I am a planner. I like to know what is going to happen. I tend to set unobtainable expectations. Unlike my spontaneous, easy-going husband, a change in plans can really derail my day. The past several months I have been reflecting on what it means to give thanks in every circumstance, even when plans change. A couple months ago I read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (affiliate link), which opened up my mind and heart to how often God tells us to give thanks. Jesus was always giving thanks, regardless of the circumstances. Even when … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: A Special Gift of Love

Gather Around Books

I grew up knowing most of my extended family on my mom’s side. And I am talking extended family . . . like 4th and 5th cousins extended. Growing up we always went to family reunions and annually gathered at my great-aunt Margie’s for Memorial Day lunch after placing flowers on the graves of extended family in Arnold, Nebraska. My husband has always marveled at the interconnectedness of my family. Even in Phoenix, we had the blessing of getting to know my mom’s cousin (so my second cousin) Doris really well. In fact, on most family vacations we would visit some cousin … Read more…

A Family Tradition–Watching the Sandhill Cranes

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Rebekah’s fever finally started to break and stay low enough to get out a bit. And by “get out” I mean drive around. After all, we didn’t want to overwhelm her. We had been wanting to drive around to the cornfields and river to look for sandhill cranes, so we packed up and set out. Most of the cranes have already continued on with their migration, but we still saw quite a few rummaging in the cornfields. Going out every spring to see the cranes is a favorite family tradition of mine. Some years, like today, we just casually drive the … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Unpacking My Childhood

Gather Around Books

I don’t have much to share by way of Yarn Along Wednesday, except a dream I have to crochet Rebekah a light yellow dress for this summer. I crocheted a darling little yellow flower for a hair clip to match her Easter dress, but I failed to get a fantastic picture of it. Now that she is walking, she is a busy body. I don’t walk away with many pictures that are not blurry. And our Easter family picture was a bit mopey. Rebekah was on the brink of sleep when we took it. As always, remember to check out more … Read more…

He is Here

This Easter we celebrate so much: Christ conquering death, defeating Satan, and delivering forgiveness, restoration, and redemption as only He could. Though Christ rose from the dead many, many years ago, may we never forget the resounding truth that He is Here. Jesus stands as our advocate in heaven, but also within our hearts and souls in the form of the Holy Spirit. Every day we have reason to celebrate this incredible truth.

Gather Around Inspirations and Yarn Along Wednesday

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Today I am blending my Wednesday feature with my Tuesday feature–sorry! However, I think that they fit together very well. I often talk about what I am reading during Yarn Along Wednesday, and what I was going to talk about this week is also one of my favorite “read-together books.”  After discovering what fun it was to crochet boot cuffs, I decided to make some more. This green pair is going to a friend who is having a rough time. It is my prayer that they brighten her day and let her know that she is thought of and loved. If you … Read more…

A Breath of Fresh Air: Dealing with Anxiety

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I understand that for many people, anxiety is a severe disorder that requires medication to function. I am not arguing with that reality. However, I do believe that we all struggle with and internalize anxiety in our day-to-day lives. You may not even realize that you are dealing with it because our culture is addicted to self-medication–and I’m not talking about prescription drugs.  We all seek out things to numb our pain, help us cope, or provide an escape. This could be food, books (depending on the type of book this isn’t necessarily a bad thing), TV, pornography, drama, social … Read more…

Crocheted Boot Cuffs and the Downside to Spring

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As much as I love spring, I am sadly coming to terms with the fact that it probably won’t snow again. New growth is happening everywhere, the birds are singing, and the spiders are becoming active again. In case you don’t know, I am very afraid of spiders. So much so I think I drive Mitch slightly crazy some days. One thing we didn’t consider when frantically trying to find a place to rent last June was that this place is old, the carpet is brown, sealing around doors rotted, the windows ancient, and there are cracks and crevices all … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Poetry

Gather Around Books

In case you missed what Gather Around Inspirations is all about, let me fill you in. It is about introducing quality literature (but also art and music) into your home. Looking for a good book to read as a family? I’ve got you covered! Through Gather Around Inspirations, I am sharing some of my favorite (past and present) read-aloud books. I believe we cannot effectively pass on a love of reading to our children by nagging them to read more. Instead, we need to be willing to come alongside them and share the joy of reading with them, together. Which leads me … Read more…

Refresh Your Home and Family Calendar for Spring

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(This post was contributed by Georgina Parkinson.) Spring has arrived, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on months gone by and look forward to the future. Whether you’re planning a summer of fun or you’re looking to build on discoveries made in the winter, here are some simple tips to create a refreshed, organized home. Out with the Old and in with the New Spring is all about change and new beginnings. It’s arrival is an ideal excuse for a spring clean. Devote a couple of spare afternoons or a weekend to getting rid of any unwanted clutter and giving your home … Read more…

Yarn Along: Imaginative Play

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One of my favorite things ever is to watch children imagine, create, and play. Many of my own best childhood memories involve imaginative play. Even now, I like to think I have a healthy and active imagination. 😉 Because I love encouraging imaginative play, I have been creating some whimsical crowns. I made this one for Rebekah, and though it turned out a bit tight, it fits great (I am a tight hooker). I decided to make a couple for my friend’s daughters because they are 3 and 5–the perfect ages for imaginative play! But, because I am a tight … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Tap the Magic Tree

Gather Around Books

I love to wander the aisles of children’s books at the library. I always come home with way too many picture books. And I have the unfortunate habit of picking out books that I think look awesome, rather than thinking of what Rebekah would like. Right now, we are mostly reading aloud from Heidi while nursing, or enjoying board books together (which I often don’t like to get from the library because every baby chews on them). She loves turning the pages of board books and will sit while we read several. She does has a few picture books she … Read more…

Surrender and the Joy of Spring

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Over the past three weeks we have been enjoying spring-like weather. Everything is budding or blooming. Everywhere I look, new life is pushing its way out of the earth. This warm weather has resulted in several family walks. Rebekah has taken to wanting to either hold tight to one of our hands or on to Hazel’s leash–which she is quite good at! Columbia has so many parks and trails that we are still exploring and finding new locations to walk. Over the past two weeks we have either visited or been visited by both of our families. This new year truly … Read more…

Hello and Goodbye, All in One Day

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This past week we rejoiced with our family and friends who welcomed sweet baby Blake and Eleanor into their arms. Our friends, Andrew and Sonia, gave birth a sweet baby girl Eleanor. I couldn’t resist making her a couple headbands. Here is the first: I am working on crocheting flowers for another headband (possibly interchangeable flowers) and a flower or two to make into barrettes for her older sister, because older sisters should not be forgotten! Be sure and check out other Yarn Along posts here. Last Friday we made the trek down to Springfield for a quick day trip. … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Heidi

Gather Around Books

As a young girl I dreamt of a loft bed of hay with a little window over looking the mountains and fresh goat’s milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I always remembered how Heidi  is described in the book and the vivid descriptions of the mountains and her loft bed. My mom had this old, large, edited version of Heidi. I can still see the blue cover with a picture of a small girl in her thin, white smock. I don’t know where that book ended up, but I hope I can find it again. As a pre-teen at a scholastic book … Read more…

The Battle for My Epic Door Collage and How My Parents Encouraged My Self-Expression

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The Battle In middle school I started a door collage. A door collage, you wonder . . . . Yes, it was my pre-teen, then teen form of self-expression. I am not sure what motivated me to start. Maybe it was my obsession with Allen Iverson from the 76ers . . . I don’t really follow many sports, but I saw an article about him in my dad’s Sports Illustrated magazine and it spurred a short-lived interest in him and professional basketball. Embarrassingly, his pictures were the first to be taped to my door. (To be fair, I do really enjoy basketball, … Read more…

Hospitality When You Have Young Children

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I used to wonder how parents could manage to be hospitable when they were wrangling small kids, constantly picking up toys, wiping noses and bottoms, and trying to maintain children’s sleeping schedules. Fortunately, I have been inspired by many young moms through the years. Currently at church there are several moms who consistently open up their homes for playdates, small groups, bonfires, or other get togethers, despite having young kids. I love that young moms still stretch themselves to be welcoming and hospitable, even if their homes are not perfect or the sliding glass doors have finger prints. Hey, life happens. And … Read more…

How do I connect with God when I am a busy parent?

Each week I am going to begin taking one to two days to talk about intentionally building faith in the home. This is at the heart of The Engaged Home and at the heart of what I believe is a major purpose of parenting. This is not a new topic to The Engaged Home. However, it is one I want to engage in conversation about more by sharing my insights, my ideas for different ages of kids, my favorite resources, and by opening up the conversation in the comments or through guest posts. I have several things I am excited to share with you, … Read more…

If Only Life Came with a Pattern . . . Oh Wait, It Does!

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In Psalm 142:3 David proclaims, “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Reading this made me feel both grateful and disappointed. I am thankful that God will breathe strength into our weary hearts and guide us when we are overwhelmed. Still, some days I want a pattern in life to follow that will reveal the finished product. What will the tapestry of my life be? Like the picture on the front of the puzzle box, I want to know how it all fits together. But, oh, how forgetful I can be! God gave us the ultimate pattern to … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations

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Gather Around Inspirations will be my new Tuesday feature, focusing on books, art, and music worth gathering around. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the imagery of families gathered in front of the hearth, sewing or relaxing while someone reads aloud or plays the violin. Often they read from the Bible or classics like Tennyson. It is idyllic, I know. It may not have involved a fireplace, but some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around books. Whether that meant reading through Laura Ingalls Wilder books with my mom, The Chronicles of Narnia with my dad, admiring pictures in picture books, scoping out … Read more…

The Benefits of Learning a Second Language

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Yesterday, my mom called to tell me about a woman who called her for help but couldn’t speak English. “Nathana, while we visit, can you teach me some Spanish?” “Well, mom, I haven’t taken Spanish since my sophomore year of high school, I don’t really remember anything . . . “ “Oh sure you do, your teacher said you were a natural and so good you could teach it!” (I really wasn’t that good . . .) “It was a long time ago mom. I learned it fast, but I also forgot it fast. I mean, I only took it … Read more…

Yarn Along: Finding Beauty and Finishing My Winter Projects

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The other day I found myself thinking how all life is poetry if we look close and listen. Even the hard moments. The flecks of color in my cracker, a baby’s cries, dust on the window sill, and the dripping of snow off the house. I am trying to slow down and observe life, especially in the hard moments. There is beauty everywhere, even among pain and tears. Still, it is hard to slow down and see. Though my eyes may be open, my heart is often blind. And some days just don’t get off to a beautiful start. Not because beauty … Read more…

Stay-at-Home Mom Seeking a Friend . . .

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Have you ever felt like posting a wanted ad for a friend? For me, the realization hit when we graduated college and moved across the country: it is a lot harder to make friends as a young adult (post-college). At least it felt that way to me. During college, I was surrounded by friends, ranging from close, intimate friendships, to friendly acquaintances. Whether studying, grabbing coffee, watching movies, talking, praying, or eating wings at Applebees, there were always available friends. And, I am happy to say that I have stayed in contact with many of those friends–thank you technology! However, we are separated … Read more…

The Cure to Loneliness

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Yesterday, I watched the snow fall. The feathery, fluffy flakes started slow and lazy, but they soon gained momentum as they came in contact with each other and began to clump. Soon, everything was covered in a fresh, white layer of snow. When we allow ourselves to accept God’s love and grace, it blankets our hearts in such a way that God doesn’t see our sin. He sees His child. He sees the blood that Jesus shed to bring us back to him. His love working in our hearts begins to shape every interaction we have. Not all of these … Read more…

Valentine’s Day: A Family Affair

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Valentine’s Day. Do you love it or hate it or celebrate it at all? I know people who are all over the spectrum on their feelings about this famous holiday. Mitch and I always treat it as an excuse to go on a slightly nicer date than usual. Sometimes we will budget to buy ourselves gifts while we are out. One year, while we lived in Phoenix, we trekked up to the Grand Canyon, snow and all. It was Mitch’s first time. We remember just standing at the edge and staring at the vastness in silence. Later, on that road … Read more…

Free Printable Valentines, Stationary, and Scripture Cards

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Last week I created a devotional for our youth groups girls about identity and who we are in Christ. (You can download the devotional to encourage yourself or use within your own youth group.) This message was on my heart for weeks. We have so many influences trying to shape us, I think it is important to back up and affirm that we are loved by God, God’s child, beautifully created, made for a purpose, holy through Jesus, valued, forgiven, redeemed, called out of darkness, filled with the Holy Spirit, and ENOUGH.  From those truths, good characteristics and fruits will naturally begin to … Read more…

Are You Kind to Yourself? #WholeMama

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I think we often associate kindness with our attitude toward others. But I am learning that kindness begins with myself. If I am beating myself up with guilt over my failures or perceived shortcomings, if I am constantly comparing myself to the edited versions of others, I am creating a heart that is critical. Critical of myself and critical of others. This heart opens itself up to bitterness. Though I may don a kind smile or share a kind word, if I am not learning to treat myself with kindness and grace, the contents of my heart may not be … Read more…

A New Take on Coloring: An Interview with Andrew Miller

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Have you ever known someone who has inspired you to be more creative and to pursue your passions?  I have a couple of those people in my life who inspire creativity and courage within my heart simply by their example of embracing creativity and hustling after their goals. One of those people in my life is Andrew Miller. He was a college classmate and friend of mine and one of my husband’s college roommates. (Andrew with his wife Sonia and daughter Anya.) Mitch and I made a point to stay in touch, as much as possible, with Andrew and his wife Sonia after … Read more…

Healthy, Heart-Shaped Pancakes

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Rebekah tested low in iron recently, probably because she has been battling off sickness. Regardless, I decided it was time to boost her with some iron-rich foods. She has been more interested in baby purees and finger foods over the past couple weeks. The baby cereals seem to have a lot of iron, but they sometimes feel like filler. It was time to get more creative, so the other day I decided I would try and make pancakes using her baby oatmeal. It’s essentially oat-flour anyways, right? And to make it more fun, I decided to make them heart shaped. Just because … Read more…

Letting Go

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Have you ever seen those stubborn winter trees who refuse to drop their leaves? The wind blows, the snow falls, and they endure. Those old brown leaves remain withered on the branches until spring overtakes them. I used to admire these trees. I thought, What determination they have. They are lesson in perseverance. But the other day I realized they are not persevering. They are resisting change, resisting transformation. Fall purposefully strips away leaves in preparation for winter and then the rebirth of spring. But here they are in mid-winter clinging to death. When spring unfolds her fragrant garment of new grass, tulips, and budding … Read more…

What is #EngagingLife?

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If your new year didn’t come with the changes you had hoped. Remember that God gives us not only new years, but new days, and even new moments. Yesterday I had to hit the reset button several times. Gratitude is the key to joy, but Satan wants to keep us stressed and discouraged. God has been working on my heart to seek the beauty in every moment. To fully connect and claim the moments. To choose to see the beauty, even in the ugly. Over a year ago, this idea was but a whisper in my mind. This very whisper lead to me … Read more…

Blessings Big and Small: A Linkup

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, … Read more…

Yarn Along: So Many Babies!

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What am I crocheting? I have a couple baby items I am sewing and crocheting for our nephew Blake. He is due this next month. We cannot wait to meet the little fella! I will share all my projects when they are done, but for now I am working on crocheting a sweet little vest. I am making it 9-12 months in hopes that it will fit next fall and winter. So far the pattern is easy and adorable. But I am about to start the arm holes, which tend to be tricky. When I made Rebekah’s fall sweater I … Read more…

What I’ve Observed on Raising Healthy Children

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As a new parent, I sometimes find myself stressing out about whether or not I am giving Rebekah the best start in life possible. Crazy thoughts sometimes bombard me: Oh no! We haven’t started a college fund yet . . . Can I feed her non-organic food?! (Just typing some of my thoughts out loud make me realize how nutty they are!) One of my favorite things to do is to observe others. I know that makes me sound like a creeper . . . but I promise I am not! I like to observe couples and families who are raising healthy children … Read more…

Lilla Rose Sale–Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

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Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Lilla Rose hair products are beautiful, functional jewelry for your hair. Plus, they are oh so comfortable and durable! Whether you sport your hair in a ponytail, half up, or a bun or french twist, there are many styles you can create with Lilla Rose products. I am kind of obsessed with their hairbands because they are adjustable, comfortable, and stay put better than any hairband I have tried. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Lilla Rose is hosting a 48-hour flash sale. It only lasts today and tomorrow: January 26th and 27th!  … Read more…

Winter Picture Books

The Big Snow

1948 winner of The Caldecott Medal. Its age shows in its faded, worn cover and mostly black and white pictures. The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader is one of my favorite winter picture books.  I recently found this book at Goodwill, and I am so glad I nabbed it up. (I am always on the prowl for quality picture books.) Not only is The Big Snow a classic, but it is perfect to read this time of year. It teaches about what different animals do during the winter. For the past couple months I have been watching the flocks of geese settle … Read more…

The Sickness, Quarantine, and the Delicious Soup I Developed in the Meantime

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The Sickness Ugh. Hand, foot, and mouth (HFM) can be a nasty bug to fight off! We thought Rebekah’s strain of it resembled chicken pox more than HFM. Rebekah’s primary doctor is older than he looks and had seen more than the typical pediatrician. Due to this, he had seen chicken pox firsthand (many new doctors have not) and many, many strains of HFM. Even though he was confident it was HFM, he sent pictures of her sores to Dermatology to double check. Right before Rebekah got sick, I wrote about treasuring the moments. Well, few things make you treasure your child’s smiles, … Read more…

Post-Sickness Cleaning Tips

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Chores can really pile up. Especially when you have several loads of laundry after a week-long trip. Compound that with your baby coming down with a bad case of hand, foot, and mouth right after you get home. Then you get sick. And you realize you need to sanitize EVERYTHING before your husband gets sick too . . .   Sigh. Thank you for listening to my mini rant. 😉 Things are looking up. I am at least caught up on laundry. However, I am getting ready to make a game plan for the rest of the house. I find that the … Read more…

Finally . . . the reader survey results and a giveaway winner!

The blog has been a bit quiet as of late. This week Rebekah had her first real dose of sickness. And it was a doozy. She caught what our pediatrician said was the worst strain of hand, foot, and mouth he had seen in a couple years. And he sees it a lot. 🙁 A sad, sick baby makes for a sad mama. Fortunately, she has perked back up to usually self. But to her credit, even during the worst of it, when she wasn’t napping or crying, she was pulling up and trying to stand and wanting to walk. I … Read more…

Treasuring the Moments

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“And his mother (Mary) treasured up all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51B) From a young age, this verse about Mary treasuring the moments always stuck in my mind. We don’t have many specifics about Mary after she is visited by Gabriel. Or Joseph for that matter. But I’ve always loved this glimpse into her heart. She knew who her son was born to be. But he was still her son. I used to think that she treasured all these things because Jesus was Emmanuel, God’s son. And, be warned, I am getting solely into the territory of my opinion here. But, now … Read more…

Our White Christmas

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Christmas took us from Columbia, up to Nebraska, back to Columbia, and then down to Springfield. I fought off a cold the first leg of the trip, but all things considered, it was a lovely Christmas. Rebekah did quite well around our large families, at least until she reached nap time. Then it was nuzzle-into-mama-and-don’t-let-go time. She even slept pretty well, thanks to a rocker that some friends lent us. (Sadly, we are now on the rocker’s goodbye tour because Rebekah barely fits in it length-wise, and the tiny straps barely reach around her tummy.) It snowed on Christmas Eve. … Read more…