November Preview

Happy Halloween! For our church’s Fall Fest I was Deb from Napoleon Dynamite (80s girls to all the generations who don’t know that movie) and Mitch was making fun of his future self as a nerdy dad. However, after he shaved his beard and looked in the mirror, he said “I look just like my dad did when I was born! Gulp!” (Sorry for the bad camera phone resolution!) However, I know many families choose not to celebrate Halloween, and I respect that, so Halloween will not be my focus today. Instead, I want to give you a preview of … Read more…

No-guilt Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Madness

Whew. That is a mouthful! So are my new delicious muffins . . . Pregnancy has caused me to crave carbs and sweets (Really, I am just blaming our poor child, I have always craved these things). I have been striving to eat a balanced and healthy diet, but some days are better than others. The first trimester my focus was completely on survival. Now that I am feeling better {most days} I am working harder at eating healthy. I had some overly ripe bananas, so I decided I needed to make muffins. Unfortunately, this morning they were too far … Read more…

Keep Your Marriage Strong Through Life’s Changes

If there is one thing we can be certain of, it is change. Even when we resist it, we find ourselves living in a changing world: right now the leaves are turning red, orange, yellow, and falling off all together; that cold nip is in the air (unless you live in Phoenix); political parties are fighting for control at the local, state, and national level promising either change to new and better things or change back to the way it used to be; and our lives are changing day by day. We watch our children blossom and grow faster than we’d … Read more…

Six Ideas for Nurturing a Generous Child

  The children I have observed are not naturally generous. They don’t want to share their toys. They want to do things their way. But let’s face it, selfishness is a problem people struggle with whether they are two or 52. Raising a generous child is something that you have to do purposefully. Helping your child understand the why of generosity is important. Within the why it is necessary to teach them that we are not generous for the recognition or praise of people, but we are generous because we love God and we want to share God’s generous love with others. That … Read more…

5 Ways to Practice Generosity as a Family

Yesterday we talked about things YOU, as the adult, can do personally. Your kids need to see you model generosity; they will learn through your example. But one of the best ways to instill values into your family is to practice them together. I know a lot of kids who watched their parents do this or that, but they never learned how to do it for themselves. Generosity is a wonderful character trait to practice together because there are so many opportunities and ideas. Today, I brainstormed five ways you can practice generosity as a family: 1. Decorate a jar as a … Read more…

Seven Ways to Express Generosity

Wealth and generosity are words we associate with our financial status, but I have come believe they can have a much broader meaning. We can be “wealthy” or “generous” in different ways depending on the physical and emotional resources available to us. “Wealth” could mean an abundance of money, or time, or patience, etc. Sometimes people don’t need monetary generosity, but they crave a generous listener to hear their heart. As you decide how you are going to practice generosity this month, consider some ideas: Bless someone in need financially. Do you know someone who is having trouble paying their bills? (Ask … Read more…

Bible Verses Reflecting on Generosity

Tomorrow, I am going to share some generosity challenges with you; but today, I want to share a little more with you about why we should be generous. First of all, if we are blessed to have an abundance, God tells us in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure … Read more…

Easy One-skein, Two-hour Cowl and a Family Vacation to Boot!

Yes, I am still on my easy cowl kick . . . I decided I would make one for all the females on my husband’s side of the family. I am stealing this idea from my Aunt Sheila who made all of us cowls last Christmas on my mom’s side. This pattern is wonderfully simple! Plus, unlike my last cowl, which was simple and chunky, (see below) this blue one has a more decorative stitch to it. One of my favorite things about the blue cowl was that it only takes a couple hours to make, and it takes less than one skein … Read more…

Baby Clay Coming Soon to Our Engaged Home!

It is official. We are expecting our lil’ pumpkin in April! Our good friend Cherise graciously took our announcement pictures. We LOVE them! She is a very talented photographer. Fall is my favorite season and I am excited that we were able to incorporate a pumpkin. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant. Which is a relief in so many ways! For one thing, it means less nausea. For another, with each week that passes it feels more real. We waited longer than some people would have liked to announce our pregnancy, but after our miscarriage last April (where we, in … Read more…

Made in the Image of a Generous God

Over the years, Mitch and I have been touched by the generosity of others. When we were first beginning in ministry, an older ministry couple compassionately took us under their wing and generously gave time to mentor us. Transitioning to Arizona took faith, but the generosity of those that opened their home for us (until we found an apartment) and provided us with grocery cards and meals touched our hearts. Even when Mitch faced major dental work that would drain our savings, an amazing couple from church blessed us by paying for the majority of it (without us even asking). … Read more…

Yarn Along Wednesday: Blue-hued Cowl

You may notice a theme developing with my crochet projects: Easy. Even though I want to advance to more difficult projects, (including learning to knit), but we have traveling and are now hosting family in town. Two of my favorite things! But they do not leave much room for complicated projects. Also, we are still trying to organize a “how to crochet and knit” group at church. Thus, I am trying to find an arsenal of simple crochet projects to teach. So, I am sticking with a cowl, though a different pattern than the last one (I still need a … Read more…

Creating Character: An Education for the Whole Family

I was inspired by the Duggar Family (20 Kids and Counting on TLC, or in our case Netflix) to begin a journey focusing on developing godly character. They incorporate character building into their homeschooling curriculum and daily life. At first, I thought practicing good character was only for little kids, something taught in Sunday school. But, I was very wrong. Just because we are “adults” does not mean we have it all together. Building character is a journey you can begin whether you are two or 72. I am a work in progress and I pray God is not done with … Read more…

Teen Book Review: I am the Messenger

(As you can tell from the picture, it is a Printz Honor Book, which is a high honor. It was beat out by another young adult book I will eventually review: Looking for Alaska by John Green.) First of all, I chose this book for a teen book review because after The Book Thief became so popular, so did I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I am glad I chose this book because I think parents need to be aware of some of the content, and while I think it is a worthwhile book with positive, solid themes, I would not recommend it for anyone under … Read more…

The Joy of Finishing a {Simple} Baby Blanket

I love the feeling of finishing a crochet or sewing project. Sometimes, I allow myself to do a few easy projects, just because I can finish them faster, which gives me momentum and motivation. I just finished a two-sided baby blanket. I sewed it together, blanket-stitched around it, then added a crocheted border. If you look closely, you can see my mistakes in sewing it together; however, I am quite content with how it turned out! After going around the blanket with a single crochet, adding two in one spot every four stitches on the corners (to help it lay … Read more…

Our Version of a Margarita Pizza

Since we got married, Mitch and I have loved making pizza together. Pizza, and cookies, we also love to create new types of cookies together. We have tried out different crust recipes, but we usually come back to my bread maker recipe. In attempts to be healthier, I have found a couple whole wheat pizza crusts I really enjoy, unfortunately Mitch is not such a big fan of them! Over the weekend, we bought some fresh basil at a farmer’s market and decided we needed to make tomato basil pizza. We kept it simple. We pressed out our dough, put … Read more…

Compassion Calling

I have learned that when God calls you to do something, it is best to listen. Even though it may seem daunting, the safest place to live is in God’s will. For over a year, it felt like Compassion International was following Mitch and I around. We heard about them at conferences, concerts, and other various events. We were both feeling God’s quiet little tug on our hearts to sponsor a child. But, we put it off. Money was too tight, we reasoned. Maybe later, we told ourselves. We both experienced some guilt, because deep down we knew we could … Read more…

Our Five Favorite Marriage Books

* * * This post includes affiliate links. You are by no way obligated to purchase anything. But if you do purchase an item through one of my referral links or featured items on my right side bar, I will make a small percentage on the sale. It is important to me that I only advertise and share products with you that I love and use in my home. Thank you for supporting my site! Marriage can be a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to reveal God’s glory. God uses the illustration of marriage to describe how much He … Read more…

Receiving Blanket with a Crocheted Blue Trim

After finishing the cowl, I did not dive right into a new project. Mostly because everything I wanted to start required buying supplies, and it was the end of our September budget. (In other words, no money to buy crafting supplies.) As a result, I went back to my tote of leftover yarn and once-started projects. I realized I had two cute receiving blankets that I could sew together and then crochet on a border. I picked blue for the border, even though it will be for a girl, because it actually matches both sides, and partly because it is … Read more…