Our 2016 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family, I know for many of you this past year was joyful with births and new jobs. For others, it was difficult with loss of loved ones, jobs, or illness. And many of you have been in our hearts and prayers, as we know we have been in yours. It is such a joy to walk through life with others, through the ups and downs of life in community. Thank you for your love. I thought about doing a big long recap of the year, but I think I will just share a few highlights, and A … Read more…

Trust in a Limitless God

I often mistake the story of Christmas as “the beginning” of the story. It is not. Christmas occurs at a pivotal point in the saga of humanity. Or more accurately, God’s love story. The Old Testament is full of God’s passion, love, and pursuit of his people building toward and setting the stage for the New Testament. All the gospels, in their own way and perspective open with the Christmas story. Jesus’ birth suggests that God would hold nothing back. He sets aside all glory to become man. But while his birth is important, it is only the start of what … Read more…

Six Years

This week we celebrated six years of marriage. On December 18th, 2010, after a whirlwind of finals and preparations, we took our vows. I still remember walking out of the sanctuary to the glassed-in foyer to see snow lightly falling. As we walked out to the car, snowflakes drifted down and sprinkled our hair. We felt blessed to share such love and to be able to share our big day with friends and family from all over. But we also knew it was only the beginning. Weddings are beautiful and full of hope and promise. Still, they are a mere beginning. … Read more…

Taking Jesus Off the Shelf

A few years ago my grandma gave me an old nativity set. Not a fancy one. Just a cheap ceramic one. She bought a bunch of them one year for all her grandkids. My cousin accidentally ended up with an African American nativity set. The rest of us got “white” ones making Jesus a redhead and Mary blond. Not the most historically accurate, the African American one probably would have been more accurate. But I love it because I love my grandma. I didn’t have much display space this year, so the nativity ended up on our kitchen window sill. Rebekah, … Read more…

Confessions of a Writer and Recommended Book Purchases for High School and College Kids

I am hesitant to tell people I majored in English. People associate that with crazy things like being able to spell and use proper grammar. The truth is I struggle with both. I don’t think I am an awful writer, but I have to edit a lot. Otherwise, well, embarrassing things happen. Like, um, using the wrong grammar on the sign you scrawl out in 5 seconds for your announcement photos that you then post all over social media . . . Yep. That was not the fault our sweet photographer, Grace, that was all me. ” . . . then … Read more…

Big Changes

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

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

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

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…