Showing posts with label Christian Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian Living. Show all posts

What Do You Want To Teach Your Kids About Friendship?




Do you remember the very first friend you made?  Are you still friends with that person?  I am curious because I made my first friend in first grade, because we found out we were reading the same books (which I'm sure surprises none of you who read this blog regularly).  Unfortunately the friendship didn't last beyond the beginning of third grade, but that's another story for another day.  

Seeing my own kids making friends now has made me think harder about what kinds of things I want to teach them about being a good friend.  What makes a good friend?  What can you do to help your kids treat their little friends well?  

I'd love to hear your answers to these questions.  Personally, Proverbs is like a handbook for friendship to me - there are so many principles there for all kinds of relationships, including friendship.  I wrote a post that is up over at Tommy Nelson featuring some of my favorite Scriptural principles for friendship - and how to teach those to our children from a young age!  

Check it out, and please let me know what you try to teach your kids about friendship in the comments below!  I'd love to hear!


On The Election



I believe some of you follow me on Twitter, so it will be no surprise to you that I am pretty into politics.  I typically find the whole thing exciting and interesting, and I love to analyze.  My love for following the political process has eroded some over the past week though.  I think it is starting to get frustrating or overwhelming for a lot of us.

I had written this in a different way when I first published this post, but I'm trying agin because I don't think I explained myself very well the first time.  Right now I see a lot of argument among the Christian community about whether it is morally right or wrong to vote for Trump.  I don't know what each person's specific reasons are for wanting to avoid voting for Trump, and God knows everyone's heart, but I did want to just share where I am coming from on the matter, to possibly encourage those who may need it.  The thing that I am remembering this election is that I do believe we hold some responsibility for what happens to the country as a result of how we did or didn't use our vote.

The thing is, even a choice not to act has consequences.  And as Christians, if the country becomes completely godless because of the church's inaction, do you think we will be rewarded for that?  Do you think we can escape responsibility?  I don't believe we can.  Unless we are actively fighting against evil, we are complicit in it.  When God judges our nation by giving us over to our own choices, don't we have some part in that judgement, in bringing the nation to this place by doing nothing when we might have tried to prevent it but remained silent?  Our hands will not be clean.  

I have to choose, I have to take a stand for, or against, one of the two inevitable directions the country will go, because I don't think as a part of this nation we will escape moral responsibility before God for what we may have allowed.

All of that, believe it or not, was an introduction to an article that I REALLY want my brothers and sisters in Christ to read, especially if you are on the fence.  Eric Metaxas is such a good writer, and says everything much better than I can.  He expressed my feeling about the whole sorry thing so perfectly.  Please read here:

"Should Christians Vote For Donald Trump?"

(Some people seem to be having trouble with the link, so I linked to a Tweet wth the link instead because clicking through that way seems to work.Click through my tweet here.Oh, technology.

And just to end with two things that I think we will all agree on as sisters in Christ - first, when we stand before God's throne someday, those of us who believe in Jesus's sacrifice for us on the cross will have HIS righteousness - and that covers any way we may get it wrong in this election too.  And second, no matter who wins next month, God will always be sovereign over what happens, and that will always give me comfort.


Why I Won't Be Watching "This Is Us"



Last night I watched the premiere of "This Is Us".  It's probably not a show that I would have jumped to watch, except that I saw so many people mentioning it on Facebook the day after.  A Christian author (who shall remain nameless) even touted it as the possible next "Parenthood", so I figured I had to check it out.


What You Need To Volunteer At A Pregnancy Resource Center





It was a little over a year ago now that I sat down and actually watched one of the videos from the Center For Medical Progress.  Up to that point I had just read articles about the videos, describing the callous behavior and illegal actions of Planned Parenthood officials.

But for some reason, that day I decided to click open the video and watch myself.  I watched an interview with an abortion worker.  Then the video changed, and they were walking into a lab.  And I put my hand over my eyes and peeked through every now and then.  I saw a bloody tray.  I saw the backs of Planned Parenthood employees as they worked.

And I peeked through my fingers and felt my baby kick right under my heart as one of them proclaimed "it's a boy!".

That baby boy would have been born a couple weeks after Clarice.

The tears started then, rolling down my cheeks as my girl rolled over in my womb.   I cried for that baby boy, whom some have named Emmett, who never had a chance to kick his mama, or cry, or laugh, or have a first birthday, or start kindergarten.  I cried for that mother, who will never know the joy he might have brought into her life.

I still want to throw up just thinking about it, and even though I have been pro-life as long as I've known about such things, I knew it was time to stop pretending this wasn't happening.   It was time to stop forgetting about it unless it was an election year. 

So a few months later, on New Year's Eve, I made a secret resolution.  This was the year I'd get involved.  This was the year I'd do something.

You'll see me talking a bit more about my pro-life beliefs on here as I get my thoughts together.  I have a post with ideas on different things you can do, including telling you a little bit more about the shirt I'm wearing (hint: donate here), but today I wanted to share one way I've tried to get involved in stopping abortion - volunteering with a pregnancy resource center.  It hasn't looked like I thought it would, and I have a bit of advice for those of you who have considered volunteering yourselves.

Head over to the Save The Storks blog to read about the one thing you should know before you offer to volunteer at your local pregnancy center!





Becoming A Woman Of Excellence (A Review)


Earlier this summer I wrote about how I wanted to pick up a Bible study guide to use in my personal devotion time this summer.  I was happy to have a chance to review "Becoming A Woman Of Excellence" by Cynthia Heald.  I have heard of this Bible study in the past and was curious to pick it up again.

One thing I really appreciate about this Bible study is that it doesn't do all the work for you.  It is full of scripture verses to look up, and the questions make you think a little more deeply about the passage and applying it to your own life.  As part of the 30th Anniversary Edition, Heard also includes "Thoughts From An Older Woman" at the end of each chapter, writing about things she has learned since she first published this study 30 years ago.  I really loved how this study got you deep into God's word.

What I didn't love about this study - the organization was a little confusing to me.  I think this might be partially because I didn't use it every day, so maybe I forgot some of the ties between chapters.  I am still working through it going into the fall (about half way through), and I am looking forward to finishing it and seeing if it starts to fit together better for me.  The scripture verses Heald chooses seem to follow this kind of scattered organization, as she picks short passages or single verses to make some of her points.  I miss getting the full context of a passage, and I think I would like it better if each chapter focused on one Scripture passage and pulled points out of that passage, instead of listing Scripture verses that support her own topics or points.

All that said, this really is a good study, and I think it is one that is flexible enough to be good for those who want a lighter study, while also providing that springboard for depth that others might want.  I'm looking forward to finishing it (I'll update this review if I change my mind about anything by the end)!

Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

How To Explain The Gospel To A Four Year Old

(Forgive me for using springtime pictures in the summer - this is my boy in April.)

When I was six years old, all the girls in my class had seen the Little Mermaid - except me.  My mom had yet to screen that very popular movie, so I really had no idea how to play the Little Mermaid when I visited a new friend’s house.  Her basement was the ocean, and she of course, was Ariel, singing her six-year-old lungs out on the “rock” at the top of the stairs.  When it was my turn to be Ariel, I did not know the mermaid’s songs.  I still have no memory of what I sang instead, but I’m pretty sure the other girl could tell I hadn’t seen the movie.

That visit with a friend I (who I rarely saw again) stands out in my adult memory now - let’s be honest, largely because of the Little Mermaid game that I didn’t really know how to play.  How embarrassing! (Except not really, because I didn’t care that much about the Little Mermaid.)  But it also stands out because of something my friend said.  Don’t ask me how we got on this subject - I think either me or one of my siblings must have asked her if she was saved.  And my friend said she was saved, because every night she asked Jesus to come into her heart.


How Important Is It To Teach Your Kids The Books Of The Bible?




When did you learn the books of the Bible?

I am willing to bet that most adults who have the books of the Bible memorized learned them as a kid.  Kids are such sponges! It's so much easier to memorize lists of information like that as children.

I think I was probably four or five years old when I learned the books of the Old Testament.  I went to VBS at a little mountain church, and there was a teenage girl there with an acoustic guitar and long brown hair who sang the Bible books song every day.  I have no idea who she was, but I can still almost see her in my mind.  I hope wherever she is, the Lord blesses her for her service at that VBS, because it has served me well to have the books of the Bible memorized, and it all started with that song.


We Can't Pay Our Own Debts (All The Missing Girls Book Review)



I recently started listening to “What Should I Read Next?”, which is a podcast by Anne Bogel (otherwise known as Modern Mrs. Darcy).  I've been enjoying it - it's the perfect podcast for book nerds!  She puts out a summer reading guide every year, and this year I picked up a few books on her list to check out.  All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda was one of them, and I gave it a try because the story sounded interesting.  It’s a secular book, and I find that reviews of secular books need more breaking down than Christian books, so here we go.

How I Am Marking The Years (A Gift Idea For Moms)



 (Note: I received the keepsake bracelet featured in this post from Teresa at The Keep Collective in exchange for an honest review.)



Do you have a way of marking the years?  

This month is my birthday, and I’ve been thinking a lot about different ways of marking the passage of time.  I think of myself five years ago on my birthday, and my life looked totally different.  Even my attitude was different!  You know how they say you don’t know how much you don’t know?  I don’t think that’s completely true.  I’m on my way out of my twenties, the decade of the “know-it-all”, and I realize more now how much I used to think I knew, but I really didn’t.  There is some wisdom in knowing what you don’t know, and not pretending you do know what you can’t, and I’m slowly learning that.

Why I Don't Read Blog Strategy Posts Anymore



"How I Gained 1,000 Followers In One Week"

"Three Ways To Grow Your Pinterest Following"

"How To Make Money Blogging"

I see titles like these every single day in my newsfeed, and if you are a blogger, my guess is that you do too.  When I first started blogging, I searched high and low for posts like these, trying to figure out what in the world I was doing.

Three Questions I Ask Before Choosing A Bible Study (Grit + Grace)



I have been struggling a bit in my devotion time this year.

Last year I used a reading plan to read through the Bible in one year - and it was great!  I really enjoyed getting the big picture of the whole Bible, especially because I read in order of historical chronology.

But I didn't really want to do that again this year.  Mainly because I can't ever seem to manage to get up more than five minutes before my kids, which leads to me rushing through my Bible reading, especially when I have multiple chapters to read.  This year I wanted to slow down and really study each chapter that I was reading, just for a change of pace.

The problem with not having a plan is that...well, you don't have a plan.

Three Mothering Books Worth Re-Reading





Here is a little confession: as much as I love to read, I am not really a re-reader.

I have been listening to some book podcasts lately (most notably "What Should I Read Next?" which was introduced to me by my friend, Felicia), and it is shocking to me - shocking! - how many people re-read books.  I have only ever re-read one book in full, Anne of Green Gables.  And I actually listened to it through Librivox, so I'm not sure that counts.

Letters To My Daughters (A Book Review + Vlog)




5/5 stars. 

They say never to judge a book by it's cover, but I think in this case you absolutely could.  I originally picked up Letters To My Daughters: The Art Of Being A Wife by Barbara Rainey because the cover was just so pretty.  When I received it in the mail it gave me the impression of a gift book that you could give to a newly engaged or married friend.

Why You Should Read What Your Kids Are Reading




I was excited to review The Illustrated Compendium Of Animal Facts because I used to love books like this when I was a kid. I have always been interested in learning about animals and biology, and this book looked like a fun one for my kids when they get a little older.

How To Salvage A Holiday Disaster (An Easter Story)


Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday.  I opened my eyes, and as so often happens lately, I had to lay in bed for several minutes to let the sleep clear out.  I feel like I used to be able to just jump out of bed the minute I heard little feet pounding on the floorboards above my head, but lately I wake up every morning feeling tired.

Right now we are working on a major house renovation.  When we first decided to do this, Derek would tell people that it was a major renovation, and I would wave my hand at that statement.  It's not major.  It's just new paint, new trim, and new floors.  Not a big deal at all.  So thinks someone who has never actually done a major house renovation.  Because those three things are definitely major.

The Angels Were Partying Too



I sat down with my warm little bundle in the rocking chair, tugging the blanket to make sure the swaddle was tight.  My firstborn son slept in my arms.  We had survived the trip home from the hospital, and ate the meatloaf my mom had left us for dinner. I sat in the chair, and Derek sat on the floor in Wyatt's airplane-themed nursery.  We were both tired, but Derek grabbed his Bible and suggested we do family devotions.  We wanted to start out right during these first hours at home with our baby.

Why I Watch The Bachelor




Writing this post strangely feels like writing a confession, but here it goes - I watch the Bachelor.

I was really late to the Bachelor train, since I only started watching with Sean's season.  Derek was traveling at that time, and every Monday night I would snuggle on the couch with a newborn Gwen and tune in.  I did the same in 2014 when I was pregnant with Clyde, and again in 2015 when I was pregnant with Clarice.  And now I nurse Clarice every Monday night while watching Ben make his picks (I'm not holding my breath on him finding a wife, but you never know).  I even rope Derek into watching with me, and my sister and I talk on the phone to discuss the Bachelor happenings.

Three Reasons To Celebrate Valentine's Day


 (This post is brought to you in partnership with Tommy Nelson.*)


Did you know that people actually throw “I Hate Valentine’s Day” parties? 

I have seen the idea portrayed in movies before, but I didn’t realize it was an actual thing.  I can understand how some people might dislike the holiday.  Some might think it is just another marketing opportunity for candy, card, and gift companies, and some people are opposed because all the focus on romantic love highlight’s singleness in a painful way.

Is There A Purpose To Your Reading?





When I was in first grade, cliques were a big deal.  It mattered what group you belonged to, and once you were in a group you really couldn’t associate with other groups without risking being banned from your own group (I know because I was banned from my group by associating with someone who didn’t fit in).  The level of peer pressure that was placed on my little seven-year-old self by other seven-year-olds is actually a little disturbing when I think about it.

Anyway, we called these cliques “teams”.  And I still remember in first grade, forming my very first “team” with another girl based on the fact that we both read the Saddle Club books.  Books have been a big part of my life for a very long time.  

It was cool to be a part of our book-based group in first grade.  I’m not sure the book group would have been the cool group had our Saddle Club “team” survived until high school, but thankfully I was being homeschooled by then anyway, and me and my bookish friends all continued to read together.  We even wrote our own stories and read them aloud to each other - a writing club of sorts, and it was all so much fun.

I’ve carried my love of reading into adulthood, but I have to admit, it’s harder to stay motivated these days.  When four little kids are calling for your attention all day long, it is terribly tempting to use your moments of down-time to just veg and watch TV.  But it’s important to me to keep reading, to keep learning new things, even though I don’t have to anymore.

I love how Whitney has specific goals for her reading.  Instead of just setting a number of books as a goal or 2016, I have taken a cue from her and decided to be a little more intentional about my reading as well.




My goal for 2016 is to read one book for each of the following categories each month:


One Book To Strengthen My Relationships.

This could be a marriage or parenting book, a book about friendships, or a book to help me know myself better in an effort to improve my relationships.

One Book To Improve My Spiritual Health.

This could be a book that will instruct me biblically, a book on theology, a bible study, etc.  (One book I hope to read for this category is “Your God Is Too Small” - my pastor mentioned it a few years ago, and I have been wanting to read it ever since!)

One Book To Grow Intellectually.

I’d love to include a few more academic books on my to-read list.  This could include books about science, history, politics, or culture, or classic fiction.

One Book To Entertain.

I still have to fit some fun fiction in.  That’s where my love of books all started, after all.



The point of setting category goals like this is to hopefully stretch myself to read books that I am not always naturally drawn to, and to read books that will help me draw closer to Jesus and the people in my life.  I think it is perfectly acceptable to pick up a book that is easy to read, but I don't want to only pick up easy-reads.  The more you read, and the more difficult material you read, the easier it is to tackle those "hard" books that make you grow as a person.  I want to get to the end of this year being more capable of getting through a difficult book.  When you are working out physically and you want to see improvement, you have to push yourself to do something a littler harder each time.  It works the same way with reading.




If I stick with my goal, this should mean that I will read 48 books in 2016 (at least), and hopefully make it through some of my ever-growing to-read list! I am going to try to write a post each quarter to update you on my progress.  I am not worried about hitting the 48 book goal, because that is less than I read in 2015, but I do think it will be a challenge to stick with my categories.  It's a worthy challenge though.  Hopefully I’ll have some good, strong books to recommend to you throughout the year.

To see a few of the books that I hope to read this year, check out my shelf on Goodreads.  I'd also love to hear your recommendations for me!


Do you have any specific goals for your reading?  What was your first favorite book?







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Also, A New Linkup!

I also have something fun to share with all of you - I am going to be a co-host for a brand-new linkup this year!  With Grit & Grace will be a monthly linkup to share goals and accomplishments with each other.  

There is something about writing out goals that helps me be more tenacious in actually accomplishing them.  At the same time, if some goals don't get accomplished because more important things - like family - take precedence, that is okay and even healthy.  We want With Grit & Grace to be a goals community that encourages each other to work toward our goals but also give ourselves a break when life happens.  

I am looking forward to sharing my main goal for February along for the first linkup this Wednesday, the 3rd!  If you are a fellow blogger, share your goals on your blog and then head back here to linkup with us!



Bible Verses For New Moms



If there is one thing I have learned about motherhood, it's that we all transition into it differently.  Some sail into motherhood on a cloud.  Everything comes easily, and they enjoy every minute of it.  Others crash into motherhood with a rude awakening, and it looks nothing like they thought it would.

But every mom I know would say how much she loves being a mom, and one look into those precious little faces just puts everything into perspective, no matter the entrance into this mothering journey.

Still, I can guarantee there will come a time when you need some encouragement as a mom.  Maybe it's right away when you just need to make it through one more sleepless night, or maybe it will be a couple years down the road when you have a rough day and worry you are messing your kids up.  Sometimes you just need that extra boost to remind you that the work you are doing has significance.  Every ounce of energy you put into you kids matters, more than you think.  It matters to your kids, and it matters to God.



So to help remind you, I wanted to share some Bible verses that I find encouraging on those days when mothering is hard.  If you are in a rough patch, I hope these will bring you some hope!  And if you are feeling like you have this mom thing down, just tuck this post away for a time when it doesn't feel so easy.



I have broken these down into times of day - I know I need different reminders in the morning than I do in the evening.  Memorize these verses so you can bring them to mind when you need them (you can even teach them to your kids while you are at it)!


For The Morning

"The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

I love this verse for rough days, because it reminds me that no matter how badly I mess up, the Lord loves me and tomorrow is a fresh day.


"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

The best wake-up verse you could ask for!


"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are."  1 John 3:1

When you look at the cute little faces of your children, remember that the Lord loves you even more than you love them!


For Mid-Day

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ."   Colossians 3:23-24

Motivation to keep going strong - because when we are serving our families, we are really serving Jesus!


For The Evening

"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." Philippians 2:14-15

When you are starting to feel "the witching hour" (i.e. the hour before dad gets home when everyone goes crazy), remember this verse.  I don't know about you, but I want to be a light in the world, and be an example to my kids by not grumbling when I feel like it.  Still working on this one.


"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoicing usually comes more naturally in the morning when I am refreshed and energetic!  I typically need the reminders to rejoice and give thanks more in the evening, when I am tired.


For The Middle Of The Night

"When you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:3-4

This verse is about giving to the poor, but the concept of being seen by God when we give sacrificially without drawing attention to ourselves is also encouraging to me as a mom.  

"May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."  Ruth 2:12

My prayer for you, friends!  Seek refuge in Him, be faithful in this work of loving and training your children, and may the Lord reward your work!


Somehow I find it easier to remember a verse if it is printed on a pretty card, and I am excited to now be offering these printables in my new Etsy shop!  The file with the entire set is only $3!  Please check them out here. These cards also stack well with my printable verses for labor.

I am so grateful for all of you who take time to read my musings, and I hope you enjoy these cards and find the verses an encouragement like I do! Enjoy!







Please note that these printables were previously offered as a gift to my newsletter subscribers before being listed on Etsy.  They are no longer available as free printables, but are available for immediate download after purchase at the link above.  Thank you!
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