Don’t Blame the Mud by Marty Machowski

Book Review of Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean

Have your kids ever done something they KNOW they are not allowed to? After they tried to blame it on someone else? Of course you have! Every kid has done it! Just tonight at supper time Lily tried to blame me for cutting her bread into smaller pieces. She wanted a big piece which I gave her. But then she cut it up! I don’t know why she thought blaming me, her mom, would be a good idea. Blaming others and the story of God’s redemption are the focus of Marty Machowski’s new book Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean.

Book cover of Don't Blame the Mud; Only Jesus Makes us Clean

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission on your purchase. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. For more information, see my disclosure statement.

Picture of Max getting dirty in Don't Blame the Mud Only Jesus makes us Clean

Marty tells the story of Max, a young boy walking home from school one afternoon. Max’s mom reminds him in the morning not to get his clothes dirty. First, he is to come home and change. Well, the mud was calling Max that day and he did NOT stay clean!! He tried to hide it. After that, he blamed the mud, then he felt the guilt.

Marty beautifully weaves God’s story of redemption through the conversation Max has with his parents. The closing sentence says it perfectly:

The mud was all gone and so was my shame. My heart was washed clean, and deep inside I knew God was now living with me.

MartyMachowski

The pictures in this book are fantastic! The illustrator is Craig MacIntosh and his art captures exactly what the story is saying. At the back of the book, there’s even pages on “Helping your child understand sin” and “Helping your child understand the Gospel” and these 3 key verses:

Key Verses

But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:7-9

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:1-2 NIV

Jesus said: “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

John 13:8

If you want to start talking to your kids about redemption and forgiveness, this book is the place to start! My kids love it, and it opened up a lot of questions from them. I’m looking forward to many more bedtime stories reading this book! Most importantly, I’m looking forward to the discussions and questions that follow!

My 2 girls enjoying the book Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes us Clean

To purchase this book from New Growth Press Click here.

Additionally, it can be purchased from Amazon here.

A book Review: Don't blame the Mud

5 Things I Learned from my Dad

I wrote a post last month for Mother’s Day about 5 Things I learned from my Mom and it ended up being my top post for the month of May! I’m not surprised, my mom is pretty cool. My Dad is pretty awesome too, so I thought in honour of Father’s Day I’d write about 5 things I learned from my Dad!

Happy Father's Day ~ 5 things I learned from my Dad

6 years ago, just before my wedding, my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world that he was still able to walk me down the aisle. I’ve always been a little bit of a Daddy’s girl, so this meant A LOT to me. It’s been hard watching him deteriorate as part of this disease as well as dementia he was also diagnosed with. I feel most of my girls as they’ll never know my Dad the way he was. They’ll never get to experience him as he was with my older nephews and nieces. But, even though he’s a shadow of what he once was, I still learned so much from him throughout my life!

5 Things I learned from my Dad

  • How to change a flat tire and my oil ~ I can still change a flat tire, I’m not sure how well I’d do changing my oil though! When my siblings and I turned 16 and started driving, we all had to learn how to change the oil and tires on our vehicles. I love that he did this. I want my girls to be able to do this themselves too when they’re older.
  • How to drive a standard ~ My Dad grew up in the Netherlands, everyone drives standard there. It’s harder to find an automatic car there. He insisted we all drive a standard and taught us all to drive. He also taught us Dutch bar songs during our driving lessons. I don’t remember any, but there was one about an alligator I believe!
  • Loyalty and Perseverance ~ When I was really young, I remember my Dad being out of work for a while. My Dad was a mechanic and my Mom stayed home with us kids (four of us in five years!!) He landed a job at a Ford dealership and worked there for over 20 years. It wasn’t always his favourite, we knew he’d had a hard day at work when he’d come home and sing about becoming a postman, but he still went in every single day and put us all through private school as well.
  • Quiet trust and faith ~ My Dad might not have been the most talkative person, but he always had a quiet trust and faith about him. Even when things were tough, even when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he still had faith that God was with him and would never leave him. He chose to trust each and every day and he taught me to live in faith as well.
  • Jokes ~ My Dad was a jokester!! He had some wicked “bad Dad jokes” and thought he was pretty hilarious. Any time we would say “Hey!” he would pipe up “Hay is for horses… and cows eat it too.” We stopped saying “hey” pretty quickly! He loved to laugh and he loved to make us laugh. I like to think I got some of my whity-ness from him.

I miss my Dad. He’s still here physically, but I miss a lot about who he was and what he taught me. I keep these lessons treasured in my heart. So, go hug the Dad’s in your life and let them know how much they mean to you and have taught you!

And to all you Dad’s out there… HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! We love and appreciate all you do. What are you doing for Father’s Day this year?

Taming the Tantrums

Picture of child on swing with quote "Let me love you a little more, before you're not little anymore" from Taming the Tantrums

I have a three-year-old and a four-year-old. I know my share fair share of tantrums. I’m no expert, but I feel like I am slowly learning about taming the tantrums. Some days it still feels like one tantrum after another, other days are much better.

My youngest daughter can be especially challenging at times. Last week, we were shopping at the mall, both girls had to go to the bathroom. So the three of us girls went together. Maggie has a thing with wet clothing, she can’t wear anything with even a drop of liquid on it. She thought her pants got wet (which they did) and refused to put them on, in a public bathroom. She was tired and ended up having a HUGE meltdown which ended in her hitting me and trying to bite me. We both left the bathroom in tears. It is definitely not my proudest moment as a mom.

I wrote a post a while ago about How to Stop Arguing with your Toddler and while that works well during the meltdowns, I was desperate for something to tame the tantrums… in a dream world, something to make them disappear altogether. I dream of a tantrum fairy who just flutters in and takes the tantrums before they even start. But, she’s three, so I know that’s not going to happen!

How many of you have heard something along the lines of you can’t give anything without filling up your own cup first? I have learned this to be especially true in two ways during this season in life.

Filling My Cup

Taming the Tantrums with verse from Romans 15:13

I know each and every day, I need my strength to deal with whatever life throws my way. I need my cup to be full, I need Jesus!

The last month or so, I’ve been getting up earlier than my kiddos so I can spend some time in the Word and prayer. I find that time I spend with Jesus is so refreshing, it fills my cup so to say. My day seems to go MUCH better when I take those first moments of my day to be filled with the Lord. It improves my mood as well, which makes me a better mom.

I am NOT a morning person. I would sleep till noon if I could, but I know I need this time. Some mornings, I just want to crawl back into bed. I’ve put my phone with my alarm on the other side of the room so I have to get up!!

Filling Her Cup

How does this relate to my daughter and taming the tantrums? The key is time. I notice on the days I spend focused, one on one time with her, the better she acts. When I fill her cup, she’s in a better mood.

I’m not saying this as a quick fix. It isn’t. It’s hard some days to want to invest that one on one time with her, especially when she’s being so miserable. But I know how much she needs this.

Taming the Tantrums picture of girl on swing with quote "Let me love you a little more, before you're not little anymore"

Her favourite thing right now is being pushed on the swing. She will ask everyone and anyone to push her. She loves going high, asking over and over to push her higher and higher than ever. It’s pretty cute. How hard is it for me to take 15-20 minutes out of my day to go and push her in the swing?

I recently started reading the book “Whole Brain Child” by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. I love that it talks about connecting with the child to the right and left sides of the brain. But again, a lot of it was what to do during the tantrum. I find spending quality time with her bites the tantrums in the bud taming the tantrums before they start happening.

Taming the Tantrums

Time is the way to tame the tantrums. Spending time with God tames my tantrums, and spending time with my daughter tames her tantrums. I need that time with God to be able to spend the time with Maggie; otherwise, I have nothing to give.

What are some ways you spend time to fill your own cup? How do you fill your kids’ cups? I’d love to hear!!

Child screaming with caption Taming the Tantrum

Why Perfect Love Drives out Fear

Title Why Perfect Love Drives out Fear
Picture of the word Love on brick by wooden wall

If you’re a momma, especially of young girls like I am, you’ve likely heard of the Disney movie Frozen. Who can forget the amazing Idina Menzel belting out “Let it Go!” I dare you not to get that song stuck in your head!! The whole movie is about fear and love and what affect that has on a person (ok, it’s really about a princess who falls in love with the ice harvester after the snowman plays matchmaker, but I’m talking on a deeper level.) The movie can be used to show why perfect love drives out fear. Maybe I watch too many movies with my kids because I wrote another post Getting Through the Scary parts of Life off of one of the Barbie movies!!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, through no added cost to you, I may get a small commission. For more information you can visit our disclosure statement.

Perfect Love Drives out Fear


“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18

The Bible says that perfect love drives out fear. The opposite of fear is not safety, or comfort, or not being scared. The opposite of fear is love. Fear paralyzes, love frees! There is absolutely no fear in love, if there was, it wouldn’t be perfect love.

What does Frozen have to do with it?

If you’ve seen the movie, and you probably have, you know Grand Pabbie is the wise old troll that Anna sees after being struck by Elsa’s powers, twice. The first time, when they are both girls and their parents are still alive, Grand Pabbie tells the King and Queen that fear will be Elsa’s enemy. We can see this throughout the movie as she fears people knowing her powers. When they do find out about her powers, she runs off fearing they’ll think she’s a monster.

The second time Anna sees Grand Pabbie, Elsa has struck her in the heart with her icy power. Grand Pabbie tells her that “only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” I won’t give away the ending, but lets just say that Anna sacrifices herself to shows her true love for her sister in the end. That’s when Elsa finally realizes how to end the eternal winter her fear has brought on, it’s with love.

Picture of frozen rose with Disney Frozen's quote "Only an Act of true love can thaw a frozen heart" in why perfect loves drives out fear

See where I’m going here? Love, perfect love drives out fear every time.

Love is an Action Word

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

I listened to a podcast by Ruth Soukup of Do it Scared during my workout this morning titled “Why Action is the Antidote of Fear.” We see this word ACTION when it comes to overcoming fear. (If you want to get motivated to start something, you have to listen to her podcasts!)

Grand Pabbie says in Frozen that only an ACT of true love can thaw the frozen heart. Love is an action, it’s a verb not a noun. We can say we love all we want, but if our actions aren’t showing that, is it really love? I can tell my kids or my husband a million times that I love them, but unless I show them through my actions, would they really know or believe me?

We see the ultimate act of love in Christ on the cross. He sacrificed Himself to show us how much He loves us. That’s an act of true love! He died to be able to have a relationship with us and continue to show us how much He loves us. If we live in this truth, how can there be fear? God is for us! God is with us! He loves us and wants what is best for us. As we lived soaked and saturated in His love, fear will start to disappear, it will thaw away like a frozen heart.

” What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

Romans 8:31-32
Why perfect love drives out fear

Never Forget an Important Date

Have you ever forgotten someone’s birthday? Or an important anniversary? I shared in my Newsletter in April that I completely forgot my 5 year old nephews birthday this year! He turned 5 in February. Granted February was a hectic month for us as we moved, but I still felt awful for forgetting it. I remembered a system my parents (and pretty much every one of my Aunts and Uncles had growing up) to never forget an important date.

How to Never Forget an Important Date Again

I grew up in a good Dutch family. We’re all a little stubborn and a little frugal (that’s the nice way to say cheap! But serious, I do love a good deal!) We went to church together on Sundays and ate supper together every night. And we had a birthday & anniversary calendar hanging in our house. For some reason, most Dutch people hang it in their bathroom, but ours was always in the kitchen. I looked it up on stuffdutchpeoplelike.com and it’s because it’s a place we go to every day and spend some alone time (unless you have toddlers, then it’s not alone time!) to peruse the calendar and see what important dates are coming up!

Birthday & Anniversary Calendar

I’ve had a couple of them since I’ve moved out many years ago, but never one that I really liked. So, I created my own! It was pretty easy to do once I figured out how to do it on Canva, but it took me about a month to finally get it all looking the way I wanted! It looks so lovely now hanging in my bathroom and I don’t plan to EVER forget another birthday or anniversary! You can purchase the calendar on my Etsy shop and print it out for yourself. Seriously, it’s a life saver!

Never Forget an Important Date graphic

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm book cover

A Book Review of “She Dreams” by Tiffany Bluhm

When I was little I was a daydreamer. Even into my teens and early twenties you would often find me off in my own world. I had dreams of being an Olympic athlete, being a neurosurgeon, traveling and getting married and becoming a mother. While I’ve never won a gold medal at the Olympics or cut into someone’s head, I am living my dream as a wife and mother.

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm book cover

But when did we stop dreaming? I’m talking big God size dreams. In this book “She Dreams” Tiffany looks more into this and encourages us to dream again.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinion. For full details, please see our Disclosure Statement.

Why Don’t I dream?

Isn’t it easy as Mother’s to get bogged down with the nitty-gritty of everyday life? Our days seem mundane with laundry, grocery shopping, dishes, making meals, driving kids around… you get my point. I don’t dream like I used to. I have ideas and things I’d like to do, but not those big dreams of “I can do anything!” But not Olympic size dreams anymore.

She dreams quote

Even with this blog, I have goals I’ve set and things I’d like to accomplish, but where is that big pie in the sky dream of what this blog can be?

Maybe I don’t want to say out loud what I’d really like to do with this blog for fear of “jinxing” myself. Maybe I’m afraid to fail or afraid to succeed. I do have big dreams for this blog, but I’m scared to admit it. I’m probably afraid because I’ve had big dreams before only to see them crumble before me. But, that doesn’t mean God isn’t with me through it all.

“If I don’t let my past stay exactly where it belongs, which is behind me, then I can perpetuate the cycle of defeat and feel inadequate to move forward toward my God-sized dream.”

Moses Dreams

Tiffany uses the story of Moses to encourage us to dream big and bold. We all run into roadblocks and discouragements along the way, but God is with us and working through all of those hard times.

“God doesn’t always work in the way that seems the best to us. If God does not lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don’t complain or resist. Follow Him willingly and trust Him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles. He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and he knows the safest and best route.”

“Some of us feel we don’t know how things will work out, therefore, we shouldn’t give it a go.”

I’ve never read the story of Moses as a story of a dreamer. So it was really interesting to look at the story of the Exodus from a different perspective. To be honest, I did find it a bit hard to follow where Tiffany was going through parts of the story, but the overall theme is the same and inspiring… She Dreams.

She Dreams

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s so important for us to dream again. I’ve been challenged to let myself dream again. I know you would be inspired by this book too. You can get it here from Amazon, or you can also enter to win a free book here through a Rafflecopter giveaway. You only have until May 14th, 2019 to enter this draw, so enter soon! **Draw is now closed**

She Dreams book tour give away image

5 things I learned from my Mom

5 Things I learned from my Mom

Happy Mother’s Day month to all the fellow Momma’s out there; Especially my mom and mother in law if they’re reading this! Now, I’m sure we can all say we learned a thing or two from our Moms; so in honour of Mother’s Day this month, I’m sharing 5 things I learned from my Mom.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may be paid a small commission. For more details, please see our disclosure statement.

1. My faith ~ My parents (including my mom) have been so faithful in bringing us up in a Christian home. I’m not a Christian just because my parents are Christian; I made that decision myself. But I am thankful that the love of God was instilled in me at an early age. I know she has prayed for each one of us kids every single night. I’m pretty sure she still does.

5 things I learned from my Mom- chocolate chips cookies

2. The BEST Chocolate Chip cookies! ~ My Moms father was a baker, a number of my uncles have been bakers and my Mom has always baked. Our house often smelled of cookies, cakes or bread. I don’t know if it’s a family recipe, but I have never found a better recipe for chocolate chip cookies than the one she makes!

3. Organization, banking & taxes ~ Seriously, my mom is THE most organized person you will ever meet! Her house is always tidy and everything has a spot to be. Unfortunately, I have no inherited all the organization skills from my mother. I know how to run a good family calendar because of her (as she used to say “if it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening”) and my kitchen cupboards are fairly organized because of her!

I also remember my mom spending hours in the evenings going through and balancing their bank books. She did it all by hand back then, no apps to keep track of everything back then like we use now. I don’t know if they had a specific budget, but I’m sure they did! I know things were tight, and she definitely knew where every penny was going. And taxes, my mom still helps me with my taxes! She worked at H&R Block for years and then did taxes from home for quite a few more years. Every year at this time I head on over to her place to get her help in doing my taxes!

4. Love for the Outdoors ~ My mom had us spend a lot of times outdoors growing up. Sometimes she probably sent us outside to play just to get out of her hair! We went on yearly camping trips all over BC and Alberta. I have so many memories of swimming and playing around in the campgrounds. Those are some of my favourite times from when we were younger! We also went on a lot of hikes, walks, trips to the lake etc. We spent a lot of time outdoors and I still like doing the same with my kids now. I hope to pass on the same love of the outdoors on to them. I wouldn’t say she’s the best navigator though, she got us majorly lost at Campbell River Park one time!

5. For better or for Worse, in Sickness and in Health ~ My mom has shown me what love and marriage really means. My Dad has been sick for a number of years. Last year, it got to be too much for my mom to care for him at home. He now lives in a care home in Abbotsford. Even though he is deteriorating both mentally and physically, my mom is still there every single day. She sits with him, has tea with him, shows him pictures and takes him out on walks. She has shown me what unconditional love is. She’s shown it to us as her children, and she continues to demonstrate it to as she stays by my Dad’s side in his sickness.

So, there it is! 5 things I learned from my Mom! I know I could write a much longer list! I’ve kept it at 5 so you’re not reading this blog post forever! What are somethings that you’ve learned from your Mother?

5 Things I learned from my Mom with a pink flower

More for Mom – Living your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston ~ A Book Review

More For Moms ~ Livivng Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston book cover

So I just finished reading Kristin Funston’s book More for Mom- Living Your Whole and Holy Life (you can get it on Amazon here) and boy did I enjoy it!! This is a must read for any mom. You really feel like you get to know Kristin, having a cup of coffee or tea together, as she walks through the book with you.

More For Moms ~ Livivng Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston book cover

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. You can get more information from our disclosure statement.

Whole & Holy

As you read through this book, Kristen really has a focus on us “work-hard” moms being whole and holy. This concept of being whole and holy is brought up in pretty much every chapter. Of course, we can only have this through Christ and Kristen weaves that into the book with many scripture references.

I was reminded of a lot that Alisa Keeton had to say in The Wellness Revelation which I read last month. Having a whole life, living wholeheartedly; this is what Christ desires for us.

Revelation Wellness By Alisa Keeton

“We need our brains to create muscle memory of what whole and holy thoughts feel like.”

“According to Psalm 24:1, God has claimed the world and everything in it. Let’s stop letting the world claim us and remember who we belong to.”

More for Mom Friendships

I have to admit, Chapter 4 was a very convicting chapter for me to read. Since I became a Mom, I feel like I’ve let a lot of my friendships slide. I haven’t made a great effort in being a friend, constantly putting my family first.

“To have a friend we have to be a friend. To have relationship, we have to give relationship. All types of relationships. This is what we are called to do in Christ.”

Kristen talks about how we steal other people’s joy or peace or happiness when we aren’t a friend. We steal their peace when they’re scrambling to look for someone to watch their kids and we don’t offer until the last moment. We steal their joy or happiness of having fellowship when we don’t make emotional space for them.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

I’ve been convicted to be more open to people in general; convicted to be a better friend to the friends I already have.

My hope and prayer is that you all know I am here as a friend for you. I don’t just blog for myself. I blog for you; to connect with you, encourage you and journey with you in faith, family and motherhood.

Fasting

I was reminded again of how fasting is so good for both our physical and spiritual selves. I wrote a post, 6 Things I Learned Fasting when I did a fast while I was reading The Wellness Revelation and was amazed at some of the lessons I learned. These were not the lessons I thought I’d learn from fasting, but I was rejuvenated physically and spiritually.

Kristin reminds of the importance of fasting and that it’s something we aught to be doing. I need to be doing another fast! I hope you will join me, if you feel led to of course! Let me know how it goes!

So much More for Mom

There is so much more I could talk about with this book! From praying scripture to dreaming big again, Kristin covers it all. But, I want you to read it and experience yourself, so I’m going to finish off here. Let me leave with this quote from the book:

“I think the good moms are the ones who follow their dreams, work hard at whatever they do, love their people well, and give Jesus all the credit and glory along the way. These are the moms who are doing the thing day in and day out and doing it well.”

About the Author

With a passion for writing, Kristin Funston encourages women in a way that is relatable and practical, with a healthy dose of humor. She has a master’s degree in Communication Studies from Mexico State University. Kristin is a member and employee of Hope Presbyterian Church and works as the Marriage and Family Coordinator and a leader in the women’s ministry. She is also a regular contributor to multiple blogs including The Better Mom, City Moms blog, TODAY Parenting and Scary Mommy. Funston resides outside of Memphis, TN with her husband and three daughters.


Head shot of Kristin Funston, author of More for Mom ~ Living Your Whole and Holy Life

Let me know what you think of the book, be sure to pick it up here! Happy reading!

Holy of Holies- The Power of the Veil being Torn

Holy of Holies ~ The Power of the Veil being Torn

“Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take me in by the blood of the Lamb. Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am.” Kutless ~ Strong Tower ~ Take Me In

Theatre curtain- take me into the holy of holies

One of my favourite parts of any worship service (in my case, usually Sunday mornings) is the singing. I find I connect on such a deep level with God through worship in song. I love singing, always have (my husband bugs me that I’d make life a musical if I could!) maybe that’s why.

Anyway, with this Easter season coming up, this song has really been on my heart and mind lately.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission.

Holy of Holies

What exactly is the Holy of Holies? The Holy of Holies is the innermost place of the tabernacle. The tabernacle is the tent the Israelites traveled with while they were wandering in the desert. Once the temple was built, the Holy of Holies was still the innermost part. It was the actual dwelling place of God, surrounded by a thick curtain so no one could see God’s face. God is so Holy, we can’t even stand before Him on our own. This inner place is called the Holy of Holies because it is the holiest possible place to be, God’s presence!

The Day of Atonement

Once a year, on the day of atonement, the high priest went in to the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel’s sins (see Leviticus 16). Of course he couldn’t just waltz right on in there. There was a whole list of things he had to do first to make himself “clean enough” to go into the Holy of Holies and enter God’s presence.

Each and every year, the Jews had been atoning for their sins on the Day of Atonement. The high priest went in to the inner most part of the temple and offered sacrifices. It was a continual thing, never done once and for all.

The Veil Around the Holy of Holies is Torn

Fast forward a few thousand years to the night of the crucifixion. As Jesus breathed His last breath, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38). This curtain was massive. I imagine it being like the giant red curtain in theatres. There is no way anyone could reach the top of it, yet alone tear it from top to bottom. It happened because Jesus was the final high priest. He is the final atoning sacrifice for our sins. God ripped the veil from the top because through Christ, we an come into His presence.

Isaiah 53:5

His death allows us into the Holy of Holies! As we discussed on Day 5 of my Free 5 Day Devotional on the Book of Esther (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, sign up here), Jesus came to fulfill all the festivals like He fulfilled the Festival of Purim in the book of Esther. At the crucifixion, He also fulfills the Day of Atonement! We no longer have to make sacrifices each year, we can come directly into God’s presence with confidence because of Jesus’ death.

Happy Easter ~ Let’s Celebrate in the Holy of Holies

Isn’t this an amazing gift?!? The gift of God’s presence. He loves us so much, He couldn’t stand being apart from us! He tore down that veil to bring us into fellowship with Him. Praise the Lord!

I pray that as you go into this Easter season, you know how much God loves you. He died for you to bring you into His presence, His holy presence. May we truly celebrate this amazing gift and amazing grace together.

What is your favourite thing about Easter?

Holy of Holies- The power of the Veil being Torn

The Wellness Revelation

Loose What Weighs You Down so you can Love God, Yourself & Others

I recently went through The Wellness Revelation book and program as part of a group my sister was leading. It has seriously been an eye opening experience for me, especially in terms of how and what I eat. I never considered how eating can be a way to worship the Lord and be a form of self-care for myself. Food has always just been food for me, something to eat and enjoy. Now, I’m seeing it more as fuel for my body to keep going.

Wellness Revelation- Lose what weighs your down so you can love God, yourself & others.

I started off on this Revelation Wellness journey thinking I would get some motivation and change in my mindset when it comes to exercise. With this being a “fitness journey” this is what I was expecting. Well, I was wrong! Doesn’t God always work in unexpected ways? You’d think I’d know that by now, but thankfully God is gracious and keeps reminding me.

My Goals for The Revelation Wellness Journey

I started out with 4 specific goals.

  • Have more energy
  • Improve my mood
  • Lose some tummy weight
  • Have compassion on myself.

While I do believe I reached most of those goals (not that I’m there, it’s a work in progress!), I really thought it would be through exercising more. However, God taught me a lot more through food. In week 2, we were challenged to fasting (You can read my post on that in my post 6 Things I learned While Fasting). It was a really special 24 hours for me. My biggest realization was that I am able to say “No” to food.

I’ve always struggled with self control in the eating area. It never used to be an issue for me when I was younger. I had a high metabolism and was super active. But that has changed as I have gotten older. Lately, I’m always “rewarding” myself with treats. I’m potty training my 3 year old right now. If she pees on the potty, she gets a treat, and so does Mommy, because potty training is hard! I’ve seen that I am able to reset my mindset in this and realize I don’t need to use food as a reward.

Picture of apple with quote from The Wellness Revelation book.

Living Wholeheartedly

I love that this 8 week program focuses on living wholeheartedly. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s not just about what we eat. We have to take care of the body as a whole. A lot of times we can become selfish and prideful. We either swing to one side of the pendulum or the other. We either over-eat, sit on the couch and neglect our bodies, or we work out and diet like crazy becoming obsessed with our bodies. I loved this view of treating the body as a whole. It’s about lining out whole lives up with God’s plan for our lives. It’s about giving Him access to every part of our lives.

What’s Missing?

I worked in the fitness industry in my 20’s. I had a diploma in Fitness and Exercise Management and managed a women’s gym for a few years. It was heartbreaking to see some women there every day of the week obsessing about gaining a pound. It was also heartbreaking when people would sign up for a membership and then just not show up. They knew their health was important, that’s why they signed up, there was just no follow through. They were stuck in their old habits. I also hated all the roller coaster rides people went through. They’d lose a bunch of weight only to gain it all back again. It was depressing. Something was missing.

A relationship with Christ was missing. Knowing there is something more to your life than your body and your looks is what was missing. I’m not saying every person who goes to the gym and tries to work out is not following Christ, I’m just saying that we need to have our priorities in order. Christ always needs to be at the top and He wants to heal not just our bodies, but out minds, souls and whole lives!

Join The Revelation Wellness Journey

If you are interested in learning more about The Wellness Revelation, check out the book! It’s available on Amazon, just follow this link. Or if you are looking to join more of an accountability group to go through this journey with a facilitator, you can get in touch with my sister Rachel. You can check out her Facebook page Reclamation Fitness or email her at reclamationfitness11@gmail.com. The book is amazing, most importantly though, I found doing along with a group to be super helpful. We had weekly chats and emails; we could talk about what we were learning and where we were struggling. It was that extra bit of accountability, and Lord knows I need that!!

Revelation Wellness Book

Let me leave you with a quote from The Wellness Revelation book. Its from Week 6, Attend to Matters of the Heart. You can find it on page 167 “Today I will be kind. I will speak only kind words about myself and others. I will entertain only kind thoughts about myself and others. I will eat food that is kind to my body. I will go to the gym and move my body as an act of kindness. I am kind because my King is kind… I am on the kindness diet! I have learned to be kind to myself because God is always so kind to me.”

The Most Important Job

Do you ever feel like your job as a mom is hopeless? Here you are, raising these little children who rarely say please or thank you, whine all day and won’t go to sleep at night. What’s the point? It’s exhausting on the good days, don’t even ask about the bad days! Here’s a little secret though: It’s THE most important job there is out there.

The Most Important Job- plant sprouting from hand

Recently I’ve come to see motherhood as being a gardener. Bare with me in this analogy as I don’t have much of a green thumb at all!

Gardening

These little seeds, little children, are given to us to nurture and grow. A gardener puts a lot of work into seedlings. They have to be watered, fertilized and put in the right environment to grow, sometimes gardeners even sing to their plants! (I sing to my girls almost every night!) As the seeds mature into saplings (toddlers), they still need lots of attention. They may need to be pruned or put into a bigger pot or better soil. If there is no gardener, these plants have little to no chance of growing into trees that bear fruit.

Our Role

Our role as mothers is just as important as a gardener. If we want our children to continue to grow and mature and eventually bear fruit themselves, we have to put in the hard work. We have to be bearing our own fruit!

As Andy Stanley once said “The greatest contribution you make to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

Don’t ever think your job as a mom is less important than what someone else does. Don’t ever think it’s a waste of time. You are tending to those children, growing them into tall strong trees, rooted in Christ, that will bear their own fruit in time.

Jesus as Gardener

Many times in the New Testament Jesus uses gardening analogies as well. There’s the parable of the seeds in Matthew 13 where Jesus compares seeds growing in fertile soil to those who hear the Word and understand it.

John 15 talks all about gardening. Jesus says He is the vine, God is the vinedresser (gardener) and we are the the branches. Good branches that bear fruit the Father prunes to bear more fruit. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it remains in the vine. As we are pruning and bringing up our children, we must remain in the vine (in Christ) to continue producing fruit. And for our children to produce fruit, we must continue to point them back to the vine, back to Jesus.

Luke 6:44 says “For each tree is known by it’s own fruit.” What is the fruit we are wanting to be known by? What fruit do I want My children to bear? The fruit of the Spirit of course! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

So press on! Keep on doing what you’re doing! Be the best possible momma you can be. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, or you work full time; it doesn’t matter. Continue bear your fruit and pointing your kids back to the vine. That is how you accomplish the most important job in the world. That’s how you raise strong children.

How to Have it All by Imani Ackerman ~ Book Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinions. Everything expressed in this article is my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Through no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission. For all the details please see our Disclosure Statement.

Book Review of How to Have it All by Imani Ackerman

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I enjoy a good book. I could sit on a beach and read all day. Now that I have kids I don’t get as much time to read, but I still read when I can. I was very excited when the opportunity came up to read and do a review of Imani Ackerman’s book How to Have it All: The Secrets of a Proverbs 31 Woman.

Ah, Proverbs 31! The ultimate of all ultimate lists of a what a Christian woman strives to be. There are entire ministries, books, Bible studies etc. dedicated to this one chapter in the Bible. It paints a beautiful picture, it really does; a hard working, respected woman. She runs her own household and her own business. She’s a great mom, wife, daughter and friend. She would probably have a million followers on Instagram of women who want to be just like her. Imani refers to her as “Martha Stewart + Beyonce + Oprah with more kids than Angelina Jolie and a husband who rivals Barak Obama in administration. And she loves God!” (pg14)

How to Have it All by Imani Ackerma on Kindle reader

But, there’s the problem. It’s so easy to look at her as this picture of perfection that we want to be. So, what do we do? We do all the things she does. We get up earlier than the dawn, we work with our hands (and we’ll make ourselves enjoy it because, after all, she does!) we start trying to make our own clothing for crying out loud! All because of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Is this what God intended when He included this book in His Word? I don’t think so. Comparison and jealousy are not of God. “I think God wants to use this woman to inspire us to be all that He has made us to be.” (pg 25) “Proverbs 31 is not a formula for how to redeem your past. God did not put this chapter in the Bible to give us a recipe for successful women that would prove the world wrong for the way they hurt us, abused us, used us and cast us aside. God did not put this chapter in the Bible to show us how we could make our lives better than it was before… We are going to dig even deeper into the purpose for this Scripture and how it can help us see the things God has for us come to fruition.” (pg33-36)

Did you know this passage is actually an acrostic poem in Hebrew? Each verse starts with a letter of the alphabet. It’s not even about a specific woman, but a woman this mother thinks her son should marry. “She lists one quality of this woman for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.” (pg 32).

Proverbs 31 Woman

I learned so much from reading this book (and if you know me, you know I like myself a good book!!) I can’t encourage you enough to read this book. Especially if you are one of those women, like me, who tend to read Proverbs 31 as a “to do” or checklist of things to do to be a godly woman. You can purchase How to Have it All for just $9.99 on Amazon. It’s worth every penny in my opinion! It’s great to read on your own, or with some girlfriends in a Bible Study or Book Club. Imani has some very thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter. The chapters are short, so you could easily do 2 or 3 a week.

6 Things I Learned Fasting

6 Things I learned Fasting

I’ve been doing a new wellness program called The Wellness Revelation (more on that in another post!) The other week was about bondage and how we are often slaves to our food. We don’t eat to fuel, we eat to try to fill a void. Anyway, we were challenged to fast. I’ve never done an actual fast before and I didn’t think I was going to do one this time either. I just thought “I don’t feel called to this.” Well, I was wrong. Throughout the week, many signs pointed to me fasting. Here are the 6 things I learned Fasting.

So, I decided to go ahead and do it and see what God wanted to show me! It seems fitting seeing as I’ve been working through writing my devotional on the book of Esther. The first few chapters of the book are full of praying and fasting. **Sign up here to get on the list to receive your very own copy of my 5 Day Esther Devotional for FREE**

Free Book of Esther Devotional Sign up

Things I learned while fasting

1. It’s hard to do with kids! I wasn’t eating, but my kids still had to eat! They aren’t quite old enough to fend for themselves. Smelling their food was so tempting! I almost caved a couple times. The chicken nuggets they had for lunch smelled so good! I almost gave in and broke my fast to eat one, but God helped me resist temptation.

2. I realized how much I eat just because I think I “deserve” it. A cookie here, sure I earned it doing all that laundry. I went for a walk today, I can have those chips! Or I made it through another day and the girls are safely in bed, I’d love some chocolate, thank you!

I almost ate that chicken nugget because it had been a long morning with sick kids spent at the walk in clinic. I earned that nugget. Often, I use food as a reward for myself.

3. I am blessed to be tempted by food. One thing the book said about fasting was to consider those in developing countries who have no food. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. As I smelled those delicious nuggets, I realized just how lucky I am to be tempted to eat the food. So many people don’t have food to be tempted by!

4. I prayed, a lot. Not just for the strength to not eat the nugget, but also for people and situations around me. I prayed for my kids while they were eating breakfast and I was sipping water and tea. I prayed for the poor as I realized how lucky we are to have so much food. When I was tempted to eat something, my mind would shift to God and why I was fasting and prompt me to have a conversation with him. It was really nice.

6 Things I Learned Fasting- praying in sunset

5. I am able to resist temptation. Sure giving in would have been easier, but I am able to say no. Before, I would be craving and just say “oh what the heck, I can just eat it!” Those add up and I didn’t even realize how much I was eating in a day. Now that I know I went a whole day saying “No,” I know I can say no to even the small things everyday. It might seem like a small thing, but for me, it was a big thing to work through.

6. At the end of the day I really thought I’d be stuffing my face with food because I was so hungry. But I didn’t. I was hungry, but not like I thought I would be. I learned that it really is Christ who sustains me and not food. Food is good and necessary to fuel our bodies, but it is Christ who gives us real life!

If you’ve ever thought of fasting, I challenge you to give it a try. I really did feel dependent and very close to God that day. Pray about it and if God puts it on your heart, don’t be afraid to try it. If you do, let me know how it went and what you learned! I’d love to hear it!!

6 Things I learned Fasting

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Devotional on the book of Esther

Have you read the book of Esther before? The whole thing, from beginning to end? Esther is one of my favourite books of the Bible. There’s so many things at play in this book. So I thought, how about doing a devotional on the book of Esther for you all?!?

I’ve never written devotionals before, but there is just so much in this book that jumps out and grabs you. I could’ve written for hours! But I chose to keep it to a 5 day devotional series so I’m not a nuisance in your inbox for the next 50 years 😊

The Book of Esther

I am so excited to release this to you in a few weeks! (UPDATE: Released as of March 1, 2019!!) If you are already on my email list, you will be the first to receive it. If not, what are you waiting for?!? Sign up now so you don’t miss out!!

The overall theme to Esther (one of them at least) is the contrast between the lives of the guys with big egos vs the lives of guys who are humble. Through this 5 day study, we will look at things such as being an exile in a foreign land, what happens when our pride takes over, and looking at the question of does God need us for His purposes to be fulfilled. So much to cover!

Like I said I am thrilled to be able to share this with you all in the coming weeks. You do not want to miss out on this!

I hope and pray you can learn and glean as much from this book of the Bible as I did while praying through and writing this devotional.

Free devotional on the book of Esther

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list! You can be one of the FIRST to get your hands on a FREE copy of my devotional on the Book of Esther.

What are You Worth?

My kids are sick… both of them, but especially Lily. She’s got a chest infection and is on antibiotics and an inhaler. Last night as I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, listening to her cough, I was just overcome with how much I wanted to just take it away from her. I would take the cough and sniffles in a heart beat for her. That’s how much I love and value her, that’s how much she’s worth to me. What are you worth?

I was at church a few weeks ago, and the worship leader was talking about what our value is. Value is usually determined by how much someone is willing pay for an item. There are somethings I’ll spend a little more money on (I’m usually pretty frugal) because I value them more. Like I said, I highly value my daughter, my family in general. I would do anything for them. So, what are you worth?

Ultimate Sacrifice

You are worth so much, Christ paid His life for you!! His actual, physical life. And not just any death, a humiliating death on the cross. He literally took our place and gave his life for us. That’s how much you are worth to Him!

"But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8

When Lily was born (check out her preemie story here) I was struck by just how big of a sacrifice this is. There I was, lying naked for all to see. I had my arms stretched out for IV’s and blood pressure cuffs. I was literally about to sacrifice my body for my daughter. In the next couple minutes they would start cutting me open to get my daughter out and save both of our lives. I know, it’s not an exact analogy, but that’s what was going on in my head as I was laying there. This was the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made for someone.

And Christ’s sacrifice for us is so much more! I hope and pray you know how much He loves you and how much you are worth to Him. I pray that He is the one you look to when you are trying to figure out what your worth is. If you’re feeling down on yourself, feeling like you can’t keep up or live up to expectations, remember your worth! Remember what Christ paid for you and live in light of that! You are so loved and treasured.

Moving Forward

I wonder what our lives would look like if we really believed how much we are worth. We can have so much confidence and self worth in Christ. If we knew or understood how much Christ paid for us, I think we would all just live in so much more joy and happiness and thanksgiving! I want to live like that! And I can because of Christ’s sacrifice!

"Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living." Job 28:13

What are your thoughts on this? How do you think your life would look if you truly knew how much Christ thinks you are worth and valued? Would it look different?

What are You Worth?
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4 Dangers of Being too Busy

Have you ever took on too much? Said yes to too many things or too many people? That’s what I did this month. Maybe I got a little too gung-ho about it being a New Year with a new start. I said I’d participate in 3 book clubs, made some big goals and plans for my blog including writing a devotional on the book of Esther (stay tuned to sign up for that in the next few weeks!!), took on a pretty difficult crochet project and decided to do a new wellness program. Oh yeah… and as if that’s not enough, we’re moving next month!! Busyness!! But there are many dangers of taking on too much! Here are my top 4 Dangers of being too busy.

4 Dangers of Being too Busy

1. Burnout

I’ve been there… I’ve reached the end of myself and burnt out. I know God wants us to reach the end of ourselves in order for Him to do His work, but there’s a difference to surrendering that and working ourselves dead to the bone. I’ve seen others go through burn out as well and it’s tough. Sometimes, we have to make really hard decisions to take care of ourselves and avoid burning out.

When we first decided it was time for my Dad to move into a nursing home (due to his Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease) my mom was nearing burn out. She was his full time care giver and he required 24/7 care. That’s a lot for one person to do. My siblings and I tried to help as much as we could, but she was with him the most, so most of it fell on her plate. It was time for him to go into a care home, but it was still a hard decision. It was the right decision, and I believe it helped my mom avoid burnout.

Girl with hands on face by computer- 4 Dangers of Being too Busy.

2. Exhaustion/Insomnia

Staying up late to finish up a project, getting up early to get a head start. Burning the candle at both ends. It’s a dangerous thing! Sleep is so important to our health. Our bodies need that time to rest and be restored. Here’s a WebMD article outlining 9 Surprising Benefits of Sleep. Hello decreased hunger! That alone is worth it for me (I can be a bit of a stress eater.) I know too, at least for me, when I have a lot to do, my mind races at night. Rather than getting a good nights sleep, I’m planning out my schedule for the next day, or thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong, or trying to remember what that guy on that TV shows name was. My mind will do anything but sleep when it’s overworked and overtired! It’s a never ending cycle of tiredness!

3. Short Temper

When I have too much to do, the people around me who mean the most to me get the worst of me. I’m either so tired (see #2 on the list) or so consumed by what I have to do, that heaven forbid you interrupt me! Even if you are my 3 year old daughter asking me to play with you. I get short tempered and I yell more than I like or want to. Not just my kids, but my husband doesn’t get the best of me either. I’m so busy trying to complete everything on my to-do list that I end up with no time for him. It’s not fair to anyone, and it just makes me feel guilty in the end (which is another thing I’ll be thinking about at night now!)

4. Paralysis

I don’t mean physically, although I’m sure with enough stress you probably could become paralyzed. I mean when you sit there looking at all the things you want to accomplish and you just don’t know where to start! It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by everything that you never really get anything done! Fear can also be our worst enemy in these situations. It can be so paralyzing. Fear that we won’t be good enough if we don’t accomplish what we set out to do, fear of what others think about us, fear of failure, even fear of success. These are all things that can paralyze us and leave us completely ineffective. So, instead of getting a few things crossed off your list, you get nothing done.

Scrabble letters spelling out Fear

So, I know I need to watch myself. I know I need to get my sleep and say no once in a while. I hate when I say yes to something only to realize I can’t actually do it. I’ve had to drop 2 of the book clubs I was reading with just to avoid burning out.

What are somethings you do to avoid the dangers of being too busy? What do you do when you reach a level of busyness that is too much for you?

4 Dangers of being too busy

I’m so honoured to share that this post was featured on the Salt & Light link up!!

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The Liebster Award

I am so honoured to have been nominated for the Liebster award by Elizabeth Auwarter of the Recovering Perfectionist. I connected with her a few months ago when I wrote a guest post for her blog (you can read it here).

Basically, this award is for great bloggers to recognize other great bloggers. “Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

How the Liebster Award Works

-Thank the person who nominated you in your post.
-Answer the questions from your nominator.
-Pick your nominees.
-Display the Liebster Award on your blog.

My Answers:

  1. What inspires you to write? God and my kiddos
  2. What is your favorite part of blogging? The art of writing. Seeing a post come together is really cool. I have a rough idea in my head of what I want to say, but sometimes it goes in a completely different direction!
  3. Who are your three favorite authors and why? I don’t know if I could just pick 3! I just really love reading, doesn’t really matter to me who has written it!
  4. When was a time you failed, and how did you get back up? I fail daily! This has especially been evident to me since becoming a Mom. But, God is gracious and compassionate and I need to learn to be gracious and compassionate to myself as well.
  5. What is your life motto? I don’t know if I have a life motto, but my word of the year for 2019 is Joy. So this year at least, I’m choosing to find joy in all I do.
  6. What was a book that inspired you/changed your life and how? Is it cheesy if I say the Bible? I can’t say any other book I’ve read stands out to me as life changing.
  7. Who is a blogger that inspires you and why? Becky Thompson of ScissortailSilk. I’d tossed around the idea of starting a blog before, in fact, I think I’d even started this one before reading her book “Hope Unfolding.” Reading that book really inspired me to go forward with my blogging trusting God would lead me along the way.
  8. If you could pursue any writing career, besides blogger, what would it be and why? I think journalism would be neat. But I’d probably like to write personal interest type articles.
  9. What are your five top things you are thankful for? God, my husband, my daughters, my family and health
  10. If you could be a brand ambassador for any any brand what would it be and why? Probably some shoe company! I have a slight obsession with shoes! (Just ask my hubby!)

Nominations:

I’m excited to nominate the following blogs for the Liebster award! You have to answer the following 10 questions! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

https://www.thebigfamilyhome.com/

https://iamthemoodymom.com/

https://lullabylark.com/

  1. What is your favourite book and why?
  2. Who inspires you in life and in blogging?
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? (money is no object)
  4. Who was your childhood best friend and are you still in touch with them?
  5. What is one thing you do every day just for yourself?
  6. How to you balance blogging and motherhood?
  7. What is your absolute favourite meal?
  8. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  9. Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?
  10. Who is an artist (or a song) that you could listen to on repeat all day long?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

Joy

This year, I chose the word “JOY” as my word of the year ( Word of the Year 2019.) Well, it’s only a week in and I feel like the word is jumping out all over the place! Seriously, I’m seeing it everywhere; books I’m reading, shows I’m watching, random Facebook posts. It’s EVERYWHERE!! It’s like God said “Ok, you chose to word Joy, now I’m going to show it to you all over the place!! But, finding joy in cleaning up was not something I expected!

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Recently, I started watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” What an eye opener! The very first episode the husband is more bothered by the clutter and mess than the wife. The thing that keeps coming up in the show is, when looking at items of clothing, or collectables, or books, to ask yourself “Does it spark Joy?”

My husband and I have different expectations when it comes to being clean and tidy. It’s opposite of the “typical” gender roles. Pete likes things much more clean and organized than I would do for myself. Believe me, we’ve had our fair share of fights over the state of the kitchen (he’s usually right, but don’t tell him that!!) I just honestly sometimes don’t notice how chaotic it’s gotten, I guess I got used to it living on my own before we got married. And sometimes at the end of the day running after 2 toddlers, dishes are the LAST thing I want to do! Pete has told me multiple times, that getting rid of clutter would help decrease some of my stress. I always just sort of brushed it off. Honestly, until I watched this Netflix show, I never really understood how much it stressed him out.

In that first episode, the husband says that his family is not getting the best of him because he’s always stressed out about the clutter. Wow. I feel like I’ve been putting Pete through the same thing.

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

We are moving next month into a smaller place than we have now. Now is the PERFECT time to start de-cluttering and finding joy in it at the same time (seeing as Joy is my word of the year!) Yesterday, I went through the majority of my clothes. Each item I looked at and asked if it brought me joy. I have a garbage bag to bring to the thrift store. There were things I was just holding on to for no real reason! If the only items I have in my closet are things that bring me joy, I’ll be able to feel joyful in what I’m wearing every day rather than being overwhelmed by choices and not knowing what to wear. The next thing I want to tackle is books!

Finding Joy in Cleaning - mopping the kitchen

I never considered how keeping a tidy, uncluttered house would bring joy to our family. But, I can see it now. Sparking joy in my husband and having him less stressed will help me in finding joy in tidying up. Bringing him joy brings me joy! Not having as much “stuff” makes it easier to keep things clean. So, unless something brings me joy, why keep it? We have a coffee table downstairs that was my family’s when I was growing up, so I have a sentimental attachment. I asked myself last night, does it bring me joy? Not really.. I told Pete to sell it!

Marie Kondo

This lady is amazing! She even has her own YouTube channel with tons of tips including how to properly fold your laundry. I’ve been doing it wrong all along! the amount of room I saved in my drawers yesterday was amazing. And I can see everything without having to pull everything out. That brings me joy!

She also has a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’ve downloaded it as an audio book and can’t wait to start listening to it!

I’d love for you to join me on this journey of finding joy in cleaning up. You can help keep me accountable! Does having a tidy house bring you joy? Are you less stressed out with a clean place to live?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up - organized pantry
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Word of the Year 2019

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

New Years Resolutions

Do you set New Years Resolutions? I’m not a big resolution setting person, but I’m going to share my Word of the Year 2019 with you today!

I used to work in a few different gyms. January 1st was always the busiest day of the entire year. I would always laugh. What made January 1st different than any other day of the year? Why do we wait until a new year to set a resolution? By the 3rd week of January things would always die down and the majority of people started would quit coming in. So I’ve always found resolutions kind of silly because no one really keeps them!

Last year, I decided to make a bit of a resolution. I resolved to make God more prominent in my life and to actually believe in Him and what He says. 2018 was another rough year for us and I was really finding myself worrying and doubting too much and not believing God was who He said He was. So I started making conscious decisions to believe in Him and choose to trust Him.

I also really want to make sure my girls know who Christ is and how much He loves them. If I’m doubting and worrying so much, what does that show them? They can choose when they are older what they believe, but I at least want them to know Christ and be able to model my faith in Him to them.

What is a Word of the Year

So that brings me to this year! What is my top 2019 resolution? I have heard a lot of people lately talking about choosing a word for the year. The website My One Word describes choosing a word as “My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond this cycle. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.” So this year, for my word of the year 2019, I have chosen JOY.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Choose Joy

I wrote about Joy as part of my Advent series. Week 2: The Secret to Joy this Christmas. Joy is something I feel has been lacking in my life recently. I find myself being grumpy a lot more than being joyful, yelling at my kids a lot more than I’d like to, not appreciating my husband as much as I should. I find myself focusing more on circumstances than on the One who walks through it all with me.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

So, this year I am choosing joy. I am choosing Christ and the joy He brings. I already have the joy within me as a fruit of His spirit, now I just need to let that overflow into my life rather than looking elsewhere.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 & 23

“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

So what is your word for 2019? What are you choosing this year? I’d love to hear from you and we can keep each other accountable!!

Word of the Year 2019

Happy New Year from my family to yours! Thank you for sharing so much of 2018 with me and I look forward to all 2019 has in store.

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Christmas Crochet Projects

I was a little last minute with my Christmas crochet projects this year. Who am I kidding? I’m a little last minute every Year!! I’ve been working steadily on 4 projects since the beginning of December and finally finished them all on December 19. Too bad two of them were being sent to Ontario! They’ll be getting New Years presents instead of Christmas gifts this year!

Christmas Crochet Project 1: Cozy Crochet Blanket

Blue and grey cozy Christmas Crochet blanket project

This one is for my Dad! I’ve actually been working on it for a while now. I think originally I was going to give it to him for Fathers Day, then for his birthday in September. Well, it’s done for Christmas! Since my Dad is now wheelchair bound and it’s gotten colder out, I thought a lap blanket would be a great present for him. It’ll keep him nice and warm during these winter months!

Christmas Crochet Project 2: Penguin Toque

Crocheted Penguin Toque

Yes, I’m Canadian, I call it a toque!! My sister in law is obsessed with penguins, so I made her this adorable toque! As usual, I didn’t really follow a pattern, but got my inspiration from Pinterest and Craftsy . I found a simple Penguin hat pattern and then just kind of did my own thing. I should really write down how I do things and start making my own crochet patterns!!

Also, don’t I have the cutest model?!?

Christmas Crochet Project 3: Scarf

Grey and Blue stripped scarf

This one is for my brother in law. It’s a trendy navy blue and grey skinny scarf. I didn’t follow a pattern at all on this one, just whipped it up out of my head. Super simple double crochets across, 2 rows of each colour. Then I added the fringe on the ends once it was the width I wanted.

Christmas Crochet Project 4: Teacher Gifts

Christmas crochet project, teachers gift. 2 crochet cup cozies.

I had a hard time deciding what to get Lily’s preschool teachers for Christmas. I had an idea, but because I wait until the last minute, there wouldn’t have been time for shipping it here. So finally I decided on a coffee gift card and cup cozies! I got some reusable cups to go with it too. I liked the snowflakes for winter/Christmas time.

I do love making Christmas crochet projects. Maybe next year I’ll remember to start earlier because I always end up causing more stress for myself, but maybe that’s half the fun of it!

Have you ever wanted to learn how to crochet?

You can find a ton of classes on Craftsy that can guide you! They have a so many of resources available. Craftsy also has a subscription service called Bluprint where you have access to thousands of courses on a ton of topics (crocheting included!!)

Bluprint get started now