This is our 6th year with kids in school. I KNOW. It blows my mind too. Zoe is our oldest, in 5th grade, and then Olivia is in 3rd, and Hudson in K5.  I’m not sure how I ever got old enough to have a 10 year old daughter, or be big enough to have four kids, but here we are!

I attended the Wild + Free Conference in Nashville in September, and if you’re a home educating mama, let me just tell you about this balm to my soul! I’ve not talked a lot about our choice to home educate, because I know that healthy parents do what they feel is best regarding education.  For some, that’s a school setting. For others, it’s home education. And I’m a cheerleader to any parent who is invested in their children and who cares enough about them to do what is best. And I truly believe that it is varied per child, family, age, and many other factors. I want to be a cheerleader to other mamas, and although education can be a divisive issue for some, that’s clearly not my intention.

So whether you’re a home educating mama or not, I’m hoping these little nuggets from the Wild + Free Conference will encourage you.


I first saw the Wild + Free community on Instagram quite a few years ago, when my kiddos were quite young. I was intrigued by what I saw, and when they started doing podcasts, I loved listening and learning. I don’t know about you, but even after 6 years of this gig, I still don’t always feel like I know what I’m doing! ;) So this spring a couple of friends and I finally decided to just sign up and jump on a jet place for a weekend with 800+ other women, and it was like pink drink to my soul – ha ha. Nourishing, delicious, so what I needed.

It was a group of Jesus-loving mamas who loved deeply, lived intentionally, but weren’t trying to portray a perfect image of motherhood or even home education for that matter. And while being genuine and real has always mattered to me, the older I became (ripe old 34 right here), the more I love the lack of pretense, the real and genuine, the not-trying-to-impress, but the sharing of what’s worked, what really matters, and “Mama, you’re brave. Let’s do this together.” (cue the tears because MAN, sometimes just being a mama is hard work and lonely and I just need someone to tell me I’m brave and strong and doing a good job even if I’m not perfect at it).

We learned from so many women, including Sally Clarkson,  Leah Boden,  Sarah MacKenzie, Jodi Mockabee (Talking about Sex and how that relates to kids, anyone? SO GOOD – but not what I’ll talk about today ;)),  Tina Ingold, Jennifer Pepito, and goodness, it was the coolest group of homeschoolers I’ve ever been in. Not your grandma’s denim-jumper-wearing crowd – ha! ;)

There were golden nuggets that strengthened my soul, made tears prick my eyes with encouragement, and gave me courage to carry on…These little snippets are a compilation of various speakers mentioned.

…What are things you want your kids to remember in 20 years? What do you want your kids to remember about you as a mother? Sometimes the best way to live well now is to ask questions about what we want in the future, and then make decisions based on your answers and what matters to you. Right now can sometimes seem so close that it’s hard to get perspective. Ask those questions instead of asking what you want your kids to turn out like, because then you won’t turn your kids into projects.

… The best homeschool year ever won’t be because of the best projects or the most beautiful things, but because we delighted in our kids.

(favorite quote of the entire weekend right there ^^)

… Just because you’re messing up doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for this; it’s just means it’s life.

… We have to prioritize JOY when it comes to our children.  Take time to d e l i g h t in them, let them know how much we love them, enjoy being with them, enjoy their company. We don’t have to be the most fun mom ever, but we can be the most loving mom ever.

…Carve out time for “just because we can” days: 4 times a year or so have a day of having a day off just because you can, and on that day there is one goal: to simply enjoy the presence of your children.  (L O V E this idea)

What I came away with is that motherhood, and education, is about N O U R I S H I N G our children.  Nourishing their souls, their hearts, their minds. It’s not about test grades or performance for the one who rolls their eyes at home educators; it’s about rich nourishment.

Y’all. I’m not the best and I’m not perfect. But nourishing the souls of my children through enjoyment of them, through delighting in them, that I want to do with all my heart. And I think that’s what we all really want, regardless of our decision on education.

Even scientific studies show that nourishment of soul and body as essential keys to a child’s learning and development. It’s the foundation for a good education; loving and delighting in them.

 This school year is only a couple of months in, but the perspective of enjoyment of my children > checklists &  tests is huge for this Type A personality.

The weekend was an encouragement to me in mindset even over education. While that may seem contradictory to some, I think that mindset is essential to a good education. Knowing what to value, and where to place the importance, is so key.

Okay, so that’s the mommy-balm. :) What about the education end of it all ? I’m not going to get into that actually, but I’ll say that although I’m not an unschooler, there are parts of the Wild + Free lifestyle that I definitely incorporate into our education and want to do more of. Education and book learning is very important to me too, but the freedom to  learn from things other than books is something I really value also. Goodness, this is why books have been written by so many authors because just a few paragraphs are never adequate about such a broad subject. ;)

Some people have asked me how I can do the “Wild + Free” aspect of education when we live in the city, because a huge part of that is getting outside, enjoying nature and the outdoors. And I purpose to enjoy nature as part of our education, to get my kids out in it, to experience it. So, we live in the middle of the city with a postage stamp yard that they literally get dizzy running around in, so this is no “Go outside and play, kids!!” This means an intentional taking them to parks, getting out in nature, having passes to local outdoor things where they can enjoy and observe and create and take time to notice, going on family hikes and to nature reserves, etc). My kids are SO HAPPY when they’re outside, and I think that having kids in nature is a necessary part of childhood. The imagination that runs wild in nature is second to none, and that’s not even including the fresh air and exercise for young bodies. We’ve done more nature time and field trips during our two years in our little city house than we have in all the previous years put together, and it’s because we’ve had to be very intentional about doing that.

For us it’s also the valuing of art and music. My kids (except for the baby) are all in art classes once a week by a fabulous teacher, and the girls take music lessons weekly also. Besides that, pulling out art supplies is a frequent thing around the house. In the winter months we have “Watercolor Sundays” where we pull out paints and brushes Sunday afternoons while the boys take naps, and we draw leaves that we found while on a walk, or watch a Youtube tutorial about a new technique for watercolor that we haven’t learned yet. We’re not pro’s at any of this, but I just want them to enjoy learning and developing new skills. And I think that comes from them seeing me trying new things and not doing it perfectly either, but enjoying the process of it anyway!

So really, I just want the best year of school this year, not because everyone scored 100’s on all their tests and because we had the most stunning projects, but because my kids know that I delight in them, that I simply E N J O Y who they are. I want to take the time to look in their precious eyes and tell them, “I am so glad you’re my little boy! You are such a delight to my heart!” or to my daughter, “You are such a joy! Do you know how much I like being with you?” I want to further their education first of all through nourishment of their souls and hearts.

Now after all that, I’m just wanting to sit and chat and hear you talk, because a one-sided conversation isn’t much fun, plus I’m feeling a little rusty on this keyboard and blog thing. ;)

Have you been to a Wild + Free conference, or what kind of education inspires you and lights your fire? I would really love to hear. <3

All photo credits to the fabulous Kelly Lapp Photography 

 

“This just isn’t what I thought motherhood would be like!!!”

I wailed this to myself as I cleaned up the overflowing-toilet water that had run over, not just in the bathroom, but down the vent into the coat closet below it, soaking our entire family’s winter coats with uber-gross toilet water. It was a rude awakening to my early morning, as I was snuggling with my heaven-scented newborn in bed, hearing my little kids frantically calling that the toilet was overflowing. My 2-week old baby began screaming to be fed, but the other three kids and I were doing all we could to prevent the water from going into the living room and ruining the rug. Water was everywhere, if it could be called water. My husband was already at work, and it was “one of those days” on steroids.

As a teenager, I had high ideals of what my life was going to be like. Not marrying until I was 30 was one of them, because I was going to spend my life for the Gospel, international travel and mission, pursue education, and then eventually get married after I had done all the things.

And then God smiled and gently changed my plans….

Read the full article at Raising Generations Today, where I’m honored to be a guest writer this week.

 

 

Welcome to our Little City House, as we call this home. :)

It’s been a year and a half since we moved from the Small Town Deep South to Big Northern City, so it’s been quite the change. Besides culture, changing churches and communities and moving almost a thousand miles away, another change was our house. Our little Cottage was a hard thing to leave behind, but it was just a house, and a home is really where my family is rather than what a particular house is like.

But first, let me just dispel a myth that people may think about bloggers:

Myth: Bloggers think they have the perfect house; that’s why they post about it and take pictures and put them on Instagram and blog about them.

Truth: Some bloggers may think they have a perfect house, but most live in a less-than-perfect place. The struggle to compare is real, wondering what we have to offer compared to someone else, but the reason I share is because, I’m learning. Contentment is a thing I’m constantly learning, maybe just like you. But I’m also learning joy, and how if we wait until things are perfect to share our lives, well, then we’ll never share. And if we try to be like someone else, we’ll never be the person God made US to be, and we’ll never share the gift of who WE are to the world around us. As a friend recently said to me, “The world is striking, but I know it’s more about having eyes to see it than anything else.” So so true.

So I share because of the journey, because we’re all on it, and because I’m cheering for you – whether you’re in a house you love, or wish you’d be someplace else, or have other challenging circumstances in life: I’m cheering for you. It takes a village, you all. We’re not meant to be alone. A blog is a very very small part of what a village is like because it should never replace real-life community, but if you’re here, then our villages interact and intersect, and I wish you all the best! Let’s have eyes to see the beauty that is around us.

So, after all that, welcome to our little city house! :)

I say “little” because when you step in the front door, you’re exactly 12 steps from the back door. It’s really not that big: downstairs are two rooms: Living Room and Kitchen/Dining Room. It’s skinny, tall (three stories high) and narrow. But it’s home! When we first moved in, I was thinking, “Six months. I can’t live in a place this small more than six months!!” It’s already been a year and a half, and although I don’t see this as a fit for us forever, I’ve found myself thinking recently, “You know, I actually kinda like this little place.” ;)

So now for the little tour… The living room is the front room, and through it is the kitchen. The stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors go off the living room also. It’s a busy room, and basically a thoroughfare to everywhere else in the house. :)

You step in the front door, turn to the right, and here you are:

The function of the room is simple: it’s where we hang out, it’s where we sit with our friends when they come over, it’s where family life happens before school, after school, and on evenings and weekends. We needed a place that is very functional, practical, but because I like pretty things, I also wanted it to be beautiful. Another thing that was important was that it wasn’t a cluttered room. I like cozy and hygge (favorite word of the year), but because our house is small, it feels overwhelming if the rooms are too busy.

 

So keeping it neutral felt like a good choice. We painted the walls, sanded down the floor and restained them, painted the trim white, and painted the front door black inside and out.

Navy and Gold are new color crushes, so I found pillows at various places (Goodwill & Target mostly in those colors, and added some toss blankets to cozy it up. Pillows are such a fun way to change up a look – and I have some florals that I can’t wait to put out for spring and summer!

Our living room is just that: a living room, not a formal place at all. I’m one that likes to sit on a couch and pull up my feet, and then have a blanket to cozy up with, especially on chilly mornings as I sit with my coffee. I’m a mix of wanting things clean but also wanting the cozy factor – which is basically what Hygge is. (Such a fun thing to research, if you haven’t already known about it. The Danish people are inspiring.).

Oh, and let me tell you a story about our couch!!! The gorgeous tufted one with nailhead trim? Yes, that’s the one. :)


Soooooo, we purchased a sofa and loveseat when we first got married, and it served us well for almost 11 years. We used them hard, the kids used them hard, and we had one certain spot we’d sit on the sofa: the left side by the armrest. Every. Single. Time. It was as if there wasn’t even more room on the couch, because we’d always sit there if we could. Finally, it was getting to the point where I would have a back ache if I spent more than 15 minutes on the couch. Granted, it might have had something to do with the fact that I was pregnant with my 4th baby, but still…. ;) All the more reason for a couch with great back support, right?

I’m an avid Craigslist fan, so I searched from time to time for a “tufted sofa with nailhead trim” but something to match that rarely came up, and if it did, it was always so expensive. As in, a thousand dollars more than I wanted to pay.

But one night, late, I did a quick search and saw something pop up. I looked at it, and it had only been posted 15 minutes before. I sent her a quick message, telling her I was interested, and thought to myself I’ll talk to my husband in the morning and see what he says. ;) (note to other wives: this only works when you’ve already been having conversations about these sorts of things ;)) 

Next morning, Ben said it looked like a great deal, and if we sell our current couch (because it really was in decent condition, I just really wanted a new couch ;)), then it will come out almost the same in the end. So, long-suffering husband that he is, drove me the hour and a half to pick up the sofa, just days before Jack was born. And there it was brand new in the packaging: the person who had purchased it hadn’t measured her space, and so when it got there, it didn’t fit. So instead of returning it, she sold it for $800 less than she bought it for (I know this because I saw it for sale on Overstock ;)).

So there’s my couch story. You know how there are certain things that happen that you just KNOW God was caring about you, even if it was something almost silly? This was one of them. God cares about tufted, nail-head trim couches, because He cares about me.  I’m super wowed.

Both of the girls take piano lessons, so making room for a piano was important. We are re-homing our baby grand piano (so sad), but knew we needed something that was space efficient for our home.


My husband was super honored his European mount deer head made the cut for decor.

Also, our kids are never the nosy neighbors in the block.


And just a couple of details…




// Home is wherever I am with you –  my motto when we moved. Home was family, not just a house //

And let’s talk practical for a second, since small spaces can be challenging.

Right inside the front door we have a large basket, where everyone takes off their shoes when they come inside. The basket is a collection spot, and it gets emptied by the kids regularly and the shoes taken to the proper rooms.

Also, just inside the door is a very small closet, the only closet downstairs. We use this for winter coats (changed out to lighter wear in the warmer months), & vacuum cleaner. This winter I actually kept a lidded laundry basket inside the closet and it’s where we kept all our gloves, scarves, and winter hats & beanies. It was a great solution to the layers that need to be gotten out all winter.


We have one bookshelf in the living room too, which holds books, Bibles, kids’ books, and two small baskets of toys for the baby and the 4-year old.

And that wraps it up! Happy weekending from the folks at the Little City House.


 
Sources:

Wall Color: Fossil, by Benjamin Moore
Trim Color: Simply White, by Benjamin Moore
Front Door Paint Color: Grey Metal, by Behr Marquee
Coffee Table: West Elm Outlet
Jute Rug: Overstock.com
Sheepskins: IKEA and Target
Gold Bell: Amazon
Tufted Sofa: Craigslist, but originally on Overstock.com
Gold and White Print by the stairs: Aimee Weaver Designs


I’ve seen the idea around of a Resurrection or Easter Garden, but this year my kids were at the age that I knew they would love actually putting one together. There are some great ideas online, so I compiled my favorite ones and headed off for the greenhouse.

We have so many greenhouses locally, and they are like therapy just walking into them, and smelling that fresh-plant smell! Perfect Pots is a favorite local place, and and where I got my supplies for this gardening project. They are super helpful with my questions about which plants would work best for this, and so I’ll pass on those tips too. :)

A Resurrection is basically a miniature of the Easter Story; the three crosses, the tomb. While it has a more sobering meaning, it is also inexpressibly beautiful, and speaks of True Life and Power. And letting my kids have hands-on experience of this is something that will speak to their little hearts of the beauty and glory of Easter.

 

Supplies needed for this project:

-Planter Tray, or shallow planter
-Small Pot, for the tomb
-Larger Stone, for the tomb’s entrance
-1-4 small plants
-Potting soil
-Sticks for crosses, and hot glue to make them

Optional:
-Small pebbles
-Moss or grass seed

We met with another sweet family for the day and made these together – and I think Jolyn and I had as much fun making them as the kids did! :) I wasn’t expecting the finished project to be so pretty!! :)

Step One:
Gather Supplies.

I took the supplies to our back porch and spread an old blanket over the table. Potting soil can make a bit of a mess, and having it all on a blanket made clean-up so easy afterwards.

Step Two:
Lay out the design.

Basically, you just want the tomb and three crosses to be the main focus, and then I had several small plants so that it looked like an actual garden.

 

Step Three:

Put in potting soil and fill in around the small plants. I added soil until just a little lower than the top of the planter tray, for watering purposes and for the moss on the top. And then mounded the soil over the top of the small pot.

Step Four:
Add Moss or Plant Grass Seeds

I chose to go with moss because even though grass seed would be a fun thing for the kids to see grow, other people have said it can look messy and you have to keep cutting the grass back, which then doesn’t look so good. Moss was inexpensive and added a very pretty touch. I love how it made the tomb look like it was in the side of a hill.

The neat thing is that each planter can look so different – the placement of the moss, of the types of plants, it’s all so unique and I love that.

 

Step Five:

Add your final touches – little pebbles, if you want to create a pathway, the three crosses, and the large stone to cover the entrance of the tomb until Easter Morning!


Finish off with misting or lightly watering the moss and the plants, being careful not to over-water the succulents, if you use that type of plant. *

And pictures of the kiddos with the finished projects!


So if you’re on the lookout for a fun and meaningful project to do with your kiddos this weekend, this might be something you enjoy! It’s create and inexpensive (around $20 for the planter), which are two things I love!

What I love about this is that it’s a visual reminder for us and the kids of this meaningful season, and it’s beautiful! We have it on the counter in our kitchen, and the kids take special pride in misting it and caring for it every day. :) This would also make a meaningful gift for someone, if you’re the gift-giving type on Easter.

Have a lovely Easter Weekend!

*Perfect Pots was very helpful with plant care for this project – I told them what I wanted to do, showed them my plants, and asked what would work best. I wanted a mixture of succulents and other indoor plants, and they explained that succulents work best with a particular type of soil, and with being misted rather than watered.

Because this is a temporary garden, lasting only a few weeks, they said it’s fine to plant all the plants together for a short amount of time until they can be properly planted separately, but be careful with the watering/misting right now.

Also, the planter tray I used is very shallow, only 2 inches deep, so that would also not be ideal long-term. So when I transplant them after we’ve enjoyed it for a few weeks I will make sure the succulents get planted in their proper soil, and misted, and the other little plants can get their proper treatment as well. :)

I am honored to be collaborating with Daughters of Promise, and contributing to their blog this week with an article on home design!

Here is an excerpt:

I believe that God – as the Master Designer – created each of us in His image with an inner artist, and that comes out in so different ways for each person! For some people that comes out in the way they serve their family with food, arranging and preparing the meals with great love and care. For others, it could be the way they can set work aside and play with their kids, investing their time and energy into creating fun things together. Another woman may love to see what she can design and fashion for her kids to wear, enjoying the process of styling and putting outfits together. Someone else may be an incredible artist with words, writing beautiful things that are rich or lighthearted, and that bring life to the people around them. There are endless ways, really, and the various ways artistry is shown is so beautiful and fascinating!

The artistry of decorating my home, and more importantly, making it a place where my husband and four kiddos feel welcome and safe, is a passion of mine. I don’t even think I’m the best at it – but I love to make my home a beautiful place, a reflection of the beauty of God. I don’t think there is just one right way to do it – even within décor there are so many various styles that people are drawn to, and that also shows the beauty of uniqueness in the way God created us!

I want to talk about a current design style that I’m enjoying right now, and that’s one of a neutral palate. When I was first married I loved colors on my walls, and various themes through my house. Perhaps it’s the combination of my own tastes changing, being influenced by the Southern, or even the soft Coastal culture I lived in for almost ten years that has changed what I prefer. Or maybe it’s even the fact that I have four kids, and when they are bustling and loud and bursting through the house, I like to have my surroundings at least be serene and restful.

The end goal is not to have the most fashionable house,
or the most popular Instagram pictures,
but rather to create a sanctuary
for you and your family.

And you can read the rest of of the article here, including how to choose Paint Colors and Finishes, Adding Textures for Warmth, and How to Make Your Own Design Board. :)

Head over to the Daughters of Promise blog to read the full article. :)

I think a lot of people have a “winter arsenal” of ways to stay healthy with all the bugs and things going around! If you have a family, or even if it’s just you, staying healthy through the winter is a big deal, and something that everyone wants, right?! We’ve got a few things that we’ve found to help us so much, and when you have a family of 4 kids (where things can easily get passed around), it’s a big deal if something works!
 

1. Sleep.

This is often underestimated, but when our kids (and we) get our sleep, our bodies are so much stronger to fight off the germs going around. I’m a night owl, so this is something I need to make myself do – just go to bed, for the love!
 

2. Dressing for the Weather.

This might seem obvious, but if my kids are getting a runny nose, I ALWAYS make them wear socks and slippers in the house. They prefer to go barefoot everywhere, but somehow keeping an extra layer on their feet (and rubbing with essential oils) and over their chests can make a big difference too. I also run a diffuser or vaporizer at night with a few drops of essential oil, and that helps both prevent the sickness and help with the very dry air that we have in our house.
 

3. Supplements.

You better believe that although we try to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, and we LOVE juicing fresh oranges for that best-ever orange juice and the straight-up Vitamin C, we are strong believers in a couple of supplements that help tremendously with keeping our immune systems healthy.
Vitamin D,
Vitamin C,
multi-vitamins for adults and for kids are our standard go-to’s on a daily basis from my favorite product line, and we also add things like
Echinecea and 
Silver and
additional Vitamin D drops.  
These are some the best immune boosters we’ve found, and things that have fought off colds and coughs like nobody’s business… I know that it’s expected that families with little kids are just perpetually sick all winter, but that hasn’t been the case for us. While Zoe had a weekend bug last fall, and the other kids had a small bout with a mild flu the beginning of this winter (that lasted less than 24 hours for three of the kids), and then two of the kids caught a 12-hour stomach bug later that month (at a sleepover at their aunt Claudia’s house, can you even imagine?! How awful for her!), we’ve had a very good season overall, and have hardly even had a sniffle since the beginning of January. Knock on wood!!! :)
I know we don’t live in a perfect world and perfection isn’t even the goal –  even my favorite supplements aren’t magic!! But when we are proactive in our health, it really is just plain old fun to see how we can build our immune systems and help our bodies be strong and healthy as they were intended to!
A recent article in Clean Eating Magazine titled “5 Supplements To Start Taking Now” lists these as 5 supplements you must take: a multivitamin, antioxidant, fish oil, Vitamin D, and a probiotic.
 
I get all of these in just 3 supplements from my favorite product line, and they give me results I’m so pleased with! Plus, they are so easy to take. A big win for a busy family.
 
-I love a multivitamin, XFactor, complete with Vitamin D, an aloe blend to help with absorption, AND New Zealand Black currant (a powerful antioxidant).
 
– We take a probiotic WITH an antifungal, enzymes, 5 strands of bacteria and GOOD yeast to replace the bad, as well as vitamins to heal my gut and balance my ph level.
 
– MegaX, a complete omega supplement, meaning it contains Omegas 3-6-9-5-7. It is PLANT BASED, ALA and SDA rich, and since it is plant based there are no fishy burps! Big deal for me, because I simply CANNOT take anything that tastes bad, even if I know it’s good for me.
 
So there you have it. Some of our favorite tools that your body needs, and that we keep in our winter arsenal. ;)  I’d love to hear some of your favorite things that have helped you and your family!
 

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Hello all.

Back, many moons ago, I suggested that I was going to start a Little House Series. Well, I did start it all right. Unfortunately, it all happened in my mind and none of it happened to reach written form of any kind. That’s changing –  starting now.

Real life has a way of just happening, you know? Weeks fly by like the it’s the second hand on the clock, and before I know it my little baby, who was just born last week, is suddenly ten months old, and my oldest daughter, who just turned 5, is nine and a half. I mean, whaaaaaat?! Somebody tell me how to slow down this train.

One of the things I love about blogging (and that has made me miss it) is the way it helps me to just slow and take time to remember the beautiful things about right now. Maybe they’re not all beautiful, maybe it’s full of challenges. When I first started blogging, years ago, my life felt full of challenges. But as I re-read my blog, I saw those years through new eyes. Eyes that purposely noticed the good things, the good gifts from the Father. Instead of just racing through my days, I noticed the simple beauty, the little things. And often the little things are the biggest things of all, aren’t they? The little things that remind us that we are loved, that we have a Father who cares about us. And looking back, taking time to reflect, can help us treasure those little things again, like sitting down to write a thank you note as a remembrance of the gift we’ve been given.

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Four kids has definitely changed the busy factor for me. I feel like four kids are easier than two (I know, whaaaaaat. But at least it is for me, with the ages my kids were with only two (1 year and newborn), and now the ages they are with four (10 months, 4 & 7 & 9 years)), but it’s busier than two. More people in the household means more laundry (I know intensely practical, but seriously, hashtag laundrymountaineveryday), more people to pile into our one and only bathroom to get ready for the day, more people to tuck into bed and kiss at time (and feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole at bedtimes sometimes. I do love my kids – I promise – it’s just that a meme struck me funny and I can’t stop laughing.), just… MORE. And most days it’s such a good more, a good full. Just FULL.

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So I guess this is just sort of a letter to myself. That when those little old ladies stop you at the grocery store and tell you, “Just treasure these days! They go by so fast!” and you think maybe they just don’t remember the meltdowns and the whack-a-mole bedtimes and the non-stop energy… Maybe they don’t remember, but they are so right – the time goes by so fast. I feel like I blink and another year goes by. And these days are days to be treasured. I love this stage with my kids. The meltdowns and bedtimes and energy? That’s just a call for me to press into Jesus, to rely on His strength instead of my own. The food spills and diaper fills just as we’re going out the door? It’s so that I remember I can’t do it on my own.

A choice to be a mother is really a choosing to need more of Jesus than I ever thought possible. And in my weakness He is strong. Amazing amazing reality. Why would He make it that way? That He works not just through our strength, but through our weaknesses even? So that He is glorified. So that He can show us how amazing He is. So that we’re not tempted to think we got this mothering thing down pat, that we know how to raise kids. Not at all. It’s so that we can know we can receive fresh mercy every single day, no matter how challenging it was the day before, no matter how many times we messed up, no matter how many times we’ve had ask forgiveness of our children. It’s so that we can experience Jesus, receive His sweet grace, and then give that to our children as well.

Late night ramblings from a mommy of four while the husband is gone for ten days, XO

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// gorgeous photos credit of my sister Claudia //

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// I can’t say enough good about the Solly Baby wrap – I’m not paid to endorse it but it’s what I’ve used with little Jack and he and I both love it! //