Friday, May 13, 2016

7 favorite things this week

I have so many things to tell you, but so little time these days. :D Here are just a few of my favorite things, in a quick weekend summary:

// favorite quote //
"He bids me 'Come away.' Further and further from everything selfish, groveling, worldly, sinful, He calls me; yea, from the outwardly religious world which knows Him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the higher life, He calls me. 'Come away' has no harsh sound in it to my ear, for what is here to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin?” Charles Spurgeon

// favorite article //
"Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children" by John Piper
"What is behind the failure to require and receive obedience? I’m not sure. But it may be that these nine observations will help rescue some parents from the folly of laissez-faire parenting."

// favorite new candle //
$8.97 at Walmart

// favorite beautiful Texas spring days //

 // favorite new instrument //

// favorite new recipe that I want to try // 

// favorite curls //

// favorite throwback comparison  //

2012 to 2015:

Oh my stars. Those kiddos. I had some serious "growing pains" last night at the thought that one day soon they are going to leave me. I can't take how fast it's going! What a gift they all are.

There may be all kinds of evil growing in the world right now, but there are SO many good blessings to be thankful for and so many things to be happy about. :D 

I'm just going to stay away from the news and look through old pictures from now on. :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

the best day this year, one short book you must read + I'm stoked

I have felt so... thrilled... about life lately. :D I feel entirely alive and full of energy. Why, you ask?

On April 13th, THE BABY SLEPT through the night!!!!!!

And praise the Lord, she kept up the trend. :D {There aren't enough smiley faces for that sentence btw ;D }

My brain is coming back to life!! I can FEEL it. :)

And if you can believe it, it got even better- last week I breezed through a short book recommended by a fellow homeschool mom called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM). {it's $1.99 on Kindle right now- reading it with the Gospel lens of your purpose in life in the Lord as your goals changes your perspective too!}

It was the best $2 investment ever. The morning after I read it, I was so buzzed about it that I got up really early. And liked it. {remember, the baby slept too!}

Call me crazy, but I even got Rob on board the next day and today I felt positively weird for getting up so "late" at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.  As of last Monday, I'm suddenly living in an alternate universe. Who am I now?? My to-do list is getting done again. What's that strange feeling coursing through my veins? Energy??? ;)

I credit the baby for sleeping the most, but the whole new morning routine was a shocker and I have the book to credit and my new friend {she doesn't know we're friends yet} for recommending it.

I'm still on a book high. :D Give me all the life-changing guides now, please. After last week, I'm willing to try them all. :)

Thanks to some email glitch, I had no idea the Ultimate Homemaking ebook deal was coming in the slightest, but I was so surprised and thrilled to see it in my inbox this week because BOOKS. :D 

It's a fantastic one-week deal on ebooks and every year I read at least half of them from cover to cover. Even if you only read a few, it's so much cheaper than buying them individually! But on top of that, the bonuses alone make it worth getting the whole deal. I bought mine today and I'm all over that Mrs. Meyer's bonus and the free subscription to get access to RightNow Christian streaming for kids! {and the acne one too, because the baby didn't fix that one yet... ;) }. 

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 93 hand-picked eBooks, eCourses, and printables, on topics that matter to moms such as:
  • organization, routines & creating a cozy home
  • recipes, grocery shopping and meal planning
  • budgeting and saving money
  • motherhood (no matter what age your kids are)
  • cultivating a strong marriage
  • faith (for you & your kids)
  • and even self-care (like exercise, weight loss, life planning and coloring books!)
  • and much more…

You have a full year to download the eBooks and printables and take the online eCourses, and everything you’ve downloaded becomes part of your permanent library, so you can go back to it whenever you need it.
Plus, it comes with these FREE bonus offers from companies who know what homemakers need and want. Some are 100% free; other are yours for the cost of shipping only. You’ll get:
  • FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Surface Spray, Grove Collaborative Spray Bottle, Grove Collaborative Scrubber Sponges and FREE 60-day VIP trial with FREE shipping from Grove Collaborative ($30 value)
  • FREE Online Class from Craftsy ($29.99-$69.99 value)
  • FREE Kids Discovery Box from ($19.95 value)
  • $15 Gift Certificate to InkWELL Press ($15 value)
  • $15 Credit to Hope Ink Shop PLUS Two FREE 8×10 Art Prints with Any Purchase ($71)
  • FREE SPOT Treatment for Acne & Eczema OR a $15 Gift Certificate from Bloom Naturals ($15 value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ($30)
  • FREE 1-Year Membership ($29 value)
  • FREE Hand Massage Routine Videos from Melt Couples Massage ($24 value)
It’s available for just 6 days – from now until Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 11:59pm EST. That’s why the Ultimate Bundles team can offer so much, because they only have permission to sell it for such a short period of time.

The total value is an astonishing $1000+ (plus over $300 in bonuses), but you get it for just $29.97. That’s 97% off what it would cost to buy everything individually!

If you think getting all those homemaking & mothering helps for less than $30 sounds like a steal, then make sure to go HERE to see exactly what it includes and grab yours before this deal ends!

all access to purchasing the bundle ends in:

p.s. the usual disclosure: I'm in the UHB and Amazon affiliate programs, and if you should purchase an item using my links above, I get a percentage at no extra cost to you!! And thank you for being so sweet!! ;)

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

spring break 2016: refreshing all around + a sneak peek

We just took spring break last week and I have to tell you: it was divine.

We didn't go anywhere this year but we still managed to get a break from life as usual. We refreshed our souls with things like milk and chocolate chip cookies. :D

We also slept in whenever we felt like it. I found these two like this one morning:

Oh, and oh my goodness, I had GOOD French toast for the first time in my life.

I've never liked it before last week, but apparently you just need a good recipe and thick, fresh homemade bread. :D I used one of my favorite cookbooks {aff link} but here's a very similar recipe! In hindsight, it's probably a good thing I didn't know what good french toast tasted like! :D

We went shopping for church clothes for the kids {thanks, MOM!}, and in typical 2.5-year-old fashion Zane begged us for what he thought was ice cream but was really a box of sidewalk chalk{?}. For the first time I can remember, we bought something that was begged for {#bigfamilyspoiled}. But in our defense, it was actually a really, really good spring break purchase that provided hours of fun, as evidenced below:  :P

It's no lie, the older you get, the cuter little kids are. :D Irresistible cheeks and all.

Another amazing part of spring break was the camping I didn't do:

The kids camped out in the backyard for 2.5 days {until it rained}. Rob stayed with them so they wouldn't be alone, and it might be the best idea we've ever had! :D Free, easy, and HUGE bonus, I got to clean my house and it stayed clean for 24 hours!! :D They made all their own food for lunch, we grilled out for dinner, and they played all day long outside. It was a kid's dream, and the best of both worlds for the adults. While they ate pb sandwiches, I made food like this for the adults using an oven: 

Best camping trip ever.

We also tackled a fun DIY project over spring break- here's a peek:

 I'm in love. :D

How was your end of March?

Camping- yes or no? 
I think glamping is the only way to go.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

being lost in the desert of depression and pressing on

In the past two and a half years I've had some really dark days. I'm pretty sure I had postpartum depression after Zane was born, which turned into high anxiety that never ended until after a few months after Ivy {#6} was born last year. So it was a full two years of feeling lost in the desert, so to speak.

Many times I wondered what I had done to deserve what I felt. It was such a sad, dark place. I had asked the Lord to do anything He wanted, and two years later even though I was trying to obey the Lord in doing what He'd asked, I felt like He had abandoned me.  Like the complaining, ungrateful Israelites, I too wondered if He brought me out of slavery to leave me to die in the wilderness.

Right in the middle of my desert though, He showed me two things: that the hard time there was necessary for getting rid of idols in my life, and that He disciplines and trains those He loves. The depression wasn't a punishment by any means, but it was a dark time God used to show me where I put my hope when things went wrong.

I fought giving up so many idols in that time- I didn't want to give up x, y, or z, and I felt like it was unfair that I had to give up this or that thing when other Christians didn't. 

But the Lord gave me the words of A.W. Tozer for encouragement:

"Others may, but I cannot."

I fought it and threw fits in my heart like a child having a temper tantrum. 

I always expected maturing in Christ to be so much different. When I was younger, taking up my cross was more something I thought meant not doing the more obviously worldly things like clubbing, drinking parties, watching really bad movies, and maybe it meant possibly being in ministry of some kind. I thought it just meant giving up more of my time to serve God and to read His Word more often. Things I wouldn't have a problem doing anyway, in theory.

But life in Christ goes so much deeper, and so much farther than I ever thought.

He exposes so much more sin in my heart than I ever thought I had. And it hurts.

Why, Lord? Why go there? Can't you leave that alone?

I've learned that usually where there's an area that is riddled by sin, it's guarded carefully in my heart by the words "the Lord doesn't care about that..."

What I feel are harmless, unimportant matters, the Lord shows me are deadly to my soul.

But Lord, even most Christian leaders don't have a problem with this.

Others may, but you cannot.

But I don't want to. I can't do it. I didn't know you were going to take me here. This is too hard.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

So many times I held on with clenched fists, kicking against the goads. But as time passed, even holding on to it stopped feeling so good. My heart knew it was not for me.

I didn't even want it anymore.

I wanted fellowship with Jesus more than I wanted it.

Finally I would let it go, and give it up.

And then freedom would come, and my peace before the Lord would return.

Over and over in the last few years, I've been through this same circle of tightening then relinquishing my grip, and even more intensely in the desert places, when I felt the most tired, weary, and alone.

But though I felt alone and it seemed impossible to get out of it, I knew in my heart I was never truly alone. 

Years ago, I had asked for God to do whatever He wanted with me, and He did and has been still. It just looks nothing like what I had imagined it would. What's incredible to me is that while I was in the lowest and hardest places, He worked miracles outside that showed me how much He loved me. He brought physical manna for my eyes to see so I knew He was there, even in the darkest days. The depression and anxiety didn't magically go away because I asked Him to take it, but I knew He was with me in it and it was being used by Him to train my heart to seek after Him alone.

If you're in the desert right now, I just want to encourage you: it has a purpose in your life, and the Lord has not forsaken you. 

It's there the Lord removes the ties of the world from your soul.

It's there the Lord makes you long for Him more than anything else.

It's there you find that nothing can satisfy you like the presence of the Lord God Almighty.

If walking with the Lord is harder than you too ever imagined, just know that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus ChristYou may never understand what the Lord is doing, taking you to such desperate places you feel entirely crushed, but believe His Word: He will not leave this work incomplete.

One day {maybe even soon!} you will see the Son, and His work in you will be finished. You no longer will only see through the glass darkly, but you will see Him and know Him fully, face to face. 

And this little pressing on now will be counted as nothing in comparison. He is with you, and it is worth every moment in the desert to see His glory. 

While you are in the thick of it- don't be afraid to go where He wants you to go. Don't be stubborn {like me} and refuse to remember how His hand has delivered you from the slavery of sin in the past. Look for His manna each day, fully seek His leading and direction, and rid yourself of the old idols while you press on toward His Promised Land.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 
Romans 8:18

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Are you in the desert right now? How can I pray for you?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

piles, pie, and pressing pause

I won't commit to it, but mayyyybe it's spring cleaning time here. You won't believe it, but we still have a storage unit that needs to be cleaned out from our big move in Fall 2014. And the time has come. For the last two days I've been sitting in the office sorting out bins while the kids are working on school. It's not pretty but it's getting done.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has 2-3 different sizes of clothes for every season. {postpartum x 6 probs} 

I'm not even sure what to do with them, other than keep them in case I need them again. My girls are now getting to the point where I can pass a few clothes to them, and in 5 years I have a feeling they will be completely sharing my wardrobe and I'm going to have to keep them from wearing my clothes. {they're ALREADY stealing my socks??!}

Pi Day was 3-14, and in our typical fashion, we were late to the game. But better late than never when it comes to pie, right? ;)

I'm sad to say that in spite of all my sugar-loving dessert obsessions, I still can't bring myself to like pie. Chess pie is the only pie I like. I made that coconut custard pie, and it was so gross I covered the whole thing with a can of condensed milk to make it edible. :D It never fails, La Lechera is all you ever need to take any dessert up a notch {or three}.

The kids loved it, anyway.

Sweeter {and altogether better than pie} though was getting this beautiful journal called Pressing Pause^ in the mail from Ruth and Karen:

I am so excited, but I took a picture of it so you can see why for yourself {hopefully that's legal? tell me if not?! haha!}:

You can see that it's not just a few easy, forgettable thoughts- it's more heart-searching that looks like it could really help. I can't wait to dig in and read more and fill out the journal questions. After I finish my piles I'm pretty sure I'm going to be quite ready to press pause. :D

^= Amazon affiliate link
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