life-giving home . february

One of the things I value in conversation is the sharing of resources. I so appreciate it when a friend exclaims, “Hey I think you would love this” and recommends a book, shares a recipe, or gives me new insight on how to get something done that i do every day.

So in an effort to love you in this month of love + in an attempt to engage homemaking together – I am going to share a few of my favorite resources with you.

  1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

2. Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Books, girlfriend, are life-givers. And a good book gives good life. Francine Rivers fictionalizes the story of Hosea in such a compelling, tender way… you don’t want to miss this treasure. Sally’s book is for children, but every time we read it to our sons, I come away misty-eyed and full-hearted. She sings the good news of Jesus over my soul in such a precious way. In both of these fantastic reads, you hear “Jesus loves you”… Like we talked about in  our LIVE time together. For all of the every day time and each special time you need to hear that truth, go to these books.

3. barkThins  dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt snacking chocolate

4. helloFresh meal plan and delivery service

Need I say more? 🙂 Chocolate is one of those common graces from the Lord that I am so glad I get to enjoy and share. barkThins is a bag of “snacking” chocolate, thin slivers of the good stuff that is (a little too) easy to access. I love to share a piece with my boys after lunch and then savor another bite with some coffee in the afternoon. (Not to mention all of the other times…)

I am only just stepping into the world of meal plan+delivery service but the concept is strong to me. Hello Fresh offered $40 off of my first delivery and I took them up on it! It’s a referral based business, so my sister, who referred it to me, also got $20 off of her next box. I chose the family plan with three meals. In a typical week I plan three meals, so this was a plug and play decision. I am excited to receive my first box this coming Monday and get cooking. The time saved not planning and purchasing the groceries seems like a win! Plus Hello Fresh has an iPhone app, which I appreciate, because I utilize my phone at any point that I can (groceries; to do lists; email; writing blog posts… 😉

5. this quote and idea from the book : Sally writes in Life Giving Home, “I have realized over many years that crafting a culture of love – gracious, sacrificial, validating, forgiving love – requires a loving and generous heart… It also means choosing, again and again, to focus on what really matters in life.” (65)

Who is Love? Jesus Christ. And whoever we are, we are to fix our focus on Jesus Christ. He will gift us with a new heart, a heart like His, loving, gracious, sacrificial, validating, and forgiving…and in Him, we will live out love wherever we are, to whomever the Lord has placed in our lives. Sally writes in the chapter on month of February that loving one another looks like taking special time, celebrating special days, enjoying the every day together with your special people. She shows her reader that incarnational love is in all of these things as well as “keeping house – picking up those messes one more time – is a service of worship to God as we craft a place of beauty and comfort for all who enter our sanctuary of His very presence.” It encourages me so much that picking up toys, wiping down the counter over and over again, pulling up the sheets… all, worship, all praise to the Lord, our Dwelling Place. As she ends her chapter, I wrap up this post, “I can trust Him to transform (LOVE THIS!) all my efforts into the stuff of eternity. Love wins. Love always wins.”

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O Lord, bless the work of my hands, and of my sisters’ hands, as they hold their hands high to worship You, as they hold their hands cupped on precious littles, as their hands hold their husband’s… picking up, putting down, pulling together, putting back into place…. Jesus establish the work of our hands and heart in eternity, that what we do in the here and now might be heaven-worthy. In your Holy Name, Amen.

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“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony…” – Colossians 3:14 ESV

 

 

 

life-giving home . winter time rhythm

“Our rejoicing is this, … that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.—We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” – daily light, January 19, AM / 2 Cor 1:12; 2 Cor 4:7


early morning – I wake up to nurse Haddon. I wake up to begin my quiet time with the Lord. Sometimes I crawl back into bed… but most mornings I continue my quiet time and bible study after laying Haddon back down to sleep.

My men and I begin our day around 7AM. I love listening to them coming down the stairs, and hugging them the first second I see them! I like to cook breakfast, but sometimes they only want cereal. We eat together and read the Daily Light. Coffee is a must.

After Tyler leaves for work, we begin our team work. We clean off the table, empty the dishwasher that washed the dishes the night before, and move the wet clothes into the dryer. We take turns getting dressed for the day. I like it when I remember to play music, and sometimes the music is the boys pretending and laughing.

We begin school with a prayer, thanking the Lord for the privilege to love Him with our mind, heart, soul, and strength because He first loved us. We read books, color pictures, listen to stories, complete our work book pages, and at the end of our almost-hour of formal school, we thank the Lord for a good school day.

It’s only mid-morning … and of course we have a snack! We put on coats and go outside. We might meet friends or run errands.

I like it when we play until lunch time, break for lunch, and then go back to playing. The boys are always re-energized after a good lunch. We pick up our toys + I fold the load of laundry… usually, maybe… we read a story, we slip into bed for a nap. Leland likes to read a big stack of books. I like to rest. or have some dark chocolate. or both. Grafton’s hair curls as he sleeps. My favorite is when I get a nap with Haddon.

Once rest is over, we play! we prep supper! we pace with the baby and greet daddy in the driveway.

Dinner and devotion time is next.. then maybe movie night! perhaps game night! bikes! friends! camp fire! dance party! play and talk and read and color and paint and all of the things we love to do together. We clean up… bath. brush teeth. books. bed our knees in prayer. bed.

whew. we breathe. we smile. we have a couple more hours… of readying for tomorrow. of talking the entire time. of sipping wine and sharing chocolate and being bestest friends. playing guitar and reading the next chapter.

sure – arguments and disagreements, discipline and more arguing are scattered through the schedule. we stray from it and we wrestle with it and we come back together no matter what. messes overwhelm me. I don’t respond to my children the way I know Jesus responds in love to me. I forget the Design; I forfeit His desire. We sin, we confess, we come clean, we start again. Sometimes the entire day is one we are glad to just get through.

but, these are the days. these are them,… and i hope i steward them well… cherish the lives that fill them… glorify the Lord in whatever we are doing… these are the days the Lord has made. we rejoice and we are glad, praising God from whom all blessings flow.

“This is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

life-giving home . january

As promised in the LIVE life Giving Home chat on January here is a little bit more on our January & inspiration I gleaned from the book…

We welcomed Haddon into the world, we celebrated Christmas, we traveled to Greensboro with MPB, and we bumped right into 2017.

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we have a five-year strong family tradition of taking a picture like this on new year’s eve… and i think this year’s is my most favorite yet 🙂

 

As we entered into the new year, we wanted slow. We wanted to snuggle down and sip hot. We wanted to establish our new family’s life together.

We wanted to continue the theme that we began at Advent – Jesus in the Light of the World. So in the dark cold of January, we left our Christmas lights twinkling. We kept up our tree the entire month. I lit candles and strung a few more white lights around the house. The little lights glittered all around our home, filling dark corners with a soft glow. And as I read a picture book to my boys in the morning … and later sipped tea with Tyler after bedtime, Jesus enveloped us with His light. of love, of peace, of life.

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candle lit quiet time
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and the white lights twinkling at night made me know i had nothing to dread…
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a strand of lights tucked into a bowl in our room

As you well-know, friends, I love a good book. For any and every occasion I want to borrow books, buy books, and most especially read books. For the boys this January, I borrowed a pile of book on “snow” from the library, and then purchased two… one on the gifts of winter, and another written and illustrated by one of our favorites, Jonathan Bean.

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Big Snow by Jonathan Bean 

 

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I learn about so many of the good books that I check out from the library through Pinterest.

 

For reading, I kept cozy blankets on the couches, and cozy pillows on beds. I piled books on godly character and all of the children’s bibles and devotion books we have into the boys’ room’s book basket. I thought starting the year with a focus on godly character might be a good idea. 😉

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that fur blanket is my winter-time favorite
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a cozy warm rug for bare feet was a nice addition to hadron’s nursery

 

As we entered into our new normal, I considered the questions Sally asks on page 45 of the January chapter of Life Giving Home. We had a rhythm pre-holiday, pre-very very pregnant, and the biggest task was just getting back to it now that the holidays were past and the baby is here. We wanted wintertime to be a ‘home-time’ so we have tried to keep Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as home-days, with bible study on Tuesday, and Leland goes to CLUBS on Thursday.

When it is sunny and warm, which we have enjoyed a lot of those days this January, we go outside! And when it’s cold and dreary, we eat soup and drink homemade hot chocolate.

It was fun this year because it snowed so shortly after Christmas… which gave our family much desired time together to do nothing. Praise the Lord for His great grace – I was feeling the desire for time together, alone, with nothing to do, but I didn’t know how that was going to happen. Well, the Lord gifted me with snow, and time sequestered in our home, just the five of us.

I love how Sally talks about establishing routines, and I talk a lot about that in the Facebook Live January video. I invite you to watch it and get involved in the discussion.

I’ve been using this monthly calendar free printable & the coordinating weekly to do sheet. I stick it inside my pantry & refer to it almost daily.


At the end of the January chapter, Sally writes, “So plan your days, allow flexibility, and keep moving in the direction of your ideals a little at a time. I believe you’ll see that your intentional investment of time will promote valuable habits in the lives of all those who share your home – you included.” (p 58)

 I couldn’t agree more… So, let’s do this holy homemaking thing together, seeking first His Kingdom, looking to love others well and love Jesus with our all.

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Sally has turned me into a tea drinker – and this one is my current favorite. I add some honey and ooh la la it’s perfect 🙂 What’s your favorite tea?

 

 

 

life-giving home . an invitation

so, I instagrammed this :

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Instagram Post

“If there was ONE book I would recommend to you for 2017 I quickly read this book last spring and loved it – so much in fact I just knew I had to read it again.
This book builds a framework for “home” in part one, builds walls using each month of the year as part two’s chapter headings, and then fills each room with beautiful riches in each page. The solid frame, the sturdy ideas, and the beauty of God and Home on display in this book inspire me to build a house for the love of God and in order to love others, my family, my friends, neighbors, and anyone who may pass by.
For my next few posts, I am going to share with you from this fantastic read. (And say you’re not a reader,.. you’re more of a listener,… Sally has “life-giving home” podcasts.)”

This post led to a bigger idea – I thought, what if I could somehow do a book club of sorts for all of my friends, far and near, from all of the different places and seasons of life that we have become friends… and as I talked with Tyler and we plotted out what this would look like we said, well, let’s try it. Our “try it” on the table let to a flurry of Facebook videos – the first, an invitation, the second, a framework of the life giving home book and the vision set forth in this book, and the third, a video on the month of January …

All with the direct intent to create a life giving home in my own home, to encourage my book club girls to do the same in their own homes, and to engage the possibility of helping to eradicate the homelessness that Sally writes of in a place – Facebook – where often so many of us feel so very isolated. What if we could all be friends – family – home together?  What if we could seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness worked out in our homes, together!? I think – YES! Let’s try it. We can’t fail! After all, we are going after HIM! Jesus, who is Life, who is Home, who is the One to whom we belong.

So come on – join in! Let’s do this together. Let’s read this book – Life Giving Home – together and let’s dream of what it would look like to build a house that is full of riches, and let’s do whatever the Lord reveals to us in our dreams with Him.

And let’s begin at the beginning – January.

 

 

playing house + homemaking

I finally sat down at the end of another day, Tyler smiling at me. I asked him, “You know what I think is hard about this?”… as I sort of gestured at the room… “Your home is your work and your work is your home.”

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When you were a little girl, didn’t you just love playing home? Perhaps you had one of those plastic houses outside where you stirred soup made of water, twigs, and berries. Maybe you had a wooden doll house displayed along the wall of your bedroom where you spent hours upon hours with the tiny beds and even smaller wooden figures. There was even one time where my parents let a friend and me re-paint my bedroom walls! (Daddy had to finish…)
When we were little girls we played house.
And now as big girls, our playing home has become making home.
Making home is hard work. What used to be just play, easily abandoned at the threat of rain or in the need of sleep, has become the constant to do list. You cannot look out the window without noticing it needs to be cleaned. Simply walking up the stairs becomes a discipline in not noticing smudges, dust, and dirt. Laughingly I stated last night, “Our house is just one big smudge!”
You have it all – husband, home, children, you enviably work from home – but what was only play has become your all the time work. And because home and work are in the same place and there is no shift change or “see ya laters” at 5PM, it’s taxing.
If it’s not the housework that gets you, perhaps its the reality of raising your precious children. Your baby doll is actually alive, eating and dirtying diapers and needing a bath. Plus since your baby is real she needs emotional and spiritual care too. The on-call, 24/7 nature of being mom both invigorates -and exhausts – you. (Me too;)
Childs play has become your work and the home that used to be an easy refuge and retreat has become your grown-up responsibility.
Big girl, what are we to do?
Well, there’s a lot of soul work to be done here – we need to be made new. We need new hearts and new minds as we approach our people and our place. And the Lord takes care of that, through His Word and prayer, by the power of His Holy Spirit to the glory of Christ the Savior. He shows us that He is our Home and He is our Rest, Refreshment, and Retreat. He reminds us that the most important Work is done, that it took His life,.. so when we work, we can live & enjoy it.
What does enjoying the work look like? How do we get rest + refreshment under the constant demands of housework and the weighty responsibility of raising children?
>>>Surrendering to His design and His salvation, we engage Him in this renewal work.<<<
Sisters in Christ, in the sisterhood of homemaking and child-raising, I want to share with you some ways that the Lord has taught me to engage Him in my day in and day out. These are some practical ideas for enjoying today, for receiving the soul revival Jesus longs to give us, right where we sit at the end of a long day.
> Rhythm and routine go a long way. Say yes to the reality in front of you and no to what hinders and distracts. Create a skeleton of a schedule and stick to it, so in order to serve your family (not the schedule). Pray about everything, listen to the Lord, and DO what HE says.
> Within the framework of an intentional schedule, you’ll start to notice pockets of time where you can retreat without running away.
> The first pocket you may notice is in the morning before your birdies start chirping at you. A cup of coffee enjoyed in silence while reading scripture and listening to Jesus sing over you will refresh and ready for you the day ahead like no other time away.
> Other mornings it may be that God gifts you with extra sleep. Take it. Receive it. Enjoy it. And when you greet your babies and your husband at the breakfast table, smile at them. and thank them for the extra sleep.
> Then you might find a pocket in the morning to shower (at least once a week or so;). Honestly it’s sad how much I am negatively affected when I feel like my hair doesn’t look good or I think my clothes don’t fit. But when the Lord graciously gives me a shower… oh girl! it lifts me and refreshes me through this simple gift.
>There could be a time in the afternoon to enjoy dark chocolate- a coke – a walk. a neighborhood friend. Even all of these goods together!
> On certain days of the week you might pass a coffee shop,.. friend, go in for a latte. Sip it and remember, Jesus loves you. You are His Child. With littles loud in the back of the car, unraveling your nerves, let Him hold you together, heart, soul, and mind.
> I know I love just going outside at some point in the day. Sure I walk sometimes but mostly it’s simply to breathe fresh air, gaze far, and get some sunshine. I remember He’s big, I’m small, and He’s got me.
> At the end of the day, you might enjoy a cup of tea while the babies sit in the bath. You might put on cozy clothes and finish your housework in candlelight.
> After everyone is tucked in, hug your husband and share a glass of wine. Sit down.
> Thank the Lord for one more day to experience His Sovereign Goodness and Grace… and humbly ask Him for another.
These little-large actions to retreat, to find refuge and refreshment will go a long way as you work in your home, as you care for your children day in and day out. Soul-care will free you to enjoy the play of work and the people He has placed in your stewardship.
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How do you engage His Rest in your day?
In what ways do you stop to listen to Jesus singing His love over you?
What moments of your day do you use to take care of yourself so you can serve others in joy?
I would love to hear from you, sisters. Please share!

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