About

Hi, I’m Courtney! I want to invite you to grow with my family as we tackle everyday life experiences, and strive to see God’s unwavering grace in marriage, parenting, and our own spiritual lives.

Additionally, I’ll post some mouthwatering southern recipes – combined with my go-to “busy mom meals.”

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Creating Traditions

Christmas is such a joyful time of year! I absolutely adore the decorations, chilly weather, holiday cheer, celebrating the babe in a manger, and of course, finding cute stories to share with our little ones!

Reading is such an important part of our children’s lives. We ensure we incorporate story time multiple times throughout the day – and our boys certainly enjoy it (as do we)!With Christmas being a few weeks away, we wanted to implement a fun Christmas tradition to coincide with our dedication to reading with our children! While at the store, Tyler and I each picked out a few books. Our plan was to wrap the books and allow our little J to open one book each week leading up to Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas Eve, we would have a special book (The Night Before Christmas) for him to open with a new pair of pajamas, and one last book to open on Christmas day before bed (an illustrated version of “the Christmas story”). As we discovered all the benefits of reading with our children – we couldn’t help but set special time aside for it!

Below I’ve included a short list with a few major benefits of reading aloud to children.While this is just a few of the many benefits of reading to children, it’s evident that reading is so beneficial to the development of children!

  1. Reading to children helps them develop language skills
  2. Reading aloud increases a child’s vocabulary
  3. Reading aloud helps children develop listening skills
  4. Reading aloud prepares a child to understand written word
  5. Reading enhances a child’s concentration
  6. Reading helps develop a child’s imagination
  7. Reading aloud to a child allows bonding

We enjoy keeping reading fun for our boys, and wanted to find a way to bring some extra excitement to receiving new books. I’m so excited for our newest family tradition! I’d love to hear a tradition your family has implemented!

Hopping on the Bandwagon

It seems silly to admit it! My husband and I actually swore we’d never jump on the keto bandwagon! We didn’t really understand the concept of the diet, and honestly didn’t care too much to follow the newfound fad. HOWEVER, we are so thrilled with the keto diet thus far! Now, we are totally new to this. He’s a few days shy of being a week in, and he’s proud to say he’s lost about 5 pounds already (of water weight we’re assuming as that is generally lost first)!

The past few days we have discovered some awesome recipes! Recipes that I cannot wait to share with you! They are seriously yummy! Listed below is a keto friendly recipe for almond joys! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 Tbsp of full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 Tsp of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup of keto friendly sweetener
  • 4 oz of sugar free chocolate chips
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 24 Almonds

Directions:

  1. Combine shredded coconut, coconut milk, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, sweetener, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Divide mixture into 12 even “logs” and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place baking sheet with “logs” in freezer to allow the mixture to set for 5 minutes.
  3. After the mixture has hardened, press 2 almonds on to the top of each “log.”
  4. Melt chocolate chips being cautious not to burn the chocolate. This should only take a few minutes.
  5. Once the chocolate chips are melted evenly coat each “log” with chocolate. Then place the baking sheet with “logs” back into the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden.
  6. Once hardened – enjoy!

Nutrition information is based on a serving size of one candy and may vary based on the brand of ingredients chosen.
Calories: 96
Fat: 9g
Carbs: 3g
Protein: 2g

Regaining My Parenting Style

Before I became a mom, I was the perfect Pinterest mom. I had parenting completely figured out. My future children would always be well behaved – and they definitely didn’t throw fits! They were early learners, good sleepers, and understood that whatever I fixed for lunch/supper was their only option. However, reality seemed to set in a bit when my first child was born. He refused to ride peacefully in his carseat, absolutely hated sleeping alone (yes, we tried a pack and play, bassinet, crib, tranquilo mat, and even rock and play), and dreaded going into nursery.

As he grew older, we were faced with other challenges I told myself, and others, we would never have with our children. Being the bright child he is, he quickly learned the word no, picked up on our attitudes, begun discovering what foods he didn’t care for – at all, and didn’t enjoy sitting still for any period of time. (I feel it’s necessary to add that overall we were/are very fortunate with how easy going and well behaved our little J is – but these are just a few examples of things we struggled with on our parenting journey).

When my morning sickness kicked in, I felt my “Pinterest mom medal” slip even further away. Our days went from playing outside and enjoying arts and crafts to additional screen time and naps while I tried to stomach the littlest of water and crackers. I felt completely ashamed of my newfound parenting style, along with the negative behavior I felt my son was demonstrating.

However, another child later – and morning sickness free I feel I have finally regained a sense of my desired parenting goal – and we couldn’t be happier. My house finally stays clean (with a few toys thrown about of course), we enjoy time outside again, arts and crafts have been rediscovered, and dare I say my child doesn’t even ask for the tv anymore! Now, our household isn’t perfect. Supper still runs late on occasion. We still have some days when one of us feels a bit moody. We’re still helping our newest addition adjust to life out of the womb. And, somedays we may or may not stay in our pajamas all day – but, that’s okay!

Here’s how we’ve overcome my slump!

  1. SCHEDULES! I cannot stress schedules enough – especially when little ones are involved. We allow a little wiggle room to our schedule, as any day is unpredictable with having two under two. But, overall our game plan is pretty much set in stone for our day. This helps so much because it allows me to stay on top of my house chores, and allows my boys to know what’s happening next in their day.
  2. Accepting reality! Sounds crazy, but seriously, I had to accept that things wouldn’t allows go as planned, and that sometimes expectations aren’t my reality. Meaning, sometimes being a Pinterest mom or a mom I see pictured on Instagram with the perfectly propped house and posed children isn’t reality.
  3. I had to understand that my child is human – and we all have bad days. This was a hard pill to swallow, as I feel it is for most adults, because we want/expect our children to act certain ways. I had this realization a few years back when talking with my nephew about why he received marks at school – but, as the years past, so did this memory. Shortly after being my nephew up I asked how his day was at school. He hesitantly admitted he received quite a few marks that day (generally marks are given for misbehaving/not obeying). When I began discussing it further with him he expressed that he just wasn’t having a good day. And it hit me – we expect so much from kids not even taking into account that they, like adults, have bad days! Now, I don’t feel this justifies being disrespectful or not obeying – but I do feel sometimes it should be taken into account when handling a moody child! So, when my child is extremely irritable or whiney I remind myself of this – which allows me to remain patient. Because, I too, have days when I’m feeling extremely irritable and he has to deal with me!
  4. We turned off the tv during the day! Seriously. I’ve never been a huge fan of screen time. I feel it isn’t very beneficial to their development. And frankly, it waste quite a bit of personal interaction (as do smart phones). So, my husband and I decided to go back to how we always said we’d be – and did away with abundant amounts of tv time. This allows us time to play, be creative, read, and grow our relationship. We don’t miss it – and neither do our children!
  5. And of course, no longer having morning sickness played a huge role in allowing me to regain my parenting style.

As mentioned above, our household isn’t perfect. We still have room for growth – but I’ve accepted that! I feel that as a mom striving for specific parenting goals – accepting the now is a must!

Two under two : bringing home baby G.

When our little J met his baby brother for the first time at the hospital he was in love – and my heart instantly melted! We all knew they’d be the best of friends. However, reality set in that we were the proud parents of two children under the age of two! And though extremely excited, I began to wonder how we were going to tame our circus!

It wasn’t until the following afternoon that we were released to embark on our newest, and wildest adventure. I was so excited to have both my babies together, and could not wait to see how our little J reacted to having baby G home – on his turf.

As we arrived, our little J was finishing up his nap time so that gave us the perfect opportunity to unwind and take a breath before the mayhem really began!

I feel it’s important to add, as parents, we were very fortunate to have had such an easy time with raising our little J. From birth, he was a pretty easy going baby. Latched perfectly for nursing, slept through the night at a very early age, weaned himself at age 12 months, a fast learner, and has always been such a big helper! Though he did throw us for some loops – primarily hating the carseat – overall, we had it pretty easy to say the least! However, I knew bringing a new baby home had the ability to rock his world; and I was anxiously awaiting his response!

Temper tantrums galore! Of course, they weren’t just random melt downs. Generally, it was when he wasn’t able to hold baby G, if he wanted a snack and I thought he wanted a drink, being told he wasn’t able to hold something, etc. However, them being for logical reasons or not – we had once gotten over these fits – and braced ourselves for this regression period.

So, with all this in mind – I’d love to tell you how we handled our first day/night home with two under two!

First things first, expectations. My husband Tyler and I discussed these simple expectations BEFORE we had baby G. These were things we felt we needed to expect upon our arrival home with him. We expected some sort of regression/reaction in our little J. We expected that he could have two different reactions – and discussed how we would handle either reaction. We expected our schedules to be a bit off. (Simple, yet important changes) With doing this, we weren’t completely surprised or unprepared when certain situations (like temper tantrums) occurred. It allowed for a smooth transition, for us all.

Secondly, patience and grace – and a lot of it! Of course, we needed patience and grace with our toddler. But, we also needed it with ourselves and each other. I had my mind completely set before coming home that baby G was not sleeping in our bed! We had coslept with little J – which made this decision a lot easier the second time around! (Not that I didn’t enjoy my baby cuddles. However, the lack of sleep and overall body soreness made parenting one hard – I couldn’t imagine being totally drained trying to parent two under two!) But, that first night came around and exhaustion set in. By 2 am I tiredly crawled into bed cuddling our newborn until later that morning when it was time to start our day. Annoyed with myself because I felt I was starting a very bad habit, I had to allow the grace factor to kick in, and get ready for night two. Patience and grace are key when raising little ones!

Lastly, help and support! Being military makes things a little more difficult when it comes to family/friend involvement because we’re hours away from home. We have been very fortunate to have such great family/friends that have helped out physically and emotionally support wise. I stayed anxious as we waited for the laboring process to begin because our little J had never stayed away from us overnight. We were very fortunate that our sweet pastor’s wife was able to keep little J overnight for us. She has such a nurturing and loving personality that helped calm me when it came time to drop him off. It allowed me to focus on baby G and his delivery instead of worrying the whole time! We were also very fortunate that my mom was able to come stay with us the first few days being back home (though we had many family members offer to come stay upon his arrival, we felt it would be of better assistance to us if we spread out the visits. Doing this allowed everyone personal time with our little family, and also allowed Tyler and I a few days in between visits to get a feel for parenting two under two alone – but, then allowed us that breath of fresh air when more family arrived to pitch in). My mom pitched in, in tremendous ways, when it came to little J, household chores, cooking, and of course cuddles/occasional diaper changes for baby G. Having her present allowed Tyler and I to adjust to having two children, and had someone to pick up our slack (which ultimately allowed me to not overdo it while trying to recover). We had the support/encouragement of local friends who offered to pitch in with laundry, cleaning, or watching either child – and of course offering cuddles. But most importantly, we had the support/encouragement from each other, which I feel makes all the difference when it comes to parenting. We communicated how we were feeling – and encouraged each other when we felt things were going crazy. Tyler primarily focused on little J, as I wasn’t able to pick him up and keep up with him just yet – and he wasn’t able to feed baby G! But, we did switch off between feedings to allow me time to spend with little J. During this new adventure for our family, we wanted to ensure we didn’t just push little J aside because we felt it was/is so important for our relationship with him and for his coping skills that we kept close to our same routine/bonding time. We ensured he received attention/bonding time from each of us separately, but also together (we managed this before his bedtime routine after baby G had been laid down). We also made sure he received bonding time with baby G (which generally ranged in about 10-15 minutes as he was ready to get down and take off). I cannot begin to explain how fortunate we are/have been to have had so much help/support from our family and friends.

Though this new journey has come with some challenges, Tyler and I couldn’t be more thankful for our sweet babies – and all the exciting adventures that await our family! Day one has taught us a lot – and we’re thrilled to continue to learn along the way!

Zuppa Toscana

With fall among us, it’s time to start celebrating with some delicious (and easy to make) soup recipes! This is one of our family favorites! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion , diced
  • 3 gloves minced garlic
  • 1 package (14-ounces) smoked sausage (such as kielbasa – I used Eckrich), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 4 cups torn kale leaves
  • salt and ground pepper , to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 carton (32-ounces) chicken broth
  • 2 cups cow’s milk (I prefer grass fed cow’s milk)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add diced onions, garlic, sliced smoked sausage rounds, kale, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme; stir to combine and cook for 8 minutes (or until onions are translucent), stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in potatoes.
  4. Add chicken broth and milk; bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until potatoes are fully cooked and tender.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  8. Remove rosemary sprig.
  9. Ladle soup into bowls, serve, and enjoy!

Scars or Scabs: Finding Healing

The past few years have been a large leap into adulthood for my husband and I. We’ve been on a fantastic adventure together as newlyweds, new parents, new home owners, and of course – new adults. But on most adventures or journies in life, there happens to be a few stumbling blocks along the way – stumbling blocks that can come in many forms and cause one to be wounded. These stumbling blocks can be identified as family/friend hurt or betrayal, financial struggle, hurt by someone in a ministry, a physical wound from a car accident, etc. While my husband and I haven’t experienced each item listed, we’ve experienced quite a few that have caused us to be taken back. In fact, Monday evening I laid in bed dwelling on one of the wounds we have been attempting to heal from. It’s been on my mind the past few months – and I didn’t feel healing was coming anytime in the near feature. I began to feel resentment toward those involved. For demonstration purposes, we’re going to identify this example as a scab. A scab is something that forms over a wound as it’s trying to heal. However, unlike a scar, which isn’t able to be reopened because it’s fully healed, a scab has not fully healed. It’s still tender to the touch, and can be reopened if bumped or picked at. While laying in bed Monday, I began to pray asking God to help me fully heal from the situation and not to be bitter towards those involved.

The following evening we attended a camp meeting at our church where we heard two awesome preachers deliver what was on their hearts. One of the preachers, Pastor Michael Poindexter, asked us to open our Bibles to John 20:24-29. In this passage, Thomas (often remembered by Christian’s as “doubting Thomas”) did not believe the other disciples had seen Jesus after he was crucified. In verse 25 Thomas states “…Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” From this passage, the word “print” is a stamp or scar. He’s referring to the scar on Christ’s hands from being hung on the cross.

From his study on this passage, Bro. Poindexter presented to us typical reasons for wounds, his five clinical findings for wounds healing, and ways we can use our scars to minister to others.

Typical reasons for our wounds:

  1. Accidental. Not everyone is out to get you. Sometimes one gets hurt unexpectedly or unintentionally.
  2. Necessity. Ones wound could be for the betterment of their health/lifesaving (open heart surgery). But practically speaking, you could be wounded by the loss of a friendship (on different paths) and that’s just something that needed to happen for your bettering. (Personal example: in high school I had the opportunity to serve as a youth leader. I was thrilled. However, a close friend of mine who wasn’t a believer didn’t fully understand the commitment and sacrifices that came with it for me. I didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t party, and overall lived an average Christian teenage life (of course I still struggled with some sins). One year nearing the end of high school my friend felt it was “fun” to do these things on occasion. When I kindly declined to participate she began to pressure me to engage. I knew if I wanted to have any impact in these other teens lives, and help them grow closer to God I couldn’t have this peer pressure riding me. So, I had to make a necessary decision to step back from our friendship. Not rudely, of course. But, you can’t be lukewarm when it comes to walking with Christ.)
  3. Carelessness. I believe we can all relate to this in a number of ways. Ever carelessly engaged in an activity and been injured/wounded? Or, have you ever carelessly gossiped about someone not realizing the person you were gossiping to liked to gossip as well – so it came around to bite you (which I feel it’s important to add here we’re instructed numerous times to use our words for edification and to stay away from someone who cannot bridle his tongue)? These are how wounds happen carelessly.
  4. On Purpose (branding). Teenagers are quite popular for this one. It seems to closely relate to being careless. Except, carelessness isn’t premeditated while this can be. This is basically doing something that could wound you to fit in or allow yourself to be labeled.

Of course, there are numerous ways one can be wounded, these are just a few common ways. Let’s now examine five clinical findings for wounds healing:

  1. The amount of time it takes for a wound to heal depends on the health of the one wounded. (Practical application: the length of time it takes for a wound to heal can depend on a person’s spiritual health. A spiritually healthy person is able to heal at a faster pace because they aren’t battling on their own – they have Christ to turn to/carry them when they feel as though they cannot go any further [Psalm 147:3]. Also, a spiritually healthy person is able to see/understand things differently than someone who has not been grounded in their faith and their studies.)
  2. The amount of time it takes for a wound to heal depends on the severity of the wound. (Practical application: overcoming a traumatic event is tough. But, it’s especially tough if the wound you sustained is severe. The saying “time heals all wounds” has some truth to it. Sometimes, we need a little time for us to heal.)
  3. The amount of time it takes for a wound to heal depends on the tolerance level of the one wounded. (Practical application: we each have a different pain tolerance – and we each are sensitive to different things. There are some who get their feelings hurt very easily, and some who have thick skin. Your tolerance for pain (tolerance emotionally speaking) will play a huge role in how fast you recover. If you’re one who constantly has their feelings hurt because you’re more sensitive, generally speaking, you heal faster. This is because most of your wounds are less severe. Whereas, someone with thick skin who doesn’t get offended or upset easily takes more time to recover once they’re wounded because it takes a harder punch, per se, to wound them.)
  4. The amount of time it takes for a wound to heal depends on the expectations of the one wounded. (Practical application: high expectations=high let downs. It’s such a tough situation when someone you think highly of, or someone who is in a high – authoritative position let’s you down. But, from a Christian stand point, we should expect to have tribulation/be wounded in this world – the Bible is very clear when stating this in John 16:33, 1 Peter 5, and Job 5:7. It’s important to be positive/joyful in life, as this can lead to improved circumstances because it affects one’s mood/behavior. However, it’s equally important to remain/keep realistic expectations because high expectations that do not pan out can be very disappointing and cause quite a wound.)
  5. The amount of time it takes for a wound to heal depends on the outlook of the one wounded. (Practical application: though similar to application 4, this application more refers to ones attitude/outlook after being wounded, whereas, I feel application 4 refers to before being wounded. Cheesy personal example: I had planned for my bachelor’s degree to be completed fall of 2019. For that to happen, I would have needed to take full class loads fall of 2018 (which would’ve been during my third trimester), spring of 2019, and fall of 2019. I felt it was practical because they were easier classes, even being a larger load of credits. However, there was an error/miscommunication with my financial aid and the schools financial aid department creating a need for several documents to be submitted to the school via snail mail. With the method required, the documents wouldn’t have arrived in time and I would have been left paying almost $4,000.00 out of pocket. I’ll admit, the day it happened, I was livid. I saw my graduation date getting pushed back before my eyes and I felt the school’s financial aid department didn’t do their job adequately. Reluctantly, I decided to take a step back and reexamine the situation. Once I did, I was so thankful my financial aid fell through because that gave me the ability to fully devote my time and energy to my husband and little one before our lives became a bit busier having two under two. It’s all about your outlook. Why dwell on things out of your control, or things in the past? It happened – focus on the positives! I find encouragement throughout the Bible – but I find Proverbs 17:22 to be a fantastic reminder about our outlook.

Now that we’ve examined ways to overcome/heal our wounds – it’s important to note that once our wounds are fully healed (scars) and no longer scabs we have the ability to help others!

As we continue to read from the passage, we see in verse 27 where Christ allows Thomas to touch/see his scarred hands/side. When Jesus shows Thomas his scars, Thomas’s faith is strengthened and he begins to believe. How marvelous is it that Jesus took this opportunity to bring glory and strengthen his faith instead of turning someone away!

How our scars can act in ministering to others:

  1. Our scars move other’s suspicious hearts. As Christians, we find comfort in reading God’s word. However, sometimes others (or non-believers) might be moved more by seeing scars from your wounds Christ has healed verses hearing/reading from Biblical examples in God’s word (it’d be more personal to them). Their mentality might be similar to, “if God was capable to get them through that, He can get me through this.”
  2. Our scars reveal the Savior (Luke 24:13-14; 30-35; Galatians 6; Acts 16:22-33). “Our healed wounds reveal that God walks with us and can heal/restore us.”
  3. Our healed wounds can calm fears of saints (Luke 24:36-40). Sometimes life bogs us down – even if you’re strong in your faith. As a Christian, I find it to be so encouraging to see a fellow Christian give glory to God after they have endured rough waters. Similar to example 1, personal experiences can have such a huge impact in the life of other’s!

It is my prayer that regardless of which stage in the healing process you’re at, you have found this post to be beneficial!

Understanding Marriage

As I was discussing some futuristic plans with my brother, it seemed that God had placed my family in this new church we had been visiting at just the right moment. We began visiting another local church at the start of a series on the family. Personally, I absolutely love series on the family – as I feel I always have room for improvement and thrive from reminders of my roles from time to time. However, this time I had another reason to take notes and pay closer attention – my brother. So, I’m here to present to you our advice we had given to him and his fiance in hopes of it being beneficial to you.

4 Key Tips to Marriage:

  • Before you commit – understand love

Throughout your relationship/marriage, you might not “feel” like showing love or compassion to the other person. But keep in mind love IS NOT an emotion. Love is an action that produces emotions. Love is a choice. In the English language we have one word for love – which we often overuse for food, cars, experiences, and people. However, in Greek there are 4 words for love (three of which are found in the original Greek text).
1) Agape love: ” selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Agápē, and variations of it are frequently found throughout the New Testament. Agape perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus Christ has for his Father and for his followers – God gives this love without condition, unreservedly to those who are undeserving and inferior to himself. ” Agape love is found throughout the New Testament in verses like John 3:16.
2) Eros love: physical form of love, lust, sexual emotions. This form of love will not sustain a relationship because it is based solely on emotion and based off appearances. The basic idea of this love is self satisfaction (ex: I love you because you make me happy – based off what the person can do for you). Eros love looks for what it can receive – a love most worldly relationships steam from. Eros love is not found in the Bible.
3) Philos love: brotherly love, friendship. This Love speaks of affection, fondness, and liking. Philos love is used in the New Testament (Romans 12:10).
4) Storage love: based off one ‘s own nature, a natural affection, love between husband and wife, and family members. In the New Testament storage love appears with the prefix “a” which shows the negative form and means without this love. It is translated in Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3 as unloving ( “without natural affection” ).

  • Go into marriage understanding divorce IS NOT an option.

Statistically speaking, about 50% of marriages end in divorce. 2 Timothy 3 sums up the reasoning for this. However, the Bible is clear – marriage is a life long commitment (Mark 10:2-12 [you can find these scriptures paralleled in the other gospels]). If you are both in agreement that divorce is not an option, when rough waters are taking you under, it should NEVER be mentioned (even out of anger).

  • Know Your Roles

Most people turn to self help books to define what a wife should be, or how to be a better husband, etc. However, the Bible clearly outlines all we need to know about marriage – and one of those things being outlined is roles. Each person has a role and if we do not fulfill our role or try to overstep and take on another person’s role we are not only being undoctrinal, but we aren’t allowing God’s intent of marriage to be fulfilled.
ROLES:
1) Wife – SUBMIT to your OWN husband (Ephesians 5:22-24; 33, 1 Peter 3, Colossians 3:18).
• Submit: rank under, obey. Recognize Husband is over her and RESPECT him (Genesis 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:12). A women is to be ruled over not to degrade her, but to protect her (1 Peter 3:7)
• A wife is to submit unto her husband because it is right, not because he deserves it. There is no qualifier for your submission (Epesians 5:22). Regardless of your husband’s spiritual level, the Bible says you are to submit
2) Husband -LOVE your OWN wife (Ephesians 5:25-33, 1Peter 3, Colossians 3:19)
• Love your wife even as Christ loved the church – selflessly (Acts 20, Romans 5:8)
• Love her into a better relationship with God – “tantrums, lectures, and arguing will never do what the Spirit of God can do. Allow God to make her into what she is to be by loving her.”
• Your job is to LOVE not to DICTATE
• Nothing we can do will ever separate us from God’s love, so NOTHING should ever separate your wife from your love.
Ways to love your wife:
1. Consideration: listen and learn, be understanding
2. Compassion: help your wife, share her workload
3. Communion: heirs together, one is not more spiritually important

  • Marriage is between ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN

Let me say that again, marriage is between ONE man and ONE woman. NOT a man, a woman, his mama, her mama, siblings, aunts, best friends, etc (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31-33). When you marry, your obligations, time, heart, body, EVERYTHING belongs to your spouse. What father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, etc. feels/thinks you need, should do, or should go is completely irrelevant to your marriage. Don’t misunderstand this, you are still obligated to honor your parents – but that’s the extent of that. A terrible pit one can fall in is discussing marital issues with someone besides their spouse – this is a VERY dangerous thing to do. Yes, occasionally you’ll feel the need to vent, but do so very carefully as a husband is known by the things his wife says and does (Proverbs 31:21). Likewise, a wife is known by remarks and actions of her husband. If you have marital issues you feel cannot be worked out solely between the two of you – seek unbiased Godly counsel (1 Kings 2:6-19).

Marriage is a beautiful thing. It’s a lovely illustration of God’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:21-33). When we follow His plan for marriage, and ensure we keep to our carefully designed roles – your marriage can be more than a statistic.

Prayer

As I was laying in bed, scrolling through Pinterest, I scrolled past a few quotes – and conviction set in. PRAY(ER). As Christian, we tend to use this word (or phrase) loosely. Rather it’s on social media, or in person to a friend expressing a struggle they’re dealing with – our go to response is “I’ll pray for you.” (Which is absolutely fantastic and 100% needed – if we actually follow through and don’t allow our words to be empty.)


To “pray” is defined as:

“to address the Supreme Being with solemnity and reverence, with adoration, confession of sins, supplication for mercy, and thanksgiving for blessings received.”


The word “pray” is found in the Bible 313 times (245 in the Old Testament – 85 times in the New Testament). We see verses before Jesus was crucified of Him spending time in Prayer (Hebrews 5:7, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12, Mark 6:46, & numerous others) and we, even today, are instructed to pray (Matthew 6:5-13, Ephesians 6:18, James 5:13, Mark 11:24, Matthew 5:24, and Phillipians 4:6-7 are just a few). But, how is your prayer life? For me, this was a stomach wrenching question. As a child, I always found it easier to pray. I wasn’t as dependent upon myself and I had that “childlike faith.” Today however, I find it more difficult to “die to self” and fully surrender to God. Please don’t mistake what I’m saying, I have surrendered my life to God, and I’m very dependent on Him – but what I’m trying to convey is the difficulties I face with making prayer a priority – and ensuring I’m not “us[ing] vain repetitions, as the heathen do…” (Matthew 6:7a).

So, after reading those few quotes from Pinterest I decided to open my Bible app and read through a verse I had seen earlier. I don’t know about you, but I like to know the context in which the verse is being used, so I generally read a few verses above and below my key verse to ensure I’m fully understanding it’s meaning. With my app opened to Matthew 6, I couldn’t just read those few verses – and I’m glad I didn’t because it excited/encouraged me to revive my prayer life! Now I cannot wait to begin my new prayer journey! And I’d love to invite you to come along! Start Now!


read: Phillipians 4:4-9 & Mathew 6:5-13

Challenge: shift your prayers from solely ‘you’ focused – to thanking God & praying for others before your self

(Start with your thumb)

Marriage: Love, Communication, & Forgiveness

It was one of those days. You know, where you just feel like you woke up in a terrible mood for really no reason. I felt absolutely exhausted. The day seemed to drag out with each of our son’s naps seeming forever away. These are the times I’m extra thankful to have such a selfless and devoted husband/father. Yet, even though I know how thankful I am for him, today I wasn’t really feeling like showing how thankful I am. I just wanted to be left alone – with no responsibilities. I felt argumentative – and didn’t have a desire to uphold any sense of respect. So, I decided to let my feelings dictate my behavior.

As the day progressed, something had to give – and my husband couldn’t agree more. So, we communicated. We discussed our day, our expectations of one another, and asked for forgiveness. Boxing gloves aside (figuratively speaking), my husband empathized with me and we hit the refresh button. Ashamed that I let my feelings dictate my behavior, I began to ponder how absolutely thankful I am for my husband. A husband who loves me the same on my best days as he does my worst. He has a love for me that’s not solely based off of feelings. How luckily am I? So, after we tucked our little one in – we set down with hot cocoa for our date night and took the time to discuss ten things we’re thankful for about the other person. When was the last time you sat down and really thought about all the good you see in your spouse? It can be such a game changer.

Here’s my list of ten characteristics I’m thankful my husband possess (not in any order and certainly not all I’m thankful for!):

  1. Selflessness (He always puts us first. He’d rather do without instead of us.)
  2. Hardworking
  3. Handy
  4. Willing to admit when he’s wrong (ask for forgiveness)
  5. Playful (he makes life so fun!)
  6. Gentleman (after almost two years of marriage he’s still opening my doors, helping me down the stairs, doesn’t eat until I take a bite, stands when I come to the table, etc)
  7. Bible knowledge (leader)
  8. Takes initiative (in housework or anything that needs to be done)
  9. Forgiving
  10. Sense of humor

Some days we just have off days. Maybe it’s from exhaustion, maybe we just woke up in a bad mood. When we decide to let our feelings dictate our behavior and control our day – it can throw a wrench in your relationship with others. However, communication and forgiveness is key. Also, don’t forget to take time to sit back and really meditate on the good characteristics your spouse possess.

“May your chief ambition in marriage be to love and forgive your spouse as you are loved and forgiven in Christ.”

Behind the High-Chair: Our Take on Baby Led Weaning

If you’re wanting to push those jars of baby food and purée machines to the side, baby led weaning (BLW) may be for you. BLW is not a new concept, yet its recently begun to receive a lot of hype. First things first, BLW is not a way to wean your child off breast milk/formula but is instead a way to wean your child onto table food. With doing so, you’re allowing your child to self feed – making him in charge of how much, how fast, and what (of the foods you’ve provided on his tray) he eats. It is recommended that a parent waits until their child is six months to began BLW – And I have to say I strongly agree! Introducing foods before six months increases the chances of allergies. Our first pediatrician gave us the okay to began introducing food to our child a week shy of five months. Our son was interested so I didn’t see the harm in doing so! However, he had a reaction to almost everything – bananas, sweet potatoes, apples, etc. luckily, shortly before he turned seven months we reintroduced those same foods with no issues! Let me give a disclaimer here – BLW comes with a mess! Primarily on your floor. BUT the benefits of BLW are totally worth it to us! So, let’s talk about those benefits!

Benefits:

  • It helps develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, chewing skills, and dexterity
  • BLW follows the babies cues rather than the parents – which develops healthy eating habits because your child is able to self-regulate (unlike with spoon feeding because parents are able to continually sneak those bites in even when baby is showing signs of being full. Doing so hinders a baby’s ability to gauge when they’re truly full)
  • It allows babies to explore a wide variety of smells, textures, colors, and taste
  • Encourages parents to include baby in mealtime (we love having our little one sit at the table with us – and he certainly enjoys it too!)

But before you start handing your little one some yummy food, let’s discuss some precautions!

  • Please be sure you know/understand what to do in the event that your child is choking.
  • Don’t enter panic mode! Know/understand the difference between choking and gagging.
  • When prepping food for BLW, be sure to cut the food into long (but skinny) pieces. This allows the infant to easily grasp the food with their hand, but will not be too thick of pieces in the event of a piece breaking off in their mouth
  • Avoid basic choking hazards (grapes, raisins, hotdogs, popcorn, raw veggies, nut butters, etc)

Here’s a few awesome BLW starter foods!

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Cooked and peeled apples
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Soft cooked carrots

If spoon feeding is what you are most comfortable – don’t abandon it all together. Slowly transition into BLW by spoon feeding lumpy purées (lumps will encourage the child to begin chewing) before or after finger foods. Regardless if you decide to stick with puréed foods, or finger foods it’s important to allow your child to participate with feeding early on. (Allow your child to guide the spoon to his mouth with or without your help).

Happy Feeding!

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