My Favorite “Mommy” Verse

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God Daily Bears Us Up

Some people may think I’m a good Mommy, but my husband and few friends understand what a struggle it is for me every day of the week.  I thrive on quiet and peace and I’ve been given two toddlers who love to scream and they giggle really loud and they say “hi mommy” 50 times in a row.  I wouldn’t change them or trade them for anything.

So, here is what I say to myself often – and I need to say to myself more:

“Bless the Lord who daily bears us up.” Psalm 68.19

Bless – praise, thank, admire, worship

the Lord – Jesus, God – the one who created everything including you and your children

Who: he is the one who does it!

Bears – gives strength

Us – you, me, anyone who will call upon his name

Up – he keeps us from falling.

The rest of the verse goes on to say that God is our salvation.  God is more than just your provision (Jesus) out of hell.  But God is your salvation every single day!

So, if you are like me and struggle in your mommyhood role – know that crying out to the Lord is such a source of help.  He will bear you up because He is faithful at his word!

Grace and Peanut Butter and Chocolate

grace peanut butter and chocolate

I’ve already reviewed this book for Crossway and I stand behind everything I say.  But, in this post I want to encourage (mostly Moms) yall from some of the highlights that I read.  I’m grateful for Gloria’s writing, examples, and Christ-centered encouragement to other moms in the world.  Many things I could relate to – and no matter what stage of mothering you are in, I’m sure you can to.

“It’s tempting to view everyday life merely as a monotonous cycle of making the beds on to be in them again.” (63)

Don’t let life be mundane to you.  I know we have to clean and cook dinner and change diapers and run car pool.  But, don’t be ok with that.  That is when life gets boring and we get discouraged.  Make fun things happen, change your attitude – don’t live there.

“Controlling my circumstances wouldn’t fill the void in my soul.  You can’t organize your way into communion with God.” (78)

I see this in myself a lot today.  My littler toddler is sick.  I can’t take them anywhere I normally go because he would be around children and I don’t want him to get others sick.  So we are at home.  In a small townhome, all day.  Well, I can’t control that.  Now I can either apply the gospel or live in a bad mood the rest of the day until they go to bed?  It is choice!

“God is greater, more powerful, and more mysterious than we could ever dream, and it will take an eternity for him to reveal to us his magnificence.” (92)

God is our reward – not the perfection of heaven.  He is infinite and no matter how much we seek to know him on this side of his presence – we will never know him fully – because He is inexhaustible.

“Our craving for admiration is diluted and the praise of others is muffled as we serve with the strength God supplies.  Why would we take credit for the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives?” (105)

This is an area of biggest struggle for me.  God is the one who does the work and needs to get all the praise for it.

“I need God’s grace and something baked with peanut butter and chocolate.” (138)

Perhaps my favorite line in the book!

“I forget that homemaking is not primarily about my personality; it is primarily to adorn the gospel because the grace of God has appeared.” (155)

Another one of those needed statements that I will need to think through.

This book is highly marked up and I’m shipping it out today to a friend who will also love this book.  There are many other things I highlighted that I’ve talked about with friends or my husband because they bring up too much hurt from past relationships.

Mom – keep pursuing the gospel in your parenting!  God has got this!  Be encouraged!


Updated: Mother’s Day Photo Session

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Bless Mommy Photo Sessions

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching.  And what Mom wouldn’t want an evening to get a pampering package and have a photo shoot done?  To get clothes on that aren’t spit up on, dusty from cleaning the base boards, or have grass stains from cheering for their favorite baseball players?  Or maybe grease stains for cooking aren’t really her thing?

What better gift than a photo package?  In the month of April and May, I have 4 slots for your favorite mother to get pampered.

She’ll receive:

An hour photo shoot on location of her choice (in Little Rock)

3 printed photos of her choice

CD with 20 edited photos

A gift bag featuring some local Arkansas goodies that will help her feel pampered and special.



$60 for everything listed above.

Are you in?  Do you want to get this for your wife/mother of your children?  Do you want to ask for this from your husband?

As a mommy of two young ones myself, I look forward to making you feel special as a Mommy with beautiful photos and some extra-special goodies.

Email me @ or on social media


The Mommy Laws

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Freedom in Christ – to Christ, really – is a major theme in my devotional life this year.  I’ve seen God bring it to my attention time and time again.  Even as I was reading in 1 John this morning and thinking through some of Kimm Crandall’s book Christ in the Chaos, the theme came to the forefront.  So, I wanted to talk about freedom from something – the Mommy Laws.

As a relatively new mom (I have two under 18 months), these laws are something that are new to me personally, but not something I was completely oblivious to before I became a mom.  You may be asking yourself, “What are the ‘Mommy Laws’?”  There may not be a written code organized by any governing authority, but there are many unwritten laws that change from community to community, family heritage to family heritage, and mommy to mommy.  First let me say, the Mommy Laws I am talking about are not in the Bible.  They are not infallible or inerrant.  The Bible talks about the privileges of being a Mommy and how we are to point our children to Christ.

Here are a few of the ideas that can be construed as Mommy Laws – but even though you may not struggle with any of these, I’m sure you have some of your own:

Diapers will only last until your child is potty-trained.  Do you cloth diaper or use disposable diapers?  Does it really cost less to do one or the other, or do you do it based on convenience or how much you want to protect the environment?  In some cultures and communities, what a mom decides on this one topic can allow her to be included or excluded in some play groups.

What you feed your child is not the most important thing.  Breastfeeding works for some and not for others.  But, whether you use the breast or the bottle or a little bit of both or when you start feeding table food and if it’s organic or grain fed or local – doesn’t matter.  It is choice.  Yes you do need to think about what you give your child to eat because all we eat or drink should be done to the glory of God.

Education is a choice.  I know of a pastor and his family who decide each year, based on the life of their family and the personality and needs of each individual child, what schooling they will do that year.  There are some Christian cultures that will not let you be a part of it unless you homeschool.  There is wisdom in knowing what schooling option will be best for your family.  You can still practice the art and obedience of Deuteronomy 6 no matter what schooling option you choose.

Skinny Jeans will go out of style.  You don’t have to wake up every day and look like you stepped out of a magazine.  You don’t have to lose all your baby weight by your child’s first birthday.  You don’t have to take selfies with your hair all done and makeup perfectly applied – or feel horrible that you don’t do that.  Neither of these make you a better mom.

SAHM is not a bad word.  But, being a working Mom is ok now too.  I know many moms who work outside the home and still make their families their top priority.  I know women in the homes all day who don’t make their families their top priority.  The Bible is not explicit as to what to do.  The only thing it is clear on is that Mothers and wives are to make their homes and their families their top priority.  Side note: the Bible is clear that one of the main priorities of the husband is to provide for his family.  But, there may be seasons that the wife has to work part time or even full time for a season in extreme circumstances.  God will give you family and you must be led of the Holy Spirit in these matters.  Counsel from elders or other godly friends will spur you on to love and good deeds.

Ok, still some of these Mommy Laws may not make sense.  Allow me to broaden it.  The Mommy Laws are anything you feel you must do, pressures put on you from external societal norms or internal focus, that says, “If I do ______, then I will be a good Mom.”  It is a form of legalism and idolatry.  Neither of which belong in a Christian’s life.

The Mommy Laws

So, how do we break our bondage to sin with strict adherence to these Mommy Laws?  The good news is that the bondage has already been eternal won for us.  Christ, with his perfect life, death on the cross, and miraculous resurrection, paid the penalty to free us from the captivity to sin.  Now, we must stand firm in that, believe God in what He says, and live life according to our newfound freedom.

Worship.  Sit down and pray about being a mommy.  Meditate and praise that God gave you the ability and this time to be your child’s mother and how much of an amazing ministry and privilege that you have.  Confess your weakness and how prone you are to living in bondage to these Mommy Laws.  Pour out your heart to the Lord who made you and knows you.  He knows what’s in your heart anyway, but it is so good to hear yourself say it (or see it written).

Make a list.  What are the Mommy Laws that you adhere to?  What laws are you in bondage to?  What do you cling to that makes you think you a better mommy than those who don’t do as you do?

Pray over that list.  I would encourage you to sit down with your husband and ask him about this list.  Does he notice that you feel horrible if your list is not met at the end of each day, or does he notice a sense of failure in his bride?  It would be totally freeing to rip up your list.  Not throw out everything, but pray that the Lord would right your heart in relation to the items or laws on that list.  The very last verse in the little letter of 1 John says “keep yourselves from idols.”  This comes after many verses about what identifies us as true children of God.  Obviously, we are commanded not to have idols as believers.  These Mommy Laws are a form of legalism, which is idolatry.  Something we do is going to make us a better person, a better mommy, make my child a better child, or earn better standing in my church, culture, or even to God himself.  Idolatry is a matter of the heart.

Claim your freedom.  After you have talked with God, talked with your husband, even gotten friends to hold you accountable to the laws on your list… Friend – claim your freedom.  Believe God when he says that he freed you from working for your salvation.  Nothing you can do or don’t do will earn you a better standing before His throne.  And it shouldn’t matter in your community either.  In Colossians 2 Paul starts talking about the fact that we are alive to Christ – but then follows it by commanding the Colossian believers not to let anyone disqualify them by secondary issues.

These Mommy Laws are most definitely secondary issues.  These are not gospel issues.

Here are ways to live in truth:

Believe God that he sent Jesus to free you from the bondage to these.


In the midst of your chaos, choose to fight the lies of Satan with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God – knowing that your position in Christ as a Sister, a daughter of the Most High King, is not determined by your adherence to your list of Mommy Laws.

Encourage others who are in a similar situation as you are.  Don’t put outrageous expectations on her but encourage her to love the Word, seek Jesus, and do what she can to love her family and her Jesus.

Encourage Moms-to-be.  I love Moms on either end of the spectrum regarding the “Mommy Laws” I talked about above.  So, talk about your story, share ideas with expectant moms, especially if they ask, but don’t force your way of life on her.  Encourage her creativity and freedom in Christ to love her children well.

Don’t compare.  I spend a lot of time on social media.  Looking at Instagram and Pinterest and other blogs will mostly encourage creativity and foster a desire to do and be and live and love.  But there are some days that it fosters a discontent heart.  On those days, I don’t throw out the computer or quit doing anything with social media.  I pray.  I write.  I look into the face of my husband and little boys and see their blue eyes and dimples staring back at me…and love them and pray for God to work in my heart.  Thankful on those days for verses like 1 John 3.20, “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart!”  Thankful that He knows my heart and He is the only one who can change my heart in regard to these Mommy Laws.


Sing and worship and stand in freedom.  God is not the Mommy Law police, and neither are we.

Living the Extraordinary Ordinary

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This is definitely coming out of a real place that I am right now and learning how to think through the life I’ve been given. It is also coming out of almost 3 weeks stuck in the house with two littles who love to be outside (the older one especially), but it’s been too cold to go outside and stay healthy (which is important)!
All three of my men are the joys of my life. I love them: cooking for them, reading them books, tickling them while changing their diapers (well, the youngest two). I love sitting on the couch at the end of a long day with my Mister. I love it when he walks in the door and gives me a kiss. I love listening to the littles sounds as they learn to communicate.
But, there are also little pleasures in my life as well – that don’t take away from my loves of my boys but helps me explore other avenues and gifts that God has given me. So, here are some things that I am learning.
1. Be content. The Mister and I were talking about the budget this morning. God has graciously provided everything we need for our health and enjoyment. Mister provides wonderfully for our family and we are being obedient with our finances. I must remember Philippians 4 and the verse that says do not grow weary in doing good.
2. Have fun in the every day. I love baking – so I need to bake more for my littles. I love Elijah’s face when he bites into a yummy cookie. Why not make some Walmart Crack Cookies and sit there with him on the floor with a sippy cup of nice warm milk right before his afternoon nap time or bedtime for that matter?
3. Don’t compare your life with others. I know moms of two or more who live in NYC or the PNW or the coastal cities (near a beach) who surf, sit down at sidewalk cafes, ride bikes through curvy mountain roads, play in creeks, etc. I can’t compare my life with theirs. I can’t compare my life with others who live here around me. I must live the life that God has given me.
4. Take delight in the ordinary. God is gracious to give us the every day. The every day that He has planned for us. We are to rejoice! He has given it to US!
5. Dream. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dreaming. Dreaming inspires me. Dreaming helps me to look forward to things. Not to take away from today, but to look forward to next year when our boys our older and we can do ore exciting things with them (like learn to ride a tricycle or buy a wagon they can both ride in)! Dream in color!
6. What works for me is to take great delight in my children, love on my husband, but also have other things that I love to do. Here are mine: writing (this blog and other articles and ebooks that are an encouragement to my soul and hopefully an encouragement to you who read them), take photography (so I have random photo sessions but I also take tons of photos of my boys, the food I cook on a daily basis, and our home. I love to send mail. Decorating little packages and thinking of others makes me happy. I can’t wait till the boys are old enough to write or color and we can add pictures to the care packages and they can write their own thank you notes. Cook. I love to cook and be creative with foods. I will be doing the Ladies Luncheon at our Missions Conference next month at church. It is a great way for me to use my creative food juices! I love to travel: so my husband sees to it that we get away occasionally so we can do that together. In April we will incorporate some of those together when we go to Louisville, hang out with friends, do some photo shoots, attend the CBMW National Conference (and photograph that), and play at new places with our littles. Finding ways to decorate our home is something I’m taking delight in and that is something new for me. It is fun. I love to read: so I read on my own time, and spend some time weekly to read to our boys and do a series of how to read to children with the gospel in mind.
So, find delight. Live your extraordinary life. Team with your husband to conquer the days that are never-ending and hard. Praise the Lord for the the joy of raising Littles. God delights in our delight.

W&BT Found in Him Week 3

Moms, the Word, and Worship

This is a little late in coming because we were trying to get our home back in order after being gone for two weeks.  Its gets harder when you have more clothes to wash (2 little boys and 2 weeks of travel).  I definitely thought this was the richest chapter yet and it met the rest of my life as I was reading it.  Here are my top thoughts from reading chapter three.

1.  Sometimes I wish I had said something.  I would never think to refer to the Incarnation – and all the parts of the whole – as an “exquisite mystery”.  Maybe this is why I like Elyse so much.  She knows how to pen her thoughts in beautiful packages.  I was telling my Mister tonight about how the Incarnation seems to be getting more mysterious to me the more I read this book and think upon that doctrine.  What parts are more of a mystery to you?  The fact that he was God?  Or the fact that He was human.  For me, its that He was human.  But, for me, all I need to know is written in the Word so that I might know Him – and in eternity I will know Him more.

2.  This is specifically for moms: do you ever feel like no one knows what your days are like?  Like no one really knows you or your trials?  Like no one knows what you go through loving on your kids each day (and pulling bubble gum out of hair and peeling spaghetti noodles from the wall and scrubbing marker off of the baseboards?  This was very encouraging to me: Jesus lived his whole life in faithful obedience – all 33 years – not just the three in public ministry.  “if our understanding of his work pauses after a brief celebration in Bethlehem to resume only at his baptism in the Jordan, we rob ourselves of the comfort that his whole life of isolation, obscurity, and obedience are meant to bring us.  Generally ignored, he toiled without complaint, suffering humbly.  He wasn’t merely treading water.  Jesus’ life of ordinary (yet spectacular) obedience changed everything.  He needed to live a full life of joyous obedience in order to save us.  He grew from blissful innocence to tested holiness in the crucible of daily life.”  How is God shaping you and perfecting you in the crucible of daily life.  My mentor and I have been talking about this the past few days.  Knowing there is great reward in the daily – seek faithfulness and the glory of God.

3.  God’s Word is reliable.  Elyse says that – we can believe it.  We can believe in the Bible’s reliability not because Elyse says it – but because God says it.  Jesus knows the Word.  He spoke the Word while He was on earth.  God-breathed was the Word that he was quoting in the wilderness – and in many other instances in his earthly life.  God gave it to us as a means to know Him – let us love this reliable word.

4.  “The Lord Jesus had a practiced habit of exclusive worship of his Father.”  Another one of those quotes I wish I had penned.  What do you in the ordinary?  How do you live your life daily?  Do  you wait for a trial to come before you pray?  Do you wait until you need an answer before you read the Word?  Do you wait till you have a Bible study lesson to prepare before you dig into the Scriptures?  When trials come – what do you have to cling to?  If you are in the practiced habit, like Jesus was, of daily walking with God, His and our Father, then your life will demonstrate that as you face the trials that all of use are going to face in this life.

5.  “Recall the perfect obedience of the Son in your place and go on your way in faith.”  There is an age old discussion about faith and works.  What the Bible clearly says is that salvation comes through Christ alone – by faith alone (and that faith is a gift not of ourselves) and then we are to walk in the good ways that God has for us.  So often though as believers, when we are failing and struggling in sin, our minds battle with our assurance of salvation.  If we constantly look inward and look to ourselves and our good works as a measure of our salvation – we will never be sure of it.  Because we will always be failing.  We must look to, rely upon, and rejoice in the perfected work of Christ.

Happy reading!

Young Moms, Care for Your Souls

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Young Moms Care for Your SoulsGood morning young moms. If you are any like me this morning, you are coming off a night of little rest, or a day that was very hectic yesterday. I hope that this post is an encouraging read to you – in what might be a trying and busy time.
Let me talk about the title before we get started, please. Young Moms – this post is written to any mother, no matter her age, and no matter the age of her kids. Because I’ve learned that parenting trials don’t stop when your young ones start sleeping through the night! Can I get an Amen?!
Care For Your Souls – by this I am talking about more than just your spiritual side, although that is most important. God created our souls, but he also created the rest of us, too. He created our physical bodies as well as giving us a personality, hobbies, desires, etc.
And one last thing…if you are married and doing this parenting thing together, please talk about this with your husband, just as I have done with mine on numerous occasions. Let him hear your needs and how you are doing – where you are struggling, what your joys and fears and hobbies are. Then see if any of these ideas (or any that have been stirred in you by reading this post) would be able to work for your family.
Here we go:
1. Take time each day to read the Word. I don’t mean long drawn out times in the Word (for this first one). I mean doable, short times where you can focus your thoughts on the Word of God – our center. This may mean different times or places depending on the age of your children. You may have to take a longer shower and listen to the Word read as you take one. You may have to keep a Bible on the back of the toilet to read. You may do it while waiting in the car at a practice of one of your children or in the carpool line. You may read it in the quiet of your bedroom while the rest of the house is still quiet. You may read it on your iphone as you are feeding your newborn (which is what I often do). Wherever and whatever time – read the Word.
2. Take longer times to meditate on the Word. What has worked well for us is on Friday mornings, my husband’s day off, I go to Panera and spend time in the Word, journaling prayers for him, writing my thoughts on some passages I’ve read, or reading devotional books. Whatever helps you practice more of the art of meditation – longer times thinking about what you have read. Please do it.
3. Retreat. Maybe there is a women’s retreat at your church or a church nearby. Maybe you go away with a mentor or a dear friend and just spend time recharging for the wknd. Our church had a women’s retreat. This spring there is a women’s retreat at another church in town. For my last birthday, my husband sent me away on a beach wknd with my mentor. We spent time in the Word, time journaling, but also time just eating, conversing, walking around, looking at trees and sitting by the beach.
4. Exercise. I honestly think that this goes a lot further than just slimming your waist line. Many moms I know, no matter how old their children are, want to lose weight, tone up, run longer, have more energy, etc. Exercising can help with all of that. After having two babies in two years, I desperately need to work on this one this year. But, it also is very refreshing. When I am out walking at Two Rivers or doing a power yoga video while the children are asleep – it helps my focus, my stamina, and gives me energy for the rest of the day. And it helps my jeans fit better or that special dress for date night! God delights when we take care of our bodies as He created them to be.
5. Spend alone time with your husband. There was hopefully more reasons you got married than just to have children, though that is an awfully cute reason! Go out on dates. Set aside budget money to hire babysitters or pay for these little dates. Plan in-home date nights for chilling together once the kids are asleep. One of our faves is having popcorn that my husband pops (jerk seasoning and fresh cracked pepper) and an NCIS episode (we are just starting season 10).
6. Hang out with other Moms. Most of my girlfriends, whether close or far away, are new moms. Or newish moms. Hang out with these Moms, have play dates, have mom day out groups that take turn watching the children. But, also hang out with veteran moms. They can encourage you to press on!
7. Enjoy a hobby. I love to read, write, and do photography. So, I spend time blogging and writing when the children are asleep (or laying here laughing in front of me on the bed, kicking the ipad). Or I read in bed before I crash at night. Or I read them a book while we are playing upstairs. I will take my camera with me wherever we go – so if I see pretty nature or smiles on my boys’ faces I can capture the moment! What are your hobbies? Knitting, card making, cooking special desserts – do them! Use nap times wisely, or try to get an hour or so when your husband is home so you can do these things you enjoy. I really think God desires us to find our Joy in Him but he gives us great gifts like hobbies to thank him and give our joy back to him.
8. Get coffee. Ok – sometimes we just need time to stare blankly off into space. Sometimes you need someone to come watch your children just so you can drink caffeine and do nothing. Oh, what a blessing this is! I encourage you to do it. Whether it’s coffee, teas, smoothies, a cookies, etc. Allow yourself some times like this.
9. Take a shower. My husband knows that one of the things I do mostly at night now is take a shower. Showers are very recharging and relaxing to me – but not when I’m concerned about hearing kids crying. So, I wait until my husband is home and our oldest is in bed for the evening. I probably waste too much water, but it allows me a time to breathe!
10. Love on your children. Say yes to them, instead of no all the time. Tickle them. Hold them up and laugh with them. Go play on a playground with them. This is a grand thing – hearing an infant laugh!

What would you add to this list? How do you care for your souls?