I see you trying to wrestle your kids into their car seats while they writhe and scream and make you want to give up trying to go anywhere with them ever again.
I see you trying to put together a healthy meal for your kids to throw on the floor eat – only to pour yourself a bowl of cereal in exhaustion.
I feel your frustration as your child throws himself on the floor yet again while you try to get him dressed so that you can be late yet again.
I see you as you try to read your Bible during nap time, only to fall asleep in the pages of Leviticus once more.
I see you showing up with no makeup, oatmeal in your hair, spit up on your shirt, with the contents of your diaper bag strewn across your car as you search for THE ONLY TOY THAT MATTERS to your child. The one you left at home.
I see you as you scroll through Instagram looking at moms who have tighter bodies, better schedules, cleaner homes, happier kids, all while they make more money through their side hustles and plan elaborate educational activities for their kids.
You wonder if you’ll ever NOT feel tired again, if your body will ever look the same, if your family will ever appreciate your work, if you’ll ever make the money you want to make or accomplish any goals ever again.
You wonder if you’ll ever have it all together.
I’m with you, and I am you.
I am the hot mess mom who never has it all together – the one who makes the other moms feel like THEY have it more together than they originally thought.
I work and plan and hope and pray to one day have it all together. I print schedules, make chore charts, meal plan, set alarms, scour Pinterest, read all the books and all the articles and pray all the prayers.
And I just know that this is the week I will finally have it all together. This is the day.
And here’s the honest truth: I won’t.
Perfection is a lie perpetuated by our own guilty consciences, social media, and Satan.
The moment we feel like we have arrived and are finally perfect – that’s the moment when we disown the work of Jesus to save us from our imperfections.
Here is the good news, my hot mess friend: you don’t have to be perfect, because God already is.
And here’s some more good news: God meets us where we are in our struggle to be more like Him.
This idea that God gently leads those who have young is almost startling to me. The powerful, awesome God who created the stars in the sky and conjured up such terrors as crocodiles, Great White Sharks and super volcanoes – this same God is also…gentle?
So I dug a little deeper into this verse. What does it mean for God to gently lead me?
The Hebrew term used for ‘He gently leads’ means ‘to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh.’ This is the same terminology used in such verses as Exodus 15:13, Psalm 23:2, Psalm 31:3, Isaiah 49:10, 2 Chronicles 28:15, and 2 Chronicles 32:22.
I don’t know about you, but I adore the idea of rest and refreshment. I picture God leading me to a quiet place by the water where I can rest on a blanket in the shade. I can eat (without someone stealing my food or complaining about theirs), I can close my eyes and sleep (without listening to a monitor for a crying baby), I can read a book leisurely without interruption, and I can breathe.
This is my vision. What’s yours? Where is God leading you for your rest?
So if you’re feeling like a hot mess mom today, remember two things:
1. You are not alone.
2. God is gently leading you toward rest.
We can follow David’s example and pray for God to lead and guide us:
And lastly, let’s have faith and trust that God WILL lead us to a place of rest. In His timing, which is perfect.
In the meantime, know that you are not alone, hot mess mom – God is with you. And so am I!
If you’re trying to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, but are overwhelmed by how difficult it can be, I’m here to help. These meal prep products are my must-haves for maintaining a consistent healthy lifestyle and eating healthy. So keep reading to find out what kitchen tools you can use to help make healthful meals more consistently! For an even easier way to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, don’t forget to check out my 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan & Guide.
Are you looking for an easier way to make healthy meals? I’ve got several awesome kitchen tools for healthy eating. Keep reading…
I made this list because we all need more items on our Amazon wish list! 😉
I started following an anti-inflammatory diet after getting so fed up with my chronic joint pain and endometriosis pain. I had gone from doctor to doctor with no real answers and only solutions with boatloads of side effects. I was in debilitating pain and feeling helpless.
That’s when I decided to take my health care into my own hands. I’ve learned that you have to be your own best advocate for your health.
One of the things that has helped me recover my health is following this anti-inflammatory diet. It’s not a quick fix or a cure-all, but it has made a huge difference in my life.
However, when I first started it was HARD. I had a difficult time finding meals that my family would actually eat and most of the recipes I found were very complicated and took a ton of meal prep.
However, I would be remiss to tell you all about the recipes I use without giving credit to my amazing kitchen tools! This is what helps me actually follow through with making these meals without all of the daunting meal prep tasks.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.
Having good knives REALLY makes a difference in your cooking experience. Especially when you’re chopping lots of vegetables – it pays to have the right tools. My mother-in-law gifted us a set of Cutco knives for our wedding and they have been invaluable. I even bring them with us when we travel because I hate using dingy knives at vacation rentals!!
One of the nice perks about having a Cutco knife is that you can get it sharpened for free and their warranty is amazing – they really back these knives. Last year I sent in my knives and kitchen shears to be sharpened, and they replace the kitchen shears completely because they were slightly bent (I didn’t even notice!). That’s pretty amazing.
I can’t describe to you what a game changer this thing is for a busy mom. I love that I can prep a meal when I have a few minutes of free time during naps and then set it and forget it. It’s has all of the benefits of a slow cooker sped up – and more.
We actually have TWO instant pots now – the larger 8 quart one and the smaller 3 quart one. I’ll often use the larger one to make a big batch of dinner and the smaller one to make farro, risotto, rice, oatmeal or other starches.
In this post, we are discussing how to get your picky eater to eat healthy – whether that’s your toddler, preschooler or your husband! I share my favorite methods for encouraging my picky eaters to eat healthy foods.
Hey there, friend. You’re probably reading this because you want to know how to help your child to eat better, healthier, and more consistently.
First of all let me say that I am NOT a medical professional or dietitian. I’m just a regular ole mom like you who has struggled with the same things. This is what I’ve learned through experience, tons of research and consulting with doctors, nutritionists and registered dietitians. If you or your child has a health issue, please consult with your doctor.
Dr. Justin Coulson at Happy Families – a psychologist and father of 6 (!!) daughters – remarks that some of the most common mealtime mistakes are:
So, what do you do when you fall into some of those pitfalls? I know I have done ALL of those things at one point or another.
Tip #1: Take a deep breath.
Seriously. Take a deep breath. I’ll wait.
Now, hear this: your kid will be okay. They will not starve. They will not grow a third ear because they refuse to eat their broccoli. Let’s have some perspective on this.
One thing my doctor mom would always say: eating is not a learned behavior.
We are not taught to eat, it is something that we are biologically programmed to do. Yes, we learn bad behaviors and unhealthy habits – but starving ourselves is not typically one of those!
Recently, we realized that dinnertime had become a struggle for us with the kids. They just weren’t eating their food! We bribed them, cajoled them, throttled them (just kidding)…after weeks, we decided that they simply were not hungry at that time. So we adjusted their snack schedule and then finally made the decision that they did have to sit with us during family dinner, but they didn’t have to eat at that exact time. However, they couldn’t choose to eat something else: they had to eat a reasonable amount of dinner if/when they wanted a bedtime snack or treat.
I can’t tell you what a stress reliever this has been for our family. We’re able to have fun, light-hearted meals without battling over food. The kids still eat their dinners – albeit, later than we would like – but they eat when they’re hungry and oftentimes they eat ALL of their dinner and more!
This all started with us taking a deep breath and gaining some perspective. What mattered was that our children ate and that they ate reasonably healthy, filling foods. It doesn’t HAVE to be on “our” schedule and it may not look like what we want it to, but we’re accomplishing our goal: happy, healthy children.
Tip #2: Don’t bring food into the house that you don’t want your child to eat.
If your kid only wants to have hot dogs and macaroni for dinner and cocoa puffs for breakfast – just don’t buy it anymore. If they fill up on Doritos and Chewy bars all afternoon long and then aren’t hungry for dinner – there’s a simple fix for that.
Look, I’m not saying this is easy to do…but I am saying it’s simple.
We recently stopped purchasing applesauce pouches – not because they were unhealthy, but because that was the only thing my son wanted to eat! We were spending more money on pouches than on any other category of food each week. So, I stopped buying them.
Now, let me tell you that at first he was devastated. It broke my heart. But, as kids do, he moved on. He doesn’t even ask for them anymore and is perfectly happy with the other snack choices that we offer him.
A simple anti-inflammatory stir fry that’s easy to make and filled with inflammation fighting foods!
If you’re looking for a go-to anti-inflammatory meal, this is mine. This simple stir fry is chock full of inflammation fighting foods, it’s easily customized and very versatile depending on what veggies you love in your stir fry. Also, it’s dairy-free, gluten free, sugar free and yet, it’s NOT taste-free!! 😉
There’s so many different ways to make this dish – and that’s what makes it my go-to weeknight meal that we don’t get tired of. You can swap out rice for rice noodles or even spaghetti squash as the base. You can utilize in-season vegetables along with tried-and-true veggies your family loves. I’ll also occasionally include chunks of pineapple or mango for a sweet surprise!
So, pick your family’s favorite veggies, throw them on the pan with some olive or coconut oil and stir fry away! You can easily make this a vegetarian dish or include shrimp, seared tuna or beef.
One way to make this dish even simpler is to purchase pre-chopped veggies in your produce department. Some stores even have a “stir fry” bag with fresh (not frozen) vegetables that are perfect for a weeknight stir fry. Alternatively, you could chop up your veggies in the morning or the night before so that you can throw them on the pan right when you get home. I’ve also been known to use kitchen shears to make my chopping and cutting even easier! 😉
So, what makes this stir fry “anti-inflammatory”?
It’s filled with tons of inflammation-fighting foods with tons of antioxidants such as broccoli, snap peas, garlic, onion, peppers and, of course, olive oil.
Today, we’re discussing something I’m trying to work on this year: caring less about what other people think. Now, you may ask: is that actually biblical? Aren’t we supposed to care about people? Of course! When we are enslaved by fear of what people think of us, we are not imitating Jesus. Jesus loved others deeply without being blown back and forth by other people’s opinions.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about The Dixie Chicks’ song from 1998, “Wide Open Spaces.” It’s a song about the need to get away from the life you’ve always known, so you can have room to make “big mistakes.”
It seems like in our society today, that’s the opposite of what we have.
Have you felt that?
The tight, confining spaces of today’s culture: to fit into a certain box, espouse specific opinions, raise your children in a defined way. People who stray from this are blasted on social media, castigated for their intolerant dogmatism.
Perhaps we say things we don’t really think or believe because we’ll be looked down on. I know I’ve done that plenty of times.
The problem with all of this is that we simply care too much about what other people think.
Without putting too much thought into it, we do what everyone else is doing because, if everyone else is doing it, it must be the right thing…right?
When I look at the scriptures, the people who truly made an impact, who have changed the course of my life as well as the course of history itself, are the ones who did not care at all what other people think.
No, they are not selfish.
In fact, these people tend to be the most selfless because they are not concerned about themselves, either! Imagine that.
Caring Less What Others Think: Consider Jesus.
Think about Jesus. He was countercultural in a way that would make us squirm. Can you imagine going into a church building with a whip, turning over tables and chairs, yelling at people about the way they were taking advantage of God’s house? If he did that today, we’d call him an extremist, a brute, or just simply insane. To make matters worse, he repeated his offense (John 2:18, Matthew 21:17-23).
Jesus broke the rules (John 4:9, Matthew 12:11-13). He touched the untouchable (Luke 5:12-16). Jesus frequently made scandalous statements (John 6:54, Mark 2:5). And He hung out with people the religious society stayed away from (Mark 2:16).
Even his enemies accused him of not caring what others think (Mark 12:14).
This year I’ve decided I want to care less about what other people think. I don’t want to make decisions based on what everyone else is doing. I want to make decisions based on God’s Word and what HE thinks above all.
This is much easier said than done. I don’t want to look stupid in the eyes of others. I don’t want to stand out as countercultural – I’d rather fly under the radar.
For me, Heaven is the shoreline at dawn, me atop a chestnut horse. Loose reins, galloping at the edge of the water. The ocean sprays up under his hooves, splashing us. The scent of saltwater fills my lungs and I breathe deeply. I am standing up in the stirrups, hands in my horse’s mane, urging him forward. We are going nowhere – simply running for the sake of it. The wind in my face, the rising sun warms my cheeks. My steed is surefooted and strong; we work as one across the terrain. I drop my reins and outstretch my arms as he gallops forward. I am free.
Heaven is a quiet walk with my Lord in a copse of live oak trees. It is a hidden place, one that no one knows about but me and Him. My fingers brush against the trunks of trees, the vines crisscrossing through the forest. My feet crunch the leaves below as the sun winks at us through the branches. The forest opens up to a river: pure water cascading down a waterfall, pooling into an inviting pond. Without a second thought, we run and jump into the water. It envelopes us. We swim freely, twirling and jumping like children in the water. We float on our backs, looking up at the brilliant blue sky. I realize that the pain that has so often pervaded my body is gone. Even as my subconscious reaches for it, this pain that has been an old friend, a dear enemy, I know it will never come back. My body is free, fluid, perfect. I am whole.
Heaven is a good book on a rainy day, curled up in an overstuffed chair with a soft blanket and a large cup of tea. The fireplace flickers beside me, giving just enough warmth and light for me to read. The story is an adventure, a tale of romance and bravery. I devour the pages, wondering what will come next. I cry, I laugh, I gasp. When the book ends, I realize it is never finished. I am part of the story, and the story is part of me. I am home.
Heaven is a throne room, filled with more people than I’ve ever imagined. A light fills the room – the most beautiful light we have ever experienced. The light is made of colors and sounds and textures I’ve never fathomed. It fills each one of us and tears of love, of hope, of relief stream down our faces as we clasp hands. I want to turn to the person next to me, to ask, Is this real? Are you seeing this, too? Because it feels too good to be true. And yet, I cannot look away from the light because it is too beautiful, too captivating, too lovely. And then, a voice sings out. A heavenly soprano sings in a language I don’t know, and yet I understand. One by one we join in song – it is a song we have never sung before, and yet we know all of the words. Everyone sings with full voice, no one holds back – we know our voices are beautiful to Him. The song takes form and lifts up into the light, joining with the light into a dance of love, freedom and joy. The room shakes with the power of the song, the floor trembling beneath our feet, and we sing louder. We are His.
Many of you know how much my son, Finn, loves outer space. Most days we spend A LOT of time learning about space, talking about space, pretending we’re in space or about to be in space. We read about space, watch videos about space, and when we sleep, we dream about space. Because of his obsession, I’ve inadvertently learned a ton about outer space. This has made me reflect on God, and myself, as I’ve considered His creation. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned about God from studying outer space.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky displays what his hands have made.”
God is big, and I am small.
The Universe is gigantic in a way that is impossible to measure and grasp. Most scientists seem to agree that the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old, and that space is constantly expanding. The only thing we know for sure, according to NASA is that the universe is “much larger than the volume we can directly observe.”
Some believe that the universe is currently 93 billion light years wide. Here’s what this means: light travels approximately 5.88 trillion miles in one year. So 93 billion light years is 5.88 trillion miles 93 billion times. That’s, like, a lot.
Our galaxy is approximately 100,000 light years wide (although a recent number put it at 200,000 light years wide). This means that if we were in a spacecraft traveling at 186,282 miles per second, it would take us 100,000 years to get from one end to the other. Or, it could take us 200,000 years!
And, our galaxy isn’t even the biggest. Our closest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, is twice the size of our Milky Way home.
We used to think that Earth was unique in the universe – but it turns out there could be as many as tens of billions of other earth like planets in the universe.
Even if you’re like me and those numbers just get jumbled in your head and make no sense, this is the bottom line: our universe is massively gigantic. And the God who made each galaxy, each nebula, each supermassive black hole – He is capable. He is larger than anything we can fathom. And He is Our God.
Our church is going through a Bible reading plan together this year and right now we are reading the book of James. A passage in James 1 resonated with me and challenged me to my core about finding joy in trials. It led me to this Bible study on more verses about trials and hardships.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
When I read this verse, one question kept coming to my mind:
Why on earth would I consider it joy to go through hardships?!
One of the first things I did was look up exactly what this word ‘joy‘ means. In this verse, joy is the Greek word charan which can be translated joy, gladness, a source of joy. My favorite definition was “a calm delight.”
Again, I wondered, why would I be delightfully calm during hardships?! And…how?
Today I want to share with you what helps me get through extra difficult days with my chronic pain. If you’re suffering from chronic pain – whether physical, mental or emotional pain that is ongoing – this should be helpful for enduring those days when you just have to survive the day.
1. Accept help.
If you’re battling with chronic pain, you need to find a tribe of supportive people to surround you. Whether that’s your physical family, your church small group, or some friends and neighbors – find your tribe. Have your go-to people that you can text or call if you’re having a bad day. People who can pray with and for you, or who can come over to help distract your kiddos if you need a break.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Of course, if you want this type of friendship, you have to be this friend to others as well. Be intentional about your relationships. It’s not realistic to have 15 super close BFFs – but you can have 2-3 friends whom you would do anything for – and who also will understand if you have to change your night-on-the-town plans to a movie night in bed because you’re in pain.
2. Communicate your pain.
“A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.”
If your friends and family members don’t know you’re in pain, it’s going to be impossible for them to know how to help you. So even if it’s hard, you have to share your pain. You don’t have to tell everyone – but be intentional with what you share. Don’t just say “I’m fine” when you know that’s not true. Be specific. Be real.
Have one or two people that you know you can shoot a text to on painful days. For me, I typically reach out to my sisters-in-law, Amanda and Andrea. Just a simple, “pray for me, I’m in a lot of pain today,” text can help take some of the burden off of me.
A note on getting help & communicating your chronic pain:
One question that I get a lot from friends or family members is: how can I help? This is a difficult one for me because I genuinely need help, but I don’t want to inconvenience people and I certainly don’t want to ask for something that’s more than they were willing to give. However, I think if someone is asking this question, they most likely really want to do something for you! My mom often reminds me that God can use my pain as an avenue for others to answer His calling to serve. I shouldn’t hinder that call by being too proud to ask for help. So, communicate specific ways that a friend can help. Perhaps they can bring a meal, watch your kids for an hour while you rest, pick up groceries or medicine for you, or just bring you a coffee.
Please don’t be hurt if people don’t “get it” when you’re in pain.
If you’ve never had a migraine before, it’s hard to grasp how debilitating one is. Oftentimes we feel like we’re falling apart on the inside, but to others we look just fine! This can make it much more difficult for them to connect with how we’re feeling. I’m always surprised after a group hangout if I mention that I was in pain and people reply, “I had no idea!” Don’t assume people know how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to explain in detail what you’re experiencing. However, make sure to offer lots of grace when a friend or family member inevitably doesn’t quite understand. That’s OK!
I’m a planner. Literally. My undergraduate degree was in Recreation, Parks & Tourism with a concentration in Event Planning. I enjoy planning things. In fact, one of my “hobbies” is planning vacations that I’ll (probably) never go on.
The older I get, the more I bump up against this problem with planning: oftentimes, my plans don’t coincide with God’s plan. And it’s frustrating, and, at times, painful.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
When God Had Different Plans for Me
At the beginning of 2013, I started to have debilitating pain in my joints. At the time, I was a riding instructor at a local horse farm. I would get home from teaching lessons at the end of the day and literally crawl up the stairs to our apartment because I was in so much pain. I started to see an orthopedic doctor and then a sports medicine doctor, and when neither helped, I went to a rheumatologist, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a physical therapist… the list goes on. I got a knee brace, shoe insoles, a plethora of medications and side effects, and a myriad of injections in my joints. Instead of getting better, the pain only got worse.
With every new doctor, I would hope that this would be THE ONE. This would be the doctor who would know what was wrong with me. This would be the therapy to finally “fix” me. This medication would make it all go away. But it didn’t. I found the truth in this verse: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).
Three years into my journey with pain, I was consistently walking with a cane and taking several medications daily just to function. The pain kept me up at night—I spent a lot of nights crying on the bathroom floor, praying to God, feeling so alone and defeated. I was unable to work, barely able to go to church. There were days when I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom without help from my husband. This obviously wasn’t part of my plans.
If you’re curious about starting a blog or wonder what it will take to have a successful blog, here are some of the tools and resources I have used in my blogging journey. For my Christian motherhood blog, I’ve had to learn the hard way by making mistakes, doing TONS of ultimately pointless research and lots of trial and error. I’m hoping that this post with all of the blogging resources I love can help you with your Christian blog so that you won’t have to go through the same mistakes that I made!
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.
Udemy Blogging Masterclass Course
When I first had the idea to start a blog, I had no idea where to start. My husband did some research and purchased this course for me as a birthday present and it was invaluable. It’s easy to follow and saved me SO MUCH TIME in trying to figure out the logistics of starting a blog from web hosting, navigating WordPress, creating content that people actually want, building an email list, etc.
This is the basics, for beginners, starting from scratch. So, if that’s you, I highly recommend this course:
I use Canva Pro for all my graphics and designs. They have thousands of excellent templates for every scenario. I use them the most for photos, Pinterest Pins, and Instagram posts. But I’ve also used them for creating my Simple 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan ebook as well as invitations or really any kind of graphics I need for ANYTHING.
A few great aspects of the upgraded PRO version:
You have access to A LOT of photos you can use for your designs and blog posts (instead of having to pay for a separate photo library).
You have a ‘brand kit’ that keeps all of your brand’s fonts, colors, logos, etc. just a click away (rather than having to memorize the hex number of all of your brand colors!)
MAGIC RESIZE – this is worth every cent. You design a Pinterest Pin and with one click it is also an Instagram post, Facebook post, blog banner, or any other size you want. Like magic. It’s incredible and a HUGE time saver.
Publish social media content from Canva. Once you’ve designed your pin or instagram post, you can publish it or even schedule it to be published.
Here is my referral link, which I would really appreciate if you used because it gives me a small bonus at no extra cost to you! So, thank you in advance!! Click here for Canva Pro.
Tailwind for Pinterest & Instagram (& Facebook!)
Tailwind is such an incredible tool and resource. You can schedule in advance all of your Pinterest pins, Instagram posts and even cross-post to Facebook. They’ve even added a design element to Tailwind where you enter in the information for your pin and they create lots of different pin options for you to choose from.
The Tailwind Communities are also invaluable, and how I grew to the point where I am today.
I also really love all of the education the Tailwind staff does – they offer so many classes, tools and resources for people to grow in their craft.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to blog without Tailwind. I tried to go without Tailwind for one month and my stats plummeted. It’s just an easy set it and forget it solution for busy moms who want to be present with their kids and not be addicted to social media!
I usually set aside some time at the beginning of each month to plan out all of my social media content and then it’s done for the entire month! I don’t even have to think about it.
And, if you have the time/energy/content, you can plan for even longer than a month.
I use ConvertKit for keeping up my email list as well as my sales pages, pop ups and other landing pages. You can see examples of really simple ones I’ve created here and here.
When I first started blogging, I used MailChimp and after several very frustrating sessions where I tried to figure out how to create landing pages and pop ups with them, I gave up and switched the ConvertKit. I can’t tell you what a time saver this has been!
It is SO MUCH EASIER to use ConvertKit than any other email subscription service I’ve worked with.
Occasionally I’ve had to contact their customer support about my pop ups not functioning the way I want them to, and they have always been able to fix them right away.
Here is my personalized referral link for ConvertKit, which gives me a little bonus at no cost to you: ConvertKit is awesome.
Start a Mom Blog
This is one of my favorite resources on this whole list. I LOVE SUZI!!! My husband and I joke that Suzi is my blogging crush. She’s awesome. I also love that she works with her husband and they seem to have a really great partnership.
I wish I would’ve known about Start a Mom Blog from the very beginning of my blogging journey, it would’ve saved me a lot of time and energy. However, I am grateful that I know about them now because they’ve helped me grow so much!
I did a 90-day challenge with Suzi to grow my email list. My list went from 30 subscribers (AKA my family and a handful of friends) to 1,100 subscribers and growing every single day.
I’ve done her course on printables as well as her course on course creation. She is incredibly practical, showing step-by-step details without bogging you down with too much information. I highly recommend all of her products!
This Facebook group by Twins Mommy creator Elna Cain has been invaluable. It is a very active group with a wide range of skills and abilities. I’ve asked this group SO many questions about blogging and have gotten immediate, helpful answers. Elna also does regular Facebook lives on particular blogging topics.
This is another Christian blogging resource that I LOVE. I’ve taken their free SEO course and it was simple yet effective. I love finding resources that are specific to Christian blogging and this is a fantastic resource if you are trying to use your blogging platform to spread the message of Christ.
This is another Facebook group that has been ultra supportive and helpful on my blogging journey. This is specifically for Christian women bloggers and it’s where I’ve found a wonderful community of like-minded women! You can join this group and ask questions/advice and get lots of support.
This has been an invaluable resource for me as I’ve done more intensive Bible research for my blog. When you look up a verse, it offers parallel versions of that verse, related scriptures, commentary, the breakdown of the original language and more. If you want your blog to be Bible-based, this is an excellent tool.
I also recommend using Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible, and YouVersion – which will often have beautiful graphics of popular verses that you can use. Just make sure you tag or link them if you use their graphics!
I use this plugin on my WordPress site to convert Bible verse references so that people can hover over the verse reference and see the actual scripture. This is such a helpful feature!
Support from Family & Friends
I am so incredibly blessed to have an ultra supportive husband and family! They have encouraged my dreams and been through all of the highs and lows of my writing career alongside of me. If you also have a supportive family, please be intentional about sharing your hopes and dreams with them and let them dream with you! And praise God for that.
If you don’t feel like your family is understanding or supportive of your dreams, I encourage you to sit down and talk with them. Explain to them your vision, goals, and how you plan to accomplish them. Tell them what their support would mean to you, and then tell them specifically HOW they can support you. Perhaps you need a beta reader for some of your posts, or would love it if they re-shared your links on social media. Or maybe you just need someone to cheer you on and give you high-fives when you have a great day! Whatever you need from your family, make sure to communicate clearly and intentionally.
No matter what your support from your family is like, I hope you will hear me when I tell you that God is with you and He believes in you. He created you to be exactly the way that you are and to utilize your unique strengths and talents to shine a light to those around!
Don’t cover up your light, my friend. Let it shine bright for the whole world to see.
I hope these resources are helpful to you as you start your journey of blogging!
If you’re looking for contemporary Christian songs that are upbeat, this is the spot for you. These high-energy praise and worship songs are perfect for working out, running, dancing, or just getting you in a better mood!
Recently I realized that most of the Christian worship music I listen to is slower and more soulful. This is perfect for prayer times or moments of reflection and communion with God. But sometimes I want to have fun, upbeat music in the house for myself and the kids to sing and dance to!
So that’s why I made this Spotify playlist of upbeat, fast-paced praise & worship songs that could be used for dance parties at home, working out, going for a run, or just to have an upbeat mood in the house.
I’m frequently adding to the list on Spotify, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorites here:
Echo (In Jesus’ Name) by People & Songs
There are so many awesome lines in this song, but I particularly love the third verse:
You crushed the darkness Made a fool of death and grave Oh, King Jesus You make royals out of slaves And now there’s breakthrough Now there’s freedom in Your name You gave us power And the keys to do the same
Echo (In Jesus’ Name) by People & Songs
I also love the repetitive nature of the chorus. Kids could easily sing out “In Jesus’ Name!” I mean, what’s more powerful than that?!
Give Me Jesus by James Wilson
I love this high energy rendition of a powerful anthem. This is also a great one for kids because they can easily join into the chorus and all of the “hey, ey, ey’s”. The lyrics are also a potent reminder of what’s really important in this life:
This world is not my home I am just passing through Earthly treasure soon will fail But I found my hope You are the one I want You are the one I need This world can have it all It can take everything … But give me Jesus
Give Me Jesus by James Wilson
I can’t help but lift my hands during the chorus and sing at the top of my lungs: Give. Me. Jesus.
This is not your typical Bingo game – although if you’ve played Bingo before, you’ll know exactly how to play. Each player has a Bingo card and each square has a different book of the Bible along with an illustration from a story within that book. The Bingo squares, as well as the Bingo calling cards, are all color coordinated and labeled with not only the book of the Bible but the section that book is in.
This is not only a fun way to play Bingo, but it is also an enjoyable way to learn the books of the Bible and how the Bible is organized. We play this game as a family, but this would also be perfect for a youth group or another larger group. The game includes 24 double-sided Bingo cards so up to 24 people can play!
My 4-year-old, Finn, had a fun time playing this game – it was his first time playing Bingo and he had a blast. He laughed a lot while trying to pronounce some of the harder-to-say books of the Bible (“Deuteronomy” for example!).
My recommendation for playing this game is to read through the booklet beforehand – it gives a very succinct overview of each section of the Bible. This is helpful for being able to explain the books of the Bible as you play. The only thing that I would love to see added to this game is a one sentence summary of each book of the Bible! Which, I know, is easier said than done. I found myself trying to recap each book to Finn – which is simpler for books like Jonah or Esther, but harder for books like Lamentations or some of the books of history.
Playing this game, and telling Finn about the books of the Bible, is an inspiration for understanding the whole arc of the Scriptures.
It also made me wonder how much to tell Finn about some of the not-so-kid-friendly stories of the Bible. How do you explain Job to a four year old? This takes wisdom and discernment from parents and teachers.
This is a fan favorite in our house. I was pleasantly surprised that Finn was able to follow along with the rules and understand how to play! The focus of this game is the parables of Jesus. Each “parable card” is illustrated with a scene from one of Jesus’ parables and there are 4 cards in each parable set. I would compare this game to Uno – you take turns pulling cards from a draw pile and you try to match the parable cards with each other. There are “oopsie” cards, which function as skip cards as well as “kingdom” cards, which allow you to steal from another player.
What I love about this game is that it’s a fun way to teach biblical concepts. To assist with this, there are parable summary cards with a summary and explanation of each parable. The explanations are simple and easy to understand. There is also an optional addition at the end of the game for players to retell the parables in their own words using the cards and their illustrations as a reference point.
We did make some modifications to the game for my 4-year-old: I removed quite a few of the Kingdom cards and oopsie cards, and we took turns drawing one card at a time instead of drawing unlimitedly. We also started the game with 4 cards in our hands. This made it go a little faster for my little guy.
I highly recommend this game – it’s perfect to play as a family or in a Sunday school class, youth group, or other church setting.
This memory game is another great one for learning the books of the Bible. The game comes with A LOT of cards – which means you can make it as challenging as possible. Of course, for my little one, we only use a fraction of the cards. But it is fantastic for challenging your memory and learning the names of the books of the Bible. I was surprised by how quickly Finn got better at this game! We are increasing the difficulty more and more each time.
As he gets older, I foresee that we will add another biblical element to this game. For example, if a player matches two cards from the same book of the Bible, in order to “win” the cards, they have to recap a story from that particular book. If they can’t, the next player gets a turn to do it and possibly win the card set!
A final thought on playing games…
Games are SO great for kids to play, especially at home with family. It teaches them real world skills that they’ll need as they grow – but allows them to learn these in a safe setting. They learn about following rules, strategy, negotiation, sequential thinking, cooperating with others, healthy competition, and so much more. Playing these games inspired us to help Finn to grow more in his competitive nature – he was such a sore loser!! Since playing these games, we have started teaching him how to be encouraging to others even when he doesn’t win. This is a tough lesson!
Playing games is also a “sneaky” way to teach concepts that otherwise would be done through rote memorization – such as letters, books of the Bible, numbers, etc. I’m grateful that we live in a time when we can take advantage of games and activities such as these to teach our little ones about our awesome God!
During this Christmas season, as we’re going about our shopping, planning and traveling, let’s take a moment to consider the reason for the season: Jesus. Whenever you have a moment this month, I encourage you to read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke chapters 1-2. I recently read through these passages and was inspired by Mary the mother of Jesus. Today, I thought I’d share with you three lessons I learned from Mary in the story of Jesus’ birth.
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Lesson from Mary #1: She chose her focus
As a virgin mother of the newborn Son of God, there was a lot Mary could have focused on. She could’ve been concerned with where her son would sleep, how she could recover from labor and delivery ( in a barn!), what God was going to do next, and so much more. For those of us who have recently had newborns, it’s easy to recall those early difficulties: the shocking pain of delivery, the hardships of learning to breastfeed, the doubts that your body will ever be functional again. I’m sure Mary had all of this and far more than we have today – plus, oh yeah, she was holding the Son of God, in a barn, with a bunch of stinky shepherds showing up wanting to see what was going on!
And we cringe when Aunt Bertha doesn’t sanitize up to the elbows when she picks up our newborn!
Yet…that’s not what Mary was focused on.
In this simple line, I see how Mary was quiet. I’m reminded of the verse in Psalm 131:2 where the psalmist says, “I have calmed and quieted my soul.” Mary could have let her mind go a million miles an hour, but instead she quieted herself and was able to be present enough to take in what was going on around her.
Mamas, this is something we should take note of. Sometimes we are so caught up in all of our concerns and worries that we’re missing what’s going on in that moment.
Mary could have made note of all the ‘negative’ things going on – but she didn’t. She treasured up the incredible experience she was living.
We should follow her example.
Let’s be honest, some of us could find flaws in Mother Theresa. We’d be discontent no matter where we were or what we were doing.
If you were holding the Savior in your arms, what would your attitude be? Would it be one of faultfinding, dissatisfaction, restlessness – or would it be one of quiet contentment?
Here’s the thing, mamas: if you are a Christian with the Holy Spirit living inside of you, you do have the Savior. You are holding Him inside of you, taking Him with you wherever you go.