Imperfect “Quiet time”

Every Christian I have ever met gives them self a guilt trip for not having a proper or frequent “quiet time”.  I think we somehow think if the earth doesn’t shake and our bible doesn’t levitate while praying then we didn’t do it right.

I certainly feel  a little inadequate discussing a subject of how to grow in your relationship with the God of the entire universe. So don’t take this as a “how to guide” rather than just what works for one imperfect girl.

My quiet time has taken many forms.  I have learned which ways I learn best, and in which ways just put me to sleep.  In this stage of life my ideal quiet time looks like this:

First let me say the holy bible app has been the best thing that ever happend to my quiet time.  I will talk more about that in a second but if you don’t have that on any “Smart gadget” get it!

holy bible app

Get up, head to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal (yes I eat before I do anything else)  I bring my cereal to the couch where the house is still quiet.  I have the “holy bible” app on my phone.  I read the verse of the day (provided by the app) and write it in my journal.  I repeat it a few times, write anything I feel God telling me through this.  Often I write a prayer for what is on my mind and mostly WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR.  I then sit in silence a few minuets just marinating on this.

After the kids have woken up, eaten breakfast and happy with a cartoon, I listen to the audio version of the “multiply reading plan” (also on the bible app) by David Platt and Francis Chan I can listen to it from my phone while I get dressed and ready.  The audio feature on this is app is, my friends, AWESOMENESS.

Not only do I learn so much more LISTENING to such a good story teller, but I can also listen while driving or folding clothes, putting on makeup, or any other mundane task.


And lastly, On the way to pre-school, the kids and I sing (at the top of our lungs) YOU MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS by gungor.

This happens on ideal mornings.  Not every morning.   This is also just what works for this stage of life.  It wasn’t too long ago I was up all night with a baby and waking up even 30 seconds earlier than I had to was completely out of the question.

On days where I have stayed up too late or in a crazy rush, I can still listen to the audio version of the bible in the car.  Listening/reading scripture really does have a way of setting the mood of the day.

At a bare minimum, when I can do nothing else, I sing a few song lyrics (in my head less anyone runs in terror) of this song that just permeates everything I am passionate about.   These are they lyrics from a part of Hillsong’s Hoseanna song:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours

Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

If I could have theme music I would want it to be this.  Repeating this as my “mantra” helps me to live up to my theme music.

In different stages of life and in different context our time with God may look differently.  Sometimes it is just sitting outside and marveling at his creativity, making a list of all of our blessings,  CHOOSING to be happy when circumstances are less than ideal, or journaling our prayers.

The short of the story is this:  Studying God’s word is absolutely important, sharing life and being built up by other believers is absolutely important.  But the intimacy that comes from just you and God, together with no one else around is incomparable.

God is not one of guilt or to-do lists.  He is a God of relationships.  More than a 3 hour bible study, a long and eloquent prayer,  or even serving others, he just wants you.

What does your “imperfect quiet time” look like.  What works best for you?

10 great reasons to start a garden this year

So you want to have a garden but need a little extra motivation to get started this year? Spring is here and if you ever thought about gardening now is the time to get started.

I compiled the top 10 reasons to get out there, get digging, and grow your own produce this year!

  1. Cost/Savings:  The average family with a vegetable garden spends just $70 a year on it and grows an estimated $600 worth of vegetables.  (source)  Thats a 850% return on your investment!! Try getting that at the bank!


Today I have the privilege of guest posting for one of my favorite bloggers.  To see the rest of this post please follow me today over to remodeling this life.  

 Come join the garden chat and please feel free to ask any gardening questions! 

Shopping ethically made easy and affordable: In it to end it

Today has been declared Shine A Light On Slavery Day by End It Movement.
To help bring awareness I am reposting this from the archive.  This post gives practical advice on how you can shop ethically.  


As long as I can remember I have been a bargain shopper.  My mom taught me to shop for bathing suits in the September and winter coats in May.  I have never been a stranger to the clearance racks or couponing.

But here I am in turmoil over my purchases.  I am realizing there is so much more to consider than just a good deal.

A quote from the the social justice handbook:

Everyday we are confronted by challenging societal problems, from poverty and institutional racism to AIDS and homelessness.  It can all seem so overwhelming.  But while none of us can do everything, all of us can do something. 

If I were to ask you if you wanted to support a company that had slave labor you would, of course, say no.  But unfortunately every time we make a purchase we “vote” for what we think are acceptable company practices.

There are an estimated 27 million slaves at work today.  More than ever before.  Many slaves are working hard to produce the food we buy and the clothes we wear.  With raised awareness customers are starting to make wiser choices by supporting companies committed to ethical treatment of their workers.

The good news is there are very easy, practical and yes, even FRUGAL ways to shop ethically.

Scan before you buy

free 2 work

Free2Work is a really cool company that grades companies on a scale of “A” to “F” based on supply chain transparency, code of conduct, response to child and forced labor, and overall efforts to empower workers. Plus they have a free app that lets you easily search for companies making your “research” a snap!

Good Guide is a similar company only the also grade the company on it’s health and environmental impact.  They have a free ap that lets you scan the barcode!

Had I been a little wiser the last time i bought shoes I would not have bought Sketchers, who have a grade F, and would have looked at maybe some Adidas, or Nikes who have a grade A (Nike’s have come a long way!  Go Nike!).

Buy Second Hand


I’m a big fan of second hand shopping. Yard sales, thrift stores, and hand me downs are all fabulous ways to “shop”.

When you buy something second hand the damage from the store (and factory) has already been made.  Second hand shopping means you are supporting a local family yard sale, a church fund raiser, or a charity like goodwill or salvation army.  Plus who doesn’t get excited about a super cute pair of jeans for $1!

Buy in bulk 

Equal Exchange is a wonderful organization that offers a coop for buying fair trade, ethical products and very reasonable prices.  Go in with a few friends to split an order or just store your own olive oil, bananas, nuts and coffee.

Buy local and or handmade

Locally grown food, handmade items or items made right in your own town not only have character and are better for you, they also DON’T carry with it a story of forced labor and unethical treatment.

Etsy is a great place to find homemade…everything!

Our dollars really are the loudest voice we have.  When we stop supporting shady practices, companies change.   Let us LIVE the gospel with our dollars and “vote” yes to companies that are practicing good ethics.

Share your thoughts on all this! Anyone have any tips on how you shop ethical? Tags: fair trade,christian,Shopping

To the me 10 years ago

I just read this book, “What Alice forgot”  The quick summary is this: The main character, Alice,  falls, hits her head, and when she wakes up she thinks she is 10 years younger.  She doesn’t even know the children she had in the past 10 years,  and mostly she doesn’t even know herself.   Her relationships, choices, and lifestyle are completely foreign to her.

The book is fiction but it certainly made me think.  What if the me, 10 years ago woke up in my life today.  Would she like what she saw?  Would she be happy with the choices I made?  10 Years ago I had just graduated college.  I was not yet married and, in retro spec, my life was very self centered.

That’s me in the orange sweater 10 years ago with my 3 best buds.


I can imagine the old me would be absolutely shocked to find out:

-You no longer shop just to shop….like ever.  Actually you kinda hate it now.
-You have no idea what is going on in pop culture
-You go in public with no make up and yoga pants and think nothing of it
-You cook.  And no longer just as a means of survival but you actually enjoy it
-You have a garden….no really to do.  You even teach gardening classes.  Nuts right?
-You just made a batch of homemade lotion.  I know you probably just fell over in shock with that… but for real.  It turned out quite nice too.  Recipe here. 

Ok old me I know you think I have become a complete and total domestic hippy.  But I have also learned a lot in 10 years.  Here’s a few life lessons I wish I could have told the younger me:


-Stop trying so hard! Sheesh I am exhausted remembering how hard you worked to make everyone love you.  It’s an impossible task!   The people that do love you know the real you.  And the real you isn’t so bad.

-Related…stop being so insecure.  You will one day have this crazy thing called a blog where you will talk about how everyone is created perfectly imperfect… after a while you start to truly believe this.

-There were so many little things that worried you.  You have come a LONG way with your worry.  The biggest lesson is LIFE IS TEMPORARY.  We are never promised tomorrow so enjoy the current moment and don’t let worry steal it away. 

-Enjoy the time with your husband before you have kids. You will find it comical that you ever thought life was busy before them.  

-When you are a new mom and you are worried like crazy every decision you make will impact your children for the rest of their life…GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.  Children are resilient.  They grow by your model more than your teaching.  And mostly…they are God’ s children first.  Lean on his teaching more than the latest trendy parenting advice.   

-Listen to those that have been there and done that.  They have really good advice.  And by the way…you don’t know everything.  

-With your time and your money, invest in stuff that LASTS

– And lastly…Don’t be afraid to do big things.  You only get one chance at this whole thing called life.   

I am curious to see what the me in the next 10 years would think of the me today.  I wonder what advice she would give.  I wonder what I am doing today that will positively and negatively affect my life then?

Only time will tell.

Does this make you think?  What would you tell the you 10 years ago?

He makes all things new

Spring is officially here in my neck of the woods and I am down right bubbling over with excitement about it.  The days are longer, the weather is beautiful and my mood is instantly lifted just by stepping outside.

I think it is no coincidence that Jesus Rose in the spring.  This time of year God is making ALL things new.  All creation from dormant plants, hibernating bears, butterflies, and bumblebees all come out of hiding and are infused with new life.


When Jesus died and was buried, it seemed hopeless.  Now he gives hope to millions.  He who was dead now brings us eternal life.  

Just like the butterfly emerges from their former selves.  We too can have new life.  Whatever you want to leave behind, Jesus promises you can be made brand new Revelation 21:5  2Corinthians 5:17

all things new

In every season God is in the business of making all things new.

He used a kid (David) to kill a Giant, a runaway fugitive with a speech impediment (Moses) to free his people from Egypt, a prostitute (Rahab) to carry the lineage of Christ, and a baby born king with parents that were just regular people to change the course of history.

I think sometimes we think our past is “too bad” or “too ugly”  But then I remember…..Ummmm…he OVERCAME DEATH.  There is nothing He cannot overcome.

The same God that transformed the biblical heroes also transformed me and so many others even today.  It is this time of year more than any other I am reminded at how HUGE this is.

Father thank you for making ALL THINGS new.  And having all creation remind us of this miracle every spring.

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Media Minimization March week 1 what I have learned so far

Our first true test of this whole media minimization came quickly.  The second day of March was on a Saturday.  It was the first Saturday in ages we had NOTHING planed.

Not a birthday party, baby shower, or a single thing on the agenda.  It was FREEZING outside and we are sticking to 7 hours TOTAL of any screen time at all per WEEK.  (click here for why)

Sooooo what’s a family to do?

We got creative.  We went swimming under the dome at the local park, we did puzzles and went for ice cream after dinner.

I was worried the kids would rebel against the whole idea but they kind of like it.  The great thing about kids is their ability to go with the flow.  When the screen time is up, it’s up.  And it’s time to get creative.

For me, I have had a hard time justifying what is “work” and legitimate internet time and what isn’t.  So the rule obeyer in me (she’s very small but still there) decided to give up instagram and any status updates (facebook or twitter) for the month as well.  Those are much more of a sacrifice for me (I miss you instagram) but in sacrifice we grow BIG time.

You know how many people have missed my updates?  Let me count…..Hmmm…..ZERO.  Not only can I live without social media, it can also get along just fine without me.  

Bryan is limiting TV and other media as well.  We have MANY more conversations in the evening without computers or TV’s to compete with.  This whole experiment is way more tolerable together.  We hold each other accountable too.

But it’s not all happy puzzle time and ice cream either .  Media is not all bad.  Here are the cons I have experienced:

1) Status updates are kinda handy.  Anybody know how to fix a fridge?  And if you had to pick one would you choose a trampoline or swing set for your backyard?
(updates I have wanted to post lately)

2) I don’t take near as many pictures.  I never realized it but I was taking pictures mostly for social media purposes.  Please humor me and tell me how cute this little collage is of Ava at the mall the other day.  She was dancing in front of the mirror.


At the end of the day this teeny tiny, hardly mentionable “sacrifice” helps remind me of the millions of people who have so much less than me.

Everyday, several times a day, when I stop myself from thumbing through my phone, I am reminded of HOW MUCH we have.  We are blessed beyond measure.  If limiting media can help remind me to enjoy the HERE and now, be present, and become less distracted…then I am all for it.

Media Minimization March

We didn’t start this whole idea with the goal of a clever title…but the 3 “m”s is kinda catchy if I do say so myself.

Have you heard of this book called “7” by Jen Hatmaker?  I’m kinda in love with it.  She takes 7 areas of her life lived in excess: Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress.   They spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”

A few months back we did stress, and observed the “seven sacred pauses”

For the month of March we are cutting back our media.  Media has a way of sneaking into stealing away our life.  It is very subtle but it happens everyday.  We decided cutting back media is a great way to re-focus on what we value as a family…each other.


In the book, they cut out 7 different forms of media completely for the month.  We decided to just cut all media back to a total of 7 hours a week.

What does this include?  For us we decided “media” was anything with a screen (music is permitted).  It gets a little tricky because,  of course, a computer is how we both work.  But thanks to a handy site called rescue time  it will automatically track where we spend our time online.   And true work will not count toward the 7 hours.

I almost choked on the air when my husband originally suggested we use our phones as just PHONES.  We have only had smart phones for about a year but I seriously think my iphone is as magnificent as disney world and cheesecake all wrapped into one.

Ultimately we decided it was impractical NOT to use all of the handy things a smart phone lets you check, but it would all count toward our 7 hours per week.  Toggl is an app that will keep me accountable there.

And of course TV.  I’m not much of a TV fan but the rest of our family is.  Cutting back on the TV for the kids means more work on us but I am really excited about all the alternatives we will discover with the default of TV gone from the line up.


I originally thought 7 hours was a generous plenty (about 1 hour per day) but when you start to time ALL YOUR MEDIA into one hour…it’s not that much.

So is going surprisignly better than expected.  I am learning a lot but that is for another post.  For now…my time is nearly up.

Have you every had a media fast/minimiztion?  What did you think?

Life lessons and temper tantrums

It was bed time and I was trying to get two little girls dressed for bed.  Ava, our spit fire 3 year old, was determined to wear her tinker bell nightgown this particular evening.  Which is all fine and good except that tinker bell night gown is sleeveless and it was 30 degrees outside.

She stammered her foot down with all the passion of a 3 year old that needs some sleep and yelled, “I WANT TINKER-BELL!” Then proceeded to cry as she threw her self on the floor.


Can you picture this scene? She is adamant that the tinker bell night gown is what she “needed” that night.  She thought she knew what was best.

As her mother, I try not to bust out laughing at the drama scene.  I wait until she is done, then explain why a long sleeve night gown is a better choice.  If she is still locked in on the tinker bell, I can let her get her way and freeze all night long, or hold her down kicking and screaming while I put on a warm pajamas.

I wonder how often our heavenly father sees the same scene in my life.  I am headstrong and SURE I want one thing, but God always knows better.

Sometimes he lets my bull headed opinions win out and I am stuck with the unpleasant consequences.

But sometimes, as a loving father, he puts up with my kicking and screaming, my impractical arguments and immature reasons.  He “dresses me warmly” even when I am too stubborn to realize it is what I need.

Sometimes I realize his good decision and sometimes I don’t, but I am learning more and more His ways are higher than my ways.  I just have to have a little faith.

Has this been a familiar scene in your life?  What have your children taught you about our Heavenly father?

Imperfect Marriage

“And they lived….Happily Ever After”

Well thanks Disney and romantic comedies.  That makes a cute story and all but there are an AGGLOMERATION of details we are missing here.

In real life:  He forgets to take out the trash and she doesn’t always shave her legs.    When you are covered with spit up and diaper rash cream you don’t feel very sexy.   And, I hate to break it to you, but you both fart too.

Culture, movies, advertisements, magazines, and comparison to others can do a pretty convincing job in telling you marriage is supposed to be blissfully perfect and if not,  you should call it quits, plus you “deserve” to be happy right?


The truth is this:

Perfect marriage is as unrealistic as Cinderella and the prince.  Perfect ended in the garden.  We ALL have arguments, real life temptations, money strains, and unexpected stressors.

When it comes to deserving to be happy:

The King of the world who “deserved” the finest palace with a 100 servants at his feet was born in a dark cold MANGER with animals and dirt all around.
As an adult, He took the pain that he did not “deserve” in a cruel and awful punishment that He could have walked away from in an instant.
He voluntarily placed the comforts of heaven, His rank, and all he “deserved” to the side, because of love. 

In light of this I think overlooking a few annoying habits and thinking of ourselves a little less, and our spouse a little more gets much easier.

YOU are the only one in control of your happiness.

All this being said, marriage can absolutely be “blissful and happily ever after” It just looks different than it does in movies.

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times — always with the same person.” ― Mignon McLaughlin

As the days and years pass, we change, we grow, and we are not the same people we were on our wedding day.  As Steve Perry says in “Faithfully,” my all time favorite 80’s song, “I get the joy of rediscovering you.”

We must never stop dating and learning the about what is exciting in each others lives.  Discovering your mate in their new roles as they change from newly wed to married with young children.  In new jobs, with new hobbies and new experiences we always have something new to discuss.

Bryan and I are as imperfect as any couple.  We just decided not to be committed to ” the marriage” because we could get another “the marriage” we are committed to each other.

Growing old together is not always glamours.  It’s about real life, and real people learning how to put their selfishness aside to love UNCONDITIONALLY.  Not because they always deserve it, but because that is they way Jesus loves us, when we do not deserve it.

imperfect marriages



Imperfect People take two

Well Hello there poor little neglected blog.  I have been so distracted,  I forgot about you.

hey blog

The truth is my heart has just not been in blogging for the past few months.  I was pretty sure I was done with this little venture.  But as my last post mentioned FOCUS has been a key word in my life lately.  In one of those rare and precious moments, I felt the Lord say so clearly I need to FOCUS on college ministry and this blog.  So I guess I’m not done blogging after all. :)

I’m excited about adding some new ideas, and more than anything a renewed dedication to write.  I am no author, and not even particularly good at this whole thing but I know God is not done with this yet. There is still so much to be said.   I am just thankful to be a part.

Thanks for sticking with me and especially for your encouragement along the way!

Please invite a friend to join us in this renewed adventure!

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