We’re Moving and Other News

We have some news. We’re moving this year and other news like job changes, changes to my Instagram and our new homeschooling year.

we're moving and other news
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You may have noticed, I’ve taken almost a month-long hiatus from the blog. I’m sorry about that, but I needed a long break. There has been so much going on in our lives over the last few months, that I needed to step away for a little while. I hope to be back now. However, you’ll see that I will have a lot of change going on in the next few months, so my blogging may be a tad sporadic. Allow me to tell you why.

We’re Moving

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you may know that for the last few years we have been facing job uncertainty. Like one thing after another. We’ve been office closures, layoffs, more layoffs, and now we’ve been acquired by another company. In light of that, we are moving to the Houston area. We tried to find something else that would allow us to stay here, but we couldn’t find anything.

I am not thrilled about it. All my family is here in San Antonio and I uprooted years ago. I struggled heavily with homesickness then and vowed I would never do it again! I am very concerned about being isolated without friends or family. Well, here I am, doing it again, mainly because we didn’t have any other options.

We have just started construction in a semi-custom home and I have a lot of heartache because of the cost just to stay in the same kind of home we are now. Still, I am trying to be obedient to God and trust in His plan and timing. Obviously, I’m also trying to get our current home ready to sell and that is taking a lot of my time right now. I’m sure I will be writing more about this later on when things get real! We probably won’t move into our new home until late Fall this year.

We Could Be Displaced for a While

So it is very possible that our family will be displaced because of this. My husband will have to report to work in Houston before our new house is finished. Therefore, we will very likely be separated for several months before we can be reunited permanently. I expect my boys to struggle with that. Also, we will have to sell our home around the same time. So there is a good chance I will have to live with my parents for a few months while construction concludes and we close on our new home. I have no idea how that will impact my blog schedule.

My Father Is Very Ill

My dad, who suffered a heart attack years ago in 2003, has had congestive heart failure since then. In recent years, his health has taken a serious decline and has needed a lot more care and help in the last twelve months. With every month that passes, he requires more care which has been difficult for my mother in particular who has her own health problems. Please keep him and her in prayer during this tough time. He has been in and out of the hospital since last June. It has been very hard on him emotionally and physically. It’s hard to see someone you love, suffer. Still, I must acknowledge how faithful God has been to grant us peace through all of this. Truly, His grace is sufficient.

Homeschooling

We are trying to also wrap up our homeschooling year. I admit, we are running a little behind in Math and Reading. We took time off throughout the year and we still need to wrap up some subjects. We finished Handwriting but should finish up Science, Geography, and Spelling in about a week. I expect that we will continue Math and Reading into July. In August we will start our new school year.

I have received a lot of our homeschooling curriculum and I will be creating a blog post that goes into detail about our choices. I still need to order a few subjects and should hopefully have the post up soon. Then comes planning the year out which is always a major undertaking! I’m not sure how all of this will play out including starting our new school year with moving so be patient with me and this blog.

My Little Guy Is Turning Six

My little guy is turning six this weekend and we are having a family party. I am so excited for my cute boy and his birthday request was very cute this year. Or nerdy? Maybe nerdy is the better word, but I think it is still cute. He absolutely loves Math and has really enjoyed the Netflix show Number Blocks and so he asked for a number block party (Math party).

I should note that they don’t make any number block party stuff, so this mama is going to have to figure out how to make that happen!

jack

My Instagram Has Changed

If you are following my Instagram, you may notice a huge shift in my content. I’ve gone from promoting this blog to promoting Christ. I had been so bothered by all the things going on in the world and to me the solution is simple. It a sin problem and the Gospel is the solution. I am still trying to figure out where my account is going to settle. I really want to keep sharing theology, but I feel such a beginner Christian compared to other Theology accounts. It’s odd since I have been a Christian all my life. I have been prayerfully considering what exactly God wants me to do with it. Either way, I want God to be glorified, not me.

I used to only share things about my homeschool life and life as a stay home mom and for a while there, boldly proclaiming the Gospel seemed most important. I still think that should take front stage, but I am also considering that glorifying God also includes living out biblical womanhood. Therefore, I think I will be interjecting more of my daily life back into my IG schedule.

Sharing the gospel and Theology has really been an interesting experience. When I first started sharing about Christ I lost about 200 friends. These weren’t strangers. These were people I knew. Five women from my mom’s group unfollowed me within the first few weeks. One, deleted and blocked me on every social media account. Another even removed me from all her accounts including her business accounts. Ten different old co-workers unfollowed me. People I had been close to. I expected to lose a lot of my atheist friends. I did not expect to lose friends who were professing Christians. But that just tells you that many Christians are receiving a watered-down gospel with no real substance or conviction.

I’ve Been Praying About My Old Posts

Over the last year and a half, my theology has changed dramatically. My theology has gradually become more reformed. Reformed theology seems to be a very love it or hate it thing in the Christian community, but I do think it is the correct lens from which to view scripture. It also radically corrected me on worldly ideas that I had adopted. In particular, things like self-love and other worldly things that I feel God has convicted me on. Therefore I think I will be going through my old blog posts and deleting things where I feel like I have misled my readers away from God.

I have repented to God for adopting secular world views that are masquerading as Christianity. I’m very glad that God allowed me to see the truth about where I was deceived because when you were deceived you don’t know that you were deceived.

I’ve also considered removing some of my journal prompt posts because as I dig deeper into scripture itself I feel that things like self-discovery or looking within yourself for answers is a very secular worldview.

The Bible is sufficient to understand ourselves, to understand the world to understand our problems. So I am seriously considering removing some of my journal prompts. I myself personally stopped journaling for that reason.

For now I’m going to continue to pray about it and to also see what the Bible says I am about things like that. Sometimes the Bible allows us some Christian liberty on secondary issues I’m also going to seek wise counsel from other women who I feel have very sound theology and ask them what they think before I do anything really drastic so bear with me.

No Television

One of the major changes that have taken place in my life in the last six months has been the fact that I have almost entirely given up television. I was always an avid reader when I was young but once I had children it just sort of fell by the wayside. Instead, I actually spent a good amount of time vegging out in front of the TV which is very unproductive. About six months ago, my husband and I felt like we were wasting too much time in front of the TV. We were also very off-put by the content on TV. As we became closer to Christ we could not fritter away our free time watching some of the very things that Christ died for. We started by cutting out some of our favorite shows because they glorified sinful things. We started to replace that time with bible study or reading and honestly, we just found we had little to no interest on TV.

In an upcoming post, I’m going to share the books that I have already read this year with a quick review I and links if you’re interested in reading them yourself.

That’s it for now, friends. I will keep you posted on our moving news.

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Mother’s Day After Miscarriage

I lost my babies in 2014. Still, Mother’s Day after miscarriage evokes lots of emotions even years later. Allow me to share how I feel when this day rolls around.

MOTHERS DAY AFTER MISCARRIAGE

Hi, friends. Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mamas out there. Today, I wanted to share some thoughts that have been on my heart. Several months ago, I wrote a post entitled 15 Comforting Verses for Miscarriage. Since I wrote it, my inbox and comments have been flooded with heartbreaking stories from mamas and daddies who have lost their babies. My heart breaks for all of you.

I have shared my miscarriage story in the post, Surviving Miscarriage. It was both therapeutic and gut-wrenching to write it. I won’t rehash all the details here. That’s not really what this post is about. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on Mother’s Day after miscarriage. Mother’s Day can be a very painful reminder of your infant loss if you are grieving. I want to give you hope that even though it is painful in the beginning, your grief will one day turn into acceptance and possibly even hope.

A Sobering Thought

It is a sobering thought to consider that half my children are in heaven. I have two beautiful boys and I am deeply in love with them. They are beautiful, bright souls. They are perfect in every way and I love them more than I could have ever imagined. But my first two babies are in heaven. Half my children aren’t here and even now, I miss the loves I never got to meet.

Before I had two miscarriages, I was really ignorant about the pain and grief that a mother felt. I realize how obtuse that was, but I don’t know that you can understand the very special grief that comes along with having both life and death inside of you. Both my miscarriages were back to back, which really compounded the pain and hopelessness. I was also very unprepared that much of my grief would be centered around self-blame.

As a mother, it is your instinct to protect your child and when you miscarry or your child is stillborn you spend a great deal of time wondering if you could have done something differently. You find yourself blame-shifting between the glass of wine you had before you knew you were pregnant or the exercise you did. Did I eat something wrong? Is something wrong with me? Grief plays terrible tricks on your conscience. Mama, if you are in this stage of grief, let me assure you, you did nothing wrong. Miscarriage is way more common than you think and often there are no answers.

Mother’s Day After Miscarriage

After my second miscarriage, I quickly became pregnant with my oldest living son Jack. While I was pregnant, just a month before I gave birth, Mother’s Day passed. I was honestly very surprised by my feelings. Even though I was about to give birth, I was still very grieved over my two babies. Mother’s Day was a painful reminder of what had happened the year prior. I ached to hold my babies. I longed to see their faces and hear their cries. It is the pain only a mother can understand.

I did not fully enjoy my pregnancy with Jack because I was so scared and worried about losing him. My point is that even the anticipation of another child did not dull my grief. Even if you have other children later, there is no replacement for the one you lost. It’s okay joyful at your next child and still grieve the one you lost.

What I was most surprised about was the years that followed. Even with my two boys, I can still say that Mother’s Days brings bittersweet feelings. Yes, I am so thrilled to be the mama of my beautiful boys. But there is also a part of my heart that grieves, even now years later. Of course, I don’t just think about my loves on Mother’s Day. I think about them all the time. I wonder what they would have looked like. What kind of personalities they would have had.

Hope for the Future

I’m convinced now, that those feelings will never go away. I’ve made my peace with the fact that the babies I lost are just as much a part of my heart as my two living children. I have arrived at this place of acceptance. Mama, if you have lost a child either by miscarriage or stillbirth, let me say that reminders are everywhere. Your due date, your miscarriage date, Mother’s Day, Christmas, they all sting those first few years.

But this is also where I would tell you that one day, it won’t hurt like this. Those first few years are really hard and the one thing that helped me get though my grief wasn’t any comfort friends and family gave me, but the comfort I found in the promises of God. Growing closer to Christ, assuaged my grief and gave me hope, that I will eventually meet my babies.

Please, take heart, mama. If you are struggling with grief, I urge you to stay in the Word of God. I’ve learned that the devil isn’t above kicking you when you are down. He will absolutely try to blame shift towards God. He will make you question the goodness of God, but by staying in the Word, you will see, he lies. Remember, that our God is compassionate and sympathetic. I’m going to close with one of the most comforting verses that helped me.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8

I’d Love to Pray for You

If you would like me to pray for you, you can leave a comment or if you would like your request to remain private, you can use the contact me page. Please know that I really do pray for you and I continue praying for you. You are not alone in your grief. Also, if your grief is turning into resentment or bitterness, I really urge you to visit with a trusted Christian counselor, pastor, or elder of the church. There is no shame in receiving help to work through your grief.

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Ocean Books for Toddlers

Jellyfish, whales and sharks. These are some of my family’s favorite ocean books for toddlers that your kids will love.

ocean books for toddlers
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps my small business succeed.

We are doing ocean week for our tot school so I thought I would share some of our favorite Ocean books for toddlers. Both my boys love the ocean. My older son seems to love it more which is why I decorated his room with an ocean theme. Right now, we are doing tot school with my youngest. It is sort of like a preschool, but more play time. It also focuses primarily on three things. Colors, shapes, alphabet and number recognition. He knows them pretty well, but we make sure to reinforce the knowledge everyday through play.

Our ocean week is lots of fun full of water activities and we make sure to read lots of books about sea life and our underwater world. By the way, if you enjoy this, you may also enjoy my posts, Classical Books for Kindergarteners and 12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children. Happy reading!

Ocean Books for Toddlers

Mr. Seahorse

My oldest really loved this book. Mr. Seahorse is a great book to add to your collection if you are an Eric Carle fan (Very Hungry Caterpillar). This sweet story tells the tale of how the male seahorse carries the baby sea horse eggs until they are ready. Mr. Seahorse has become a favorite of my boys. This book is offered in a classic paperback in a board book style. I’ll leave the links below for both.

My Octopus Arms

My Octopus Arms is a playful and colorful story by Keith Baker. My boys have always loved this book. This book is just plain fun. It’s the story of an octopus who uses his arms to do various things that humans do. This was a great way to teach about our arms as body parts and sense of touch. It is a simple book but it is so silly that the kids love it.

The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book. This sweet book has been around since the late 1990’s. The book focuses on a moralistic tale of a fish who has beautiful scales. The fish around him only have regular scales. A fish asks him to share one of his beautiful scales, but the rainbow fish refuses. The tale is a parable of sorts about both vanity and sharing.

The really special thing of this book is that the rainbow fish has holographic scales on every page which is sure to delight your child. It was a favorite of my cousins when they were young and now a favorite of my sons.

I Spy Ocean Animals

I Spy Ocean Animals is a fun book even for preschoolers. Even my six-year-old still loves it, So this is a great I spy books. It is in a board book which I always loved with little ones. I know they take up a lot of room on a bookshelf, but my boys were so rough with books I needed something that could survive them!

This book is a lift-the-flap book. If you are unfamiliar with it, a lift-the-flap book has flaps on the inner pages and your child can peek underneath to find a hidden illustration or words. If your child has a hard time sitting or staying entertained with books, lift-the-flap books can be really helpful. Honestly, they helped my oldest enjoy books since his attention span was so poor.

There are 100 ocean animals featured in the book and they also go through the ABCs to help build language. If your child enjoys, I spy activities be sure to visit my other posts, Halloween I Spy and Christmas I Spy which include free printable games for your kids.

Good Night Ocean

Good Night Ocean is a delightful little bedtime book. The book goes through all kinds of diverse sea life in the ocean. It goes through everything from beaches and reefs as well as sharks, whales, and various sea life. The story itself is pretty simple, but my children enjoy going through marine life. This book is actually part of a larger series that explores other locations and parts of our world.

Baby Beluga

Do you remember Raffi? Maybe I am showing my age here, but Raffi was a children’s entertainer. He was not a favorite of mine when I was a kid back in the 1980’s although many of my friends liked him. In any case, one of his favorite songs has been turned into this book and my boys have really enjoyed it. Baby Beluga tells the story of a baby beluga whale with a heartfelt ending that will make mamas choke up. It is a sweet book and it comes in both traditional paperback and a board book.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

I’m The Biggest Thing In the Ocean is a lovely book by Kevin Sherry. The book focuses on a giant squid and his travels discovering other sea life in the ocean like jellyfish and turtles. I definitely think this book is more suited for very young children. I have heard that the board book version and the classic book are not identical. Just something to keep in mind if you purchase. The board book appears to be an abridged version.

Way Down Deep In the Deep Blue Sea

Way Down Deep In The Deep Blue Sea is the story of a boy swimming through the ocean and meeting all kinds of sea creatures. At the end of the story, we learn that he is actually in his bathtub playing with his imagination. It’s a sweet story and both my boys really love this book. The story is quite simple, but sometimes that’s all a child needs. My boys enjoyed it so much that we bought a copy for their cousin since they refused to gift their copy.

Octopus’s Garden

Are you a Beatles fan? Well, my family is. The Beatles are my dad’s favorite band of all time. So when I found this children’s book, Octopus’s Garden by Ringo Starr, I was pretty excited. This book is just the complete lyrics of Octopus’s Garden. My boys love this book because when we read it, I always put on the song and we read/sing it together. Also, this isn’t the only Beatles children’s book out there. Paul McCartney has a book All You Need is Love and With A Little Help From My Friends just to name a few.

delighted ethnic little siblings reading interesting book on couch
Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com

Hello, World! Ocean Life

Hello, World! Ocean Life is a book that is perfect for babies to about 3 years of age. It will likely be too simple a book after that, but it is a great language builder for infants and toddlers. As far as I can tell this book is only available in a board book format. This is actually part of a larger series. The series includes other science-related topics like bugs, artic animals, rainforest animals, planet earth, etc. So you may also want to look at their other books if you like this one.

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Thanks for joining me. I hope you and your children enjoy these ocean books for toddlers. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of our favorite ocean story time books. This month I’ll be sharing our first-grade curriculum picks so don’t forget to subscribe and come back!

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10 Pretty Functional Diaper Bags

So you’re gonna be a mama! Being a mom isn’t all mom jeans and frumpy diaper bags. Here are 10 pretty functional diaper bags to add to your registry.

10 pretty functional diaper bags

Hey, friend. If you are here I’m guessing you are a new mama. Welcome to my blog where I share all about my life as a mom and try to help other mamas find their footing. One of the most important purchases you’ll make as a mom is in a diaper bag. In the beginning, you may be a little hesitant to venture out with your little one. That is totally normal. I promise that getting out is very important. In fact, you can read all about how I stay sane as a stay-ay-home mom.

In this post, I’m going to share 10 pretty functional diaper bags. Getting a great diaper bag is so important because being prepared when you are out will ensure you can get your errands and playdates done with minimal stress. Diaper bags don’t have to be frumpy. These days there are lots of cute options. As with everything on this blog, I only link to things I own, I love, or want to own. I’ll be sharing some diaper bags I adore that are owned by other mommies I know. I always do my best to recommend only the better products. Congratulations on your new baby! Let’s dig in, shall we?

LuliBebe Monaco Vegan Leather Diaper Bag

This premium luxury diaper bag comes with adjustable straps to use as it as a shoulder bag or you can wear it as a backpack. I really love that option. Believe me, you will too once you have more than one child! It also comes with stroller straps and a diaper changing pad. Complete with 9 pockets, this bag has plenty of room for large items as well. It has a quilted outside pocket that is great for keeping quick things at hand. This diaper bag comes in four shades – tan, black, blush and light grey. It’s also made of cruelty-free, vegan leather.

COST ON AMAZON: $159

Skip Hop Linx Luxury Quilted Vegan Leather Bag

Skip Hop bags make some of my favorite diaper bags. I really think they have a bag for every mother! This particular bag is one of my favorites. The gold metal accents make the bag look very expensive and the quilted vegan leather really makes it fashionable. This trendy diaper bag comes with stroller attachments as well. Working mamas will love this bag becomes you can even fit a laptop in it! It has two bottle pockets and a changing pad. If you are looking for a good quality mid-range bag this is a great one.

COST ON AMAZON: $79

3-1 Backpack Diaper Bag with Travel Bassinet

If you are trying to keep your cost down on a diaper bag, this one is my favorite. This really came in handy, but especially when we were traveling. There were occasions when bathrooms didn’t have a changing station or where there was no convenient place to change your baby. Enter the 3-1 diaper bag. This bag is pretty large measuring at almost 17″ long. It has stroller straps and a front pocket with 3 bottle pockets. Inside it has 4 inside pockets. This was really helpful for the mamas who are constantly on the go. It comes in black and a charcoal grey and has a wipe pocket on the side for easy access.

COST ON AMAZON: $39.99

Itsy Ritzy Large Capacity Diaper Bag

This is a really adorable, functional bag. This diaper bag comes in a large variety of colors: blush, black herringbone, black & white, handsome heather grey, coffee and cream, black with gold, and vanilla latte. Honestly the vanilla latte and the coffee and cream are my favorites. Really lovely. This diaper bag has a whopping 17 pockets. If you are like me and want everything to have a place in your diaper bag, I think you will really like this bag. One nice thing about this diaper bag is that the it has rubber feet on the bottom so when you set your diaper bag on the floor it doesn’t get dirty. Why don’t more diaper bags have that? Once I had two kids, this bag provided plenty of room for both my toddlers things, my newborn’s stuff and my own essentials. Its one of the largest ones at 18″. Comes with an easy “parent pocket” for your stuff as well as a changing mat and stroller straps. Backpack is made of faux leather for easy wiping. Itsy Ritzy has a lot of accessories they sell a la carte so you can customize your bag a bit more. I’ll include them below.

Itsy Ritzy Tweed Diaper Bag

Like the Itsy Ritzy this is diaper bag is also a large capacity diaper bag with plenty of room. I really loved this bag but saw only discovered it once my youngest was growing out of the diaper stage. I love Itsy Ritzy bags because they look stylish. This one looks like a Chanel suit! This lovely diaper bag is an elegant black and white tweed with gold hardware. They also have grey and black version in vegan leather if tweed isn’t your thing. This bag also has 19 pockets both internal and external. Itsy Ritzy bags come with rubber feet on the bottom to keep your bag clean as well as a changing pad. You can purchase a pacifier holder and accessories separately.

COST ON AMAZON: $185

Wren White Vegan Leather Diaper Bag with Charging Port

My days as a stay-at-home mom have always been so busy. I had no idea they even made bags like this until my friend bought this one. Wow. This diaper bag is white vegan leather with cognac (dark tan) accents. This combo really gives this bag a sophisticated look. For the mama on the go you can fit a laptop in this bag and best of all, it has charging ports! I wish I had this for all the times we were traveling with little ones. That would have been so helpful! The interior of this bag is very roomy. Has insulated pockets on the inside and non insulated bottle pockets on the outside. Includes shoulder strap and stroller straps.

COST ON AMAZON: $149

Hafmall Water Proof Multifunction Diaper Bag

This sweet pink and navy diaper bag is waterproof and is a both stylish and economical choice. This large capacity bag is very spacious and features a wide mouth opening. It has a back opening for quick reach and can be attached to a stroller. On the side you have tissue and wipe holder. You can carry by the handles or wear it is a backpack.

COST ON AMAZON: $30

Itsy Ritzy Crossbody Diaper Bag

I’ve included this diaper bag for the minimalist mama. This is for the mama that doesn’t want to carry a full diaper bag. I had a good friend from California that never wanted to carry a bulky diaper bag. Instead she used this bag which is basically a crossbody purse except it has a separate area to stash a few diapers and some wipes. In the front is a separate compartment for your things. This is also once you child gets older into the toddler years. You will find you don’t need all the baby stuff. Just diapers and wipes when you head out. This cute purse comes in blush, black, tweed, and taupe.

COST ON AMAZON: $75

Miger Leopard Backpack Diaper Bag

If you are an animal print lover, I think you’ll love this leopard print and black diaper bag. This is an inexpensive diaper bag This diaper bag is very light weight, only about a pound compared to the 2 lb weight of other bags. One thing that is nice about this bag is that it is machine washable which is why the bag is on the thin side. If you are looking for something more rugged, you may want to pick one of the more expensive bags. This bag has a bottle pockets on the front pouch and adjustable straps.

COST ON AMAZON: $30

I hope I’ve given you some ideas about some of the cute bags out there. Before you go, be sure to download my free Baby Registry Checklist to help get you started with all the things you need before baby arrives.

12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children

Join me as I share 12 beautiful Easter books for children, perfect for filling Easter baskets or just sharing the story of the Resurrection with kids.

12 beautiful easter books for children

Becoming a parent was very interesting. I never considered how I might share the Easter story with my children. My boys, ages five and three are interested in Jesus, but are barely starting to understand the concept of sin, much less theology like the hypostatic union and substitutionary atonement. That understanding will come in later years, but right now is really just about them being introduced the the passion of Christ, the crucifixion and the resurrection as it happened.

Today, I’m going the share 12 beautiful Easter books for children. Each book is different and I will try to illustrate some of those differences. You can give the book as a gift to your child or even tuck it in their Easter basket like I do. If I see any differences in denomination, I’ll try to mention that.

12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children

God Gave Us Easter

God Gave Us Easter is a favorite book. We actually have the companion book, God Gave Us You, which is a beautiful book about how God created us. In God Gave Us Easter, the book includes the same characters and similar beautiful language. I will say that this book doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of Jesus dying on the cross. It keeps it very light hearted. So if you are looking for something with more of a high-level overtone, this one is a beautiful book. This book is probably better for very young children that you understand death or the idea of crucifixion. See below for my more biblical choices.

The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Us Who Jesus Is

This is a beautiful storybook with a biblical foundation showing us the character of Jesus. The storybook has lovely illustrations for each story and a bible passage. The stories selected are designed to give children a look at the character of Jesus. We see Jesus as a teacher, redeemer, rescuer, friend, King, savior, Each story is one page long and includes a scripture passage. At the end of each story, there are questions for children to think about or answer. This one is a favorite of ours! I think this book is great for preschool age through about nine.

Notes From Jesus

This is a lovely book! Although it isn’t specifically Easter themed, I think it is really lovely because it lays the foundation for establishing a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. It provides answers to common thoughts and questions like, “how does Jesus feel when I mess up?” “Is it okay to pray with my eyes open?” “Does Jesus care about my day?” The answers are simple in a narrative that is easy for young children to grasp and thoroughly explains God’s love for us.

This book is recommended for ages six and up, but honestly, I find it perfect for my four-year-old who is just starting to build a relationship with the Lord.

We Believe: An Alphabet Primer

I’ve included this book, for those looking for a Catholic perspective. We Believe: an Alphabet Primer is a lovely book with simple, colorful beautiful illustrations. The artwork is vibrant and has a lovely color palette. In the book the alphabet is used by theological terms. If you are a Catholic, you will probably enjoy that this book discusses things like the Eucharist, the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. I was raised as a Catholic and this would have been a lovely book when I was young. If you are a Protestant, like I am now, you may want to skip this book as it does have Catholic theology. This book is best for children four and under.

Lift The Flap Easter Stories For Young Children

This sweet book, Lift the Flap Easter Stories for Young Children, is great for little ones who have a hard time sitting still for stories. When my boys were between the ages of two and three it was so hard to get them to sit for stories. This is where I think lift the flap books are very helpful. It gives them something to do while we are reading and keeps those little hands busy. This short book is about sixteen pages and is perfect for ages two through five. There are multiple flaps per page with colorful explanations. This covers the major events surround the resurrection story but omits the gruesomeness of the crucifixion because it’s designed for toddlers.

The Donkey Who Carried a King

This book by reformed pastor R.C. Sproul is a beautiful, endearing story and certainly one of my favorites. Now this book is going to be very different from other books in this list. First, this book is not really centered around the events around the resurrection, ( I mean it IS and it ISNT) rather it is centered around Christ coming in humility not to be served but to serve. In essence it is more of a moralistic tale than a play by play of the Easter story. I think it is a really good book especially when paired with other Easter stories.

Click Here for Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas

Twas the Easter Morning

If you like Twas the Night Before Christmas, you may really enjoy this Twas the Easter Morning as well. This book uses the same ionic pentameter of Twas the Night Before Christmas except it tells the story of Easter instead of Christmas. That makes if for a special telling of the Easter story. The illustrations in this book are really breathtaking. I have a feeling this one is going to be a classic story in years to come.

The Easter Story

The Easter Story book is great for kids around the kindergarten – first grade age. The book is biblically based with lovely illustrations and isn’t too long ( it is 32 pages). There is also a board book version available if you want tear resistant pages. It is not graphic for children who may not be ready for the crucifixion. However there is just one small thing I would change and it is probably a minor detail to most parents. It says that Jesus died so that we “will” all go to heaven. We don’t want to imply universalism to our children. It should read so that we “can” all go to heaven. This is probably such a minor detail that most parents won’t care. After all, that kind of theology is something that can be discussed when children are older anyway. Still, this is a great biblical story.

100 Little Bible Words

So I’ve included this book, 100 Little Bible Words, in the list because I don’t want to leave out infants or children under the age of two. This board book contains 100 words to build the vocabulary of your little man or lady. Throughout the pages it goes through major biblical themes like the creation story, Noah’s ark, etc. It provides a scripture, then provides words related to that part of the Bible. For example, Noah’s ark lists many animals. The creation story teaches words like Adam, Eve, apple, tree, sun, light, sky, etc. Although this isn’t specific to Easter, I still think it is a great book to start introducing biblical vocabulary. This little book is perfect for an Easter basket.

The Very First Easter

The Very First Easter by Paul L Maier is a beautifully illustrated book of the Easter story. The book is biblically accurate and Christ focused. The illustrations are really lovely and contains accurate scripture. However, I thought I would mention two things for the discerning reader. The first is that the book infers early on that the Easter bunny is not real. If your children believe in the Easter bunny, this might catch you off guard. Additionally, after stating the scripture verbatim at the Lord’s supper, the book says then explains that it is a sacrament which offers grace and forgiveness of sins. It is fairly subtle but obviously, your views on transubstantiation may find this verse troubling. I think it is subtle enough, but I still thought I would mention.

The Story of Passover

I thought I would include The Story of Passover by David A Alder in the list. While this book isn’t about the death and resurrection, I think it’s appropriate for children to understand what passover is referring to in scripture. After all, I don’t think it was any coincidence that Jesus died on the anniversary of God setting the Jewish people free from slavery. For we were slaves to sin and now we have freedom in Christ. This book centers around Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. The book is full of bold illustrations and is good for preschool and young elementary school children. My only critique is that although it explains the events leading up to passover it doesn’t not fully explain the passover seder.

The Donkey No One Could Ride

This sweet book, The Donkey No One Could Ride, by author Anthony DeStefano is a sweet tale of a donkey who felt unworthy until he meets his master, Christ. This adorable rhyming tale is best for kids under the age of seven. I will add that this book doesn’t really tell the Easter story like other books. Rather, this is more about our relationship with our master. It also centers around Palm Sunday. Still I think it’s a really lovely, innocent tale that will encourage children to see the love of Christ.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter. Be sure to check out some of my other book lists like 10 Books to Read as a New Mom, Classical Books for Kindergarteners and 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage.

12 beautiful easter books for children

The Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Living with less can actually help you enjoy your home more. Today, I’m providing the ultimate declutter checklist, a free printable to help you tackle clutter.

The ultimate declutter checklist

The Secret to A Clean House

Do you want to know the secret to a clean house? It isn’t having a maid that stops by every week. Nor is it spending all your free time cleaning. No, the secret lies in the amount of things you have. The more things you have, the more there is to put away. The more picking up you have to do, the more there is to make a mess.

The key to a tidy house is having a place for everything. If everything has it’s place, then there is order. It is impossible to be neat if you have clutter taking over every surface, every closet, every nook, every shelf, and every cupboard. You can’t put things away if there is no place to put it. We are always acquiring new things. Birthdays, anniversaries, well meaning family, trickle items one by one into our home and before you know it, closets are full. The less you have the more spacious and clean your house looks.

Decluttering your home is a something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Clutter is one of those things that makes your house look dirty when its not. What’s worse is that we kind of get used to our clutter but people who visit our home, notice it instantly. I try to do some amount of declutter every month.

Tips for Taming Clutter

There are lots of ways that you can tame the clutter that you decide to keep. One way is to contain small groups of objects in containers or in baskets. Decorative baskets mask the clutter making shelves or cupboards appear neat and tidy to the eyes.

I’ve also found that if you have a hard time taming items in drawers, draw organizers are a great help to guide you. Personally, I’ve grown really fond of folding towels and clothes up differently in order to maximize space. For instance, in my children’s drawers, I store clothes vertically in the drawers. You get far more clothes in the drawer and I find that we rotate all the clothes because they are all visible at once. It even helps my little pick out his clothes easier.

Time Method

I’ve also found that even spending fifteen minutes a day decluttering makes a huge difference when it comes to staying on top of clutter before it gets overwhelming. Focus on hot spots that attract clutter. Then if you have time pick a drawer or area to toss out things. Setting a timer and doing as much decluttering in that time can help you tackle clutter a little everyday.

Zone Decluttering

The printable I’ve created for you below is focused on zone decluttering. If you don’t have time to do a whole room, just pick one line item and work on that, working your way eventually around the house.

Some people swear by the trash bag method. Grab a trash bag and declutter until you fill it up. Once it is filled you are done. Some people do this once a week, every other week or even once a month. Other people have a 1 in 10 out rule, meaning for every new thing they buy, they throw ten things out. I tried this but don’t consistently remember to do this. So I do better with regular decluttering in other ways.

Take a look at my posts 8 Places to Cash in Clutter and 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now. If you need help decluttering books, my post 5 Steps to Decluttering Books might help you.

Questions to Help You Say Goodbye

I always ask a series of questions that help me say goodbye to unnecessary things. I think many times we hold on to things because we have good intentions of using them and I think we also feel guilty that we spent good money on it. Having spent money on it makes us feel obligated to keep it until we use it. However, chances are if you haven’t used it in a year or six months, you probably won’t ever use it. Sad but true.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself when I am purging:

  • Is it broken, damaged or missing pieces?
  • Is it very worn?
  • Do I have something else that serves the same purpose?
  • Am I holding on to it out of guilt?
  • If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it again?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it still in style?
  • Do I really love it?
  • Have I used it in the six months?
  • Do I really want to keep handling this item again?
  • Is keeping it worth the space it takes up?
Nate berkus quote

The Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Be sure to download your free ultimate declutter checklist and get started today. I have organized your checklist by room and I’ve included a list of questions at the bottom of the page to help you make decisions. If you are really on the fence about giving something away, you can do a little trick I sometimes I do. I pack it in a box and label it, “throw out in six months” and I put the six month date. Anything I am uncertain about goes in that box. If six months pass and I have not gone into the box, I put it in the trunk of my car and take it to the nearest donation place without ever opening it up. If you open it up, you’ll be tempted to keep it. If you don’t open it up, you probably would never miss it.

Your decluttering checklist includes 7 pages. You can print out multiple copies of the bedroom and bathroom page for however many bedrooms and bathrooms you have. I’ve included some extra spaces for you to add your own items as well.

What are some of your own decluttering tips? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Also be sure to share this post with friends who need a decluttering checklist!

30 Bible Study Journal Prompts

If you want to take your journaling to a new level, while also pursuing holiness, well, I’ve got 30 Bible study journal prompts to help you grow in God’s word.

30 bible study journal prompts
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Hey, friends! Today, I’m doing a different variety of journal prompts. So in the past I’ve done some topical based scripture reading like, grief and depression and anxiety and fear. I’ve also done tons of different journal prompts like, Christian Journal Prompts, 50 Journal Prompts and Lenten Journal Prompts.

This post is going to focus on a variety of scripture verses. Read them, pray over them, then answer the questions below. You can also expound on your own interpretation of the verse or how you feel God’s conviction. I hope that you enjoy these 30 bible study journal prompts. If you prefer this style of journaling, please let me know in the comments and I will create more of these types of posts.

Enjoy studying The Word while also reflecting on your own spiritual life, actions and attitudes. Remember, if you have fallen short or sinned in these areas, God is faithful to forgive us. Confess, repent, walk in grace.

30 bible study journal prompts
Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

30 Bible Study Journal Prompts

  1. 1 Kings 18:20-21: Elijah, standing before the false prophets of Baal tells them to make up their minds about who to worship. A false God or the true one. We too must decide between our idols (the world) and God. Describe any internal conflict you have between the things of the world and full devotion to God. Where do you stand?
  2. 1 Kings 18:22: Continue reading the next verse. Elijah stood up for the one true God against idolaters all alone as everyone was worshipping the false God. He was only faithful prophet at the time. Describe how you feel about standing up for God even if it means standing alone. What scares you the most about doing so?
  3. Matthew 6:31-32: Here Jesus promises to fulfill our needs. How do you feel about trusting God’s provision? Where are areas in which you need help trusting?
  4. 2 Timothy 3:2:-5 Here Paul describes the nature of people in the last days. How do you see these attributes in today’s culture and society? What steps can you personally take to combat this worldly mentality?
  5. Proverbs 3:11-12: Why does God discipline us? What should be our attitude?
  6. Luke 12:51 The Greek word Luke uses for division is diamerismon which means hostility, discord and to break up. How has choosing Jesus created division in your life? The stronger we stand for Christ, the more division we will face. How far are you willing to stand for Christ?
  7. Revelation 3:14-16 John is writing to the church Laodicia. This apostate church is also lukewarm. Read what God is going to do with them if they don’t repent. Examine your own life for areas you are lukewarm. Where is your own church lukewarm and what can you do to change it?
  8. Titus 3:1-2: Examine the behaviors in this verse. How well do you feel you have been obeying the command in this verse?
  9. Luke 12:4-5 This is a strong message about persecution and that we shouldn’t fear the rejection of other sinners, rather God. Examine your own life. Where do you see yourself acting sheepishly for fear of offending people with the gospel?
  10. Matthew 6:19-21 Here Jesus warns us about getting caught up in materialism. Write an honest assessment about your attachment to things (possessions), money, and worldly materialism. Then write a prayer of repentance.
  11. Acts 5:27-41 Here we are given the example about how we are to respond to persecution. We have our own persecution today which includes cancel culture. Write a note to yourself, using the apostles’ examples found in these passages on how we should respond to persecution for the gospel.
  12. John 21:18-22 Here Jesus predicts Peter’s eventual crucifixion. When Peter asks Jesus about John’s death, what is Jesus’ harsh response? What does that say about questioning God’s plan? What does this say about comparing our lives to others?
  13. Proverbs 18:17: What does this say about the world’s narrative, the media, and even in our own relationships?
  14. 1 Corinthians 18-25: Explain what these verses mean. What does the message of the cross look like to the world?
  15. Psalm 11: 3-4: When the bottom is pulled out from beneath us, what do the righteous do? What does the Bible say next? How does this encourage you?
  16. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29: What does this say about the kind of person God choses? Why does He choose the people the world would discard?
  17. Matthew 7:1-5: Here Jesus reminds us that before we judge someone to first look to see if we too are committing that sin. We have a tendency to see the sin of others while justifying or ignoring our own. Write down the sins of others that have bothered you this week as well as your own sins. Mix them together. When finished, in big bold letters, write “covered by the blood of Jesus” on top of them.
  18. Philippians 2:3-5: In a culture that likes to elevate the self, Paul tells us to imitate Christ’s humility. What does following Christ look like when it comes to dealing with others?
  19. Philiipians 2:12-16: Complaining is a serious problem. What does Paul saying about grumbling and why should we avoid it?
  20. Proverbs 28:13: What does this verse say about secret sins? Do you harbor secret sins for which you need to repent?
  21. 1 John 4:20: Does this verse exclude people who are of a different political party than you? Does it exclude those with whom you disagree? Write about the things you find personally hard in following this verse. Then ask God to help you with that.
  22. Matthew 15:10-16 Explain the meaning of these verses. How are our hearts and words connected?
  23. Galatians 3:27-29 The world tells us our identity is in our race, gender, financial status, career, ethnicity, political party, etc, but those things are temporal and passing away. What does this verse say about our identity in Christ? What happens when we are baptized? How does this line up with your world view?
  24. Romans 12:12 The world (society & culture) will always be trying to get us to think like him. What does Paul say we need to do combat this? What will you commit to doing?
  25. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 How should we view trials? What is God’s purpose?
  26. Luke 9:27-27: The world would tell you to “love yourself”and to focus on you, your comfort, etc. What is the call for the Christian instead? Where are you falling short?
  27. Colossions 3:12: Paul discusses the attributes of a Christian. How have your actions lately lined up with this. Repent to God if needed.
  28. Ephesians 1:5: What does this say about the plan for our life? How does this change your view about the events in your life?
  29. 2 Timothy 2:9 What does this say about working or earning salvation?
  30. 2 Corinthians 10:5 What is this verse saying about conforming our will to His?

More Journaling Prompts

Be sure to PIN this post for later and share it with a friend who will love it. Below are some of my other journal prompt posts.

Surviving Our Texas Snowpocalypse

Where have I been for the last week? Surviving our Texas snowpocalypse, that’s what! It was a crazy week but we survived.

Surviving our Texas snowpocalypse

Last week has been one for the books. You may wonder where I have been this past week. Well, I’ve been buried under snow and ice. Well, not literally, but for all intents and purposes it is true. Now this will sound so silly to people who live in Northern areas. Texas is such a warm state. Even our December days are often around 70 degrees. We have days that hit freezing, but we rarely get the precipitation that produces snow and even when we get some flakes it doesn’t always accumulate.

This Monday we had a severe winter storm blow through South Texas. Texas sees it’s share of severe weather but for us it is often hurricanes towards the end of summer and early Fall or it is in tornados around March and April. We are not prepared for Winter storms. 

When the storm came in on Sunday night many of us were so excited. We almost never see snow here and when we do it is normally just a dusting that is gone by midday. This was quite different. We had icy precipitation first then 4-6” of snow depending on where you live. 

Snow Day

The kids woke up to something they have never really seen here. White rooftops. Snowy trees, the street, and yard covered in a glistening white blanket of snow. It was gorgeous. Snow is always gorgeous before we drive through it and muddy it up, before it turns into a grey slushy. 

We bundled the kids up like Ralphie out of Christmas story and let them have fun playing in the snow. My two year old was quite hesitant at first, but he had an absolute fit when we told them it was time to come inside. They had a blast throwing snowballs and throwing the snow up in the air. It was great. We made sure they got into a hot bath immediately.

surviving our Texas snowpocalypse
surviving our Texas snowpocalypse

Boom Goes the Power

Not long after our eventful play in the snow did we lose power. It is shocking how quickly a warm house cools. We have a gas range, so we were at least able to cook. But we weren’t able to get groceries before the storm as stores were over run. That night, temperatures dipped down to about 9º. We slept the kids with us in the room and we made sure we pulled out their 30º sleeping bags but it was frigid.

We were stuck with whatever charge we had on our phones and devices. Thank goodness I have a ton of candles and we had plenty of batteries for flashlights. We finished out Monday night by the fireplace.

Me

Tuesday

Tuesday morning we ran out of wood for the fireplace. The cold was biting. Not all of our taps were working despite leaving them all dripping. We pulled out our water bob and filled it up, If you don’t have one of these, you should get one, They only cost around $30. It is a bladder that you put in your bath tub and fill it up for potable water in case you lose it. It holds about 100 gallons. Boy am I glad we did that! By the end of the day, we had lost all water. 

That evening we couldn’t take the cold anymore. By 3 o’clock on Tuesday we had been without power for 24 hours and temperatures never rose above freezing. My hands were numb as I tried to fix lunch for us. We decided to venture out and see if we could get any supplies. Lots of roads and stretches of the highway were still closed. We found had to drive out of town to find a store with power. They were cleaned out of most essentials and had no firewood or anything like it. My brother gave us a few pieces that we had and we stopped to check in on my elderly parents who had also been trapped without electricity. In fact, all my family members had been without electricity. 

There were rolling outages, but it was very odd. Some people never lost power. Some people appear to have regular power with small breaks, while other people like us, had no power at all for days at a time. It was very upsetting to see tons of businesses lit up with no one in them while homes were without power. USAA one of our largest businesses with a huge campus was fully energized with even their multistory parking lot blazing with lights while are house was 40º inside. Empty car dealerships all over the city were blaring with high-powered halogen lights over their parking lots when my elderly parents had no way to cook, no water, and had no heat source. We were told, our utilities were picking and choosing areas and places to energize.

surviving the Texas snowpocalypse

Wednesday

I am so grateful we had things like powdered milk and dry eggs to cook. I’m grateful we have a gas range. I’ll tell you that we will be investing in a propane heater after this! A generator also sounds amazing. We got some power overnight and it was wonderful but it was gone before we woke up and by noon it was painfully frigid again. Once the house gets that cold, it just takes a long time to get it back up to temperature.

My 91 year old grandfather and mentally challenged uncle were without heat all week as well. It is sad to see this kind of thing happen unnecessarily. Our losses were fairly small. It was bitterly cold in our house, but we all survived. We lost everything in our fridge including medications. We managed to keep the freezer fairly cold by packing ziplock bags of snow inside it to keep things frozen, but our fridge just didn’t stay cold enough.

Thursday

Last night temperatures dropped again. We had another bout of freezing rain and sleet, icing over everything that had started to defrost. Temperatures won’t get above freezing today. I wonder how long it will take for us to get power and water again. How much longer for us to get food and groceries again, I don’t know. I imagine it will be a madhouse and then of course, COVID hasn’t stopped. 

It’s been hard to be cut off from the world. We have only been turning on our devices here and there to touch base with family. Then we turn them off again. Roads are too icy to try and venture out. Even our steep driveway is covered with ice. This has been really hard for the kids. The numbing cold, the lack of light, no food or electronics. My youngest is too little to understand what has happened. But I am still incredibly proud of how well they have tried to adapt.

front porch

Friday

Power has been restored. Water is slowly coming through the taps but we are under a boil water notice for the next few days it seems. I’m just grateful to have heat again. It is slowly warming in the house.

It has been an interesting experience to say the least. It has certainly caused me to be grateful for things that I take for granted. Light, water, heat. Perhaps these things are necessary so we can appreciate the things we overlook everyday. I am especially grateful for people who reached out to me. People who offered their supplies, even their home to us if conditions worsened. Thank you so much! The most marvelous thing was that people I know who had the least were the ones who offered us the most.

Lots of restaurants and grocery stores appear to have lost food and so it will be a couple of weeks until things return to normal. Can I say that in 2021? Is there such a thing as normal anymore? If you were affected by the winter storm, I’d love to know how you are doing. This is one of my few posts that will read like a diary, I promise!

12 Habits of Happy Couples

I asked various married Christian couples to share their marital secrets. I’ve summed up their responses into 12 habits of happy couples.

12 HABITS OF HAPPY COUPLES
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Valentine’s is almost here and I’ve spent eight wonderful years with my amazing Valentine. This year, as we approach that special love day, I approached ten Christian couples for the secrets to their life-long marriages. Two of the couples have been married for more than fifty years while others are in the twenty and thirty year range.

It would seem that as simple as some of these notions are, it’s hard to live them out everyday. So in honor of love day, I thought it would really great to share some pearls of wisdom from the couples I admire. A special thanks to all of them who participated! I’ve left out actual quotes and names because several insisted that God only was to receive the glory for their long marriages. I loved that. According to them here are 12 habits of happy couples.

1. They Put God First

You’ve heard it said many times that putting God at the center of your marriage, but I have found it to be a profound and nurturing command in marriage. When God’s will is above your own, when you are in pursuit of holiness, you will do things that would otherwise be impossible. Your choices look very different when you are looking to please God over man or even yourself. Forgiveness even in the midst of betrayal becomes possible. Couples who are grounded in the covenant they made with God don’t give themselves an out every time there is a roadblock or speed bump. They will attempt to work it out at all costs.

2. They Have Boundaries

In the past, I’ve written about setting healthy boundaries in your marriage. Boundaries are so important when you are dealing with families who do things differently and even with friends who might persuade either spouse. So I wasn’t surprised when several couples listed setting boundaries as one of the most effective ways to guard a marriage.

There are all kinds of boundaries that you can set in your marriage, but I think some of the most important on how you will worship, how you will interact with members of the opposite sex, what is permissible in the bedroom and rules for fighting fairly. Boundaries are not away to control or manipulate your spouse. Nor should they be a way to play “gotcha.” Rather, they should create an understanding between you and your spouse about what is permissible and what is not.

3. They Effectively Communicate Their Feelings

Many people think that discussing things that bother us will create even more tension. The truth is, in the short term, it may, but bottling up unforgiveness or anger normally only leads to deep resentment. Nevertheless, we should bring up grivences and perceived slights quickly, but constructively. Constructive conversations normally involves several things:

  • Avoid using accusatory language
  • Avoid name-calling, curse words, and other degrading language
  • Resist the urge to assign motives. (We have a tendency to believe the best of ourselves, but the worst of others.)
  • Be specific and avoid generalizations and sweeping, blanket statements
  • Attack the problem and not the person
  • Avoid passing blame or justifying
  • If things get too heated, agree to take a time out and revisit later
Hanna Skelley of Unsplash

4. They Listen

This might sound super basic, but one of the women I talked to said something interesting. “During an argument, most people aren’t really listening. They are just waiting for their turn to speak,” this mom of four explained. The comment actually caused me to look at my own behavior. During emotional discussions we so often want to be heard but don’t always give our spouse the same consideration. Rather, we are just waiting for them to finish so we can hammer our point a little more. If we truly want peace in our marriage, if we really want to resolve some of the arguments that are robbing our marriage of joy, we first must be come better listeners.

Our spouse’s points are just as valid as our own. I’d also add that listening doesn’t just have to be during arguments. Sometimes, it is in the everyday. Here are just a few helpful hints on how to become a better listener. I know that I’ve noticed if someone feels like they weren’t heard, the issue will often get brought back up again.

  • Turn off or put down devices when your spouse speaks to you
  • Resist the urge to argue in your head while they speak
  • Recognize changes in tone and body language
  • Ask questions when something is unclear (reserve questions for when they are done speaking)
  • Confirm with, “if I’m hearing you correctly…”
  • Resist interuppting
  • Keep eye contact

5. They Give Up The Right to Be Right All the Time

Did you know that the most common reason for divorces aside from infidelity is arguing. Irreconcilable differences. Marriages, even good ones, have very real conflict. You will often hear people say ” we weren’t compatible.” Newsflash: no two people are totally compatible. Even though we may share things in common, we will always still have stark differences and those differences prompt arguments.

Our ego and pride often gets in the way of our resolving conflict. There are very serious problems in marriage, but many times we can get into a habit of being disagreeable. Annoyances can build up and we can find ourselves in petty squabbles over the manutia of life.

6. They Are Willing

Willingness is often understated and yet it is so important in a marriage. In my own marriage, my husband is one of the most willing people I’ve ever met. He was always willing to get up with the kids in the middle of the night. When my parents were stranded, he was willing to go across town to get them. He was willing to wait up all night for my niece until she got home safely. He is willing to work long hours, to make sacrifices, to do whatever is needed or asked of him. Be willing just means living with the attitude of a servant.

Our own Lord was quite willing. I think of all the times he could have chosen not to. He was willing to become man for our sake. Willing to eat with tax collectors, talk to Samaritans and sinners when no one else would. We know he was willing to be interrupted in the middle of teaching (Matthew 9:18-26) and we know that when the children interrupted him the disciples rebuked them, but Jesus was willing to stop and visit with them. (Matthew 19:13-15). Jesus was willing to be tortured, humiliated and crucified for the sake of sinners.

Being willing means we are willing to be inconvenienced, willing to serve, willing to sacrifice. It means that we are flexible (not stubborn), agreeable, and gracious. We have a tremendous opportunity for our spouse to come to know the love of Christ when we model this attribute.

7. They Are Kind and Gentle

Kindness is often underrated, but kindness is one of the pillars of love, the other being patience. When you are kind, you are choosing to be agreeable. Kindness causes us to look for ways to serve and meet the needs of our spouse. Additionally, kindness causes us to be gentle. Even if you have to rebuke your spouse, kindness chooses to say the words of correction with love and gentleness. Kindness chooses to offer mercy and forgiveness along with any form of correction. Both gentleness and kindness are fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and therefore available to us for the asking. It should be a daily request of ours in prayer that the Holy Spirit transform and conform our hearts with these attributes of the Holy Ghost. In 2 Timothy, we are reminded that we should be actively pursuing kindness alongside holiness (2 Timothy 6:11-12).

12 Habits of happy couples
Photo by Renate Vanaga on Unsplash

8. They Invest In Their Spouse

When we invest our time, effort, money, and energy into something, it naturally becomes more important to us. It is harder to give up on something in which we are deeply invested. In fact, the more we have invested, the harder it is to walk away. This is why it is important to invest in your marriage and in your spouse. Sometimes investing in your marriage is the giving or devoting of yourself such as your time. For example, investing may at times require you to put aside TV time in order to spend quality time with your spouse. It can mean listening when you’d rather zonk out for the night or it can even mean working with your partner to follow their dreams or deepest pursuits.

When you invest in your spouse, you are choosing to be a participating partner in their growth and wellbeing. So long as it aligns with our Christian world view, invest in the dreams, ambitions, interests and most importantly, their spiritual life.

9. They Forgive

Oh, friend, this is such a biggie. If there is one thing I have learned in marriage and one thing that was said by these awesome couples, it’s that forgiveness needs to take center stage in your marriage. Your spouse will repeatedly fail you, disappoint you, and even betray you. It is not a matter of if your spouse will hurt you, but rather, when. Why would someone who loves you, hurt you? As Christians, we know the answer to this. Sin nature. Scripture reminds us that we are all conceived in iniquity (Psalm 51:5).

Forgiveness is hard. There is a feeling that by forgiving someone (and not staying mad) you are sending the message it isn’t a big deal or that you are letting someone off the hook. Let’s be clear. Forgiveness is actually between you and God. Unforgiveness drives a wedge between us and the Lord and we become the unforgiving servant that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 18:21-35. As much as your spouse has wronged you, you have still wrong God more. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, we can forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

Forgiveness isn’t a single act. It’s an attitude.

10. They Seek Godly Counsel

Fighting and disagreements are inevitable and sometimes there is so much hurt and unforgiveness that our marriage feels stymied. I have learned that going to families often causes more conflict. Our families are likely to take the side of their blood relatives and may even be blinded by loyalty. I’m actually in favor of leaving families out of marital problems almost entirely for another reason. As loving spouses, we should strive to protect our spouse’s reputation. I believe that Christ-like love should work to cover faults (not expose them) in the same way that the blood of Christ covers ours (Romans 4:7). When we go to family members with catastrophic trials, it may cause our family’s opinion of our spouse to be damaged beyond repair. For that reason, I suggest seeking Godly counsel elsewhere.

There will be times where Godly counsel is needed and I can’t tell you how priceless it is to have someone rich in the love of Christ, who can shepherd the two of you through the storms that arise in marriage. Godly counsel will also lovingly rebuke you if correction is needed. Many churches offer pastoral counseling, but even if yours doesn’t, a pastor, church elder, spiritual mentor, or someone else in your church community may be a good source of advice.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,

But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

Proverbs 12:15

11. They Make Time for Sex and Physical Affection

We live in an age where many things are bidding for our attention. We are busy and tired and devices have really made it difficult. Kids, jobs, errands, responsibilities are all clamoring for our attention. Additionally, today’s modern family faces an even bigger problem. Around the dinner table, it’s common to find members of the family engaged with a device rather than each other. Did you know there is actually a word for it? Psychologists call it “phubbing,” – subbing your phone for another human being.

Now devices have even affected marital relations. Take a look at this image below from photographer Eric Pickersgill. he took a series of images showing people engaged in everyday actions except he removed the devices from the hand’s of the subjects. we look like mindless zombies. Worse, we look disconnected from each other relationally. Research has shown that sex gets cut in half when phones are in the bedroom. I’m guessing TVs also increase that statistic.

My mother used to have a saying, “the devil will do everything in his power to get you into bed before you are married and everything to keep you out of it once you’re married.” God created an amazing bonding experience for a married couple when he created sex. A husband and wife can never be more physically close than the act of sex and sexual intimacy is the catalyst for all kinds of other emotional intimacy. They go hand in hand. Wives, we must make ourselves available to our husbands. Husbands, sex is a wonderful way to make your spouse feel beautiful and treasured. In order to have a good marriage, we must treat sex as a priority. Do it and do it often! French kiss. Cuddle. Tease. Flirt. Do it all, but be mindful and deliberate about it! Sometimes we will even have to do it when we don’t really feel like it.

Eric Pickersgill
Photo Credit: Eric Pickersgill, linked through Bored Panda

12. They Pray Together

When things happen in life, when there is cause for celebration or grief, prayer should be our first response. In my own marriage, we’ve gone through all kinds of ups and downs. Miscarriage, job losses, mental illness, financial woes, spiritual depression. Praying together, inviting God into your marriage, is life-changing. If you are going to be married for a lifetime, you’ll go through everything under the sun. Now this may look like the first topic we covered – putting God first and you are right. We are making a circle. Beginning and ending with God and our relationship with him.

it’s not enough to have the same beliefs or even the same convictions, although that is important. We must also pray together and pray for one another. Pray for your spouse to become more like Christ and pray for yourself to become more like Christ. Ask God to bless your spouse, reveal himself to your spouse, and guide your spouse. Then pray together. Read the Word together. Go to church together. Fellowship with other believers together, but grow in Christ with each other. Not just when times are rough, but continually. Always.

I’m not sharing anything you don’t know. These 12 Habits of happy couples, are just good reminders. Sometimes we need to stop and recalibrate. It’s my sincerest hope that today, you will think about what you can do to nature your marriage. In the comments below, let me know how I can pray for you and don’t forget to share this post on Facebook!

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Cute Printable School Valentines

Love is in the air! Today, I’m sharing some cute printable school valentines to share with schoolmates.

We are getting close to February and you know what that means, our little ones will start coming home with some cute Valentines school crafts and lots of sweet treats. Valentine’s Day is always a fun time for kids and I always make sure to do something really special with the kids. This year, I think we will be making some super cute Valentine’s cupcakes. We’ve made some cookies in the past and that was fun, but I recently found this great list of Valentine’s cupcakes, so we have to try some of them!

As you know if you are a reader, we homeschool, but in years prior I had my boys in a mom’s day out program for a few hours a week. It was just a nice way for me to get a break and the boys to get out with some friends. Because of COVID, we are home full time now which is one reason why my writing on the blog has slowed down a tad. (Thanks for bearing with me while I find my sea legs!)

How to Make Valentine’s Day Special At Home

Bake Some Goodies

If you are doing virtual schooling, there are still plenty of ways to make Valentine’s Day special for your little ones. After all, I just shared a few baking ideas. Kids always love to get busy in the kitchen. And of course, you can always do Valentine’s cut out sugar cookies! One of these days I have to share my recipe for no spread cut out sugar cookies!

Printable Valentine’s Bingo Game

Last year I made a super cute printable Valentine’s Bingo game that you can play with the kids. Just print it out on your home computer. We love to use those cute conversation hearts as our bingo markers. If you want, you can also laminate them so that they are more durable, Just make sure to print them out on white cardstock regardless.

dog and cat valentine's bag toppers

Valentine’s Crafts

We love to do Valentine’s Day crafts. I found some really cute crafts that are great for young children. Most are pretty simple to do.

Cute Printable School Valentines

That leads me to today’s free printable. I’ve created some really cute printable Valentine’s for your little ones. I’ve used an adorable color scheme of pinks, grey, and mint. You can print them out and attach a candy or treat to them. You can put them in a treat bag or staple them to a bag. Whatever you like. But the great thing is that you can use these without having to purchase some from the store or you can save these in case you need them for last-minute treats. You’ll want to print them on white cardstock and it’s in pdf format so you will need a pdf viewing software like Adobe Reader.

cute printable school valentines

There are four sheets of printable school valentines. Each page has 4 cards on it and there are four designs in total. Obviously, because it is printable, you print off as many as you need. Be sure to PIN this post for later, it to your Facebook page, or share it with a friend who can use them.

cute printable school valentines

Do You Want More Valentine’s Ideas?

Be sure to check out my other Valentine’s posts:

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