Coming soon: Just a Minute eBook devotional

Happy Monday ya’ll! My daughter and I are off to my parent’s farm this week, where I grew up. The last time we were here was when she was just seven weeks old, so I’m excited to explore with her! Especially in springtime 🙂

It’s no surprise that I love to share devotional thoughts on how God is growing me, and encourage you to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. This blog started as a travel blog almost ten years ago. Over the years, it morphed into many things – from photography to marriage to motherhood to home life – as my life transitioned. But the mainstay topic on this blog has always been short devotionals. It is my heart for people to learn to love Jesus deeper and know Him more, as I learn to do the same.

That being said, I am putting together an eBook of all the posts I have written in the last three years of my life that are faith-based. All the quick thoughts that have come to me as I have entered marriage and motherhood. Both very refining, and out of that have come blog posts that point both me (when I re-read them!) and hopefully you, to Christ.

So this summer, I will release an easily digestible eBook called Just a Minute – a collaboration of three years of quickly digestible Christ focused blog posts.

No matter what change has come my way in the past few years, the fact that I know I cannot do it without the Lord has never changed. I have always valued my time reading in the Word and at least trying to grow closer to His heart. Granted, that looks even more different in motherhood, but I cannot impress the value and necessity of SOME time with God every day if you ever want to know Him deeper. The value of even just a minute in His presence can shape and change our days.

If you find yourself in transition, perhaps this will be perfect for you! Through the blog posts turned eBook you will see the refining process of my heart over the past few years, and how God has used the transition to reveal the gospel to me more clearly. I wanted to provide it all in one simple package for you to refer to when you need a quick scripture and thought to push you closer to Him. I pray that it will be a blessing to you in whatever stage of life you find yourself in!

So stay tuned, coming soon!

Thrift like a boss: how I spent $50 on an updated mamma-drobe

Being a one-income family, it wasn’t doable to have a transition wardrobe after having my first baby, a little over a year ago. Does that even exist?! During pregnancy, I had worn a lot of things that weren’t maternity. Once our darling girl showed up and the months passed by, I was aching for something “new to me”.

Thrifting is a term for finding second-hand deals. In the last year, I have found so many good deals for myself and Elizabeth (I find it harder to thrift for Troy!), from sweaters to jackets. There are some staples like shoes and jackets that I am willing and wanting to spend good money on, but smaller items like a plaid shirt, top or sweater, I love to thrift. It gets Elizabeth and I out of the house and gives me a shopping-fix for little cost! Over the years, I have had many people tell me I shop well, so I wanted to share with you some tips and show you what I spent just $50 on in the last year while thrifting.

My tips on how I thrift like a boss:

  • Know when the monthly sale happens (our local goodwill does a 50% off sale the first Thursday of the month on pretty much everything)
  • Shop often. Get the pick of the patch!
  • When you know the brands you like or that fit your family, and the price you’d normally spend for new, it’ll help you decide on yes or no on an item. Ex. An $8 H&M item at the thrift shop likely isn’t worth it, as many basics at H&M are that price new. BUT, if you can find a more elaborate H&M piece for $8 that is normally $40, then you’ve got a deal!
  • Check for holes, stains, or loose threads.
  • If you live in a big city, shop in thrift stores in the high-end regions to get “better” options
  • I find local thrift stores have better prices than stores like Value Village or Goodwill, though I like to thrift there too as they have more variety!
  • As a new mom, I was looking for things that could double as “going to get groceries” and “looking good while hanging out at home” OR “going on a date” or “going to church” kinds of things.

Here’s a breakdown of the photo above:

  1. Khaki trench coat – $8
  2. Grey sweater dress – $5
  3. Rose stretchy skinnies – $12
  4. Denim tank – $3
  5. Floral strapless top – $2
  6. Oversized cardigan sweater – $5
  7. Plaid shirt dress – $5
  8. Leapoard print cardigan x2 – $5each x 2 = $10

= $50 well spent!

Don’t worry, I did buy new things in the past year as well – they were also very much needed! But when you want a quick fix and the budget is tight, don’t overlook thrifting deals!

Happy thrifting!

 

A tale of two sisters: why you can love your personality

 

For much of my life, I wanted someone else’s personality. There. I said it. I recently did 16personalities.com and had the 1% of the population (rare), but was standing among the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa, so that made me feel better. I am the ‘melancholy’, the feeler and peace-loving type. I often feel like everyone else is more ‘fun’ and I can’t even count how many conversations or boardroom discussions I have left kicking myself for not saying more. When I was single, I always thought I needed to be more fun and interesting to catch a guy. My personality type can be very hard on ourselves, with high standards, and a love for planning. Don’t we sound like fun?! 😉

That being said, I wouldn’t change my personality for anything (since God did this on purpose), and am slowly learning to give myself grace, lean into the strengths and give God my weaknesses for Him to redeem and do SOMETHING with (or leave them and let them rest in peace!).  Because I know even 1% of the personality population has something to contribute!

I think we all have a part of us that feels like we need to do or be something else to get what we want – even from the Lord. As though we need to be quieter, talk more, journal more, pray more… more more more. All these things are good. And in there right place. But you know what the beautiful thing is? No matter what our personality, or what season we are in, Jesus knows how to meet with us. And give us what WE need in OUR season.

Watch this story unfold… John 11. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this, don’t quit on me now! The story…

Their brother had just died. DIED. They were some of Jesus’ closest friends. He ate at their table many times. Picture the kinds of friends who are really more like family. They were these people. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We’ve heard that story of Mary at Jesus’ feet, and Martha in the kitchen preached multiple times (read Luke 10:38-42). Well, Jesus got word in John 10 that Lazarus was ill, and by the time He got to them, Lazarus had been gone for four days.

Seeing Him coming, Martha ran out to Jesus, first. With her heart shattered and grieving, she “went and met him” (John 11:10). She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now, I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Her statement sincere, but questioning. Why weren’t you here when we needed you? Jesus’ response? Matter-of-fact. Hope-filled. Truth-spoken. Challenging. To me, that’s what Martha’s personality responds to. She was a do-er, a go-getter. A get things done kind of girl.

Then Jesus walks a little further, and Mary runs to Jesus and falls at His feet (vs32). But get this, she makes the same statement, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus saw her weeping, and all those with her, and was deeply moved. And then the shortest verse in the whole Bible, “Jesus wept”. (vs 35) Jesus was moved to tears at Mary’s heart; at the loss of his friend family. He knew the outcome, what was about to happen. Yet he was moved to tears. Mary was tender. Soft. I would imagine a romantic and extravagant with her show of love. And how did Jesus respond? With great compassion.

I read this the other day and it made me stop. Jesus is so beautiful.

You see friends. Family. Strangers. Whoever is reading this. God gave you your personality for a reason. There are great strengths in it that no one else has. Yes, there are “weaknesses”, but that is meant to make us lean in to God even harder. And the beautiful thing is, He knows EXACTLY how to talk to you. Converse with you. Relate to you. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), but I believe that God made His children so diverse because He loves to show different facets of His love and heart.

And He knows how to get to you. Your personality is no mistake or accident. It is very much beautiful and important. And maybe, you just needed to hear that today. Whether you are straight-up hard-working Martha, tender Mary, or someone who feels dead in a cave like Lazarus, Jesus can and wants to speak to you  xo

 

Creative play in small spaces for a 1-year-old

I have wracked my brain thinking of how to make play fun for Elizabeth. First child-first mamma situation? I think so 😉  But through the long Alberta winter we had, I was desperate to add some variety to playtime on long days at home!

Our upstairs is two bedrooms, and hers is technically a den, though it has a closet. It’s the brightest room in the house with lovely built-in shelves that Troy installed before we got pregnant, when the room was our office. That being said, once you squeeze a crib, change table, and a rocking chair in there, there’s not much more room! Instead of getting frustrated (which I did for a bit, near tears, wanting to give our girl a lovely playroom and all!)… I decided to work with what we have, for as long as we live in this house. 

Funny enough, one day, about two months ago, Elizabeth scootched behind her rocking chair and started pulling her little Disney books off the nightstand. She stayed there for almost 20 minutes as I hid in the distance, listening to her talk and grow up before my very eyes! *cue heart tears* That made it clear to me – that spot was a perfect “quiet space” for her!

I grabbed this sheepskin rug we got from IKEA that was in another room and put it on the floor behind the chair. I put some other little books and dolls on the bottom shelf, and moved pillows around from the window seat. And ta-da…quiet area that she visits daily! She mostly pulls books off the shelf and talks to herself, but it’s made her room more “play friendly” and that makes me happy!

Then about a month ago (when she turned ONE!), I brought up an old shelf I had downstairs and put it in her closet with some books and baskets of toys. I put her laundry basket in another corner of the room and made another cozy spot of blankets and pillows in the corner of her closet. I guess I like to envision her sitting there, reading and playing make-believe like I did as a little girl! She goes back and forth between her closet to her corner (using her crib and chair as a grounding!), and suddenly has two new play spots in her room! Nothing more was spent to make her room cozier, I just used what we had.

It made me realize how when you have to be, you can be more resourceful than you think! It just takes some creativity 😉  Play areas that make both mamma and babe happy = win win!

 

Mother’s Day Giveaway – Beautiful and inspiring wall art

I turned to Etsy in planning some of Elizabeth’s nursery and came across an adorable shop out of the US called Heart of Life Design. Some of you may have seen this print below (Psalm 46:5) in Elizabeth’s nursery before, but she is the handiwork behind this print when I sent her the verse I wanted to be scripted. I also ordered a couple other ‘bird themed’ digital prints for the nursery which I loved!

So, we are partnering for Mother’s Day to give one special mama a code to use in the Heart of Life Design store to buy three of your own digital print downloads! Yes!

All you have to do is comment below and share who you are and where you’re from. If you are on Instagram or Facebook, please give Heart of Life Design a follow! You will have no trouble finding a place somewhere in your house for her work as it’s so gorgeous and inspiring.

For extra entries (after commenting below)…

*comment on my post on Instagram AND tag another mama friend
*comment on my post on my Facebook page with a favourite memory of time with your mamma

That’s a total of THREE chances to win the digital prints for free!

But because we wanted to give everyone a chance to get something, the download of the verse she scripted me for Elizabeth’s nursery is available for everyone to enjoy! Yay, FREE 8×10 scripture DOWNLOAD! This verse was on my heart before we even found out we were having a girl, and is every bit as much a verse for my girl as it is for me as a new mamma! God is in our midst, and He is the One Who helps us daily! Click here for your FREE 8×10 scripture DOWNLOAD !

Thanks Heart of Life Design for your generosity and your beautiful artwork! This contest closes by noon tomorrow (Tuesday), and the winner will be notified Wednesday.

Have an amazing week mamma-bears xo