Bedtime Blessings

As another year draws to a close and a new year is fresh on the horizon, many of us are thinking more deeply about the personal changes we’d like to see take place in our families. I’ve been reflecting on the rhythms that anchor our days (waking routines, gathering around the table for meals, and bedtimes). This last year I noticed a tendency in myself to wish away the bedtime hour with our three young children (Can we just get it done yet? Would they notice if I skipped that part of the story?) The normal difficulties of room sharing, sibling feuds, and constant re-direction often made that part of my day dreaded and weary.

I first heard John Piper speak on the bedtime blessing. Then I heard Sally Clarkson and David Michael and knew this was something I wanted to do with our own children.

A bedtime blessing gives children one last impression of their whole day, and it is a redeeming time of bringing and restoring and offering peace.” (Sally Clarkson)

What is a bedtime blessing?

“Although a blessing could be considered to be a form of prayer, there is a clear distinction between the two. Simply put, in prayer we are directing our attention toward God. We “ask God for things”, which may include His blessing. A blessing, on the other hand, comes from God and is directed toward His people. When we bless, we are invoking, summoning, or calling upon God’s blessing for the benefit of another. When we bless, we become a channel for God’s blessing to flow through us to another.” -David Michael

Simply put, with a bedtime blessing you are calling upon God’s blessing over the life of your child.

My children are teenagers…or they are out of the house…what about me?

It’s never to late to start. Never. The biggest lie the enemy wants you to believe is that your kids are too old to start something new like this, or they are too far from the Lord, or that you missed your chance at investing in them spiritually a long time ago. It’s NOT too late, it’s never too late. If your children are still living under your roof, this opportunity is still yours.

I also know there are many grandparents who are praying and wishing their children would walk faithfully with the Lord. They are grieved as they see even their own grandchildren growing up in homes where the gospel is not loved and taught. Grandparents, this could be the one, most transformative thing your grandchildren remember about those overnight visits.

3 Steps (to Bedtime Blessings)

1. The LAST thing

The bedtime blessing is that last anchor in your day. It’s the LAST thing you want your children to go to sleep hearing and remembering. You’ve done your bedtime routine (pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book), and the kids are tucked in bed. These are the last words you speak over your children before you leave their room.

2. The CONSISTENT thing

The bedtime blessing should be done so consistently in your home that it becomes the thing your children remind you about even when you forget. Place a sticky note by their bed for the first month to remind yourself, set an alarm on your phone, or create some type of visual that works for you. While most of us will need to read the blessings for the first few weeks, the goal is that we will memorize them and be able to eventually speak them over our children without needing a reference.

3. The BEST thing

On those long, hard days when you’re not sure you can handle disciplining those temper tantrums or eye rolls one more time, the bedtime blessing is perhaps the best moment you can experience with your child all day. When all else has gone wrong, this can be the time of forgiveness, making peace, and expressing praise and affirmation. Bad days CAN end in good ways.

2 (Bedtime Blessing Examples)

Psalm 1 Blessing

May the LORD Bless You! May the LORD give you the courage not to walk in the counsel of the wicked; the faith not to stand in the path of sinners; and the resolve not to sit in the seat of mockers. May you always delight in the law of the LORD and meditate on it day and night. May you be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. May the LORD prosper all that you do for His glory, And may the LORD watch over your way all the days of your life so that you can stand in the day of judgment and join the assembly of the righteous forever. Amen!

Ephesians 6:10-17 Blessing

May you be a man/woman who is strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. May you be blessed with the full armor of God so that you can resist the devil’s schemes. May you stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in place, and your feet fitted with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. May you take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground. Amen!

(From A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children by David Michael)

1 (Or More Helpful Resources)

I was very encouraged by A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children by David Michael. It’s a short booklet that will only take you an hour or so to read through. Within it he includes several pages of blessings you can choose from. I would love to know if you purchase the booklet and begin a bedtime blessing routine with your family!

Other Resources

The Importance of Bedtime Routines by Sally Clarkson

How Do I Bless My Children Before Bed? John Piper

Monday 3-2-1: 12/21/20

Hey there! Thanks for joining me on this Monday as I share more new & favorite things I’ve been loving!

3 Tips (for ending the year)

  1. Make a 2020 Good List. Instead of filling our mind and time dwelling on all the hard things this year has brought, we should sit down and write all of the good things we’ve seen happen. Check out this instagram post from Risen Motherhood’s Laura Wifler for more inspiration on the #2020GoodList.
  2. Intentionally set aside some time with your spouse to write a family mission statement. I’ll be writing more on this topic in 2021, but this article by Focus on the Family is an excellent place to help you begin. (Single? Kids already out of the house? You can still write a mission statement for what you want your life to be about!)
  3. As you celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child at Christmas this week, do whatever it takes to think about eternity. Go visit a family member’s graveside, sit outside in silence by yourself for a few minutes, listen to David Platt’s podcast The Urgency of Eternity, or read a psalm aloud together as a family that points your eyes to the future to come. May our celebrations be practice rehearsals that the story is not yet over, and the final feasting is still to come.

2 Things I’m loving

  1. This Outdoor Advent Calendar by 1,000 Hours Outside. Considering it’s already Christmas week, I’ll save this resource in my Christmas folder for next year. (These are also just really fun outdoor activities you could save for that really long month of January too!) Hint: Your older kids will love these ideas too!
  2. This rendition of Away in the Manger by Phil Wickham.

1 Quick Thought


“All things are lawful for me,”
but not all things are helpful.
“All things are lawful for me,”
but I will not be dominated by anything. . . .
“All things are lawful,”
but not all things build up.
—Apostle Paul

While it’s easy to busy ourselves with the buying and giving of presents this Christmas season, it is much harder to actually BE PRESENT with our families. I’m writing this knowing I need to hear it just as much as anyone else. More than anything material I’ve gifted my children this year, the BEST THING I can offer them is a genuine relationship. Putting away my phone, making eye contact, engaging in conversations, asking questions, listening well, and being intentionally present will have far more lasting impacts than that toy they really wanted.

Take your pictures, remember the Christmas pajamas and morning cinnamon rolls, and then consider not posting your life on the social media squares. Because isn’t that the point of it all? It’s your life.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours,

~Emily | Little Roots Co.

My Bible Reading Plan for 2021 (and why you should make one too)

I became a Christian when I was 17 years old. I don’t remember exactly where I started in my old King James Bible, but I do remember that inductive Bible study – studying the context, meaning, and application verse by verse – caught my interest almost immediately. Books that I had grown up hearing a thousand times came to life for the first time. In college I spent hours on the fourth floor of Illinois State’s Milner Library pouring over the minor prophets. I listened to Matt Chandler preach through Habakkuk and my life and Bible study methods were never the same again.

Life may have changed alot since I was that 22 year old single college student, but one thing has not. I love studying the Bible book by book, piece by piece, bit by bit. My life goal is to have studied every book of the Bible inductively. You might be surprised that the person linking many “Read Through the Bible in a Year Plans” has never actually done one and probably never will. 

For me, reading through the Bible in a year overwhelms me before I begin. Several chapters a day, every day, even with catch up days, is often unrealistic for a stay at home mom with 3 littles if my purpose is to do more than just read, but also to meditate and study.

I don’t want to just read the stories of the judges, I want to know WHY they are there. I want to know how these stories are pointing to Jesus, the Greater Judge. I want to know why the genealogies are placed so strategically in the text and how these people are chosen to be part of the line that leads to the Messiah. I want to read the chapter and have the time to see the repeating words, the phrases that speak of what God is doing, and seeing the many themes like blessing/ cursing, eating/ drinking, the Sabbath, and many others repeated over and over again. I want to know the whole story, but mostly I want to know the story well and accurately,  so that my heart can be transformed. 

And so I slow down. Every year I’ve begun to make a Bible reading plan, tailored to life in the season I’m currently in. I take time to write down the books I want to study next year and any resources I might use to help me. Some years I try to envision how the entire year might look (see my 2021 plan below), and others (like the year we had 3 kids 3 and under) I only listed a few books I wanted to get through.

2021 Bible Reading Plan

Old Testament Storyline & The Story of the Church (Acts)

Life Goal: Study every book of the Bible inductively

(January) Finish 1 Samuel (11 Week Study) + Psalms/ Proverbs

(February-March2 Samuel (11 Week Study) + Psalms/ Proverbs

(April)Start Easter Readings | Begin Acts as a family 

(May) Acts

(June)1 Kings + Psalms/ Proverbs

(July)2 Kings + Psalms/ Proverbs

(August)- Ezra/ Nehemiah +  Psalms/ Proverbs

(September)1 Chronicles + Psalms/ Proverbs

(October)2 Chronicles + Psalms/ Proverbs

(November)Esther + Psalms/ Proverbs

(December)Advent Study + Psalms/ Proverbs

There’s no magical number of books you need to study, or how long it should take you. Some years I only got through 3-4 and others like this (when my kids are finally sleeping all night!) I hope to get through as many as 10. Any books I’m not able to get through will roll over into the next year (2022). I hope these suggestions help you!


  1. Choose 3-5 books you want to study. If you have never studied a book inductively (verse by verse) see my resource page (coming January 2021) for places to start.
  1. Challenge yourself to have a varied list. It should include books from BOTH the Old and New Testament. If you read mostly the New Testament this year, make your focus more of the Old Testament. 
  1. Don’t be focused on timelines. Choose a book to start studying and whenever you’ve finished move on to the next. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you! The benefits of having a list prepared ahead of time is you don’t waste time wondering where you should read/ study next. You’ve already decided! 
  1. Incorporate quick reads or weekend studies. Having a study plan doesn’t mean these are the only places you’ll read! I will often do a quick read of other books of the Bible during the weekend or on a day when I need a break from my current study. These are great times to read through one of the epistles (it really will only take you a few minutes!) or the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). I also pair Psalms and Proverb readings with whatever book of the Bible I’m studying.
  1. Keep track of your progress and record when you’ve finished. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but you should evaluate every month how you’re doing. Is it taking 20 weeks to do an 11 week study of a book? While timelines aren’t the most important, you also might need to re-think your plan. I suggest writing down each book you’ve studied in a journal so that at the end of the year you can look back and see what you’ve finished. I’ve personally started using the Growth Roots Journal which has a section for recording this.

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you make a Bible reading plan or want help doing so? I would love to help you get started!


“If reading the Bible can be compared to cruising the width of a clear, sparkling lake in a motorboat, studying the Bible is like slowly crossing that same lake in a glass-bottomed boat. In order to truly understand the fullness of meaning of any written work, in-depth study must be done.” (Donald Whitney)

Monday 3-2-1: 12/14/20

Hey there! I hope this post fills you with some fresh ideas this holiday season as I share some new & favorite things I’ve been loving!

3 Tips (for the holiday season)

  • If we’re honest, most of us tend to make many of the same recipes (after all, family traditions!). Instead of rifling through all your recipe books, try laminating those favorite holiday recipes and ingredient lists. Store these in a folder in your Christmas box so you have it all in one place next year! Thanks to the Mom to Mom Podcast: Mom Hacks for the Christmas Season for this tip!
  • Keep all those Christmas cards! Instead of throwing them away on December 26, consider keeping them. We hole-punched ours last year and put them on a ring. We went back through the pictures throughout the year and prayed for different families. As my kids get older (and less destructive), I would like to have a basket in our home to display the sets so we can continue to look through them. I’ve also seen people put them in photo albums! For more inspiration check out this post.
  • Consider taking some extended time off social media. If you haven’t parted ways with instagram or facebook for more than a day this year, I would highly encourage you to take a real rest. We often don’t know how much it has really affected us until we put it away for a week or two. Trust me, you won’t regret it (and you really won’t miss anything). For more encouragement on good social media habits, check out the Good Enough Podcast: Social Media Habits and Rhythms

2 Things I’m Loving

This orange slice garland by A Daily Something is beautiful. I’m adding it to my list of intentional things to do with the kids this Christmas season!

Hosting your grandkids? This movie might be the perfect way to fill the afternoon after opening presents. Our kids loved it!

1 Quick Thought

Reach out to 1 lonely or hurting person this week.

We all have that one name that comes to mind. I love this quote from Jen Schmidt…

“I tend to be the queen of best intentions. I intend to invite the people over. I intend to finish this project. And then all of a sudden a week, a month, six months goes by, and Queen of Best Intentions never got [it] done. So right now, think of that person that you have said for the last three months, “I need to reach out to her and just text her and see how she’s doing, and maybe ask if [she wants] to get coffee.” It just starts by doing it. And don’t overthink it, right? Don’t talk yourself out of it before it happens. Take that first step.” –Jen Schmidt

I would love to hear from you!

I would love to hear YOUR tips for the holidays, things you’re loving, and any thoughts you have this advent season.

Happy Monday!


Favorite Holiday Recipes

Favorite Holiday Recipes

“Even the simplest supper, meal, snack, or teatime, can become, in some way, a feast–a lavish celebration of the living God’s life and goodness.” ~Sally Clarkson (The Life Giving Table)

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Everyone has “their” sugar cookie recipe, but maybe this is the year you want to try something easy and just as delicious. Here you go.

Homemade Crock-Pot Apple Cider

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law and I’m excited to try it out! There’s just something about making your own cider…

Turkey & Egg Breakfast Casserole (gluten/ dairy free)

I discovered this recipe a few years ago when we hosted some friends from out of town who were dairy free. I’ll be honest, at first I thought it was going to be ruined by the sweet potatoes and chili powder, but it tastes amazing! I prep this casserole the day before any big holiday and throw it in the oven the morning of. 

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole

I’ve done a variation of this recipe in the past and it never disappoints. But really, how could you go wrong with cinnamon rolls and french toast mixed in one??

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal (can be made gluten/ dairy free)

As a busy mom of three littles, I love prepping an easy dish for a week of extra activities. My kids LOVE baked oatmeal for breakfast (or if we’re honest a mid morning snack too!). Definitely a go-to recipe in our home!

Merry Christmas!


Holidays & Hospitality

“If the precious, limited hours of my day are used bit by bit in scanning information, I will have less and less time for the attentive, slow, good work of creativity, conversation, and connection that real people and real homes require.” ~Sally Clarkson (The Lifegiving Home)

I’ve been thinking on this quote by Sally Clarkson, especially as we enter such a strange holiday season. “Real people, real homes.” That’s where the real, meaningful work actually happens. It’s a reminder to look around today. Put your phone in a different room, delete your social media apps, and spend time purposefully seeing all the good gifts God has given you; the people that surround you and the home you are privileged to call yours.

Holiday Hospitality

“God calls us to practice hospitality as a daily way of life, not as an occasional activity when time and finance allow. Radically ordinary hospitality means this: God promises to put the lonely in families (Ps. 68:6), and he intends to use your house as living proof.” ~Rosaria Butterfield (The Gospel Comes with a House Key)

Christmas is often the one (and maybe only!) time of the year it’s not awkward to knock on your neighbor’s door. Even if you’ve lived in your home six years and still don’t know the names of the family living across the street, it’s never too late to start. Here’s some tips I’ve tried along the way.

-Take a small notebook or sticky note with you when you visit your neighbors. Make sure you introduce yourself and your family members by name. After you leave, write down the names of your neighbors and their family members in your notebook. In the past I’ve left these on the side of our fridge for a few months so I could work on names and remember! Names do matter.

-If you mail out Christmas cards, this can be an easy connection point. If possible, hand deliver the card in person instead of mailing them.

-If you gift any kind of food, send a recipe card with the item. We often don’t know the food restrictions of our neighbors and this is an easy way to make sure that’s covered. It’s also helpful if they love your recipe and want to make it themselves!

-Invite one person (or couple) to join your family this Christmas season for dinner. Maybe it’s the neighbors who won’t be able to travel to see their kids due to Covid this year. Maybe it’s the coworker who doesn’t have any family in the area. Maybe it’s a friend who recently went through a divorce or the single friend who might not be as busy as you think. Even if they say no, never underestimate the power of an invitation to join a family for dinner.

Neighbor Gift Ideas

This doesn’t have to be anything expensive or fancy, but it’s simply another way to initiate conversation and relationship. Here’s some fun ideas I found!

Gingerbread Man Cookie Set

We were actually gifted this from a friend this year! This is a fantastic idea for families with young kids, single moms, the working moms, or even the neighbor running the daycare across the street. Consider throwing in a few extra cookie cutter shapes for larger families.

Root Deer Float Kit

Who wouldn’t love this cute gift set? Perfect for neighbors, a family from church, teachers, or your grandkids.

Stove Top Potpourri

If you’re looking for something a little unique and different, this stove top potpourri is perfect.

Gift Card to a local business

Never underestimate shopping small. Here you can be a blessing to both a local business and your neighbor. Buy a few gift cards to the local coffee shop or cafe, a small boutique, or anywhere else that could use the extra support this holiday season.

“Advent is like an alarm going off on our calendar, reminding us to zoom out and consider what really matters in our lives. Advent is a season to stop, take stock, and remember the main thing- to sit at the feet of Jesus and fall so in love again that you feel a burning urgency to give Him everything.” -The Austin Stone

Happy Advent Season, friend!