28 Days of Kindness

When showering life-giving words on another human, don’t just pick the people you know well. Notice the one who least expects to be noticed.” (Karen Ehman)

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are’ and those who say, ‘Here I am’.”

Would you consider joining me this February for a Kindness Challenge? Pick a few ideas off the list and plan them into your calendar next month!

28 Ways to Spread Some Kindness

1. Write a note or card of encouragement to someone battling depression, anxiety, or loss.
2. Drop off fresh flowers to a single friend.
3. Offer to babysit for a young mom for a few hours so she can have some alone time.
4. Take someone a meal this month.
5. Buy an extra coffee drink and share it with someone.
6. Invite someone over into your home.
7. Send a gift card to a family who could use some extra support.
8. Contact your local food pantry or pregnancy center and see what the needs are.
9. Send a long distance friend a care package.
10. Buy two books, one for you and one for a friend.
11. Schedule a zoom or facetime lunch with a friend.
12. Check in with your neighbor and see if you can run any errands for them.
13. Make a craft bag for the neighbor kids.
14. Make your husband’s favorite dinner.
15. Pray for your husband, family, and neighbors every day this month.
16. Pack your husband’s lunch, make his coffee, and start his vehicle before he leaves for work.
17. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway.
18. Pray for persecuted believers around the world.
19. Give your child’s teacher a gift card this month (and some extra Clorox wipes and Kleenex boxes.) 
20. Reach out to a friend who suffered a miscarriage last year and ask them how they are doing.
21. Connect with someone you know who is in the process of adopting. Ask how you can pray for them. 
22. Drop off some breakfast items to that mom who chose to homeschool this year or who is at home doing e-learning with her kids.
23. Call your grandparents or send them a card (or do both!)
24. Send a coffee or meal gift card (with a thank you note!) to those you know in the medical profession.
25. Speak words of encouragement and blessing over your children every day this month.
26. Before your friend leaves your home from the morning’s playdate, pray over her.
27. Do you know anyone who will be entering this Valentine’s Day alone for the first time? Call them or better yet show up with flowers or a small gift thats says you intentionally thought about them.
28. Drop off a bag of groceries on the doorstep of that family who just said yes to a foster care placement.

Monday 3-2-1: David or Saul?

As I’ve been finishing up the book of 1 Samuel for my Bible study, I found myself feeling more sorry for King Saul at times than for David. By the time you arrive mid-book (chapter 15), God had very clearly given Saul a set of instructions to be obeyed (he was to destroy all the Amelikites, their animals, and their possessions). As the storyline progresses, you see Saul’s “partial obedience” to God’s very clear commands, blame shifting, and manipulation. Saul is in the middle of rejoicing over Israel’s victory from the Amelikites when the prophet Samuel shows up and the following scene occurs:

When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!”Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.

Most of us are familiar with these famous verses that come next.

“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

You see, the book of 1 Samuel tells the story of two different characters, Saul and David, and their responses to God’s commands and life circumstances. The point of the book isn’t that David was somehow a more moral person who made better choices than Saul, but rather, when confronted by their sin David consistently chose the road of repentance while Saul did not. David understood his strength was to be found only in the Lord while Saul looked for wisdom in other people and sought to take matters into his own hands.

It had me thinking. Is my life characterized by a series of “partial obediences” to the Word or a full commitment to doing things God’s way?

3 (Ways to Pursue Obedience)

1. Immerse yourself in God’s Word

Do whatever it takes this week to get more of God’s Word in your life. Start that Bible reading plan, make yourself order a Bible study today, reach out to a friend, or send me a message that says “I still don’t know where to begin” and I’d love to help you start!

If God is for Us (Romans 8) 

Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simmons (Colossians)

2. Identify the neutral things in your life that distract you.

I’ve learned over the last few years it’s often not the “good” or “bad” things that hindered me from pursuing obedience, it’s the morally neutral things that were distracting my heart. It was the scrolling on instagram, that afternoon tv binge when my kids napped, the hidden stash of cookies in the freezer that I found myself running to rather than God, His promises, or other believers. What are yours?

3. “All the way, right away, with a happy heart.”

I heard this motto from Laura Wiffler (Risen Motherhood) and wrote it down to use with my own kids. But honestly I need it just as much as they do! As God leans in with what seem to be difficult requests of obedience, let us eagerly do them “all the way, right away, with a happy heart!”

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. I feel like everyone I know is studying James right now or has it on their list this year! I recently stumbled upon the Paul Tripp podcast and realized he’s teaching a whole series on the book of James called “Street Level Christianity.” 
  2. Fish Bytes 4 Kids Podcast. My kids love these short episodes on the Bee-Attitudes and I found out there’s a book! We’ve loved listening to these during lunchtime.

1 Quick Thought

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

Ronald Reagan

Monday 3-2-1: Questions to ask yourself this week

3 Questions (To ask yourself this week)

1. What am I hearing?
2. What am I thinking?
3. What am I believing?

What am I hearing (is it true, is it factual, is it helpful, is it edifying, does it build others up? Is this a person’s opinion and how does it align with what God’s Word says is true?)

What am I thinking (will it bring peace, is it believing the best about someone else, will it make for better things, am I thinking the right things about God, His promises, and His plan?)

What am I believing (am I thinking and believing the Good News about God, others, and myself?)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)

2 Things I’m Loving

1. Everyday Theology Podcast: Why Should I Care For People Not Like Me & Why Should we care about skin color

Don’t let the word “theology” scare you away. While this podcast is designed for parents to answer questions their kids have, honestly every adult would benefit from listening to these episodes. As I teach my own kids about Martin Luther King Jr. this week, I’m thinking through some of the practical applications these podcasts gave me on how to teach my kids to champion differences in a gospel-centered way.

*Mentioned in these episodes are Trillia Newbell’s children’s book, God’s Very Good Idea and Colorful: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson.

2. doughnut pans & Living the Interruptible life

I’m hosting the neighbor kids for a playdate this week and this doughnut pan is such a fun and easy way to treat everyone! Last week as I made my way through the podcast “Living the Interruptible Life and the Art of Neighboring,” I was struck by this quote: “If you just live in a way that you’re interruptible, you’ll be shocked at how small things will end up making a big difference over time.” That’s my prayer this week; to live a life that is interruptible to the needs of others.

1 Quick Thought


From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

~Elisabeth Elliot

Keep on doing all those next right things.

Make a good meal for your family, read an extra book to your kids, do the piles of dirty laundry, check in with your neighbors, call that friend who voted differently than you and ask them how they are doing (without bringing up politics), pray for a co-worker, drop off coffee for that tired young mom, schedule in a time to make a freezer meal for someone this month, write a note to your spouse….. Do the next thing.

Monday 3-2-1: How To Read More Books This Year (and actually enjoy it)

“A book can’t change the world on its own. But a book can change readers. And readers? They can change the world.” Sarah MacKenzie, The Read-ALoud Family)

Welcome to Monday 3-2-1! Today we’re discussing practical tips for how you can read more books this year (personally and as a family), but even more importantly how to create a family culture that loves reading. You don’t have to have kids to enjoy this post though, there’s something for everyone here!

3 Tips for Reading More Books This Year

1. Choose the right books.

Like any good habit worth pursuing, we have to believe the end result will be worthwhile. If you don’t find the book interesting or captivating, it’s going to be difficult to motivate yourself to pick it back up again. I purposefully chose NOT to make completing a certain number of books my goal this year, but instead challenged myself to expand my genres of reading. As I choose books from different categories each month, my reading is naturally varied and will interest me in different ways. The same is true for our children. Reading the same type of books all the time will only expose them to the same types of stories and over time will bore them. Instead, consider choosing a variety of books to read aloud each month and see what new things grab their attention (and yours!)!

Mom Hack: I keep on ongoing list on my phone of “books to read” and “books to buy.” Every time someone recommends a book that sounds interesting, I add it to my list. I’ve been utilizing our local library as much as possible for my “books to read” list. I share my “books to buy” list with my husband for birthday, Christmas, or anniversary gift suggestions.

2. Replace one habit with another.

One difficult thing I had to realize in the last year was that reading (similar to working out!) was not naturally going to happen for me. It required time and attention, two things that often feel impossible to find. I came to understand that in order to be successful I had to replace some habits. Instead of watching a tv show when my kids napped, I picked up a book and forced myself to read just one chapter a day. After that, I told myself I could move on to something else I wanted to do. More days than not, I continued reading. I have friends who sit down and read while their kids are watching their daily show, and one who even manages to read while walking on the treadmill (I tell her I still have no idea how she does this!) Others have given up their evening shows during the week in exchange for reading books after the kids are in bed. The point is simple: Making reading a habit will require replacing something else you are currently doing.

Mom Hack: Keep books in different parts of your home and in your vehicle. I have books in the office, living room, bedroom, and downstairs playroom. I will often grab a kids book to take along to grocery pickup (because sometimes grocery pickups are NOT quick!) The more accessible I make books to my kids and myself, the more likely we are to read throughout the day. I also think in terms of “just read one chapter!”

3. Involve your family & make it fun.

A few ideas….Once or twice a month have a family reading night. Make special snacks, hot chocolate, get the blankets, and have everyone grab their favorite books. You and your spouse could take turns doing read alouds to the kids while the other reads on their own, or you could all cozy up with one book together. This can also be a fantastic time to remember audio books. Set up a simple coloring and craft station at the kitchen table and let the kids do art while listening to an audio book. 

Go to the library together as a family. If your library is open during Covid, make this a special family outing. Let the kids pick out a few books that look interesting to them, grab a few dvd’s for a family movie night, and don’t forget to find some fun books for yourself!

Read a book first as a family/ couple and then watch the movie (Hint: This can also be a fun date night idea!) Or consider changing it up…Watch the movie and THEN read the book. You decide.

Have a “go to” audiobook (or books on cd) list in your van for those long drives. 

Audiobook Suggestions for adults

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- The true story of the Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who survives World War 2 in a Japanese war camp and eventually converts to Christianity through the preaching of Billy Graham. Powerful story of redemption and forgiveness. Excellent audiobook, but not intended for little ears.

Fatherless by James Dobson (Book 1)

Childless by James Dobson (Book 2)

Godless by James Dobson (Book 3

This series is phenomenal. I listened to these books a few years ago and feel like we are now living these books. These are so good I would do them over and over again.

Audiobook suggestions for kids

Winnie The Pooh

A Bear Called Paddington

Little House on the Prairie

On the Banks of Plum Creek

The Chronicles of Narnia

*Make sure you check your local library for these titles & more!

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. The Secret of the Hidden Scroll A friend texted me last year and said “I think your daughter might be old enough for this series now.” I had my mom buy the entire set for my daughter for Christmas and we are already on book 4! I cannot recommend this series enough. So fun!
  2. Read A Loud Revival: This website and podcast transformed my reading life with my kids last year. We started doing her recommendation of a year in picture books. Each month there is a free printable of picture book suggestions that we can check out from our local library. I taught kindergarten for four years and thought I “knew” a lot of picture books- was I ever wrong! This is an excellent resource for any family, individual, but especially teachers!

1 Quick Thought

“I began to picture my children’s hearts as treasure chests of a different sort, and I vowed to fill them with intrinsic treasures: the best stories, memorized Scripture, priceless images of classical art, excellent books, memories from great feasts enjoyed together and special days celebrated, great Bible stories and wisdom passages, plus heart photographs of love given, holidays cherished, lessons learned.” (Sally Clarkson, The Life-Giving Home)

Happy reading from my family to yours,


Psalm 125 Bible Study Guide: Free Download!

Psalm 125

The Lord Surrounds His People

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people,
    from this time forth and forevermore.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
    on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
    their hands to do wrong.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
    and to those who are upright in their hearts!
But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
    the Lord will lead away with evildoers!
    Peace be upon Israel!

I would love for you to join me in a short study of Psalm 125 (as a simple addition to your own Bible reading plan.) What do I need to join? See below for your free download of the study guide. I would also encourage you to print off a copy of Psalm 125 or use your Psalms Scripture Journal for this study! Stay tuned for more posts on why I chose Psalm 125.

Free Download

Monday 3-2-1: Celebrating & Remembering

Welcome to Monday 3-2-1 where you can find 3 tips, 2 things I’m loving, and 1 quick thought!

3 Tips (for Celebrating & Remembering Others This Year)

1. Create a master sheet of important & significant dates (birthdays, anniversaries, adoption dates, important milestones, deaths, & losses).

This can be as simple as a word document, notebook, excel spreadsheet, or google calendar where you type up these events and organize them by months. The difference with this type of calendar is that you are thinking in terms of past important events and not just future ones. It might be helpful to begin by listing the people you are doing life with this year (family members, friends, neighbors, church family, co workers, long distance friends, missionaries, etc.), and important events in their lives. Whatever system you create needs to work for you. Some people work better with online calendars that send alerts while others may benefit from a paper calendar hanging on the side of the fridge.

Fun tip: My mother-in-law creates a yearly photo calendar using Shutterfly that includes every member of our extended family (birthdays & anniversaries). We display this in our kitchen and it’s a fun way to remember our extended family that we don’t see very often!

2. Set aside intentional planning time at the beginning of each month. 

A few days before the next month begins, take some time to sit down and look at your calendar. One new thing I’m trying this year is to spend this time writing all the handwritten cards at once, addressing them, and having them ready to mail. Setting aside 30 minutes of time at the beginning of the month will ensure that I don’t forget to write that birthday card or acknowledge that important date. If you need to purchase any gifts for the month, this can also be a helpful time to order or plan your shopping trip so that you aren’t making last minute runs or impulse buying.

Fun tip: Involve your kids in this! Have them sit down with you and draw pictures or write cards to send with your letter.

3. Be intentional with your words, your gifts, and your time.

Let’s be honest, if I have to go out and buy a special birthday card I’m probably not going to send very many this year. But if I have a stack of pretty, blank cards that I enjoy looking at, I am MUCH MORE likely to grab a card, write a note, and mail it off. Next time you’re at Target or Walmart grab several sets of blank cards that appeal to you. Then every month you can easily grab a few cards and write a note to the people on your list. I would also encourage you to write more than, “Hope you have a nice birthday and enjoy your day!” Spend some time thinking about how that person has been a blessing to you. Acknowledge their gifts and strengths, ways you’ve seen them grow or change, character qualities that inspire you, or even prayers that you are praying over their lives. 

2 Things I’m Loving


Looking to fill a few minutes of time with your kids this week? Here’s a read a loud video of Arlo and the Great Big Cover-Up, a story of sin and repentance.

2. Parenting in light of the gospel podcast

If you’ve never heard Paul Tripp speak on parenting, this podcast is for you. If you’ve read his books and heard him speak many times, this podcast is for you. If you don’t have kids yet, this podcast is for you. It’s that good.

1 Quick Thought

Remembering the Losses

I’m not sure it’s necessary (or appropriate) to acknowledge the missed anniversary since the divorce every year. That said, I do think we could all (myself definitely included!) grow in the area of remembering the losses others have experienced, even when that pain isn’t directly washing on our shore. That first missed anniversary, the due date of a lost baby, the first Father’s/ Mother’s Day their parent isn’t present to be celebrated…those are all events that are forever etched on people’s hearts. I think we would do well to expand our hands to not only learning how to celebrate, but also how to grieve better with others.

As you add in those birthdays to your planner this year, take some time to consider which losses God might be calling you to acknowledge as well.


Gift Giving Ideas for 2021

This blogpost does include affiliate links when appropriate, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through to make a purchase. All words and opinions are my own.

10 Recommended Bible Study Tools (that you’ll actually use)

As I’ve read the Bible over the years, these have been some of my most used and loved tools that have helped deepen my understanding of Scripture. These resources are helpful for anyone, whether you’ve read the Bible for many years or have picked it up for the first time.

1. Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway is at the top of my list because it is by far my most used Bible study tool. I typically use Bible Gateway to look up passages of scripture in different versions. My favorites to use alongside my ESV are the Amplified, New Living Translation, and the NIV.

2. Olive Tree

The Olive Tree is probably the most helpful Bible study tool I own. I downloaded the app several years ago and purchased my ESV Study Bible through it. If you don’t own a study Bible, I highly recommend buying one. The commentaries, maps, book introductions, and cross references have made inductive Bible study possible for a mom who has never attended seminary.

3. Gospel Coalition Courses

The Gospel Coalition Courses are my favorite resource I have come across in recent years. This page is loaded with free courses on every book of the Bible. I’ve personally used many of their Old Testament courses and love how they highlight gospel glimpses, whole Bible connections, and personal implications.

4. Dwell App

The Dwell App is my backup tool for a busy day. On those mornings when I didn’t wake up before my kids or things just seem extra loud, I love to use Dwell to listen through the passages of Scripture I’m currently studying. They recently released 7 new plans for listening through the Bible in a year. If I was driving or commuting a lot to school or work, this app would be at the top of my list.

5. PrayerMate

PrayerMate is the most creative app I’ve ever used. I have prayer lists created for my family, my friends, my church family, my neighbors, my community, the world, and more. This app helps rotate through these different names and lists so that I am consistently praying for all these different categories.

6. Bible Project

The Bible Project is the most kid friendly tool I use. As I begin or finish studying a book of the Bible, my kids will often join me in watching the videos that summarize the main points and themes. If you haven’t used the Bible Project, make this the year!

7. ESV Journaling Bible

Of all the gifts I have received over the last few years, this is definitely the most treasured. I transitioned from a small, compact ESV Bible to this journaling one and LOVE IT. Even though I journal in a notebook alongside my Bible study, I still like to write down important notes that I want to remember in my Bible.

+ A few fun extras

8. Psalms Illuminated Scripture Journal

Proverbs Illuminated Scripture Journal

Even though I have a journaling Bible, I love my Psalms illuminated scripture journal. This year was my first time trying out one of these and here’s what I found. I spend a lot of time in the psalms and this tool has allowed me the extra room for writing that I started lacking in my journaling Bible. Because it’s a single volume book, it has helped me see the psalms and their layout in a new light.

9. Bible Highlighters

And for just for fun.

10. Twistable Colored Pencils

Also these.

I hope this post gives you some new and fresh resources for your Bible study time this year. I would love to hear from you and what tools you would add to the list!


This blogpost does include affiliate links when appropriate, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through to make a purchase. All words and opinions are my own.