Monday 3-2-1: A New Tool to Deepen Your Bible Study (free!)

3 Quotes I’m Thinking About

“It’s better to be interested, than interesting.”

I was recently listening to a podcast on hospitality when the host commented, “It’s better to be interested, than interesting.” Simply meaning, hospitality looks like showing up in the lives of other people by caring for and being interested in them! It’s genuinely asking other people about what is happening in their lives, taking the time to listen, and following up with more questions. Another way I’ve heard it said is, “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who show up and say ‘Here I am!’ and those who show up and say ‘There you are‘!”

“Parent small.”

When I first heard this quote I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. But the example given really resonated with me. It’s found in the moments when you’re at a playground with friends and your child does something inappropriate. Our first reaction can be to yell our directives (or threats) across the playground at the child. Parenting small is calling them over, getting down on eye level with the child, having a private conversation that no one else needs to hear, and sending them back to play.

“We cannot change the world if we cannot incarnate God’s love in our own most ordinary spaces and hours.” -Sally Clarkson

I’ve been thinking about how the world tells us where we should give our best. To our careers, to our hobbies, to our physical fitness, to our reputations, to our futures, to building our own names, but never within the walls of our own homes. I love the vision Sally Clarkson gives for the home. Places where we can be our best and give our best. Being the best story reader to my kids, serving my husband the best meals, creating order out of chaos, showing love, creativity, joy, and purpose in every ordinary space and hour in my day.

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. These teriyaki salmon bowls. They were so good I’m already repeating them next week. I made my own teriyaki sauce and used coconut aminos for the soy sauce replacement. Leave off the toppings you don’t like and I promise it will still be as good!
  2. The Next Right Thing Guided Journal. I love that you can pick up this journal and start it any month of the year (it doesn’t have to be January!) I’ve been filling mine out on Sunday afternoons as part of my weekly reflection. It’s been helping me think through questions I currently have in my life, write down highlights of the month, keep a running record of things I’m listened to/ watched/ read/ made, and reflect better on what I’m actually doing throughout the month. It’s very different than my spiritual journal that I keep for my Bible study notes, but it’s been a good reflection tool for me. Hint: I’ll add this to my Christmas list each year-I’d love to have these to look back and reflect on over the years. This would also make a creative Mother’s Day gift!

1 Tool To Deepen Your Bible Study Time (Free!)

THIS is the resource I’ve been waiting for! Paul Tripp recently finished “The Gospel: One Chapter At A Time” where he summarizes EVERY book of the Bible and shows how it points to Jesus in a short 5 minute video. These are so good! I’ve already made my way through several of them and can’t get over how helpful this resource is for understanding how Jesus is found in every book. Videos not your thing? Each one comes with a transcript you can read as well!

Monday 3-2-1: Keep Planting

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands be not idle, for you do know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
(Ecclesiastes 11:6)

I’ve never had a green thumb when it comes to any kind of gardening. Let’s be honest, when it comes to keeping anything plant related alive! Two years ago when I went to choose some plants for Mother’s Day at the local greenhouse I remember specifically asking one of the workers, “Which of these is the most durable? Which one can survive me not remembering to water it for awhile?” He pointed me in the right direction and his words proved true that summer. That beautifully flowered plant not only survived the heat of the summer, but the sun and the shade, the days I forgot to water it and the days my toddlers gave it too much water. It seemed whatever weather or circumstances came its way, it managed to not only survive but also keep its beautiful red blooms. With very little effort, I reaped a colorful harvest on my front porch.

But let’s not be confused. That’s exactly the message the world wants you to believe about your life. It wants you to believe life should revolve around the methods that are the easiest, most convenient, timesaving, and painless. The world will tell you it will be fine in your life and in your relationships if you live the way I treated my plant. Do whatever you want, don’t worry about the weeds growing, the weather coming, or most of all, the time it will take to produce anything worthwhile.
But friend we know that’s not God’s way or how God’s garden works. Every day we are reaping something we chose to harvest a long time ago. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, our habits, our character, and finally our very own destinies are very much determined by the seeds we choose to plant in our gardens.

Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
(John Stott)

But what if I don’t like my garden? What if I didn’t get to choose the soil I’ve been dealt? What if mine is hard and rocky? What if I HAVE been sowing good seeds now for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be making any difference? Why does it seem everyone else is blooming in their gifts and talents and I’m over here barely surviving?
What if…

You look over the fence and see the array of color and beauty in your neighbor’s garden while your hand is to the plow, working to break through the soil of your own.”
(Ruth Chou Simmons)

Then you’ve come to the right place. This note is meant to be a breath of fresh air for your weary heart after a long winter (or two).
A place to remind you that….

“Blooms are not the only way to see God’s faithfulness. He is actively growing you, friend, while you sow within the hard soils of affliction.”
(Ruth Chou Simmons)

One of my favorite prayers to pray when I am struggling to tend to the garden God has given me is from Hebrews 13. It says…

 “May God equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

This spring God wants to work on the soil of your garden. He wants to plant some seeds, and He wants you to plant as well. Your garden might not look the same as your neighbors, but be assured He active, He is working, He is equipping, and He is the ultimate producer of all good things.

We welcomed spring with some outdoor gardening projects!

2 Things I’m Loving (+ A Few Extras)

1.) This podcast by Focus on the Family Parenting. After listening I wrote down, “Am I teaching my kids to be a contributor to our family and the world?” It reminded me of the article I read this week by Chip Gaines, Make Kindness Loud

But real kindness is built with grace and grit, and I don’t think one works without the other; they are wisely intertwined. Because life-changing kindness is hard. Sometimes so hard it hurts. It’s sweat and effort. It actually requires something of you. That’s kindness that inspires, kindness that makes a difference.” -Chip Gaines

2.) This healthy crack chicken recipe. This is a great one to double and freeze!  I made mine in my slow cooker and gave the second half to my neighbor.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Today

1.) Am I being faithful to tending the garden and place God has given me to work or am I trying to be somewhere He has not placed me?
2.) What is one small seed I can plant today in my home and my relationships? A seed of kindness, seed of gratefulness, seed of compassion, seed of gentleness, seed of forgiveness? How can I “make kindness loud?” in my neighborhood?
3.) Are there any weeds that need pulled from my garden?  Any behaviors, any thought processes, any activities that are keeping me from walking closer to God?

Monday 3-2-1: Doing Less, Doing it Well

“In our ordinary chores and in the act of corralling chaos into order, we image God. Organizing a cluttered closet, sanitizing a nasty high-chair tray, distributing clean and folded laundry to the four corners of the house — these are as quietly mundane as the work God does in our time to water his trees with rain or, in history, to arrange for the manna that faithfully fed a generation of Israelites (Exodus 16).” Michele Morin

I’m sitting here at my kitchen island with the warm spring sunlight shining through my sliding glass doors. I’ve been thinking alot this week about some quotes I’ve jotted down from some books and blogs I’ve been reading. Even though we are halfway through the month, they motivated me to make a list of “must-do’s” and a list of “want to do’s”. Just doing that helped me release some anxiety I was feeling over how I should be using my time.

“Today do less. Do it well.” ~Sarah Mackenzie

“Do one thing at a time and do that one thing with all your heart.” ~Sarah Mackenzie

“Trusting a few things done well are better than many things spread thin.” ~Lara Casey

3 Quotes Worth Considering

  1. Do less but do it well.

Take time this month to work on teaching, practicing, and reinforcing table manners with my kids instead of being frustrated by repeated behaviors at dinnertime.

Instead of randomly scrolling facebook or checking emails when my mind wants a break from the chaos, actually designate a specific time of day to sit down and look at it.

Instead of responding to the urge to reply to every text message as soon as it comes in, set aside several times a day to reply and give more thoughtful responses when appropriate.

Start making a list of what I want to do with my kids this spring and summer. What do I want that to look like and sound like? What memories do I want my kids to walk away with and remember about summertime? What do I need to do to make these happen?

Pray for a neighbor today.

Look at my calendar. Am I making time for the most important things? Am I intentional about what I say yes and no to?

2. “Do one thing at a time and do that one thing with all your heart.”

Continue to cultivate a love for reading for my kids and myself. Silence my phone when reading books to the kids so I’m not tempted to be interrupted.

Get outside as many days as possible. Push the kids on the swings whenever they ask. Take more walks. Let them get dirty with mud and sidewalk chalk and not be annoyed at the extra laundry.

Take the time to stop the to-do list and work on handwriting with my three year old when he asks how to write letters.

Make good, healthy meals from a cookbook or printed recipe (and not pinterest.) Make dinner with worship or instrumental music playing, but not podcasts. Learn to focus my mind better at the task on hand without being distracted by other things.

Plan a date night with my husband. Get a sitter, pick a restaurant, make the reservation.

Plan some one on one activities with the each child and write these into my calendar.

Get up early to spend time in the Word without the interruptions of kids. Leave the planner in a different room. Turn my phone on airplane mode. Be present in the presence of the Lord.

Get coffee with a friend this month. Silence my phone. Listen well and ask better questions. Ask about her marriage, parenting, good things, and hard things. Know how her family is doing.

3. “Trusting a few things done well are better than many things spread thin.” 

Do an inventory of the kids clothes and shoes for the summer/fall/winter. What items do they actually need?

Make a list and plan 5 new, healthy freezer meals for those busy days I know I won’t feel like making dinner.

Pray for a friend today.

Spend some time pro-actively teaching the kids a new job this month. Do it along side them every day. Teach and re-teach. Praise and affirm.

Not sure where to start this week? Make your own list of “must-do’s” and “want to do’s” and prioritize from there.

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. My air fryer. I’m the first to admit, it took me a long time to jump on this train. I wasn’t interested in an appliance that would take up counter space and not be used very frequently. And then my friend started sending me all these pictures of her air fried veggies she was having for lunch and the next thing I knew my husband and I were on a date night looking at all the different models at Kohls! I’m a believer now. I’ve used it pretty much every day (ok maybe multiple times a day!) Here’s my favorite recipe so far. Air fried chicken breast (pair with a salad!)
  2. I recently read the library book “Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race” to my five year old daughter. It was fascinating! A few weeks later, my husband came across the movie on Disney and we watched it after our kids went to bed. 10/10 recommend! My sister-in-law also informed me there’s a novel, and I’m adding to my “need to read” list this year.

1 Quick Thought

Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.” (Kevin DeYoung)

Monday 3-2-1: Spring Decluttering Challenges

“By simplifying our lives, we’re making space for what matters – to hear God more clearly, to give more wholeheartedly, and to place our energy in people and hearts rather than in things. Ultimately, simplifying allows us to slow down enough to savor this life.” Emily Ley

If you had to identify one specific thing that often keeps you from opening up your home to others what would it be? I’m going to say for most people, it’s not time, money, or even square footage, it’s the condition of our homes. It’s the stuff, the piles, the cleaning, the kids toys, and the endless piles of laundry that have to go somewhere. When our homes feel overwhelming, so do our hearts. I think many of us desire to be people whose homes are open and marked by hospitality. We want to open our front doors to the last minute play date, guests for dinner, or neighbors stopping by, but how can we ever have a home that’s ready for unexpected guests at the last minute?

I’d like to encourage you to consider making this the year you take on a decluttering challenge.

“Decluttering is not cleaning. Decluttering is not organizing. Decluttering is paring down and getting rid of things you don’t use or need to create a more pleasant and more useful space.” Stephanie Cowan

Before you start tackling any of these challenges, it might be helpful to read this article on 10 Decluttering Tips.

3 Spring Decluttering Challenges

1. Mika Perry 30 day decluttering challenge

What I like about this one… 

If you’ve never done any kind of decluttering challenge and the very thought of decluttering makes you want to cringe, you can totally do this one! I like that you’re not being asked to tackle an entire room at a time, but rather small, simple tasks (everything from emails to purse to makeup to your phone.) You could also easily double up on items and complete several at a time over the weekend. This is also a great option for those of you who declutter every year but want something new!

2. Emily Ley’s 30 Days to Simplicity 

What I like about this one…

This is more than just getting rid of things for 30 days. Emily Ley also encourages you to ADD IN more of the right things (think rest, getaway with your spouse, birthday cards for friends, meal plans), and helps you walk through simplifying your life by working through different areas of your home. I think this is one of the more creative lists I’ve seen over the years. If you’re currently in a busy life season but want to do something, this could be a great fit for you.

3. Ruthless Decluttering Challenge

What I like about this one…

This is for those of you who want to do your entire home but just don’t know where to begin. This guide offers you the options of decluttering everything in 1 week or breaking it down into 4 weeks. It will literally walk you through every room of your house, give you step by step directions, and ask you questions to consider as you look through your possessions. If you decide on this challenge, I would highly encourage you to grab a friend for accountability and do it together! This was one of the first decluttering challenges I completed 3 years ago and can honestly say it transformed my home.

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. Struggling with fear and anxiety? I think we all do at some level. I’ve really been enjoying the new series on Fear by Risen Motherhood and noticed the Gospel Coalition’s Lets Talk Podcast recently tackled the subject as well.
  2. These mini meatloaf muffins. Even my kids will ask for seconds or thirds so these have stayed on our meal repeat list this winter. Tip: I found mine stuck too much to my muffin tins so I just bake mine in a 9×13 pan. This is also a great recipe to double and freeze half!

1 Quick Thought

“I always wanted to be a hero–to sacrifice my life in a big way one time–and yet, God has required my sacrifice to be thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more story, one more meal.”

(Sally Clarkson)

Monday 3-2-1: Building up your Marriage

“A wise woman builds her house, while a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)

As I’ve been thinking through the month of February, I’ve been praying that the Lord would give me more of this vision as I start my days…

“God, help me to do the most good for those around me today. Help me wake up today and see all the interruptions as opportunities… May my life make a difference in the lives of those around me.”

So what does this look like in relation to our marriages? What does it look like to be the wise woman mentioned in Proverbs who builds up her home and those in it? What does it look like to wake up every morning with the mentality of serving those in your sphere of influence?

3 Tips (for building up your marriage)

1. Commit to praying for your spouse every day for the next month.

We all know we should be doing this. But if i’m honest, sometimes other needs seem more “urgent” and before I know it, a few days have passed since I’ve spent time praying for him. I love this 31 day challenge by Revive our Hearts to help get back into the habit of praying daily for my spouse.  Print it off, place it in a spot you’ll see it every day, and enter a reminder on your phone. Once you’ve finished the 31 days? Just start over!

2. Grab some friends and start the 30 day husband encouragement challenge.

Another 30 day challenge? Stay with me here. This challenge is going to take you beyond prayer to practical ways you can build up your marriage. 

“For the next thirty days, don’t say anything negative about your husband—to him or to anyone else about him. Each day, for the next thirty days, tell your husband something you admire or appreciate about him—and say it to someone else about him!”

3. Look at your calendar, your to-do lists, your priorities, and ask yourself the question “Am I reserving the best of my physical and emotional energy for my husband?”

Maybe this means taking some things off your calendar. Maybe this means not getting everything done on your to-do list today. Maybe it DOES mean getting your checklist list done during the day so that you aren’t distracted and overwhelmed in the evenings when you actually have time with your husband. 

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. The MamaBearApologetics Podcast. This one is new to me, and if I’m honest a little out of my comfort zone! It’s an area I definitely need to grow in, so I’ll be sticking around to check more episodes. Also this episode from the Lazy Genius Podcast. I’m totally trying a few of her tips and tricks on cleaning this month (including putting socks on my kids hands and having them help me dust and cleaning my bathrooms in her recommended order.) 
  2. This chicken alfredo spaghetti squash recipe. Why have I never tried this sooner?? I doubled the sauce, made my kiddos a box of noodles (because some are more willing to try the spaghetti squash than others) and paired it with garlic bread. This will definitely be on my meal repeats during the month.

1 Quick Thought

Try the  “Five Dollar, No Hollar Date Night”

(Taken from “Make Their Day” by Karen Ehman)

The premise is pretty simple. Spending only $5, purchase a drink from a local eatery (think large milkshake with two straws, a buy one get one free drink, or share a large coffee from your favorite coffee shop.) Then spend time asking each other these questions.

What was the high point of your week?

What was the low point of your week?

What is one thing you’d like to do around the house this next month?

What is one place you would like to go with me in the next month or so?

What is one task I could help you tackle in the next week or so?

What is your greatest prayer request at work right now?

What is your greatest prayer request regarding our family right now?

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: 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

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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.

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!