10 Days of Easter

Oh Friends, If ever we needed a Resurrection Day to look forward to, it’s now! Though our hearts are breaking for the suffering this virus is causing, our souls can rejoice in the finished work of Christ. My heart longs to impart joy deep into my kiddo’s hearts by communicating the GOOD NEWS of Easter. I know many of you have the same desire! FFCB63CF-AEDF-453E-8E0D-AF0DFD03B1A8.jpg

If you have been around this blog at all, you know that we LOVE EASTER. We celebrate every year with 10 Days of Easter. I have all of our 10 Days of Easter celebration resources listed for free on the blog. You can do most of them with things from around the house. As of today, Tuesday March 31, 10 Days of Easter starts in 2 days so you have a few days to get ready!

You can find 10 Days of Easter for toddlers here

You can find 10 Days of Easter for littles here

You can find 10 Days of Easter Family Bible Study here

Our plan this year is for our two older girls (9 and 7 years old) to lead our two youngest kids (4 and 2 years old) through the 10 days of Easter for toddlers. Its very interactive and our older two are little teachers at heart so they are excited about discipling their siblings.

I’m all about the resources so here are a few other fun things for you to do to celebrate Easter with your family:

Resurrection Eggs.png

-We do these EVERY DAY of 10 Days of Easter! Heres the printable version: Resurrection Eggs

-We work for The Jesus Film Project and they have incredible an incredible resource called Story Clubs for Kids. These are short video clips from The Jesus Film For Children to help kiddos watch the Gospel on screen in their heart language! There are 174 different languages available! Click the link below


-Listen to Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters albums wherever you stream music. They are amazing and full of Gospel truth.

-Watch the Jesus Storybook Bible version of the Easter Story

-Plan a feast for the King! Every Resurrection Sunday, we throw a giant party and feast for the King. This year with social distancing it will just be our family, but our kids look forward to throwing this every year. We decorate with items we find around the house and eat our favorite foods. We talk a lot about his second coming and long for the great feast we will have in Heaven when He makes all things right!

-What are other things you do to celebrate Easter? Let me know! I would love to hear about your family’s traditions!

He Risen, Friends. It’s the best news I have ever heard.


Does anyone want to know what happened to my toothbrush today???

My all time favorite posts to write are “A day in the life….” Gosh, this raising a family business goes by WAY too fast. You can catch some old ones here and here and here

Today I woke up and remembered that I usually do one of these every winter and I haven’t yet this year. Honestly the weekdays are nuts. I can’t take pictures all day – I can barely eat. So I thought a sabbath Sunday would be a fun day to document and look back on. Here is a day in our life (SABBATH REST STYLE) – March 1, 2020

7:30 am – Abi woke me up but I asked Josh to let me sleep in. At 8, he brought me a cup of coffee and I decided to join him in the living room.

Before I sat down, I cracked the window to listen to the birds sing!!!


Opened this book – I am only a few pages in but so encouraged.


After 3O min of reading, I instinctively reached for my phone which meant it was time for my daily App delete…I delete Insta each day and don’t download it again until after 4 pm. So embarrassing that I have to do it but so good for my heart.


8:35 am – My Lydia Joy is a MORNING PERSON. It has taken 7 years and TONS of work but she now allows us to move slowly while she moves at the speed of a freight train in the AM. Notice the high heels – she has been fully dressed since 7 am.


8:41 – Joshua Peter, the love of my life, sitting in front of our sun lamp tells me the BEST NEWS…


I immediately text Rebecca ALL ABOUT IT….


SPRING PEOPLE. Maybe not real spring but lets just run with it (I decorated for easter yesterday and transplanted some of my ivy from the living room.


9 am – Micah puts on his favorite shark tooth necklace from our sweet C.


Lydia invites us all to Lan Lah Lah Spa.


10:21 – church starts in 10 minutes and I am hunting for my toothbrush. Finally, I ask the kids and a certain child starts to blush. “Oh ya, I had to borrow it yesterday.” Oh really…I say, “Why could you possibly have to borrow my toothbrush?!?” The guilty child says, “Well, I needed to clean some really awesome dirty rocks I found in the yard.”


10:33 – we head out the door to church 3 minutes late.




12:30 – Big fun happy visitor is here.


Our sweet Jack. He went to live with our sweet friends, The Johnsons. It is much better this way. They are happy. We are happy. He is happy.  But they are gracious and let us watch him for the day while they go out of town! Micah is in heaven.


12:50 – we head out on a walk around the block. We get to visit with neighbors and watch the kids enjoy the 60 degree weather.


1-3 – We played outside with neighbors while Abi naps on the couch. I love Ruth’s silly smile.


3:10 Lydia and I start drawing pictures while our brownies bake in the oven and Rebecca texts and suggests we go on a long walk.


3:15 I leave my pic behind and go on a 3 mile walk with my bestie. Yesterday we walked and prayed. Today, we walked and planned our future 11 person bunker for the Coronavirus. Ugh. But it was delightful and my butt will look better in a swimsuit thanks to her.


4:45 – I’m home and the kids are still playing with neighbors. Josh and our neighbor, Ryan, are doing something with a ladder in his yard. I look at the clock and the dishes and decide tonight is a perfect night for pizza. I convinced my sweet Abs to come with me to pick it up.


Micah is so happy about his visitor.


5:45 – pizza, salad, peaches and brownies. All the important food groups.


I love him.


6:30 – Josh heads to a church meeting and the kids are still running like crazy. How are they not tired yet. They pillow fight and I pour myself a glass of wine.


6:35 I convince them to chill and watch America’s Funniest Home Videos.


7 – I do 2 loads of laundry EVERY DAY. That way I never get behind. But I didn’t do any yesterday so today was a 4 load day. I tell the kids to load in Mom’s bed and help me sort.


He gives me butterfly kisses and I let them all out of laundry duty. We watch a new episode of When Calls the Heart while I fold laundry and update the kids on appointments, classes, and weekly schedule stuff.


8:10 – these two decide its a sleepover in Bub’s room kind of night. They fall asleep most nights listening to Wow in the World podcast.


These two are telling each other stories with lots of butt and poop jokes. I tell them goodnight and Dad snuggles them to bed while I keep folding laundry, doing dishes, and sanitizing all the counters – it might be pretend spring but germs are a *****.

Thats all for tonight.

Now its 9:49 and I just blogged in bed while Josh car shops on his computer.

Hope everyone had a great March 1! Thanks for stopping by. Unknown


Our year of tending…


I heard from the Lord last January (2019) that quiet would be a word he brought up in my life over and over again for the year. Now if you know me, you know that quiet is a word NO ONE would use to describe me. So what was quiet going to look like from me? For me? Over the year, it looked the most like my reflection time, my processing, and my prayers being quiet. The Lord and I held some things so close. I didn’t have many stories that felt light enough to write about here.

Our 2019 was filled with joy but also filled with Josh battling a chronic illness, having surgery, and ending the year in bed 10 days with the flu. It was filled with yes’s that felt hard, like ending our time with Cru Campus Ministry, and following God’s leading in our lives to work with the Jesus Film Project. It was filled with me stepping into a volunteer role at my kid’s school and being busier than in years past. In many ways, I went quiet. (Except when talking on the phone to my people… I will never quit talking… impossible.)

As 2020 marched towards us, we began talking and praying about what was in store for us this year. And for the first time, Josh chose a word for himself and it speaks straight to my heart as well!


verb. to care for or look after; give one’s attention to.

Our lives need tending. Josh and I can sense God inviting us to care well for every area of our lives. Our spiritual lives, our home, our family, our church, our friendships, and our health just to name a few areas.

We both sense Jesus inviting us into a year of saying yes to our own limits. This is exciting as we look at all thats on the horizon for 2020. Hopefully it means that we can say next December, that we did indeed trust Jesus for a well-cared for life. It makes me think of 2 Peter, where I’ve been reading this week, as I spend time with Jesus.

Everything we could ever need for life and complete devotion to God has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises you can experience partnership with the divine nature, by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.

Faith’s Ladder of Virtue

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness,and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love.

Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately. But if anyone lacks these things, he is blind, constantly closing his eyes to the mysteries of our faith, and forgetting his innocence—for his past sins have been washed away.

   I am so thankful that everything I need to care for my life and family well is already deposited within me through the gift of the Holy Spirit. His promises will be our manna for the year. And our unfolding faith walk this year can be certain to look like an emergence of goodness, unfolding to understanding of God, unfolding to the strength of self control, unfolding to patient endurance, unfolding to godliness, unfolding to mercy and love.

So often I think of those virtues existing outside of me. How kind of the Lord to remind me that they are actually planted deep within. Not by my own earning, striving, performing or perfecting, but given as a free gift of grace by the death and resurrection of God’s own Son.  A mantra of mine – My part – walk by faith. God’s Part – Everything else.

   Christ in us. The hope of glory. F0FF3A6D-2165-4EFD-9270-F1F43DFDC439

   I would love to know what your ‘word’ is this year if you want to leave a comment and share!

Barefoot Days and Firefly Nights

Summer gets sweeter every year with these sweet Fieleke kiddos. Our days are full of bare feet running around our backyard and little ones begging to stay up till dark to catch just a few fireflies. There is also an amazing miracle that happens every August when my kids start arguing a little more fiercely with each other to the point where I am really ready to send them back to school in a few weeks. I barely cry anymore on the first day of school because I realize its either we all go back to school or Mommy starts drinking too many margaritas to get through the bickering…I digress…

I realized today I hadn’t posted a family update in months so I wanted to quickly share a few sweet spots of our summer – one of those being these BEAUTIFUL pictures Ferris Wheel Photography took for us on a sticky summer night in July.

So here are a few of my favorite shots and a few of my favorite parts of our summer.


Ruth Mae IMG_2578 (1)Ru got her own big girl room this summer and is trying her hand at decorating all the things. She painted her new thrifted mirror bright blue because it seemed like the perfect color for a 9 year old. She’s excited to start 4th grade this month and she decided to trade her dance shoes in for gymnastics leotards again because tumbling is calling her name.

She is sweet as ever, always my mini-mommy, has discovered an avid love for all the podcasts, and she’s trying to master sarcasm. We adore her.


Lydia Joy


Nearly gone are the days of our timid Bitty. She is courageous and bold and loves to master new talents these days. She decided swimming is fun after all and turned into a fish this summer. Everyone comments on her bond with baby Abi – they are kindred for sure. Lydia paints her nails no less than 7 times a week and my house forever smells of acetone. I’ve come to believe that God smiles his biggest smile at her quick wit and her infectious joy. IMG_2541

Micah Joshland IMG_2606IMG_2391

To sum up my boy’s summer, let me tell you a quick story. He came in from the yard one day holding his fingers and complaining about the mean worm that bit him. See, he loves to dig big holes and gather creepy crawlers into a cooler, whom he calls his friends. Well apparently, this day in particular, he found a BABY SNAKE EGG, cracked it and sure enough the mean baby SNAKE bit him. Oh my gracious. Jesus take the wheel. It wasn’t poisonous – just a black snake – but good golly this boy loves his critters. Today he found a baby frog who he loved to actual death by carrying it around in his pocket.

He is sweet, and kind, and has a little spice coming up lately when told to go to bed or brush his teeth. He loves his family and loves his Jesus. At night this summer, he’s been asking a million questions about Heaven and he’s decided that it might be the best place he’s ever heard of. Last night he looked at me and said, “Have I told you lately that you are so beautiful?” I’m not kidding. He is beyond precious.


Abigail Grace


Abi wears this crown day and night. Lydia got it for her and she puts it on first thing in the morning. Its fitting because she orders us all around day and night. She is a ball of joy and her orneriness is curbed by her peaceful spirit. She loves to go on long walks with Daddy and loves to fall asleep in my arms. She shares a room with Lydia now and her favorite thing is when she and Lydia have special tea parties in their room together.

She gives the best, sloppiest kisses and talks more than just about any of the rest of us do. She loves to say, “oops, I sorry.”, “how rude!”, “awwww nuts” and just about every other phrase our kids have learned from Full House. She stepped on a hot coal from the grill in July and rocked her first major injury – she now tells everyone, “hot coal. doctor. ouch.”




Our counselor reminded us this summer that marriage is a dance and sometimes the beat changes. Four young kids has certainly changed up the beat but (thanks to a few hard counseling sessions) we are genuinely enjoying finding our new rhythm. Some days are hard, some days are sweet, and most are in the middle somewhere where Jesus meets us in our mundane.

Our summer has looked like God providing MIRACULOUSLY for us. Just last week we had a bill that we had no way of paying, and complete strangers gave us a check towards our ministry for the amount we needed to pay. Story after story of God’s faithfulness has defined our summer and our prayer lately has just been a open handed, “find us faithful, Lord.”

Thats about it for our summer update. Thanks for stopping by and caring about us, praying for us, and laughing with us. I hope your summer was sprinkled with bare feet and fireflies too.



The hardest part about being a Mom…

I vividly remember the weekend that I knew something had to change. We were away at an adults only weekend with my college besties and their husbands and Josh (my hubs) announced he was headed out to ride jet skis with the guys. Immediately, I was so anxious, I was almost shaking. Please hear me, my man wasn’t about to ride out into a turbulent shark infested ocean. It was a lake in the middle of Oklahoma without so much as a whitecap. I grabbed him, white knuckled, and begged him not to go. I just knew he would die. My girlfriend’s husband looked right at me, and with the tact that only a dude could muster, he said, “Stop it Maddi. He’s a grown ass man.” How in the world did I get to a place where I was scared of everything, all the time? Gosh I’m thankful for that call back to reality.

I wasn’t a scared teenager. I was actually fairly reckless. But two kids and four years into motherhood, it felt like the ground had fallen out from beneath me. Our youngest had spent a week in the hospital with Pneumonia & RSV. We all caught her pneumonia. We lost our precious baby when I was 11 weeks pregnant. My husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Over the course of a year, I went from care-free to a Mom who spent my free time googling every symptom I  spotted in my kids, convinced we were all one diagnosis away from dying of a deadly disease.

As one could only assume, my butt ended up on a counselor’s couch. I spent the next few months there untangling the trauma I had experienced. But fear had made room in my house, like an unwelcome guest, it showed up with boxes and moved on in. I would imagine some of you think I’m nuts right about now. But others are just nodding your heads with tear-stained cheeks. I’ve become convinced that nothing steals a mother’s joy like fear.

   Fear of failing our kids – fear of losing our kids – fear of our kids experiencing pain – fear of  not being enough – fear of being too much – fear of dropping the ball – fear of missing the important moments – fear of being anything less than excellent – fear of sickness – fear of disaster – fear of accidents – fear of fear – fear of being misunderstood.

   Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

    It’s the sign hanging in my living room so I can preach it back to my heart day after day. Slowly, through time in counseling, prayer, friends and a patient husband sowing into my life, I began to find my way out.

I remember sitting with a friend, who was a short season ahead of me, and telling her, fear is this ugly terrible black pond. I saw in her life that she was wading in knee-deep and then turning around and getting out.  But I was stuck in the middle, treading water, and I couldn’t figure out how to get out. The water was too thick. The unknown was too scary.  My dear friend, wisely told me, “I’ve learned that thanksgiving is my way out.”

The shower became my hiding place. When fear would wrap its grip around my throat, I would get in the shower and cry. Out loud I would talk with my Rescuer, “You’ve told me to be anxious about nothing. But talk to you about everything. To thank you and ask for what I need. And you promise to give me peace and protect my heart and mind from fear.” My feelings told me to be afraid, but I was learning that my feelings were great indicators but terrible dictators. I was in charge of what I would believe. In the scalding hot showers, I would just start in with the thank you’s. “Thank you for water. Hot water. Dinner. Hot dinner. Grass growing. Kid’s laughing. A husband to fight with. A husband to make up with. Sweet moments with the kids before bed time….” and so the list went on.

Before I knew it, when the crap would hit the fan, and a kid was naked and screaming about socks feeling funny, and another one needed a bottle, I was talking with my Rescuer all day, out loud, “Thank you for this little one’s loud voice. May she learn to use it to defend the powerless. Thank you for baby hands and hot coffee. Thank you for new morning mercies and your forever friendship. Thank you that you promise to listen every single time I call out to you.”

Years have passed and the black pond of fear still calls to me. Daily. Sometimes every single minute. I have four little bitties who need endless amounts of everything from me. My baby ate a penny a few months back and I recently had to spend time on the phone with my insurance company convincing them that I was in fact in the room, she wasn’t in the care of a negligent babysitter, and they do need to pay her ER bill since it was all my fault. (That was a two beer and a glass of wine kind of night) Immediately, I could feel it – fear of failing my kids –  and yet thanksgiving (not a fourth glass of wine) is still my way out. “Thank you Daddy that You were there and saw what I didn’t. You helped the penny pass without surgery. But if she needed surgery, You would have met us there and your presence would have been our comfort. And if the worst case scenario were to happen, You would have brought her home, and one day soon, we will live with You there, together forever because of Your goodness.”

I don’t think that courage is the opposite of fear. I’ve come to believe that the opposite of fear is faith. Faith is a tunnel I walk through. It carries me from the grip of fear straight to the throne of the Risen King. I think thats why scripture reminds us that “Without faith it is impossible to please God. Because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Faith – I get to choose what I believe.

And if I know anything by now, I know that what I water grows. If I water my fear they will get the flu, I just get more scared. If I water my fear that I am not a good mom, I only see more evidence of that. If I water my fear that God isn’t going to come through for us in the end, I just keep trying harder to meet everyone’s needs. But if I water my faith in His goodness, I start seeing seedlings of it everywhere. They grow into flowers and all of a sudden, I’m following Him into the hard and messy because I am just sure that HE WILL SHOW UP. AND BE GOOD AT BEING GOD. AND BE KIND. AND MERCIFUL. AND SO VERY FAITHFUL.

I’ve noticed lately that on my cell phone video’s of the kids and I, I am laughing, like, a lot. Theres this verse in the Bible, in Proverbs 31, about how a godly woman can laugh without fear of the future. I used to tell God that I thought she sounded like a straight up idiot because there was plenty to be afraid of and that woman didn’t know that Dr. Google would always always always bring bad news. I didn’t pray fervently to become her. I actually still think she sounds a bit intense. But over the last 5 years, God broke something in me. He’s becoming strong in my weakness. I laugh more lately because I am convinced that HE IS PERFECT LOVE and He will always kick fear in the butt.

My oldest just asked what I was writing about. Laughing a little, I said, “I am writing about how I used to be a really scared Momma all the time but now, because of God’s kindness, I am not as scared.” She just rolled her eyes and walked away. And I really think we are all going to be ok. B68E3B33-ACD0-4458-90AC-D8C0FAE8C29D



A Weekend in Our Life

Without fail, every time one of the kiddos gets a puke bug and I’m stuck up holding the barf bucket all night, I get lost in re-reading old blog posts about our family. Not because I’m a narcissist – at least I hope not – but because it always reminds me how friggin fast these years are flying by and it gives me hope that the puking will cease. My favorite blog posts to go back and read aren’t the ones that are more popular – they are our Week in the Life posts because I forget the little moments that make up our ordinary. (Check out a few old ones here and here)

This year feels like my life is crazy and being spent herding cats so a Week in the Life post felt out of reach. Instead, I documented this weekend with my phone camera and put the pics together for a Weekend in Our Life post. Enjoy! Or don’t because we both know I will next time a kid turns green in the face : )

Friday February 1, 2019

c7QMtVkRRfKamCTo%XLY1QSometime around 1, Abi cried and came to our bed and I grabbed this picture because sweet snuggly Daddy’s arms are the best place to sleep.


Josh let me sleep in because I spoke at Cru on Thursday night and got home late. So he woke me up with a cup of coffee at 7 am and asked for help with the girl’s hair.

Got the girls off to school by 7:50 and Josh had an hour at home before his work meetings started for the day. He played with Abs and Micah while we talked weekend schedules, caught up on life, and I vacuumed up dog hair off all the floors.

Josh left for work at 9 am and Jackie brought over baby Chloe at 9:30 for a visit. She is THE SWEETEST!!! We chatted and chased babies for the morning.

Micah turned on Incredibles 2 at some point around 11 because he thought we were boring.


Rebecca swung by around 12 for a quick cup of coffee and Chloe snuggles.


Micah’s movie ended and he wanted to snuggle the baby. He adored her and said, “Wow hers eyes is soooooo beautiful.” Then I gave him candy and bubble gum because he is insanely sweet.


Josh got home from meetings around 2 and grabbed a quick turn loving sweet Chloe before heading to his home office.


Jackie and Chloe took off and headed home around 2:30 and Abs wanted some blueberries. Josh left to pick up the girl’s from school and we knew they would be super excited because they both had friends coming home with them for a fun playdate and pizza dinner.


Lydia and her friend Jules got dressed up in TuTu’s right away and made a play dough bake shop. The girls are usually pretty great about letting Micah hang too. He usually plays Puppy and makes them call him Scout. Josh worked on his phone on the couch for a while, answering emails but keeping me company at the same time!


At 5:15 pizza got delivered and two sweet KU students came over to join us. Nate and Paige were so fun and even played silly dinner table games with us and read books to the littles.


Micah talked the big girls into watching Incredibles 2 again. (Thanks for the movie, Netflix!)


Micah started crashing, aka kicking sisters in the face, so we read books until Katy and Jules parents stopped by to pick them up at 8.


Girl’s showered quickly and we read a bedtime story. (Currently reading Pilgrim’s Progress )

Saturday February 2, 2019


Abs, Josh and Jack our puppy woke up at 5:45 am.


My alarm went off at 6:15 and I went straight for the coffee. I woke the kids up at 6:45 and they got dressed and made themselves breakfast (I have a soapbox speech about the kids making their own meals sometimes if you ever want to hear it….nah, you probably don’t).

Our friend Sara came over at 7:45 and we headed to a women’s conference at Eagle Creek in Lee’s Summit. My SIL and BIL and cousins attend there and Sara’s sis is the youth pastor. Josh dropped she and I off at 9 and took the 4 kids to our fam’s house for a cousin playdate.


I sent Josh a selfie and instantly regretted it because CRAZY EYES.


I got to talk to the youth girls about God’s embarrassing, absurd, relentless love for them. What a privilege.


Around 11 Josh sent a picture as proof Abi was still happy.


After the conference was over around 11:45 we left with my sweet SIL Natalie and headed to David’s office – Cornerstone Dermatology (go see him! He’s the best!) – where he and Josh were hanging some new artwork.


We made a Starbucks run, totally for me, but we shared and brought the kiddos vanilla steamers. We headed home around 1:15 because Jack the pup needed to be let out to pee….: )


Ruth and I snuck away to Josh and I’s bedroom to watch Harry Potter 4 and we cried when Cedric died. Then we talked about how Heaven is the sweetest promise and how thankful we are that Jesus took the sting out of death for us. We are always trying to find one-on-one time with each kid and man is it hard to carve out but its so special when it happens.

Dinner was a hodge podge of chips, carrots, sandwiches and yogurt tubes and I threw it together while the kids whined because the movie took too long.


Not much to say here except crazy hair girl needed a bath.


I started feeling reeeeaaaallllll tired but it was only 6:45 so I tried to decide if I wanted wine or coffee to make it a few more hours. Wine won. But I didn’t have any….so…..


At 7, while Josh got down the littles, I ran out with Lydia to get supplies for her 100 day of school project and WINE.

Home by 8. Enjoyed the much worked for drink and headed to bed – Josh was already asleep! LOL. Dude, the days are long around here.

Sunday February 3, 2019

Woke up Sunday morning around 7 to find that Lydia had already completed her project. Girl is going to run the world some day because she hits the ground running before 6 daily.


Josh headed to the gym at 8 and I opened the amazon package that was supposed to be Abi’s valentine present…but let’s be honest…it was more for me than for her….Ladies and Gents, I present to you, bell bottom striped overalls.


Church at 10:30. Always so good for my soul to be with family. Let out at 12 and I begged Josh for a cheeseburger.



Made the cutie booty kiddos smile in the parking lot. I ADORE THESE SWEET ONES!!!!!!


Headed home and decided to clean the garage a bit because the weather was so nice.  But fed Abs a bottle and she wanted to snuggle. Josh sent me a text from the garage “Where are you???” I sent him back this with the shoulder shrug emoji…..

Finally joined Josh and helped out. Kids played with neighbors. Came inside at 2:30 and put Abs down for a nap and the kids helped me make cookies and fruit with dip so we could feed students later and share with friends.


3:50, loaded up family 30 min late and headed to our friend’s house to play watch the Super Bowl. The game was VERY unexciting so the kids decided we should all surf down the stairs on mattresses for some excitement. Gosh I love these friends and their fun kiddos.

Left before the game was over at 6:20 to make it home in time for Bible Study with some friends from Haskell FCA.


Josh got kiddos showered and put to bed while Ali, Nicole and I read Philippians 1 and talked about what it means to follow Jesus. These girls are GOLD.

They headed home around 10 and Josh and I talked till midnight – thanks to my 7 pm cup of coffee I had lots of energy.

Wow, that weekend went by fast! Ok, off to get Micah from preschool and I guarantee you that my boy is going to beg for a cheeseburger so I need to grab a healthy snack on my way out the door to try and convince him otherwise….Thanks for stopping by!

Things I’m Loving….

A convo I often have with girlfriends is, “What are you loving lately? What new things do I need to know about your life? Or what products do I need to know about?  What shows or songs should I check out?” Every now and then I post a few on the blog to share with friends….

So here is my December 2018 version of things I’m loving….

JP – I really like this hubs of mine. Like a lot. Time alone is really hard for us to come by so at the very top of my list is alone time with him when it happens! 


Everything Harry Potter – It all started back in college when I read the Harry Potter books and fell madly in love like half the other people on planet earth. Then last summer we let our kids watch the first movie and we went to a Harry Potter themed cafe in Greece and they fell madly in love. Now we are making our way through the books while reading aloud to the kids some nights after dinner. So it only made sense that Halloween this year that our whole family would be HP characters. And being the bestie that she is, Stephanie and her kiddos jumped in on the fun in a heartbeat. I think I look through these pics once a week still and smile ear to ear. So you can pretty much guarantee that some of the kids Christmas presents will be Harry Potter themed because I cannot be stopped.


Zennis! – Ruth and I like to sneak away with books to Starbucks because we are both bookworms through and through. A few friends told me that I should check out Zenni Optical when we found out she needed reading glasses. We love them and the price was lower than anywhere else!


Thrifting – In Heaven, I hope my job is buying junk at thrift stores and fixing it up to go in people’s homes. So on Black Friday when there was a half off sale at one of my favorite spots I bought this little house for 1 dollar and turned it into an advent calendar for the kids. It makes me insanely happy. However its December 5 and the amount of screaming and yelling thats happened the last few days to decide which of the three oldest kids gets to move Santa to the next box points to me being an idiot for thinking an advent calendar would be fun for all. (PS if you are ever in Raymore, MO check out the Bargain Barn!) zBXRT6CoQ6KKFKrMNQKBVQDFwuIAQaQ7+SsJO6xX3Mhw

My new Aldi Sweeper – Guys, I bought this thing on a whim at Aldi and Micah fell in love. My boy sweeps all the floors for me multiple times a day and thinks its a blast. And this has been going on for weeks. Now I don’t know how I survived without a cordless sweeper!
Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 2.01.00 PM

Big Sisters- They are the best. When Josh was out of town last week and Abi kept waking up at 5, Lydia took a turn one morning entertaining her without me even asking. She just said that Abi crying made her sad so she hopped in her crib with her. And Ruth takes Micah on all the bike rides lately. Gosh I love these kids and their love for each other. 4z1sNL3uQWi5cva8p+yc5QRH+ZrOQ4Q2ux4tPvzUQGqgTiDdR9sqTVWOaFS0AujQLgWbWT7vZ5R%iAXYh1YDhg3g

Advent!- I love advent. Let every heart prepare Him room. Yes, please. We are having fun with our morning devotionals most mornings and the kids are learning new words like “almighty” (See my last post for a link for free advent ornament download)  IMG_3130

Lastly, just please give me all the paper white and amaryllis bulbs. My paper whites got their first bloom on our first morning of advent and my amaryllis bulb has a tiny green shoot that grows a little every day. If you have any friends that could use a pick-me-up these would be the best ever thoughtful gifts for them. They are inexpensive but beautiful! za7U4XHsR+ysbBv7o9PZsA

Ok what about you, friends? Anything you are loving lately that I need to know about?

Christmas traditions that don’t make me want to pull my hair out…

   I don’t know if you have heard…Christmas is coming! Ha. Its not likely you haven’t noticed. Reminders are everywhere. Stores are lined with all the things and all the parents are listening to our kids tell us all the presents on their Christmas list.

   Friends, I am so here for it! I am a holiday fanatic. I love them all. Any reason to celebrate and I AM IN. I remember years ago when our oldest, Ruth, was a baby and Josh and I had so much fun brainstorming all the ideas for Christmas traditions our family would start.

   As more and more kiddos have joined our family we have tried to stream line our Christmas traditions – we skip the ones that don’t have sentimental or significant meaning to us and we go big on the ones that do! I know this looks different for everyone, so I thought I would share our family’s favorite Christmas traditions:



Advent is the season of four weeks leading up to Christmas that Christians in some denominations celebrate the coming of King Jesus. I love celebrating Advent with my kids because it builds anticipation and gives us extra time to linger in the miracle of our savior putting on flesh and coming to save us. I created these advent ornaments with different names of Jesus and verses from the Bible for our kids. You can download them for free and print them to use too if you want! Just click here. We read the verse, pray, and color the picture before breakfast each morning in December. Watching our kids prepare room in their own hearts, seeing them sit in the wonder of our King coming to dwell among us is the most special part about the whole season to me.

  1. IMG_1485IMG_1162




We do 4 Christmas presents for each of our kids. Something you need, something to read, something you want, and something to wear. Our kids know what to expect and it helps my husband and I stay grounded and not go overboard. We try to reach into this and teach our kids a lesson each year so we always sit down as a family an talk about how we don’t have any actual NEEDS the way that most of the people around the world do. We have food, shelter, and clothing and so many people don’t. So for the last 3 years our kids when given the option have opted out of their “need” present and we have picked a cause as a family to donate money to instead. One place our kids love to give to is: https://www.chinaorphans.org

  1. IMG_1527IMG_1539

Santa/St. Nicholas

We have always told our kids that Santa is SO fun to pretend. Just like Mickey Mouse and Barbie. We love Santa – he’s so fun! We’ve just chosen to tell them he isn’t real. But we do tell them about St. Nicholas. We watch the veggie tales movie about him and read stories about him. Tradition tells of St. Nicholas leaving gold coins in stockings of people in need. So Santa doesn’t leave any presents under our tree but our kids get gold chocolate coins in their stocking every year. I am confident in our choices here but it has made for an awkward moment or two when well meaning older people stopped toddler Lydia in the store and said, “what do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas little girl?” To which she would joyfully yell, “Santa is dead!” UGH we had follow up convos about keeping that to ourselves… But they still love to use their imagination so here they are last year sleeping by the tree waiting for Santa to come on Christmas Eve.


White Christmas

It’s pretty simple. Just our family favorite Christmas movie. So we always watch it the day or two before Christmas. Its. Just. So. Good.  (We also LOVE the cartoon Prep and Landing and always have a movie night with our besties to watch it over Christmas break)


Lawrence Old Fashioned Christmas Parade

We live in Lawrence and every year there is an old fashioned Christmas Parade with beautiful horses on Mass St. Its this coming Saturday and we will be there! It is the most hallmark-movie-like thing you will ever see. We love it and we have fun memories of going as a family every year. Ps. the horse poop stinks as bad as you think it would.


Hot Chocolate Christmas Light Rides

Probably 3 times during December my husband and I will surprise the kids once they are in their jammies and ready for bed with a surprise thermos of hot chocolate and loading in the van for a cruise around our town looking for all the decorated houses. The kids get SO excited. We belt out Christmas carols and ohhh and aww over all the lights.

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

Maybe one day when our kids are older, more sophisticated, and less…well…clumsy we will graduate to making our own cookies but until then, we use Graham crackers, store bought icing, and candy and go to town making our own gingerbread houses. The kids love it and we do too! Here’s a link to instructions if you need them!


A Feast For the King

Heaven is going to be the best celebration ever. And we feel like any time we get the smallest taste of Heaven here on earth, it surely delights God. So we want to celebrate Jesus’ birthday up big time. On Christmas Eve we prepare a whole spread of appetizers – tons of them – and we get all dressed up set up a fancy table to eat. We play Christmas music and light candles and feast with joy knowing that our Redeemer has come. After church we break out the karaoke machine and sparkling cider and keep the party going. (Plus we have found that leftovers on Christmas are our jam!)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0461IMG_1504IMG_7360IMG_1514Mom & Dad Devos

Advent is such a precious time tuck away with God – Bible in hand – to remember and process that I was once lost and alone and now I am found and kept safe in all of His promises. Here a few resources Josh and I love for our daily advent time: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus Devotional, Greatest Gift Book, & Come Let Us Adore Him.


Ok so this year, we are trying something new. We exchanged names as a family to fill each others stockings. We wanted our kids to get in on the big picture of ‘its better to give than to receive’. Each kid will get a private night out of shopping with mom or dad and 15 dollars to fill a stocking with. Lydia has Ruth, Ruth has Mom, Mom has Micah, Micah has Dad, Dad has Lydia – and Abi is totally getting a stocking full of baby food because she will be pumped. I will let you know how it goes – might be a new family favorite or might go downhill fast!

So, if you are on the hunt for ways to celebrate our coming King or you are going nuts trying to figure out what your yes’ will be this year – maybe some of our favorites will be a good fit for you. But I am sure others won’t! Thats ok! And please share the wealth… leave a comment and let me know what your favorite traditions are too!christmascard2017

When life stinks a little…(or a lot)

As the kids and I drove home from a late night Target trip for baby formula, I rolled down my window and felt for the first time this season, the crisp autumn breeze that will carry winter in on its tail. I loved it and hated it at the same time. I love fall and all the things that come with it. Sweet September has been a month full treasures for our family. But winter is coming and knowing that the darkness will be thick makes me want to curl up in bed and hibernate.

I’ve been reminded this week that there is no sure foundation for me outside of the Gospel. Maybe with the change of seasons, a new unknown, God brings a reminder of what I can count on. When I try to find security, identity, or peace in my performance, my possessions, or my relationships, I wind up feeling homeless. But when I make myself at home in the good news of the Gospel, I can rest with a full heart.

Thursday morning I read a Proverb, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” (14:4)  And scribbled next to the tiny font was a note I had jotted down years ago, “The Gospel thrives in the messiness of my life.”

My girlfriends and I met for coffee later that morning and shared our messes. I’m so thankful for them. We are all juggling ALL the things. We talked about kids with anxiety and husbands we love who drive us a little crazy (and being married to us  isn’t exactly a walk in the park – ha!). We talked about houses and cars and jobs. We talked about being tired and overwhelmed and confused. The proverb I had read that morning was swirling through my brain.IJeUEkq5Q2S5VMdDH90zlA

Oxen or cattle basically stink. They are messy and smell like literal sh**. Frankly, there are some things in my life right now that smell exactly the same. Broken cars, hard parenting, sleepless nights, anxious thoughts, empty bank accounts, and the list goes on.  To be honest, I spend a lot of time praying that they would all get better, easier, lighter.

But with a strong ox, comes a large harvest.

I’m being reminded that I need the mess. It’s a must. A mandate. I don’t even think God calls it a mess. I think He just calls it life lived well. It doesn’t stress him out or exhaust him. He isn’t plugging his nose wishing it would get cleaned up.

In the mess of the stable, two thousand years ago, in the midst of the sh**, is where He chose to arrive on the scene. He clearly isn’t offended by it.

The Good News that I am loved dearly by God, spoken for by the precious blood of His Son, and set free to live in his tenderness meets me and keeps me in the mess. The Gospel is where I am truly at home. Dirty dishes piled on my counter, utter mom fails, harsh words, a muffin top that won’t go away, and some really abrasive words and thoughts, they are all safe and sound wrapped up in the loving arms of Abba, who is so busy loving me that He doesn’t have time to be disappointed I can’t clean up my mess.

When my Bitty wrote me a story this morning, all of her ‘S’s were backwards. I wasn’t annoyed or disappointed in her lack of perfect penmanship, I was delighted by all of her. I have a million backwards ‘S’s in my life right now and I bet you do too. I just wanted to invite you this morning, to quit trying to fix them all. And quit trying to sweep your mess under the rug! Right here, this is where the Gospel is alive and well. This is where the love of God meets us and keeps us. This is where we can cozy up to God and tell Him all the things and ask Him all the questions. No need to clean it up or make it Pinterest perfect. No need to hustle or hoard. Just rest here. Or come over and rest with me in my mess if you would rather! As long as you don’t mind the smell of my mess, I promise I won’t mind the smell of yours either.

And as always, here are a few pictures of life lately….thanks for stopping by!






Back to School

After a whirlwind July & August, all of a sudden school is back in session and I can’t believe how quickly my kids are growing up.

IMG_2015The first to go back to school was our BIG BOY. He was SO excited. He loves learning! And we are so thrilled to be back at our beloved preschool after a year off last year. His sweet teachers have known him since he was 2 days old. I have a feeling he is going to be loved on BIG time this year.
IMG_2017Micah’s teacher sent me a picture on his first day just to calm my worries and show me how happy my baby-errrr- big boy was.
IMG_2049Next up, KU is back in session. Our littles wanted to go with us to Union Fest to tell all the new freshman that they can be a part of Cru!
IMG_2039Our crazy clan. 5jZmFZtLR42Ufd+clGAMYQSome back to school shopping with our Burgess fr-amily. 194Wu%+2QrOuf8p4HZnFmALydia and Baya have BFF necklaces and it makes my heart want to explode. IMG_2076Abi and I got to go to Haskell with Dad and invite students to FCA. IMG_2077Abi thinks Daddy is just about the greatest.IMG_2086And yesterday my big girls started 1st and 3rd grade. I didn’t have time to cry because it was a mess of a morning! I didn’t buy back to school lunch stuff. Lost water bottles. Their new skirts were WAY too big and falling off. Closed toed shoes are all thats allowed at school but they were all too small… oh well. The chaos kept my tears away! And none of it mattered much anyways. They were thrilled to be back. IMG_2085Ruth preferred a picture outside and requested no hugs or kisses in front of friends. I begrudgingly obliged because she is sweet as can be. IMG_2087Bitty was so so so excited to get back to her girlfriends. She came home talking a million miles a minute and telling us ALL the stories. IMG_2091They gave me lots of snuggles yesterday after school and I was really happy about it. IMG_1880And now I get two whole mornings a week alone with this precious chunk and I am so thrilled. Today we celebrated by going to her 8 month check up and now she is snoozing after a booster shot. Post shot naps are the BEST because they are always extra long. So this Mama is munching on some granola, catching up on work emails, and updating the blog while Micah watches some after school tv.

I hope everyone else has had a great time getting back into the swing of school! Thanks for stopping by to read about our four favorite kiddos!