The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is here!

Dear Fellow Homemaker,

When I was a little girl, I dreamed about getting married, becoming a mommy, and having my own home.

As real life happened, it’s not quite what I thought it would be:

…laundry, diapers, and never-ending meal prep… a shoestring budget, gritty floors, soap scum, and the stain that won’t come out of my son’s favorite shirt… holiday stress, and teaching him to read… a husband who works long hours, watching kiddos not feeling well… and a secret dream to run my own little business from home.

And that’s why Erin and Stephanie created the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… because as rewarding as it is, homemaking is hard work and it doesn’t always come easily.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

To help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker – help, inspiration, tips, encouragement, resources at your fingertips…

… the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is just for you.

It is a complete library of carefully selected eBooks, eCourses, audios, online conferences, and printable packs designed to help you turn your house into a home… without all the overwhelm.

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

The first step in putting together this collection was to find the critical homemaking skills that you need to transform your house into a home.

Here they are:

  • Cleaning… create a healthy, toxin-free home
  • DIY/Homemade… fun and frugal ways to express your personal style
  • Devotionals and Faith… take a break from the daily grind to renew yourself
  • Finances… build a budget that works
  • Cooking & Meal Planning… serve easier, tastier meals in less time
  • Holidays & Special Events… brighten up old family traditions and create new
  • Homeschooling… homeschool with grace and ease
  • Marriage… heat up your marriage
  • Motherhood… find peace, balance & joy in mothering
  • Organizing… conquer the clutter and simplify your life
  • Pregnancy & Babies… enjoy a healthy pregnancy and prepare to nurture your baby
  • Health & Wellness… soothe aches & pains with natural remedies
  • Working from Home… hone your talents, live your passions and earn money to help your family

… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

Are there too many books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever taken your family out for a buffet dinner… and then been disappointed when you couldn’t eat every single morsel on display?

Of course not!

Sure. There’s that first, breath-taking moment when you see and hear and smell the amazing meal spread before you… and you think, “Where will I even start?”

But that’s the thing… because you do start… with something.

Maybe it’s a tender flaky biscuit, or a piece of delicious roast beef, or maybe you’re like me and start with a piece of pie (mmm, blueberry or apple with whipped cream)?

So relax, enjoy, and start anywhere you like. Come back to the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle “buffet” as many times as you like. It’s all here for you.

Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle worth it?

In a word… yes!

To be absolutely certain, Erin and Stephanie asked questions, tried techniques and just about drove themselves crazy making sure that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle was the very best homemaking resource anywhere.

They dug through hundreds of websites and connected with dozens of authors and teachers.

And then we all worked together to make these resources the most affordable possible.

And They Were Delighted to Help…

The result? This collection is a fraction of the price of what someone would pay for each resource individually!

For a short time, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… a complete library of:

  • 76 eBooks
  • 6 eCourses
  • 1 audio download
  • 2 online conferences, and
  • 14 printable packs

…99 carefully selected resources designed to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships… is only $29.97. (A total value of $984.74.)

That breaks down to 30 cents per book!

Your 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason, you decide that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is not for you, then please send an email to and we will refund 100% of your investment. No questions asked.

**Don’t Forget the Bonuses!**

Of course, no Ultimate Homemaking Bundle would be complete without the generous, inspiring gifts donated by companies that understand homemakers like you. Every gift is yours to keep and enjoy.

  • Choose 1 FREE Online Class from Craftsy (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – Up to $60 Value)
  • 1 FREE Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 Value)
  • FREE $15 Credit to Hope Ink PLUS 2 FREE 8×10 Art Prints ($71 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day “Good Deal” Subscription to She Plans Dinner ($15 Value)
  • Choose 1 FREE Stylish Spring Scarf from Deborah & Co. ($20 Value)
  • FREE $80 Healthy Moving Class Credit ($80 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt ($30 Value)
  • FREE 65 Tyndale Rewards Points to Be Used for a FREE Book or Towards Any Book of Your Choice ($15 Value)

Now It’s Your Turn

Laura Ingalls Wilder said it well…

Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women’s work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization.

The proven, simple, and effective skills you need to transform your house into a home are all waiting for you in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

This is your chance to get love, support, guidance and inspiration you need to nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker.

But time is running out! The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.

After that, the shopping cart closes and the deeply discounted price is gone.

Act now!

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Best wishes and happy homemaking!

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

As a promoter of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, I receive a percentage of each sale through my links. You are by no means obligated to purchase through them, though if you choose to do so, it will support the time and effort I’ve put into the upkeep of Renown and Crowned. Remember my disclosure policy. Thank you!

Living Set Apart

Not too long ago, I asked friends on my personal Facebook page for recommendations of books to read on prayer. I sense this is a season of life where learning and growing in prayer will produce much needed fruit in my walk with Christ.
And then I had the opportunity to receive a pre-release copy of The Set-Apart Woman for review. This book doesn’t focus on prayer, but on removing distractions… on “coming away with” Christ and prioritizing our relationship with Him rather than hoping we can find the time to pray, read God’s Word, or just plain worship.

Many of us are happy to sing songs about Christ, write about Him, and talk about Him to other believers, but often when the true test of loyalty comes, we choose personal comfort over radical abandon to Him.  (p. 13)

I worked through this book slowly, trying to take just one chapter at a time and then utilize the personal study and reflection questions as journal prompts. Do I have holy discontent for mediocre Christianity? Am I willing to embrace godly discipline in order to make my prayer life a priority? Have I been settling for counterfeit peace and joy? One of the great things about these questions (which I typically skip in most books I read, by the way) is Leslie doesn’t just ask you yes or no questions; she follows each one up with an application question, a “how will I change to make this happen?” or “what will I do differently as a result?”

As you consider what it means to be set apart for Christ, you must examine your life in light of a crucial question: Are you standing in the vicinity of the Cross, or are you clinging to it?  (p. 25)

Leslie addresses distractions to living a set-apart life, including apathy, temporal distraction, drama/gossip, idolatry, and anxiety. What would a set-apart look like? Opposite of those things: passion, true satisfaction, a quiet spirit, faithfulness, and confidence, respectively. The Scripture she uses throughout this book encouraged me, knowing she did not rip it out of context to prove a point and she even directed my attention to verses I might not have applied to her point. She also frequently quotes “heroes of the faith,” such as Amy Carmichael and Leonard Ravenhill. Quotes worth contemplating.

Legalism oppresses, but true set-apartness liberates. Legalism chokes life, but true set-apartness gives life. Legalism is based upon self-effort, but true set-apartness is based upon the supernatural enabling grace of God. Legalism is based upon rules, but true set-apartness is based upon a relationship with the King of all kings.  (p. 32)

It’s true that this set-apart life will look crazy to those around us. You might even call me a little extreme if I adopt even half of Leslie’s suggestions. But I carry a deep longing to know Christ on a deeper level than I ever have — even in the midst of changing diapers, cleaning up spills, and reading picture books. The call to set-apart living isn’t a call to live in a monastery; it’s an act of surrender. Those times when I say I need to “veg” after a long day — those are the times Christ invites me to find pleasure in Him first. Those times I just want to scroll and scroll and scroll on Facebook rather than try to focus on reading Scripture — those are the times I desperately need the discipline of seeking first His kingdom. And I found this book encouraging in such an endeavor.

God has promised that when we build our lives around His priorities, He will make sure all our needs are taken care of. But most of us are not willing to allow this principle to be proven true in our lives.  (p. 66)

Much like the book Wrestling Prayer  that Leslie wrote with her husband Eric, I need to place this book on the Yearly Re-read shelf. I need to periodically remember the call to come away with Christ and be enamored with Him in the midst of daily living, because it’s so easy to forget. Would I recommend this book? Yes. 5 stars all the way. But be prepared to be challenged in an uncomfortable way. The best kind of discomfort — for God’s glory.

I received this book for free via Tyndale House Publishers for this review. The perspectives above, not including direct quotes from the book, are entirely mine. This post does include affiliate links; read our disclosure policy here.

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then once a month in 2015, join me as we revel –together– in His mercies! If you have a blog, I’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies since January 2014: 2033. Take a look at this week’s list:
1889. Trooper sleeping {mostly} well last night
1890. 25 lbs. of {local!} whole wheat flour for $9.95
1891. finally getting back to the library after an extended absence
1892. bedtime giggles and smiles
1893. Neil coming to our house
1894. discipling practice for Pilot
1895. a text from a friend after I’d almost given up
1896. a 2 hour phone conversation with my sister
1897. reading God’s Word in my language
1898. encouraging a new mom not to be overwhelmed
1899. belly laughter before bedtime
1900. watching Buddy make connections and retell what he heard in
Little House on the Prairie
1901. a 2 hour 48 minute conversation with Mom
1902. a week well lived
1903. licking the bowl with Buddy after pumpkin muffins
1904. a surprise at the library — an indoor petting zoo!
1905. Mommy and Buddy time
1906. figuring out what caused Trooper’s sleep relapses/regressions — TEETH!
1907. Buddy skyping my parents
1908. Pilot getting together with the BFG guys
1909. A friend as answered prayer
1910. a free book and $10 to Family Christian
1911. leaving for church on time without losing our minds
1912. interpreting the sermon with an up-and-coming interpreter {just for practice}
1913. remembering why I love interpreting so much
1914. Pilot’s sacrificial care, even when he isn’t feeling well
1915. A friend. The privilege of walking beside her through the days of early motherhood
1916. Pilot, Buddy, and Trooper going to sleep at 7 pm
1917. scheduling the next 4 posts!
1918. Pilot waking with Buddy and allowing me time to plan
1919. Pilot cooking omelets for breakfast
1920. a beautiful day
1921. iron sharpening iron
1922. blessing others
1923. Pilot arriving home at 11 pm last night and getting 8 hours of sleep
1924. agreement about going to look at cars an hour and a half away
1925. prayer on the way there
1926. that Buddy threw up inside the restaurant rather than inside the car
1927. agreement to NOT buy the ’99 Malibu with 126k miles
1928. a ’99 Toyota Camry with 195k miles on it for our exact budgeted amount — including taxes and title!
1929. purchasing the car outright before our other car died
1930. an unprayed hope — that we would be able to buy a Toyota next — answered by a God who is not weak
1931. 5 months of getting to know Trooper even better
1932. an “easy” teething experience
1933. being forced to slow down and be Tylenol in human form
1934. Melissa and her little guy coming to visit
1935. significant quality time together
1936. Buddy doing his verses and sparking a vision for Melissa
1937. going to bed early so Trooper would sleep
1938. talking to Mom for 2 1/2 hours
1939. Buddy requesting to “please get some louds out!” (by going outside rather than yelling inside)
1940. discovering time available for reading Scripture
1941. getting two letters written
1942. a $3 discount on Trooper’s probiotics (plus FREE shipping)
1943. Pilot: “What’s your favorite letter?” Buddy: “B-U-D-D-Y. That spells Buddy!” *pulls up right hand and fingerspells his name with no help*
1944. the opportunity to bless a mama who just found out her son is allergic to corn, oats, milk, and eggs… with sourdough bread!
1945. an unexpected $6 refund
1946. giggle gasps from Trooper
1947. helping Buddy draw his letter in sugar
1948. Trooper going to sleep at 6 so I could spend 1-on-1 time with Buddy, reading books on his bed
1949. 8 1/2 lbs of ham for $1.69/lb
1950. 2 hours with an out-of-state friend who was visiting for her baby shower
1951. Pilot keeping Buddy and doing supper and bath time with him
1952. bringing home Truffula tree cupcakes = one excited little boy
1953. Trooper listening intently as Pilot read 
The Lorax
1954. leaving just a couple minutes late {after having to do laundry}
1955. arriving on time
1956. Pilot bringing me bread and juice from the Lord’s Supper {since I was in the cry room}
1957. hearing ALL of the sermon, taking notes for some
1958. a Sunday evening walk to Rally’s for ice cream
1959. Buddy’s excitement to go to the airport to watch Daddy fly
1960. winds being too strong, so more time with Pilot
1961. Pilot taking Buddy to the park for an hour while I worked on laundry diligently til Trooper got hungry
1962. a productive evening — a blog post written and another submitted
1963. a brownie
1964. a library with trains and puzzles
1965. almost 4 hours at the park with Rachel and her little guy
1966. 5 baby moles released to live {and an eager 2 year old to count them}
1967. time to read and write
1968. energy to get up with Buddy
1969. realization of the abundant grace I’ve been given — and the opportunity to extend it to Pilot after he pulled a stupid
1970. fabric at Hobby Lobby for 1/2 off for the wedding we are attending this summer
1971. an impromptu family photo in front of the Seneca (airplane), courtesy of Pilot’s instructor
1972. a beautiful day for Pilot’s first front seat flight
1973. “one day at a time” perspective
1974. the joy of a boy given his-size scissors and paper to cut
1975. reading
Farmer Boy over breakfast
1976. scrapping our other car — and the MANY memories in it
1977. hearing a voice eagerly repeat the books of the Bible — for the love of learning
1978. the God-given ability to soothe Trooper’s bumps, even if only for a time
1979. a Groupon toward a new pair of glasses for Pilot
1980. using my Family Christian appreciation certificate toward the thinline ESV Pilot wanted
1981. a craft activity at the library that Buddy enjoyed
1982. praying for others
1983. tidying up the house in the morning for a restful evening and Resurrection Sunday
1984. Buddy’s insistence on helping make pancakes for breakfast
1985. Pilot awaking quickly as I needed his help
1986. Buddy allowing us to care for his finger
1987. a package from Grandma and Buddy’s excitement over the enclosed Hot Wheels car
1988. surviving worship with Trooper in cloth diapers
1989. an excellent spiritual conversation with Pilot about Numbers 30
1990. Buddy asking me to hold him as I put him to bed
1991. Resurrection Sunday
1992. Carcassone before bedtime
1993. 2 bars of Kyya Chocolate in my mailbox
1994. free chocolate and 2% milk from Meijer + 9 lbs of apples for $2.84
1995. Buddy retelling the sermon illustration from yesterday
1996. an eager cloth diaper folder
1997. Nana’s Easter package was able to be delivered — and Buddy thanking God for Nana’s gifts
1998. Pilot taking both boys so I could order free prints from Shutterfly
1999. gospel conversation during Buddy and Trooper’s first tornado warning
2000. the storm didn’t hit our town other than hail
2001. still having time to read after getting the boys to sleep
2002. new libraries to explore
2003. free frosted lemonade from ChickfilA

2004. Pilot’s new glasses
2005. effectual prayer {from a friend} for supernatural sustaining after a long day with no naptime
2006. good conversation with another mom from our BFG
2007. having guests {and the incentive for intense cleaning}
2008. sharing my training with an up-and-coming interpreter
2009. refried beans when I’m tired
2010. getting Trooper to sleep
2011. Buddy coming to our room at 5:30am (with storms) because it’s a safe place
2012. Buddy opting to go back to his bed to sleep when he was done watching the rain {rather than climbing in with us}
2013. a healthy 22 lb. Trooper
2014. an afternoon to snuggle
2015. cheerful smiles beckoning Momma, “Please pick me up!”
2016. a short conversation with Mom after missing our typical time for chat due to busyness
2017. a challenge to live simply {24/7 cloth for 14 days. Day 6!}
2018. not failing in cutting Pilot’s hair
2019. discovering a new back road to avoid interstate traffic
2020. Buddy’s excitement to play he piano and read a book with Mr. Nathan
2021. finding yet ANOTHER common ground with my friend
2022. a friend + a book to read together = community
waking up in the middle of the night {for Trooper} and finding my phone dead – before it was needed to wake us for worship
2024. packing almost enough diapers to last all day
2025. the price of Aldi sausage going down to $1.99/lb
2026. angels surrounding the car when I should’ve been in a wreck
2027. time to sleep in {8:30} since Pilot got up with Buddy
2028. getting sourdough started early enough to have it for lunch
2029. restocking our fridge/pantry
2030. free Cashewmilk and chocolate milk + reduced bananas
2031. grocery shopping solo
2032. safety
2033. that love is a choice, an act of the will

Do you tweet? Keep up with what’s going on and join in the fun with the hashtag #neweverymorning!
Sarah Jo at Paper-Bark Burch publishes her mercy recounting each Thursday, so be sure to check her posts. Oh, and please leave your link in the comments!

Mile Markers

image courtesy lumix2004 via

What is your favorite Scripture verse?  This question was recently posed on Facebook. I’m sure for many people there is one particular verse that stands out among the rest. I saw many familiar ones listed by others who answered… but I struggled with my own answer.

I have an overarching life verse, but I have also discovered that my “favorite” Scripture verse varies with whatever season I’m going through. Since I don’t know which to pick as my favorite, I’ll elaborate on the variety below:

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  Acts 20:24

I chose this as my life verse in high school, and I love how timeless it is. Regardless of where my feet are, my ministry is the same — to “testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name. 
1 Chron. 29:11-13

Pilot picked up this one, and we memorized it together. This is the first lengthy Scripture filled with praise and specific attributes of God that I can recall memorizing. We taught Buddy with signs. In my mind’s eye, I can still see him signing “glorious name.”

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
  Psalm 27:13

Our time in the NICU was rough, but this verse continued to speak Hope to me each day. I have referenced it often since then, especially when we are staring head-on at an immovable life obstacle. God is good!

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

My favorite promise growing up. I initially applied it to the wait for a mate, but it has been applicable to other times as well, like trusting God to grow our family.

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

Accomplish. Purpose.  This verse beckons me to rise above the tedious daily living and trust Him to fulfill His promises. I see His Word “not returning void” on a daily basis with Buddy, and the verse reminds me to not cower or let go of those happenings but to store up and treasure them.

Take some time and reflect. Do you have a favorite verse/passage? Mile-marker verses that remind you of seasons God brought you through? Share it in the comments!

Our Kids are Assets

Look at the word blessing  on, and you will find three categories of synonyms: 1) sanctification, 2) good wishes/approval, and 3) advantage.

Sanctification, "approval," advantage -- all of these are aspects of a blessing. Children are no exception.Do we view our children as “blessings” in this way? It’s incredibly easy to quote the “children are a blessing” mantra as if it’s a cliche… a phrase used so many times the original meaning becomes muddled. We no longer think about the definition of the words we use. Til now.

See how these read differently:
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. [Being sanctified] is the man who fills his quiver with them!

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. [Proven] is the man who fills his quiver with them!

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. [Given great advantage] is the man who fills his quiver with them!  (Psalm 127:4-5a)

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Kids break things. They are loud. They make and perpetuate messes. They scream. How on earth is this a part of the sanctification process? How do we see this as an “advantage” when, at best, the world says it is an inconvenience?

Children are a blessing. But what does that mean?Step one foot into parenthood, and it becomes clear how God uses it to sanctify us — to distinguish us for His purpose and His glory. It’s not easy, and it’s impossible in our own strength. We can “do our best” and still come up short. But God didn’t bestow these blessings as a way for us to display how perfect we already are; He uses them as an instrument in the perfecting process, if we allow Him to.

Parenting reveals character. It flings the closet doors wide, shining a light on every flaw we never knew existed. We must reconcile the person we currently are and the person we wish to become. Transformation is an ongoing renewal of our mind to align with Christ.

Our children are assets. In God’s grand design, children provide an in-home opportunity for us to declare His mighty works to the next generation. Their faith oozes complete trust, confident reliance in the Authority of Heaven. They can help in practical ways around the house as they get older, and they can care for us in our old age (see 1 Tim. 5).

The raising of children requires resources — time, money, energy, sleep (or the lack thereof), but this investment has eternal ramifications. Dividends that could influence the next generation and the generation thereafter. Training them is the beginning of a multi-generational legacy. Will you leave a legacy of assets?


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

*Note: I am not looking at the root of the original Hebrew in this post. I am looking at the words in our language, English, and words that we might choose to clarify or specify an intended meaning.

Our Kids are Investments

Our kids are investments... with great dividends.Sometimes I think I’ve been around Scripture so long I lose my intrigue. I take familiar verses for granted, studying the rest of His Word eagerly in the hopes that something new will jump out. But in actuality, I desperately need new eyes to see old verses.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127

Scripture talks about children positively. They are a blessing, fruit, a reward. They are weapons in the hand of a warrior. When my view lines up rightly with God’s Truth, I train my children accordingly.

Since he was little, Buddy has been aiding us with whatever part of a job we can divvy up for him. He loves working alongside us. We plan to encourage Trooper to join the tasks as well.

This is all fine and dandy, except I am not consistent in aligning my view with Scripture. Throughout the day I glimpse the wonders of this blessing. The days that I see how he hinders me accomplishing tasks quickly, though… these are the days that my frustration level remains high and you can hear it in my voice, see it in my body language.

Our kids are investments... with great dividends.As I reflected in this, I asked the LORD to uncover negative thought patterns. Set apart my thoughts for His glory, and show me how I need to think differently. Such exercise presented difficulty for me. Difficulty of the refining quality.

The God who ordered the universe from the very first moment of creation knew that I would have this season of littles running around (or jumping. Buddy loves to jump.). He knew that it would take much more of my time to train my sons to help than if I just did it myself. And He knew that I  would need to slow down.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiates 3:1

He doesn’t call me to be everything He has planned for me in this very moment.  Over the span of my life, I will have opportunity to fulfill the unique part He has given me in His story. It’s okay if I only accomplish two loads of laundry in a given day because Buddy needs to learn how to fold. It’s okay if lunch takes a little longer to prepare or looks a little sloppy because his fine motor skills haven’t fully developed yet. It’s okay if bedtime is delayed by 15 minutes as we pick up the toys.

He loves to help. He wants to be a part of what we are doing. Sometimes it takes me an extra minute or two to figure out how he can help, but those extra minutes are cultivating a servant heart in my son. He has a place in our family; God knew we needed him to be our firstborn.

I look at other families with older children and remind myself that in 2-3 short years, Buddy will probably be loading the dishwasher by himself. (He already helps load and unload the silverware and bottom rack, puts the soap and rinse aid in, and presses the buttons to start it.) He may very well be in charge of Sunday morning scrambled eggs by that time {with supervision for safety, of course}. The time I invest in training him now is just that… an investment. An investment that will have dividends.

Ministry Spotlight: Pioneer Bible Translators


April's Ministry Spotlight over at Renown & Crowned.that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures… 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

I have access to that Truth. I own multiple copies of God’s Word, in various translations and formats. I know what Christ has done for the Father and for me. But not everyone does.

This month we remember and celebrate the victory accomplished through the Suffering Servant. And as we sit in our homes, go to our places of worship… there are hundreds of thousands of people living without the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? (Rom. 10:14)

One of my dad’s friends is a missionary with Pioneer Bible Translators. He asked my dad to help with some Bible study questions and editing for a project in the book of Acts a couple years ago, and my dad asked him if I could help. Back in my interpreting days, I had considered working with Wycliffe, so this opportunity to assist was right up my alley. Watching God work through this ministry has been fascinating, and it reinforces to me the power of God’s written Word in changing lives.

Pioneer Bible Translators “bridges the gap between the church and the Bibleless peoples around the world.” Beginning in the 1970s as somewhat of a cross between Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Church Growth movement, their mission is “to disciple the Bibleless, mobilizing God’s people to provide enduring access to God’s Word ” with a vision of “transformed lives through God’s Word in every language.” Their primary strategy? Prayer.

PBT doesn’t just translate God’s Word and leave it in the hopes that the people group in need will just happen to utilize it. They develop sustainable literacy programs and encourage any local churches in the area to depend more heavily on God’s Word. Church planting or church growth go hand in hand with Bible translation; why go to all the effort of translating if you aren’t preparing the people to use this Excellent Resource?

So, how can you get involved? Pray. Pioneer has set an audacious goal of “starting and finishing 250 projects by 2050.” Each project fills one of three gaps PBT has pinpointed in their Bible translation efforts. It seems audacious from our perspective, but God is in the business of doing what we think impossible. For His glory. Pray.

Give. You can do something a Bible translator can’t. You can fund a verse of Scripture for $38. Do that monthly, and you’ve funded 12 verses a year. This could be a great summer project for older kids to fund, or a VBS group could aim high and see how many verses they could sponsor collectively.

Go. While they do need translators, PBT has a variety of needs — from teachers of missionary kids to web system administrators to life coaches. There is an application process, and this is not an organization you do 2 week/short term missions with. But maybe this is how you fit into the big story of God’s glory.

We can’t ignore the fact that we have a TON of Scripture resources available in English. There are people who have nothing in their own language. Pioneer Bible Translators aims to solve this dilemma by equipping and sending workers into the harvest field.

How will you get involved?

It Is My Joy

It is my joy. Because of Jesus.Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  Psalm 119:11

I grew up in Bible Drill (throwback! Anyone remember those days?), AWANA, and Bible Study Fellowship. I am fully aware of how important Scripture memory is.

Well, mostly  aware.

In college, when I was no longer a part of these programs, I realized that my walk was missing in-depth memorization of God’s Word. So I challenged myself to memorize the book of Philippians. I memorize best by writing it repeatedly (imagine that…), so I would spend my lunch breaks at my summer job working on it. The progress thrilled me. I couldn’t wait to complete it!

Then something interrupted my motivation. What, exactly, I can’t recall, but I didn’t finish memorizing the book. I lacked one chapter (so close!), but I did memorize 3. And I’ve used those verses multiple times since.

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11

The enemy likes to hold all the verses I haven’t  memorized over my head. “If you were a ‘good’ Christian, a ‘true’ follower…” By getting me to focus on what hasn’t been done, he keeps me discouraged and apprehensive about attempting any more.

Then the Holy Spirit brings to mind a verse that I memorized years ago and haven’t read in many months. With this, He refocuses my attention to the truth that His Word does not, cannot, will not return to Him void but it will accomplish His purposes. It’s not about me, anyway.

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

This verse. It crossed my mind The Holy Spirit brought it to mind as I kneaded some dough last week. I struggled to keep my emotions in check that day, yielding to them far more often than I reined them in. Frustration boiled up and out of me faster than I like to admit. Why could I not just work on the tasks that needed to be done? Why was my attention needed for this-that-or-the-other?

I knew I needed to keep the main thing the main thing. I wanted to. My frustration clouded my view, though. And then, as I rounded the dough into balls, this verse convicted and resonated in the same instant.

Jesus bled and died for me. Scripture tells us He did this willingly, humbly, and sacrificially. More than that though, He looked at the process of satisfying the Father’s wrath, clothing us with His righteousness, and presenting us blameless before the Throne — and He did so with joy.

Grumbling says to God, “I could do a better job if I were You.” Jesus WAS God (and man, at the same time), and He did not  grumble about even one aspect of His situation.

I endure interruptions, unwashed dishes, undone laundry, and unwritten letters. He endured the cross. I gripe about the process and wonder if there is an end. He saw the end and recognized the value of the process.

In my shortsightedness, I take the Cross for granted. I exalt my “suffering” (dare I even venture to call it that?) above the Ultimate Price that was Paid. But the God I serve reached into my self-absorbed pride {for the millionth time} and reminded me that I was the joy He found in the cross.

Those dishes? That laundry? The next interruption to my plan? It is my joy.  Because of Jesus.

{photo courtesy of Rooster Corner}

2015 Goals: March Progress

Goals for 2015: Progress ReportMarch came and went, full of living life and living life to the fullest. Some days were so filled with people and doings that the goals didn’t even cross my mind. Progress in some areas, none in others. Here we go:

Bible: One book per month, plus one chapter in Psalms, corresponding day in Proverbs. I read Isaiah in the month of March. I loved locating familiar passages from songs we sing at church and reading others in context. Book for April: Genesis.

Reading: a book by Elisabeth Elliot. a book on relationships (marriage or parenting). a Christian living book. a business book or a “fun”/miscellaneous book. 4 total per month. Didn’t get an Elisabeth Elliot book accomplish (Oops!) but managed to complete one in each of the other categories. To date, I have finished 16 books with 5 in progress.

Marriage: Weekly love letters. One. Again. I wrote one. Need to up the ante on this one!
Weekly board/card game.  We played Carcassone. And one Sunday (when we typically play), Pilot needed sleep, so he went to sleep right after Buddy did at 7.

Littles: Verses. Buddy has Romans 6:21 and Romans 5:8; he’s working on 2 Corinthians 7:10!
Reading aloud.  We finished Little House on the Prairie  and have had many conversations about things that happened in the book. Now, we’re reading Farmer Boy, and Buddy is really enjoying it.
Develop a chore/”helper” list of tasks for Buddy.  I made a “work list” with 9 pictures for Buddy in February. He thrives with that thing. He doesn’t reference it as often as he used to, but it’s great for redirecting if he’s needing something to do. I am looking at developing a “morning routine” chart for the things he needs to do on a daily basis.
Keep up with Trooper.  So far, so good! He cut both of his bottom teeth at the same time this month, so that week he was a little off. Another bottom and one top tooth are showing, too. He’ll also be mobile in no time — he can turn a circle on his blanket in under 20 minutes, depending on how focused he is.

Writing: Post 3 times a week.  Success!
Journal.  Just write. Accomplished. I journaled about the same as I did in February. Love it.
Gratitude journal.  Still counting!
Work on one major/more intensive writing project.  In the works.

Financial: Pay for Multi-enginepaid!
Officially begin debt snowball (and record progress). Pay off first loan. We purchased a new-to-us car, since our previous one had over 270,000 miles on it and was in need of a few major repairs {totalling more than the value of the car}. That drained our emergency fund, so we need to replenish that. Then we’ll focus on paying off the first loan in one big lump sum, which will probably be around June!

Craft Stash Christmas: No progress made. 2 done (from January), 22 to go. Needing to gather a few more ideas. May might be the month for me to do crunch-time crafts.

How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

{image by ba1969}

The Main Thing

I couldn’t believe it, but I had experienced it. I really did. By the end of the day, laying with my journal wide open, I sat in awe of how distinct the day had been. I read a friend’s post, which challenged my perspective that day. A challenge I needed.

Learning to keep the Main Thing the main thing... after figuring out what the Main Thing is.

I didn’t accomplish the entirety of my to do list. Far from it. I strummed an 8 inch guitar (formerly Mr. Potato Head’s) and sang Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus three times within ten minutes. I conversed with Buddy about Little House on the Prairie and horses. I stared at a full laundry basket, but this time — this time it didn’t intimidate me.

I had talked with Buddy about a couple of songs we would be singing the next Sunday at church. Wasn’t it cool that one of the verses he memorized was what this song was talking about? God’s Word is true! The conversation wouldn’t win awards for eloquence or execution, but I observed Buddy’s enthusiasm. And it excited me.

Several minutes later, I gathered what I needed to pull something together for supper. Buddy really wanted to care for Bear (who has become almost a second baby around our house at times), so I suggested he teach Bear his verses. From the other room, I hear:
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.  Isaiah 45:5-6

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not!
On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.
  Romans 7:7

Why? my heart pondered. Why are my days not filled with this? Why am I distracted by All the Things that need doing when my primary task lays before me, often neglected?

Did I parent perfectly for the rest of the evening? Far from it. But in my imperfection, I possessed a firm realization that when I keep the main thing the main thing, I (and my household) abide in peace.

What is this main thing?

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deut. 6:4-7

In whatever context I previously understood this, my understanding suffered incompletion. I did not wake up and think, “How can I show Buddy and Trooper God’s Ways today?” (And I still don’t on a daily basis.) My complacency satiated the objections I posed, because I was “doing what I could.” But God wanted more.

The call to live radical lives includes the call to radically encourage a love for God in our closest neighbors — those within our own household. For me, that’s a husband and 2 little guys who need to hear God’s Word in conversation, in prayer, in the midst of daily living.

{image by thomaskv}

Gratitude Project Progress

This month I missed a week…or two… and began to wonder who I was going to write and what I would thank them for. It had been a crazy couple of weeks and finding time to write 5 thank you notes each week just didn’t happen.

Progress being made in my 2015 Gratitude Project!Ever feel like that? Like the pace of life portends any reflection, any contemplation of the grace that produces such fullness?  The irony that full days were impeding my ability to locate things and people to be grateful for and to.

But just like last month when I found a few surprises in the list of people I needed to thank, I discovered a few in March as well.

  • The women’s ministry team. They put together an event for ladies on a quarterly basis, and this quarter’s event was a Pinterest party. I was excited to be able to go, because I’ve usually missed previous events due to them being while Pilot works. I went with high hopes of connecting with some of the ladies, hopes that were unrealized, but I still needed to thank them for their planning effort.
  • The teens who provided childcare — on a weeknight, when a few of them probably wished they were attending the party themselves. It dawned on me that if we want to encourage the next generation to be actively serving the Body, then we’d better thank them once in a while.
  • A professor I enjoyed in college. She was passionate about studying linguistics, an area I find intriguing, challenging, and just plain enjoyable. Unfortunately, my classmates didn’t love the class as much as I did. After finishing out the next semester, she moved on. I tracked her to a college in Maryland and wrote her a follow-up, thanking her for how she conducted the class and explaining how I had used the information in the days since.
  • My “Deaf mom.” I haven’t talked to her in over 4 years, and I have a hunch she thinks she wasted her time investing in me. After all, I didn’t become a full-fledged interpreter after college, and I didn’t return to my hometown. I settled into wife and mommy-hood. But I wanted her to know how her influence had shaped me.
  • My parents. I had been learning about what Scripture says about caring for the aging in our midst, and I came to the realization that my perspective is probably significantly different than most. My dad gave up his job as a church planter to move our family back to his old stomping grounds to care for my grandma. It made for a hard 5 years until she went to be with Jesus, but I wouldn’t trade that time with Grandma for the world. My parents didn’t handle every situation perfectly, but they did well.  They lived out the Gospel.

We all want to know that we aren’t wasting our time. When others disagree with us or we endure a difficult circumstance, assurance that this is time well spent is often lacking. And sometimes we even wonder if we made the right choice. Imagine how you might feel if out-of-the-blue someone sent you a thank you note for a choice you made or how you spent your time on a day (or series of days). Your confidence about being where your feet are would skyrocket.

Apparently, that was this month’s (unplanned) aim… to encourage others to keep being where their feet are and living life well. Thanks for listening and keeping me accountable!

How will you encourage someone in your life to be where his/her feet are?