Life Lately in Pics: Field Trip to an Estuary

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Homeschooling has been all consuming this month.(As it should be) I feel like our days have been non-stop and I have been going at 100mph. I love the structure that homeschooling brings to our lives. Not only do the kids need it but I do also. I have been trying my hardest not to rush the kids with school but also set limited times for how long they can spend on a subject. If I didn't they would find ways to waste away the day.

Though I am learning to embrace homeschooling I admit that I really look forward to the end of our school day. I always have all these plans of what I am going to accomplish but the truth is that by the time I finish helping the kids to clean up the school room, do the dishes and put away laundry it's time to start dinner and then I am d o n e.

So if you don't hear from me in awhile you know why. We have been doing some fun unit studies and I hope to be able to squeeze in some time to share more of them with you.

I feel so spoiled some days that I get to do so many fun things with my kids and enjoy this beautiful place that we live in. Then there are those other days when it feels like I am struggling to hear myself think above the din of crying, whining and fighting.

I love to post beautiful pictures of my kids and the places we go. I don't think it's necessary to show you the ugly of our days. Just be sure to know that behind every smile and happy scene there is crying child, someone getting hurt, me losing my patience and lots of messes.;)

We have been doing a unit study on the ocean for a couple of months and this week we were learning about estuaries. If you don't know what an estuary is; it is where freshwater flows into salt water. There is a park near us that is as close as we are going to get to one. Estuaries also have mangrove swamps and lots of different animal life. This park has all of those and we were lucky to find a few little critters and even catch a glimpse of some dolphins hunting and playing!

Despite the barrage of mosquitos we had a great time. It was the perfect break that we needed after being stuck in the house for a couple of weeks. We were happy to find a spot that was nice and windy and mostly mosquito free. Luke fell asleep on the way home and when we got home we recorded our little trip in our nature journals and finished up the rest of our school. Though I like to start our school work in the morning it was nice to do it in the afternoon when Luke is sleeping. I just might be changing up our school schedule...

Here are the books we used to learn more about estuaries: 

What have you been up to lately? 

Have you gone on any field trips? 

Have you ever been to an estuary?

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It's okay to tell God how you are feeling about motherhood

Friday, September 18, 2015

The past couple of months we have had one sickness after the other. Just when I thought it was safe to take a deep breath of relief we would get struck again. One of the hard things about having a big family is that once one child gets sick, the rest usually follow suit.

Not only did ALL the kids get the stomach bug, but Josh and I did also. That was a doozy. It looked like we were living in a war zone. Sick kids lying all over the couch, towels and bowls everywhere and moaning and groaning coming from everyone. It was a sight to behold and one that I don't want to repeat any time soon.

About a week after that episode, Luke somehow got croup. He had it pretty bad, but thankfully we got him to the Dr. and on medicine. Not long after, Simeon came down with it and then Israel had a slight form of it.

I hate seeing my children sick. It breaks my heart. Even though they seem to be constantly sick, I am so thankful that they are truly very healthy children. I have to admit though that I don't like the extra long nights and crankiness that these childhood illnesses bring. I tend to get pouty when some of my well laid plans get thrown to the wayside. 

Though I have come to love being home; I also enjoy getting out, having time by myself and time to socialize with friends and family. As the kids were getting better last weekend, I was really looking forward to getting out of the house for a long run and meeting up with some of my friends. 

As I told Josh my plans, he reminded me of his...he was going hunting for the whole weekend(Fri-Mon.) He had told me ahead of time but I totally forgot. I just about crumpled to the floor in my misery. NO! It couldn't be. It was not fair. All the thoughts of how I should be the one getting away started to swirl around in my mind. But I knew Josh was really looking forward to getting away and he also needed a break after a very long week of work and being up with babies also.

As I started to give in to my feelings of frustration and mopiness; I cried (literally) out to God to help me have a better attitude. I knew I needed to get into God's word and have him transform my mindset. It's hard not to give into my emotions in that moment. It is not easy, but...

When we choose to choose joy...he enables us to experience it despite our sinful flesh and situation.

I was planning to have a big ol' pity party and wallow in misery while Josh was gone but God supernaturally lifted my gaze to his and gave me his grace to see that what I really needed wasn't time by myself, a break, quiet, relief or health...but him. 

I am so glad I opened up Gloria Furman's book "Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full"

This is what I read:

" When you feel desperate for relief, it's a reminder that you are desperate for God's grace."

This spoke volumes to my heart and helped transform how I was thinking and reacting. Later on I also came across Gretchen's instagram post (From Life Lived Beautifully) Here is a portion of it:

"Mary Kassian once said 'A weak woman lets her emotions drive her mind. A woman of strength makes her mind drive her emotions.' In order to drive our emotions, we have to live by what we know. This we know: God is for us, God is with us, and Christ has equipped us. "I know" statements rescue us from the downward spiral of negative feelings. Truth trumps feelings."

Oh how I needed to hear these words of truth at that moment. God is so faithful to give us the grace we need, right at the moment we need it. I want so much to grow and mature and be a better wife and mother. I know it's only by being more like my Savior that I can accomplish this. 

How has your month, week or day been?

Are you struggling to get through the day, with little ones who need you every second? 

Are you in a situation that is crippling your joy?

Have you been so busy caring for your loved ones that you are barely able to come up for air?

Are you overwhelmed by all that is on your plate?

Are you tired of giving into your emotions? 

I am right there with you!  I am such an emotional person. It is SO hard for me not to give in to my feelings. I feel things very deeply. It is a blessing and a curse. But by God's grace I am learning to lean on him and choose joy...despite my feelings.

I feel so blessed that I get to stay home with my children. I truly love it. I feel selfish and spoiled admitting how much I struggle some days when there are so many going through truly horrific and hard things in the world. But I can't pretend that I don't struggle and have hard days. I admit that I often lock myself in my room or bathroom and let those tears and emotions flow that have been pent up.

If you come away with anything from reading this, I want you to know it's okay to tell God how we are feeling, he already knows. It's okay to vent to him even if we know we are so blessed.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind..." Jeremiah 17: 9-10

I always feel so much better when I have a good cry and share what I am going through with my husband or a close friend. The problem is when I let those feelings overtake me and steal my joy. It's not okay to poison our homes or others with bad attitudes and diluted perspectives.

Whatever you have been going through in motherhood... in life; know that God cares about our feelings...he created our hearts, but he has given us power through his son to fight against our fleshly feelings... that are not glorifying to him.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" Psalm 139: 23-24

God is able and is willing as we give him our hearts, to take our negative, sinful feelings and emotions and replace them with his heart and his mindset!

What truths has God been speaking to you as you share your heart and feelings with him?

Linking up with some of these lovely link parties!

P.S. Thank you to all those who entered the giveaway! I had a blast doing it and congratulations to Rachel P.!!! 

My Favorite Woman of Faith Blogs

Monday, September 14, 2015

When I am not writing my own blog posts, I love to read other blogs. I follow blogs on cooking, homeschooling, crafting, homemaking, motherhood and natural living, but I have to say my favorite blogs are those that are of a spiritual nature but share everyday goings on with a mixture of tips and inspiration. And you know I love a blog with great pics!

Instead of writing about my blog today I wanted to share with you some of the blogs I follow that really inspire and spur me on to look heavenward while at the same time making the most with what God has given me here on earth. These women have opened up their homes and hearts to me and many others with transparency and humility. Giving glory to God through their words and their giftings.

As I have shared before; by reading these blogs I felt led to start my own. I love how I can read a post that speaks directly to my heart and what I am going through in that moment. God is so good to remind me of his grace and truth when I am floundering and discouraged. I am so thankful for this community of faith filled women that continue to encourage me to seek after Christ with all my heart and make him known not only at home but outside of it.

Biblical Homemaking

Mandy's blog was one of the first blogs that I came across and started following. I loved how she shares snippets of her life with her 6 children with such genuineness and joy. She also incorporates her love for thrifting, working out, making goals, homemaking, projects and of course her passion for the gospel and encouraging women and mamas.


I am not sure how I came across Ruth's blog but I am SO glad that I did! Not only is she the mother of six boys, but she is a talented artist and entrepreneur. She truly shares her heart for motherhood through the lens of the gospel with such grace and dignity. I am always uplifted and inspired as I read her posts. I love following her on instagram. Her pictures, her words and her art ever point to Christ and finding hope, meaning and strength in him. She creates beautifully adorned pictures of scripture to put in your home to continually remind you of God's grace and truth.

Joy Forney

Joy is a mother of 5 and a missionary's wife in Uganda. I first heard her speak on a video, where she was speaking at a conference here in the US. I was deeply impacted. She spoke such truth with such vulnerability and authority. It was just what my heart needed to hear at that time. Since then I have followed her blog and have continued to be edified and by her heart for mamas and seeking Christ and glorifying him in the everyday.

I love how she not only shares her faith but her desire to be faithful in the daily normal routines. Taking care of not only her spiritual needs but physical and outward as well. She is truly a woman of faith that is deeply rooted in the word and not afraid to share her fears and failures as she holds on to the hope and promises of God.

Life Lived Beautifully

I recently came across Gretchen's beautiful and inspiring feed on instagram. Every time I have read one of her posts it has spoken directly to me and makes me want to draw ever closer to my Savior. I often get discouraged about blogging. It can be so easy to get caught up in promoting your blog and trying to keep up. I absolutely love how every one of her posts speaks truth and life. I love how she uses the platform God has given her for his purposes and brings glory to him, with the talents God has given her.

Not only does she write edifying posts on her blog, but she also encourages women to find intimacy with Christ through Bible journaling and studies. She has created beautiful journals that she and her team sell at her shop.  She is recently a new mom and has already much to share about how God is using motherhood to give her new perspective and heart for the world.

Kelly Leigh Halsch

I read a posts of Kelly's earlier this year that spoke volumes to my heart, right when I needed to hear it! Her story is one of hope and beauty and pain. She uses all that her life is and was to give hope to those hurting and who need to know they are valued and loved. She simply shares her heart and her struggles in such a candid and fluent way. I of course was also drawn in by her amazing skills with a camera. I am a sucker for beauty.

The Life of this Mother

I have been blessed to meet so many lovely women in the blogging community from around the world! Sarah is a precious woman from New Zealand who is after God's heart for her life, family and home. I am always drawn to her thought provoking posts that always bring me back to what this life is all for his purposes alone. Not looking to the world, but keeping our eyes on him and being obedient to what he has called us to do for our families. Sarah humbly shares about her struggles and joys as a mother, wife, homemaker and daughter of God.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

The tagline for Sara's blog is "Joy in the midst of waiting. Beauty from ashes. Seeing Jesus' thread through every frame of life. Her and her husband have gone through the pain of infertility to becoming parents through adoption to 4 beautiful children and now by a miracle 1 more. She beautifully writes about turning her hard circumstances into opportunities for adoration.

God has used each of these unique women to speak words of life and truth to my spirit and soul. They have shown me that it is okay to be a vessel for God to use, without losing your integrity. That it's okay to embrace the gifts that he has given you to be a voice of truth and life; flawed though they might be.

Of course there are many other sweet faith filled blogs that I love but I would not be able to put them all in one post.

I hope you can make time to check out these lovely ladies and be encouraged to keep fighting, keep seeking, keep worshipping and keep being faithful as you go about your day as a daughter of God, wife, mother, sister, neighbor and friend.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." NIV Hebrews 10:24-25

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Linking up with some of these link ups.

"Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full" Review and Giveaway!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

This summer I made a goal of reading 3 books by the end of the summer; one of which was Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full--by Gloria Furman. I am happy to say that I have read 2 of the books and am in the middle of the third one. I might not have completed my goal in the alloted time frame I gave myself but I give myself 2 thumbs up for effort;) You do what you can.

I heard about Gloria's book from a friend who actually got to meet her and after reading the book wanted to give it to all the moms she knew. I finally got my hands on it and I am SO glad I did. Now I want to give it to all my friends!  I wish I could read this book every day! Since I can't, I have underlined and highlighted my favorite parts and go back over them from time to time when I need some fresh encouragement and perspective in mothering. I need to put quotes of it all over my house!

Gloria is a busy mom like the rest of us trying to be faithful with the little ones that God has entrusted to her care. Instead of giving you a list of what to do and what not to do she simply turns your gaze upwards into eternity and into the words of truth and life.

She puts motherhood in the place it deserves and needs to be; a great privilege and responsibility given to us by God. She gracefully and gently shows us that our children are not interruptions to something more important. If God has so gifted us; they are his will for our life. These little versions of us are what he is using to make us more like him.

It's easy to get caught up in the never ending work and effort it takes to care for our families. Always moving from one thing to the next; so focused on the here and now that we forget about the eternal work that God wants to do in our hearts and our children's. Gloria once again reminds us that it's not about us but about his kingdom. We need to always keep an eternal perspective as we feed the ever hungry stomachs, soothe the hurt feelings, discipline the guilty party and clean up another spilled drink.
Motherhood is a sacrifice. It's constantly giving and giving. Our bodies, our time, our energy, our minds. But Jesus is the one who sustains and breathes life into us so that we might be his vessels of honor; serving him in a world that would tell us he isn't enough.

Christ is worth treasuring above all else. He is the one who enables us to get up in the middle of the night to a crying baby and say no to our flesh when we want to lash out in anger at a disobedient child. Christ is everything and Gloria's book not only gives such great counsel and wisdom, but fresh insight and perspective into the Gospel and life of Christ as our example and hope. It is the hope of the Gospel that we need as women, as wives and as mothers.
If you are in need of some fresh encouragement as you fight the lies of the world that you are just a mom.  If you find yourself growing weary in the everyday mundane. If you need a new eternal perspective, or you want to see your children as blessings and not as need to read this book! ( and please check out her

I am so excited to be having my very first giveaway! God has put it on my heart to sow back my first earnings from blogging into you; my faithful readers. I would love for you to be blessed by this book that will transform your view of motherhood in the light of the Gospel.

All you have to do to enter is subscribe to my mailing list and follow me on pinterest or instagram if you have an account. Easy peasy! You don't have to refer the giveaway to anyone else unless you want to. If you already have done all these prior to the giveaway then just leave a comment why you would want to read Gloria's book.  Of course I would love for you to follow me but I never want to "force" anyone to follow my blog, so if you don't want to continue following me you can always unsubscribe later. I just need you to enter your email address so you can be entered in the giveaway;)

I am SO excited for you to read this book and be encouraged. Really! It encourages me to no end to be an encouragement to others and provide a way for you to be uplifted! It's the best!

The winner will be chosen by the rafflecopter next Tuesday (9/16/15) and will notify the winner. I will also and will just need to get a mailing address to send it off. :) So sorry to my dear friends who live in other countries but US only!:(

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to all those who entered!! And Congratulations to Rachel P.!!!

Linking up with some of these awesome link parties!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on a link and purchase an item, I receive a small commission that helps support this little blog. Thanks for your support!

How I came to start my blog

Friday, September 4, 2015

Believe it or not I have only had a computer for about 2 years. I know, how did I survive?? Actually it really wasn't that bad. Surprisingly enough you can live without technology. You don't miss what you don't know you are missing. I wasn't void of all technology. My husband brought his work laptop home on the weekends. He also bought me a kindle which helped me connect with the outside world. Unfortunately it just broke, or rather my kids broke it. They have a habit of breaking things.

When I was able to get on the internet, I found a few blogs that I found really inspiring. I loved reading them and was always encouraged. I did at times wonder how they managed to blog and take care of their families. Even though I wasn't sure how it all worked I thought it looked like a great outlet to have from home. I have always loved to journal and write and crazily enough God put it on my heart to start a blog. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't research how to start a blog. I didn't know what html was. I didn't know how to make links.  I didn't know how to promote my blog. I didn't get someone to create my site for me. I just jumped in and have been learning as I am going ever since.

My blog is by no means perfected and I still have so much to learn, but isn't the process the best part? I have learned so much about myself as I have opened my heart to perfect strangers and friends alike. There is nothing like putting yourself out there to really make you get out of your comfort zone. I have searched my motives more deeply and questioned how I use my time and my actions.

Blogging is not easy.(I share more in detail about balancing blogging and family here) It can distract you from other things you should be doing, especially when you love to blog. It is not for everyone and you are not less than if you don't have a blog. Like so many other things; it is a platform to be used for either good or evil.  We have to be obedient to God to use our time and resources to glorify him in the way that he leads us.

As the thoughts of starting a blog were whirling around in my head I kept sensing the word faithful. I knew I wanted to encourage other women to be faithful in the everyday little things that no one else might see except God; i.e. cleaning, laundry, mothering, cooking, homeschooling, time management,devotions, ministering to your husband, exercise.

The verse that came to my mind was from the parable of the talents:
So often we dream of doing things for God on a grand scale. We tend to look at the domestic tasks and mothering as of lesser importance in the eyes of God and the world. It can be easy to think we really aren't doing anything of significance as we wipe boogers, reside over sibling disputes, clean up sticky rice from the floor and wade through mounting piles of dirty clothes.What we often forget is that caring for our home and families is the glue that holds society together. How many people do you know that are suffering or have suffered because their family life was missing the simple presence of care and comfort; love and joy.

Loving our children and husband well are a mother and wife's highest calling; not just reserved for the select few. Not all women are gifted as housewives, mothers and wives but as we surrender our lives to God's will he gives us everything we need to be who he has called us to be.

As you read my meager attempt at putting my two cents into a world that seems to be bursting at the seams with blogs filled with many different opinions, information, how to's and insights; I pray that you come away encouraged and edified. I want you to know that you are valued and that all you do is valued and worth being faithful with. I hope you feel like you are visiting a friend when I share the goings on of my little family, homeschool, struggles and heart.

It can be easy to forget why I started this blog and get caught up in trying to make a tiny dent in the blogosphere. There are so many things I could be doing to get the word out there about my blog, but right now I know that I need to be faithful to do what God has called me to do and not get side tracked with trying to keep up with the latest blogging trends. I know there are certain "blogging rules" and "dos and don'ts" if you want to make it in the blogging world but I don't want to sacrifice my morals and convictions in the name of success. I need to simply keep sharing what God puts on my heart...when I am able.
Of course I would love for my blog to grow but instead of trying to do it in my own strength I am committing my little loaves and fish to God and asking him to multiply it in his perfect time and way.(This doesn't mean I am not going to do anything to promote my blog... just not everything)

I love this little place that I have come to meet so many wonderful women and mamas who are just like me; trying to do the best they can with all that God has given them. But there are many days when I know by connecting in cyberspace I am disconnecting myself from the ones in my immediate space. So if you don't hear from me that often or consistently know that I desire to be faithful with this blog but I am trying my best to be faithful to Jesus, my family and my home foremost...and I pray you are too.

I am excited to see what God is going to do with "the talents" he has entrusted to me; though it's likely I might not get to see how God uses me fully. More than anything else I want to hear him say, "Well done good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your master."

If you have a blog, why did you start yours?

What has God put on your heart to be faithful with?

How are you investing your "talents"?

Linking up with some of these amazing link parties!

5 Ways to Fully Embrace Homeschooling

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The past couple of years I admit… I  have struggled with fully embracing homeschooling. I tried to think of ways out of it and even came very close to giving up and looking for an alternative education for my children. Though I’ve tried, I really can’t picture our lives any other way. Though there are days that are really hard, I love the life we have because of homeschooling and I know God has called us to it. Read more here at My Joy Filled Life.

Linking up with some of these amazing link parties!
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