Nurturing Your Soul While Nurturing Your Baby

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Having a baby changes a woman’s life. In the early weeks and months, the focus turns primarily to survival. If you’ve showered and eaten, it’s a good day. If you’ve put on makeup, it’s a really good day. My son had colic until he was 3.5 months old, so I spent most of my days unsuccessfully trying to soothe him. Fortunately, he eventually outgrew that stage!

My little guy is 9 months old now, and in the midst of this season of life, it’s so important to nourish myself by reading the Bible. He’s at an age where he is into everything, so the most effective time for me to do this is while he is nursing. If I attempt to read while watching him, I only consume sentence long snippets at a time. It’s hard to get the full depth of the passage by reading that way.

As Christians, we are called to focus on “whatsoever things are true” (Phillippians 4:8). One of the best ways to do this is by focusing our minds on God’s Word. Reading the Bible helps me to keep my life in proper perspective and to keep sight of what truly matters. Parenting a baby consists of doing many of the same basic tasks over and over again, and it’s easy to feel as if my work doesn’t matter. The Bible says that children are blessings (Psalm 127:3-5) and that we should raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). These verses encourage me to keep going when my work feels fruitless.

I’ve found that I can usually get through 4 chapters of the Bible during his first nursing session of the day. Having this set routine has gone a long way towards enabling me to be consistent with reading the Bible. I usually read on my Kindle Paperwhite, but reading from a traditional paper Bible would also work.

There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. At a rate of 4 chapters per day, I should be able to read the entire Bible in 298 days.

Of course, I’m not necessarily able to get through 4 chapters every single day. However, this leaves me with enough wiggle room to realistically be able to get through the entire Bible by the end of the year, which is one of my 101 in 1001 goals.

“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

How do you make time for reading the Bible as a busy mom?

10 Dairy Free Breakfasts for Trim Healthy Mamas

I started following Trim Healthy Mama in November of 2015, when I was halfway through my pregnancy with my son. It worked well for staying healthy while I was pregnant. When my son was 12 days old, I had to quit dairy because it was giving him problems. Dairy fixed the issue (which was great!), but I was left struggling to replace my dairy-containing Trim Healthy Mama foods with other recipes that were still healthy.
All Trim Healthy Mama recipes are sugar free, and many are also gluten free. However, it can be more of a challenge to find Trim Healthy Mama recipes that are also dairy free. Here are 10 great breakfast options for the dairy free Trim Healthy Mama!
1. Scrambled Eggs and Turkey Bacon (S)
2. French Toast in a Bowl (S) – substitute coconut oil for the butter
3. Blueberry Baked Oatmeal (E)
4. Old Fashioned Oats (E) – NOT instant oats, as those are not on plan
5. Baked Fruit and Nut Cups (S)
6. Apple Cinnamon Waffle (E) – substitute unsweetened applesauce for the Greek yogurt
7. Kate’s Spinach Eggs (S)
8. Coconut Yogurt (S)
9. Coconut Cream Berry Crunch (S)
10. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (S)
Note: I have included some recipes that contain butter. Coconut oil is a 1:1 substitute for butter, and that is what I use in such recipes to adapt them for my needs.

One Simple Step to Being a Better Hostess

food allergy awareness

According to Food Allergy Research & Education, approximately 15 million people in the United States have food allergies. The eight most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. The number of people with allergies has increased sharply since 1997. It’s highly likely that someone in your life is dealing with an allergy.

This issue has personal significance to me. My younger brother has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. I vividly remember sitting in the emergency room when I was 7 after he was first exposed to peanuts through a free cookie at the deli. My brother outgrew most of his numerous other allergies, but the most severe one has remained. While I have never struggled with food allergies personally, I have given up dairy for the last 8 months because my nursing baby cannot tolerate it.

Every time I have people over, I ask one simple question: “Do you have any allergies or special dietary needs?” If the person does not, then we move on without any further commentary. If the person does, however, he or she typically appreciates the opportunity to communicate their needs without feeling as if they are being “high-maintenance.” (In my opinion, doing what is necessary to keep yourself from going into anaphylactic shock is not being “high-maintenance,” but unfortunately people receive that label sometimes).

Even if your prospective guest does not have allergies, it can be helpful to know about other restrictions as well. For example, you may want to prepare a sugar-free dessert option if one of your guests is a diabetic. Small gestures can go a long way towards making your guest feel more at home.

While this step may seem small, it is truly just another way to be considerate. Ultimately, hospitality is about serving other people and showing them the love of Christ.

The Year of Brave: Three Inspiring Books


I chose brave as my one word for 2017 for several reasons. In 2016, I struggled with some unexpected physical challenges that shook me to my core. As I was going through that difficult time, I found books about other people who had overcome different situations inspiring. While their circumstances were far worse than mine, some of their strategies for overcoming could also be applied to my own life.

  1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is the story of Louis Zamperini, an American soldier who survives for 47 days in a raft, only to be captured by the Japanese and held in a Prisoners of War camp…for two and a half YEARS. Talk about a challenge! Louis Zamperini was an Olympic athlete before the war, but even he was pushed to the limit by his experiences. In an effort to avoid spoilers, I won’t detail the Christian content in this book. Believe me though, it’s powerful to read about how God worked in Louis Zamperini’s life!

    Favorite Quote: “When he thought of his history, what resonated with him now was not all that he had suffered but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him.”

  2. Off Script: What to Do When God Rewrites Your Life by Cary Schmidt was recommended to my husband by his brother. When my husband gave me my Kindle for my first Mother’s Day, Off Script was already loaded on it. I truly believe that God orchestrated that! Cary Schmidt wrote this book while he was in the midst of being treated for cancer. His book differs from many other books on the same subject because it was written while he was still undergoing a trial; NOT after the trial had already been endured. His perspective grants a certain authenticity to his words that is powerful.

    Favorite Quote: “As much as God hates murmuring (complaining from a bitter spirit against His heart), He welcomes mourning (bringing our truthful hearts, mournful communications, and our very burden to Him)!”

  3. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe might strike you as an unusual addition to the list, but I found myself inspired by Tom’s commitment to his faith, even when he was surrounded by the atrocities of slavery.

    Favorite Quote: “I make no manner of doubt that you threw a very diamond of truth at me, though you see it hit me so directly in the face that it wasn’t exactly appreciated, at first.”

What inspired your word of the year?

My One Word for 2017

My one word for 2017 is brave.

one word


Because 2016 was terrifying, and some of my experiences this year will be reverberating in my life for years to come.

Perhaps most importantly, my pregnancy and delivery with Tigger was…bad. As in, he’s 8 months old now and I still haven’t completely recovered. After experiencing a complication that somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of women experience, I was wracked with fear. Who cares how small the chance is of something bad happening? It sure didn’t matter last time. 

Being that unfortunate 1% rocks one’s world. Bad things don’t just happen to other people. They happen to YOU. It’s not an abstract concept any more. It’s not a maybe. It’s not far away. It doesn’t matter that you’re 22, or health conscious, or generally healthy. It Does. Not. Matter.

And if it happened once, then it sure seems likely that it’ll happen again. Whether rationally or irrationally, this pattern of thinking becomes a new normal.

But I’m saying NO MORE.

“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (King James Version)

God does not call me to be afraid. He calls us to have courage:

“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest.” – Joshua 1:9 (King James Version)

As I move forward with my life, I’m making the choice to be brave. One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Found.” Part of the lyrics have really resonated with me as I have sought to move on from difficult life experiences.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come

And I hope by Thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home

Ebenezer means “Stone of Help.” In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelites had just been delivered from the Philistines. The prophet Samuel set up a stone and called it Ebenezer, to commemorate how the Lord had helped the Israelites to overcome their tormentors.

Here, as I write, I’m raising my Ebenezer. Hither by Thy help I’ve come, Lord. Help me to remember that you never leave me, and that You call me to have courage.

And help me to be brave.

New Baby, New Traditions

new-baby-new-traditionsThis Christmas was our second Christmas as a married couple, Tigger’s first Christmas, our first Christmas in our new city, and our first time being at our own house on Christmas morning. The year 2016 represented a lot of changes for our family!

In the midst of all this change, we started some new Christmas traditions that we plan to continue in the years to come.

  1. Christmas Ornaments – Both my mother and my husband’s mother had the tradition of buying each child a special Christmas ornament every year. When we had our first Christmas as a married couple, we had a lot of fun telling each other the stories behind each ornament – and we had a full tree! We are continuing this tradition with Tigger. His “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament was displayed in the front of our tree.
  2. Birthday Cake for Jesus – The true meaning of Christmas is celebrating the incarnation of Christ. God humbled Himself by coming to earth. He did not come in pomp and circumstance, but in the most lowly way of all – as a baby in a manger. My family started making and decorating a birthday cake for Jesus several years ago. As Tigger gets older, he’ll be able to do more with this activity.img_2817
  3. Christmas Eve Service – love Christmas Eve services. Our church had a lovely one this year that included a time for fathers to lead their families in prayer and in the taking of the Lord’s Supper. This reminder of the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice for us was timely, and much needed.
  4. Being at Home as a Family – As a child, I woke up at my own house on Christmas morning every year. We spent the first few hours of the day as a nuclear family. Some of my most precious memories are from that time at home.
  5. Reading the Christmas Story – On Christmas morning, we gathered on the couch for my husband to read the Christmas story out of the Bible before we opened presents. The goal of this is to maintain focus on what is most important.He also led us in prayer before we continued with the gift opening segment of the morning.

What does your family do for Christmas? Did you start any new traditions this year?

A New Era of Blogging

Tonight I purchased my first domain name, which means my blog is now officially! This was an exciting step, and one that was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. I didn’t even have to ask my technologically gifted husband for help. 😉

I’m looking forward to exploring the new options that having my own domain will open for me! Blogging is a fun creative outlet, and it will be fun to be able to do even more with it.