The BEST Most Amazing Cornbread Ever!

The BEST Most Amazing Cornbread Ever!

This is no ordinary cornbread. Seriously people – I couldn’t decide whether I should put this in the “bread” section of my recipe book or the “desserts!” This amazing cornbread is not your typical run of the mill, dry crumbly cornbread. This is more like CAKE cornbread.

I remember when my dad first made this and it was like heaven in my mouth! I haven’t made any other cornbread since and I have yet to taste a cornbread recipe I like better. This will quickly become your favorite I can almost promise you!

AND, it’s incredibly easy! Seriously, you can’t go wrong. You literally mix the ingredients in a bowl, toss it in a pan and bake until that gorgeous, golden surface of cornbread assails your senses! Roughly 5 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes bake time and you’ve got yourself a slice of heaven in a 9X13 pan!

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! So let’s jump in!

amazing cornbread the best cornbread

 

(Download this recipe card HERE from our Recipe Book!)

You’ll want to have two bowls handy, a large and medium-sized, as well as a 9×13” pan.

In your large mixing bowl, toss together your dry ingredients and mix until combined.

In your medium sized bowl, mix together your wet ingredients until combined. (The butter will typically turn a little lumpy when mixed into the milk and eggs, this is totally okay so no worries!)

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix together well – there will be some small lumps.

Make sure to grease your 9×13” pan and pour the mixture in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that, you simply bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees until nice and golden and the center is no longer giggly!

Let sit for a couple minutes and then slice and dig in! Serve this with your favorite chili (my favorite is my Whole30 Sweet Potato Chili – YUM!) and you have one of the best cozy evening dinners in! You can make these into muffins or cook in a cast iron or whatever suits your fancy!

Let me know how yours turns out if you give it a go! You won’t regret it I promise!! Happy cooking!

 

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recipe cards
Recipe Card

 

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Camper Life in Pictures!

Camper Life:

As many of you can guess, life in a camper is crowded and sometimes messy. Small spaces are very hard to keep clean. (Something I did not think was true but now realize it is a hard fact.)

I wanted to share some pictures with you as a way to let other moms and ladies out there to know that no one has it all together. Our lives are not picture perfect and we don’t always have our houses clean. Life is meant to be lived. So things are going to get messy along the way.

This is my families life, day in and day out. It’s simple and cozy but a little crowded at times. Hopefully they can bring a little relief into your day knowing that other ladies are dealing with messy floors, dirty kitchens, and imperfect lives. 🙂

Welcome to Our Humble Abode

 

Come on in, take your shoes off by the door….

 

Take a Seat in the Reading Chair

  Or Perhaps sit on the couch that needs to have a cover   because our children like to smother it in food and dirt. 🙂

Come, Gather at our Table…

Dinner Cooking in the Crock Pot?

Need a Drink of Water? It’s in that blue jug…

Houzz - Gifts for Her

 

Excuse me while I use the Loo…

    …which happens to be right next to the bedroom. Pretty handy. 😉

   Try Bluum Today

There you have it. My home in 9 simple pictures.

A part of me feels embarrassed to share these with you. For some reason, I think people will look at my life, see this simple fifth wheel, and inwardly laugh at it and feel sorry for me. Thankfully, I’m starting to not care what others think anymore. And so should you.

*Want to know some more about life in a 5th wheel. Go to blog post, Are You Thankful in All Things. 

~Shiree

 

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The 15 Minute Workout for Busy Women

The 15 Minute Workout for Busy Women

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I have something exciting to share with you today!!!

There is an effective workout that I have been using for the past few months and have seen results like no other workout I have done before. Well, one that is so short that is. 🙂

If you are a busy mom or a busy women than I think you will appreciate what I have to share with you. Because as we all know, it is hard to get a workout in when there seems like there is no time for one. And who wants to bother working out for merely ten or fifteen minutes if it doesn’t show any results?

I used to have time to do a whole Tae-bo workout or go on long walks but since having another kid and building a house, time no longer allows for that. Yet, I wanted so desperately to lose my baby weight and get in better shape. Even when I looked thin I still had a baby pooch and didn’t feel healthy or in very good shape. I eat well so I have not dealt with gaining unwanted weight but my body was flabby and not strong.

I searched Pinterest for all sorts of workouts. And used one after the other. None of them gave me the results I wanted. I would either have to workout for an hour or go buy workout videos and spend more money on workout equipment. I did not want to do that.

I eventually came across this effective workout plan I am about to share with you. Now, it did not give immediate results. It took me a month to build up my strength and actually notice a difference. But let me tell you, I am so proud of myself. I have never been able to do a plank for more than a minute but this workout pushed me and has got me up to a 3 minute plank.

CodeFit Yoga Power Flex Dry-Fit Pants Workout Printed Leggings Ombre Print S-XXXL

CodeFit Yoga Power Flex Dry-Fit Pants Workout Printed Leggings Ombte Print (Large/X-Large, 6cp06-Black)

It’s simple, no fuss moves but they are not what I would call easy. When I first started it, I felt so tired. Which seems silly cause its only 1o minutes of total workout time. Yet, they are moves that tone and strengthen your whole body.

If you want, you can go to this link and see where I got the original workout plan. (I would recommend reading the article to know why these workout moves are so effective. It also shows you how to do every move.) I changed it up a bit for me though. I was super out of shape and knew I would have to work up to what the original work out called for. If you are interested in what I did differently, then keep reading. 🙂

The Effective Workout I swear by:

I started on week 1 with Workout 1. I rested 20 to 30 seconds between each exercise. If it was a super bad day, it was longer. 🙂 I did workout 1 for a whole 2 weeks. I did not have a lot of strength and knew that I could not do a 3 minute plank like the original workout required. So I worked up to it.

By the third week I knew I was ready for a longer plank and moved on to workout 2. And so on and so forth. *Look at template for workout instructions.

Now, the only catch is that it needs to be done about 5 times a week to actually produce results. Since it is so short it wasn’t a problem for me. But, time does get away from us so there may be weeks that you miss a day here and there. No worries. Just keep up with the workout as best as you can. (If my boys took longer naps and I had more time, I would walk on the elliptical for 10 minutes or so. This helped get in a bit of cardio as well.)

As time goes on and I get even stronger I plan to change up this workout to be able to reach a 4 minute plank. Or if time allows, do the workout twice over for double the workout time. The fun thing about this workout is that you can play with it a bit and make it work to your fitness level. Perhaps you need to start with a 30 second plank rather than a minute one. Do so. There is no harm in that. Just work up to it.

This is a great workout for women who already have started implementing a fitness routine into their schedule but it is also a great starting point for women who are merely trying to get back into shape. I can honestly say that I do not exercise in any other way at this time. This is the only workout I do but it helps me build strength and stay in shape. As life slows down I hope to incorporate a more rigorous fitness plan in into my schedule but for now this does the trick.

Flowy Burnout or TriBlend Racerback Tank 

Flowy Burnout or TriBlend Racerback Tank (XL, Triblend Pack 1)

I hope that some of you will take my advice and try these moves out for yourself. I’m not trying to sell anything by promoting this workout. There is nothing special in it for me. I merely want to share my experience. I’m pretty excited about this and hope it can help other women get back in shape.

Now, I do realize that many people want to see result pictures of the one claiming an effective workout. I must admit that I am not comfortable with posting my body pictures directly onto this site. Yet, if you would like to see my before and after pictures I am more than willing to send you an email. Subscribe to our mailing list with a photo request and I will get those sent to you. It really is amazing to see the difference in my body after having my second son and what my body looks like now. 🙂

~Shiree

*Please know that your diet is an important part of getting healthy and strong. Eating low amounts of carbs and sugars is very helpful when trying to lose weight. When I cut carbs out of my diet I noticed a considerable difference in my waist size.

Have You Lost Your Joy?

Losing Joy:

I have a confession to make…..

I have not been a joyful woman lately. I’m sure that when you read my posts you think I’m a joyful, smiling mommy that is thankful in all things. But guess what? I’m not!!! Much of what I write is what God has been teaching me of late and let me tell you, I have been needing some teaching.

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Everything in my previous posts that I mentioned not to do. I DID THEM!!! I have been ungrateful, grouchy, lacking in joy, and sometimes just plain angry. I got frustrated with my 2-year-old because he knocked over the cat’s water bowl again. He is clumsy and not well balanced. Not just toddler clumsy. I mean, horrible, trip over a grain of sand, clumsy! It is a trait I passed onto him, unfortunately. And since we live in a small space, he knocks over a lot of things. To my shame, I let it get to me and my reaction was not that of beauty.

Why have I been like this? After all my talk on being joyful, you’d think I would have it figured out by now. At least, I sure wish I did.

To be honest, God has placed the importance of joy on my heart because He graciously showed me that I was horribly lacking. I’m not a depressed or horribly angry woman, mind you. Yet, joy evades me more often than not. The stresses of life bog me down and I let my emotions get the best of me. If disappointments come my way I let them ruin my day. If I woke up grumpy, I chose to be grumpy. I honestly didn’t even know how to choose differently. I knew something was wrong, and at times it still is wrong. I don’t want to be the kind of woman that is only filled with joy when the occasion is fit for it. I want to be able to rise up from underneath the pain in my heart and the lies in my mind and choose joy. Even when I don’t FEEL like it. I’m done being ruled by my emotions and my negative thoughts. I pray for change.

Treat Yourself to a Monthly Surprise!!

 

A HARD PAST COUPLE WEEKS

My grumpiness stems from disappointments that have come my way these past few weeks. The sheet-rock in our house should have been up over a week ago. Unfortunately, the insulation has not been finished. The bat insulation was delayed and then we received the wrong order. The spray foam insulation was held back because of broken machinery. To say the least, things are not going as planned. (As they seem to do. 😉 )

We have been hoping to be moved into our house by Christmas but that goal has started to fade away.

“Hopefully by Springtime we can move in,” my husband said the other morning at breakfast.

He was teasing. Yet, also very serious.

By the looks of it, we might be delayed a few more months than planned. My heart hurts at the thought of it. I have been dreaming of moving into our home for a while now. I am so ready. The disappointment of a longer wait time is gnawing at my insides and I literally ache.

Do you know that feeling? That feeling of wanting something so bad you feel like your chest could burst? That’s how I feel. Then add the crushing weight of disappointment on top of that and you have one heck of an emotional bomb ready to go- KABOOMB!!!!!

My lack of joy is my own fault. I want something and I want it now. Am I looking to God and trusting in His goodness and His glorious timing? No. My focus is inward, not upward. I am not thinking about things above but on the things of earth.

When the light goes out…

Oh, how the light goes out when we focus inward! Have you ever noticed that? When we are focused inwardly upon ourselves and concerned only with our own lives, it’s as if someone snuffed out the flame that is supposed to be emanating from within us. We are to be the light of the world showing others the beauty of Jesus. But when our only concern is SELF, that light no longer shines. It has become dark; within and around you.

It saddens my heart knowing that I am guilty of such selfishness. And I know that the enemy loves my self-preoccupied thoughts. It is in that thinking that he dwells and makes his home. He sits down quite comfortably in my mind as I stew and fester on all that disappoints me.

“Yes, keep going,” he says with delight, “Keep focusing on all the annoying, aggravating things in your life…..Oh, and don’t forget to pile the self-loathing and guilt on top of that. Because everyone knows it- You are a bad mom and God is disappointed.”

I am sure that I am not the only woman that deals with this problem. It is hard to be strong amidst the screaming and crying of children. It takes all the will-power you have to not freak-out as your child barfs all over you in the hardware store. (Yes, that happened last week.) It requires strength and discipline to not be frustrated with your unthankful child as they complain about the dinner you spent time making. It requires a lot of patience and self-control as your toddler puts their hand in their poopy diaper and gets poop ALL over themselves. Oh, the joys of motherhood!

How do we get out of that mom funk that causes the light within us to be snuffed out? How do we find joy in the midst of frustration, disappointment and all the stress of life?

Well, I don’t have all the answers but I can share a few things that God has shown me in the last few weeks.

How to get the light back:

  1. Tell God all the junk that is being stored up in your heart. Through your discontent and frustrations. Don’t hold back. He already knows. Just let it out and cry.
  2. After the spilling out of emotions and the tears, Ask God What You Can Do About It.  Don’t continue to wallow in it. If you want God to work you will have to admit that you might have to change something in your life….For example, last week I was pretty upset with my husband. There are times men are not as sensitive as us women and they can come across harsh or lacking in love. My husband does not have a lot of tact. He is a very good, God-fearing man but he says it like it is and it really bothers me sometimes. To make it worse, I can be a little too sensitive. In my outpouring of my frustrations to God about it, He merely reminded me of something. “You can’t change your husband. He isn’t perfect. I’m still working on him. The only thing you can do is deal with your sensitivity. If you don’t want to be perturbed about your husband’s lack of tact then grow a thicker skin. Ask me for help in dealing with it with grace.”  Now does that mean my husband was right in his actions? Perhaps not, but he answers to God, not me. I am responsible for my own actions.
  3. Pray for Who is Frustrating You. Not just a, “I lift so-and-so up to you, God.” Not that easy. I mean really pray for them. Ask for God’s blessings over them… Perhaps your family is treating you with a lack of respect. Maybe your kids take you for granted or your husband can be impatient and angry when life gets too stressful. Pray that God does beautiful works within their hearts. You want what is best for your family even when what they are doing is wrong. With humility, ask God for his changing power in their lives.
  4. Give Thanks. When I realize that I am grumpy with my kids and my husband, it can stem back to me focusing on all the negatives. So, I begin to thank God for 2 or 3 things for each of my family members. And then I name 2 things that I am thankful for in general. It really helps my brain be rewired. I even do this with my 3-year-old when I realize he is getting grumpy or lacking in thanks. I tell him he has to name 3 things he is thankful for before he can continue on playing. It is amazing how a smile slowly forms on his face and he loses his grumpy countenance. (*Even start a thankful journal. It is a blessing to look back on all that you have thanked God for. :))
  5. Ask for Help. I am horrible at this one! For some reason, I feel like I should be able to do it all or I am just inconveniencing others when I do ask for their help. But last week, I knew I needed some assistance. My son and I were not getting along. I was grumpy and therefore causing him to be grumpy. We were knocking heads pretty good and I could feel anger rising up in me. I called my mother-in-law and asked her if she would take him for the rest of the day. I wasn’t being selfish or wanted an excuse for a mom break. I knew that if my son and I were able to part ways for awhile, we would be better for it. No matter how much we love others, it is always good to get away. Jesus did it. So why shouldn’t we?……Now, I do realize that some of you don’t have family readily available to help. But I think more often than not, there are friends and those within our church that are willing to help us. We just have to be humble and brave enough to ask. I don’t just mean help with babysitting. I mean help with all sorts of things. We as a body should be willing to be there for each other. May we be willing.
  6. Pray for the World, the Church, or the Poor. When I realize that I’m inwardly focused, I shamefully become aware of the fact that I have only been praying for myself. So, in order to get my mind off myself, I pray for the Body or for those with bigger needs than I have. It helps get me out of my mind and gets me aligned with God’s agenda rather than my own. I need to remember that the world is not centered on me. As Christians, we should never want the world to revolve around ourselves.

ClothDiaper

There you have it. The 6 Things I do in order to bring the Light of Joy back in my mothering and my wife-ing (Is that a word?) This is what I have been doing in order to gain the joy back in my life the past couple weeks. I can honestly say it works. I hope that some of you can implement them in your own life to help you as well.

I would love to hear from you.Let me know what You do to get the joy and thankfulness back. New ideas are always a blessing.

~Shiree

6 Daily Priorities for the Overwhelmed Mom

6 daily priorities

If you are anything like me, life can quickly get chaotic and priorities can easily get skewed. Some days I can’t seem to wrap my head around all the things that we as Godly wives and mothers are called to do and be on a daily basis. From the vital tasks to the smallest little thing that needs doing,  I can get overwhelmed with anxiety about all of it. Therefore I decide to do absolutely none of it and instead do something completely different and pretend I’m not ignoring what truly needs to be done while feeling guilty and STILL anxious – because it’s NOT GETTING DONE. Yes… I know it’s a problem.

TIME TO REFOCUS

Today has been one of those days that I really need to just pause for a moment, pray, and refocus my thoughts on the priorities. Not necessarily the specific priorities down to “clean toilet” or “fold laundry” but rather, the absolute TOP PRIORITIES for my life as the Lord intended – as a child of God, loving wife, and happy Mom. There are many times we can lose sight of what is TRULY important. When this happens we aren’t always the best mom or wife, we tend to be grumpy and usually focus only on the negative. THIS IS NOT HOW I WANT TO BE!

 There are so many tasks on our “to do list” we can forget to take care of the priorities – either we say, “I’ll do my devotions later” and we never do. Or, “I’ll work out tomorrow” and we never do.  Or, “My kiddo can entertain themselves, I’m just going to browse Facebook for a few minutes.” Obviously browsing Facebook isn’t bad, and skipping a workout here and there is okay and missing Jesus time once in a while doesn’t mean you lose your salvation – but often times we can neglect the things, and people, that really matter because our days are just TOO BUSY.

 So today, let’s lay our day before the Lord’s feet and ask Him to remind us about the daily priorities we should focus on!

 Every one of us will have different daily priorities as the Lord lays each upon our hearts. Write them down. And when things start to feel overwhelming, focus on your list and take care of your priorities so you can more gracefully and with a joyful spirit accomplish the other tasks set up for your day!

Our priorities help center our minds and prepare our hearts. And this week, I want to remember every morning that THESE are the most important things for me to get done. I’m not saying that you have to accomplish every one of your daily priorities, and ONLY THEN can you take care of everything else that needs doing. I often won’t get one on one time with Kyle until later in the evening! Rather, use your own priorities list as a centering tool and a reminder to focus on the positive and important – it doesn’t matter WHEN you talk with the Lord, but that you DID talk with Him. It doesn’t matter if you have quality time with your husband at 11 o’clock at night – what’s important is that you made the time.

6 DAILY PRIORITIES

This list is what I personally feel I need to make priorities – yours may look similar or maybe completely different. It’s all good!

1.       DEVOTIONS – whether you wake up early and talk with God or you wait until nap time, spending time with the Lord can make or break your day. There are days I definitely don’t feel like sacrificing “my time” to sit with the Lord (ironic right, considering the Lord is the one who gave me the time in the first place :P) but on the days I take the time to talk with God,  I tend to feel more content and joyful and my overall outlook on life is typically more positive.bible verses come and talk with me lord i am coming It’s okay if you only have a couple minutes here and a couple minutes there. Pray continually and take advantage of any spare minute you may have. Welcome the Spirit into your day and allow the Lord to work through you and in every part of your day.

2.       QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR HUSBAND – take the time to love your husband. Whether you talk about your day, play a game, watch a movie or simply just enjoy each other’s company. Whether you have 10 minutes or 4 hours. Spend time with your man. Quality over quantity. This is important for both of you and keeping a happy marriage!

3.       QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR KIDS – some days it’s so easy to just let Lillian entertain herself and leave her to her own devices while I try to tackle more tasks for the day. I have to remind myself how fleeting this time is. Lillian is only a child for a little while, and the time I invest in her life TRULY MATTERS. The dishes can wait. I can do the online shopping later. I can focus on my work later.  Unplug, and focus your undivided attention on your little ones for a little while. This is time well spent and you won’t look back and regret it later. Love your babies <3

4.       WORKOUT – for me personally this is something I try to make a priority. So often I find myself complaining about the way I look and groaning with unhappiness about myself. 1 corinthians 6:19-20I take this part of my heart to the Lord and say “Help Me, Lord!” and He reminds me that I actually have to DO something about it. Unfortunately, He isn’t going to give me a rocking body overnight… dang it! But I know that He will motivate and encourage me to get to a happy, and healthy, place physically. Sometimes this means a brisk 10-minute walk, or sometimes just 10 minutes of squats, crunches, and planks. Whatever time you’ve been given, use it. Doing even a little something is better than doing nothing.

5.       SPIFF UP THE HOUSE – yes, I know this shouldn’t be THAT big of a priority. But for me personally, when my house is in a somewhat tidy condition my anxiety is less intense and I feel more motivated throughout the day. It makes me feel more confident and I like for Kyle to come home and feel comfortable. Something as simple as a clean kitchen and empty sink with no dishes can completely change your mindset and mood.

6.       5 MINUTES “ME” TIME – at least five minutes! This is a lot easier said than done for many mamas – I know! But sometimes having just a little bit of time each day to do something that YOU want to do can truly lighten your spirit and encourage you to keep going. It’s easy to forget about yourself, especially when you have children and haven’t taken a shower in 4 days (don’t judge bro) I personally love a few minutes in the morning with a nice hot cup of coffee and a chance to just browse around on the internet. For some reason this helps start my day more positively – I get a few minutes to relax and wake up and it gives me a little time to do what I want to do. Without a little “me time” it’s easy to get irritable and swallowed by discontent. Try to snag a couple minutes for yourself! Even if it’s just throwing a brush through your hair and wisping a little mascara on!


It’s easy to get swallowed whole by our busy days and to-do lists! My goal this week is to refocus my attention on the things that are most important – not to allow myself to be choked by anxiety or allow the devil to heighten my feelings of being overwhelmed! I pray the Lord does the same for you and that every day, and in every moment, we know his presence and allow Him to guide and mold us into women of God.

What are some of your daily priorities?

Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies

Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies

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  DISCLAIMER: this is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.

As November has blown into Montana a runny nose and chest coughs have blown in with it – and therefore the need for a cold season survival kit for babies has come again! The colds that have decided to make residence around our home so far have been particularly nasty, sometimes adding low-grade fevers and earaches to the already long list of typical cold symptoms. As much as I really dislike being sick, I hate watching my baby girl struggle with illness even more! I remember as a child, my dad would always say things like “if I could take the pain away I would” or “if I could be sick instead I would!” I totally get it now! At the time it was comforting and I felt loved, but I didn’t understand the depth of those words. But boy, I’m becoming my father. I say the same things to Lillian now!

The winter Lillian was born proved to be a hard one for Montana and the crazy amount of viruses that blew through the Bitterroot Valley was unavoidable. I honestly don’t know how she got so many colds during her first few months on this earth, considering I didn’t take her out terribly often. And I rarely let people other than family and close friends hold her. But her little body kept getting cold after cold. As a first-time mom, it just killed me watching her struggle and I wished I could trade places with her! So, like any normal first-time mother, I went on a mission to find everything I could in hopes to ease her discomfort. Throughout the past few months, I have collected my favorite products and perfected my “cold season survival” regime! I hope this Cold Season Survival Kit for babies helps other mamas who are in search of safe and effective ways to nurse and love on their sick babes.


Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies
Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies

 Unfortunately, with newborns and babies under age 1, your options are a bit limited. But there are a handful of things you can do to ease pain and encourage a swift recovery. I used these for Lillian as a newborn and continue to use them to this day!

The first thing to remember as you let the cold work its course is to keep baby hydrated! The best thing for baby is your breast milk, which is full of antibodies that will help baby fight off the cold faster and stay hydrated! If you aren’t able to breastfeed and using formula instead that’s totally fine and just as good! Just make sure baby isn’t lacking for liquids!


 

MY FAVORITE THINGS – COLD SEASON SURVIVAL KIT for babies

  • Nose Frida – seriously, this thing is awesome! When I first had Lillian I remember seeing reviews for these on Pinterest and going, “EW!”  But decided to buy one and have on hand just in case. Boy, am I glad I made that decision! I have used this nose aspirator more times than I can even count. And don’t worry, you aren’t ACTUALLY sucking their snot into your mouth or anything. Ya silly goose! You can get the Nose Frida HERE. But if you still can’t get past the “ew” factor there are battery powered nose aspirators you can buy like THIS ONE. I personally like the Nose Frida as I can determine the sucking strength. Hahaha, that sounds so weird 😛 I recommend having extra filters on hand as needed!
  • Saline Mist – I love the baby’s saline mist as it can help loosen up baby’s boogies so they have an easier time breathing! Be sure to do a spray test before spraying in your baby’s nose so you don’t over-do it! You can pick up the “Little Remedies” brand HERE. I also liked this brand as well.
  • Boogie Wipes – When I first saw these I was definitely skeptical. There is NO WAY I was going to spend $4 on 30 moist towelettes! But I decided to test them out for myself and I’m pretty happy with the decision. I don’t use these wipes for every single nose wiping but like to have them around for the crusty noses. It was uncomfortable for Lillian’s little nose when I would try to clean the crustiness off with a normal Kleenex. The saline in these wipes really helps loosen everything up so that wiping their little noses is so much easier and less painful! You can also save money and buy this three pack or this six-pack on Amazon. Score!
  • Vick’s Baby Rub – I seriously LOVE this stuff. It’s one of my absolute essentials for cold season! Vick's Baby Rub Soothing Ointment The smell is subtle, pleasant and comforting, especially when a cough and stuffy head are attacking! I like to rub this on Lillian’s chest and feet and even put a little tiny dab on the tip of her nose to help encourage easy breathing! You can find off brands at most drug stores as well.
  • Humidifier – having a humidifier around for cold season is SO nice. Every time Lillian is fighting a cold I like to plug in her humidifier when she’s sleeping. A large humidifier can run you anywhere from $35 and up, and if you’re anything like me (aka cheap) oftentimes you don’t feel like spending the money. I found THIS nice little humidifier on Amazonurpower humidifier for a nice price and have been really happy with it! Lillian’s room is small enough – but I would recommend looking into a larger humidifier like this for a larger area – and it’s only $35. I sometimes drop some essential oils into our humidifier as well – double check this is compatible with your humidifier before doing so!
  • Aquaphor BabyI like to keep Aquaphor Baby around all the time, not just for cold seasons! I love how thick and moisturizing this lotion is for dry skin and eczema. I’ll use some Aquaphor on Lillian’s little nose every day to keep it from getting too dry and scaly. A little bit goes a long way so you won’t need to buy a new bottle every month! A++ Get Aquaphor Baby HERE.
  • Zarbee’s Baby Immune Support & Vitamins this is not a necessary item for cold season but I personally like having it around to give Lillian’s immune support an extra boost! I would warn to be careful when giving this to a newborn, as it’s a bit thick and harder to swallow. When Lillian was a newborn, I would give her slow little sips of it so not to overwhelm her! Get Zarbee’s Immune Support HERE. Probiotics are also something I am all about! There are many different kinds and be sure to check labels on ages – this one on Amazon is a good probiotic – and once your kiddos are older, Plexus has an awesome Multi-Vitamin + Probiotic for kiddos you can get HERE.
  • Essential Oilsthe first time Lillian got a cold as a baby a friend of mine (thank you, Dani!) came over and gave me some wonderful oils to help!essential oils set rahda beauty I have since continued using these oils every time a cold comes knocking. A lemon citrus concoction that I rub on her feet and a peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus and olive oil mixture I will put on her chest and behind her ears (and a few drops in her humidifier!) I find these oils to be incredibly comforting and relaxing for a sick babe! You can find oils just about anywhere, but this set I find on Amazon and include just about everything you may need for cold season survival!
  • Shea Moisture Baby Oilthis baby oil is my absolute favorite! shea moisture baby oil rub This is not a necessity but who doesn’t love a nice warm bath when you don’t feel well! Put a few drops of this baby oil in the bath, set up a space heater in the bathroom and give your little one a nice little soak. They will smell glorious afterward and I’m sure they will be happier. You can get this two pack on Amazon!
  • Hyland’s Tiny Cold Tablets – PLEASE NOTE: these are NOT for newborns. I personally like to steer away from medicine for babies as much as possible but there are times you just need a little something extra to help them sleep and get a little relief. These tiny cold tablets are for babies 6 months and up (unless instructed by a physician) and can truly be wonderful if your little one is suffering miserably. I realize everyone has mixed opinions on these sorts of things, and I am in no way trying to tell you your need to use these! I am not a doctor and these opinions are my own. But these can truly be helpful when needed. Be sure to read your labels for usage directions!
  • Steaming – one thing you can do to help a baby with congestion and a stuffy nose is steaming. I’ll go into our bathroom and close the door and turn the shower on as hot as it will go and let the bathroom steam up. Sit in the bathroom with your little one and let them breathe in some warm steamy air to help clear out their nasal passages and breathe easier! Steaming can be especially helpful if your baby is suffering from croup. (If your baby is suffering from croup, stepping outside briefly for a breath of cool fresh air can do serious wonders!)

Snuggle Time

It’s absolutely no fun to watch your little one suffer – but with prayer, time and TLC your little one will be back to normal before you know it. Don’t forget the power of some comfy PJ’s, cuddles and a warm cozy room! More often than not, you are the best medicine for your little one. Lots of love all around! Relax and enjoy those snuggles.

P.S.  If you are worried about your baby’s cold and your inner mommy radar is giving you a red flag, call your doctor. You know your little one the best and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most doctors’ offices have nurses on hand that you can call and simply talk to about your questions and concerns, with no cost to you. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are concerned! For me personally, it was comforting to have the reassurance that everything was totally fine and normal.

Do you have any products or home remedies you use to help your sick babies?? Let me know!

MINTED Online Invitations

kids invitations online invitations minted

(This post contains affiliate links – we receive a small commission through affiliated links with the Minted Affiliate Program, with no extra cost to you. For additional information, see our Privacy Policy)

I recently tried out Minted online invitations as I planned Lillian’s birthday party. As silly as it may sound, I know the Lord sent me this site because I had spent HOURS looking for the perfect online invitation set up. He sent me Minted when I was just about to go insane and lose it! Ha! but seriously…

As I sat down and began planning Lillian’s ONE-year birthday party, a number of ideas flew through my head at once and I very nearly became overwhelmed! I decided that first and foremost I needed a beautiful and easy way to send invitations – and I wasn’t about to spend a fortune on 1-year-old party invitations that I  knew would just get thrown in the trash! I began scouring Pinterest for Evite invitations and as I found many decent options, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted… online invites shouldn’t be this complicated, right? Wrong! There were invites for free but you had ads all over, you could purchase an e-vite but the price increased as your guest list increased, you could pay a monthly fee or an annual fee. But what I really needed was clean, cut, classic, beautiful, no ads, and cheap. After a hours browsing pages all over the internet, I finally came upon MINTED online invitations.

Let’s get this out in the open right now. I’m in love. I’m in love with stationary and thick cardstock that smells gloriously of trees. I’m in love with foil stamped and classic beauty! So basically I’m in love with Minted.

Minted just came out with NEW digital online invitations and they are stunning!Minted online invitations evite invitations They offer online wedding invitations as well, which is crazy cool. And the beautiful thing is that, right now, they are offering all online invitations for FREE until December 31st! Seriously, if you are planning holiday parties or a birthday party, or any other party for that matter this is the way to go! Lillian’s Birthday invitation turned out so beautiful and the E-vite design is gorgeous. With their digital invitations, Minted also offers simple guest management so you can easily keep track of your guest list. They offer coordinating print products AND it’s optimized for mobile devices! The ultimate WIN!

 

I am so happy and excited about these invitations I had to share in case I have other friends looking for beautiful and affordable online invitations! If you are looking for beautiful online invitations, head over and check out MINTED online invitations – they also have gorgeous Holiday cards, Save-the-Dates, personalized gift ideas and more!

 minted more join today holiday cards minted holiday gifts 5 card designs free

3 Things I Use to Bring Joy to my Children.


bring joy to my childrenWe are members of Amazon Associates. We receive a small commission off any items you purchase through our site, with no extra cost to you. Thank you.        

Hello Everyone! 🙂

There are countless ways for us to bring joy into our children’s day. For me personally, there are three things I use often if not almost every day to bring joy into my children’s lives. These are merely simple but fun products and activities that I would love to share. I hope they give you and your little ones as much joy as they have given us!

It is so important to help bring joy into our kids’ lives. As you may have guessed, I am emphatic about being a joyful woman! But what about helping our kids possess joy as well?

Many times, our own joy will rub off on our kids. If we are happy, smiling mothers we can help our children’s grumpy countenance transform into a joyful one. Our little ones do not know how to reign in their emotions. They know little of how to grasp onto joy and keep clinging to it even when life gets hard. We have to do a large part of that for them. We need to cultivate joy in our children’s lives and help them enjoy life.

How? Well, I’m glad you ask.

  1. Check yourself. How is your attitude today? As the mom, our attitudes can set the tone for the whole house, for the whole day. Where are the smiles? Are you showing your children that you delight in them or do you get them out of bed, annoyed that they woke you up too early?
  2. Don’t let your kids’ grumpiness get to you and ruin your own attitude. This is extremely important but also extremely difficult. I struggle with this one more than I like to admit. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face and joy in your heart when your child is an ungrateful grumpy butt that seems bound and determined to ruin your day. Don’t give in!! Even if you have, take a deep breath and count to ten. Start all over again.
  3. Initiate fun and enjoyable experiences with your children. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. It can merely be small acts that help bring a smile to your children’s face and make them enjoy being with you. Here are a few things I do to make that happen…..

The 3 Things I use to Bring my Children Joy:

  1. The Jesus Story Book Biblejesus bible

I love this Bible and the beautiful artistry. Sally Lloyd-Jones is amazing at putting the gospel into words that are fit for children but can also touch the heart of an adult. Every morning at breakfast I try to read a small excerpt from this bible. We will start at the beginning and read a section at a time until we reach the end. Then, we start all over again.

As we all know, God’s word is living and active. This may not be a direct translation of the writing word but it speaks God’s truth and therefore, I believe, can do mighty works in our children’s hearts. Even if they do not fully understand what I am reading, I know that God is planting seeds.

My 3-year-old will ask lots of questions about the pictures. I can also use it as a way to bring homeschooling into our day. If he points to an animal or a certain object we will look up information about it so we can learn more.

heart sing*Sally Lloyd-Jones also wrote a little devotional that is phenomenal. “Thoughts to make your heart sing”. I literally cry when I read it. I read it to the boys but I read it more for myself. It is simplistically beautiful and the Spirit is present in those pages. 

 

 

 

2. Slugs and Bugs CD’s  Mobile Image

There are 5 options for this one!! Randall Goodgame has made some incredible children’s CDs.

Sing the Bible 1

Sing the Bible 2

Slugs and Bugs, Under Where?

Slugs and Bugs, Lullabies

Slugs and Bugs, Christmas   *(This is the only one I do not own at this time)

My kids and I LOVE these CDs. I usually do not like listening to children’s music but I put this on in the car almost every day and rarely get tired of it. I find myself laughing more than my kids do. The songs bring a smile to our faces.

We listen to one of these CDs every day. Whether that be dancing in the 5th wheel to the fun Chicken Wiggle song or learning bible verses in the car as we run errands. I find these songs to be real joy givers and they give me an excuse to be silly with my boys. 🙂

Now, they are rather pricier than a regular CD. I was a little shocked when I looked up the price for the first time. I never regretted spending that money though. I dare you to buy only one and keep yourself from buying more.

*Thank you, Raquel, for first introducing to me all the items above. I have never loved kid products as much as I do these.

3. Snap-Chat

Now, I know what you are thinking.

“Snap chat? Really? That’s just ridiculous.”

This may seem like an odd thing for me to use with my children, I know, but they really love it. There is nothing like laughter to brighten your day and snap-chat makes me and my kids laugh ALOT!! We make funny faces together and send them to their fun-loving Aunts who, in return, send us funny faces.

The only downside I have found to using snap chat is some of the face options are strange or even scary. During the Halloween season, they had a bunch of creepy themes and we ended up not using snap chat for a week or two for that reason. But that is only a certain time of year, thank goodness. Usually, the themes are goofy or silly. The shape-shifting options are the boys’ favorites because they can change your voice as well. They giggle and have a grand old time. 🙂 (Except for when they argue over who gets to go next, which we are working on nipping in the butt.)

So there you have it. The three things I use to bring joy into my children’s day. See how simple they are! We don’t have to work extra hard to make our kids lives joyful. It’s the simple things in life that we remember. And I know that our kids will grow up and look back and remember dancing in the kitchen to silly songs or reading Bible stories at breakfast or taking funny pictures. Or maybe even remember getting whip cream sprayed in their mouth. (That’s for another blog post. 😉 )

There are many more fun ideas I could tell but I thought we should stick with three for now. If I kept going your eyes would glaze over and you would get bored!

If you enjoyed this list and would like more ideas, let me know! Leave your comments below or subscribe to our mailing list.

I would love to hear what you do to bring joy into your children’s lives! I am always looking for new ideas.

Signing off,

Shiree

*These items mentioned above are also great Christmas gifts. 😉

 

 

 

Surviving Miscarriage

Surviving Miscarriage

Finding Hope through Pain

   There are certain chapters of life that seem to define and refine our character more swiftly than others. Unfortunately, many of those chapters are uncomfortable and painful. We are left feeling significantly more exhausted rather than refined. This was definitely the case for me when it came to the “chapter” in my life I have so unfortunately labeled “surviving miscarriage.” A chapter labeled so because it was painful, and I don’t particularly enjoy reflecting on. But since my miscarriage,

no pit so deep God's love is deeper still surviving miscarriagemany have come to me seeking help and encouragement as they struggle down the same road. And it is for these people that I reflect on my own story.

 If you are reading this now, having recently suffered a miscarriage yourself, and you are looking for anything or anyone that can tell you something to help dull that relentless aching in your chest, my prayer for you is that the Lord will wrap his arms around you and use these words as a comfort – if only for a few moments. Don’t give up Sweet Mama.

Surviving Miscarriage

I remember when I saw those two pink lines. In a split second, my whole world shifted. A new label had been stamped upon my heart as my identity as “MOM” was born. For as long as I could remember, I had dreamed of being a mother. I was never a career driven woman. Instead, the Lord had instilled the desire to be a wife and mother deep into every part of my being. And with those two little pink lines, I felt him handing me my dreams. In that tiny little studio apartment bathroom, my whole life changed.

In the following weeks, I basically floated on clouds. Anticipating and dreaming about life as “mommy.” Oh, I could just imagine the smell of his skin and the feel of his body in my arms. But as my pregnancy progressed, my cramping progressed as well. I tried to calm myself and remember that God was in control. ‘My mother had never had a miscarriage; none of my sisters had a miscarriage. I was being anxious for nothing.’ But in the back of my mind, these worries gnawed at my mind and filled me with dread.

It was a Saturday morning when I sat down on the toilet and noticed the little spot of blood. I frantically spent the day scouring the internet, calling my midwife, talking to Kyle, talking to my sister – hoping something would put me at ease. ‘A little bit of spotting early on in pregnancy can be normal and expected,’ I told myself. ‘I could only keep an eye on it and pray that it was nothing.’

surviving miscarriage when I rise psalm
Psalm 139:18

Sunday morning came heavy and stressful. The amount of anxiety I felt made my chest feel as if someone was suffocating me. The bleeding was consistent and as I sat in the back of the church, I knew what was coming. And yet I still couldn’t accept it – the bleeding would go away, and tomorrow would be back to normal. My sweet Kyle suffered with me and I so vividly remember watching him at church – bible open but not really listening. His eyes closed as I know he silently prayed for the Lord to intervene. We spent Sunday afternoon in tears, internally trying to come to terms with what was to come.

            I started having contractions around 9 on Sunday night. I sat in the bathroom and felt every one of those contractions like the swift painful blows they were. Nobody ever explained to me just how bad it would hurt – physically and emotionally. Through it all, Kyle stood by my side and held me until it was over.

In that tiny little studio apartment bathroom, my whole life changed.

Sleep evaded us for the rest of the night as we laid on the couch in silence. Our Christmas lights twinkled but there was no joy in the soft glow they tossed around the room.no greater agony miscarriage maya angelou

We buried that sweet babe of ours in a little box that once held thank you cards. On that bitter cold Monday in December, Kyle dug a hole in the frozen ground. And as we buried our little baby, I buried pieces of my heart – with all the hopes and dreams it held.

The weeks that followed were hard. I spent much of my time in an incoherent haze, putting together puzzles and attempting to stay busy, simply avoiding the truth. But let me tell you something, it was in those moments that God spoke to my heart.

I didn’t necessarily feel close to Him, as the ache in my chest clouded everything, but I knew that He was near.

Looking back now I can’t quite peg the exact time I began to “feel better.” It seemed like ages until I felt even remotely normal again. But now I recognize everything the Lord did for me during that time. The encouragement and hope I so desperately needed, He poured out in different ways. HE gave me the strength to keep going. The array of emotions I felt were many. Through each question, each doubt, each worry and every tear, God gave me what I needed. Sometimes it was with a verse or a song. Other times with a letter from a friend or a random text message –  and even through a lonely flower in a department store. The Lord knew what I needed, even if I felt like I was stumbling along the way.

If you are suffering this pain right now, I hope and pray you allow the Lord to speak to your heart right now.

  • This is not your fault. Miscarriage is more common than you would believe (not that it makes it any easier of course) but don’t beat yourself with guilt. I repeat – THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. That donut you ate didn’t cause the miscarriage, the jog you went on didn’t do it, your stress didn’t cause it, you and your husband having sex didn’t cause it and that small glass of wine you drank before you realized you were pregnant didn’t cause it. Miscarriage happens and the cause is almost never because of something the mother did. Nothing you did caused your miscarriage and there’s nothing you could have done. This is not your fault. Don’t beat yourself up. You weren’t a bad mother!
  • God loves you. He loves your baby. Even now God is watching over your baby. It’s a comfort for me personally to imagine Jesus holding and loving on my sweet babe.
    the first sight when he opened his eyes was Jesus surviving miscarriage
    the first sight

    There are certain times in life that make it hard to understand why God would allow something to hurt us. But the pain of this world was not God’s original intention. Genesis speaks of God creating the world and saying it is “supremely GOOD.” Without pain and suffering! This is not the way He wanted things to be. But the beauty of God’s promise to His children is that he vows to make all things new. The pain we endure in this world will pass away and God will restore what has been taken. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:5) When the Lord comes back he will give back what was lost. Don’t forget that God sees the whole picture – this is hard to keep in mind and dwell on when you are in pain. But like a large tapestry the Lord is sewing, you are a couple stitches – important and with purpose, yet small in the scheme of things. And yet, together each stitch plays a role. We do not see the purpose as the stitch is sewn but our designer sees and knows. And He does not make mistakes. The Lord will fill you with joy you long for – even after a miscarriage – he will make things new. Although hard times come – he will “make all things work together for good for those who love him.” Romans 8:28

    Rest in the knowledge that Jesus himself is watching over your baby.

  • It will stop hurting and it will get better. One day, it will stop hurting and be less overwhelming. I promise that one day, joy WILL come in the morning! Give your pain and heart to God. Tell Him of your pain, your anger, and your hurt! Matthew 7:7 says “seek and you will find.” Only God can give you the answers and peace you desire. He alone understands your heart and suffering– for He himself gave his own son to die for us. Take up your cross with him. He will give you the strength and the courage. Every day you will heal a tiny bit more. As time goes on your wound will be more bearable. Now, sweet mama, this is important – when it doesn’t hurt as bad and you start to laugh and enjoy life again, do not be ashamed or feel guilty as though feeling happy again is a disgrace to your baby’s memory. Rest in the knowledge that Jesus himself is watching over your baby. jesus holding your baby from miscarriageYour sweet babe has been spared from the troubles of this world and is forever in eternity with the Lord – I promise he is happy and content as ever! Give that baby to Jesus, hold his memory close to your heart, but know that it is okay to be happy again. One day you will see your sweet babe in heaven. All will be made new.
  • Do not be ashamed of your pain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mourning your lost baby. Do not let others make you feel stupid for missing something you never truly had. Because that baby WAS REAL. As real as if he was right in front of you! Trust me, mama, I know!
    a child that never comes surviving miscarriage
    miscarriage david platt

    From the moment you knew that baby was growing inside of you, you had begun to dream of a life with him. What his face would look like, the smell of his skin, the feel of his toes on your lips and his hand around your finger. You could almost imagine how it would feel to hear him call you “mommy.” You put all your heart and hopes and dreams into that baby. You could feel your body and heart changing and making room. I know you lost part of yourself, Mama. It’s okay to be upset. No, you didn’t carry to full term and then lose the baby. No, you didn’t experience life with that child to only lose it later, etc, etc. I know these are not the things you want to hear people say – yet say these things they will. I promise they aren’t intentionally trying to rub salt in an open wound. Sweet Mama, these comments do not mean your pain is not as genuine. Perhaps one day you will see the mercy in these truths, but for now, just pray and let it be. Take the time you need to mourn. Pray and pray some more. And then pick up the broken pieces and put them in the hands of Jesus. Let him put you back together again.

  • You may have moments of jealous anger. There may be times that you see other women with newborns and women “about to pop” from full-term pregnancies and you will feel jealous and upset. “Why do they have their baby and I lost mine.” Then after you think these things, you will be filled with deep regret. Of course, we do not wish this pain on anyone else and we would never wish to trade places. It’s okay Momma! You are working through the agony you feel in your heart. Place that anger and pain and guilt at Jesus’ feet. He will wrap you in His arms and cover you with his wings. (Psalm 91:4)

 Pick up the broken pieces and put them in the hands of Jesus. Let him put you back together again.

  • The Lord knows what you want. Psalm 37:4 says He knows the desires of our hearts. Mama, God KNOWS what you long for in your heart. Whether it’s a baby or something else! Live your life for the lord and he will bless you – perhaps not in the way you think He will, but He knows what we need before we ask. Perhaps He has plans to give you a baby through natural means, or maybe he plans to use you through adoption – blessing a sweet soul who is praying for parents just as you are praying for a baby. Perhaps He is leading you towards IVF, surrogacy or something else entirely. Whatever it may be, lay your heart before the Lord and pray for the Lord’s direction. Ask what he would have for you and where He wishes to lead you.
  • The Lord will use you. After my miscarriage, a friend of mine sent me a text of encouragement and told me that one day the Lord would use this experience and pain in my life and use it for His good. He would ask me to love and minister to others who have experienced the same thing. At that time, I didn’t ponder much on this comment as I was my heart was overwhelmed. But it’s amazing how much truth was in that statement. Since we lost our little one, the number of people the Lord has brought to me in pain and looking for strength has been crazy. The Lord uses each one of us in kind, and I know that one day the Lord will use you to minister to others as well. Encourage others you know suffering as you have. Be an empathetic ear and tell them how the Lord has delivered you! Allow God to use you even when it may be hard.
  • Don’t be afraid to try again. After my miscarriage, I was actually more eager to try for a baby than I was in the first place! I wanted to know that I could get pregnant again and that I could make it stick. Yet thinking about being pregnant again was seriously terrifying. It’s so easy to let fear control our lives. Don’t let it! Lay your fears at Jesus’ feet and PRAY. There really is no other way. Yes, a miscarriage could happen again. Yes, maybe some other knowledge will come to the surface that causes more roadblocks on the way to motherhood. At this point I had to ask myself, do I TRULY believe that God is who He says he is? If it came down to the fact that I couldn’t have a baby myself, (one of my biggest “what if’s”) would I still believe and trust that God IS God and that He can (and will) make good out of dust? (Linda Dillow talks about this in her book excerpt “Trusting God with my What ifs and Whys” – I recommend reading it!) When you can answer that question with an honest yes… then what do we have to fear? In my biggest worries and with my biggest fears at my doorstep, will I lean on the Lord and know that He knows best? As he leads you, towards having another baby or something else, I promise you will not regret going forward on the path He has set out for you.

misccariage encouragement surviving miscarriage he is still good
He is still Good – Daniel 3:18

Many questions and fears will plague our hearts after we lose a baby, and these reminders are good to keep in your pocket, but if you are surviving miscarriage now, I realize that at this point it’s difficult to remember anything except bad memories. For now, I would say, just pray. Pray about everything and pray constantly. The Lord will fight this battle for you. Keep holding on Mama, God is not done with you yet! It will get better and maybe one day in the coming future, you will be holding your rainbow baby – thanking Jesus for the rainbow after the storm.

 

 

VERSES FOR SURVIVING MISCARRIAGE

“I will never leave you or abandon you.”   Hebrews 13:5

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge.”   Psalm 91:4

“God has more in store for you than you can even imagine.”    Ephesians 3:20

“She holds onto hope for He is forever faithful.”    1 Corinthians 1:9

“I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name.”    Isaiah 49:16

“Seek and you will find.”    Matthew 7:7

“And when I wake up, you are still with me.”    Psalm 139:18

“Be still and know that I am God.”    Psalm 46:10

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”   Proverbs 3:5-6

“Call to me and I will answer.”   Jeremiah 33:3

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”    Psalm 126:5-6

 

Pregnancy after Miscarriage

When I became pregnant with Lillian, fear became one of my nearly constant companions. These were the verses I kept in my heart and head the whole time. I hope they encourage you if you find yourself in a similar situation.