Our house, home

There are art supplies and paper clippings, dried glue globs and crayon wrappers all over my “formal” dining room.

There are legos, deflated balloons, dirt clods and crumbs under the ledge of my cabinets in our “newly remodeled” kitchen.

There are sippy cups and dirty underwear, pacifiers and baby wipes strewn around my “spacious” living room.

There are at least twenty newborn sized dirty diapers, 5 loads of clean unfolded laundry and bedsheets stained with spit-up in our master suite.

There are three swings blowing in the fierce spring wind of western Nebraska and one trampoline that inches closer to the fence with every big gust in our “park-like” back yard.

There are two kids playing house in the room painted pink and one baby nearing witching hour in my arms.

There is one tired momma in one of the two matching rocking chairs we bought when we were hoping, praying, to rock our own babies one day.

There is one happy couple in this “ranch style brick house with views of the monument” who woke up this morning, still tired, maybe grumpy, definitely in need of coffee who may or may not have realized they have everything they ever prayed for and more.


One year after purchasing our Nebraska house, I’m so happy we can call it home!

Naomi’s birth story

I’m not usually one to post about birth stories. Do people really want to read about someone else’s labor pains and all of the other less-than-lovely things that come along with bringing a baby into this world? Maybe? Maybe not. Either way I felt Naomi’s story was one deserving to be shared.


I have weird labors. I typically start Braxton Hicks contractions around 20 weeks. The contractions slowly increase in intensity and frequency as I get closer to my due date. They get so real feeling toward the end that I can’t tell the difference between them and actual labor. The only reason in the past I knew I was in labor was because my water broke.

I’m always terrified of going into the hospital only to be sent home not in labor. I know it doesn’t matter, but I’d like to be one of those “tough girls” who labor at home all day only to walk themselves into the hospital to deliver their baby one hour later (I can hear my husband laughing at reading that last sentence). But this time was different. My water didn’t break and I once again was having weird contractions but this wasn’t like my other babes. These contractions just felt odd. And even though I was really skeptical I was in actual labor, I felt like I had to go in.

I was planning my second VBAC. After an extremely successful VBAC with Sawyer, and a statistically less than one percent chance of uterine rupture, I felt fully confident I’d have a second without a problem. Once we arrived at the hospital, my fear was confirmed. I was 3cm and not in actual labor.

But after a couple hours on the monitor, it was clear something wasn’t quite right with Naomi. Her heartbeat was irregular and she had frequent dips that caused the monitor alarms to go off (scary stuff). The doctor didn’t feel comfortable sending us home and decided to do an ultrasound to check her out.

Much to my surprise, my perfectly normal, healthy baby the whole pregnancy didn’t look well on the screen. She wasn’t moving the way a 38 week old baby should and the doctor didn’t know why. All of the sudden we went from being sent home to being rushed into a c-section not knowing how our baby would be when she was born.

In what seemed like minutes she was born. It turns out I had an infection that was causing the problem, but miraculously we caught it before it had any affect on Naomi. She was a perfectly healthy 7lb 3oz, 19″ baby girl.

As for me, they pumped me full of antibiotics for the next few days that took care of the infection and had me feeling human again.

During the surgery they also discovered that my uterus was so thin, they could see through it. Despite my previously successful VBAC, I would have ruptured if I had attempted a VBAC with Naomi. This would have likely killed me. Crazy, and humbling to think about!

Throughout the whole thing Gods hand was so evident. The strong urge I had to go to the hospital, despite my serious doubts (and fear) that I was in actual labor 10 days before my due date. The irregular heartbeat that Naomi had just days after a perfectly normal check-up was a red flag and kept us there. The kind doctor who took the time to monitor my baby just for my peace of mind even though I wasn’t in labor. Catching the infection before it had any adverse affect on Naomi. The c-section, against my plans, that quite possibly saved my life.


Just days before all of this happened I was feeling really low. I wasn’t feeling well physically (likely because of the infection but I didn’t know it), I felt like I was lazy or somehow incapable of handling pregnancy as well as it seemed everyone else was. The whole pregnancy had been challenging for me. From sickness to irrational fears of miscarriage I’d not done great with the whole thing.

Reading through my Bible study homework in Hosea on March 2nd I felt very convicted that I needed to let go of all of my “plans”. That I was, through all of this, behaving much more like the stubborn calf being led (drug) along rather than embracing the freedom, like a sheep in broad pasture, willingly and happily being guided by the Shepard. (Hosea 4:16)

And there I was, two days later, delivering this miracle baby…against all of my plans, despite all of my fears, willingly in the hands of my Shepard who saved us both. I am forever changed.

January reads

This year I made it a goal to read 24 books. I was able to read 24 books last year also, and though I debated bumping the number up a bit, I realized that 24 books was about all I could handle. I’m a very slow reader (any way to improve on this?!) and two books a month is plenty for this busy mama.

So far I’m right on schedule! Here is what I read in January:

  1. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty


This is a story that follows a wealthy family through their history together and the sudden loss of their wealth. The family now has the opportunity to reinvent their lives and themselves. Do they choose to continue to live a life of ease and plenty, or write their own story independent of their rich family history? It was interesting and pulled me in the whole time. Overall a pretty good read.

2. Present over Perfect


Like I said, I’m a slow reader. So I try to be really intentional with what I choose to read, knowing it’s quite the time investment! I chose this book based on price (it was $1.99!) and catchy/trendy/appealing title. All not great reasons to choose a book. I’m not saying it was a bad read. There are plenty of nuggets of truth woven throughout this book that are directly applicable to anyones busy lives. The thing I didn’t like about it was I just couldn’t relate to the author, no matter how hard I tried. I’ll leave it at that. It is certainly worth the read if you feel like you’re leading a frantic, busy, achievement-oriented life and need a good re-set!

What are you reading? What books have you loved, you know the ones that you stay up until 3am reading because you can’t put them down? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Planning an unbusy summer


It’s been awhile. Sorry about that. We moved in May, had family visits, took a Michigan trip and finished up potato planting season. The blog took a backseat for awhile because, #life.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being busy. At the start of the summer (which was early May for us) I tried to intentionally create a summer of long, warm, easy days for my kids and myself to just enjoy. My plan was to not book a bunch of camps, or activities for them or commit to a bunch of work projects. I thought I’d just do less, plan nothing and my perfect unbusy summer would happen. But yet there I was standing among the chaos of the summer reading program at the library feeling really busy again.

I guess the old saying is true: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Even if your plan is to just do nothing for a day.

The thing I realized is, if I’m not intentional about how I spend my time, that chest heavy busy feeling will inevitably sneak in to steal my joy. Because that busy feeling is more than just being over booked, its about all the things that are on my mind that I have to do. Becoming unbusy takes more than clearing your schedule and hoping nothing else pops up. It takes planning. (Lame right?) But lets be real, you know you can’t just relax and play with your kids if you’ve got a deadline to meet, or tons of laundry to do or overdue errands to run.

So, if your craving that “free space” you’ve gotta set yourself up for success during the other times. Here are a few ways that I’ve found have helped me feel less busy this summer.

  1. Plan for it. Want a fun day with just your family and no distractions? Clear those distractions ahead of time OR restrict them to only a certain portion of your day. For me it’s planning my work hours from 5-8am so that it doesn’t bleed over into my day with the kids.
  2. Or more like point 1b? Either way…unplug when finished. Put away the laptop, phone, tablet, whatever distracts you from enjoying the moment and staying engaged throughout the day.
  3. Be prepared for the time you want to have. For example, I wanted to take some time to work with Kenzie on her school stuff this summer, you know so she doesn’t forget everything during the nearly 4 months (!) she gets off. So I have to be prepared for this, it’s not going to just happen. I purchased some “fun” pencils and workbooks at the local teachers store so we’re ready to roll whenever we have quiet time during the day.
  4. Make a summer bucket list and try to schedule a few things each week. For me, I wanted to reach the end of the summer and feel like we hit all the things that make summer summer.  Things like hiking, fishing, swimming at the lake/pool, backyard campfires, etc. You get the point.
  5. As much as possible, sandwich your busy days with quiet ones. If you know you’re going to be totally crazy one day this week, stay home as much as possible the day before and after to prepare and recover. Probably not necessary for older kids (?), but for those of us in the trenches with multiple littles (especially newborns and babies) those rest days are lifesaving.
  6. It wouldn’t be a minimalist blog if I didn’t throw this in here… get rid of extra junk in your home. You can seriously cut your cleaning time in 1/2 by doing this. So.Worth.It.
  7. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. I feel like we succeed and fail at all of this daily. The point is we’re trying. And at the end of the summer if we’ve spent 1/3 of it doing what we hoped we would, it’s 100% more than if I hadn’t tried at all.

You see what I’ve realized is becoming less busy isn’t about doing nothing. It’s about creating the space for things that matter in your day. That way you’re not laying in bed at night with that running narrative in your head saying you need to read more, play with your kids, take them to the beach, do family devotions… you get the idea. I’d love to hear your unbusy summer strategies!

Shedding excess: It’s not just about a clean house.

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Yesterday in church our pastor spoke on joy. He made the illustration of happiness as a cheap umbrella that gives us the illusion of protection, but when life starts to rain it fails. Joy, on the other hand, is like a sturdy roof. A roof that protects us even when life gives us hail.

Anyone else out there getting some hail right about now?

How does this tie into owning less? You see…we collect stuff and fill our homes overflowing with things that make us happy. But it’s not the kind of happy that will last when life gets hard. (And if you’ve lived longer than a day, you know life gets hard). Our houses are overflowing but our hearts are empty.

This is so clearly demonstrated by our kids. Ever walk through the toy aisle with your toddler? If you have, you know they will undoubtedly find something that they cannot live without. In fact, if they leave the store without it they will surely perish within moments from the crushing disappointment of leaving it behind. If you’re like me, you sometimes give in to their request only to realize that they didn’t even bring it in from the car before they’re on to the next thing. The happiness that came with that new toy already forgotten.

Aren’t we all like that sometimes (although not so dramatically, I hope)?

Part of my purpose for clearing out excess was to create space to focus on filling my heart with Christ’s love, and I can’t do that if I’m chasing temporary happiness. Maybe for you it’s not stuff. Maybe it’s commitments, people pleasing, drugs, work, food…whatever, you name it.

There is nothing wrong with being happy, just as long is it’s supported by a good solid layer of joy.

This is not meant to be a preachy post, if it feels like it know I’m saying it to myself as much as to you. My point is, it’s not just about having a clean house (because trust me, my house still isn’t clean). It’s about making space for what is truly worthy and filling up on that instead.

What would you do if you had the time?


One of my big motivators throughout this process has been to open some time in my schedule to pursue the things that are on my heart.

I felt so burdened by my job keeping house (and everything that goes along with it) that I honestly couldn’t see space for anything else. Because of this I became very protective of my time. People would approach me with opportunities and ideas and even though they were things I would have loved to do or needs I wanted to meet, the very thought of adding more to my plate sent my head spinning.

I thought if I made a weekly housekeeping schedule it would help break the work up into small, manageable chunks and would free up more time in my daily life. While it did guarantee I kept house that almost always was clean, it didn’t really reduce the amount of time per day I spent cleaning.

The thing is, once you create a clean environment, it’s kind of addicting. A routinely clean house means those little messes you once didn’t notice become eyesores. Although a cleaning schedule is a good thing, the truth is a house keeping schedule + a clutter filled house = constant maintenance. Add in a couple kiddos and it becomes a full-time job. The messes just follow you from room to room to room until your feet ache and the day is over.

I was so frustrated. The point of maintaining this schedule was to feel more free, not less! When my second child was born I knew something would have to change. What extra free time I had was now completely occupied by my son, and I was over spending so much time doing something I really didn’t like!

So I started exploring minimalism and how I could apply this concept to my home.

Having less stuff to maintain means I spend less time maintaining it. It’s rocket science, I know, but yet it never occurred to me that I didn’t have a cleaning problem I had a stuff problem.

There is no way to escape cleaning your house, but it goes so much faster when 2/3 of the time is not spent picking stuff up before you can even start cleaning. What used to take me most of my mornings now takes less than an hour and maintaining a clean house throughout the day is a breeze. One great perk is if we last minute decide to host someone for dinner or coffee or whatever, the house can literally be ready in minutes. Not letting a messy house get in the way of being hospitable has been so rewarding.

Yes, I am still a mom. Yes my kids still dominate my time (and I wouldn’t have it any other way). But by becoming more minimal I’ve found some time to add people and activities into my life that I love. Be careful to add only one thing at a time and wait a few weeks before adding another. Doing this will help to make sure you’re not getting too excited and headed straight for a burn-out!

If you didn’t have to spend so much time chasing your tail cleaning house, what would you do? What do you love? Who would you help? What would you volunteer for? The opportunities are endless and having a choice with your flex time is so freeing!

3 ways to break through your minimizing slump.

I’ve been steadily working my way though the process of discarding a bunch of stuff in order to live a more minimal life. It blows my mind when I think about how many car loads of belongings have been carted out of here…yet there is still so much left. It’s both a motivating and disheartening realization. There is still so much work to do.

As with any new goal, once the “newness” wears off it’s hard to keep going. I love to read, but by the time I reach the middle of nearly every book I pick up, I get bored and distracted by the promise of a new book and I put down the old one…never to return. This year I made a goal to actually finish 24 books so I’ve been powering through the middle-of-the-book slump, but the same can be said for other goals I’ve made both now and in the past.

Ever set a resolution to lose weight, eat right and exercise only to find by March you’ve given up? Ever started a week out with the best of intentions to cook every night, then by Wednesday you’re scanning the take-out menus? Yeah, me too.

I’m reaching my “March” the less exciting phase. The phase where the new idea of minimizing and the promise of the freedom that will follow have wained to the actual work of getting the job done (and the long road ahead).

So, I took some time to seek inspiration outside of my own head. Below are three ideas I’ve found that have helped renew my motivation.

  1. Take everything out. I was working room to room, drawer by drawer, closet by closet, etc. This is a great start and I got rid of tons of stuff doing this, but it doesn’t tackle the whole problem. Take your living room, for example, and move everything out (besides the big stuff that you’re for sure keeping). Doing this helps you see the room for what it truly is and what it truly needs. Then, simply put only the things you love or find useful back. What’s left is either stuff you don’t really need or want, or stuff that belongs somewhere else.
  2. Let go of the guilt. Feel guilty for getting rid of something? For me, some of the hardest things to dispose of were toys I bought my kids. There are such sweet memories attached to some of these toys that have been sitting, neglected in the bottom of the toy box. But, when I really thought about it the toys had served their purpose for our family. Stuff is only stuff, the happiness I felt choosing and giving them this gift wasn’t because of the toy it was because of them; and I still have them. The gift served its purpose it was not a waste, what is wasteful is letting it sit unused and unneeded…time for that toy to be a blessing to another family.
  3. Sell it. Hard to part with some stuff because it was expensive and barely used? Yep. Try selling it instead. Getting some money in return can help ease the sting of seeing some of your stuff go. This couldn’t be easier these days. I’m too busy and frankly uninterested in hosting a good ol’ fashioned garage sale (though this is a great way to rid yourself of stuff) so I took to Facebook marketplace. This was so ridiculously easy. I posted my stuff, set a price and within minutes had buyers who that same afternoon handed me cash for the stuff that was taking up space in my garage. This seriously has been so fun. As an added bonus, they came and got it from me! I didn’t even have to break my back lugging it to Goodwill. Just remember to be responsive and friendly!

For more decluttering inspiration…check out these books! There a quick read and can get you on the right track to tackling the extra stuff in your life.