A Letter To My Readers (It’s Been A Long Time Coming)

My mind has been all over the place this past year and organizing my thoughts has been quite the ordeal. Here’s my best effort at filling you in. Please read to the end.

Sharing on this space has been a creative outlet for me, but the past several years have felt “off.” When I started blogging I had a toddler and newborn baby at home. Having some webspace to share my thoughts was w-o-n-d-e-r-f–u-l after long days of caring for two tiny humans. But since that time we’ve added another child to our family and gone through some pretty major life changes. Life looks very different than it did eight years ago. My husband is different. My kids are different. I am different, too.

I’ve always wanted this space to be an outpouring of my real life and passions, but I’ve also wanted it to generate some supplemental income and alleviate some financial strain. In recent years I’ve felt the pressure to compete with the zillion other blogs out there in order to see that happen. All the blogging experts say to be successful you have to be unique, write consistently, produce engaging content, make your photos pin-worthy, and share content on social media (among many other tips). It’s been exhausting, really. And I’m feeling rather burnt out by it all.

I feel as if I am a rope and the blog is competing with my real life as a wife and mom. I’ve been pulled this way and that, trying to make both work well, but in the end both suffer because I can’t give my best to either (at least at the stage of life I am in). The past year has forced me to see my limits. My real-world life has required a lot of me and Holistic Homemaking has taken a back seat.

I’ve also been thinking about how I don’t want to add to all the noise on-line. There are so many other bloggers that write about the same topics I do (and they usually do so much more eloquently than I do).  I want to share practical, thoughtful, useful information but I don’t want to re-create the wheel. I don’t want to say the things that everyone else is saying.

But most of all, my heart wants to be more fully-engaged with my family and friends and to enjoy day-to-day life without feeling like I *have* to tend to something on-line or else my numbers and stats will fall. I don’t want to spend my spare moments checking off all my blogging boxes. I’ve run out of steam and I’ve fallen out of love with blogging.

A new home, homeschooling for the 5th year (can you believe it??) and personal family matters … that’s where I need to be most right now – fully present in my own, tangible life. My husband needs me. My kids need me. I need to be fully present in my own life.

Now what?

I still plan on sharing from time-to-time on Facebook, and visually documenting life on Instagram, and maybe offering the occasional tweet but the blog is going to unplug on or near December 5, 2015 when my hosting contract expires.

I would love for you to subscribe to my email newsletters which are sent out on an irregular basis. My newsletter will be changing a little from what you may recognize. Instead of it being tied to the blog and full of links to the site, it will become more personal with encouragement and updates of what I am up to … with some other goodness sprinkled in. (A newsletter is in the works for this month.)

Thank you so  much for all your love and support.

In His grip,

here are some people who have inspired me … passing their links along in case you haven’t met them yet

Written on the Heart (Hand Lettering / Calligraphy)

Deeply Rooted

Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Hands Free Mama

She Reads Truth

Simple Homeschool

The Nourishing Home

Vintage Remedies


A Song For The Hard Times

Maybe you’re going through incredible struggle and pain right now. Maybe there have been times where you were overwhelmed with stress, grief, and burdens that you could barely see straight. Maybe you’ve endured sleepless nights and could not see how you could make it though.

This song speaks deeply to my life. It’s a song for the hard times in life. I hope it speaks to you as well.

“Not only is all your affiliation momentary in comparison to eternity, but all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, your misery … it wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! Don’t look to what is seen.  Do not lose heart.”


The Mom/Dad Wars

The Mom / Dad Wars Leveling The Playing Field via Holistic Homemaking

Do you ever wonder if you are a good mom or dad? I mean really wonder … about how you measure up with the countless other parents in the world.

Are you a good mom or dad?

I bet you are. Actually I bet you are great!

• • •

You can be a good parent even if you bottle feed.
You fed your child so they could survive. I’d count that as pretty remarkable.

You can be a good parent even if you work outside the home.
Because some parents need to.

You can be a good parent even if your house is messy.
I’m especially glad this one holds true.

You can be a good parent regardless of your education choice.
There is no cookie-cutter prescription.

You can be a good parent even if you can’t afford to buy name brand clothes for your child.
The goal is to not let your child be naked, right?

You can be a good parent even if you don’t have the money to afford dance class, art classes, or team sports.
This really is true.

You can be a good parent even if you don’t take a first day of school picture.
I have no such photo collection.

You can be a good parent even if you don’t make your kids incredibly detailed snacks found on Pinterest.
Those are really more about our egos than nutrition, right?

You can be a good parent even if you don’t throw perfectly themed birthday parties.
What ever happened to a simple cake and candles?

I think you get what I am saying …

• • •

What makes a good parent is not all the things and stuff they make happen for their kids. It’s not who is best when compared against other parents. What makes a good parent is unconditional love. What makes a good parent is the willingness to give of your time to teach your child how to be respectful, responsible members of society.

Who gives a flying flip about how perfect it looks! Mama (and papa)-friends, give yourself some grace today.

Because you are a much better parent than you give yourself credit for.

This Old House (Our 1928 Dutch Colonial) : BEFORE PICS

Our 1928 Dutch Colonial via Holistic HomemakingWe purchased a 1928 Dutch Colonial earlier this year and boy, have we been busy! The house had been previously owned by a couple for over 40 years. The husband died 10 years ago, and his wife’s health has declined ever since … to the point where she could not longer take care of the home or the nearly 1-acre lot the house sat on.

The lack of maintenance is what kept the price of the house so low. It’s also what scared a lot of people away. As Dave Ramsey always says “Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood.” We have definitely done that. We’ve got plenty of work to keep us busy for quite some time.

We continue to find surprises as we work on reviving and updating this home. I will share more about this in detail later, but for now I’d thought it be fun to show our house the way it was the day we bought it! You ready?



The big Hemlock to the left of the house (your left) is scary close and needs to be taken down. The bushes are strangling each other and need to be taken out. The yard is overtaken with weeds and overgrowth and needs some major TLC. The yard, while flat for the most part, is poorly graded in a few areas which makes it a mosquito’s paradise. BUT the great part of the lot is that it is nearly 1-acre (a literal ten times larger than what we had in our old home) and it’s wooded!


See the Hemlock on the corner? It has to go. And so does that shrubby thing next to the chimney. You can’t see it here, but the tree behind the garage has done a number on the garage floor. It collects water when it rains. We plan on installing a trench drain just outside the garage to help divert water away … and then replace the garage floor (or the entire garage). The driveway needs to be leveled in a few places and given some sealcoat.


The back of the house.


The yard. We envision a fire pit, a trampoline, and some sort of rock climbing/tree house piece some day here. Some chickens and a dog would be welcome additions, too.


Living Room

Oh how we love this room – the windows, the built-ins, the fireplace. After we rip up the carpet and paint, this room will have a completely different feel. The plaster ceiling should really be ripped out and replaced with drywall, but for now we are going to leave it alone and work on more pressing things (like the wiring).


Downstairs Sunroom

We plan to use this room as our school room. The wallpaper will be taken down and the walls and ceilings will receive fresh coats of paint. I am thinking I will not use any window treatments in this room to maximize the beautiful view and all the natural light.


Dining Room

Again, the windows ya’ll! This house has so much natural light … I love it! This room needs a face-lift in the worst way. My vision is for some grasscloth wallpaper with beadboard below the chair rail and all the trim painted white. We want to replace the chandelier with something a little more simple, but still true to the period in which this house was built.



This room needs the most help. It’s tiny and poorly configured. The wallpaper, although original to the house, is dingy and weathered and needs to be removed. Our vision is to have open shelving up top, rearrange the appliances and install butcher block for the counter.




This room was probably the most crisp room in the house. Not much work needs to be done in here other than some updated accessories and maybe a new coat of paint. The vanity and toilet are older and could use replacing at some point, but they aren’t emergencies (unlike all the wiring in the house).


Master Bedroom

The carpet and wallpaper in this room are just overwhelming. We plan to take down all the wallpaper, paint, and remove the carpet.


Bedroom 2

The wallpaper border around the top of the walls will be taken off, and the ceiling and walls will be painted. The carpet will be removed.


Bedroom 3

This room has some cracks and other imperfections in the walls that need to be filled. Then everything will be painted and the carpet will be removed.


Upstairs Sunroom

This room will become my husband’s office for when he works from home. He’s promised to let me have a little corner of it. :) This room needs new paint and the dated carpet removed.


Back Porch

This space was just bonus for us, something we thought would be lovely but didn’t think we’d actually get in our budget. This screened-in porch needs lots of work … a near complete tear down and re-build, but we are excited about the potential this space offers us for entertaining and escaping mosquitos.


So there ya have it, folks. Our fixer upper 1928 Dutch Colonial. Stay tuned for updates on our progress!

Do you have some design ideas for any of the spaces we’ve shared? Share them in a comment below or drop me an email! I’d love to hear from you!

Put the Phone Down (3 Principles To Help You Embrace Real Life)

Put The Phone Down - 3 Principles To Help You Embrace Real Life via Holistic Homemaking

Admit it. What’s the first thing you reach for when you wake up in the morning?

Is it your phone?

I’ve developed a bad habit of checking social media and email first thing after my eyes open in the morning. I’ve become increasingly sensitive and aware to all the times in a day I am eye-to-screen with my phone (and what messages this is sending to my children).

Amanda Williams of She Reads Truth shared these honest thoughts about her own experience. Maybe you can relate.

I bow in worship every morning when I wake up.

I slap the alarm notification on my phone for the third time, silently and sleepily vowing to get to bed earlier tonight than the night before. When the second alarm goes off, also for the third time (I set at least two because morning and I are not buddies), I slap the screen again. This time I rub my eyes and keep them open. Then, I put the phone down and get up.

Except, before I put the phone down and get up, I check my notifications. Relax! It’ll only take a minute! And as one minute becomes 10 or 20, I scroll through texts, emails, and social media, nonchalantly consuming whatever happens to flash on the screen. Before I step foot out of bed, I’ve set my heart and mind at the feet of my iPhone.

And then I wonder why God feels so far away sometimes. Could it be that I am infatuated with the apps on my phone so much that I am missing opportunities to connect with my Lord, not to mention my family?

My kids are watching me. I know this because they make innocent comments about my usage, and my 5-year old imitates me with his calculator (his GPS telephone, he calls it). My ability (or inability) to put down my phone and engage in real life with them speaks volumes to them about their worth and value & what is important to me.

Doing away with my phone won’t solve the problem because I will just gravitate to something else. My phone habits are heart habits. If I want freedom from my phone, my heart needs to crave better things & new habits need to be put in place. Here’s what I am doing to embrace my real life:

1 – Create “No Phone” Zones – meals, beds/nightstands, vehicles, when with other people

Smartphones, although incredibly awesome tools, are turning us in to a society that devalues human-to-human experiences. Creating “no phone” zones helps salvage sacred moments in the day that are becoming lost to screens. Answering a text or call, checking that inbox, or Googling can all wait until after you are finished eating or spending time with someone. “The moment you stop putting energy into caring for your basic needs and pour your time and energy into your phone, you are allowing the phone to dictate your health and well-being.” (source)

For me, I need to have a location in our home where my phone parks (you know, like how an old school phone did) so I don’t carry it around with me and am less tempted to mindlessly check it.


2 – Make mornings sacred.

Instead of checking in with my phone first thing in the morning, what I should be doing is checking in with the Lord before I start my day. And while I am at it I can invest in some personal care time (a run or fitness DVD, a shower, actually getting dressed instead of wearing loungewear all day).

The alarm on my phone can be replaced by an honest-to-goodness real alarm clock so my phone can spend the night over on the top of my dresser. The spot where my phone once rested overnight can now be home to my Bible and a notebook for all my brain dumps.

One of my children almost always wakes up when I do, if not a little before, and instead of him finding me with my face in my phone I can greet him with a smile and a good morning snuggle instead. The days I am less involved with my phone, the better they seem to be. I don’t think this is coincidence.

3 – Let there be lulls and boredom.


Honestly, this is my biggest hang-up. I get bored, so I pick up my phone to pass the time. But the thing is 1) it’s okay to be bored, and 2) there are many other more productive ways to spend my time.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What does your relationship with your phone look like? In what ways is it given higher priority than the most important relationships in your life? In what ways does your phone use decrease your productivity? What empty distractions are you letting crowd your life?

My hope is that at some point today you can silence your phone (and the world around you) for a few moments to find answers to these questions. And then devise a plan change your habits.

May we rush to Jesus with the instinctual response that we do with our phones, and may our love affair with our phones be so dissatisfying and unfulfilling that we crave better things instead.

When our lives ache with need, may we bring them to the throne. When our hearts break, may we pour them out to God. When we rise in the morning, may we rise in worship.

Amanda Williams

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