Browsing Tag



Don’t Miss the Point

March 14, 2016


It’s no secret that Joe and I are a little bit like a 70-year-old couple. We like to go to bed at a decent hour, wake up early, watch the Nightly News after dinner and watch 60 Minutes on Sunday nights. I have no shame in my love for 60 Minutes – it always leaves me feeling a little more informed about current events and is a great conversation started for us as a couple since they frequently talk about topics that come with some degree of controversy.

Last night we watched a segment that talked about “Death with Dignity” (also called “Assisted Suicide”) for terminally-ill patients that have less than six months to live. I’m not interested in talking about the ethics of that particular topic since I’m not even sure how I feel about it personally, but it did get me thinking about death in a more general sense.

As Joe and I were laying in bed later that night, I told him that I’m deeply afraid of missing the point in this short bit of time we have on the earth. The point being that it’s not about me, but it’s about living a life that constantly points back to Jesus and our life in eternity. Thinking about death isn’t something I enjoy thinking or talking about, but I find that it’s necessary in order for me to keep life’s trials, tribulations and even successes in perspective. In a culture that is pushing, promoting, buying and marketing 24/7, I’m afraid that the true purpose of our time on earth can easily get lost in the noise.

“Be IN this world, but not OF it.”

What does that look like practically? How do you live life, make a living and pursue your passions while pointing it all back to Jesus? I’ve been mulling that over a lot lately with no great answers or resolution.

Below, I did a little “faith in the everyday” exercise to clarify WHY I do what I do, and HOW that can relate back to Jesus and my faith. If you’re struggling, like I am, with clarity of purpose in your everyday, I would strongly recommend doing the same. It was a good reminder of how I can relate the everyday back to what matters most.

Worldly Lens // I work in social media marketing for FLYJOY energy bars. My goal is to promote FLYJOY so they can sell more product.

God-Focused Lens // FLYJOY donates 10% of their sales to HOPE International to fund small-business loans in developing countries. Helping FLYJOY succeed also helps others who need assistance.

Worldly Lens // I do freelance recipe development for brands. My goal is to promote myself and my skills to make more money and get more jobs.

God-Focused Lens // God has gifted me with a passion for food and skills for recipe development. Using those skills is honoring to God. I can challenge myself to always be Christ-like in my business interactions and always hold myself to a standard of honesty and integrity they way Christ would.

Worldly Lens // I sell Beautycounter products. My goal is to sell more product to make more money.

God-Focused Lens // I believe in safer beauty products and using those products to help others live healthier, more fulfilling lives. I want to honor and cherish the body God has given me (and my family) by caring for it well. Not obsessively or excessively, but as well as I can within reason.

Worldly Lens // I blog and use social media. My goal is to gain more followers to grow my site and networks.

God-Focused Lens // My blog and social media can be a source of encouragement, so it’s my aim to use it as such. It’s my job to think carefully and be mindful of what I put on social media, making sure it’s something that is God-honoring, even if it’s about something trivial.

I’m not saying that I’ll perfect this mindset overnight, but I’m starting my week thinking about my work differently than before. Although some tasks may seem trivial or worldly or even unpleasant, even my attitude and how I approach those situations can be honoring to God.

Have a wonderful start to your week, friends!



Risen Motherhood // An interview with Emily & Laura

February 23, 2016


I’ve been excited about today’s post for weeks, you guys! As many of you know, my friend Laura blogs over at Oakland Avenue. Laura and I went to college together and then lived in Minneapolis at the same time for a couple years. While living in Minneapolis, I started reading Laura’s sister-in-law’s blog, Emily Jensen Writes. I’ve been constantly challenged and encouraged by both of these amazing ladies – their heart for the Gospel and for raising Godly children, their commitment to motherhood and family, and their conversational and encouraging writing styles.

Recently Laura and Emily launched a new podcast + website called Risen Motherhood. Trust me when I say this podcast is so heavy on the good stuff. It’s incredibly encouraging (and sometimes a little convicting!) to listen to Christ-centered talk about motherhood. I feel like I have two best friends sitting in my living room with me. So today Emily and Laura agreed to do a little interview/Q&A with me for Espresso and Cream readers. I hope you enjoy and I hope you’ll head over to Risen Motherhood to learn more.

RM profile picture

Questions for Emily & Laura:

Do you record your posts together at the same time? Or remotely from two separate locations? 

Emily:  Oh, it would be so fun if we could always record them together in person!  But, since we live about 5 hours apart, we typically  record via Skype.  Because of our kids’ schedules, recording has to happen at about 6:00am.  It’s early, but it challenges us to make good use of our time and we both think most clearly in the morning.

Laura: Ditto to Em. We’re usually both chugging our coffee as fast as we can before we hit record since we can’t actually drink while we record. I mean, that would be the worst sound to hear someone slurping on the show! It kills me to not drink my coffee slowly like usual, but I need the caffeine too much to wait until we’re done recording!

Do you talk together about what you’re going to say or let the conversation flow naturally?

Emily:  We’ve actually tried several different strategies, because Laura and I process differently.  I need more notes, and don’t do well just speaking “off the cuff”, but Laura gets anxious and bogged down by too many word-for-word points.  So it’s been interesting finding a happy medium!  When we get an idea for content, we  discuss it informally over Voxer or Skype .  Once we know what   the main  points we want to make are , we develop a loose show outline  to make sure our conversation stays on track.

Laura : One of our biggest struggles is finding a balance between sharing stories and relatable content, while also trying to make sure key points are shared about how the gospel impacts that particular topic. Emily and I are really different in how we consume and deliver content, so it’s been interesting as we learn to work with each other’s dynamic while still feeling like we’re “ourselves” on the show. One great thing is our strengths balance each other’s weaknesses. Emily’s tendency is to keep things deep, serious and impactful, while I lean towards wanting to keep everything lighthearted, funny and relatable. But at the heart, we value making the same impact: pointing moms to Christ – so somehow, even with our different focuses, it works, and I actually think it helps us strike a nice balance on the show.

How have you decided on the topics to cover? 

Emily:  Most of it is just gathered from our own life experiences – what we are learning about, what we are struggling with and so-on. If there is a topic we are both excited and passionate about we run with it!  We also want to talk more about unbiblical messages moms are getting on social media and on blogs – I’m pretty passionate about dispelling those “myths” or false teachings.

Laura: We get ideas everywhere! Honestly, all I have to do it look at my Facebook feed and find no shortage of topics to cover. One of our biggest focuses is to flesh out content that young moms are dealing with right now – and show them a) how they’re not alone, because we struggle with the same things, b) yet at the same time encourage them to “aim higher” in their mothering towards gospel-truth. The beautiful thing is, the gospel relates to everything! Which means no topic is off limits for the show.

What are your plans for the Risen Motherhood podcast going forward?

Emily:  I am just excited to focus on releasing helpful, quality content and getting to know our listers better.  Laura and I have been so encouraged by all the positive feedback and personal stories of God using this podcast in the lives of everyday moms.  It’s a joy to be a part of that!

Laura : Right now, I’m trying to bask in the fact that the website is finally done and live! That thing was a beast to program, so it feels good to have it done. Emily and I have lots of dreams for Risen Motherhood, but right now we’re looking at adding interviews to the show and taking on Q&A’s from listeners. It’s still mind-boggling to me that we would even have listeners to take questions from!

10 Questions with Laura

Favorite food: Anything fried. Ramen Noodles. Fritos. While I have decent self-control for this stuff normally, I’ll admit that these three vices are the reason I gain so much weight while pregnant. The train of thought goes something like this: “I’m preggers. I’ll eat what I want. Bring it or I’ll bounce you with my belly.”

Number of kids you have:  Two kiddos, a boy and a girl, 20 months apart, and finally – FINALLY – starting to play together. Game. Changer.

Hidden talent: I have a double jointed pinky … is that a talent? What can I say, I exploit the few talents I have! Nothing’s hidden anymore!

Favorite time of day:  I’m all about early morning. My husband gets up and goes to work early in the morning, so I started getting up with him and it’s turned me into an early riser. I love that it’s so quiet – and dare I say peaceful? – I can get a lot done in those few hours before the kiddos get up.

Least favorite task around the house:  Mopping floors and baseboards. In our house we have all white trim, but usually it just looks grey because there’s so much dirt and dust on it. Whoops.

Naturally messy or organized:  Naturally organized, but that’s not to be confused with clean. As long as the house looks picked-up, I’m happy. See “least favorite task.”

Guilty pleasure: My mom won’t like this one, but probably The Bachelor. It’s just such a game and I love trying to figure out what the producers made the contestants do, or how long they must have interviewed someone until they finally broke and cried. I just love the contrived drama of it all, what can I say?

Favorite way to de-stress:  Intentionally arriving to a hair cut 30 minutes early so I can binge-read magazines. Or just treating myself to a cup of coffee someone else made while I people-watch. That one’s much less expensive.

Best piece of marriage advice:  Believe the best in your husband. Usually, you’re wrong when you assume his motives. Trust he’s trying his best and affirm him in the process. Be his biggest fan.

Most embarrassing mom moment:  That time I walked around with my jeans unzipped. Oh wait, that wasn’t just one time, that was for three months straight each time I had a kid and switched from wearing maternity jeans to real jeans. 

10 Questions with Emily

Favorite food:  Sushi (particularly, spicy tuna rolls)  – and I will almost never turn down a good cookie!

Number of kids you have: 4 (all boys, ages: 3.5, twin 2-year-olds, and 6 months)

Hidden talent:  I would never do this in front of other adults, but I can put on a pretty great show when I read a children’s story.  It’s fun to be dorky around my kids!

Favorite time of day: I never thought I would say this, but I love the early morning.  The 5:00-6:00am hour is the best time. Everything is quiet, my brain is sharp, I feel somewhat rested, the sun is rising, and I’m alone with the Lord.

Least favorite task around the house:  Unloading the dishwasher, putting away folded laundry, and making the bed. (can I have 3 least favorite things?)

Naturally messy or organized:  I’m naturally messy, but have learned to really appreciate and enjoy a tidy space. Life with a family of 6 just goes so much smoother when our stuff is organized and under control!  It gives me more space to care for people instead of things.

Guilty pleasure:  When the kids are in the car, I am selective about what the type of content they watch and listen to, which means I’m usually blaring some type of toddler tunes. So my “guilty pleasure” is listening to whatever I want on the radio when I’m driving alone!

Favorite way to de-stress:  You can catch me taking long epsom salt baths while reading a book (until my water is no longer warm or I’m falling asleep).  When I’m really struggling to wind down, I’ll lay under my heated blanket in bed and listen to relaxing worship music. I learned that technique when I was pregnant, and I still love it!

Best piece of marriage advice: (Laura and I pretty much wrote the same answer for this question, but it’s so important, I’ll say it again!) Believe the best of your husband’s intentions and be his biggest encouragement. He needs to know you hold him in high regard and that you enjoy the life you have together.

Most embarrassing mom moment: Pretty much anytime I’m out with my 4 kids on my own, I have an embarrassing moment (which is why I don’t do it very often). I’ve had a couple of experiences at the park or leaving bible study where I’ve had to carry them individually kicking and screaming to the car while friends helped keep track of my other kids. It’s like they sense that I don’t have enough limbs to grab them all at once, so they purposefully lay themselves on the ground or disobey. Sometimes I’m “that mom” that everyone’s NOT jealous of!

Thanks, ladies, for taking the time to share! I’m so looking forward to finding out where this Risen Motherhood journey takes you!



Mommy Martyr

January 26, 2016


Yesterday was not a particularly shining day for me. I woke up feeling flat-out sorry for myself for a handful of reasons that now seem too petty and foolish to list. Most of the time Mondays as work days for me, but I had rescheduled our childcare for the week so we could take Ainsley to a doctor’s appointment in a city about an hour and a half away. My mom was planning on coming along so we could make a full girl’s day of it – shopping, Costco, Starbucks, but when the weather turned nasty that direction we decided to stay put and reschedule our appointment.

I was bummed. What was going to be a fun day out of our routine turned into a day at home with Ainsley in the middle of our construction zone with a bunch of mundane tasks on my to-do list. At breakfast Joe told me it would be a good idea to reschedule appliance delivery until another issue in the house was resolved. I snapped at him and told him how I had to have all the hard conversations and he got to “boss me around” (yes, I really said that!) Before he left for work, I told him to go to the gym after work, secretly thinking what a nice wife I was because I was encouraging one of his favorite activities. Meanwhile, I spent my day running errands, grocery shopping, trying to track down a specific brand of wine for a blog project I’m working on, and having conversations about our renovation.

When Ainsley when down for her (short!) afternoon nap, I did the “mommy hustle” and ran downstairs to put on workout clothes, get my 30 minute workout in, shower and be ready for inevitable wake-up 50 minutes after she went down. I felt rushed, per usual, and when she insisted on being held the last 2 hours of the day, more than a little frazzled.

Before Ainsley was born I dreamed about this type of schedule. Where I worked part-time in a creative job I enjoyed and got to invest time and energy into blogging part-time as well. When Ainsley came along it was so hard to be away from her 40+ hours a week and I longed to spend more time with her, something a part-time schedule allowed. But yesterday? Well, it got the best of me.

By the time Joe got home, I was in full-blown mommy martyr mode.

I had to spend the whole day with Ainsley, meeting her needs and cleaning up endless dirty diapers and preventing her from eating construction material. Poor me!

My workout was rushed. It didn’t consist of getting away to the actual gym but instead involved a workout video, free weights and a yoga mat in my messy basement. Poor me!

I had to have tough and/or uncomfortable conversations surrounding our house remodel. Confrontation is not my style. Poor me! 

The last two hours of the day Ainsley needed to be held, meaning I got dinner on the table while holding a fussy baby. My arm feels like it is about to fall off and there is a pile of dirty dishes in the utility sink waiting to be washed. Poor me! 

The list goes on and on. I was stuck in a pity party rut that ended with me blowing up at Joe for not being helpful enough. And then this morning, while doing my devotional and drinking a hot cup of coffee before everyone else woke up, I flipped the conversation and thought about things through Joe’s eyes:

He worked all day and spent precious time away from me and Ainsley while we spent time together. He works a full-time corporate job because he loves the structure, yes, but also because it allows for me to work my flexible job. When I couldn’t find the right wine at our local grocery stores he willingly ran after work to pick them up for me near his work. I got to workout during the middle of the day while Joe had to spend more time away from us to get his workout in later. After his workout, he ran to my mom’s house to pick up a few items for me for our home decor. He woke up early to let our dog out and let her out last thing in the evening, too.

When I flipped the conversation a bit, I realized that the story I was telling myself was SO one-sided. I was playing the mommy martyr game really, really well while Joe was quietly going about doing task after task without complaint. Have you ever had a day(s) that turned out like that? It was a light-bulb moment for me. Not to say that I’ll never act this way again, but taking just a few minutes to think about the other side of the equation put my own thoughts into proper perspective. Now that I’ve had some time for reflection, devotion and quiet time, it’s amazing how my heart becomes softened toward my husband and less focused on me, me, me!

For me, I’m realizing more and more that the key to a good day starts with getting up before the rest of the house. Mornings have always been my favorite time of day, and having a solid hour to sit, drink my coffee and eat breakfast, get in God’s word and then attack a few pressing tasks sets my day on a completely different trajectory than if I wake up when Joe gets up, just 30 minutes before Ainsley’s 7 am wake up time.

Today, I’m starting my day thankful. Thankful for forgiveness and fresh starts and the blessings that abound in my little corner of the world. And when you start your day thankful rather than in pity? Well, it changes your whole day.



An Intention for 2016

January 4, 2016


Truth be told, I wrote a whole list of intentions down in a blog post and was ready to hit “publish” but as I was laying in bed last night, thinking about the year to come, I paused. My list had a whole bunch of things, like feeling good in a swimsuit and reading more books and what not. Fine intentions, and things I still probably pursue in the year to come. But as I was thinking about what truly matters, I condensed my intentions down into one thing:

Be completely, 100% sold out for God in 2016. Pursue him in our home and in the world around me. Find ways to bless others through my desire to pursue Him. 

Please, don’t read this and think I’ve got it together. The intention above is a lofty goal for someone like me who makes plans for quiet time that get shoved aside in favor of less-important things, who lets her Bible go too many days unopened, and who things about her own self interests above others more than she would like to admit.

But grace, friends! Lots of grace for my intentions for the year and your resolutions and goals. Permission to fail and stumble and get back up and keep trying.



Marriage Matters

October 21, 2015



We had family photos taken a week ago by a dear friend of mine who is raising money for their family’s adoption. Family photos are my favorite, at least once they are over and done with! Once I have the photos in my hands I’m so thankful we captured this moment in time, when our daughter is tiny and our family is healthy and our lives feel so full. What a sweet season this is for us, after a season that felt as dry as a desert.

As women we spend a lot of time talking and talking about motherhood, don’t we? Blogs and articles and books are dedicated to the subject, and with good reason. Being a mom is important work! But where is the love and attention for our marriages?

I used to be very smug when people told me marriage was hard. Even as a newly married person, I still couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Marriage? Hard? Hardly! If you’re in that camp, I don’t hold it against you. If you haven’t yet hit that point where marriage is truly, deeply hard, it will come eventually. I can guarantee it.

We had one of those years. The years that test and stretch and strengthen you as long as they don’t kill you. And trust me when I say that sometimes you think it may actually kill you before you see the other side. I look at that photo above and my amazing, wonderful and loving husband and I thank my lucky stars for him every day. I think about our first kiss at 17 and the memories we’ve collected together. He’s my person, yet sometimes I don’t give him nearly the time or attention he deserves.

There are days when I give my best to my baby, my work, my friends and a bunch of people on the fringes of my life, leaving very little time or energy for my husband. I’ve been working on it, little by little. Investing into my marriage the way I invest in my child. Can you relate?

Despite all the parenting books I have read, I don’t think I’ve read a single one on marriage. In the past I’ve naively assumed that marriage is just supposed to happen intuitively without time or investment of resources.

I want to continue to strive after my marriage, to give my husband the best I have to offer. I want to take time to get away just the two of us, for date nights and vacations sans-baby and dates at home after Ainsley is in bed. To put down my phone and quit scrolling through Instagram when we’re together and really look him in the eyes.

It’s worth it. I’m convinced there are very few things more worthy of our time and attention.


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