Fifty Shades of Lies


“Me too” cry hundreds of thousands of women across our nation who have become fed up with silently tolerating the male mistreatment, disrespect, and abuse within their professional and personal lives.

But after a long day of protesting, women are laying down their signs and opinions and are flocking by the millions to purchase their tickets for the final chapter in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy – a series that idolizes a controlling, abusive, domineering male figure over his sexual conquests (including his newlywed wife).

And even though the Me Too Movement has deemed such abuse as unacceptable, women have the notion to call Fifty Shades of Grey a romance. I suppose that is why the movies are always scheduled to release around Valentine’s Day.

Some may argue that the difference between the Me Too movement and Fifty Shades of Grey is that one is unwanted advances while the other is a conceptual agreement. But I would argue that the only notable difference between the two is that one is intolerance for permitting someone to disrespect women, while the other is extoling the disrespect of women.

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Fifty Shades of Grey is misguiding women in our society to believe that this dominating, dysfunctional relationship is acceptable and normal. But even worse, they have convinced women that this kind of man-woman, husband-wife relationship is to be glorified. And that somehow disrespect for another and oneself can align with the definition of love.

While this series depicts one writers opinion of love, the Bible depicts something profoundly different.

“Love does not dishonor others.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5

“Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6

“Love always protects.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7

These are just some Biblical principles of love. It’s the same love Christ demonstrates for His people and it’s the standard by which we should measure love and reflect love.

Ladies, we are called to have a sound mind. And this sound mind can only be nurtured by sound doctrine. What are you feeding your spirit? Are you feeding it with the false teachings of the world or planting yourself in the truth of God’s Word? God is love. Unlike the deceiving, wealthy publishing company owner, Mr. Grey, God authored the story of love and personifies authentic, genuine, holy, perfect love.

“Just as the father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”  – John 15:9

Don’t feed into the lie. Fifty Shades of Grey leaves a taste of unfulfillment and empty promises – just like the empty promise the serpent fed to Eve. She bit into that lie and separated herself from God’s perfect design. Instead, hold steadfast to the truth of God’s love and “taste and see that the Lord is good.” -Psalm 34: 8.

God’s Blessings,

Living 31 Homemaking





Lovers of Home


From the time I was old enough to hold a baby doll, motherhood and homemaking was engrained in me. As I grew, my love for home took root in several areas – from helping my Mother clean the oven to being Daddy’s handy helper with the latest home improvement project.

In the summer, my family and I would set out on a bike riding adventure that would often lead us to developing neighborhoods where houses were being newly constructed. It was dusk and the workers had already left for the day, leaving only remnants of their presence with empty pop cans and cigarette butts.

The houses were nothing but frames of wood and nails – outlining the potential that awaited. We would venture up the wobbly wood board leading to the unlocked front door and make our way through the house. My parents would marvel at the interior layout and square footage, while my brother would explore. Meanwhile, I slowly walked from room to room imagining how the home would look upon completion.

I pictured a grand staircase and a crystal chandelier in the tall, open foyer and a swimming pool-sized Jacuzzi bathtub.  I would leave with high hopes to one day have a home of my very own to decorate and take care of – but having to settle for my Little Tikes dollhouse in the meantime (even though I never envisioned a house with a powder blue roof).

We affectionately called these houses “the broken houses.” I’m not exactly sure as to how we coined the term, but from a simple six-year-old frame of mind, I believe it was because the houses were not yet complete. There were no walls, no paint, no furniture, no appliances. It was void and unlivable.

Little did I know growing up that as I walked away from the broken houses, God was actually preparing me to walk into my calling as a homemaker.

All grown up with a home and family of my own, I still have the homemaking heart of that bright-eyed, big-dreaming six-year old. I still thrive in decorating, taking on my own house projects, and even cleaning my casserole-splattered oven. But while I could YouTube how to remodel a bathroom and Pin a recipe on my Pinterest board, only God could show me how to be a lover of my home.

My coach of a husband always says: “coaches drive the culture.” Coaches set the precedent for the players. That may be true on the football field, but as Wives and Mothers, we are the cultivators of our home.

So let me ask you, friend – what kind of home are you cultivating?

Is your home nurturing, inviting and grace-filled? Or does it strikingly resemble the broken houses – void and unlivable?

As homemakers, we are more than cooks, cleaning ladies, and interior decorators. We are the heart of our home. Speaking words of encouragement and affirmation. Establishing a tone of peacefulness and warmth. Creating a place where our husbands and children look forward to come to after a long day at work and school.

But our homes can only be such the picture of beauty if we are Spirit-led, servant-led, and overflowing with the love and grace of Christ.

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Your translation may read “lovers of home,” but the context of the word chaste here means without unnecessary ornamentation. Simple. No frills. Decorated with love. Paul is admonishing women to be more focused on adorning the relationships in her home rather than the rooms.

We can easily become so entrenched in our business and perhaps even our frustrations within our day that we become careless about cultivating. We neglect to be mindful of our attitude which can lead to a hostile, empty environment.  And if we fail to be intentional about our home, we lose sight of the purpose God has called us as homemakers.

A farmer does not cultivate by accident – it is intentional. Planting, watering, nurturing. As homemakers, we are sowing into our family – reaping an ornate harvest for God’s Kingdom.

This ornate love can only be birthed from an obedient and humble heart. From a quiet and gentle spirit. From an attitude of grace. Love can permeate the sweetest smell and fill each room with real peace and authentic joy. And transforms a “broken house” to a loving home.

May God grant you a passion for your home, your husband, and children!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker




Choosing Life

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Several months back, I was sitting in the car with my kids, waiting for my husband to roll out of football practice when I heard the familiar “ping” of my phone, alerting me to a new text message. As I saw the name of the messenger, I was instantly perplexed and curious. My stepson’s mom, who was disgruntled and at her wit’s end with my teenage stepson, had reached out to me.

I was particularly surprised that she was contacting me, considering our relationship is…let’s just say, less than perfect. Not going to sugarcoat it – being a stepmom for over ten years, it’s no puzzle to me that these complex relationships are a recipe for dissension. Afterall, it’s a relationship that was not in God’s original plan for the family unit (just take Sarah and Hagar, for example). And like Sarah and Hager, the enemy has been at work in this challenging relationship since Jesse and I started dating.

Resentment, blame, unforgiveness, insecurity…just a few of the tactics Satan loves to use for his evil schemes in these kind of sticky situations. Disagreements and false accusations have taken us down this dark road and has allowed room for a lot of hurt and frustration to unvoluntarily pour into our lives over the years. But it has also allowed room for personal growth, character development, and spiritual refinement.

As I read through her parental vexation, I could not help but recall all the verbal wounds incurred over the years at our expense. Every hurtful text, phone conversation, Facebook post. Every insult and attack on our character has been a tough pill to swallow. I was half- tempted to just ignore her plea altogether or respond with a quick, unconstructive tip to send her on her way. But then the Holy Spirit prompted me… why of all people, did she choose to reach out to me? Me!

So I stared at my phone, contemplating my next move. I asked God, “Lord, what would you have me say to her?” And His response was very direct: Speak Life!

Did I want to feed into my human temptation to seize the opportunity and lash out or choose a path that would lead to an eternal reward of faithfulness? Rather than taking full advantage of her vulnerable state and pin-point my tally of her failures and faults, I chose life. Not because I am the picture of perfect parenting, but because I am a child of God. Not because the high road is the easier road to take. But because it is the road He calls of His children.

I told her that motherhood is a challenging, but rewarding calling. That as moms, we battle feelings of failure on a daily basis. That all children have their strengths and weaknesses, as do adults.  I told her motherhood requires grace – lots of grace. And finally, I encouraged her to seek the Throne of Jesus to give His wisdom to parent intentionally, lovinging, and effectively.

I received no reply. But I prayed my words planted seeds of hope into her weary heart.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Proverbs 18:21

I am by no means trying to take an opportunity to slander my stepson’s mom. But I am making every attempt to demonstrate the formidable power that dwells within each and every one of us. And this power is not limited to the difficult people God places in our lives, but to those that are right under our roof, and in front of us in the grocery store, and the outspoken neighbor who’s beliefs outwardly defies our personal convictions.

 We speak life by encouraging, uplifting, and voicing the truth in love and grace.

There is a saying I tell my children all the time in order to teach them an applicable example of the power of the tongue: Our mouth has the power to hurt or help. A power that holds the promise of giving life or death. Victory or defeat. Love or hate. We have the power to turn on the light into a dark situation or relationship simply by choosing to speak words of grace and wisdom.

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” -Proverbs 12:18

I once heard a pastor give a profound image of what our words would look like if we could actually see them with our eyes? He went on to say hurtful words are like daggers – knives flying through the air – abrasively cutting, leaving life-long scars. But words that offer healing and affirmation – they breathe life into dry bones – into lifeless relationships and circumstances.

Even if we can’t visibly see our positive words move the mountains in our lives, we can be confident that our words did not fall on deaf ears in the spiritual realm and be certain of the victories we won for Christ by being stewards of our tongue. Interestingly, the tongue is known to be one of the strongest muscles in our body – and out of 650 muscles – that’s some strong competition.

We must diligently discern our words because once they are spoken, they can not be taken back. And the pain caused by harmful words can leave devestaing wounds that last a lifetime. But, if we tame our tongue and use our God-given speech for edification, we have the power to shatter the plans of the enemy, glorify God,  further His Kingdom, and be heirs in His righteousness.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker




Moms In Prayer: Being A Prayer Warrior for Your Kids

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Prayer. It’s not exactly one of the topics that ignites an immediate response in us to jump up and down with excitement. But prayer is probably one of our greatest untapped resource – and it is a resource that is always available. Oftentimes, we view prayer more like a life-line when crisis strikes or a daily redundant task, rather than a powerful, direct line to an Almighty God (who listens, by the way). We know we should pray, but that doesn’t stop us from allowing life be our excuse not to pray.

I get it – I’m a busy individual too – wifing (yes, I just made up a new verb), mothering, blogging, homemaking, and owner of an in-home daycare. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what each of these areas in life demand of me. And I’m confident your life has its fair share of responsibilities too.

Mornings are early and nights are usually late. The fact that maintaining sanity is beyond my own human capacity is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day. I hear you, moms. Life is just crazy-busy. How can we have time to pray?

With our minds constantly on super-drive, it’s so easy to become tangled in the realm of to-dos that we miss out on opportunities in the spiritual realm – intentional, intercessory and fervent communication with God.  And as a result, we miss out on interceding to an Able Heavenly Father on behalf of our children.

Last year, my daughter began the intense, life-changing journey known as Kindergarten. Oh, trust me. It’s much more than plato and carpet-reading time. Those are just friendly distractions to the real situation on your hands – your child is away from you for 6-7 hours a day.

That’s 6-7 hours where I’m not physically present, other influences are shaping my child’s life, and giving opportunity for my child to make her own choices. My single say in all this was the “I love you” note I packed in her lunchbox.

You see, I thought that was the only interaction I had while my daughter was away at school. But I was wrong. Thankfully, so wrong.

I heard about an opportunity for mothers at the school called Moms in Prayer. Even though I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was praying in front of strangers, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to go. I don’t always make great decisions, but when I do, they are truly great! And this was one of those great decisions.

A year later and now leading my kid’s school Moms in Prayer group, this ministry and its purpose has become so near and dear to my heart and has had a life-changing impact on my faith and relationship with Christ. I praise while I wash messy dishes. I repent and unfold my sins as I fold the laundry. I give thanks to God while I’m rummaging through the dairy isle in the grocery store. I offer my prayers of petition during intercession while I’m making breakfast in the moring. Learning to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) has become a way of life. And I am living proof that God hears and answers prayer!

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What is Moms in Prayer?

Moms in Prayer was founded by a woman named Fern Nichols about 30 years ago. Out of the desperate cry of her heart, knowing her two boys were transitioning to Middle School (another defining journey in life), she had a burden to pray for her kids – to make good choices and resist peer pressure. She formed a group of moms who shared in her passion to cover their children in prayer.

Once other women heard of the incredible ways God was answering prayer, other groups formed and now, Moms in Prayer is an international Christian organization in over 140 countries – all because of the vision of one woman and her obedience to Christ. Moms in Prayer meets one day a week for one hour. It is an uplifting time to pray with other moms and share the burdens on your heart – to pray for your kids, their school, their friends, and their teachers.

Moms can make a difference – moms just like you. Find your local school’s group and get plugged in! Your local school doesn’t have a Moms in Prayer group already? Pray and seek the Lord’s will as to whether He is prompting you to begin one! Even your homeschool co-op can start a group! Find out more info about Moms in Prayer here…

We can be busy doing all sorts of things, but if God is not in it and we are not actively seeking God for His will, we are wasting a lot of efficiency.  Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do. Far too often, prayer is our last resource, even though we serve a mighty God who is the Source. We have been entrusted with a high calling to earnestly pray for our children. And they are so worth every second we devote to lifting them up in prayer to our loving and faithful Savior.

“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

We are not just moms.

We are prayer warriors.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker







Making Diamonds Out of Us

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Yesterday, I took part in a customary emotional milestone every parent inevitably experiences – watching my firstborn graduate Kindergarten. What a roller coaster ride – tears and laughter, sadness and joy, fear and excitement – all wrapped up into one messy ball.

As I watched the tear-jerking slide show play, viewing my daughter and fellow classmates’ baby pictures grace the screen, a beautiful song played…


“Here and now, I’m in the fire and above my head.

Being held under the pressure, don’t know what will be left.

But here in the ashes, I’m finding treasures…

He’s making diamonds, diamonds.

He’s making diamonds out of dust.

He is refining, and in His timing, He’s making diamonds out of us.”

Today, my husband and I celebrate 10 years of marriage! Wow – like where did the time go? I don’t feel old enough to be married a whole decade! I mean, I’ve had cars last less time. But as with each passing anniversary, it’s easy to reflect on the beginning – where it all started – two naïve twenty-somethings, blinded by big dreams and marital bliss. Two spirits, merging as one, with no clue of the journey they were about to embark on or the road ahead.

As I sat, enveloped in my emotional state yesterday, I listened to the words of the song. With my hands on my lap, I glanced down and gazed upon the diamond wedding ring that adorned my fourth finger – the date 06.01.07 engraved inside – a symbol of the covenant I made with my husband that began ten years ago.

Back in 1947, De Beers Jewelry launched its now classic slogan,  “A Diamond is Forever.” This campaign, originally designed to promote sales, conveyed the historical meaning behind using diamond rings as a symbol of pure love and strength within marriage. Diamonds withstand the test of time, similarly how a marriage was designed to work. As you admire the shiny rock on your finger, consider the four major properties of diamonds: carat, clarity, color, and cut. You might be surprised to discover that marriage holds these very properties too. In fact, I am now convinced that the most beautiful and precious diamond can’t be found in a store (not even if “he went Jared”), but is found within us.

The carat measures the weight of the diamond. The larger the diamond, the more rare it is. When I read this description and the weight of a diamond, I think of Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When you enter into a marriage covenant, you are lovingly bearing your spouse’s burdens – their past, their shortcomings, their weaknesses, their sinful tendencies, EVERYTHING! Even those quirky habits that drive you crazy. But real, authentic love  is not measured by emotion,  by our own gage of contentment, or even what we can get from our marriage, but how we demonstrate Christ’s love to our spouse. I love what James Harvey wrote about bearing one another’s burdens: “Love is not merely a feeling. Love is defined by covenant and action. True love persists when emotions fail.” We know just as Christ bore the weight of our sin and shame on the cross, so real “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

The clarity of a diamond is determined by the number of tiny characteristics or inclusions it has. The smaller and less frequent the inclusions and surface blemishes, the more valuable and rare the stone. In Ephesians, Paul writes of the comparison of Christ’s love for the church and the husband’s devoted, selfless love for his wife, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” God designed marriage between a man and wife to be the very reflection of the spotless relationship between Christ and His bride (the church). A relationship that is the very definition of atoning forgiveness, humble sacrifice, undeserved grace and perfect love. Real marriage is placing your spouse above yourself, loving without conditions, relentless forgiveness, and graceful servitude.

The color of a diamond, similar, yet different from the clarity, is judged by the hue of the diamond. Diamonds can range from colorless, to faint yellow or even brown, to rare pinks, blues and greens. Most diamonds have some distinguishable color, but the more colorless a diamond, the greater its value. In other words, a pure diamond is of highest quality. The definition of pure means “free from dust, dirt or taint; containing nothing that does not properly belong.” Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” In life and in marriage, circumstances and trials will try to “taint” your color. But when you plant your marriage in the Living Word of God, it will remain steadfast and pure – even through life’s unforeseen changes. There is a reason wedding vows say “for better or for worse,” not “for better or until the road gets rocky.”  Diamonds don’t buckle under pressure. In fact, they are refined under pressure. And just like a diamond, “love always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

The cut of a diamond is arguably the most important quality, as it determines the diamond’s reflective qualities. The cut affects its brilliance and the more precise the cut, the brighter the diamond appears. “When a diamond is well cut, light enters through the table (the diamond’s widest part), travels to the pavilion (lower cut of the diamond), and reflects from side-to-side, then pours out so the eye can see its fiery brilliance” (Ross and Simons). Just as a diamond is cut to display the brilliance of its light, so God uses marriage to shape us, refine us and reflect the brilliant light of Christ. If a diamond is improperly cut, the light is not as apparent. Only in the hands of a skilled Master Creator who intentionally molds us, marriage can become more than the dull, monotonous relationship the world makes marriage out to be. But when Christ is woven in you marriage relationship, it will eventually reflect outward and will pierce through the darkness with its beautifully crafted light.

Marriage makes us more like Christ- to be living sacrifices to our spouse, extending grace, exemplifying Christ’s love, honoring our covenant, and shining brightly for Him.  Just as the bride uncovers her face from her veil, “So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

De Beers had the right idea – a diamond is forever – purified, refined, strong, and made to eternally shine.  Out of the dust and ashes, He’s making diamonds out of us – all to reflect the brilliance of God’s perfect love.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

April Showers

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As I listen to the pitter- patter of rain outside, I couldn’t help but bask in the joy of God’s Word and the powerful promises He has woven throughout scripture. But every promise is only made pure through the One who has promised them. If we allow ourselves to just be still and not become caught up within the business of life, the Holy Spirit has opportunity to speak to us – to encourage our hearts and reveal His specific Word for our lives.

A couple months ago, I was reading my devotions and was prompted to read in the book of Joel. As I was reading a book that appeared small and insignificant and particularly unfamiliar to me, I came to a screeching halt in Chapter 2:23. “Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains for He is faithful. He sends abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.

As I read this verse, the Holy Spirit stopped me. I knew that I knew that I knew I must find out what this verse means and my starting point was to first figure out the significance of the autumn and spring rains. You see, in Israel, there were two seasons of anticipated rain – the autumn and the spring. The autumn rain fell within the months of October and November, while the spring rain fell between the calendar months of March and April.

A land void of adequate irrigation, Israel depended on God’s faithfulness to provide these seasons of rain for the livelihood of their crops, livestock and well-being. The rain signifies God’s faithful provision.

Now, I have previously shared how God has provided for Jesse and I – provided a new house and new employment time and time again, which all coincidentally (or perhaps not coincidentally) fell within these seasons of rain. I knew that God was reminding me of His faithfulness in our lives. But what I haven’t shared yet was the new and deeper revelation He gave me just days after. As it turns out, His faithful provision was only the beginning.

When Jesse and I first met, I knew he had a coach’s heart – he has a passion for the development and success of young athletes and it is evident that football has and always will be more than just a simple game of X’s and O’s. Jesse’s coaching career began early in our marriage. Oh, how those first football seasons tested my ability to share my husband’s time and commitment. Then came a profound moment in our lives, marriage and future – a defining moment of prophetic promise.  After Jesse and I were married a couple of years, my mother returned home from a women’s conference and told us the Holy Spirit spoke to her there. And He had a message for us.

She said, “the Holy Spirit told me ‘begin to call forth coach Jesse.'” At the time, we didn’t fully understand this, as Jesse was already coaching. But it wasn’t long before we realized that maybe coaching wasn’t just an interest or even a job. Maybe God was planning to use Jesse’s coaching as his platform for ministry – furthering God’s kingdom, one football call at a time.

As I read back through this verse in Joel, I felt as though there was more that God wanted me to understand. And so I began to dig a little deeper and study the Hebrew meaning of the autumn and spring rains.  When Israel came out of the dry heat of the summer, they were desperate for the life-giving autumn rain. But rather than send a heavy rain, God sent the autumn rain (yoreh), which means “a soft rain.”

I couldn’t help but wonder, in a land so parched, why did God only send a soft rain?

Because of the brittle, dusty ground, a heavy rain would only cause devastating floods. The soft autumn rain allowed enough water to gently absorb and soften the ground in order to allow the people to work in the soil. The autumn rain was preparing the ground for the spring rain (malkosh), which means heavy rain. This heavy rainfall brought the spring harvest, hence April showers bring May flowers.

It was through this meaning that I realized Jesse and I are in our autumn rain – our preparation season – and in due time, God would bring forth the spring rain. But what was God preparing us for? What have Jesse and I gone through all these years that is bringing us to a divine pinnacle?

Continuing in my study, I came across an article that spoke of the Hebrew meaning of the word rain. References of rain in the Bible have a couple different historical meanings, but the most common use for the word rain derives from the Hebrew word gashem, which is the root word for lehitgashem. Lehitgashem means “to fulfill; to call forth something into existence that currently does not appear to exist.”

After reading the final word of this definition, I recalled the promise God had spoken into existence about 7 years ago: “begin to call forth coach Jesse.” Just as God had spoken to Abraham and said, “I will make you the Father of many Nations,” so He was calling something into existence that did not currently appear to exist.

Abraham and his wife were childless and past child-bearing years when God spoke this word into Abraham. Just like a seed being planted – the seed is placed beneath the earth and covered. Does that mean the seed doesn’t exist? It exists! – it just hasn’t come to fruition yet. It’s a promise of what’s to come and in due time, God will send rain and call forth what He has spoken.

We don’t fully understand what exactly God plans to do, we just know that He has faithfully provided for our needs, He is preparing us for His glorious purpose, and He will fulfill every seed of promise He has planted in our hearts.

If you ever question the faithfulness of God, look to His word. If you feel like you’re walking in a dry season, the God who brought the autumn and spring rain to Israel is the same God who faithfully meets your needs today. For His word proclaims, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). If you feel God has laid a specific promise on your heart and you are anticipating that promise to come to fruition, His word says, “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). And if you believe you have a calling on your life, you are patiently in your autumn rain, God is preparing you, and you wonder when will the spring rain come, His word says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

I want you to think about something for a moment…talking about Israel and its complete lack of irrigation – why did God choose Israel? He didn’t choose Egypt with its mighty Nile or Assyria with its Euphrates. No – He chose Israel because He wanted to be their source. He wanted His chosen people to look to heaven for their life-giving water. And to depend on the faithful God who brings the autumn and spring rains, as before.

God’s promise to the Israelites to enter the promised land:

“The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains” (Deuteronomy 11: 10- 14).

God is faithful to His Word, to His promises and His people.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

There Is Life in the Valley

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The lowly valley –  dry and dreary – void of life and sustenance. Despair hangs in the air – thick and suffocating.  The winding path ahead feels twice as long as the path behind and you’ve already reached your point of sheer exhaustion. Oftentimes, God teaches us our most profound lessons of faith and perseverance not when we are sitting along the warm, sunny hillside, but as we walk through the bleakness of the oppressed valley.

The wondrous hillside would not magnify the splendor of God’s majesty without requiring our eyes to gaze upon the valley

Having spent my own sufficient amount of time following God through the valleys, I learned that while it may seem that we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” there is life to be found – planted, cultivated and preserved. We often don’t know how we end up in the valley, but the valley doesn’t merely exist for us to always understand.

As  we wrestle with our burning desire to flee for the hills and away from the valley as quickly as humanly possible, sometimes God keeps us a while longer so we can stop running in circles and just remain still. Without knowing the way, our stillness forces our perspective not only towards what lies behind us and before us, but to closely observe the valley around us. And in those still, quiet moments, we discover that we are not abandoned. God was indeed right there the whole time.

 “Don’t fret in your valleys. Farm them.” – Lester Roloff

So perhaps the secret to learning the lessons in the valley is resisting the urge to sulk in our own feelings of discouragement and frustration. Rather than barrel through the valley with clenching fists, we ought to pause, open our hands and cultivate. Every season provides new opportunity to reap a rich harvest of His lessons and His presence. In every valley – as we thirst for answers – there is something to be found, if only we sit still long enough to discover them.

I can testify that I have basked in the presence of God the most during the sun’s absence. Within the darkness of the dry valley – when we feel the most powerless – God demonstrates His divine authority and grace. The valley is not a time to retreat, worry, and doubt. It’s a time to press in to God. Only then can we stand the chance to unveil His glory and His purpose for leading us there.

In Psalm 84, David writes, “blessed are those whose strength is in you (God), whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.”

The Valley of Baca – also known as The Valley of Tears – was a very dry wasteland and therefore incommodious for travelers in those hot countries, especially during hot seasons. The journey through this squelching, desolate valley was an incredibly difficult highway for those trekking towards Jerusalem. How appropriate the valley is also known as “The Valley of Tears,” considering it’s the valleys in our life that often bring us to our defining points of pain and sorrow.

David writes in this Psalm that on one particular journey, Jewish travelers, who were passing through the Valley of Baca on their way to the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem, chose to relinquish their struggle to press on and did the unthinkable. Through eyes of faith, they wisely concluded that maybe the valley was not just simply meant for us to aimlessly pass through. Maybe there was more than meets the eye.

Instead of seeing the valley as the abandoned, death-ridden land it was, these travelers dug and cultivated the earth until their efforts led them to cisterns supplied with life-giving water.  God honored their efforts two-fold by multiplying the valley’s water with the help of the autumn rain. God-given life had sprung up in the midst of what seemed like a forsaken valley. Not only did these pools provide necessary water for these weary travelers, but it encouraged more people as they made their way to Jerusalem.

As we walk along our own journey through the valley – if we stop searching for the exit door, remain there and farm the valley instead – we not only find our source of strength, but we encourage the many other weary travelers who are also making their long journey through their own valley.

While everyone’s valleys may be distinctly different from one to the other, God can use the valley to replenish our strength and our faith in Him. If we are willing to cultivate the valley, He will surely cultivate our hearts. And if we allow God to dig through the dry, weary, dusty soil of our hearts, He will fill our cisterns with His Spirit – the living water – so that we are full of His blessings and wonder as He continues to pour into us in our most desperate time of need.

Even when the road is winding and we feel as though the mountain is far in the distance and we find ourselves walking from one valley to the next, we can go from “strength to strength” if we learn to find God where we’re standing. Sometimes we have to dig to find our answers. But when we seek, we shall find. We find His truth, His promises, His provision, His faithfulness – right there in the valley – He brings forth life.

And perhaps one day, as we rest upon the hillside with a new vantage point, we can look down at God’s splendor in the valley and exclaim, “what great things He has done.”

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Secrets From A Target Mom

For every Mom in the free world, there is nothing like a trip to Target. Maybe it’s because Target is our convenient one-stop shop for everything. Maybe it’s Target’s irresistibly adorable style. Maybe it’s a little something extra they’re adding to our Starbucks. Whatever it may be, we can all agree that it is nearly impossible to visit Target and walk out empty-handed. But unfortunately, over-spending has become a regular occurrence for most of us moms who are always trying to be budget-conscious.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I’m fairly convinced the Target sign is really a trick of hypnosis – disguised as a simple brand logo- that disorients our ability to rationalize and shuts off our capacity to refuse anything shiny, sparkly or marked with a red sticker.

Only at Target, can you walk in with full intention to buy milk and leave with two shirts, flip flops, new bed sheets, a dish set, and a beach ball, while somehow manage to completely forget the original purpose for your visit. And yet, we’re still utterly mystified when we hear our total at the checkout.  So how can we take more advantage of Target instead of Target taking advantage of us?

Pay close attention. What I’m about to tell you just might change your life – or at least your next Target experience.

  1. Purchase Items According to Their Scheduled Mark Down. That’s right. Target marks down prices on particular departments each day of the week:

Monday: Accessories, Kid’s Clothing, Electronics, Baby, Stationary, and Books

Tuesday: Women’s Clothing, Pets, Market Food Items, and Domestics

Wednesday: Health and Beauty, Men’s Clothing, Lawn/ Garden, and Furniture

Thursday: Housewares, Shoes, Toys, Décor, Sporting Goods and Luggage

Friday: Cosmetics, Hardware, Jewelry and Auto Items

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  2. Pay Attention to Clearance Price Tags. The price tag says a lot about item mark-downs. The lower left-hand corner of the price tag says the original price, while the upper right corner says the discount percentage. More importantly, if the price tag ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will eventually be marked down again. But if the price ends in $0.04, the item has reached it’s final mark down.

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3. Opt For the Debit REDcard than the Credit REDcard.  Retail credit cards are infamously high on interest. You will receive 5% off at purchase, but will pay 17-24% more if you don’t pay off your balance by the end of the month. Instead, go for the debit card. This card is simply linked to your checking account and will withdraw the purchase funds within 2-3 days – free of charge – and still saves you the 5%, even on Starbucks purchases!

4. Target Offers Price-Match. If you find an item you want in a competitor’s ad, you can bring it to Target and they will price match it – no questions asked. Then you can use your REDcard to save an additional 5% off.


   5. Download/Check Cartwheel. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of years, Target’s Cartwheel app brings the power of savings right to your fingertips. If you have already downloaded the Cartwheel app, be sure to check it before you head out to Target in order to take advantage of receiving discounts on your necessary purchases.

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6. Shop the End Caps. Most avid Target shoppers are well aware of the clearance isle, as well as the $1/$3 isle at the front of the store, but did you know sale items are also found throughout the store at the end caps of most isles? Yes, it’s true! Make sure you don’t cut corners on saving by turning the isle corners too quickly.

  7. Combine Manufacturer Coupons with Target Deals For Ultimate Savings. Combining coupons is one of the best secrets to big savings. But considering ad hunting and coupon clipping is tedious and time consuming, what would you say if I told you someone else has already done the work for you? Go to to match weekly Target deals to manufacturer coupons. Couponmom for the win!

8. Take Advantage of Holiday Clearance. Shopping at Target after a holiday can mean big savings, especially when armed with the knowledge of holiday mark down schedules. While every Target may vary some, there is a general schedule for post-holiday sales:

 50% off – the day after the holiday

75% off – three days after

90% off – one week after

    9. Grab Daily Deals. lists up to five discounted items on it’s Daily Deals page each day.  Plus, these items ship for free! So if you find something you need to purchase on here, you’ve just landed a great bargain!

   10. Shop at Goodwill. You might be wondering what shopping at Goodwill has to do with saving money at Target – a lot more than you may realize – considering that Target frequently donates their unsold merchandise to Goodwill. And since Goodwill is a thrift store, you can guarantee the savings are big – maybe even better than Target’s clearance isle!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker





Dear Wives, What Your Husband Really Wants


Since the beginning of time, men have wondered what women want. Men have been perplexed by our feminine complex. It’s understandably true that with our severe range of emotions, we tend to come across as – shall I say – unpredictable. We have this incredible ability in our nature to be multi-faceted – we’re strong, yet very delicate,  steadfast, but easily shaken, confident, but crave affirmation. Even when we answer with an “I’m fine,” our husbands are rightfully mystified if we are indeed actually fine (by the way husbands, most of the time, “fine” doesn’t mean fine).  It’s no wonder men are boggled by women.

My husband has been studying me for almost 12 years and I believe is still striving to completely figure me all out. What he may or may not realize is that all along the journey of our relationship, I have been studying him as well. And I’ve learned a thing or two.

Between men and women, men are often considered to be the more simple of the two. Not insultingly simple as in simple-minded, but simple in the fact that they just are not incredibly complicated creatures. This should make our job as wives easier, but instead, I find women (myself included) somehow fail to understand our husband’s core nature and thus, fail to meet his core desire.

Being a wife for almost ten years, I am by no means a seasoned woman, but if there is one very important observation I have made about my husband, it is that he is not like me. He is created differently from me with a unique make-up. He doesn’t need what I need. I deeply desire security, companionship, and love. I want to feel cherished. But my husband…

It’s not to say he doesn’t care about love and friendship (because he very much does), but those are not driving forces behind his wants. Now – I know what you’re thinking! Yes, intimacy is probably towards the top of the list for men, but there is something else all men – my husband and yours included – greatly need, but will often not admit out loud: Respect.

Men – through God’s intricately ordained design –  are natural conquerors, providers, and leaders. When we threaten his position to properly exercise these fundamental attributes, we are  robbing our husbands to freely live out who God has called them to be.  Without sometimes realizing it, instead of recognizing this desire for respect, we challenge it.

Like many young wives, when Jesse and I first married, I did not grasp how important respect was to my husband and because I failed to grasp this, I mistakenly emasculated him in so many ways. Every time I made a decision without discussing it with him first, every time I belligerently “reminded” him to do something because I felt it had not been done according to my time frame, every time I criticized him and  every time I questioned his leading – I was blatantly dishonoring him.

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

As wives, we might be tempted to gravitate towards the first half of this verse: “each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself.” But Paul clearly identifies our role in the second half of the verse and it is equally important (and should be) as it pertains to us. As the wife, we are not held accountable for how our husbands obey this command. But we are held accountable of our obedience in living out our end of the bargain: we “must respect” our husbands. And this may burst some bubbles, but this commandment is not contingent on the first part of the verse. Whether or not you feel your husband deserves your respect is completely irrelevant.

Once I realized that I was not honoring my husband as fitting unto God, I earnestly prayed for Him to show me how to be the Proverbs 31 wife – the wife of noble character. I prayed He would cultivate His Spirit within me and nurture my desire to be a respectful, humble wife.  I wanted to be less like “a constant drip” (Proverbs 19:13) who was “decay in his bones” (Proverbs 12:4) and more like a woman who is “praised at the city gate” (Proverbs 31:31).

  1. Remember Your Role. Your husband is the head of the house. You are the helpmate. Your beautifully designed role is to help your husband, not lead your husband. You help him with making decisions, not making them for him. You help foster his ministry (whatever his career may be), not simply parade around him with your own successes. Remember, you’re his wife, not his mother – it is not your job to correct him or point your finger at his mistakes. And certainly don’t expect to change your husband – only God can do that!
  2. Watch What You Say and How You Say It.  If you want your husband to trust in your opinion, it’s vital to speak with eloquence and wisdom. Offering any council using words that are either harsh, destructive or critical will eventually discourage him from seeking your opinion on future matters. Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” He needs to trust not only in your response, but in how your response is carried out. As the old saying goes, “you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” so in other words, speak sweetly. Ask God to guard your tongue and speak through a pure and reverent heart.
  3. Lavish Him With Appreciation. All throughout history, the homecoming victors from battle were highly esteemed and recognized – for their bravery, intellect, strength and leadership. Their acts of courage were awarded with honor and respect. Men not only thrive to compete and conquer, they want to be affirmed in their ability to lead. Your husband is your spiritual covering who is charged to provide for and protect his family. Honor him and the responsibility he is entrusted with. When he comes home, show him you appreciate the man he is and all his hard work. This is as easy as cooking his favorite meal or simply expressing his worth in your own words. Encourage him and edify him through your affirmation.
  4. Pray With Your Husband. If you are married to a believing husband, pray with him. We often pray for what matters to us – our heart’s desire. In your prayers, you can demonstrate your love and respect for him. Pray for God’s wisdom as He leads your husband, pray for favor in his career and callings, pray for patience and endurance through difficult circumstances, and pray for his spiritual growth. These are all aspects that concern your husband and weigh heavily upon his shoulders, so in praying for him, you are acknowledging the importance of these as well. If your husband is an unbeliever, do not be dismayed. You can still pray for him and ask that God will open his eyes and reveal Himself to him.
  5. Speak Well of Your Husband. Sometimes, the most offensive disrespect occurs not in someone’s face, but behind someone’s back. While there are times when it is necessary or appropriate to seek wise council about matters pertaining to your marriage, always try to speak of your husband in a favorable light. It is so easy to get caught up talking with a friend about our disappointments and become habitual complainers. But this is neither edifying or worthy of respect.  In our culturally accepted practice of “venting,” many wives end up actually practicing disrespect. When you are honestly seeking wisdom from another wife about your husband, your behavior will not be of a complaining woman armed with her own agenda in need of personal release, but a humble woman who upholds his reputation and has his best interest at heart.


“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown” (Proverbs 12: 4). May we crown our husbands with prayer, love, admiration, honor and respect.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker



Simply the BEST Old-Fashioned Desserts

Today, I’m showcasing some of my favorite desserts whose classically delicious flavors have been enjoyed by families for decades – and some even longer than that!  I enjoy those 30- second recipe clips as much as any other millennial, but this is neither the time or place for such antiquated treasures as the ones I’m sharing with you.

To pay proper homage,  I’m going old school with old-fashioned written recipes – just like ones found in Grandma’s cookbook- only not with a 5″ X 3″ card, complete with greasy Crisco stains. Simply click on the name of the dessert to bring you right to the recipe! Trust me – you’re going to want to hold on to some of these! Give your family a slice of tradition with these tasty, old-fashioned desserts!


Lemon Pudding Dessert

 I can’t think of a better recipe to start off this list of timeless confections than with this Lemon Pudding Dessert! Taste of Home delivers fresh and light flavors in this dreamy, creamy lemony delight! A buttery shortbread crust is the perfect foundation for this delicate dessert. Perfect for spring and summer potlucks and church picnics! My mom’s secret to send this over- the- top is to substitute the ordinary store-bought cool whip with some homemade whipped cream. Just trust me on this one – no one wants to live with regrets.


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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Salty and sweet are a match made in heaven with this summer delight! So refreshingly decadent – and since the star ingredient is strawberries, you are conveniently fitting in a serving of fruit in your dessert! I’m pretty sure that cancels out the sugar and cream cheese- it’s basic baking math. It may not be textbook, but it’s right in my book!

Hawaiian Pineapple Poke Cake

Aloha! Say hello to this bite of tropical paradise in this luscious classic! You can literally taste the sunshine in this bright treat – and in the Midwest, we could all use a little extra sunshine! Again- utilizing simple ingredients like store-bought pudding and cream cheese proves our ancestors understood the value of simplicity.  In my humble opinion, this simple cake outshines any item found on fancy restaurant dessert menus!

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Pecan Pie

What’s one thing seasoned women (Grandmas included) all have in common? They show love through food! This southern classic may be a labor of love, but it’s worth every morsel and I know your family will agree! A flaky crust + a cinnamon-sweet filling + that crunch from the pecans (there I go again with that baking math) = perfection!  Truly as warm as the south! All you need is a porch swing and some sweet tea!

Banana Bread Pudding Recipe

Banana Bread Pudding

If you have never tried bread pudding, you don’t know what you’re missing! Before you ever consider pitching that day old bread and those brown bananas, just slow your roll! Those are the dynamic duo that creates this scrumptious and satisfying dessert! Think of your favorite banana bread… this is so much better than that! You can thank me later!

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Banana Pudding

So we dropped the “bread” and are left with banana pudding! C’ mon – I couldn’t talk about old-fashioned recipes without mentioning this Southern staple! Humble ingredients, but not humble on flavor! So light and fluffy – traditionally a summertime dessert, but some rules are just meant to be broken.

Cocoa Brownies

Classic Chocolate Brownies

Before the existence of Dunkin Hines and the convenient invention of brownies from a box, recipes like this adorned a plate – hot out of the oven and ready to eat when the kids came home from school – famished from learning and craving a rush of chocolatey goodness. Gooey, fudgy, rich… sorry, Dunkin Hines, but you’ve been replaced.

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Cherry Dump Cake

If cherry pie and vanilla cake procreated, it would make this old-fashioned gem – cherry dump cake. And what a beautiful little mash-up it is. Don’t be fooled by the word “dump” in the name – it has no relevance to the flavor! In respect to both sides of the family ( cake and pie), add a scoop of vanilla ice cream – to cut through the sweetness, of course!

One of my favorite desserts of all time - Ambrosia Salad! So easy to make and always a big hit with kids and adults alike, make sure to put this salad recipe on the menu for your next party! | | #recipe

Ambrosia Salad

Not much else says old-fashioned like some maraschino cherries – it’s the beloved, universal staple found in every Grandma’s kitchen. With a little help from a few more simple ingredients- mandarin oranges, coconut, crushed pineapples and marshmallows- this dessert is not only delicious, but budget-friendly. Not a master baker? This dessert just became your best friend!  And with “salad” in the name, it has to be good for you, right? You don’t have to answer that.

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Carrot Cake

What’s up, Doc? Sorry – I couldn’t resist – but seriously, this dessert is a timeless French confection, dating back 1827! An oldie, but a goodie! This cake’s moist filling will raise the bar on whatever existing preconceived notions you might have about a cake made with a vegetable. And the decadent cream cheese frosting is literally “the icing on the cake” and delivers exactly what your sweet tooth desires!

Peach Cobbler

Peaches, cinnamon, nutmeg – Oh, my! This American deep-dish dessert has been serving up smiles for centuries!  With this thick, fruity filling and airy topping, it’s no wonder this recipe has stood the test of time. Whether it’s wrapping up a Sunday dinner after church, a family picnic or special occasion, peach cobbler is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Cookie Jar Gingersnaps

Cookie Jar Ginger Snaps

There’s something special about a cookie jar – an ornate, ceramic container encapsulating the smell of every sugary and buttery crumb that has the privilege to reside there – well, at least until they fulfill their cookie destiny. The spicy flavor of the ginger paired with the maple flavor of molasses create this heart-warming cookie.

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Key Lime Pie

This 5- ingredient wonder is light and creamy. With a hint of tang, this dessert packs the right amount of punch. If you really want to be fancy, you can make a homemade graham cracker crust, but store-bought will do just fine – no one will even know the difference! And it’s pretty.


Apple Dumplings

While apple pie is about as classic American as Baseball, I deterred slightly with another traditional apple-filled dessert – apple dumplings. The fork practically floats to your mouth as you live apply ever after!

Red Velvet Cake

I wisely saved the best for last. They say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But this cake debunks that theory because it is soooo good and thank the Lord, so true! One of my all-time favorite classic desserts, red velvet cake is hands down the BEST cake- even if it has gray icing and is in the shape of an armadillo.

History never tasted so sweet! I could go on and on down memory lane with these old-fashioned desserts, but I’ve got a delicious date with a slice of red velvet cake!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker