Nashville Girls’ Weekend with Tommy Nelson!

It’s been a little quiet around here for two reasons. The first is the fundraiser we launched over at the MOB Society last week as we make the move to becoming a nonprofit ministry! We’ve only just begun and it’s already very exciting, overwhelming, scary, and wonderful at the same time! If you’d like to read more, head over to the blog to hear our hearts!

The other reason has been travel, both with family and for blogging purposes! If you follow me on social media, you probably know I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Nashville!

I have been a part of the Tommy Nelson Mommies writing team for four years and they’ve been wanting to bring us all together for a while. It worked out for all of us except for two women to meet in Nashville this weekend and it was AMAZING.

Our weekend was jam-packed with goodness. We stayed at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland hotel…

TN Opryland

had a wonderful day of meetings at the Thomas Nelson headquarters {SO cool to be where all the book magic happens!}…

TN Thomas Nelson

TN Group at TN

ate the most wonderful food at places like Puckett’s Grocery and the Loveless Cafe…

and topped the whole weekend off with a night at the Grand Ole Opry AND a surprise backstage tour during the concert! Oh my word. This was incredible, especially since Vince Gill was playing and he did a song that is very near and dear to my heart {more on the Opry experience at a  later date}. A night I will not soon forget.

TN Vince Gill

But the weekend was really all about these beautiful women…

TN Johnny Rockets

Each of them beautiful in every way, I had the best time getting to know these ladies, laughing and crying and sharing and learning. Some were new friends, some I was so glad to reconnect with in person!

TN Party Car TN Group Jump

I just could not think of a better group with whom to talk faith, writing, and motherhood {and also jump and eat my way through Nashville}! I’m thankful we had the chance to hear each other’s hearts in person as well as hearing directly from the team we work with at Tommy Nelson. These people really love Jesus AND children’s books! They are so committed to bringing more resources to parents to help their children learn about God and His Word – and they are a TON of fun!

I loved being a part of the Tommy Nelson team before, but this weekend gave me an even greater appreciation for their dedication to strengthening the faith of our children through books. It’s an honor to have a small place amongst this wonderful group!

If you’re a blogger and want to sign up to get Tommy Nelson children’s books to review, just head over here to apply! LOTS of great books coming out for kids in the next few months!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

It’s Freeing to Know Who You Are

This weekend I discovered the freedom of interacting with others when you know who you are.

Taking the StrengthsFinder test back in February opened my eyes to giftings I “kind of” knew were there from the Lord already, but I didn’t know how to name them. It was as if God called them out of me in a new way through that test and the study I did of my strengths in the time that followed.

This past weekend I attended the Declare Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Lord revealed an even greater blessing while there of walking in my strengths in community with other women, women who also know or are learning how God has made them and how He wants to use them for His kingdom.

God has built within me a strong desire and gift to connect with new people, to learn new things, and to communicate them with others. This is who I am.

At Declare, I had a chance to do ALL of these things and my heart leapt at each new opportunity to meet someone new, learn something new, or share what I know. I can see now how this has played out in previous experiences of mine, but this year felt different.  I felt more free, more bold, more connected with what He was bringing my way and why.

There are hundreds of personality tests and assessments out there to discover “who you are,” and it might be so overwhelming that you’re never touched one. But I’m asking you to reconsider.

In conversation after conversation with old friends and new friends this weekend, I heard women celebrating their God-given strengths and walking in wild obedience to do what He has asked them with those strengths.

Declare Heather Crystal

It looked like Crystal wildly obeying God’s call to share her love and gift for cultivating authentic community online to a room full of women.

It looked like Heather embracing her extroverted-awesome to emcee the conference with such humor, such life, such Jesus-love.

Declare Brooke Kate

It looked like Brooke + Stacey each sharing their own gracious, loving words about how to keep going and keep writing when the world seems to crumble around you complete with their own hard stories.Declare Stacey

It looked like Jessi holding on our hands and telling us she’s in the thick of it, too, and that’s ok because Jesus is enough to pull us through.

It looked like Lisa-Jo bravely telling her motherhood stories that made us all feel a little less alone and a lot more ready to fight for the things that matter to us, including our children.

Declare Sally

It looked like Sally and a lot of tears, understanding, prayer, healing between the two of us because she was willing to open her heart.

Declare Workout

It looked like Alisa leading us in a God-centered workout that brought us to throne of Jesus AND made me the good kind of sore for days following 🙂

It looked like the listening ears and wise words of Denise and Alia into the wee hours of the night, two women with very different strengths than me, but exactly what I needed to connect with at that moment.

It looked like so many other beautiful women saying, “Yes. THIS is who I am. THIS is what God wants me to do.” And every single woman’s wild obedience looked different and beautiful and free.

The first blogging conference I went to, I walked away wanting to be more like this woman or that blog. I hadn’t spent enough time asking God, “Who am I? What are the strengths you want me to use for You?” I spent years online trying to figure out how I “fit in.”

This year, I was so comfortable with me. And I felt so free. I led a session on affiliate marketing and I joked that it was the least “Jesus-y” session of the whole weekend. My session wasn’t about Jesus, but it was about using our strengths for Him. He gifted me in the area of connecting with people + businesses and sharing them with others, so I stepped out into this calling and LOVED it.

Instead of walking away from Declare wanting my blog to look more like this woman’s or my Instagram pictures to look more like that woman’s, I walked away ready to be me to the fullest, to fulfill MY place in His Kingdom.

Do you know how good that feels? I want you to know how good that feels. We all have different gifts but they are ALL important. The woman who listens well is just as gifted as the woman who speaks in front of thousands. But you have to know where your strengths lie if you’re going to embrace them and use them for His glory.

I don’t want to add another thing to anyone’s to-do list, but at least consider taking a personality or strengths-finding test today if you’re wrestling with your place in this world, in His Kingdom. And if you’ve taken these tests, find a way to use what what He has built inside you. Revisit those strengths often.

Because it’s freeing to know who you are and DO something for Him with it.


My favorites for discovering more about your personality and strengths:

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

CoSchedule: My New Blogging Best Friend

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I receive a discount on my membership to CoSchedule! Thanks for supporting this site!

I don’t talk about the specifics or business of blogging much on here, but I couldn’t keep this one to myself.

If you are a blogger, you know the writing part is usually the “fun” part, but the sharing of your content is tedious and time-consuming and, well, not fun. After pouring your heart out into a post, you don’t want to spend hours trying to make sure it gets mentioned on every social media channel. And once you leave the post, you might not ever share it again yourself.

A friend mentioned a solution for this on Twitter one day and I was skeptical, but when I saw there was a free trial period, I decided to give it a shot. It didn’t even take the full 12 day trial to convince me I needed this tool in my blogging life.

So what is my new blogging best friend?!



CoSchedule is a social media editorial calendar for WordPress that integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and Buffer, and it has absolutely streamlined the process for sharing my content on all social media channels. Watch this video quick to learn more:

In the past, I would get my post written and scheduled one day. Then I would come back the day it published and grab a few quotes to share with links and schedule those in Buffer. Buffer covered my Twitter and Facebook accounts, but Facebook didn’t always connect correctly. And I had no way of scheduling posts to go up throughout the day on Pinterest. It was a haphazard effort to be kind.

With CoSchedule, I can schedule ALL of my social media shares in one place – right from the actual post before it even goes live. I can pull quotes easily, choose dates and times, make photo posts or link posts, pin to several different Pinterest boards spaced out in the day or even the next week, and SO much more.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 9.17.42 PM

A few people tried to explain why they loved CoSchedule, but it really took me trying it myself to see that it was just what I needed as a busy wife, mom, writer, etc. I can see what I have sent and scheduled in the post or I can see all of the planned shares for all posts on the editorial calendar. And if I don’t like how things look in the calendar – too many posts close together or too far apart – I can drag and drop the scheduled shares to a new date and time!

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 9.04.00 PM

This post could go on and on about how CoSchedule has helped me, but the bottom line is this: CoSchedule is well worth the $10/month because it is saving me TIME and my SANITY and it is getting my content out there more effectively than I ever could before. And I haven’t even tapped into the potential this app has for collaborative sites. YES. Your whole writing/editing/marketing team can use it!

If you just saw the price and thought, “I don’t want to pay another monthly fee for something,” please just give the CoSchedule free trial a chance and then cancel if you’re not convinced. I won’t be offended if you don’t love it, but I will feel bad if CoSchedule could have helped you and I never told you to try it!

Have you tried CoSchedule yet? How do you think it could help you as a blogger, editor, marketer, or social media manager?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

When Visiting a Bookstore Feels Like Visiting Your Friends

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I don’t make it to bookstores very often as Amazon and my Kindle fill my need for books quite well, but this weekend I took the boys to Barnes and Noble to kill some time in their children’s section.

The boys devour books just like their mama, so when I mentioned a bookstore trip, they were giddy. And I was giddy as well because when I perused the shelves of the Christian living section, I felt like I was visiting my dear friends…

Now, it may only be their books, but these books are the babies of wonderful friends, gracious women, and lovely Jesus-followers. And I did a little happy dance in the aisle as I found these gems tucked away on the shelf.

And yes, I did rearrange a few of them – not out of their alphabetical area – just to showcase books people NEED to be reading. It was very fun to have the boys excited to see my friends’ books there as well! They were pointing out many of the names they’ve heard me mention and books they’ve seen on my nightstand. {I’m reading You’re Going to Be Okay right now and it is SO good} I loved every minute of it!

With more friends releasing books recently and in the future, we might have to visit them at the bookstore more often!

And speaking of books by dear friends, the ebook version of Praying for Boys is just $1.99 TODAY ONLY! If you haven’t bought your copy yet or want to buy some to gift to boy mom friends, DO IT TODAY!

What great books are you reading right now?


The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

The Best of 2013

Ooh, 2013 was quite a year, wasn’t it?!

As I was looking back over the year to put together this post of my bests and favorites for the year, it seemed like a LONG year. We packed a lot into these twelve months and I’m sure I’ve forgotten half the wonderful things that happened! So I’m just going to apologize now for leaving some stuff out because it’s bound to happen with this mom-brain…

Best of 2013

Top Blog Posts of 2013

{according to Google Analytics}

  1. 10 Favorite Christian Running Songs {May 2013}
  2. Why a Mom’s Body Image Matters to Her Sons
  3. Less Yelling, More Praying: Bible Verses to Pray
  4. My Half Marathon Playlist
  5. Insanity Mom
  6. High Five Morning Routine for Kids
  7. The Love Dare for Parents
  8. My Experience with Stitch Fix {you can read about my follow-up experience here}
  9. 13.1 Books for 2013 {I read at least 13 books this year, but didn’t get to all of these!}
  10. Easter Week with the Jesus Storybook Bible

Rhythm of Boys

Favorite Books of 2013

Raw Emotion

Favorite Songs of 2013

  • Middle of Your Heart by For King and Country
  • Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher
  • Awake My Soul by Chris Tomlin
  • The League of Incredible Vegetables by Newsboys

Vegas Poolside Couple

Favorite Moments of 2013

Really, it was an amazing year. A year to celebrate.

And God stretched me a lot this year, as well. Most of the time I was kicking and screaming as He tried to help me grow, which left me tired and frustrated, but my eyes are much wider open to His plans for me going into 2014. He gave me a word a few months ago that I will share with you tomorrow as my word of the year and I’m holding tightly to it changing the way He works in EVERY part of my life!

I want to leave you with one thought as this year ends and a new begins…

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us… ~David Crowder

This is not a time to dwell on the regrets of 2013, but to bask in His great love and move forward into 2014! Oh, how He loves you, friend, and has big plans for each of us this new year!

Thank you to all who have joined us along the way and those who have been here for years – I treasure each one of you and pray for you often!

Happy New Year!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook


I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Well, friends, it’s been a good run, but after five years of blogging – exactly five years ago today – I think enough is enough, don’t you?


I can’t even believe where God has taken me over the past five years with blogging. Home with the Boys started as a tiny little personal blog to keep family and friends updated about all the new changes in our life – a second baby, me staying home, and the start of medical school. Now it is a creative outlet, a place to share the words God places in my heart and the things our family loves, a wonderfully fun place to connect with all of you!

I am humbled by the way He grown me in this journey and by the incredible friends I have made because of the blogging world. Some of my very favorite people in the world I met because of blogging. Now if only we lived closer…

I want to celebrate YOU today. If you weren’t reading and commenting, I’m not sure this would have kept going for so long. God has used all of you to encourage me, inspire me, grow me. I am so thankful for all of you and I pray for you often.

Any good celebration has gifts, and I’m going with a “My Favorite Things” theme for some pretty awesome giveaways to celebrate five years! These giveaways are a collection of some of my favorite things I’ve discovered through blogging! Check out these FIVE fabulous prize packages for FIVE fabulous years:

Five Years Giveaway

Giveaway #1:

Lisa Leonard - Well with My Soul Necklace

Giveaway #2:

Rusted Chain GC 520

Giveaway #3:

Redeemed - Found & Treasured - Large Purse

Giveaway #4:


Giveaway #5:

  • “Guard Your Heart” 20×20 cafe mount from the Just for Boys collection by Red Letter Words
  • A signed paperback copy of Hope for the Weary Mom by my sweet, mom-inspiring friends Brooke McGlothlin & Stacey Thacker
  • The Character Collection {Seeds of Character & The Character of God} from Seeds Family Worship, my favorite music to have on in our home and a VERY important organization for me through these five years of blogging
  • Winner’s choice of U-NEEKS plush, notepad, & puffy stickers set from DaySpring


HOLY COW, right?! I am so thankful for all of these friends who are celebrating with us! They are all such a blessing and so are you!

I love you guys. Seriously.

Now before I get all weepy, go get yourself entered to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

The No Brainer Blog: An Interview with The Tiny Twig!

I love anything with “no brainer” in the title.

My mind seems to think lack of sleep is an excuse to go on strike, so anything that claims I can do whatever it is without much thought is a win in my book!

My friend Hayley, author at The Tiny Twig, proved that “no-brainer” is a great thing with her first ebook, The No Brainer Wardrobe. I adore that book. I used it religiously while restocking my wardrobe this fall after a significant weight loss and it was a life- and budget-saver!

Hayley has followed up The No Brainer Wardrobe with a book any blogger – or wanna-be blogger – will be blessed to read!

The No Brainer Blog is just like Hayley – full of passion without much fuss. Blogging should be something we ENJOY! Hayley offers a wealth of knowledge for putting together a blog you love and that works for you! And with such a successful blog, Hayley knows a thing or two about this subject!

I was blessed to be able to ask Hayley a few questions about blogging lately. I think you’ll really appreciate her answers!

What are your best tips for engaging readers?

Hayley: Engaging readers starts with understanding yourself, I think.  I always remind myself that you have to keep them around with what you attracted them with in the first place.  If you offered deals and giveaways and DIYs and tutorials to draw readers, but that isn’t true to your voice then you will have a hard time sustaining that readership.  However, if you love to write lovely words and you draw readers in that way, then you will have created a readership that LOVES your real voice.  This, of course, is a learning curve and you won’t always get it right.  However, with time and experience, it will get easier and you’ll find you have drawn a committed and loyal group of readers.

How do you feel about weekly link-ups?

Hayley: I’ve tried weekly linkups in the past.  I’ve hosted them and I’ve participated in them.  Both were unnatural for me in a sustainable way.  I can’t host them because I get bored easily and want to move on to a new idea.  🙂  I learned that by trying and failing at maintaining my own link-up.

I like joining in on them occasionally.  I can’t commit to it being a regular part of my blog, simply because of my personality.  However, they are great “filler” posts that still engage and connect with readers but don’t take developing a brand new idea or a lot of time to execute.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong, but be selective in the linkups you participate in.  Don’t over do it or you will be speaking with a voice that is everyone’s but your own.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

Hayley: I love blogging because it’s the perfect place to test out ideas.  You get a response, good or bad or indifferent, and you know better then how to pivot for your next iteration of the idea.  There is no barrier to entry, so anyone with something to say can join in the conversation.  It is such a democratized medium that it is up to the blogger to succeed or fail, not up to the capital they can raise or the people who will believe in them.

I also love how easily connections are forged online.  I feel like blogging is almost the eHarmony of friendships.  You can easily see if you are kindred with someone because you can read their words and see their hearts fairly transparently.  I have made some of the greatest friends through blogging, and it’s all about putting yourself out there, accepting the fact that not everyone will end up being a best friend, and forging the relationships that come your way. 

Yep. That’s why I think she’s pretty fabulous!

For more of this wisdom, you can get your copy of The No Brainer Blog here! And The No Brainer Wardrobe is available here!

Hayley is also giving away one copy of The No Brainer Blog today! To enter, just leave a comment telling us your favorite thing about blogging!


*I was provided with a review copy of this book. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

**This post contains affiliate links, but I only share what I love!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Every Day Blogs: My Ten Must-Reads

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings Blog reading can benefit your life and build you up or can it can take it over and drag you down.

Well-written blogs inspire and encourage. Others can make you feel guilty or overwhelmed or less than what you are.

That’s why I choose which blogs I read on a regular basis very carefully. And I try to keep the list fairly short so blog-reading doesn’t consume the time I need to be spending with family and friends.

The blogs I have listed below are the ten blogs I read almost every single day. The posts are sent to my inbox because I know I don’t want to miss a post and it is easy to read them at my convenience.

I am so grateful for the ladies who pour out their hearts and wisdom and creative genius on these sites because they inspire me to be all God created me to be as a wife, mom, homemaker, friend, woman, writer, and daughter of the King!

To clarify: I DO read other blogs. There are many writers I enjoy very much who I have probably left off this list. I will probably have to write a second top ten list for those I forgot this time around!

Top Ten Must-Read Blogs

{in no particular order}

1. Peak 313 Fitness – Clare’s site is all about getting fit physically and spiritually. Encouragement, workout plans, healthy recipes, and lots of motivation!

2. Simple Mom – LOTS of practical advice about living more intentionally and simply with your family.

3. The MOB Society – I know I’m one of the founders of the site, but I need the words of those writers in my inbox daily! I love this connection to other boy moms!

4. Women Living Well – I love Courtney’s site for marriage advice and loads of Biblical truth. She also hosts lots of wonderful challenges that involve accountability and you know I love that!

5. I Take Joy – Getting Sally’s posts in my inbox feels like having a mentor email me every evening with some sage wisdom to help me grow as a mom.

6. Beauty and Bedlam – I want to be like Jen. She is a godly woman who is also hospitable, fashionable, frugal, creative, and a wonderful mom!

7. Inspired to Action – I feel like Kat is my mom life-coach. She gives awesome encouragement and helpful resources ALL. THE. TIME.

8. Impress Your Kids – My #1 go-to site for all things kids and faith. Amanda is a creative rockstar and I trust her recommendations 100%. Plus, I wish she lived next door.

9. The Better Mom – A wonderful team site with beautifully-written posts any mom would be blessed to read. And I am blessed by it daily.

10. (in)courage – The one site I think every single woman should read – married or single, mom or not, any age or race. You will find something just for you every week at (in)courage.


Which blogs are on your “every day” list?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Blogger Behave!

I think Laura Booz, author of 10 Million Miles and the BRAND new site, The Homeschool Baby, may be one of the sweetest bloggers I have ever had the joy of meeting in person. But she is also not afraid to speak the truth – in love, of course 🙂

Laura’s heart is to help women keep their priorities in order while continuing to enjoy writing on their blogs. This is an ongoing goal for myself and I feel like I am constantly failing working at it.

I’m not going to tell you that Laura’s new ebook, Blogger Behave, is going to solve all of your and my problems in this area.

But I will tell you that Blogger Behave, which goes on sale today, is making me rethink this life as a blogger in very practical ways – and it’s making me laugh. A good combo for me.

My first major take-away from Blogger Behave was to make a blog vision statement.

Before I started my 31 days series, I was wrestling with just WHO I wanted to write for and WHAT I was supposed to write about. As the series went on, I really felt a pull in a few directions and away from others. I know that a blog vision statement is my next step.

The other phrase I really needed to hear from Laura’s book was this…

My blog must benefit my real life.

Not take away. Not co-exist. My blog must BENEFIT my real life.

What I write about can I actually help ME become a better person – isn’t that crazy and awesome? I had really never thought of blogging that way but I can see the truth in it.

If you blog, I want you to read this. I don’t get anything from you buying it – just the satisfaction of knowing that I passed along a very useful resource for improving our lives as bloggers.

Here are the details…

*First, go to the Blogger Behave site and watch the hilarious promo video – just because it will make you smile today.

*Second, you can download a FREE sample chapter to get a better feel for the book.

*Third, BUY THE BOOK! Today it is only $2.50! You can buy a PDF or buy it for your Nook or Kindle!

*Finally, come back here, tell me you bought it and share your thoughts! I hope you love it as much I have!


Thank you to Laura for providing a copy of this book for me to review, but more importantly, for WRITING this book that I very much needed to read! What a blessing!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook