Links I Love & a Nickels for Nets Update!


We’re over halfway through the month, so I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing with our monthly mission raising Nickels for Nets!

I am so proud of Big J and how he has been committed to asking people for nickels and telling them about the mission of Sweet Sleep – at taekwondo, the library, church, and everywhere we go!

As of Friday, we had collected $21.20 and our neighboring city friends had gathered at least $30.50 for a total of $51.70! That means SIX NETS have been sponsored so far! Woohoo!!! Let’s keep it rolling for another 12 days! How is your collecting going?

Nickels for Nets Box

Now, for a few things I’ve loved around the Internet this week…

*Simple Mom’s posts on writing a bookThe Big Picture and The Nitty Gritty – bookmarking these for someday…

*4 Steps to Casting a Godly Vision for Your Son – Ooh, this is a good one from Heather, relevant for sons AND daughters. It’s had me thinking a LOT.

*Amanda’s Armor of God series is Totally. Awesome. I’m storing up these ideas to use with the boys after Lent and Easter!

Happy weekend everyone!

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Too Busy Living Life To Write About Life!

Well, hello again!

Yes, I am alive! Yes, we are doing well! I just took a little unscheduled break here as life at home picked up and some exciting things were happening in other areas of this online space!

First, for the “real life” stuff…

The Hubby spent four days working noon to midnight shifts in the ER. Yikes. I. MISSED. HIM. But two days off were the reward at the end of that not-so-fun streak!


We’re glad to have him home and he’s glad to be around when we’re all awake!


Big J was invited to test for his next Taekwondo belt! He started Taekwondo in November and has really enjoyed it. I love the mix of fun and discipline these taekwondo lessons have been for him! The test was a combination of physical skills and memorization of the Taekwondo oath and tenets. He did SO well at his test, but we won’t find out the results for another week or so! We are proud of him either way!


Double J started clapping this week, so all day long I just want to play pat-a-cake and find new ways to make him clap because it is TOO CUTE. And Little J has us in stitches with his funny voices, dramatic reading of books, and all-around craziness. The older boys also started AWANA at our new church and are already loving it!

I was able to witness a miracle as dear friends who were on the brink of divorce renewed their vows over the weekend. There were some major tears as we watched God redeem what seemed beyond hope. Nothing is beyond hope with God. I was blessed and honored to be there. Praise the Lord that He still works in mysterious and wonderful ways!

My local Bible study started up again last week, and this time around we’re reading Desperate! We hadn’t met since November and I missed those girls! I’m really looking forward to our regular meetings again, especially talking about coming alongside each other in our motherhood journeys! I also has a blast at our church’s ladies’ craft night! Everybody just ate and chatted and worked on their own creative projects – loved it!

And then there is this blog-o-sphere…

Today, I’m posting over at the Tommy Nelson blog with a fun way to get those younger kids actively involved in Bible stories! After being stuck inside on below-zero wind chill days, this activity has helped us get some crazies out more than a few times! And it involves animals, which the boys loved! Head over there to check it out!

But the majority of my computer time has been spent working on behind-the-scenes details for the new site, Raising Hearty Boys! As most of you know, I’m the co-founder of The MOB Society {for mothers of boys}, and we’re in the middle of some major expansion right now! In January we added Boy Dads: In the Trenches of Fatherhood to our network, which is now Raising Boys Media! Raising Hearty Boys is set to launch next as a place for parents to find all things food and fitness related for boys! I have always loved to cook and bake, and exercise has become such an important part of our family life, so I am thrilled to be serving as editor for this new site! I’ll post more details as the launch date approaches!

And last, but not least, I’ve been working on my God-sized dream. If you’ll remember, part of my dream is to do what God is calling me to do while keeping Him and my family prioritized. As I sit down to write this post, I realize just how many times in the past week I’ve chosen time with Him and time with the boys before getting online or sitting down to write. It feels good. It feels right. And I have a lot more inspiration to draw from when the time to write comes! What a blessing!

That’s a full plate right there, but life is good! What’s been on your plate lately? How can I pray for you?




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Where I’m Going From Here…

Now that the 31 Days series is over, I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s up next for me and this blog!

The 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Challenge with Crystal and Laura and myself starts today! I may post about it from time to time, but my main role will be Twitter cheerleader {use hashtag #disciplined21} for all you lovelies joining the challenge and tackling a mega-project! Mine involves an e-book. I’m scared. Hold me. {You can still get your ebook and start with us!}

What I Wore Wednesday will be returning and I’ll be sharing a little more about fashion as a mom in a fun new place. Stay tuned…

I’m getting ready now for Truth in the Tinsel! If I don’t start now, I will be frantically trying to gather supplies in the midst of the already-crazy holiday season. I’m trying to prevent that with all I am. I’m also printing out the brand new Truth in the Tinsel printable ornaments to use on the days when a craft just isn’t going to happen. Have you seen them?! SO cute.

I’m revisiting and reworking my mission statements. Thanks to Kat, I have a mom mission statement that I wrote over two years ago, so I’m going back to it, praying over it, tweaking it, and working on LIVING. IT. OUT.

I also have a mission statement for how I take care of our home thanks to Sarah Mae’s 31 Days to Clean. It’s been tucked away in a binder, but I’m pulling that out again because I need to read those words more often!

And God has given me the gift of a clarified vision for this little blog space. I am praying I follow that vision with every post!

Oh yeah, and I signed up for a half-marathon. On Thanksgiving morning. With The Hubby. And it’s a TRAIL run. Who is this woman, seriously?! Please pray for me…

How about a few of my favorite pics from the last month just to wrap this up nicely?

Baby brother being loved on {and wondering what is going on?!} at the pumpkin patch!

Big J trying out fall soccer.

My Avengers trick or treating at the hospital.

Pumpkin faces and silly faces.

My first 15K this past weekend. Small race, but this was good enough for first in my age group!

So, friends, how was your October? What are you looking forward to in November?


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Dear Me…

A letter to my 16-year-old self, inspired by Emily and her “Dear Me” post

**There are some awful pictures of me in this post. Seriously AWFUL. Consider yourself warned.**

Dear Erin,

This is your 31-year-old self writing to give you a little glimpse into the future. I have just a few things I’ve always wanted to say to you if I could and Emily invited us to do just that, so here goes…

It’s ok to have boys as “just friends.” I know you think about this A LOT. Not having a boyfriend doesn’t make you any less wonderful. You will find out later many of those just-friend boys were actually intimidated by your intelligence and talents. {Yes, they actually admitted this!} And I’m really happy to say that you will never compromise either to get a boyfriend.

Enjoy those friendships now, be yourself, and stop fretting about dating. In six short years, you will marry a super hot guy who is also your very best friend – someone you could spend every second of every day with and enjoy it! {And he’s not threatened by your smarts either because he is super smart.}

Oh, and he was at music camp with you this past summer but the two of you never met. Remember that guy who sang “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables?” Yeah, him.

Speaking of boys, you’re going to have three of them. THREE.

Your love for sports will be very useful. Star Wars and Legos will rule your life. And you will love being a boy mom. You probably are already thinking that, aren’t you? {In two years, you will be voted “Would Make the Best Mom” in your graduating class.}

That girl who loudly passed judgement on every other girl wearing something from Target? Ignore her. Target is THE place to shop now. All you Target shoppers back then were ahead of your time. Way to go. And that girl probably shops at Target now as well. {She also got a lot nicer after high school.}

You have a great group of friends right now. They will continue to make your high school time tons of fun and won’t lead you into any trouble. Stick with them and don’t wander off when the seemingly “cooler” crowd looks your way. These friends are the real deal. And you’re having way more fun with them than you would with anyone else. They are a blessing from God in many ways.

While we’re on the topic of God, you don’t know Him very personally yet, do you? Sure, you go to church and you pray occasionally and you do everything you “should do.” That’s all good, but it’s not the same as relationship. And stop judging others in your head – the ones you think don’t “do all the right things” religiously. It’s not about that.

You don’t know Jesus well yet, but you will. You will fall deeply in love with Jesus before you fall in love with a guy and that’s exactly how it should be. {Well, you’ll THINK you’re in love before that, but you’re not. Trust me.}

Also, being in your thirties is awesome. Sounds so old, doesn’t it? But honestly, at 31, you will love Jesus more than ever, adore your family, have amazing friends, be in the best shape of your life {Yes, you CAN run more than a mile without dying!}, and be finding your way as a writer {did I just write that?!}. Signing up for newspaper your senior year will actually come in handy later on down the road, even if you do strongly dislike the teacher!

Unfortunately, you’ll still be a little scatter-brained and battle acne {ugh}, but you will realize neither of these is the end of the world. Most things aren’t.

Be nicer to your sister. Let her borrow your clothes because you will want to borrow hers before too long.

Spend more time with Mom and Dad. They are really great, fun parents and people in general. Learn from Mom’s great heart for hospitality, even in a small house, and take notes from Dad on how to really bless people. That man knows how to listen to what people really want and need.

The “Rachel” haircut will never turn out for you the way you want it. Don’t worry – Rachel will change her hair many, many times before the show ends. And you will cut your hair very short your senior year. It will be a LONG road to grow it back. and much patience will be required. Deep breaths – you can handle it.

Keep studying and practicing and working hard because it will all pay off in the form of scholarships and a job you love and great life experiences.

But don’t stop having fun and being silly just because that one boy called you an airhead one time. Your outgoing, bubbly personality is one of the things people love most about you.

Don’t let worry about things you can’t control consume you. I know you lie awake in bed at times thinking about all the bad things that could happen. Give them to Jesus and let Him carry them. They are not your load to bear.

Your life from where you are now to where I am now won’t be without its valleys, but God will put just the people you need in your life at just the right time. You will look back and know He was with you all the time.

You have so much to look forward to – enjoy every moment!

Lots of love,



This post was inspired by Emily Freeman and her new book Graceful for teenage girls. I don’t have a daughter to pass this book on to, but having worked with middle and high school girls as a teacher and youth group volunteer, I know how very important it will be to so many young ladies in those awkward years of self-discovery. Thank you, Emily, for ministering to those girls! And you can read lots more “Dear Me” letters linked up at Emily’s blog today!

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What I Love This Weekend

This week, I joined a fantasy football league with The Hubby and some friends for the first time. Then I set up one for girl bloggers as well. And the season has barely started and I think it is totally fun already! Anybody else doing fantasy football?

Also? This guy turned six months old yesterday.

How did that happen? Oh yeah, I blinked.


Some of my favorite finds this week…

Living and Active: A 5 week fall challenge from Clare at Peak313 to get fit both physically and spiritually! Join me!

Two Small Words That Make a BIG Difference in Parenting: Includes a great prayer for moms at then end. I need to print it out and pray it often!

50 Uses for Baking Soda: That Jen is a genius.

On Writing: Finding Time and Making It Happen: This is my life right now. Great tips from Jessica about life as a mom and a writer.

Have a wonderful weekend! Go Huskers!


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What I Love This Weekend

Double J started rice cereal this past week. I totally love this look on his face at his first taste! He actually gobbles it down quite easily already!

Other things I loved this week… 

A Case for Letting Boys Be Strong – It is so hard to let go, but Brooke is so right! I want to raise strong, confident men for the Lord!

Putting Off and Putting On – Don’t just tell your children to stop bad behavior!

Summer outdoor essentials for babies and toddlers – Great advice from a family who practically lives outdoors!

Looking for a mentor? I’ve got a 40 minute session with your name on it! – A wonderful giveaway from one of my favorite authors, Sally Clarkson. I really shouldn’t tell you about the giveaway because I really want to win, but I like you!

Summer Olympics Family Fun PackWhat’s in the Bible? puts together another awesome resource and it’s FREE! Did I mention you will be entered to win prizes just by downloading this fun pack?! {And you still have time to get any DVD for only $10 PLUS 20% off when you click here to purchase!}

Be blessed this weekend!


*This post contains affiliate links.

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What I Love This Weekend

I read this verse earlier this month as part of a She Reads Truth Bible reading plan and I can’t get it out of my head. I think God is trying to pound it in good, so I made up this little printable to help that process along! When I feel wronged in some way or get upset over something the kiddos have done, I need to take a deep breath and recite this verse a few times to help me proceed in a godly manner!

Need James 2:13 as a reminder for yourself? For your children? You can click here to download the PDF and print it for your home!

Other things I’m loving this weekend…

*A Kind Wife: Joy shares why chores should not be your top priority!

*She Reads Truth: I’ve been following along with their Bible reading plans through the last three session and I love starting my day this way! The readings are short but challenging and the community is wonderful!

*Why I’ll Never Be “The Skinniest” And Why I’m OK With That: Clare hits the nail right on the head discussing why a FIT body is better than a SKINNY body. Love her and how she inspires healthy living!

Wonderful weekend wishes to each of you!

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What I Love This Weekend

We had a fairly low key Fourth of July at home, just the five of us, and it was quite lovely…

Here are few more things I loved this week…

*I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy – My dear friend Amanda wrote these words and spoke right to my heart. If you’re fleeing “blah” or weighed down, I think you’ll find great encouragement here. FAVORITE post of the week. Favorite post I’ve read in a long time!

*Thank You Crystal, I’m Setting Goals! – Sarah Mae wrote several posts this week about setting goals. This is the first and it inspired me!

*Water Gun Target Practice – Heather and I seem to be living parallel lives {only she has four boys!}, so I tend to relate to a LOT of what she posts! This is a great idea for hot days with the boys!

*How To Be a More Patient Mom – Pretend your kids are someone else’s kids?! I think I might need to try this!

Have a fabulous weekend!

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What I Love This Weekend

We’re doing whatever we can to stay cool during this summer heat wave, including water blasters for the boys…

And quality time in the air-conditioning for me!

Here are some great reads if you’re “hibernating” like I am…

Hot Towel Scrub How To: This just sounds heavenly!

How to Stock Up on 4th of July Entertaining Supplies: How can this be in a few days already?! Love Sandy’s take on entertaining!

10 Free {or cheap} Ways for a Weary Mom to Find Rest: I’ll take all ten, thank you very much!

Grumbling: Great ways to curb grumbling with your kiddos. I’m printing this out and memorizing it!

Happy weekend everyone!

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Happy 2012!

This is our family wishing you a…


May your 2012 be filled with joy and blessings!

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