Monday, January 18, 2021

Quarter 2 Update: Homeschool Year 2020-21

Guess what!? Right before our family took a two week Christmas break, my girls completed their second quarter of homeschool!! I can’t believe we’re already halfway through our entire 2020-21 homeschool year. Honestly, I’m so proud of my girls who have worked very hard this school year. Of course there have been struggles along the way, but I admire their hard work and determination to conquer any challenge which has come their way. I’m truly so blessed to be their Mom and their teacher!!


As far as our curriculum goes, everything is going well!! Last year, I shared our 2020-21 Homeschool Curriculum Choices for our entire family. I’m thrilled to report, we haven’t needed to make any major, mid-year, curriculum changes. I’m very thankful for this, because I’ve been praying for wisdom regarding our curriculum. It’s amazing to see God answer my prayers and help me know what is best for each of my girls right now. I will continue to pray for my girls, so God can direct our homeschool and make curriculum changes as needed.

For those who are curious, here’s a quick recap regarding my current curriculum choices...


Bible time, Memory Verses, History, and Read-Alouds: Sonlight Core K 

Write the Word for Kids: Cultivate What Matters Write the Word for Kids: Plant Seeds of the Word

Science: The Good and the Beautiful Meteorology; Kingdoms and Classifications; Botany; and Energy


3RD GRADE: Olivia

Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Level 3

Handwriting: The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting Level 3

Vocabulary: Wordly Wise Level 3000 Book 3

Creative Writing: The Good and the Beautiful Creative Writing Notebook #1

Math: Math-U-See Delta and The Good and the Beautiful Musical Multiplication

Typing: The Good and the Beautiful Typing 1

Readers: Sonlight Grade 4 Readers


2ND GRADE: Sophie

Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Level 2 

Handwriting: The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting Level 2

Vocabulary: Wordly Wise Level 3000 Book 2

Creative Writing: The Good and the Beautiful Creative Writing Notebook #1

Math: Math-U-See Gamma and The Good and the Beautiful Musical Multiplication

Typing: The Good and the Beautiful Typing 1

Readers: Sonlight Grade 2 Readers



Language Arts: Sing Spell Read and Write “Off We Go” and “Raceway Book”

Handwriting: The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting K

Phonics: Explode the Code 1, 2, 3

Math: Math u See Alpha

Enrichment: Developing the Early Learner 1, 2, 3, 4



Currently, we’ve already completed our first two The Good and the Beautiful Science Unit Studies, such as Meteorology and Kingdoms and Classifications. We need to wait until spring to do the Botany study, in the meantime we’ve last week we started their Energy Unit Study. Once we’ve completed it, we will wrap up our school year with the Botany study. 

We’ve really enjoyed new Energy Unit Study!! Last week, my husband got home in time to work through some of the energy activities for our new The Good and The Beautiful Energy Unit Study. A few of them included, the exploding bags or bottle (chemical energy), shooting rubber bands (mechanical energy) and also baked Chocolate Chip Bundt Cakes (electrical energy, chemical energy, and heat energy). We all had such a fun time!! I can’t wait to see what other memories are in store for us as we continue to work through this curriculum.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Sophie's Birth Story

Sophie Joye

My sweet Sophie Joye turned 7 last month. As a result, I thought it would be fun to share her birth story with all of you. I hope you enjoy this precious birth story!!


Sophie’s Birth Story

Written: Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Before I get into the details of Sophie’s birth, I would like to make it very clear that the Lord was determined to be glorified in and through this story. At first it was hard for me to see, because certain things didn't go according to my plan. However, slowly and gently, like any good Father would, the Lord shed light on this circumstance and revealed Himself to be faithful every step of the way.


Life’s circumstances were extremely challenging the entire time I was pregnant with Sophie. I’m not going to go into all the details now, but there were extremely difficult things that we faced as a family while I was pregnant. I believe that the Lord gave me Sophie to be a constant source of joy and an ever present reminder that I am never alone.


God knew about all the bad things that we had to face throughout the year of 2013. With all my heart, I believe that Sophie was born to redeem 2013 and to continue to be a reminder of God’s faithfulness to my family. How can I remember it as a bad year when it was the same year that my baby was born?


Sophie’s due date was Tuesday, December 31st, 2013, the very last day of the year. Personally, I loved being pregnant during the Christmas holiday season. The whole point of Christmas is to remember the birth of baby Jesus. Being pregnant during Christmas time, gave me a whole different perspective on the Christmas story and what Mary really went through.


Little did I know, Sophie would be born four days earlier than her due date. 

Monday, December 23rd, 2013 ended up being my last doctor’s appointment with Dr. Doerrfeld before I went into labor. Even though everything went well at my doctor’s appointment, Monday was a very stressful day, because I didn’t think Olivia was breathing and almost had to take her to the emergency room. As it turned out she was just too cold and needed to be warmed up, but it really was the last thing that I needed being a really pregnant Mama about ready to give birth.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Grandad, Grandma, and Auntie Hannah had arrived in Longview, Texas the weekend of Saturday, December 21st, 2013, so while my husband was at work they helped me get everything ready for Christmas. We baked cookies and all kinds of goodies in preparation for Christmas day. We were especially excited to find out that Jon would be home the evening of Christmas day! Our plan was to get everything ready, so that we could have Christmas dinner and open presents with Jon after he got home on Christmas day.


Olivia and I drove out to the airport to go get Jon and bring him home. As soon as Jon arrived it became apparent that he was very sick. He had flu like symptoms. However, he still joined us for Christmas dinner, reading the Nativity story, and opening presents. That night neither of us slept very well, because he was so sick.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

The next morning, I woke up and felt sick too! I had diarrhea all morning long. I was not sure if I was going into labor or if I had somehow caught the same flu, Jon still had. We didn’t go anywhere all morning, because we were both so sick. I finally started feeling better by the afternoon and went with Grandma Newsham to go get a few things from the store to help Jon while he was sick with the flu.


Keep in mind that I had been having Braxton Hicks for weeks. I had also been having all kinds of cramping, but I did not think anything of it. Olivia was two days late and even though I wanted Sophie to come around Christmas time, I was pretty sure that she would be late like Olivia.


Right before bed time, Grandad made Jon a hot toddy, which was supposed to help his fever. It was also supposed to help him sleep through the night. After dinner, Grandad, Grandma Newsham, Auntie Hannah, and Uncle Josh left to go sleep at their own places. Jon and I watched a CSI: New York before we decided to go to bed.


As soon as we tried to go to sleep, Olivia started screaming and part of me thinks that she knew that I was going to go into labor. For whatever reason, she was awake and did not want to go back to sleep. Even though Jon was sick, he went and slept on the floor next to Olivia’s crib in an effort to help her sleep and to let me get some sleep as well.


Friday, December 27th, 2013

As it turned out, it ended up being a sleepless night for me too! As soon as I laid down, I had period like cramping and my back really hurt. No matter what I did I could not get comfortable. I had noticed that the pain would go away when I was sitting upright, so around 1:30am I decided to go sleep in the recliner chair out in the living room.


Almost immediately, I began to notice that I was having contractions. For the next hour or so I tried to sleep and track my contractions to see if they were consistent. As I sat in the chair, they were coming consistently and did not seem to be going away anytime soon. Despite this fact, I felt like this was false labor, so I decided to change positions to see if my contractions would continue to come or stop.


My to-do list kept running through my mind. I decided that just in case I was in labor, I needed to get these things done now before it was too late. I got up out of my chair to get some things done. I cleaned the kitchen, washed the dishes, packed Olivia’s overnight bag, and made sure that my own hospital bag had everything I needed inside. I also began to pull out snacks and drinks that I would need as I labored at home.


The entire time I was up and moving around, I continued to have contractions. I knew that they were getting stronger and coming more and more consistently. Before I sat back down in the recliner, I also made sure, Jon got back in our bed. If I was in labor, he was going to need more sleep to help me through the rest of the day.


By 4:00am, I had finished my to-do list and decided to begin to track my contractions for the next hour. Over that next hour, my contractions were coming every six minutes and lasting for almost a minute. All throughout the night, I had text Grandma Newsham to let her know that I was having contractions. However, by 5:00am I knew I needed to have her come over to begin to help me evaluate whether or not I was really in labor.


Grandma came over for the next few hours she helped me track my contractions. We were convinced that I was actually in labor. So I called our friends, Michael and Becky, because they were going to watch Olivia while I was in labor and at the hospital. However, I couldn’t get a hold of them.


Olivia woke up around 8:00am, I feel like at that point, I went into Mommy mode. My primary focus was not on letting myself relax, but on making sure that Olivia got where she needed to go. So for the next hour or so my labor slowed down a lot. Finally, Becky came over around 9:30am to pick up Olivia. I was so emotional that I just started crying, because I knew I wouldn’t see Olivia again until after I had Sophie.


Grandma let me try to sleep for an hour and said that by 11:00am we would start doing things to help get my labor going again. About the same time, Auntie Hannah came over to take pictures while I was in labor. This was the best decision we made all day long! You see Jon was still sick and spent most of the day asleep in bed. Auntie Hannah stepped in and helped me labor when Jon could not.

Daddy, Mommy, and Grandma on a walk


After the hour was up, Grandma, Auntie Hannah, Jon, and I went for a walk on campus at LeTourneau University. We walked for over an hour. Thankfully, being up and walking around, helped to get my labor going again. While we walked, I would have to stop and focus on breathing through my contractions.


We went back to the house, where we were going to have lunch. I really wanted a break, so I sat down in the recliner and again my labor stalled. This ended up being the theme of the day. Each and every time I was up and moving around my contractions would start coming every few minutes. However, as soon as I sat down, my contractions would stall. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to my contractions.


With Grandma and Auntie Hannah’s help, I labored all afternoon while Jon slept. My labor was not unbearable and the three of us girls actually had a lot of fun! We laughed as Grandma accidentally told me to swaddle the chair when she actually meant straddle. Auntie Hannah tried to help me with my breathing and when she said the wrong thing, so did I. Afterwards we just giggled like little girls that we just could not seem to get it right.


I never expected that labor could be fun. However, that is exactly how I would describe that afternoon!


By 5:00pm, my labor had stalled again. My contractions were not coming very often at all and I was convinced that I probably would not have Sophie for another few days. Auntie Hannah suggested that we try waddling. She explained that it was something that Auntie Eva did with her laboring mothers in the Philippines and it was supposed to help get labor going.


Waddling sounded silly and embarrassing, but I tried to have a good attitude anyway. We began to waddle around my little yellow house making up songs as we went, because we felt so silly! 

“Waddle, waddle, waddle till the baby’s out!” 


To our delight my contractions began to come back with a vengeance!


Grandma called Grandad to let him know that I was in fact in labor and we would probably have this baby tonight. That was such an encouragement to me and made me determined to do whatever was necessary to get Sophie out.


The next time I went to the bathroom, I could really begin to feel Sophie’s head, because it was so low! We waited too long to go to the hospital with Olivia and I did not want that to happen again. So, I told Grandma Newsham what I felt and that it was about time to go to the hospital.

Really in labor now!!


We needed to get everything together and wait for Grandad to pick us up. So, I sat down in the recliner where again, my labor stalled. Like I had said, it was the theme of the day. However, I am thankful for this, because it gave us time to get to the hospital and get settled before Sophie was born.


When Grandad arrived, around 8:00pm, Daddy, Auntie Hannah, Grandma, and I all piled into the car and made our way to the hospital.


At the hospital we checked in with the woman in the Emergency Room and signed all of the appropriate papers. Uncle Josh ended up showing up at the hospital right about the same time we did, so he got to be there too!


They got me upstairs where I changed into a hospital gown. I answered all of their registration questions and signed all of the necessary forms. They checked me and discovered that I was already at an 8! Finally, they got us into a labor and delivery room which I had not been able to see when I had Olivia. All the while, I was still having contractions pretty frequently. By this time, Jon was up and took Auntie Hannah’s place to help me labor.


Dr. Doerrfeld was out of town, so I opted to have the midwife on call named, Mary Beth Smith.This was the best decision I made all day! All throughout my pregnancy I had been going back and forth about a home birth vs. a hospital birth. In the end, God made the decision for me, because my doctor was out of town.


After monitoring Sophie’s heart beat the midwife said that I could get up and walk around for thirty minutes. I got up went to the bathroom and walked around. My contractions were becoming unbearable as they came one right after the other. I did my best to breathe through them, but I was not sure how much more of this I could take!


At 9:30pm, I got back in bed, so that they could monitor Sophie for another thirty minutes. This was the one time, all day that when I laid down my contractions did not stop! I told Grandma I was tired and she said that I could lay in bed until 10:00pm, but that then we would get up to move around.


In that thirty minute period I went through transition. My contractions hurt so much as they forced my hips to open up and give way for the baby that was about to be born. I had kept my cool all day and with every contraction I felt like I was going to lose it.


I looked up at the clock which read 10:00pm and knew that there was no way I could get up and walk around. I hoped that Grandma would not make me get up out of bed, because I was in so much pain!


With the very next contraction, my water broke. As soon as my water broke I felt the need to push. I knew that it was just about time for me to have my baby girl. With Jon and Grandma’s help I did my best to not push until the midwife and nurses arrived.


The nurse checked me and I was complete. They sent someone to get the midwife and I could finally try a practice push. As the midwife came in, she threw on her hospital gowns and asked if Jon would like to catch Sophie and cut the cord.


Two contractions and three pushes later, Sophie was out! They put my precious baby on my chest, which was a new experience for me, because they didn’t do that with Olivia. I could not believe that my baby girl was finally here.

So excited to meet our baby girl!!

Over the next hour, they stitched me up, took care of Sophie, and just let us bond with our newest baby girl. There were so many babies born on December 27th, 2013 that they did not have enough room for us in the mother/baby wing of the hospital, so they kept us in labor and delivery.


Grandad, Grandma, Uncle Josh, and Auntie Hannah had all been in the waiting room and got to come see Sophie as soon as we were ready. They fell in love with Sophie at first sight!


Over the next few days Sophie met her big sister Olivia and many other people that love her. We brought Sophie home and since then, each day, we have been learning more about her and how to be a family of four. Sophie brings so much joy to our lives and we are thankful that the Lord has put her in our family!


We continue to be thankful for the many ways that the Lord has provided for our family and will continue to provide on Sophie’s behalf!

Sophie Joye 
8lbs 2oz; 19 inches long



When I was a kid, my Mom would always share our birth stories with us!! As a result, I really love birth stories. 

Please click the links below to check out my other birth stories.

Olivia’s Birth Story 

Sophie’s Birth Story

Matilda’s Home Birth Story 

Evelyn and Zoey’s Home Birth Story

Monday, January 4, 2021

My 2021 Cultivate What Matters: Powersheets


For several years, I’ve used the Cultivate What Matters: Powersheets Intentional Goal PlannerUnfortunately, as a result of the current global pandemic, I didn’t think I would be able to buy my Powersheets this year. It was agonizing as I went back and forth over whether I needed to getaway new set of Powersheets or not. Finally, after talking with my husband, we decided the Powersheets would be my Christmas present this year!! I was ecstatic and very thankful to be able to get the newest set of Powersheets. They always help me to focus on what matters and cultivate life-long habits, which are important to me.

If you’re coming off of a crazy year like me and looking for something to bring order in the chaos, be sure to grab a set of Powersheets before they’re gone. 


Part of the Powersheets prep work includes choosing a word of the year. God always uses my word of the year in amazing ways!! Seriously, I was excited to complete the prep work in order to nail down my word for 2021. There were lots of words I wrestled with like remember, harvest, legacy, reclaim, thrive, peace, abundance, and cherish. 

So many good choices!!

Part of my own personal process includes, keeping a note in my phone with ideas for my word of the year. As words stick out to me, I write it down and begin to pray about what God has for me during the upcoming year. As I worked through the Powersheets questions for my word of the year, one word began to stand out more than anything else.... FINISH. Finish means to bring to completion. It’s vey fitting for 2021!!

You see, I’m great at starting new things. However, this year I feel God asking me to bring a lot of things to completion. I’m excited to continue to persevere and finish pending projects well.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

- ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬


Below, I’ve listed my goals for 2021. It’s nice, because they’re not set in stone and I can reevaluate them after 90 days to determine if these are still the goals I want to focus on throughout the rest of the year. 

1. Cherish my relationship with God.

2. Invest in my marriage.

3. Love my girls well.

4. Care for myself.
5. Finish writing my book.

6. Cultivate my business.


Lara Casey and her team at Cultivate What Matters have a lot of resources to help walk with you as you work to accomplish your goals each year. Lara has written two books (which I will list below) and she also has a podcast called, “Cultivating Your Life with Lara Casey”Finally, I have included a list of helpful, motivating books. I included Lara's books and a few others that have really encouraged me this year.

"A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living" by, Emily Ley

“Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life” by, Lara Casey

"Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy" by, Emily Ley

"Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose." by Lara Casey 


In the past, I’ve written blog posts about Powersheets. As a result, I included links to posts which will have additional information about Powersheets and how I have used them over the years. 

My 2020 Cultivate What Matters: Powersheets 

Leaning into Jesus

Cultivate What Matters: My 2019 Goals 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

US Elections Unit Study


Back in July, I shared our our 2020-21 Homeschool Curriculum Choices with all of you. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell you about the lap book curriculum we bought to work on with the girls this school year. Oops!! As a result, I’ve decided to share how I intend to use this US Elections Lap Book as a “mini” unity study.

Without further ado, our main curriculum for this mini unit study will be the US Elections Lap Book from Sonlight. Lap books are hands-on activities, which give children a fun and creative way to learn about the US Election process. In case you don’t know, Sonlight is a curriculum, whose focus is heavy on books and reading. Several years back, Sonlight debuted a variety of lap books, which pair very well with their curriculums providing more of a well-rounded and balanced teaching for children with a variety of learning styles. 

In total, there are 21 projects for you to finish, so we will be doing these 3 times a week for the next 7 weeks, so we can finish the week after the election. The lap book kit comes with everything you need to complete the lap book project, an instructor booklet, and even the double sided tape. At the beginning of each project, you read an excerpt from the US Elections text booklet and then work on the specific activity.

My girls had fun working on our first few projects together!!

Additionally, there are a lot of ways, I plan to bulk up this lap book curriculum. First, I went on YouTube to find some fun videos for my girls to watch, which will reiterate what I’ve already taught them. So, I searched “elections for kids” into the YouTube search engine and saved some videos for us to watch together like, “Voting for Kids”.

Another way I want to teach my girls about the election process, is by coming together as a family to watch the presidential debates. I’m not here to just tell my kids who to vote for, but I want to let them learn about the process and foster a love for our country in my girls hearts.

Finally, we’re also going to read a book from the Heroes of History series called, “George Washington: True Patriot” by Janet & Geoff Benge. My girls had a lot of questions about voting and our country. I thought it would be helpful to start where it all began with our very first president. 

I hope and pray as we work through this unit study, my girls will see the privilege and responsibility placed on each of us as US citizens. We know so many people around the world who have never been given the opportunity to vote. All that being said, I don’t want my girls to ever take our freedoms for granted.

Monday, September 21, 2020

7 Things I Learned This Summer

I’m so excited to take part in “What I Learned” hosted every quarter by, Emily P Freeman: an author, podcaster, and co-founder of Hope*Writers an online community for writers. Honestly, our summer was busier than I expected with a mini vacation aka our camping trip, starting our new 2020-21 school year, and attending my brother-in-law’s wedding in East Texas. All things considered, it’s been good to reflect over my summer as a new season is just around the corner.

7 Things I Learned this Summer

1. Covid-19 has become personal. 

Throughout the summer, this global pandemic has gradually became much more personal, because lots of people I love have had Covid-19. This disease continues to rage with little sign of letting up. As I said, some of my own family and friends have been sick with this virus. It’s been hard to be thousands of miles away feeling helpless watching those I love struggling through the challenges presented as a result of this sickness. It’s just been heartbreaking. As a result, I’ve been on bended knee on their behalf asking for healing and God’s grace to rain down on them during this time. I know God hears each and every one of my prayers and I will continue to lift them up in constant prayer. 

2. My Mom came to visit!! 
Before we started our new 2020-21 homeschool year, my Mom flew to Colorado for a week long visit!! I hadn’t seen my Mom in almost a year and I was so thankful to be able to spend time with her this summer. We played board games, ate delicious food, went shopping, and my Mom even taught the girls how to sew a pillow. They each got to pick their own fabric and Mom helped each of them make their very own small pillow. Even though it was so hot, we had an incredible visit and can’t wait to see you again. We love you to the moon an back Mom!!

3. I’ve been reading lots of books.

Do you remember my blog post last month? It was called, “Cultivating a Love for Reading” where I shared my own reading struggles. It’s been good to see how God is helping me overcome my reading struggles in some amazing ways. One of them being, I’ve read and listened to more books this summer, than any other time in my life!! I’m so thankful with God’s help, I have been able to make reading books a priority this summer. Seriously, if I can do this...anyone can!! All that being said, here are some of my very favorite non-fiction books I read this summer.

1. “Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff” by, Myquillyn Smith

2. “Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon“ by, Ray Rhodes Jr

3. “The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done” by, Kendra Adachi

4. “Educated: A Memoir” by, Tara Westover

5. “A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II” by, Sonia Purnell 

4. Camping with small kids, meant no one got any sleep.

 Back in July, after being in lockdown for several months, we thought it would be fun to take the kids camping for a few days. We all needed a break from being at home non-stop, so camping seemed like a good way to let the kids have a break while still social distancing ourselves from others. Even though we were all in one tent and up at the crack of dawn, it was fun to get away. To my surprise, the girls can’t wait to go camping again next year!!

5. My twins reached some big milestones!!

This summer, my twins turned 2 years old!! Additionally, over the past few months, they have each reached some big milestones. The twins are now in their own big girl bed and they said, “Goodbye” to their pacifiers. It’s been an exciting few months and I am so proud of them. Honestly, it’s been hard on my heart, because I still want to pretend they’re my little babies FOREVER!! Pray I can enjoy each stage of life with them, not wishing us to be too far ahead or behind. 

6. Summer haircuts are the best.

After several months of the salons being closed, things have slowly started to open up again in Colorado. As soon as they began to open up again, my sister-in-law, Hannah and I had a fun girls day going out to get out hair done. It’s been so hot here and we were each excited for a little change. My hairdresser was so kind and gave me one of the best haircuts I’ve ever experienced!! It was such a fun way to celebrate the new summer season. 

7. Josh and Katya’s Wedding!

As summer began to wind down, we got to go to Josh (my brother-in-law) and Katya’s wedding in Longview, Texas. I was nervous about the current pandemic, but so thankful we were able to go see our family and friends during this time. Of course their were challenges, but at the end of the day we’re praising the Lord for His protection over us as we traveled to and from the wedding. It was a joy to watch all my girls walk down the aisle as flower girls!! We’re thankful to be apart of Josh’s big day and so excited Katya is officially apart of our family.

Now it’s your turn, what have you learned this Summer?

Monday, August 17, 2020

Leaning into Jesus


One of the deepest desires of my heart, is to spend my entire life, testifying about all the ways God has brought me from death to life. Recently, I’ve had this overwhelming desire to lean into Jesus and dig deeper into the Lord through prayer, scripture, and other spiritual disciplines. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been spending time reading my Bible and in prayer. However, I want to take our relationship deeper.

As a result, I’ve been praying through all of the tools I use to foster spiritual growth in my life. Trying to decide if I should replace these items with something else or continue to use what I have in a different way. I also made a list of the disciplines I want to cultivate such as, intentional goal planning, in depth Bible study, prayer, personal journaling, gratitude, and sermon notes.

Do you long to learn more about the Lord?

If so, please look below to check out, “7 Tools to Help  You Grow in Christ”, which have helped me to get back into the groove of spending time with Jesus. These tools are helpful to get you started and guaranteed to strengthen your relationship with the Lord. These items are not “required”, so please add them to your religious to do list. Like I said, this is what works for me, so take time to pray and ask the Lord was He wants to cultivate in your life right now.

7 Tools to Help You Grow in Christ

1. ESV Bible 

(for Bible reading)

I think it’s hard to learn about Jesus without reading His word. As a result, I have several tools to help me read my Bible throughout the year. My traditional, paper copy is a pink ESV Bible. I got this Bible many years ago. At different points in time, it’s even been written on by my girls. While I study the Bible and take sermon notes, I underline Bible verses which stand out to me. I also write insights in the margins and date it, so I can remember what God taught me through my own study or from a teacher. Slowly but surely, my Bible is being filled up with incredible truths about God. If I ever get another Bible, I’lol probably get a journaling Bible, which will give me even more room to take notes!!

2. The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble Bible Reading Plan 

(for Bible reading)

A new tool I’ve been using this year is, “The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble Bible Reading Plan” on the YouVersion Bible App on my phone. The Bible Recap follows The Chronological Bible, which has been nice to listen to throughout this year. For further enrichment, I listen to The Bible Recap podcast for more insight and encouragement into the assigned daily Bible reading. I highly recommend this tool, if you’ve always wanted to read through the Bible in one year.

3. Cultivate What Matters: PowerSheets 

(for intentional goal planning)

For years, I’ve been using the Cultivate What Matters: Powersheets Intentional Goal Planner and I get so excited to dive into the prep work to see  what God has in store for me for the upcoming year. The first 50 pages of the book is the prep work where you work through what’s important to you. They help you nail down goals and brainstorm ways to work on them little by little each year. The rest of the book is broken up into months, so each month you can work through your individual to-do lists and action steps you want to take to get you closer to achieving your goal. This year, I’m thankful the Lord helped me to simplify my goals, because the goal pandemic has wrecked all sense of “normal” right now.

4. “Write the Word Journal” 

(to cultivate gratitude, prayer, in depth Bible study)

Back in 2018, when we moved to Hong Kong I wanted to get something which would help me get back into my daily Bible reading after our big move, having twins, and being a new Mom of 5 girls!! Honestly, I just needed something to help to keep me accountable. Thankfully, I already used the PowerSheets, because I follow Lara Casey (founder of Cultivate What Matters) on social media and she introduced me to their “Write the Word Journals”. During this season of life, these journals were the perfect solution for me. They weren’t daunting Bible studies, but a guided journal which would give me space to write out God’s word, spending time in prayer, writing what I was thankful for each day, and a word for the day to summarize what I had learned. To this day, I still use my Write the Word journal and I’ve even incorporated the kids version into our homeschool curriculum.

5. Give Me Jesus Journal 

(to cultivate gratitude, prayer, in depth Bible study)

Based on a friend’s recommendation, I started following Phylicia Masonheimer on Instagram. Phylicia’s love for God and His word is contagious. She offering Bible hacks, book recommendations, Biblical teaching on lots of topics, and so much more!! She also talks about the tools she uses while she studies the Bible and one of her favorites is the “Give Me Jesus Journal” from Well Watered Women Co. It’s a journal with a variety of prompts to help you dive deeper into your specific passage. Honestly, I haven’t used this journal myself, but I plan to buy one when they restock. Even though I don’t have this journal, I’m excited to apply these principles in my personal study of God’s word. 

6. My Personal Journal 

(for journaling and sermon notes)

Ever since I was little, I’ve also had a diary or journal which I would take time to write in each day. To this day, I still use a journal for writing and pouring out my heart to the Lord in written prayers. Also, I use my journal for sermon notes. I used to have a separate journal, but I’ve found it’s easier to just keep everything in the same place. Inevitably, I’m going to wondering what the pastor talked about and it’s easier to have everything all together instead of trying to keep track of even more notebooks. 

7. Val Marie Paper Rhythms (Yearly) Prayer Journal 

(for fostering prayer, written prayers, journaling, and gratitude)

I have used the Val Marie Paper Yearly Prayer Journal, recent renamed the “Rhythms” Prayer Journal, for several years. In 2018, the first year I used the prayer journal, I was inconsistent, because I would skip a month here and there. It felt wasteful!! As a result, in 2019, I didn’t order a prayer journal and just tried to use the months which were still blank in my 2018 prayer journal. Honestly, it was hard to navigate 2019 without a yearly prayer journal. I missed having this tool to help me nourish a healthy prayer life. When it came time to pre-order the 2020 yearly prayer journals, I made it a priority to invest in one again and have some extra encouragement. You all know how crazy 2020 has been and I’m so thankful I had this prayer journal to help me to continue to pray even when as chaos raged around us. All that to say, I’ve already pre-ordered my 2021 Rhythms (yearly) Prayer Journal, because I know things are harder without it.


Now it’s your turn... 

Please leave me a comment and let me know what are your favorite tools, 

which help you grow in Christ?


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