Monday, March 30, 2020

Waiting Is Not Easy

As the Coronavirus rages around the world, I’m in lockdown waiting for the outbreak to become more manageable and allow us to move around without restrictions upon myself or my family. Honestly, everything reminded me of another season in my life when I spent a lot of time waiting. Can you guess what event I’m talking about?

My twin pregnancy!!

That’s right, back in Spring 2018 my midwife put me on “modified” bedrest for more than 10 weeks, as I waited for my body to go into labor, so Evelyn and Zoey could be born. If you want to take a minute and go read my twin birth story, I’ll wait until you get back. Just click here to read, "Evelyn & Zoey’s Home Birth Story". I just love birth stories and it’s awesome to remember how God was involved in each and every step along the way.

During my twin pregnancy, once I reached 30 weeks my contractions started to come more and more frequently. My desire was to have my twin girls at home, but if I wanted to do that I needed to reach 37 weeks and not go into labor early. As a result, my midwife place me on “modified” bed rest, which meant I would have to get off my feet every 1-2 hours for at least a half an hour or more. I could not believe what Lincey was saying!! Didn’t she know that I had three other kids to take care of and a husband who is gone for many days at a time as he worked in Dallas or Houston!? How on Earth was I supposed to do this?

I felt so discouraged.

For the next 7 weeks, my mission was to make sure my baby girls stayed put and let myself relax enough to ensure I wouldn’t go into pre-term labor.

Honestly, I was terrified my body would go into labor early while my husband was out of town. On top of that, waiting to see if my body would go into labor was hard. Every twinge, ache, and pain, which happens all the time during a twin pregnancy, I thought could be my body going into labor. Throughout those seven weeks, every time my husband was gone, I was often overcome with anxiety, fear, and worry. To me, the unknown is torture and waiting around for my inevitably labor was overwhelming.

During these days, I clung to God’s word. I wrote Bible verses on notecards and did my best to claim the promises in God’s word. One of my favorite verses is from Lamentations...

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."” - Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To God’s glory, I reached 37 weeks!! What a relief. As long as I continued to stay healthy, I could finally have my baby girls at home. I wish I could say they came right away and the wait was over. However, that just wasn't the case for me. I continued to wait another 3 weeks and 3 days until my body finally went into labor. To my delight, both of my girls were born at my house just as I dreaming about for months. What an answer to prayer!!

I’m wanted to share this story with you and testify to God’s faithfulness, because we’re all struggling right now in lockdowns and waiting for life to return to “normal”. The days are long and life is challenging as we try to find our new normal.

In my own life, it helps me to look back and remember what God has done in the past, because it gives me courage to walk forward in my current situation. Times are tough and I pray you would turn to God as you wait for this crisis to pass. Sit down and write out what you remember about who God is and what He has done in your life. As you remember God's faithfulness in your life, He will fill you with courage to help you be brave on the hardest days. I hope and pray, even though life is overwhelming, you will look for God in the hardships. Only then can the Lord begin to transform your sorrow into joy, which will be your strength in the coming days.

Don’t forget, waiting is not easy, but worth it.

Evelyn Rose & Zoey Faith

Monday, March 23, 2020

Free Homeschooling Resources

For the past four years, I’ve had the privilege to be a Homeschool Mom to my girls. You see back in 2010, the Lord called me to lay down my own ideas about traditional school for my future children and be willing to embrace homeschooling. Click here to read more about our Homeschool Testimony.

Honestly, it’s taken some trial and error for me to get my bearings, but after sometime we’ve finally settled into a good homeschool routine. We’ve had hiccups along the way, but I’m learning to be a better teacher everyday. In just a matter of days, COVID-19 has changed our lives in so many ways. Closing schools, restaurants, movie theaters, parks, and launching us into a season of Social Distancing. I can’t even imagine how most of you feel, as your own children are now home with you full-time for an undisclosed amount of time leaving you responsible to ensure they continue to receive an education.

Is anyone feeling overwhelmed yet?

All that to say, I’m praying for you. For God to give you patience and grace as you try to find a new normal for your family during this time. You are not alone. Don’t forget to keep things simple. You’re not required to do fancy Pinterest projects each day, especially if it doesn’t bring you joy and overwhelms you. Try to focus on the essentials and anything else you can work on with your kids is incredible.

Below I have complied a list of free homeschooling resources, which I hope will help as you teach your children at home. There are fun story times from Space, art tutorials, exercise, legos, worship, and more. If you have other online resources which you’re using right now, please leave me a comment so other parents can use it as well.


1. Art Hub for Kids This link will take you to Rob's website, full of video art lessons. He also has a YouTube channel full of art tutorial videos which we does with his kids.

2. Directed Drawing Videos This link takes you to a collection of Directed Drawing Videos where they teach you how to draw a variety of things such as butterflies, Santa Claus, polar bears, flowers, and more.

3. Free Disney Coloring Pages This link takes you directly to a list of "Classic Disney Coloring Pages". If you want Minnie Mouse coloring pages, just click the link and scroll until you find your favorite picture.

4. Lunch Doodles with Mo Williems When you click the link, it will take you to Episode 1 of “Lunch Doodles with Mo Williems” on YouTube. We are huge fans of the "Elephant & Piggie" books written by Mo Willems and our girls can't wait to learn how to draw different pictures from Mo himself.

1. 10 Online Exercise Classes for Kids This link includes 10 online exercise and yoga classes for kids as a way to move their body while they're home.

2. Kids Workout This link takes you to a 25 minute exercise routine program for kids and parents. It's a great option to help burn off some of your kids energy each day.

1. Free Audible Books This link takes you to an article with links which will allow you to listen to some of the free stories for kids, which Audible is offering as a Coronavirus has closed schools.

2. Josh Gad Reading Kids Books Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, is reading books to kids online every night of the Cornoavirus quarentine.

3. Read Aloud Revival Sarah Mackenzie's website has so many free book lists to help you determine the best books to read aloud to your family. She also has a Read Aloud Revival podcast with special guests and tips about making read alouds a priority in your home.

4. Storyline Online This is a free children's literacy resource featuring the world's best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home.

5. Story Time from Space This is an awesome resource where astronauts read bedtime stories to kids from the Space Station.

1. COVID-19 Break Packets This link takes you to a Google drive full of packets for grades from Pre-K to 8th grade, which are full of math, reading comprehension, and more.

2. The Good and The Beautiful Nature Notebook. This is a free nature journal you can download and print off. It might be fun!

3. Keep Learning at Home Free Online Resources This link takes you to a collection of ten links for at home learning resources such as, PBS, ABC mouse, and more.

4. Legos This link take you to the Lego 30 Days of Play Challenge for kids. There is a different Lego challenge for kids to complete each day. I can't wait to use this with my girls.

5. Seeds Family Worship This resources is amazing, especially for families who are trying to do church at home. They have worship songs for kids, which you can use as memory verses throughout the week. My family uses a lot of Seeds Family Worship during our Bible time.

6. Scholastic This link take you to Scholastic's website to help parents teach their kids at home. Day by day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.

7. Sonlight This link takes you to all kinds of free resources for families whose children are home as a result of Covid-19. They have book lists, games, and physical activity ideas.

8. Virtual Field Trips When you click the link, you will discover links to 10 virtual field trips which your children can participate in from the safety of your own home. The San Diego Zoo, the moon, and the Great Wall of China to name a few.

1. The Good and The Beautiful This homeschool curriculum has a lot of free resources. Their Marine Biology science unit is free for you to download and print out at your convenience.

Monday, March 16, 2020

10 Self Care Ideas

Recently, I've been overwhelmed by the Coronavirus chaos taking place all around the world. Can anyone else relate? While so many of us are practicing social distancing, I thought it would be a great time to share with you how you can take care of yourself during this difficult time.

During times of stress and suffering, I put myself on the back burner in order to care for my immediate family. I wear so many different hats throughout the day, it's hard to make time to take care of myself, because it feels selfish and Christians aren't supposed to be selfish. Isn't it more loving, if I just focus on my family?

Thankfully, over the years God has shown me, the only real way I can love my family is to take care of myself. Sometimes I do this better than others! I hope these ideas will encourage you to begin to take care of yourself.

10 Self Care Ideas 

1. Reading my Bible 
Each and everyday, I make an effort to come into God's presence, because it is essential in my effort to daily take care of myself. I read my Bible, pray, worship, and memorize scripture. I'm a Mom of five little girls, so I never do this "perfectly". Most of the time, I'm squeezing in my Bible reading before breakfast while my twins watch Cocomelon on YouTube. I step away for a few minutes to be strengthened by God for the day ahead. Then, I listen to  The Bible Recap Bible Reading plan and podcast, while I work on unloading the dishwasher and making breakfast. The Bible Recap has been such an encouragement to me as I work to read/listen to the whole Bible this year.

2. Journaling 
I am a writer, who loves journaling. I've enjoyed journaling since I was a little girl. There are two ways I journal. First, I journal my prayers to the Lord starting with "Dear Jesus" and then pouring out my heart. Next, I journal what happened throughout the day and how I'm feeling. Trying to give myself space to process my feelings on paper. It helps me to be able to process my feelings when I see them on paper. It also helps me to unload my worries and fears before the Lord and physically leaving them with Him in my journal.

3. Listening to Podcasts 
I didn't grow up listening to a lot of audiobooks. Honestly, it took me awhile to be able to really like podcasts. However, now I have found some of my favorite podcasts, I just love them. They've become part of my daily routine. It's nice to be able to listen to podcasts as I walk around the house doing laundry, cooking, or cleaning. It helps me to be able to take a break from my kids and join in on some adult conversation about anything and everything!! Some of my favorite podcasts are...The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, The Next Right Thing, Business Wars, American Elections: Wicked Game, The Bible Binge, The Bible Recap, and so many more!!

4. Date Night with Jon 
For a season, going on dates with my husband was rare, because my twins were young and we were living in Hong Kong. We went back to our roots, when we were newly married without any extra money and focused on some at home dates. Now we've settled into our new home, we've been trying to have a date night at least once a month and it's been wonderful! So nice to get out and have a break with my favorite person on the planet. It won't always look the same, but it's important to make date night a priority!

5. Eating Healthy 
If I'm not making healthy food choices, how will I ever have the energy to care for my family? Eating healthy feels selfish. However, during times of crisis, quarantine, and social distancing, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. With food shortages throughout the country, you may not be able to only eat healthy foods depending on what’s available at your store, but try your best!!

6. Going for Walks/Moving Your Body
It’s important for me to get out of the house and let me kids walk around the neighborhood for at least 30 minutes each day. It’s critical for my sanity and theirs. Maybe you don’t have a neighborhood
to walk around, if so try to make time to move your body for at least 30 minutes a day. There are tons of free workout videos on YouTube, so there’s no excuse for not getting up and moving your body.

7. Drinking Water 
This is also a struggle for me. I live up at altitude and need more water than the average person. So, I have a water bottle, which is just mine and I refill it throughout the day to make sure I’m drinking as much water as I can. I also have an app on my phone, which lets me log how much water I have consumed throughout the day. This is so helpful, because I can easily forget how much water I’ve had it I don’t write it down or keep track of it.

8. Reading or Listening to Books 
I love books. However, being a busy Mom of 5, I don’t always have time to sit down and read books like I want to each day. On top of that, I wasn’t very good art listening to books either. Over the past few years, I’ve learned to listen to books from the library. I’ve listened to all kinds of audiobooks and I love it, because I can work on dishes or cleaning while I listen to a good book. It took time to get used to listening to books, but it’s so worth it now! You should give it a try.

9. Watching shows on Netflix 
Honestly, not many of us can be out and about right now. As a result, I'm so thankful for Netflix and other streaming services which let me relax and watch good shows or movies after my girls have gone to sleep. I try not to do this all day long, but it helps to relax and unwind at the end of each day by watching a good show. What are some of your favorite shows or movies right now?

10. Choose a Fun Hobby
My final self care idea is to choose a fun hobby such as coloring, building puzzles, knitting, cooking, sewing, scrapbooking, baking,  or anything else which you find fulfilling. In our family, I we work on puzzles together. I also have a bunch of adult coloring books, which I enjoy coloring in when I'm feeling stressed or anxious.

Now it's your turn. What self care ideas work best for you?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Remembering Eden Grace

Last week, I started a new Write the Word journal called, “The Garden: Nourish Your Soul” by, Cultivate What Matters. On the second day, the passage was Genesis 2:8-9 which says,

“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” 
- Genesis 2:8-9 ESV

These verses reminded me of my sweet baby, Eden Grace, whom I miscarried back in 2013. I can’t believe it’s already been 7 years. In honor of my precious little one, I would like to share Eden’s story with you. I wrote this story several years ago, but I hope it brings you encouragement and glorifies God who is always with us.

On February 27th, 2013, the week after Feminar, our local women's conference in East Texas, I had a miscarriage.

The Lord was gracious to me. At Feminar, He gave me a word of encouragement, which strengthened me throughout this hard time. During Feminar and even on the day that I lost our baby, the Lord asked me over and over again, "Do you trust me?" I'm thankful, I was able to put my trust in the Lord and to see Him take care of me on one of our darkest days. To our delight, exactly 10 months after my miscarriage, we welcomed our second daughter Sophie Joye into the world!!

She’s truly my rainbow baby!!

For years after my miscarriage, I felt like we should name the baby, we lost. In 2015, we finally settled on a name for our sweet baby, Eden Grace. Eden means place of pleasure or delight and Grace means grace. I love this name, because it reminds me even though we never got to meet our baby on Earth, he/she is waiting for us in Heaven! I can’t wait for the day that we can be reunited with our sweet Eden Grace.

In February 2017, I experienced a time of sorrow and really missing our baby, Eden Grace. As always, Feminar rolled around, right when I was missing Eden Grace the most!! To my surprise, on Friday evening, the Lord used Kasey Van Norman to speak right to my heart. It was amazing and only a God-thing when Kasey started talking about the Garden of EDEN and how God put eternity in man's hearts from Ecclesiastes 3:11. Then, Kasey said that our mission in life is to get back to paradise and that Eden is written into our hearts. I couldn't believe what I was hearing!!

Let me try to put the pieces together for you. I miscarried a baby that we named, Eden Grace. Now when I was missing my baby most, God was using the speaker at Feminar to remind me that God has given me Eden, not to make me sad. However, He gave us this baby so that our hearts will always long to be in Heaven with God and our baby!! God has literally put Eden in our hearts!!


I'm so thankful that the Lord met me in the middle of my time of sorrow and gave me a word of hope that will encourage me for many years to come!! God is in the business of taking our sorrow and transforming it into joy!! For my birthday in 2017, Jon got me this beautiful necklace as a way to always remember our sweet baby. I'm so thankful for this necklace it will always remind me of how God has used Eden Grace to teach me about His great love for me.

Praying for all of you who have lost a baby, may God wrap His arms around you and meet you in your sorrow.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” 
- Ecclesiastes‬ ‭‪3:11‬‬ ‭ESV‬‬


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