my favorite things

A friend told me about attending a “Favorite Things” party this year, and besides feeling like that must have been the best kind of party ever, it also inspired me to think about my favorite things and to create a list to share with you. RPCo Calendar 2016Rifle Paper Co. wall calendar. My friends know how *obsessed* I am with everything RPCo. Not the least of which is because I know the founder, Anna Bond. And by “know,” I mean that I’ve met her a couple times because my husband grew up with her in New Jersey. Her older brother was in our wedding; her mom helped to host two beautiful showers for me in NJ (bridal and baby); and so *of course* I love promoting her products. (Which honestly promote themselves – she and her business partner-hubby have done amazingly well over the past few years, which is putting it very modestly.)

journaling bible

The ESV journaling Bible Beautifully typeset, art-worthy cover design, AND space to write/draw in the margins. It’s a no-brainer for this writer-artist-who loves the life-giving words of the Bible. They carry many other covers and designs here, including this one that male readers may find a bit more appealing: esv journaling bible - black

And while you’re buying Bibles, consider this one for your 5-10 year old:

ESV children's Bible

My five-year-old daughters’ top toys on their wish list:

palace petsPalace Pets


Disney Frozen sing-a-longDisney Frozen Sing-a-long


magnetic tilesMagnetic tiles

model magicModel magic



Brené Brown’s “Living Brave” semester 


“The Living Brave Semester is a unique, online learning experience that provides participants with the opportunity to explore what it means to fully show up in our lives – to be brave, lean into vulnerability, and to rumble with the challenges that come with living a daring life. The semester is divided into two six-week sessions. The first six-week session will focus on Daring Greatly and the second session will focus on Rising Strong.” (click on highlighted title to read my review of the book at The Gospel Coalition Blog)

These curtains at Pottery Barn kids:

PB curtains

And, of course, no list of my favorite things would be complete without a few books:

Permission to Parent



This parenting book is my #1 go-to right now. Published in 2014, I keep thinking, “Where has this parenting book been all my life?” (Or at the very least, for the past three years of seeking to parent two delightful and strong daughters without crushing their spirits OR appeasing their demands.)

journey to joyThe devotional gem Josh Moody has written about the Psalms of Ascent are leading my heart along with its words to hope and joy in Jesus.

For the LoveJen Hatmaker’s latest has done all that it promised – made me laugh, cry, and feel like she’s my new best friend while pointing me to life’s truest calling: Love.


[Note: There are affiliate links for the Amazon items, meaning that Amazon will give me a teensy-tiny portion of whatever you decide to order. It’s the *only* monetizing I’ve done with my blog, intentionally so because I want to keep this space advertising- and offer-free. We get enough marketing in every other aspect of our lives, Amen?!]

what I learned in April: Uber, Rifle Paper Co, and Coloring Books for adults

It was a busy month, but then again I think every month lately has been. April was busy in a different way because my husband and I were out of town for 5 days at a conference/getaway. Which made the rest of the month … well … a bit exhausting, between getting ready to go out of town and then coming back from being away and having to catch up on life. It caught me off guard – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here are a few things I learned in April (linking up with Emily Freeman):

what we learned in april

1 – Koala bears are not bears, but marsupials. We learned this from a new favorite book recently checked out from the library: Xander’s Panda Party.

IMG_86722 –  Rifle Paper Co. and its designer/founder are pretty amazing. My husband grew up with the owner/designer, Anna Bond, and so we were able to get a personal tour of their company/storefront in Winter Garden. I was in awe of the remarkable growth in five years, and of Anna’s creativity and unassuming spirit. She graciously autographed a few items that I bought, and put up with my starry-eyed admiration when I asked to take a picture with her.

photo from

photo from

3 – Uber is the best way to get around Orlando, Florida. We tried this alternative-taxi service available through a phone app and loved it. I mean, within minutes of requesting a ride, a personal driver showed up at the very corner of Winter Garden where we were waiting.

4 – Crossway publishing company is a great fit for me as I write my first book with them. It’s on the topic of shame, and I’m unashamedly happy to be part of such a team. I was able to meet many of them in person for the first time at the conference we attended in Orlando (The Gospel Coalition).

5 – Jen Wilkin, Christina Fox, Jen Pollock Michel, and Bethany Jenkins are my newest favorite writing-friends. They have each written extensively for several sites including TGC blog, Her.meneutics, and/or Desiring God, and I wish we all lived closer and could hang out and talk about the highs and lows of writing and finding God in the midst of the process together.

6 – I can feel tremendous (self-imposed) pressure to go to all the scheduled events of a conference, when what I may need more is space to rest. This was the double-edged sword for me of the conference we attended: I didn’t want to miss anything, but it was a fairly packed schedule and so I also didn’t want to miss out on anything great either. Added to this was the fact that Seth and I needed/wanted a getaway just the two of us – and instead were part of a conference attended by 6,000. Next time: two separate trips for two different purposes!

7 – Doing too much without breaks leads to a break-down. The week after returning was rough for me. I felt tired yet needed to be “on” as a parent, counselor, and moving assistant for my in-laws. Note to self: working for days on end without rest/good breaks is not good for the soul or body.

coloring page8 – Best new trend worth trying: coloring books for adults. Seriously. Read this article, and then purchase your own here.