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Dear Mushka,

Four Gifts Ideas for the Seasons of Motherhood

Four Gifts Ideas for the Seasons of Motherhood

We know that motherhood comes with every emotion possible.

I wanted to share four gifts ideas for either yourself, a good friend or anyone you know walking through a specific season of motherhood.

If you’re shopping for someone walking through any of these up and downs, we pray these pieces and verses are exactly what their hearts need to find hope and thanksgiving this season. Every piece comes boxed with a verse card and is covered in prayer.

Watch the video below to see each piece or find them linked below with each corresponding verse✨

Infertility

The Expectant Necklace is supposed to mimic an empty cradle for a season of infertility or any season of waiting. The verse that accompanies it is: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act・Psalm 37

I used this verse for infertility because we can wait expectantly for something like a child while trust that if we commit, no matter what happens, He promises to give.

Miscarriage

The Aid Necklace reminds us of Who fills the holes in our hearts during difficult times. It’s accompanying verse is: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds・Psalm 147

Adoption

The Together Necklace is especially close to our hearts because we have adopted two little boys with a third little Mushka is on the way. If you would like to support this and help bring our next little one home, you can find more information here.

This necklace has a triangle to show the three people groups that make up an adoption - the adoptive family, the birth family and the child. The little heart hangs between to represent the love shared between them all.

It also comes with the option of two different verses, one for adoptive parents or one for birth parents. The adoptive parent verse is: For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him ・1 Samuel 1:27

The birth parent verse is: The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing・Zephaniah 3:17

Long Awaited Child

The Brimming Necklace is made to represent a child that has been long awaited for. What I love about the design is that it pairs so well with the Expectant Necklace and they tuck into each other.

It comes with the accompanying verse: For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things・Psalm 107:9

This, of course, does not mean that God provided a child. Sometimes it simply means that the wearer feels at peace with God filling their soul.

These necklaces can also be switched and used for different seasons, however you see fit. It can be so challenging to know what to gift others during these difficult seasons of life - so I hope these make it just a little easier❤️

Exercise: How I Make it Happen with Two Kids

Exercise: How I Make it Happen with Two Kids

I have never been super athletic, but I see a noticeable difference in my mood, positive body image, and health when I prioritize getting my heart rate up and strengthening my muscles. 

Proverbs 25:28 says "a man without self-control is like a city without walls." Disciplining myself to exercise is also a way to care for my body. I never want this bodily temple of God to be penetrable, attacked, and destroyed because of my lack of self-control. After all, it's what I use to love my family well, serve those around me, and do Kingdom work with! 

There were years I was able to go into a gym and enjoy group classes, but now that I have children I find it easiest just to exercise in our living room while the boys run around me. 

How Often:

For me, trying to exercise 5-6x week is helpful. That may seem like a lot during a season with little ones at home, but predictability is so good for all of us. My boys know that after breakfast we workout! If something comes up and I have to miss a day, that's completely fine. But this way, we have a general rhythm down and I'm usually able to get at lease 3-4 workouts in a week. 

I tell them "only exercising" is allowed on the rug in our living room. If they want to join in, they're welcome to! If they want to play/wrestle/whine (real life) they may do so in another part of the room or in their own room. After a few days, they understood and it's usually a fun part in our day. 

What I Do:

Last year, I followed the (bbg) app from Kayla Itsines after hearing so many people recommend it and really enjoyed the workouts! Under 30 minutes, very few pieces of equipment needed, and I definitely felt stronger at the end (though I'll continue to enjoy my more covering bathing suit, thanks). 

This year, I needed some variety so I signed up for Beachbody On Demand. There are varying price levels, but it's roughly $10/month and you get access to all the different workout programs they offer. I've been doing "21 Day Fix" for about three months now, but I could switch it up anytime. 

They're under 30 minutes, I can play them on our TV, and minimal equipment is needed. 

I try to do this on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday. 

Running:

Last October, I ran my first half marathon and loved training for it. Being outside and challenging myself was good for my soul :) 

I began with a couch to 5k app. Once I could run 3 miles without stopping, I started adding one mile to each Saturday morning run until I was up to 13.  It's not fancy and I'm certainly not a competitive runner. If I get three runs in during the week, I've done great! 

I try to do this Tuesdays (2 miles), Thursdays (3-4 miles), and Saturdays (whatever I'm up to with my long run). 

Because my husband works from home, I'm usually able to run right after breakfast while he watches the boys for 30-45 minutes. On days he can't watch them, I just do a Beachbody workout or run after dinner instead. 

Equipment: 

· A set of 5, 8, and 10 pound weights 

· These running shoes; I'm a firm believer in going to a running store and getting fitted for the very best shoe for your foot!

· This little runners belt for my short runs; it doesn't move as I run and is perfect for holing my phone and house key. I prefer this over shorts with pockets in them. 

· For my long runs, especially in warm weather, I use this. No shame. 

· As I started running more, I learned the value of a few extra minutes for recovery. I wear these socks after a run, try to roll my muscles with this, and am trying to enjoy a Saturday night bath soak with these

Friday Favorites: A Bedroom House Tour

Friday Favorites: A Bedroom House Tour

Every Friday I share some of my favorite things on my IG stories from our newsletter for the week. This week I thought I’d do something a little different and share some of our faves from our home's bedrooms.

Watch the video for a virtual tour and get a sneak peak into our home. You can find some of the mentioned favorites linked below.

Our Nursery Room is the new baby’s room!

We’re so ready for little Mushka number three to come home. If you’d like to find out how you can make our next adoption possible, you can find more information here.

The shelf and burnt orange blanket is from IKEA with artwork from Rifle Paper Co. The hanging mobile is from Target and you can find the wallpaper from D. Marie Interiors.

Our Two Year Olds Room

Features a bunk bed that is actually supposed to be a loft play area also from IKEA. We painted and are absolutely in love. It’s perfect for transitioning a little one from a crib to a bed because you can’t really fall out.

The kids’ bedding is from Target. I’ve also used a DIY Pom Pom trim to hang as makeshift “bunting”. I love it because it gives the illusion of being expensive when really it’s just from a craft store, comes in a zillion colors and costs just a few dollars per yard.

The curtains are from Target. To get more fullness I sewed two panels together! We’ve used the same IKEA shelves in this room because the boys love to see the covers of their books and they are great for promoting reading.

Our Four Year Olds Room

We’re still working on this one and plan to get a desk for him and some final touches. We upgraded our bed to a King Size (best purchase ever!) so our little man, Brooks, got the Queen Size.

The US map is from Crate&Barrel.

The dressers are from IKEA as well - can you tell we love IKEA? They are great for organizing and you can easily place a changing mat on top of them if needed.

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QUIET TIME: A ROUTINE THAT'S HELPED ME

QUIET TIME: A ROUTINE THAT'S HELPED ME

I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished. -George Muller

For years, I'd sit down to spend time with God & then pause because I didn't actually know what to do next. I felt like I was wasting my time, staring at a random Bible page or throwing prayers up based on whatever popped into my groggy mind. 

After reading this book, I decided to come up with a consistent routine for how I spend my time with God in the morning. Do I stick to it 100% everyday? No way. But it allows me to come prepared and make the very best use of my time with the Lord.  

I hope seeing this written out helps you prioritize your own time in God's presence. I'm not superwoman, and different seasons of life allow me different availability. But what I know is that I will never, ever regret meeting with my Lord & Savior every day, and He is worth the very best I have to offer. 

6:00 Alarm goes off. I get up immediately; that snooze button is dangerous! If I'm feeling extra tired, I quickly pray for energy and joy. God is so faithful to give it! I go to the bathroom, feed the cat, and fill my bottle of water. 

6:10 Sit in a chair in my office with my basket that has everything I need in it. Bible, prayer notebook, memory verse box, pencil, post-its (for brain dumping), etc. Having everything there and ready for me is crucial. Also: water, a blanket, and kleenex! 

6:10-6:15 Work my way through my scripture memory box. I use the system I wrote about here; it's such a quick and effective way to store God's words deep in my heart. When I'm ready for a new verse, I'll also use this time to write it out on a card. 

6:15-6:45 Read my Bible. You can read about the chronological plan I'm using right here. Most days, this looks like 3-4 chapters at a time. After I read, I think through a few questions; sometimes I write the answers down and other times I reflect in my head.

What necessary context do I need to remember from what I just read? What does this text show me about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)? What does it show me about myself (sins I need to confess, examples to follow, promises to claim, etc)? And then how would these answers change my life if I took them seriously (what false ideals could I throw off, why might God be showing this to me now)?

Thinking through these answers allows me to move from reading God's words to meditating on them. If you've never done this before, it's where I've seen the most transformation in my own life. God's words are living and active... and it really helps to reflect on them beyond zooming through the assigned chapters.

6:45-7:00 Pray. First, I pray the ACTS acronym regarding what I've just read in the Bible. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. It helps solidify what I've read and allows the information to go from my head to my heart.

For example, if I just read about God leading the Israelites out of Egypt, I'd praise His strength and power; I could confess the times I don't trust Him to bring me out of a hard situation; I may thank Him for His constant leading in my life or for the examples we have in Exodus; I could ask Him to deliver me from a hard time. Something like that :) 

Then I use these sheets for other specific needs; I talk all what that looks like for me in these Instagram story highlights. Basically, I have a few things I pray for daily and then I flip to my day-of-the-week page and pray for those things/people. 

It feels funny at first, but praying aloud is a great way to stay focused and alert. I find myself less distracted, and more aware of who I'm talking to when I actually say my words aloud. Try it! 

7:00+ My boys start to stir at 7:00 which usually ends my morning time, but if I have a few extra minutes I listen to a worship song and/or read a chapter of a God-focused book I'm working my way through. I may also evaluate my goals, write down wonderful deeds of the Lord (Psalm 9:1), or sit and meditate on a specific verse. These last three things are all in my prayer notebook so I have them there at the ready!

During the day: You can read about how I try to tie the Gospel into our days right here. Sometimes, I miss my quiet morning time and instead work the things above into my hours with little boys around my feet. It's valuable and God-honoring even in the chaos.

1:00pm: I usually sit down to work on Dear Mushka right after my boys head down for a nap. I start this time by saying/paraphrasing the Lord's Prayer. It's a great way for me to recalibrate and meet the Lord mid-day. 

9:15pm: I try to head to bed around this time so that I can read/pray and be asleep by ten (so I can restfully get up at six the next morning!). Sometimes I choose a Psalm to pray through, but right now I'm reading a chapter of this book. It's so good, I often read the same chapter a few nights in a row. 

And then I start the whole thing over again the next morning! For me, doing this 6-7 days a week is really helpful. My body clock knows what to expect and wakes itself up naturally. I let myself sleep in on Sundays if I need to, but truthfully it's become a time I don't want to miss if I can help it! 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. -Psalm 1:1-3

 

ADOPT AN ENVELOPE: HELP US BRING MUSHKA NO.3 HOME!

ADOPT AN ENVELOPE: HELP US BRING MUSHKA NO.3 HOME!

WHY ADOPTION

In the Bible, we see that adoption was never God’s Plan B-- It was always God's Plan A.  God’s purpose has always been to adopt a people for himself. He is an adoptive Father & the church is an adoptive family of brothers and sisters.

So for Christians, the process of earthly adoption must be grounded in the reality of our heavenly adoption. We’ve been adopted by God, and nothing in us merited it. We can take no credit. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world; in love he predestined us for adoption (Eph. 1:3–5).

This perspective should produce humility in every child of God—and transform how we go about the process of earthly adoption.

Jesus told his disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you” (John 14:18). We’re not superior to the orphan, the widow, or the stranger. No, in the gospel we are the orphan, and God has adopted us; we are the widow, and Jesus has become our groom; we are the stranger with no homeland, and we have inherited the kingdom.

Ultimately, orphan care is about reflecting the heart of the gospel. And we do all of this as an act of honor to Jesus, who has loved us and come for us. Why do we care for orphans in their affliction? Because God has cared for us in our affliction. He has made us his sons and daughters.

Not all of us are called to adopt or foster children. Some of us are called to finances other's adoptions, to provide meals for foster parents, to be a voice for the voiceless, to educate others on orphan care, etc. 

If you feel led to care for orphans by helping us bring a third child home, we'd be so honored!

We are calling it Adopt an Envelope.

How it Works: 

1. You choose an "envelope" from 1-200. Scroll down to our list of envelope numbers to make sure yours is still available, first. 

2. Donate the amount on your envelope. For example, if you choose envelope 76, you donate $76. We'd love to leave the smallest envelopes (1-10) for children to contribute to if they want. 

TIP: Can't adopt a larger envelope yourself? Join hands with a small group, extended family, Sunday school class, etc to go in together 

3. We'll write your name on the actual envelope we have and put it in a box for this little one to have forever.  

4. The site you're donating through (Adopt Together) to will send our adoption agency a final check to cover some of the costs. We won't ever touch your money personally. 

5. You receive a tax write-off for your donation 

6. Accept this virtual high five and kiss on the cheek from us. We're so grateful! 

If every envelope is claimed, we'll have covered $20k of the expenses, and this our child will forever know how many people sacrificed to bring him or her home. 

All our love, 

Katie, Robert, Brooks, and Maddox 

AVAILABLE ENVELOPES (Click to Donate!) 

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21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 28 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100
101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120
121 122 123 124 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140
141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160
161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 172 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 
181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200

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