Dear Mushka,



1. The Encounter Necklace: It's the perfect everyday length and reminds me to pray every time I feel it slide across my chest

2. The Goodness Studs: They're so easy to wear (I even sleep in them, shhh!) and are the sweetest reminder that we are the Lords workmanship, even as we do "mundane" tasks like raise children and keep a home

3. The Promise Pack: I'm memorizing one verse card a week and then sticking them up around our house for a constant reminder. Bonus, they're cute decor! [This is also my most gifted shop item; I've given out a zillion of them to friends in need].

4. The Carried Cuff: Such an easy bracelet to wear that doesn't require maintenance. If it gets dirty or wet, just wipe with a towel and off you go. Bonus, it adds a little shine to my yoga pants and tee shirt ;)

5. The Salt Necklace: A great layering piece with a little sparkle & a reminder to watch my tongue! 



dear mushka,

over the years i have purchased journals with promised attempts at writing in them often. this time it will stick!, i think, and then of course, it doesn't. but my bible... my bible has been marked over and over again with my heart and so i've finally decided- it is my journal. and where's a better place to have one?

as i quickly flip though, i can see thoughts scribbled next to john 15 where i've worked through an addiction to productivity. notes taken next to every verse in romans as my eyes opened to the beauty of grace. prayers written out for family members, friends, neighbors. and as i open to psalm 37, i can see my own sanctification laid out, just as god promised it would happen (phil 1:6). 

next to verse four- "delight yourself in the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart"- (particularly the first word) i've scribbled FIND GREAT PLEASURE IN as a reminder of where true heart joy comes from. when i find great pleasure in someone, i turn to them often. i text, reach out to, invite over. i make space in my schedule to do life together. and slowly, our hearts align as we walk this side of heaven, arm in arm. it is then, with god, that our heart's desires are met, too. 

next to verse five- "commit your way to the lord; trust in him, and he will act"- i have the note GROWING FAMILY, MAY 2016 marked down. i remember writing those words and praying over where our next little mushka would come from like it was yesterday. biological? adoption? foster care? but the lord knew and called us to simply commit our ways into his care and watch him work. and so we did. and so he did. 

a little baby boy, a little mushka maddox. 

i need to go back and highlight that prayer... answered!

and next to verses one through three and then again on down the psalm, i've simply written DEAR MUSHKA as a call to "fret not yourself because of evildoers, be not envious of wrongdoers! ... trust in the lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness..." these are verses that guide my heart and actions as we walk this business venture with the lord. instead of sitting across the table from a ceo, i sit in these words and hear his boss-man advice: katie, ignore the copycats, the people who are having worldly gain because of wrongful actions; trust in god to provide just what we need and simply walk faithfully! and so on... 

it's kind of amazing, really.

and sweet babies, though i wish i could protect you from the hardships of this world, mostly i want you to see that it is okay and good and helpful to pour your hearts out to jesus. write your prayers in the margins of his words, take notes as he grows you, see how far he's allowed you to come. he gets it. he's been here on this earth, fully man just like you, after all! and there is just no safer place to grow than secure within his arms.


Dear Mushka: PARENTING & HEBREWS 4:16

Dear Mushka: PARENTING & HEBREWS 4:16

dear mushka, 

i'm only 2.5 years into this parenting thing and so mostly i'll just say: it is so hard. 

kind of, i knew it would be. i knew waking up in the middle of the night and changing diapers and cleaning up spills would be humbling and tiring. but what i wasn't prepared for was how often my own sin would come flailing back at me every time i pointed out yours. 

hey buddy, the lord has given us toys so that we can love others by sharing them. ahem...

hey katie, i have given you this house so that you can love others by opening its door. ahem...


my son, you have enough trucks; let's be content with what we have instead of whining for something we don't. 

my daughter, you have enough clothes and home decor items. let's be content with what we have instead of yearning for more.


sweet boy, i'm going to put you in time out now because you disobeyed and it is so important to listen to mommy when i ask you to do something. my instruction is for your good!

sweet katie, i am going to discipline you out of love because respecting my authority and obeying my commands is of upmost importance. it is for your good! (hebrews 12)


anyway, you get the point. i was prepared to teach you; i was not prepared to feel my own sanctification at every moment of every day. but oh my dear mushkas, god is so kind. and i am clinging to hebrews 4:16 with all my might. 

"let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." 

every day before i get you up, i approach the throne. i walk up boldly, confident in what jesus has done for me, and ask god to grant me mercy and grace as i parent. and not once has he denied my request.

it's amazing, really. 

i'm going to fail every day at being a mom, but please hear me sons: god is never going to fail you as father. and if all i ever teach you is that one fact, we've got it made. because knowing who he is and what he's done is the very best thing for us all. 


PROMISE: PSALM 84:11 · No 14

PROMISE: PSALM 84:11 · No 14
This year we're memorizing one promise from scripture a week. If you want to follow along with our verse cards you can find them HERE. We're also placing importance upon context and studying each verse as we go. We want to honor the original language, meaning, etc as we read so that we can accurately learn and avoid placing our own opinions upon God's words. I'm so happy you're here!


Where would be without Google Maps?

I know, funny way to start a devotional – but stick with me here. I use Google Maps for any trip I need directions for! I just type in the address and proceed with no need to think about the journey ahead. Google Maps protects me from taking a wrong turn.   

Life is full of searching for paths and trying to stay on the right ones. Guidance, wisdom, direction – its not just needed for highway exits.

In this Psalm, David sings of the Lord being a “sun”. Like the sun, He influences all the earth’s movements (Psalm 74:16).  He searches and illuminates every place like the sun does (Psalm 19:6 / Romans 8:27), and He is the truest, most reliant form of Light there is. 

When this Psalm was written, pre-electricity times, the sun was of even greater importance than today. Days began when the sun rose, crops grew when its rays shined, and people worked until the sun set. The sun determined the course of the day! We’ve lost this kind of dependency with electricity, but there’s a great parallel here.

“The Lord God is a sun”: He is our light, provision, navigation and constant. When we don’t see Him, He’s there. When we are tempted by darkness, He’s our way out. When we’re in need of guidance, He is the best GPS there is.

David also sings of God being a shield – a Giver of favor and honor – a Gifter of good things to those who follow His commands.

Pathway, protection, and provision – all wrapped up in our able Father’s hands. But the question remains: do we believe it?

How often do we sit in the driver’s seat of our life and ask God for directions to where we want to end up? That may sound like a fine place to sit at first, but with deeper evaluation we would do well to notice the problem: control.

If we’re driving the decisions, and just asking God for his two cents here and there – we’re not living a fully surrendered life – it’s not walking uprightly to take hold of the reins and just invite God to ride along.  

At the root of our control is unbelief – the lie that we’d be better off setting our own course.

How can we forego His ever-present presence, when people like David longed to just get a bit nearer to Him? Back then, without the presence of the Holy Sprit, people traveled many miles to be near to God.  This Psalm is celebrating the joy found in the journey to enter the temple - where His presence dwelt. But now, we get all of God anytime and anywhere, as He’s made His home in our hearts. Instant access to a sure path – driven and directed by Him. Undeserved grace.

God we need your Light. We crave your protection. Make us into people who live more wholly dependent on all that You are – more keenly aware of how little we know the Way without You.


This post was written by Courtney McLean- a 23 year old introverted, but social (I KNOW RIGHT?!) marketing gal, married to a handsome finance-guru in Wisconsin. She fell in love with Jesus at age 19 and has been learning to hope in Him ever since! You can learn more about her through her many photos and words on Instagram, here! Her vision for life is to leave people feeling loved by God. She hopes the words shared here on Dear Mushka leave you loved!

Dear Mushka: April Goals

Dear Mushka: April Goals

dear mushka, 

at the start of this year i had big plans to make monthly goals, of course. and blog about them! and be queen of the world! but alas, we brought home a newborn and life changed and i just couldn't manage it. 

imagine that.

but look at us, said newborn is now 2 months old (whoa) and the lord has so sweetly reminded me that there is a season for everything. this last season was for sitting on the couch, staring at a baby's smooshy adorable face, and this next one is for... getting up off the couch. 

and so. goals!

1. exercise 3x a week. for a while there i was in this great routine of working out at the y but i just don't have time for an hour class + drive time anymore. however! there is a stack of workout dvds being hoarded in a drawer around here somewhere and i do own running shoes so surely we can make this happen, yes? 

2. refuse to buy myself clothing for a whole month. because how am i supposed to learn what i do and do not actually wear if i continue to add to the chaos? and also, impulse target purchases are dangerous and not of the spirit. so no more!

(of note: i've never done this before and am nervous! like, should i run out to target right now real quick? just kidding...ish) 

3. finish this book and this book and one more that isn't coming to mind at the moment. gosh, i just know my teenage self is rolling her eyes big time at the fact that i now read multiple books at once. but look, non fiction books only hold my attention for so long and i need diversity. but also, these have been sitting on my shelf long enough and it's time to finish them already. i have a list of approximately one million zillion books waiting their turn to be read. onward!

4. have an extended quiet time. a wise, wise woman once encouraged me to spend a 3+ hour chunk of time with the lord every quarter, praying and studying and quieting my heart and mind enough to just listen to him. i haven't prioritized it this year and am starting to feel the repercussions. mmmh, i'm already excited. 

...i was going to write out five goals, but it seems four is sufficient for now. let's set the bar low shall we? 


5. come back and blog about how great a success these goals were. check, Check, CHECK!


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