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Dear Mushka,

Black History Month: Why it Matters & What to Do

Last year, I read The Color of Compromise and something awoke in me. I already had three black sons and knew that our country was still a dangerous place for them (a problem!) but I had not known, up until that point, the ties between slavery/racism & Christianity. I think there'd always been a part of me that denied any connection with racism ("my family didn't have slaves") when it turns out my family-- my Spiritual family-- was the worst offender. 

From there, I began to tune in and listen to those far more wise than myself. I jumped into a Be the Bridge group here in Nashville. I started reading books about racial reconciliation, books by black authors, books about the history that I was never taught in school. And I began to understand that this issue of racism is not only far from over, it is deeply imbedded in so many of our hearts and minds (whether we want it to be or not) and must be battled if we're to love our fellow image bearers of God well. 

With Black History Month approaching, I wanted to share some ideas for honoring it in your home-- especially if your household is dominantly white. I know that those of us with light skin have far more power than we may even realize. And as Spiderman taught me (says the mom of three boys): "With great power comes great responsibility" 

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1. Read. Read books about racial reconciliation, read books by black authors, read novels set in a time period when slavery was still legal or Jim Crow was in full effect. 

Introduce people of different ethnicities into your children's books (along with media, toys, etc) After all, race is not something that can be parented in neutral. 

Here's a page that has some of my favorite books on this topic all in one place.

For adults, I'd start with Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison-- a soft intro into the issue, written by a beautiful Christian woman. She's who began the Be the Bridge Groups I'm a part of. From there, I'd suggest White Fragility and then The Color of Compromise

For children, I love all the books listed in the link above but I also encourage you to go to your local library. They'll probably display lots of books on Black History so you don't even have to search!

2. Watch Movies. Here are some ideas to get you started. Consider watching one every week during February. 

Click photos for direct links

Selma, staring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Oprah. $1.99 rental on Amazon Prime

 

The Watsons go to Birmingham: One geared towards kids. Could be a great one to watch as a family! $4.99 rental on Amazon Prime

 

The Color Purple: Directed by Steven Spielberg. I'd like to watch this one this year. $3.99 rental on Amazon Prime

Harriet, an incredible movie about Harriet Tubman. We saw this in the theater last year and loved it. I just see it for purchase on Amazon, but you may be able to find a rental elsewhere. 

 

The Help: One you've probably read or seen. Watch it again and dialogue with your people! $3.99 rental on Amazon Prime

 

12 Years a Slave: Another I'd like to watch this year. $3.99 rental on Amazon Prime

Remember the Titans, Hairspray, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Hidden Figures are other ones that come to mind.

Also, consider watching the shows When They See Us and This is Us. 

3. Listen. Listen to podcasts-- I suggest this one and this episode. Listen to people of color around you. Find a group made up of different races like Be the Bridge and jump in, more ready to listen than to talk.  

Additionally, be willing to weep and mourn with those who do so (Romans 12:15)

4. Go somewhere to learn more. Visit a museum (this page allows you to search Black History museums by state! One day I'd love to visit the one in D.C.) Attend a MLK walk. Google "Things to do for Black History Month in my city" and try one. I understand that these actions take energy, but people who know far more than me say they're worth it. If you live in the South, I'm confident there are places around you.

Could your friends or family do one activity together this month? Perhaps even serve in an area of need around your city that focuses on loving black people well. A financial donation would also be powerful. I'm accepting the challenge! 

5. Pray. Pray that God would allow His Kingdom to come here as it is on Heaven, which includes equality for all peoples and nations. Pray for any racist sin of yours to be revealed (and be humble enough to admit that there's probably some there). Pray for wisdom on how you can use the white skin God has given you to help your brothers and sisters. 

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Q & A with Robert and Katie 1/16/20

Welcome to another monthly Q&A with my husband, Robert. He’s worked with Dear Mushka for a number of years now. You’ll also find him on @yourennegramcoach. To watch the Instagram highlight for this month's Q&A, click here

Q:  How can singles prepare for marriage?

A:  If you feel that the Lord has called you for marriage, first get your spiritual house in order. Marriage isn’t going to fix your sins. In fact, it acts like a magnifying glass! Use your singlehood to work with the Lord on any issues, childhood trauma or sin. 

God needs to be your priority, even in marriage. If you’ve made marriage an idol, you’ll put an unfair burden on your spouse. 

Also, read a book or two about marriage. This helps us rehearse God’s plan for marriage. It’s not to find your soul mate or happiness. To really understand the purpose and plan behind marriage, I suggest books like The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan, and Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund.

Q:  Any advice for an engagement period? 

A:  The purpose of the engagement time should be to plan for a marriage, not a wedding day. Go to counselling and spend this time preparing yourself to hold to your vows. 

Q:  Any advice for the first year of marriage?

A:  Set good boundaries regarding work, family, hobbies, and friends. The Word is clear: you need to leave and cleave to your spouse. Your relationship with them should have priority. 

I’d also say it’s never too early to go to counselling. Even maintenance counselling is excellent just to talk through issues with a mediator present. 

Start early keeping your husband or wife’s name “safe” on your tongue. Speak only positively about your spouse. Respect your partner and let others see that. Remember, we shouldn’t be an expert in our partner’s sins, but rather an expert in their strengths, their God-given glory and their most honourable traits. 

Q:  Do we spend time together in prayer and Bible study?

A:  We pray together daily, but it isn’t scheduled or structured. We’re quick to grab one another's hands to pray spontaneously in different situations. But we study the Bible in different ways, and we’re interested by different readings. 

I used to really want to study the Bible together. I probably nagged Robert to join me in a scheduled devotion/prayer time, but it was too forced. Ultimately I learned that we don’t necessarily have to do these things together. What’s important is that Christ is exalted in our marriage and our home. Our goal is to “Glorify the Lord with me, let’s exalt his name together.” 

We don’t have to be opening our Bible together at the same time. We’d still like to work towards a family devotion time, but not necessarily a scheduled one between the two of us. 

Q:  Are we always on the same page about big life decisions like parenting, business and home?

A:  Almost never! Robert is very black and white while I’m very grey! We do a lot of talking. I remind him that there are other perspectives to consider. He reminds me that we should be definite about certain things. 

There are two main views on Christian marriage. Egalitarianism is the belief that men and women maintain interchangeable roles in the family and the church. 

Complementarianism is more traditional. It says that men and women are equal in value but there are distinct roles. Men follow Christ as the head of the Church. 

We’d call ourself soft complementarians. It’s okay for me to disagree, talk issues out and we work together. But ultimately, Robert is the “head” of our family. I trust him!

So as a summary, we often absolutely disagree on how to parent, spend money, or run our business. We’ve found it helpful to have areas that one of us is generally in charge of. For example, parenting is largely my area of expertise. 

We can and do talk about issues. If we can’t agree, the final decision lands on Robert. And honestly, it’s a lot of weight to carry. I’m glad he carries it and not me!

Q:  Theology book recommendations?

A:  Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Horger Alsup. It’s a really short basic book that makes big elaborate concepts easy to understand. 

Robert suggests Jen Wilkin’s books. His favorite is None Like Him. I’ve read and love all her books. She’s so sharp and clear! She also has great Bible studies. 

Robert also recommends John Stott, J. I. Packer and A. W. Tozer. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis is an excellent but challenging read. 

Q:  What does discipling men look like for you, Robert?

A:  For some reason, men aren’t as comfortable as women signing up for discipling groups. Our pride becomes involved and it’s hard for us to admit we don’t know how to do things. 

Discipling tends to be relational for men. For me, that’s meant meeting with a group of guys for coffee or breakfast on a weekly basis to build trust and relationships. In that environment,  men feel comfortable to ask questions. 

I’m also a groups leader coach and I try to help men get to know each other on a deeper level. We need to be ready to ask deeper or better questions. Don’t focus on work all the time. I like to ask questions like, “How’s your wife?” or “Are you being a better father or worker or husband?”

Also setting aside a time and place and inviting men to come has worked well, too. Sometimes that’s one on one time, group discussions, or a quiet Bible reading.

Q:  How do you stay intimate with little ones in the family?

A:  I recommend the Coffee + Crumbs podcast series. They interviewed a Christian sex expert. It was really helpful. 

Robert says that scheduling it can help! If you leave it up to feeling good or feeling in the mood, it’s probably not going to happen. What’s important is to create an environment of openness and safety where you can talk about intimacy without shame, guilt or fear. 

This circles back to what you do during singleness and engagement will follow you into your marriage. 

Q:  How does a woman encourage her husband to go deeper in his relationship with God?

A:  Deep and fervent prayer is the most important thing. The Holy Spirit is the One who draws us into relationship in the beginning and all the way through. Nagging and brow beating just won’t work. 

You, your church, and your environment can set a good positive example. Continue to be an example of the fruit of righteousness to him. 

It’s okay for you to be the one who initiates ideas like, “Are you interested in reading through this Bible plan with me this year?” The man doesn’t have to be the one who comes up with all the ideas. It just might not be his skill! So bring it up if you feel led, but be genuine! 

The Lord showed me that prayer is the only way to change hearts. He wants us to relinquish control and trust Him.

Marriage Books: 

The Meaning of Marriage

You and Me Forever

Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel 

Theology Books: 

Practical Theology for Women

None Like Him

Podcasts:

Coffee & Crumbs on Sex Part 1 and Part 2

Risen Motherhood on "How Can Mom Support Dad Spiritually

For more on Christian marriage and parenting, follow our daily Instagram stories here.  

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How To Read Through The Whole Bible

Many of you have expressed interest in reading through the whole Bible this year. I’ve received many questions like: What if I haven’t started yet - is it too late to jump in? What if I fall behind? What am I supposed to be looking for when I read? 

Today, let’s talk about reading your Bible and address some of your concerns and queries about this year’s journey through God’s Word.

What if I fall behind?

The chronological reading plan that I’ve talked about here will take you through the whole Bible in one year. I’ve done it a number of times and it’s absolutely awesome. 

But the Bible is a big book! You’ll probably fall behind at some point. You’ll get sick, you’ll have a baby, you’ll go on vacation - life happens! If you fall so far behind that you can’t catch up or it just feels too daunting, you have two options. 

Option one: You can just forget that it’s a year plan and take as long as it takes you to get through it. There is no shame in it taking you longer than a year to get through the Bible! God is going to use the words you’re reading to meet you exactly where you are.

Option two: You can skip through a book and circle round later to read it. You could also find a recap online that explains the book to you or simply decide to catch it again in following years. 

How do we get it from being just words on a page to something that actually changes your heart? 

If you’re following along with the Bible Recap podcast, you’ll have heard about finding your ‘God shot’ for the day. The most important part about reading the Bible is finding out who God is.

This is first and primarily a book about God and not about you! As you learn about the goodness and the holiness of God, it comes alive, and this is how it transforms your life.

What should we do when we read the Bible?

It’s totally okay if you only make mental notes about what you read. You may also want to grab some kind of notebook to make notes in. You could write down something every day that you learned about God. Date it, make a list, or just use scrap paper. 

This is what I’m doing this year:

I’ve decided to read through the New Testament four times in 2020 instead of doing the whole Bible again this year. I really love the chronological plan and I’m already excited to do it again next year. But sometimes I feel that it goes so fast that I don’t have time to really dig into Scripture. So, I’m just going to follow the same New Testament chronological plan from the Bible Recap and read it four times. I want to focus on the triune God more deeply this year and really dwell on His character. 

While I read the Word, any time I see the word God, Lord, Jesus, Holy Spirit, or Him, I’ll draw a triangle around it. (Underlining would also work or using different colors or shapes, but I’m just going to keep it simple.) At the end of my reading plan, I’ll look at all my triangles and write down what I learned about the Father, about the Son, about the Holy Spirit. 

As I read the Word, I ask (and write down) these two questions: Who are you Lord? What would you have me to do? These are questions that Paul asked Jesus when he met Him. 

I meditate on these parts of Scripture and write down my one takeaway for that section of study and reflection. Whatever I’ve written down, I’ll turn into a short prayer of 30 seconds or one I say all day long. 

My plan is to do this every day, but I’m definitely going to miss days and that’s totally okay! What I’m doing is just an example and to give you ideas on how to read the Word and then take it beyond just reading. 

 Let’s take the question: Who are you Lord? He is the Redeemer of His people so that we can become His children. That’s a thought I want to cling to today. It’s a thought that’ll come out when I talk to my children, my husband and when I talk to all of you. It gives me something tangible to cling to. 

When you do this day after day, you’re a changed person. You stand surrounded by the sweetness of who God is. You dwell on His character so much that when trial and suffering comes, big or really small, you’re still able to praise Him and rejoice because you know His character. You see the eternal plan and your eyes stay set on Heaven and His glory.

I hope this helps you today. Let’s do this, girls! I cannot wait to hear how the Lord meets you in 2020 as you read your Bible. Whatever you’re doing, the chronological plan, taking one book, going through the Psalms, doing the New Testament - there’s no right answer. Just dig in and find God.

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7 of our Favorite Short Necklaces

Our Dear Mushka short necklaces are ideal to wear alone or layered with a longer piece. Each necklace comes with a reflective verse from the Bible to keep close to your heart or share with a loved one. These are seven of our favorites.

The Resolved Necklace

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. · Isaiah 26:3

The metal on this necklace is like our minds. It goes every which way - around our necks, looking at the past; hanging down towards the ground, in shame or distress; sticking out, comparing ourselves to others. But peace is found when we wrap our minds around God - the stone in the middle.

I pray this piece causes you to to keep your mind stayed on a trustworthy God every single day. He is worthy of our trust and praise.

It's a lovely every day necklace, perfect worn alone or layered with a longer piece!

The Onward Necklace

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you · Isaiah 43:2

The Onward Necklace is a beautiful visual of this promise in Isaiah. The middle section of chain looks like fire and moves like water, a reminder that God is with you when you walk through both. 
 
It's a perfect piece to wear during seasons of trial, and looks lovely dressed up or down!

The Guide Necklace

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye upon you · Psalm 32:8

The Guide Necklace mimics an eye as a reminder that God sees us and offers counsel and instruction in our every days. We don't have to go it alone; we have the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit with us, always!

With four color options to choose from, it's a beautiful necklace for anyone!

The Guard Necklace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus · Philippians 4:6-7

The Guard Necklace is shaped like a shield to mimic what a guard might used to protect his post. When we come to God in prayer with thanksgiving, His peace guards our hearts and minds.

This is a lovely everyday necklace full of meaning and promise.

The Portion Necklace

The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him · Lamentations 3:24

The word "portion" in this verse refers to a plot of land, an inheritance, or a home and so this piece is designed to look like the Earth from above. 

It's a precious reminder that a spouse, child, home, job, etc will never be our portion. Instead, we place our hope & joy in God and look to Him to be all we need.

The Twinkle Necklace

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? · Psalm 8:3-4

The Twinkle necklace has tiny 14k gold fill or sterling silver dots fall along a dainty chain, shining the image of stars glowing in the night sky.

We pray you wear it, praising God for His bigness and for His care of you.

The Salt Necklace

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  · Colossians 4:6

"Salt" subtly sparkles right below the collar bone, creating the perfect everyday necklace for anyone.

A friendly reminder to keep your conversations full of grace in the same way you might add salt to a meal, making them palatable and enjoyable!

For more Christian Jewelry options and meanings, watch our Instagram stories for daily inspiration from Katie. 

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Lifetime Goals: How to make & keep them

So often, we make short term goals for our new year without looking multiple steps ahead to see where those goals are going to take us. Multiple years ago, at the encouragement of a spiritual mentor, I made ten lifetime goals instead. Rather than thinking about what I wanted to have done by the end of the year, I started looking back on my life from the very end. What sort of woman did I want to become? Which accomplishments mattered the most to me? What did I want to be known for? What was God directing me towards?
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After all, the Bible is full of encouragement for us to live intentional lives.

In Proverbs, King Solomon gives us encouragement on making plans: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance" -Proverbs 21:5 & “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure." -Proverbs 4:26

Jesus came with a clear goal in mind: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." -Luke 19:10

You can see his focused life throughout all the gospels, as he keeps his eyes straight on what God has sent Him to do. 

After Jesus, Paul was one of the most intentional men we see in scripture. He says, "I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control…” -1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Paul also tells us in Ephesians 5:15-16 to “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time….”

The same goes for us! We don’t want to be women who drift along year to year, spinning our wheels, running aimlessly. Instead, we want to plan noble things (Isaiah 32:8) & run fiercely towards Jesus and His Kingdom.

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To help us do this, we can pray, ponder, plan, and participate :)

#1 Pray: Ask God for specifics on how to live your days, ask him to highlight your strengths, to give you clarity as you move forward, etc. He is a God of order, intentionality, and plan; He will help you as you long to offer each day to Him!

Don't skip this step-- without it, you'll be tempted to make goals just for yourself instead of for God's Kingdom and glory. 

 

 #2 Ponder: Think through things like:

  • What dreams carry you from day to day?  
  • What gifts/ resources have you been given?
  • What excites you most?
  • At the end of your life, what do you want to have accomplished?
  • If you could listen in at your memorial service, what would you like to hear people say?

 Start brainstorming-- you'll probably start to see some themes!

#3 Plan: Create goals that fall under three categories- God, God’s people, & God’s mission.

God tells us that the greatest command is to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (God), and then to love our neighbor as ourselves (God’s people). He also tells us to make disciples of all nations (God’s mission).

Remembering these three topics keeps us Christ-focused. It’s not that we can’t have a goal to, say, lose twenty pounds… we just want it to stay intentionally under one of these categories. Otherwise, we start making self-focused goals, which will always fail us. Losing weight just to look better? Vanity. Losing weight because we want to use the resources we've been given for God's glory (which includes caring for our bodies)? Absolutely.

Make a few goals for each topic and give each a what (the goal), a why (a verse or motivation- this part is so helpful!), and a how (an example or short-term goals).

Here's an example:

What: Become a woman of prayer, trusting that God hears & works through my prayers

Why: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." -Mark 1:35

How: Set up a prayer journal, research fasting, find time to pray out loud five minutes each day, etc

Here's another:

What: Train up my children in the ways of the Lord, joyfully pouring the gospel message into them often & actively teaching them the character of God

Why: "We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done… so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" [Psalm 78:4,7]

How: Read the Bible during dinner, sing hymns together, pray together often, etc

We can have goals for God, the Bible, prayer, our marriage, our children, our homes, discipleship, missions, friendships, etc

Which topics jump to mind immediately? Press in there! 

 

#4 Participate: We can’t just write the goals down, we have to actually take steps forward. As one of my favorite quotes by Mary Oliver goes: "How you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life.” 

This is where we begin to write short-term goals. Maybe this year, you want to work towards your prayer goal and your marriage goal. In January, you decide to set up a prayer journal (this might help) and go on one date with your spouse. 

Because these are lifetime goals, it's okay if you don't focus on all of them all the time. Take one bite each day, week, month, year at a time. If you continue to keep your long-term goals in mind, you'll get there. No pressure, just God-focused direction!

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I challenge you to take time this month to create five lifetime goals. If you do, e-mail me at katie@dearmushka.com-- I'd love to hear them!

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Best Sellers of the Year 2019

2019 has been such a productive year. We designed and released close to 50 new products this year! Even though we do a monthly bestseller list, I had no idea what our 2019 best seller would be. So let’s get right to it! 

These are the top 10 products of 2019.

#10 The Aid Necklace

I originally created this piece for a friend who was walking through a miscarriage. My own words felt so inadequate and I wanted to gift her with something to remind her that only God can fill the holes in our hearts left by loss. 

The Aid Necklace is paired with this deeply comforting verse: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

This necklace and verse serves as a perfect reminder that beauty can come from ashes. It's not meant to fix the hurt, but rather to turn us towards the Great Healer or to serve as an "in memory of."

#9 The Shell Earrings

Shell” only came out in fall and still made the yearly bestseller list! I wear these all the time. They’re lightweight and perfect for casual days and dressy events. 

They come with powerful words from Psalms 73:26. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

This is one of my ‘fighter’ verses that I call to mind when I’m feeling weak in motherhood, in friendship or in life. When we feel like a turtle without a shell, weak and incapable, slide these tortoise earrings in and remember that God is our strong shell, forever. 

#8 The Storm Drops

The Storm Earrings have been around for six years and they’re still a bestseller! 

These sweet raindrop shapes are lightweight and backless, perfect for an instant pulled-together look.

Hosea 6:3 reminds us to “press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.

What a perfect verse as we head into the new year with the goal to know Him better. 

#7 The Called Necklace

This sweet everyday necklace comes with a stamped initial of your choice. Keep your most meaningful letters and numbers close to your heart (you can add as many as you want). If you have pliers, it’s possible to add them to the necklace yourself or send in your necklace and we’ll do it for you!

I just love my own Called necklace. I’ve added my initials and those of Robert and my three sweet boys.

You and your loved ones are special, beautiful, chosen, and His. Hold tight to this.

Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1, shortened

#6 The Harvest Necklace

"Harvest" features a strand of glass beads strung one by one onto wire and suspended between links of chain. Although the good work you're doing might currently appear as meaningless as a single bead, the moments strung together yield a spectacular crop. Don’t give up! Press on! 

The words from Galatians encourage us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” 

A perfect necklace for mothers raising children, students pouring over books, friendships, bridesmaids, and anyone who just wants a pretty pop of color for their everyday.

#5 The Keeper Necklace

The necklace is designed with the precious words from Psalm 56:8 in mind. “You have kept count of my tossings; kept my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”

Keeper” comes with a teardrop, a tangible reminder that God keeps count of our sorrows and tears. We hope this piece helps provide you or a loved one with truth and comfort during a hard season. You are seen and loved, sister.

#4 The Promise Pack

What can be better than these 52 promises from God’s heart straight to yours. Nothing has shaped my faith more than memorizing scripture. Why not set a beautiful goal for 2020 and memorize one verse a week! Use them with the Verse Memorization Tabs which almost made it to the Top 10 list.

Printed on durable paper meant to be touched and loved, the Promise Pack is the perfect gift for a loved one in need. 

"In my time of trouble I like to find a promise which exactly fits my need, and then to put my finger on it, and say, 'Lord, this is thy word; I beseech thee to prove that it is so, by carrying it out in my case.  I believe that this is your own writing; and I pray thee make it good to my faith'" -Charles Spurgeon, 19th Century British Preacher

 #3 The Eclipsed Necklace

The Eclipsed Necklace is the only long necklace that made our Top 10 and for good reason. It’s a working brass locket where you can put photos, a note, a kiss, a prayer inside. 

We also have a smaller version if you’d prefer that look or to match with a daughter.

I love the antique look of this locket. If you prefer to keep the gloss, just shine it right back up with ketchup or lemon juice and it looks perfect again.

The verse enclosed is from Jeremiah 33:3. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

A beautiful reminder for us to pray and call upon God; there you will find the sweetest, hidden answers. 

#2 The Carried Bracelet

Also made of brass - the Carried Bracelet can easily be shined back up again if you don’t like it tarnished. To get it on just stretch it out and squeeze it closed. Feel confident gifting this bracelet because it can be adjusted for anyone. It doesn’t have sharp edges, it’s tough and wearable all day long.

Isaiah 40:11 contains beautiful imagery of being gathered into His arms. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” 

I recommend this piece for new mothers or even teachers. In the love we give to our children and the work we do with them, we are not alone. We pick up our babies and and then God carries us in His arms.

#1 Companion Bracelets

The Companion Bracelet has been at the top of our bestseller list so many times! It comes in 6 colours and you get two with each order. 

Each bracelet comes with special words from Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.”

Gift them to your special person to say thank you for lifting you up or as a reminder to be there for each other.

I just love all of these pieces and I’m so glad you do too! We are so honored that you choose to purchase our products and love your people well. Watch our daily Instagram stories for Christian Jewelry and Scripture inspiration.

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Christian Jewelry Pieces and Verse for the New Year

As we reflect on the year past and the new year to come, let us be inspired by the wisdom of His Word. These verses to guide and encourage us are more enduring than any resolutions we might set for ourselves.

Here are 8 jewelry gift ideas each paired with a verse to keep in our hearts as we head towards the New Year.

The Seed Studs

But the seeds on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop · Luke 8:15

The sweetest rose gold studs dress up your favorite tee and jeans, and call to remembrance this parable in Luke. Sisters, let's not read God's words and then immediately forget the good news we've heard. Let us read and savor and then share the words!

The Hatch Necklace

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. · 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Hatch Necklace is long & lovely, sweetly shaped like an egg for the reminder that you are a new creation. Rise up, shake your shells off, & walk boldly Sister, knowing that your old self is no more.

The Promise Pack

"In my time of trouble I like to find a promise which exactly fits my need, and then to put my finger on it, and say, 'Lord, this is thy word; I beseech thee to prove that it is so, by carrying it out in my case.  I believe that this is your own writing; and I pray thee make it good to my faith'" -Charles Spurgeon, 19th Century British Preacher

Nothing has shaped my faith more than memorizing scripture, and it is with great joy that we welcome in this promise pack - 52 promises from God's heart straight to yours, printed on durable paper meant to be touched and loved. Join us as we memorize one promise a week or go at your own pace, store them in a box or frame them as you go, keep them all for yourself or gift to a friend in need!

The Honey Necklace

God's words are more precious than gold and sweeter than honey. · Psalm 19:10, shortened

"Honey" is the sweetest reminder of what is most valuable is this world. It's gold color and honey drop shape both serve as subtle hints to seek God's words before the details that make up this brilliant necklace. It is lovely, yes, but only when put in its proper place of value.

Priority Ring

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you · Matthew 6:33

In a world of social media and to-do lists constantly calling for your attention, the Priority Rings offer an alternative direction for your hands. Seek first the kingdom of God (His face, desires, Word, voice, reign); the rest will fall into place. 

 We love the look of stacked rings. Grab a few to wear on one hand or a few different sizes to spread across your fingers! Either way, we pray you look down and remember your true priority.  

The Daughter Studs

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 · Hebrews 4:16

The Daughter Studs are sweet & tiny with a little pop of happy color. They're easy to wear all day and are shaped like small crowns for the reminder: We are daughters of the most High King and can approach his throne confidently; let's head there together, Sisters.

The Fruit of the Spirit Print

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law · Galatians 5:22-23

This sweet work of art in collaboration with Salt Stains Shop can be hung in any room for a constant reminder that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, Sister! Do this life out of His perfect abilities and characteristics, not your own.

The Removed Necklace

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us · Psalm 103:11-12 

The Removed Necklace is round to signify how far the east is from the west (eternal!) and the fading black spots remind us that God is washing us white as snow. 

Wear this piece and praise God for his unending forgiveness of your sins.

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6 Christian Gifts Ideas Under $20

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re sharing some beautiful gift ideas all for $20 or less. These thoughtful and unique pieces are perfect for friends, family or even yourself! 

The Cheer Keychain

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen · Ephesians 4:29

The Cheer Keychain seeks to bring to mind these helpful words before you blow thoughts out without thinking. Encourage and cheer one another on rather than tearing down!

Bonus: The whistle is really loud, perfect for keeping close by on your keyring.

The Storm Drops

Let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth · Hosea 6:3

The "Storm" drops are bent into sweet raindrop shapes and completed with a long back for an instant pulled-together look.

Lightweight and backless, perfect for sliding in quickly and running out the door. Lovely for anyone in need of a helping hand, a dose of shine, a steady reminder.

The Adorn Hair Ties

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious · 1 Peter 3:4

These sweet hair ties are easy to wear, and come with a precious reminder to adorn yourself with a gentle and quiet spirit before anything else.

They'll add the perfect amount of style to your everyday outfit.

Bonus: The also come in plaid - perfect for the holiday season!

A Scripture-Focused Art Print

Choose your favourite from the complete collection of art prints here.

A ready-to-frame print made for an eternity-focused home. Add it to a gallery wall or let it stand alone, it's beautiful either way.

Pictured here are 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Psalm 103:8.

Verse Memorization Tabs

"Why memorize it? Why not just read it carefully?" argued Susan, our Yale graduate. 

"Because what you memorize by heart, you take to heart," replied Dr. Nuttham simply. "Once you absorb the words, the words become your own. Then, and only then, can you mull them over on your tongue, appreciating them as you would good wine, enjoying them as the company of good friend. Besides, we always value something for which we've had to labor." Carolyn Webber in Surprised by Oxford

Memorizing scripture is how we take God's words and make them a part of our lives. It's how we think on them during our day and share them with others as needed. After all, from the overflow of the mouth the heart speaks! 

These Verse Memorization Tabs are how I memorize scripture. Grab a box, put these inside, and you're ready to begin! These tabs come with a "how to use" sheet. You can also see our method for memorizing here (it only takes 5 minutes a day!)

The Commissioned Keychain

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations... · Matthew 28:19

 The Commissioned Keychain is a genuine leather keychain, meant to send you off into your day with the reminder of your greatest mission.

Perfect for attaching to your favorite bag or adding a bit of class + color to the keys that love to get lost at the bottom of your purse.

Added bonus: It smells divine! A good whiff of leather is good for the soul, we're sure of it.

For more gift ideas for the beautiful Christian women in your life, watch our daily Instagram stories.

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Katie and Robert Answer Your Questions on Family, Discipleship and the Busy Holiday Season

Once a month we like to do a Q&A which you all love and we are so honored that you enjoy listening to us or reading our answers. You can find the recorded interview here.

Q: Robert, what does your day look like?

A: I run Dear Mushka day-to-day which involves inventory, customer service, production, shipping, managing the team, accounting and finance - all of those fun things! I am also chief of staff for Your Enneagram Coach and help run that with all of the courses, public speaking and books that go along with it.

Katie gets up early to spend time with the Word and pray and get the day started with the boys. I wake up after Katie when some of the boys are already up, often with one of them jumping on me in bed or them coming to find me. I jump straight into emails in the morning to make sure our website is still working, that nothing broke overnight. I take the boys to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I love doing that! My days are largely unstructured. They involve a lot of emails and putting out fires and seeing what needs to happen day-to-day within the business. 

Q: How did you get started with jewelry making and growing Dear Mushka?

A: You can read all about it in this post.

Q: What practical boundaries have you set or found helpful in marriage?

A: Just making a decision to not speak negatively about your spouse in public. Obviously you can share with a friend that you trust, but it’s about not being an expert on their weaknesses and rather focusing on their strengths. It can be challenging, but I always want Robert’s name to be safe in my mouth. I want people to know that I love him and respect him, and that’s how I’m going to talk about him.

I think it’s important to not build an emotional relationship with a person of the opposite gender. You can have friends and coworkers, but it's a bad idea to have an emotionally charged relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Even if you think there is no attraction or no risk, being emotionally or spiritually intimate with someone else when you’re married is probably not going to lead anywhere good. 

We also make sure to be intimate frequently, whatever that means for your marriage. We make sure to bring ourselves closer to each other even in busy seasons. 

Q: What steps can you take to prepare your heart for marriage or just to enjoy your singleness?

A: We aren’t super equipped to answer this as we both got married when we were young. I do think its really important to know that marriage is not the answer - it isn’t going to take away your problems. You’ll probably have more problems! Don’t let yourself believe that lie and turn marriage into an idol. Marriage is hard work. 

Do your self work now. Go to counselling, figure out how you can love the Lord better, how you can serve Him. How has God equipped you to serve His Kingdom? Do all these things now because they’re all going to be important in a marriage. 

Q: Tips for enjoying the holiday season with littles who are overtired and out of routine?

A: Set boundaries and remember your kids can’t stand up for themselves, so help them. We’ve decided that our immediate family is more important than all the other things. If my immediate family’s routines don't coordinate well with other family activities, we don’t go. It’s okay to say you aren’t available during nap time or that you need to be in bed by 8. 

Also remember that the season is only a few weeks. Kids are super resilient, but if you know they don’t cope well without their nap or they can’t handle a lot of sugar, ask for help. Set yourself up for success. We’ll often give a clear indication of the times we’re available in the mornings or afternoons. If something is happening during those times, we’ll either miss out or say we’ll see everyone a bit later. 

Q: What is your approach to schooling decisions?

A: We are in the middle of it right now! We’re figuring out kindergarten for the first time. I don’t really know what to do besides pray and listen for God’s direction. We said that we would never adopt and never homeschool and yet here we are with three adopted children and we feel like God is currently steering our hearts towards homeschooling. We just continue to pray and trust for guidance. 

Also know that you’re not locked into anything forever. Try it out! If you feel like you made the wrong decision or one of your children responds differently, just recalibrate. 

Q: How can I best encourage and respect my husband to lead our family?

A: I did it wrong for so many years - I tried to nag Robert into leading our family the way I wanted him to. This really does not work! It was really helpful for me to acknowledge that what I wanted wasn’t necessarily what Robert needed to do. I needed to see his strengths instead of what I wanted his strengths to be and celebrate them.

When I realized this, I turned to prayer instead of nagging. I prayed that God would equip him with leadership and give me insight into how to best serve my husband. The Lord has truly answered my prayer over and over again. Pray daily for guidance and for your husband! 

(Robert) I would just want you all to understand that being a man in a Christian environment and feeling the burden to lead can feel daunting and overwhelming. A lot of us haven’t had leadership modelled well for us in our lives. When all of a sudden a man is being asked to lead and he's never done it before, it helps to understand his heart and his motivations. Come to him with help and desire rather than with judgement and criticism. Start small and celebrate wins! 

Q:  How do you celebrate Advent in this busy season? 

A:  Once we get into December, we don't launch any new products. We concentrate on fulfilling lots of orders and getting things out. It might be busier for our employees, but I intentionally keep things less busy for me. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! 

You can watch our highlight about what we do for Advent. I do something really simple for the boys in the morning and at night we set aside 20 minutes to light a candle and read a story. Serving and loving the Lord comes first, so if we can’t make time for this simple routine, it means we need to scale back our business. 

Q: What books would you recommend to learn about starting a business?

A: I haven’t ever read a business book. I did skim a few chapters of The E-Myth, but I didn’t find anything relevant to my business. Honestly, a lot of my business advice has just come from praying for guidance. Reading a big book makes me feel overwhelmed with tons of things I should be doing. I just keep praying that the Lord will establish my next step. He’s always brought exactly what I’ve needed into my life. 

(Robert) I’ve read a few business books, but it depends on what you’re looking for. For good practical start-up advice, I would go to blog posts or articles. The internet is the great equalizer of our age. You can monetize absolutely anything, but make sure you’re doing something you love. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about raising boys? 

A: I love wrestling and roughhousing! Katie sometimes has to leave the room because it makes her so uncomfortable. The boys think it’s so fun being thrown onto the trampoline and having pillow fights. This is my favorite! They love being outside and adventuring. And they’re not super dramatic or emotional either. I’m in awe of moms who have girls and seem to have a lot more to cope with! Our boys are so quick to forgive, easy to talk to. They don’t hold grudges. I’m learning a lot from my boys! 

Q: What things did you disagree on in your marriage and how did you work things out? 

A: We parent differently although I do think this is how the Lord created us - that mothers and fathers should be different. There are times I’ll want to talk with Robert about he handled a parenting moment, and vice versa. That doesn’t always go super well in the moment to be honest! We’re still working on how to appropriately handle that.

I think that in any disagreement, just remembering that we’re on the same team with the same goal is so important. Even if we blow it the first time, we’re able to re-have a lot of conversations and they’re better the second time. We’re both opinionated and we have to make room for one another. Remember that you love your spouse more than whatever you’re disagreeing about. A disagreement is an opportunity to grow together and to practice loving your spouse more.

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Let's Read the Whole Bible!

Starting January 1, I'm reading through the Bible again and wanted to extend the invitation to you, too! 

JOIN IN

We're going to read the Bible chronologically to better understand the historical context and to piece together the Bible as one whole, continuous story. 

To join in, you have two options. You can download The Bible App on your phone and then sign up for this chronological plan so that you can read or listen on your phone every day. 

You can also read in your Bible using this sheet as your guide. Here's a print-off to follow if you'd rather read that way (it's what I'll be doing most days!)

As a bonus, tune into this podcast every day. It's usually around 7 minutes long and gives clarity and understanding to the day's reading. Last year, I heard from so many people that the podcast is what helped them stay on track so give it a go!

 

HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE ME? 

I know reading through the Bible in one year sounds intimidating, but the truth is that it only takes about 12 minutes a day to read the Bible from cover to cover. Of course, you'll want to dedicate more time as you you begin a new book of the Bible (context is so important!) and you'll want to save at least a few minutes at the end of your time for reflection and prayer over what you've just read. But on average? 20-30 minutes y'all!

You.Can.Do.This.

Note: A study Bible can be a huge help as you begin to understand proper context. I love this one

This (and this) is also a great resource as you begin a new book of the Bible. I used these videos last year as a helpful guide, and will reference them again this time around! They're less than 10 minutes long and can really help you understand what you're about to read.  The Bible Recap Podcast will also direct you to them as you begin a new book of the Bible so if you follow along there, you'll have the links! 

 

PITFALLS

Usually, I wake up at 6:00am to read and pray for roughly 50 minutes before my boys wake up at 7:00am. On days when I'm not able to do this (sickness, vacation, new baby, etc), I'll find time to read aloud to my kids over lunch or listen the the audio version in the car. And if I fall a day or two behind, I'll catch up over the weekend. 

Planning is key-- when will you prioritize this in your day and what will be your backup plan?

Another thing you might run into is conflict with what you're reading. Maybe reading through Old Testament laws and genealogies is uninteresting? Or maybe you come face to face with a characteristic about God that feels different (and unsettling) from what you've always thought? 

Press on, Sister. 

For me, it is so helpful to think about the word of God like a meal. After all, Jesus calls Himself Everlasting Water and says that man must live on the Words of God, not just bread alone. (John 4:14 & Matthew 4:4). 

When we consistently miss meals, we get hangry. We make bad decisions, we feel tired, and ultimately we malnourish. 

The same is true for our souls. When we wake up and think we don't need to prioritize time in the Word, we begin to rely on our own (failing) capabilities. Our hearts and attitudes eventually malnourish!

Instead, let's savor the promises in Psalm 19 and call them to mind when we're feeling unmotivated or frustrated. Look at what God says about His words!

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

MOSTLY

Read the Bible to find God, not yourself.

The Bible is not, primarily, a guide book for our lives or a description of ourselves. It is a book about the Triune God; it tells us who He is, what He's done, and what He will do again. When we read to find Him first, we learn to love every word-- even the confusing, difficult, and slow ones-- because they offer insight into His full character. They allow us to fall in love with our Father & King & Helper through the revelation He's offered us about Himself, and we begin to long for more and more of those glimpses. 

And as James 4:8 says, when we draw near to God he absolutely draws near to us. 

Let's draw near together, friends. xx

(I'll be sharing more on Instagram throughout the year! @dearmushka)

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