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Dear Mushka,

Lent: What it is and Why We're Participating

A few years ago, I spent some time learning about the church calendar and how its seasons are in place to follow the life and death of Christ. Very simply, Christ is born (Advent), he is acknowledged as divine (Epiphany), he is tempted in the desert and dies for our sins (Lent), he is resurrected (Easter), and then the Spirit comes upon believers (Pentecost). 

Following the calendar isn't meant to be "religious" or another thing on a to-do list. Instead, it's meant to stir up our hearts and challenge us to pause and reflect in particular ways throughout the year.

For Lent, the idea is that we deny ourselves something for 40 days to represent Jesus fasting 40 days and then being tempted by Satan in the desert. During this time, we stop filling ourselves with all the pleasures of the world and instead empty ourselves long enough to see our sin and brokenness. This may look like fasting from certain foods, social media, Netflix, shopping, nightly baths, etc. 

In A Hunger for God (which I highly recommend!), John Piper says, "If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great." 

Lent provides us an opportunity to set aside our normal go-tos and instead think on our fallen nature + Christ's beautiful sacrifice. It is meant to be a more sober, heavy season that ends as we welcome in the glory of Easter. 

This year, Lent starts on February 26th and goes until April 9th, with Sundays being "off" days. I plan on giving up something different the six weeks of Lent. For example, a fast from Instagram one week and certain foods the next. 

In addition, I will use this season to focus what I teach and talk about with my boys. In this post I talk about some of our daily habits. During Lent, I'll use our meal times to focus in on discussing passages on our sin, repentance, and why Jesus had to come. 

I plan on reading the daily readings from this book aloud (mostly for myself) and perhaps doing some of the family activities it mentions. 


I'll also leave these books out on the shelves for us to grab and read all season long! 

1. A beautiful book! My boys are captivated by the pictures and story. 

2. Great for the week before Easter. Simple, perfect for the littlest ones! 

3. We love this book; read it with these eggs (we start them twelve days before Easter). A favorite around here!

4. We love this one, too. 

5. And of course, this Bible. There are lots of "lent" reading plans to follow with your little ones if you'd like! 

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How To Reclaim Valentine's Day for Christ

For many of us, Valentine’s Day isn’t a day that brings up good memories or feelings. A lot of you might be like I was and feel as though you’d rather skip Valentine’s Day altogether! You may be wishing you had a boyfriend or someone special to share the day with, wishing you were married and you aren’t, feeling pressured to do something for your spouse, knowing your spouse won’t do anything special for you and feeling disappointed. The emotions that arise around this day can be challenging - bitterness, grief, excitement - I’ve felt them too. 

But this year I’m reclaiming Valentine’s Day for Christ! I just love that it’s in February - a month and a half into the new year. It’s a great time to reflect on our habits and goals we set for the new year. Let’s make it about Him! Are our daily habits pressing us closer towards Him? When we read the Bible or pray, are we dwelling on the love of God? Are we growing in love for others?

I also think this can be a day of repentance. Take 1 Corinthians 13 and replace “love” with your name. It’s a real opportunity to realize how we often fall short. Let’s admit our brokenness to Him and praise God for His perfect love. I pray that He’ll create in me a heart that turns to Him.  

This year, I’m doing a cheap project for my kids. I’ve bought a big red piece of red cardboard and written all the characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13 on it. We’ll gather together and talk about how God is each of those things. It’s a great reminder of how we can all be better neighbors to each other.

Consider letting go of romantic expectations (unless you love it!) and center your day around Christ’s love and purpose for marriage. Robert and I watched a sermon together one Valentine’s Day and it was so meaningful. Even a podcast like this one could be special to listen to as a couple.

Ultimately, do whatever you want! Hearts, candy or nothing at all! I’ve decided to redeem the day for me and my family as we seek to honor the Lord in all things. Valentine’s Day has become fun and exciting and awesome as we celebrate His love for us.

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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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Christmas Tree Traditions for the Family

We’ve just set up the Christmas Tree in our home as the holiday season approaches - the busiest time of year here at Dear Mushka. So we’re celebrating and sharing a few of our traditions for this special night!

First up, we make chicken spaghetti for dinner. The peppers look festive and I can make it early and just bake it later. I like Pioneer Woman’s recipe because it doesn’t have velveeta in it.

We decorate our Christmas Trees and rotate between the kids for who gets to put the star on top (just like I did growing up) and hang ornaments that focus on Jesus.

We also talk about how God gives the best gifts and asks us to partner with Him to care for those in need. We make choices as a family with whom to partner and share with at this time of year, and I cry every time.

Tonight, we decided to partner with YOU all to make some of these things happen! You donate and we’ll match every dollar with our own donation. You can help us fund a Sex Trafficking Rescue Operation HERE

Our traditions focus on setting the mood of anticipating Jesus and what He means to us. We put up a few trees around the house and watch a Christmas movie on the couch. Super simple and Christ-focused. 

The Thrill of Hope sweatshirt is also here and it is the perfect cozy sweatshirt just in time for Christmas and this holiday season! I’ve been wearing it all day and it was perfect to get into the Christmas spirit while setting up the Christmas tree.

It’s naturally oversized and oh-so-snuggly. I even got two compliments at Target while wearing it and I'm sure they will sell out soon, so get yours in time for December.

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Gift Guides

There are many ways to anticipate the arrival of Christ and to keep our hearts focused on Him-- lights, feasts, songs, service projects... and even gifts. 

James 1:17 says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

God is the very best gift-giver. Not only did He give us His son, but also every other good and wonderful thing in our lives. He takes delight in giving good gifts to us, which is why we can find delight in giving gifts to those we love. It's a way we can reflect His image!

Here are some ideas as you start planning out your gift-lists. How can we be intentional and Jesus-focused as we love our people well? 

A hostess gift is a great way to thank someone for opening up their home to you- for a holiday meal, for a party, for a place to sleep, etc!

An Aroma Candle is a perfect way to say "thank you" for just $15. It comes in a brown box ready to give as a gift-- just add a ribbon!

Additionally, you could wrap a cute tea town around the box for a little bonus and tie it up with a string. This set comes as a pack of four (making them just $4/piece). Buy one set of these + four candles and you're set for four hostess gifts under $20 each.

Other idea: Gift an art print for their home! There's a style for everyone. Let them frame it or pick up an inexpensive 8x10 frame and pop a bow on the front. I love this wooden frame that comes in a pack of two.

The littlest children don't need much (they don't even know it's Christmas). Consider a Precious Tee tucked into their stocking along with one of my favorite kid's books. I like this one, this one, or this one

I also love the Little People Noah's Ark- Perfect for bath time stories about God. They also make a manger scene option. 


Your daughter may be ready for her first Dear Mushka piece (please use your judgement- small parts can cause choking). I love The Eclipsed Sm or Verb to begin with. 

Any book from this Tales that Tell the Truth series is a winner! 

A pack of scripture cards made just for them could be a great thing to tuck into a stocking + encourage the goal of memorizing scripture in the New Year.  


I love to gift in themes and this cozy one is so dreamy- you could even include a tag that says "for your cozy nights at home" :) This blanket is adorable and well priced (I'm grabbing one for each of my boys' beds!) Add The Temple Sweatshirt for snuggling up in and a good book

Here and here are two blogs posts I wrote on favorite books; they'd all make a great gift!

I'd probably fold the blanket up on the bottom, stack the sweatshirt in the middle, and then set a book on top. Wrap them all together with a big ribbon. Done! 


Giving to a friend or have a gift exchange to attend? I think all three of these are winners! The Promise Pack has 52 beautiful scripture cards inside that can be memorized, put around a home, or used at cards to gift to others. 

Jade rollers are so on trend right now and this one is affordable (plus has tons of 5 star reviews).

The Companion Bracelets are consistently one of our best sellers, and for good reason. You get 2 for $22, which makes them just $11 a piece-- a perfect small gift price! 

Men can be hard to shop for! Here are three things I've gotten for Robert in the past.

This devotion is a great way for Him to spend time in God's word every morning. This tee is cute, with an important reminder. (Match him with ours here!) And this book is a perfect way to get a little information on basically every topic in the Bible-- we reference ours all the time!

*Robert would like me to also say that tools are a good gift. Ha!


You could get your mother (or yourself ;) ) all sorts of things, but personalized jewelry is hard to beat. The Carried Bracelet comes with a verse perfect for motherhood and looks extra adorable with an added stamped initial. 

The Called Necklace is a great way to keep kids or grandkids initials close by. The No. 139 Collection (available as a necklace, bracelet, or earrings) is a sweet way to honor children's birth months!


 It's hard to go wrong with a Starbucks gift card for the teachers in your life. I'd pair a small gift card with The Harvest Necklace as encouragement that her hard work will result in good fruit as she continues forward (bonus points for grabbing one in her school colors!)

Additionally, you could gift her an art print to hang in the classroom or by her desk as a reminder. The Fruit of the Spirit print isn't overtly Christian, perfect to display in a public school. 


Need more help? Our suggestions page is full of ideas broken down by category!

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10 Kid's Christmas Books for a Christian Household

Every year, we add a few new Christmas books to our collection. My favorites beautifully tell the real story of Christmas, display all skin tones, and/or draw my children in with gorgeous illustrations and an engaging story. 

Here are some of the ones on our shelf! (Click each picture for a direct link)

1. Twas the Evening of Christmas-- Tells the Christmas story to the familiar rhythm of Twas the Night before Christmas. 'Twas the evening of Christmas, when all through the town, Every inn was so crowded, no room could be found.'

2. Silent Night-- A new one for us; I love it!  "Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world's best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season."

3. Jotham's Journey-- This is the first year we'll begin this series, and I know my five year old is going to love it. I've heard nothing but great things regarding these books! "In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem."

4. Pick a Pine Tree-- Okay, this isn't a "Christian" book, but the illustrations are beautiful and it brings alive so many family traditions you may partake in. "Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts."

5. Jacob's Gift-- This is one from my childhood that my own boys have learned to love. "Jacob is a young boy with a gift for carpentry who is busy finishing up a project for a contest. His teacher, Rabbi Simeon, not only instructs him in carpentry, but also teaches him important lessons about God. Rabbi has just taught Jacob that when you give a gift to one of God's children, it's like giving a gift to God. The night before the contest while working on his project, Jacob has fallen asleep in the workshop and is awakened by a bright light. The light is a star which is directly over Jacob's father's stable. As he approaches the stable, he sees a man, a woman, and a newborn baby which is laying in the straw. Remembering what Rabbi Simeon had told him, Jacob returns to the workshop and takes his project (a feeding trough) to the new family. The morning of the contest, the Rabbi pleased to find out that Jacob has acted upon the lesson he learned and has truly given a gift to God."

6. The Littlest Watchman-- A precious story that ties the Old and New Testaments together. It's a little wordy for small kids so I summarize the pages. "Benjamin is a Watchman. It's his job to watch for the sign that all God's promises are coming true to watch a stump.Trouble is, it's hard just waiting. And one night, Benjamin finally gives in and stops watching. But that same night, as he sits outside Bethlehem, he gets to watch something wonderful."

7. The Christmas Promise-- Fun to read, your kids will enjoy saying (yelling) WHOOSH! "A long, long time ago so long that it's hard to imagine God promised a new King. He wasn't any ordinary king, like the ones we see on TV or in books. He would be different. He would be a new King; a rescuing King; a forever King! This book helps pre-school children discover exactly how God kept His Christmas Promise."

8. God Gave Us Christmas-- All the books in this series are great, including this one. I'd imagine it would be especially good if your family does Santa.  "As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that Jesus is the best present of all.
This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them."

9. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe-- We're all probably familiar with the books by C.S. Lewis and this kid's version is a great one to read during the cold Winter months. "Now younger children can share the magical experience, entering into a world of enchantment that will forever lure them back. Four adventurous siblings step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter—but never Christmas—cursed by the power of the White Witch. Only Aslan, the Great Lion, can reverse her wicked spell."

10. A Very Noisy Christmas-- A simple tale of Christmas that your kids will love reading, it's so interactive. "Some think that Christmas was a "Silent Night". Far from it. It was filled with shouting, singing and screaming! It was as noisy as any of our Christmas celebrations.This fun and fresh retelling of the Christmas story comes with sound effects so that children can join in as parents read to them. But it also shows children that at the heart of the Christmas story is something we should all be quiet and see: God's son Jesus was born, so that we can be friends with God forever. Now that's something worth shouting about! A wonderful Christmas gift for children aged 3-6 years old."

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Mother's Day Gift Guide (for every woman!)

Mother's Day is our second biggest holiday and as a woman, I truly understand why. On this day, there is little more I want than ways to remember my sweet children + Gospel truths to stand on when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I also know the loss of a mother, the angst of feeling like an imperfect mother, the sorrow as friends walk through miscarriage or infertility and long to be a mother, etc. 

I hope this post helps you navigate the pieces we offer and allows you to find the perfect thing for your heart or a loved one's heart. xx

To Celebrate Children:

· A piece from the No. 139 Birthstone collection here -- add one or multiple birthstones. Grandmothers love this! 

· The Priority Ring here-- wear one for each of your children, add more as your family grows!

· The Called Necklace here -- add one initial or multiple and keep your children close to your heart (or a grandmother's heart). Also a precious way to honor the loss of a child. 

· The Brimming Necklace here-- a great option for someone experiencing motherhood after years of waiting. Rejoice with those who rejoice!

· The Quiver Necklace here -- add as many arrows as you need and think on Proverbs 127:4


The Together Necklace here -- we have a verse card for birthmothers, adoptive mothers, and (new!) adopted daughters as they get older. Can you picture all three matching? Precious! 

To Help During Hard Seasons:

· The Aid Necklace here -- created especially for when a loved one or unborn child dies. Miscarriage, loss of child, loss of mother, no relationship with a mother. Let this verse meet you in all of the hard! 

· The Expectant Necklace here -- created especially for someone walking through infertility. Open your hands to what God has in store for you. 

· The Keeper Necklace here-- know that you are seen and your tears are kept; add tear drops for each miscarriage or loss.

· The Portion Necklace here-- because God, not children or health or obedience, is our hope. Amen!

· The Carried Cuff here -- because you're being held as you mother; this is a shop bestseller, for sure! 

· The Harvest Necklace here -- available in lots of colors with a wonderful reminder that the work you're doing will one day product fruit; keep planting seeds in your child's life!

· The Enduring Necklace here-- especially wonderful for mothers parenting a child with special needs 

For Spiritual Growth as you Mother:

· A Promise Pack here -- perfect for putting up all around the house to keep your eyes on truth even when you feel too busy to spend a long time in the Bible

· The Servant Necklace here-- a reminder to serve your children, through the power of Jesus

· A 2 Cor 12:9 Art Print here -- because God is greatest when are weak and in need of Him for energy, wisdom, and joy. 

To Gift to Another as a "Thank You" for being the mother they are

· Here's a blog post I wrote that highlights a lot of pieces you can use to say "thank you". I think you'll find a lot of good options here! 


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Easter Basket Ideas (that focus on Jesus)

While there is nothing inherently wrong with candy or bunnies, Easter is about abundantly more than what our culture has made it. 

If you're set on creating an Easter basket for your child, here are some ideas that can keep the focus on Jesus and spur on sweet, Gospel conversation!

1. Resurrection Eggs-- My boys can't wait to break these out every year. We usually start them 12 days before Easter (one egg per day), but if you don't have a set they'd be a wonderful thing to include in a basket this year to talk about all morning long.  

2. The Child Pack-- If your kids don't have Bible verse cards, this is the sweetest beginner pack made just for them. As soon as children can talk, they can memorize verses and these are perfect ones to begin with. Plus, they're adorable (if I do say so myself!). We have a few hanging in our boy's rooms :) 

3. A Cuddle + Kind Doll-- Every purchase provides 10+ meals to children in need. This could open up a conversation about how we use our blessings to serve others, or to prompt prayer for those who have less than you do. 

4. A Garden Tools Set-- Perhaps with some seeds, too. As you plant, you can talk about how God brings life, created all things, faithfully grows us, etc. 

5. A book like this one or this one-- Snuggle up and read about Jesus together, or even consider reading one of these around the lunch table with family & friends! 

6. A Jesus-Focused Activity Book-- Maybe with some new crayons, too.

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We moved into our house over the Summer so this is the first Christmas we're spending here. That always feels a little extra magical doesn't it? 

I promised you all a house tour months ago (whoops!) so I thought a little Christmas edition would be fun until I get around to a room-by-room post. Enjoy!

1. This fireplace is in the space we've turned into the dining room. We painted the brick and have plans to tile inside the no-longer-working fireplace space (and instead put a fireplace outside!) For now, the brass gate is up so that a certain toddler does not walk around soot-covered all day ;) 

I leave the "Give Thanks" banner up all November & December because it feels extra applicable around Christmas time. 

My favorite part is the The Little People nativity set in the corner. Mostly, my kids have fun throwing the people across the floor (#boys), but it also sparks sweet conversation. 

Mirror- Anthropologie (snagged on a big sale)

Small Trees & Give Thanks Banner- Target

White Bunting- Joann's Fabrics (I just snipped a few yards from a spool)

Brass Candle Sticks- Antique

Bigger Trees & Wreath & Basket- TJ Maxx


2. I found this dresser on Craigslist a few years ago and have loved moving it around from house to house. Right now, it's tucked into our kitchen and holds things like cloth napkins and table runners. 

The basket is for our mail and the large piece of art was a gift from my Dad a few years ago. It makes me think of him all the time :) 

I love layering in holiday pieces here for a little whimsy and fun. 

Abstract Art- One King's Lane

Born is the King Art- Salt Stains (she custom made this for me)

Nativity Art- Rifle Paper Co (I just framed a card)

Basket- Old

Wooden Tree & Lamp- Target 


3. I talked all about this book on this blog post & in my Instagram Stories (I saved them to my highlights-- "advent"), but this is where it will stay all month long. I leave this tray out on my kitchen counter as a constant call back towards God's word when I have a free minute. Having it right in front of my eyes has helped me keep my focus on Christ instead of social media.

Candle & Tree- Target

Tray- garage sale

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus- I'm so excited to begin this! 

Bible- I think mine is out of print, but this is a very similar option. 


4. Last year, we decided not to hang ornaments that didn't point our eyes back to Jesus. Of course, you can make so many things work (the rhino above... creation!), but it has been the sweetest way to turn our attention from a cultural Christmas to a Jesus-centered one. The boys love seeing their "first Christmas" photo ornament and talking about how Jesus came as a baby boy, too. 


5. This is the advent calendar I talked about on this blog post & in my Instagram Stories (I saved them to my highlights-- "advent"). It hangs in our dining room, where our Christmas tree is. Every morning, we'll pull out the ornament, read the corresponding verse, and hang it on the tree. I love how our tree displays the whole gospel story, from Genesis to Jesus, on Christmas morning. 


6. Our boys each have a touch of Christmas decor in their rooms, too. This banner is soft and perfect for little hands (we're getting really good at finding all the letters in "Merry Christmas"). 

And yes, that's the giant bear from Costco. My dad got it for Brooks three years ago and it is still a most-beloved item. 

Banner- TJ Maxx

Bed- Ikea

Sheets- Target


7. Another little peek at Brooks' room. Growing up, we always had a small tree of our choice as a night-light to use all season; I love passing down this tradition. It's the only colored-lights tree in the house and I have to admit, it's my favorite. 


8. We kept our kitchen pretty simple (although the two big windows are begging for some pine garland above them!)-- for now, just a wreath by the stove and a cozy cookbook in the basket is perfect. 

Basket- Target

Cutting Boards- Anthropologie clearance

Wreath- TJ Maxx

Book- The Year of Cozy 


9. This is my office & also our family library. It's my favorite room in the house, no surprise :) The chair is worn and faded so I just threw a king-sized coverlet on it and called it a day.

The art prints are so inspiring to me, four very different women all in conversation with one another. I often use it as a muse when I create new lines, picturing you all and your stories. 

Light- Pottery Barn 

Coverlet- I can't remember but here and here are similar

Pillow Cover- Etsy, shop no longer open 

Art- Elizabeth Mayville 


10. This is a cozy little spot in our living room. A flocked tree (from Goodwill!), a winter edition of The Magnolia Journal, and an extra blanket or two make a perfectly decorated space. 

We recently hung the gallery wall and, of course, I just want to stare at it all day long. My three men have my heart. xx

Frames- Ikea

Couch- Sprintz

Wire Basket & Tree- Goodwill 

Candle- Anthropologie 

Table- Overstock or Wayfair, I can't find a link. Sorry!


11. Here's a pulled back view of our living room. We added the walls to make the library on the end (it used to be one really long room) and use this space all day long, for reading and small groups and running in circles. The book basket on the table holds seasonal books, and my boys love to sit there and look through the new ones I put out. (Well, my 4 year old does. My 1 year old just likes to try to jump from the table to the couches...)

A bigger coffee table, piano, and maybe a layered rug are in the plans for one day, but I think there is such value in living in a space before you begin to add in/change too many things. 

Couch- Sprintz

Rug- Rugs USA

Table- Vintage

Art- DIY by me

Leather Chair- Vintage, from Robert's grandpa! 

Office Chair- World Market


As you can see, we love decorating with simple things (lights & trees mostly) that make us think of the Creator & Light of the World. Merry Christmas season, sisters. xx

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As soon as Adam and Eve rebelled and sin separated man from God, God began instilling hope in His people through the promise of a redeemer. The Old Testament is one giant, exciting story of God's rescue plan. And, of course, at Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of what He promised—that He would provide a way for us to be near to Him once again, despite our sin and brokenness.

The season leading up to Christmas is called advent, meaning coming. It begins four Sundays before December 25-- December 2nd this year-- and allows us to build anticipation for who is coming. For four weeks, it’s as if we’re re-enacting, remembering the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus. 

It is also a time for us to remember that we are still awaiting the second advent of Christ, when He comes again to bring us home and restore the world (John 14:2-3).

If you didn't grow up participating in advent, don't worry. I didn't either! We can learn and savor together :) There are many ways to celebrate the season, depending on tradition, background, family size, etc

· Many of you have seen or uses an advent calendar, typically made up of 24 spots containing verses, pictures, candy, etc to count down the days until Christmas. As each window is opened and the final day draws closer, our expectation increases. This reminds us of the hopeful yet anxious waiting God’s people experienced as they longed for the promised Savior to come.

In our family, we have little felt pieces that represent part of the Christian Story tucked into each slot as well as a corresponding Bible verse. We read & talk each morning and then hang our ornament on the tree. It's really beautiful to see the whole story represented there on Christmas morning. (The felt pieces go with this book but we don't use it yet-- a little over my boy's heads).

We also have this and love it, especially for littles ones who are just starting to understand the concept of Christmas. This is also a favorite around here during the month of December to simply start the conversation. It doesn't have to be fancy or complicated!

· Another tradition is using an advent "wreath" made up of four or five candles (or just candles on a tray); it focuses on the idea of Jesus Christ being the Light of the World. Each Sunday, a new candle is lit in anticipation of Christmas Eve with the idea of ever-increasing light penetrating the darkness. 

Our family doesn't do this because #toddlersandfire, but I do love the idea of ever-increasing lights as Christmas day approaches! Lighting a candle and reading a family devotion together every Sunday evening is a wonderful & completely doable idea. 

·There are many advent devotion guides and reading plans to center you each day or each week. Here are some of my favorites: 

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus-- I just bought this and really like the setup; a devotion that can be read as a family each Sunday, a short devotion to read M-F, and then a small activity to do on Saturday that focuses on the week's theme. I can't wait to begin!

Join the Advent Chorus -- a free daily e-mail from the Revive Our Hearts team. There's also a matching book, but I don't think it's necessary if you don't want to buy something. 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus-- a book to read all month long; I did this last year and was so blessed.

Solid Joys Podcast-- a quick podcast to turn on while you're cooking, full of advent wisdom and truth from John Piper and the Desiring God team.

Treasuring God in Our Traditions-- it's not an advent book, per se, but it's full of ways to keep each holiday gospel-focused including sweet ideas for Christmas.

Prepare Him Room-- another family devotion to do all month long; I haven't done this one but have heard good things

Come Let Us Adore Him-- an advent devotion from Paul Tripp; this would be a great one for men/husband's to read and lead with!

Daily Advent Jesus Storybook Bible-- This is a free resource with an outline of how to use The Jesus Storybook Bible during each day of advent. Perfect for families!

Kids Books:

The Littlest Watchman - My 4 year old loves this story 

The Christmas Promise - Another great one for kids


No matter what you choose to do, remember that it's not about what you're doing. It's about why you're doing it! Engage your heart, slow down, focus on Jesus first before decorations and gifts and cookies. After all, HE is the good gift. 

I'm going to talk more about advent over on my Instagram Stories. I'll save them to my highlights so check them out here

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