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Dear Mushka,

Q&A with Katie on Motherhood

Join me for a virtual coffee date as we chat about motherhood, finding balance and glorifying God! Watch the live chat here on the Dear Mushka Instagram stories.

Q: How do you balance time reading with the craziness of life?

A: My goal is to read an hour a day outside of Bible reading. Fulfilling this goal sometimes means missing out on a TV show in the evening, but it’s worth it!

Q: What is the importance of following Jesus as a mother and wife?

A: To be honest, I don’t know how women are wives and mothers without Jesus. Every day I find myself praying for strength and wisdom, praising God that my sins of anger and impatience are forgiven. Keeping my eyes on Jesus is a constant reminder to offer my children lasting hope instead of worldly hope. 

Q: Share tips on balancing and maintaining energy for marriage, motherhood and work

A: I think that sometimes we try to get more done in our day than God wants us to have done. It’s important to fuel and care for our bodies - getting enough sleep and eating properly. If God has called us to do something, let’s make sure we’re fueling ourselves. Also, are we taking the time to pray? Don’t rely on your own strength!

Q: What’s your favorite podcast?

A: I have almost zero time right now to listen to podcasts. There are so many awesome ones, but Young House Love’s podcast is my favorite at the moment. I’ve followed their family for years and I really enjoy listening to it. In other less busy seasons of my life, I’ve preferred more serious podcasts.

Q: Talk to us about self care as Christians.

A: The topic of self care comes up a lot. Ultimately my answer is that we need to remember that we were ‘bought with a price’, 1 Corinthians 6:20. Our bodies are not our own; our goal is to glorify God with our bodies, to honor Him and serve His kingdom. 

If you’re coming out of a trauma situation, then the goal needs to be to get healthy, to heal, to go to counselling, to put in the work to recover in that area.

Self care in day to day life circles back to the question on maintaining energy as we go about our lives. We need to fuel and care for our bodies so that we have the energy and strength to do His work and to glorify Him in all that we do.

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Q&A: A Few of Katie's Favorite Things

I’m answering some of your frequently asked questions from where I got my nose ring to a list of my favorite books! I’ve added plenty of links for you to find everything you’re looking for

Which Bible do you use? 

I use the ESV Reformation Study Bible, Condensed Edition. Find it here! I’ve used it for over 10 years. There is another great version here called the ESV Study Bible.

Where did you get your nose ring? 

I first ordered a sample pack from here and once I knew my size, asked her to make me a 7mm one!

Where did you get your white chair cover?

My quiet time chair is covered with a king-sized Swiss Dot coverlet. You could find one at https://www.countrydoor.com/ or just google ‘swiss dot coverlet’ for other options.

Where did you get the art on the wall behind your chair? 

It’s from an artist named Elizabeth Mayville. I purchased the art from Etsy here although you may be able to find it in other places. I chose four of her bun prints. I loved that the girls are all kind of different and arranged them to be looking at each other as though they’re having a conversation. They’ve been really inspirational to me. 

Where is your Apple Watch band from? 

It’s currently unavailable, but this one here is pretty close. Less than $15!

How do I change my order, billing or address when shopping at Dear Mushka? 

I don’t handle any customer service, but you’re welcome to email hello@dearmushka.com and somebody will get back to you soon!

Can I leave a note for someone on my order? 

Yes! Write it in the box on the View Cart screen and we’ll add it to a cute card. A more proper note box is on our to-do list!

For more about my garden, watch this highlight or follow my personal Instagram @dearmushkaroots.

For anyone interested in our home decor, watch these home tour highlights here and here.

For our adoption story, watch this highlight. We’ve adopted three times domestically.

For those interested in what I’m reading, head on over to my Amazon page. You’ll find my favorite books on motherhood, racial reconciliation and lots more. Continue reading
Answering Your Questions on Business, Marriage and Discipleship

Our kids are watching a show in the kitchen while we do another round of Q&A! I’m Katie, the founder of Dear Mushka and my husband Robert helps me run the company. This month we're discussing all things business, marriage and discipleship. 

Q: What were your jobs pre-Dear Mushka and what was it like to make the jump to being full time in your business?

A: I was a psychology major. I knew I wanted to be married and home with my kids, so I never went beyond my bachelor's degree. I worked at various doctor’s offices until one day I just decided to stop and start Dear Mushka. At the time, Robert was working at Home Depot, so it wasn’t the best financial timing, but God provided! 

Robert was an IT project manager. It took him nearly a year to feel ready to go full time. He wanted it to feel as much like a guarantee as possible. Adjusting to being his own boss was a challenge initially, but now he’s into it! He loves being home, working with me and supporting Dear Mushka. 

Q: Katie, how do you balance work, free time and motherhood?

A: It’s helpful to have a list of priorities. For me to be the best mom, wife and business owner, I need two things: I need time with the Lord in the morning and I need to exercise. I try to make those things happen and then the rest falls in line. 

I work on Mondays and while my boys are napping. Reading and gardening are my favorite hobbies. I do those with the boys around or in the evenings. 

Some days or even seasons are better than others. When my boys were newborns, I didn’t wake up early to be with the Lord or exercise. We survived!

Q: One tip for a newlywed?

A: I was so lonely the first year of our marriage. I gave Robert so much of my time and energy, I didn’t leave room for female friendships. I’d recommend still prioritizing time for yourself and the things you did before you got married.

We both agree that it’s wise to establish new routines and boundaries as a married couple. I swung too far and neglected what made me a healthy wife and person. Communicate and be willing to reevaluate.

Q: How do you like your spouse when they’re unlikeable?

A: Don’t make the foundation of a marriage whether your spouse is likeable or not. The foundation of your marriage is based on deep and abiding love. We can both be pills to live with, but we said vows. Remember that you weren’t likeable when Christ saved you. Use the same eyes to see your spouse. You love them with the eyes of our Lord rather than whether or not they’re meeting your particular needs in that moment.

Q: How did you meet and what were you originally attracted to in each other?

A: We met in college at MTSU. I ‘entrapped’ him to make an ex-boyfriend jealous! Oh, to be 19 again! 

Originally, and still today, I was attracted to Robert because he’s fiery! He was flirty which I didn’t like, but I knew underneath that he was passionate and willing to fight for what he wanted and believed in. I rarely know exactly what I want or think, but Robert always knows. I need that! He’s so intelligent and funny. 

Robert was attracted to my independence and confidence. I didn’t play any of the flirty mind games he was used to with girls. This initially frustrated him, but ultimately encouraged his interest in me. 

I’m so grateful the Lord went before us in the marriage. We were so young and immature.

Q: What are your love languages?

A: We’re so opposite! Robert loves words of affirmation. He can’t get enough of them. I’ve had to learn a lot about this as I don’t need this at all. I pray weekly that God would give me words to heap on Robert! Remember that God is for our marriages. Pray to Him to cover your weaknesses.

I’m a mixture of quality time, acts of service and gifts. Robert likes to spend a zillion dollars on me, but I prefer small, meaningful gifts. Really, I just want to feel known and seen. He’s been making the bed for me, and I feel so loved! 

Q: How do you think and process?

A: Robert never stops thinking. He thinks about everything all the time. 

I’m the opposite! I’m a verbal processor. Something I said at the beginning of a conversation isn’t necessarily what I’ll mean at the end. I don’t process for long and make decisions quickly. 

Q: How do you serve the local church?

A: We’re both on the prayer team. Robert prays at church with people in person and I pray at home over any requests that come in. He’s also a group coach guiding group leaders. Unofficially we’ve started having our church’s residents over on Thursdays to eat dinner and talk. We love it! 

And of course we tithe. That’s part of serving your local church!

Q: What are your favorite date night activities?

A: Robert loves Bonefish Grill or J. Alexander’s! He doesn’t like surprises or unexpected results. He wants to know the food will be great and we can relax and enjoy the evening. 

I love doing something new and fun! We’re really different y’all! We probably do one proper date night a month. It’s usually dinner and walking around a store. Just being somewhere calm is so refreshing. 

We try to do two date weekends away a year. We stay in a hotel locally and that’s when we usually eat at a new restaurant or have an adventure. I’ve learned to try out new experiences with friends and then invite Robert along once I know what to expect. 

Q: Is it normal to feel scared about getting married?

A: Yes! It would be naive not to be afraid to some extent. Marriage is a major life change! It’s hard and it takes a lot of effort. Recognizing the weight of marriage before you enter into it is wise. Feeling extreme anxiety or discomfort though could be the prompting of the Holy Spirit to re-examine your decision. 

Q: Do you have divisions of family labor between husband and wife?

A: Robert is the spider killer and trash remover! 

We came into our marriage assuming our spouse would do what we saw our parents do. This is another conversation you should have before you get married! My dad did so many of the household chores, I expected Robert to do more than he did. We’ve learned to communicate and adapt for what we need in different seasons. Mostly I handle the daily chores and errands and Robert does big or long term tasks like insurance and taxes. I gladly choose sweeping over taxes. 

Q: How do you manage when one person needs more (like in sickness)?

A: Robert has had a few knee surgeries that required me to do more and I’ve had kidney stones. If your spouse needs more, you try to give more. Marriage is not primarily about you and what you get, it’s about reflecting the way that Christ loves and serves the Church. It’s for our companionship and sanctification and for our joy. The more you serve, the more joy you’ll have. 

Currently, the last few weeks have been hard for me. Robert has been good at giving me support. He’ll do bedtime with the boys so I can grab coffee with a friend or walk around a bookstore alone. This has been so life-giving for me! 

The Holy Spirit can give us strength and power to love our people beyond what we feel capable of.

Q: Do you play with your kids or let them play independently?

A: Both! Robert wrestles and kicks around the soccer ball with them. 

A dear friend once told me, “It’s your job to be your child’s mother, not playmate.” I found this freeing. I don’t frequently play around on the ground with our little ones. I read or do puzzles with them. I also encourage them to play together independently.

Q: What should male leadership in the home look like?

A: The apostle Paul tells husbands that they are the head of the family as Christ is the head of the Church. The model is based on sacrificial love, not overbearing patriarchy. Christ died for the Church. He laid aside his rights, powers and privileges. Follow His example in the leadership of your family. Be the first to repent, apologize and seek reconciliation. Biblical male leadership isn’t a dictatorship. Demanding certain actions isn’t Biblical leadership. Robert is great at this (all glory to God). I’m able to thrive because he creates an atmosphere for us to flourish in. 

Robert describes male leadership as being like a snow plough. You’re clearing the way for your family’s journey, making it easier, safer and guided. This doesn’t mean Robert is always the first to pray or initiate conversations about God. But he’s created a place where it’s safe for me to do so.

We love answering these questions each month and getting to know you all better! Follow us on Instagram to watch our daily stories for more. 

For adoption questions, see my adoption highlight here! It has tons of info!

For parenting with natural consequences, see my discipline highlight. You can also read my blog on my Go-To Parenting Books

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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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