Building Your Home

Right up there with coffee, chocolate, and new baby smell is the scent of freshly cut wood as my favorite. I just love walking into new construction or a project, seeing what isn’t yet complete, but imagining the finished work.

Proverbs 14:1 says,

Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

My house, my home and family, is my domain, my place of influence from where all else flows. Even though I desire to be wise in the building, many times I find myself tearing it down brick by painful brick.

How do I, desiring to be that woman of wisdom, build my house?

I build when I take time to spend with the Lord in worship and prayer. I read His word and study it for living a life out of a security that rests in His unfailing love for me. This is my FOUNDATION for all else.

I build when I set boundaries and make margin in my life, taking the time I need with my husband and family. I use this margin to rest and focus on the most important things in my life. These are my WALLS that protect me from burning out and turning into a stressed out nightmare for my family. This keeps a peaceful tone in my home.

I build when I make the effort in relationships with other women, allowing myself to be real and vulnerable. These are the WINDOWS that allow others to see me and keeps me from feeling isolated and alone in my motherhood journey.

I build when I receive counsel, letting people into our lives, letting go of misconceived ideals of perfection. I build when I get rid of negative influences that harm my family. These are the DOORS to my life, doors that open my family up to good things and doors that close, protecting us when necessary.

I build when I cry out to God in prayer, praising Him, and entering into thanksgiving for all I have. This is my ROOF, my covering, my atmosphere changer. It keeps me from complaining, comparing, and despairing. It opens up my life to the power of God and an atmosphere of joy and gratefulness in my home and family.

I build when I invest my time in things that matter, when I am present with my family. I am truly listening and seeing the heart needs of my husband and children, loving them the way I want because I have built my house on the correct foundation. I build when I teach them to be present in things that really matter as well, taking the atmosphere in our home to the world outside us. This is the INSIDE of my house, the features and beautiful touches I build into our lives for my family, treasuring them and my calling as a wife and mother for all that it is.


longing for Paris

Our book club started the book, Longing for Paris this past September. Little did we know that our last meeting, planned out with a French inspired dinner, was to fall exactly one week after Paris was attacked by terrorism. It was definitely with a different feel that we met and prayed for peace and protection for our world.

The book challenged us to yes, follow the dreams that God has placed in our hearts, but to find “Paris” in our everyday lives, as wives, moms, teachers, friend….whatever roll we may find ourselves in. To be present in the moment and see and feel and experience the love and beauty around us, yet knowing that the desire for something greater is God given. Because of the hope we have in Christ, we know there is more than just this life. So, as I stood in front of my stove cooking for that night, I had feelings of gratitude. Because even as the beautiful city that inspires so many was still reeling from violence and grieving it’s loss, my family was safe. This violence had not touched our lives. My dear friends were on their way over to spend an evening with me, laughing and crying, sharing our hearts over this meal.

Coming into Thanksgiving, I can find the wonder in two lost teeth in one week, or a day spent with Nana cooking for the big meal. We can’t know what is coming, but for now, the piles of laundry, the legos all over the floor, the sleeping teenagers in their beds…this is all a wonderful thing, because it means we have life here, we are together. And for that, I am so thankful. ~Claire

Sometimes I have hard days where I want to run away. I hate those stories where the mother abandons her family. I could never do that, but sometimes I flirt with the what if questions found in that idea. Author Sarah Mae’s dream is to sneak away to visit Paris. Maybe with her family, maybe not. It depends on the day. My longings aren’t usually for a place but rather for a season of life.

I long for the day my family can go on short term missions trips together or travel the country and pray for people to be set free, anything where my kids can learn about the power of God by experiencing it first hand.

I always thought that would happen when we no longer had preschoolers or babies in the home. My big kids were past that age and it still didn’t seem like it could happen. Then my little ones came along. Now that dream seems even further off in the future.

Longing for Paris challenges me to really live life to the fullest in each season I am in, even if I can’t pick up and go to the place or time in my life that I desire most. I can make beauty, find joy, and decide to thrive right where I am.

What does this look like for me? That’s the question I’ve been asking while reading the book. Sarah Mae tells of how she and her family regularly partake in little tastes of her desires until she can one day physically go to Paris. I can read stories of God’s faithfulness to my kids, expose them to testimonies of miracles and heroes of the faith, help them understand and memorize Bible verses that may later become life verses to lead them, take them to services where the Holy Spirit is moving in power, etc. I want them to share my desire to see God move in power through them and through us as a family. In working on this list, I think I’ll find that much of my dream is becoming a reality right before my eyes! ~Angela


As I began reading, Longing For Paris, I thought to myself…I don’t have a desire to do something grande like moving to Paris, I wonder if this book will speak to me. The further I read Sarah Mae’s thoughts, the more I realized that our “longings” don’t have to be grande. Her writing encouraged us to be more intentional in our daily life. To look for the joy and beauty around us. For me, it became about reframing the every day. I’ve been trying to start the day with the thought of positive possibilities instead of thinking of the long to do list. The list still gets done (hopefully) but I try not to dwell on the negatives surrounding it. Emphasis on…try. We are all works in progress, right?
Taking time through the day to be thankful…even a ” thank you, Jesus” as I do the laundry or make lunch…seemed to lighten the weight of that long list.

I wondered more about my longings. Was there a dream God placed in my heart? To be honest, I’m still figuring that out. What I do know is that as I allow Him to guide me, true longings or desires of my heart are becoming more clear to me. I’m enjoying the right now and becoming excited for the possibilities and hopes of the later on.  ~Mary


Longing for Paris affirmed the verse “without vision, the people perish.”  It was an easy read, which flowed with stories and humor, and devotions at the end of each chapter. Enjoyably, the book created an excitement about Paris, or any historic destination.  The anticipation of a vision or goal helps to live focused and goal oriented. Living intentional is both biblical and motivating. Thank God for His vision and goals, laid out in His Word, that call us to live focused and make life an adventure!   ~Ginger


While reading Longing for Paris (ashamedly I have to admit that I have not completed the book, but please do not tell my fellow book club mamas, I fear I might get the boot!) so far there are a few things that I have really been mulling over. By nature I am a doer and I find it difficult to be still, let alone meditate. Sarah Mae encourages the biblical practice of meditation. Meditating to seek the face of God, to immerse yourself in his presence. In my current season of little children and all the many tasks they bring with them, I long desperately to be in God’s presence. I want to just be with him, to rest and rejuvenate in his glory and to feel fully alive in the midst of the one true God. I know in my heart of hearts that this is what God longs for too, because my worshipful meditation will shape me into a better wife, mother, friend and human. In reading this book I have a better handle of what my quiet time with God can look like as a mother of young children. I am praying that I can consistently adopt these practical tips into my daily longing to seek the Kingdom of God first.   ~Deborah

4 a.m. Hope


It is 4 a.m. and I am awake. Is it normal for a mom to be up at 4 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving?  I am praying. Praying for my friend who graduated her daughter to heaven in February.  These will be hard days  and difficult months for her.  I am praying for my friend diagnosed with breast cancer in May.  She is bald, yellow (chemo) and a little burnt (radiation.)  Do they have hope?  I am also thinking of my “to do” list. Can I get it all done?  Is there enough time in the day?

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57

Here is a new life verse.  God is an ever present help in trouble, and His word sustains us.  He has the victory in the face of hopelessness, despite abuse, with regard to cancer, and in the midst of brokenness.  We have hope because HE IS HOPE!  His death and resurrection have made it possible to THRIVE, despite circumstances.

This has been a rough year.  There have been several family members who have graduated to heaven, family members experiencing the sudden loss of a job, and more negative reports from doctors than I can describe.  It seems like the holidays can make us extra sad since we miss those family members and long to be with them.  But despite the sadness, we have hope.  We CHOOSE hope because we have faith.  Will you choose faith today?  If, suddenly, your world is turned upside down by illness, fear, doubt, or pain…will you choose faith?  Will you choose hope?  We can only choose hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, even at 4 a.m.  Thanks be to God!!