Choose Joyful Living Today//Free Printable

Writing in this little corner of the internet has its ebbs and flows for me. It often depends what season of life I am in. Am I working part time with a newborn? Am I a new stay at home mom with a two year old and a newborn? Am I preparing to move to Uganda? If the answer was yes, then this space probably had some neglecting.

Now that we are settling in here in our new home in Tororo, Uganda, I’m feeling the draw to creativity. The draw to invest more time in this little space. To care for something that has been a bit neglected. To connect more with any readers I have and work to put out quality content to encourage and inspire. To continue counting my gifts and working on intentional, joyful living. This space has provided me a way to do all that! A way to connect with others and process my own thoughts and feelings. A way to find encouragement and inspiration in joyful every day living and encourage others to do the same.


So today I count my  gifts once again, and to brighten your day, I leave you with a gift of my own. Enjoy a free printable from me to you-I know I always love a good printable!  The wreath is thanks to a free wreath graphic from You all should go check it out if you want to find great free graphics to design your own printable!


Grace//Popcorn//Girls in bathtub and Gracie brushing Lillie’s hair//Enoch//Toothy grins//Mischevious smiles//Hot shower//Coffee//Hugs//Little hands touching my face//At home date nights//New recipes//New friends


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Print your 8×8 JoyfulPrintable and live joyfully TODAY!


Liebster Award 2015 // A View Into Oh Tiny Gifts

All these years of blogging (ok, like three) and I have won something ya’ll! Well kind of…I was nominated by the sweet Jen Weaver for a Liebster award (Liebster is the German word for sweetheart). It’s a way for small bloggers to encourage community and promote other bloggers by “nominating” each other. No money or trophies needed. Thanks for the nomination Jen-you should all go check her out!


So here I get to answer some questions that, Jen has given me, and then pay it forward and nominate a few other wonderful blogs with some questions for them to answer and for you to read.

1. Why did you start blogging? The very idea of blogging made me nervous at first. What would people think when I opened up my thoughts to the wide,unknown world of the internet? I envisioned thousands of people being able to read my thoughts and it made me nervous. But there were so many people I admired that had wonderful blogs-witty, insightful, inspiring. Basically I wanted to be one of the cool kids. I dabbled in a few posts and hit publish.  The big ol’ internet universe seemed vastly smaller. I looked to see how many had read my post…0. So I decided this wasn’t going to be so much about how many followers I had. I had to write about something that I cared about, something that I was going to keep doing even if no one was reading. I’ve always loved to write and felt it was something I was decent at, but there had to be a draw that was going to keep me coming back. So I started counting my gifts. It was shortly after Gracie was born and our church was working through Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts. We were challenged to keep a gift list. I figured that if I kept my gift list on the internet and shared it with others, it would give me some sort of accountability. A few years later and I can say I have FINALLY logged my 1000, even though there are countless gifts I haven’t written down. I continue to blog with a few loyal followers and unscramble my thoughts-mostly about life, motherhood, and Jesus with a little bit of this and that thrown in.


A picture from one of my first blog posts…look at little Gracie and those BIG arm rolls!

2. What book are you reading (or wish you were reading) right now? Have ya’ll (I only ever say ya’ll on the internet, it just works!) ever heard of Book Bub? We have a kindle and it has been one of the best things we brought along to Uganda. It’s a little hard to pack a suitcase full of books, but so easy to pack a Kindle and load thousands of books on it. Book Bub shoots me a daily e-mail with kindle books that are on sale or free. Whenever I see a free one that looks interesting, I just load it on! Some recent books that I have read and loved both on and off the kindle, would have to be Make it Happen, Bread and Wine, and then a whole slew of 19th century christian fiction books with a western theme or Amish related fiction…I’m not going to apologize for those, they were free, but they were (mostly) good!

3. Who has been the biggest influence in your life? I would have to say my Mom, especially in my  spiritual journey. Whenever I think back to when I was little, whether it was dealing with my many childhood fears, learning Amazing Grace, or praying for others at bedtime, I see my mom right beside me. She has helped mold the values I hold dear and has been a strong spiritual presence in my life growing up.


A pic from this Easter, half in and half out of our Sunday best…it was a bit chilly!

4. If you could have dinner with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why? So this question was the hardest for me. I’m an introvert, so I think I would just be cool with having a few of my best friends or family members over to dinner. How about my husband and a couple good friends. Grandma and grandpa babysit the kids and we have a nice relaxing dinner, chatting, laughing, being all comfortable with one another. Sounds pretty good to me!

5. Baking or cooking? Baking. All the way baking. Baking is usually a little more forgiving for me since it involves sugar, chocolate or something else sweet. I can be a little off and it usually still turns out edible! I’m actually getting better at both since I’m doing more cooking and trying new recipes since moving to Uganda, but baking is kind of my thang. My husband would probably say I’m better at baking too…as long as I don’t make the healthy substitutes and ensure that I actually measure everything out correctly!

7. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? I think I’m doing it! The job of being a mom, being able to stay home with my kids. Serving the Lord here at home and also here in Africa. A job that is hard, but can also make a difference. My small (very small) business is a dream job for me as well. I’m learning as I go and want to grow, so I would love to see continued growth in that realm. I love being creative, being with my family, and mostly arranging my own schedule, so this it it folks!


The girls who gave me the profession I’ve always wanted and can’t imagine life without

8. What’s something you’re super excited about? We recently made the move to Uganda for a three year mission term, so that in itself is pretty exciting-and hard, but also exciting. I am pretty excited that Dustin’s sister, Jia,  will be joining us here in Uganda for a year this August. We love Tia Jia and are so happy that she will get to have this amazing experience and spend more time with us!

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Here’s our Tia Jia!

9. Current favorite song? It’s going to be one you guys never saw coming, you ready? I’m gonna hit you with some  T-Swift. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift has been pretty popular in our household for awhile now. I think the reason I love it so much is because the whole family (yup, Dustin included) kind of goes crazy and we dance around in an absolutely ridiculous way. Thanks Tay, Tay!

10. What season is your favorite and why? Spring. At least Spring in Ohio that is. Sadly, there isn’t really a thing called Spring here in Uganda. While in some ways that’s nice because that means it never actually got cold, Spring in Ohio is a like a breath of fresh air for my soul! Dustin will tell you it’s kind of ridiculous how much I love Spring. Something deep down inside of me lights up at the thought of the beginning of flower buds, green grass, warm breezes and budding trees. New life is abundant and it is so good! Also, my birthday is in Spring. Case closed.

11. What is one thing you would you tell your 16-year-old self? Don’t worry about what everyone is thinking. I’m still telling my 27 year old self that! I’m a people pleaser through and through. I want you to like me. I don’t want to run into any conflict with you and I want us to agree on everything. Yup, people pleaser. I still have to remind myself that I’m not working to please all you people out there (sorry) but working to please the Lord. If I’m doing what is right and good in His eyes, then it doesn’t matter what you all think (sorry again). So 16-year old self, stop worrying what others think about you. Go do the thing you know is right. Go do the thing you want to do even if you might embarrass yourself or look ridiculous. Help the people you think you should help, because you will only regret not helping them. 27-year old self-go do these things too!

And now the moment you all have been waiting for…my nominations!,

Check them out and follow them, you won’t be disappointed! Here are your questions ladies!

1. Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging?

2. What gets you fired up? What are you passionate about?

3. What is your dream vacation?

4. Favorite book of the Bible or Bible verse?

5. Favorite family tradition?

6. Best piece of life advice you’ve ever been given?

7. What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

8.Favorite meal to cook (or order if that’s your thing!) ? Feel free to leave the recipe for me… 😉

9. Current favorite song?

10. What are you reading or wish you were reading currently?

11. Favorite childhood memory?

Thanks for reading everyone! If you have any other random questions you’d like me to answer, feel free to leave them here. Happy Friday!


How to be a [More] Patient Mama

Some days I think I’m a patient person. Other days I grit my teeth and threaten consequences if she, aka daughter number one, aka, Gracie, makes one more peep.  I find myself wondering where the balance is. When do I begin to cross the line between firmness and boundaries and wind up in a place where I am constantly saying no and driven crazy trying to keep everything under control?


Control, that could be the problem right there. Let’s focus on that for a bit, because as you know by now, I’m working this all out as I go.

First off, I may have some control issues. When I think things should go a certain way, I generally like them to go that way. When things aren’t in my control this can lead to frustration or worry. Like when we have to hop on a plane. Lack of control (coupled with being really, really,REALLY high) leads to some worries- I’m working on it.

So the first step it seems would be putting the control in His, aka, the Almighty, aka, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior’s, hands. Handing hHm the reigns and giving Him my day sounds like a much better plan than going out on my own and fumbling through it with a growing lack of patience and an increasing amount of frustration.


Step two. Once I’ve given Him the reigns, now would be a good time to abide in Him. In a recent She Reads Truth devotional study on the fruits of the spirit, the writers noted that the fruits, like patience, are of the Spirit. They are not the fruits of Moriah, but of Christ. I don’t have to produce these fruits on my own. I only need to abide with Him and in Him.


Moving on to step three. In some attempts to abide more and start my day off on a positive life giving note, I have been trying to wake up early before the girls. This can be difficult. Sure I’m a morning person, but when I keep trying to wake up early and their wake up time keeps creeping up earlier and earlier, I find myself realizing that I’ll have to wake up at five AM if I want to get in any alone time! So I usually get up at six. I hopefully have a few minutes of quiet before I hear the words “mama” (totally precious and frustrating at the same time) being called from the bedroom. Some mornings they play quietly, Other mornings it’s disastrous and I have to close myself in the bathroom for five minutes to complete reading my devotions. And then there are days where the not really a morning person daddy, wakes up early, wrangles the girls, and let’s me have my alone time. Shout out to a great daddy and husband, woot, woot!


Step four. Try to let the small stuff go. Say a prayer, remind myself I’m not the controller of everything.Set healthy boundaries for the girls and teach them to be respectful, but let them be kids- and let myself enjoy them being kids.

Easier said and typed than done, but worth the effort. So today and tomorrow, and the next day, I’m going to work on it. I’m not going to be perfect. I’m going to be thankful for grace. I won’t be the most patient mama, but I’ll try to be a more patient mama.



Shine Bright//Preorder Available for Shirts

“Here is another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house, be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. ” Matthew 5:14-16 MSG


It shouldn’t be all about me. I’m not here to be my own light, shining brightly to bring more attention to myself. I’m here to shine bright and point others towards Christ. Sometimes this isn’t easy for me to distinguish. Is what I am doing pointing towards Christ, or am I doing this to bring myself the glory? It’s something I pray about, work towards, and often fail at. His grace is good though and His truth can be found in His word. When I’m not sure what to do next, His word has the answer, I just have to remember to open it up!

So this is where I start today. I will be more generous with my time. I will open my house up to new friends and neighbors. I will speak love to those around me. I will not keep hidden and I will shine as best I can to bring glory to God.

Through July 1st, Oh Tiny Gifts, Be the Light and Shine Bright shirts will be on preorder in the shop. Prices have been reduced, two colors are available, and more youth sizes! Follow me on instagram @shopohtinygifts to learn how to receive free shipping.





Sometimes it’s hard and it  takes a little extra work. but you can make worship happen wherever you are. Worship happens when your kids want to help do the laundry. When they make it take twice as long, use too much soap, and are soaking wet by the end.



Worship happens when everyone is tired. When you take a day of rest at home. When you listen to a sermon on the internet from across the world and your kids color and doodle, interrupt and walk around.



Worship happens in chalk drawings, at home school lessons, trips to the market, fellowship with new friends and every day circumstances if we let it. If we let our actions and our words speak grace and truth into our days, into our lives, and into the lives of those around-we worship.

His faithfulness is great and for this we worship.





Friendship//Honesty//Marriage partnership//Girls snuggling and playing tablet early in morning while I pray//Pool//Awkward stares at us while in pool//Mbale trip//Fresh bread//Homemade peanut butter//Skype with Gracie’s and Lillie’s cousins//Puppies nipping at Lillie’s legs//Walking to the pool//Hair played with by a girl at the pool//Potty training Stitch//Scribbles in my notebook//Eating gelato//Lillie saying “I-ceam!”//New friends//rice pudding//Early morning conversations with Gracie


Essential Oils in Africa//Tips for Summer Care

I recently held a Facebook class on using essential oils in the developing world. I tried to stock up on oils before we headed to Uganda, and while in all the hustle and bustle some of my oil routine has slipped aside, a lot of it has stayed and more has been added! I continue to use roller bottles on the girls every night and use a wellness blend (thieves, melaleuca, oregano, and lemon) a sleep blend (peace and calming and valor) on their feet and then cedarwood on their spine. I also now spray down the beds with water plus palo santo to ward off any bed bugs, and in the evening I use a diy mosquito repellent that is made up of purifcation, lemongrass, peppermint and lavender. While many of these uses arose because of an increased or changed need with our move to Uganda, I know there are many across the world that would find these tips helpful. Here I will share a few recipes that may be helpful as you dive into Summer, or in my case, get through the rainy season and into the dry season!

These are numbered as I used them for a class and if you want to view all of the slides, feel free to leave your e-mail and I will send them to you!

Here in Tororo, Uganda mosquitoes are plentiful. Malaria is also common, so mosquito repellent is a must! I also add lemongrass and lavender.



When you do get mosquito bites this Summer, which is bound to happen, applying essential oils directly to the site can be beneficial.


Living near the equator as a white girl means sunscreen is necessary.


I plan to mix up a bit of my own sunscreen blend as a spray to make it easier to apply for daily out and about activities.



The last things you want to be worrying about this summer are mosquito bites and sunburns as you spend your days outdoors. No matter where you are living, I hope you find these tips helpful. As always if you are interested in joining my team I would love to have you! By signing up under me you are also helping me continue to care for my family with essential oils as we serve our term in Uganda. Click here to sign up or send me an email at with any questions!