I hang my head in a bit of embarrassment for what I’m about to say … I’m not a big book reader.  I’m not sure when that happened and it isn’t something I’m happy about, but it is hard for me to sit down with a book and absorb it.  Er, actually, with novels, I absorb it TOO much … I don’t do novels because losing myself in a made-up life totally sucks me in … literally, I can never pull myself away and I get too consumed.  I’ll read a 400+ book in 2.5 days and the stew on the plot for a week or so afterward, often wanting to discuss the relationships or situations with Matt.  Who, of course, has no idea what I’m talking about.

I wish I could say that I love to read ‘better yourself books’ …. like the ones filled with insight and advice and encouragement but those do the opposite for me than novels … I have a hard time getting into them because the chapters that await stare at me like a long to-do list.  I truly wish I could dedicate a healthy, self-disciplined amount of time each day to enjoy a good book … how else will my boys be inspired to do so themselves?  But right now, other than the Bible, I just can’t seem to do it.  I’d genuinely like to be a consumer of fabulous books, but right now, I’ll stick with the blogs I love.

A daily dose of goodness for areas of my life that I genuinely need and appreciate guidance.  You know what they say about surrounding yourself with the people that guide you to be the person you know God wants you to grow to be?  That’s what it is like for me when I spend time in these blogs.  They nurture my soul, remind me that I’m not alone in my faith, homeschooling, parenting, fitness, etc, and take my mind and my hand in the direction I should be going in.  I love that.  I need that.



I used to follow all sorts of photography blogs.  Ones that shared tips and advice on shooting and others that filled their pages with client sessions.  Now that I’m not in that season anymore, I’ve narrowed down the blogs I follow (via Feedly) to those that speak directly to the season that I am in.  The season that, actually, I will be in for quite some time:  Christian, mother, homeschooling, wife, and lover of things that are simple and organized. :)  These blogs speak to that.

So I thought it would be fun to share the love in case you’re needing some daily fuel for your mind and heart.  <3

  1. Sacred Mundane …  Just what I need in order to aid me in seeing God’s blessings and lessons in nearly every experience we have as moms.  In the moments that are often considered challenging in their repetitiveness, mundaneness and seemingly insignificant.  Kari Patterson sees God’s guidance in every situation and in just reading her words, I’m learning to do the same.  And I am blessed to know Kari in person, and that makes her blog all the more wonderful because I know that she truly means and lives what she says.  She radiates the love of Jesus.
  2. Club 31 Women …  True, honestly shared thoughts and insight into Godly parenting and marriage.  Lisa Jacobson, the owner of this blog, is a homeschooling, country-living mama of 8 kiddos.  I’m grateful to get to learn from her wise counsel and all of the amazing contributing writers.
  3. The Better Mom … This blog is aptly named.  We all strive and long to be a better mom, right?  And while well-meaning people would say, “You’re doing just fine!” I know that I could always do better.  And this blog speaks to the heart of that in a loving, honest, helpful way.  But not in the ‘You need to do this’ critical way … in a ‘I know this is hard and let me share with you how I handle it’ way.
  4. The Busy Mom … Heidi St. John speaks the words that I need to hear, but often cringe at their truths.  I often read her posts and say, “YES!  Thank you! I’m so glad you said that to the world!” This seasoned homeschooling mama not only blogs about the zillions of nuggets of brilliance that I need as a relatively new homeschooling mama, but she also addresses the painful truths of living in a fallen world and what that means for how we are to live as Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christians.  This challenges me and fills my heart with even more hope in the Lord.  And who doesn’t need THAT??
  5. The Art of Simple …  I’ve read this blog for years and am so thankful for the ongoing encouragement it gives me to keep to the essentials in life and to avoid the physical (and therefore mental) clutter that so easily creeps into our lives.  That we LET into our lives.  I’ve also just started to enjoy the podcasts Tsh shares on her blog … there is just something about hearing the author’s voice that makes the message all the more clear and meaningful. :)
  6. Under the Sycamore … This blog makes me smile daily and feel joy for this life with boys that I get to live.   It is an ongoing story of devotion to family, the needs of others, hospitality, and faith … plus the balance of all of it.  And also a constant look into her amazing sense of style, home-decor, photography, and crafting.  And homeschooling.  This blog leaves me a teeny sad because I live several states away from her and after meeting Ashley last year at Click Away, I wish, in a totally non-stalker way, that I could hang out with her, and that my boys could hang out with her crew.
  7. Clean Mama …  You know how stepping into your best friend’s freshly cleaned house immediately encourages you to want to deep clean your own home?  Not out of jealously or competition, but simply because of how that cleanliness makes you feel?  It makes you just feel GOOD?  My best friend’s house does always do that for me, but so does this blog.  Right down to her color palette, fonts, and images… plus of course her guidance in keeping a clean home in a way that doesn’t take over your life.  Yes, please.
  8. Simple Homeschool …  I can always used guidance and inspiration when it comes to homeschooling!  Often considered a ‘lonely’ endeavor, homeschooling is one of those things that we feel like we are left to figure out on our own … but it doesn’t have to be that way!  That’s why I’m always happy to share about our experience and am MORE than happy to read about the experiences of others.  Both those who have just begun and those who have done it for years and have sent their children off to college.
  9. The MOB Society … Mamas of boys, unite!  Hah!  I was super excited to find this blog!  I feel like most days I have a pretty good handle on what makes my boys tick, but it is fun to read from other moms who are also raising sons.  I love that the goal of this blog is to help boy-moms to raise their boys to be Godly-men in a society that is pretty set on stifling that.   I’m passionate about that as well, so this blog speaks to my heart and once again, I’m grateful!
  10. Clare Smith“training body and soul for the race of life”.  That’s her blog’s tagline and sums up exactly why I have fallen for her blog!  She is a Christian mama who is passionate about fitness and THIS post of hers shares about exactly why that is.   I honestly just recently started reading Clare’s site and it shares the message I’ve been hoping to find somewhere online…. encouragement to glorify God in our fitness pursuits and why it is okay for us Christians to place priority on fitness and being healthy in a way that is not vain.  I NEED this guidance and am soaking in her posts while I’m having to take a break from any form of working out {thanks to my back}.

I will also say that if you are passionate about photography and learning how to use your camera to further your passion you definitely need to check out these two blogs:

  1. Clickin Moms
  2. Click It Up A Notch

That’s a long list!  Many of these blogs do post each day, but some just a few times a week.  Keeping up on the posts does not take much time at all, and is generally either how I end my day OR how I pass the time while on the elliptical.

There is a strong urge for less screen time and I strive for that as well.  But if you’re feeling like you could use a dose of daily encouragement, guidance, support and wisdom, any of these blogs are definitely worth a visit.  And if a blog doesn’t fill up your cup (mine included!) replace it with another that does.  ♥

Thanks for visiting, friends! Do you have any blogs that you’d like to share??  Please do!


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  • Mom - I particularly enjoy YOUR blog, so I can see on my screen what is happening with your dear, sweet family :) …though I’d rather be there in person :) See you this weekend :)
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • clare - Aww! Thank you so much! #humbled!!!


… to take photos of Gage during practice. :)  I was nervous that I’d embarrass him, or myself, lurking around his field during practice taking photos.   Cooper’s, I could easily take photos of because I was right there from where I sat.  Doot’s is a bigger field, going perpendicular to Cooper’s and that just made it less natural for me to discretely photograph.  But after several practices and him getting more comfortable with the players and me getting more comfortable with the surroundings, I got brave.  I told Gage my plan and he said, “Oh cool!” so now I was committed.  Equipped with my 135mm, I hung out by their water-bottle area and behind their goal and tried to not draw attention to myself.  😀 

It totally didn’t work though, because evidently right about now, a boy on Gage’s team said, “That lady is taking pictures of us.”  And then a little girl ran up to me and told me she was ready for her team photo…. and I directed her toward the actual league photographer.  So I just got over it and kept on shooting.

Then sat down for a bit and turned my attention to Cooper …

… and then back to Doot.

Yep, that one went in.  Thumbs up.

Then I figured I weirded out his teammates enough and went back to my seat.  😉  The funny part is that Gage did not claim ‘that lady’ as his mom, and the amazing part is that he told me he wasn’t embarrassed at all that I was back their taking photos and that he was really glad I did.

And with that, I might just be done photographing soccer for the season.  I think it is just as important for a momtographer to know when to put her camera down as to know when to to pick it up.  Each moment, each practice, each game doesn’t need to be documented.  Just a glimpse to document this fun, exciting season of their young lives should probably be enough.  But if the light keeps on being this gorgeous at every practice I may not be able to help myself!  ♥

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  • Mom - Great action shots! I’m excited to come down and watch in person!
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - I love this. I will probably be this type of mom as well. Hopefully my kids don’t tire of the camera in their faces or I’ll just have to get a longer focal length lens to be more discreet.ReplyCancel

Whenever Matt comes home and asks me if I turned on the TV at all during the day, I know that means something big, and bad, happened. He told me of the shootings in Roseburg, Oregon.  “Christians,” he told me. “He told the Christians to stand up and then he shot them.”  He pulled up the story on CNN about the shootings and I read just a brief paragraph, knowing that too much information on this tragic event would swallow me up.

So I read just the paragraph where a victim recounted to her father, just before going into surgery, that the shooter told them to stand up.  The Christians.  And then he told them ‘”Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,” and then he shot them.

This story the ENTIRE story … the entire story …. saddens me to no end.  My heart absolutely aches for ALL of those effected by the shootings.  The persecution of the Christians, specifically has rocked me to my core.  It is not unfamiliar.  Persecution like this happens all over the world and we’re told in the Bible that it would happen.  Rarely does it get covered on the news, though.  It seems to have to happen in our own backyard to hear of it.  We hear of riots and we hear of celebrity drama and we hear of war and we hear of politics.  But we don’t hear of the persecution and murder of Christians.

Here, it has been covered, and within this tragedy, I am so alert to two things about this snippet of the event that I read.

  1. Satan knows Jesus.  This man that was led by Satan to commit these murders, KNEW that these Christians would be with God after he took their lives.  Satan knows Jesus and he KNOWS that in the end of this battle, Jesus wins.  But he (Satan) is trying to bring down as many people as possible with him.  But we can’t let that happen.  How?
  2. Those students STOOD UP.  They stood up!  They STOOD UP.  Because he stood their reloading his gun, we have to assume that they knew that their standing up was not going to be rewarded by this man.

In the end though, those people … those Christians killed yesterday because they love the Lord and were willing to stand up for it … are in heaven today with their Savior.  My Savior.  Your Savior.  THE One and Only Savior.  They stood up because they knew their Savior.  They didn’t earn their way into Heaven by standing up… they stood up because they knew He first stood up for them.

I would never in a million years wish persecution on anyone, ever.  But we know that we’re in a battle with Satan and opposition will come.  Perhaps in a situation as extreme as what happened in Roseburg yesterday or much more likely way of an offensive comment from someone in response to a testimony or praise shared on Facebook.  Do we choose to stand up?  Or do we choose to not share our faith with someone or in a more subtle way, conform to the what is the norm around us in order to avoid the threat of opposition?

It has been said that it is easier to die for Christ than to live for Him.  Every day, I pray I will live for Him… I pray and plead to God to help me do this because, I know … it is NOT easy!  I need His help.  And I pray this not for the reason that it benefits me to live like this.  I want to stand up for Him because that is how His love is shown and shared.  How else will more people learn the Good News of how He’s saved us?   And this doesn’t mean standing on the side of the road with a sign.  It means daily, how we interact with our children, strangers, social media, family/friends, how we spend our time and money, how we respond to suffering, success, struggles and joys should all reflect Jesus’ love and God’s saving grace and our thanks.

I doubt that this perspective will be pulled from this tragedy by the media.  And that in and of itself is its own kind of tragedy.  In my prayers for impacted by yesterday’s shootings, I am also praying that the hearts and minds will be opened of those who hear of the final witness that many of the victims gave.  They stood up for Jesus and there is an eternal reason to do so.  We should all be so faithful.  <3

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  • Mom - Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Carol - So well said! May they all rest in peace.ReplyCancel

  • Karen P - Very well said, Lacey. When the news started coming out about the shooter asking students if they were Christians, my heart swelled when I thought about what it meant for those Christians to stand up. They knew their death was imminent but still STOOD! I want to be that kind of Christian, one who stands for her Lord and Savior in my daily life. I am challenged by their commitment and am more resolved in my love for Jesus!ReplyCancel

My baby lost his first tooth!  And thankfully it was not the one on top that has been prematurely wiggly for about a year, thanks to one too many bonks to the mouth! WooWhoo!

He was super hesitant to pull it because of all the talk Matt and I give him about not growing up.  We want him to stay little, you know?  He took that to heart and told me he didn’t want to pull it because it would make us (particularly his Dad), very sad.  😉  I wasn’t going to push along his growing-up, though, so I didn’t push him to pull it (though I did assure him that we wouldn’t be sad at him if he did).

But then it got bonked.  And it bled, and it raised up in his gums and I got worried that it would fall out when he was eating and then he’d swallow it.  And being the logical, thoughtful little guy that he is, he figured that THAT would really make his Dad sad because then he wouldn’t even get to see his baby-tooth at all.  So on Tuesday night, he waited for Brothers and me to get home, told Dad to get phone to record it, and he pulled out his first baby tooth.

(This is my first time posting a video to my blog, so I’m not sure what I’m doing … but I do know that after he pulls it, the volume gets loud.  Er, actually, I get loud because I’m excited. 😉 So, be ready to turn down your volume.  I hope it works!)

To translate:  I’m Kaden.  I build sheep houses, I feed deer and I pull a tooth. :)

I’m not sure who was more shocked that he actually did it, him or me!

The tooth fairy even got a break because this kiddo decided to keep all of his teeth until the last one and then put all of them under his pillow at once to get one bit pay-out.  Hmm.

This one couldn’t be any cuter, lacking teeth and all.   ♥

Thank you for being here!  Will you let me know if the video doesn’t work?? 😀

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  • Carol - The video worked great! It was so fun to watch. That kiddo is THE cutest little guy. I understand how you would want to keep him little. I used to tease my grandkids that if I would push on their heads maybe it would keep them small. Of course, it didn’t work and they are growing up too fast. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - What a cutie-pie, with such a sweet voice and smile :)
    XO to Tades from Grammie
    XOXO to G&C tooReplyCancel

It’s been 6 years that we’ve been homeschooling and I feel like we’ve finally found our groove.  I mean, seriously… it’s about time.  I have a 5th grader, a 3rd grader and a Kindergartner and I knew that this was make or break time.  The thought and option of sending them to a charter school that is 2 minutes from our home surfaced just before our school year started and honestly, that was the reality check that I needed to remind myself that this IS what we are doing.  This IS my priority.  This IS my boys’ priority and I’m not ready to give that up just yet.  But I had to do better.  I say that every year and by God’s grace, He’s given me that.

With prayer and very intentional consideration of where things would get a little ‘off’ in our day (not just the school day) these little ‘adjustments’ (er, revelations!) came to me and have drastically effected the productivity, efficiency and focus of our day.  I’m sure that many of these are not ‘new’ … well, none of them are … but to me they were big ‘ah-ha’s’ that helped and thought maybe one or two may be helpful to any of you, too.  

  1. Cleaning the kitchen the night before… What does this have to do with school?  Everything!  Starting the day with a clean slate rather than a heap of dishes to deal with allows my mind to go right to the day of school ahead.  I can’t even emphasis enough how much this has improved our school day simply because it starts us (me = them) on the right foot. 
  2. Filling, protein filled breakfast…. plus it allows me to have the time to make them a healthy breakfast before we start school because I’m not focused on cleaning pots from dinner and reloading the dishwasher.  It is a very noticeable difference in my boys’ attention span, energy, and how long their full tummy’s last if we have a breakfast of eggs and turkey sausage rather than sugar cereal.  Surprise surprise!
  3. Reading ahead in the lesson… I do NOT know why this didn’t sink into my routine before this year but I’ve only just gotten into the habit of reading through everything we are to cover for the next day, the night prior.  This obviously gives a lot more clarity to the material as I present it because I’m not hearing it/reading it for the first time.  This takes a little bit of time and in the first several weeks I’d read through it after school had completed for the day.  But now, I can preview some of the material while the boys have settled into their current lesson.
  4. Pre-marking the pages to read… as I read through the next day’s lessons, I mark those pages with these wonderful re-positionable tabs.  My boys have kinda tiny attention spans so if I’m spending time searching for the page we’re going to read, they easily get chatting about something else, their minds get off task and the flow of our morning can just so easily go kaput.  Plus, really … when they see that I have prepared for the day, I can see that they respond positively and more confidently toward our lessons.  For real!
  5. Having 2 white boards to use during the day… I love utilizing these white boards!  It lifts their eyes from their books and there is just something about interacting with each other as the information is being demonstrated or bulleted or outlined on the white board.  Having two allows me to leave the information up on the wall for reference throughout the rest of the day.
  6. A healthy snack… this isn’t really anything new, but I stand by the importance and I’ve been so much more conscientious of when it is ‘snacktime’ because one boy in particular tends to express his hunger with a melt-down… without even being aware that he’s really hungry.  So I try to beat him to it with a good-for-them-snack that will satisfy them until lunch. Some favorites are Greek yogurt, a handful of dried apples or pears, crackers and cheese, or peanut butter and bananas. 
  7. Mentally committing from the get-go… This is an overall mindset that I’ve embraced from the beginning of the year, but even more importantly, I address it prayerfully and mentally every day.  I remind myself that THIS is my priority and my responsibility and the most important ‘to-do’ I have for that day.  I have to, literally, TELL myself this every day.  Even though I know it is, and all that … I have to say it.  And then yes, keep saying it to myself and often to my boys, during our lesson time.
  8. Bringing in no distractions (for me)… part of that commitment is not bringing my work into the school room.  My tablet and phone stay out of the school room.  This may change when I’m teaching the workshop when the year has settled into a strong routine, but really it just never seems to go well when I’m looking at my tablet.  I’d love to say that my boys are self-disciplined enough to stay on task with their work when I’m not in the room or when I’m focused on something else, but … well … that would be lying.  😉  They are getting better and the oldest is great at it when he’s by himself (without brothers around) but the day just goes better and they retain their lessons better when I’m giving them 100% of my attention.  If I do have to get up to do something else for a moment, I communicate that to them, remind them of my expectations to keep at their work and then stop myself from getting distracted from other things when I’m out of the room. 
  9. Using all of the same pencils… goofy, but yep!  This has helped.  The good, #2 Ticonderoga pencils don’t break easily and the erasers don’t dissolve while my boys erase (and they put their erasers to good use).  Plus it eliminates the search for just the right pencil to use for the day because they are all the same.  And believe it or not, that would cause issue last year.  😉
  10. Keeping books organized… Part of going through the materials the day before allows me to set together the text books we need for the day since we use several different ones for Science, Bible, and History.  I keep them in the book cubby and only pull them out when we need them but having them separated out and kept separate from all the other text/reference books we’ve collected over the years helps the flow immensely.  And the ‘flow’ for us is important … we all appreciate it, are encouraged by it, and benefit from it when it’s smooth.

As I wrote these out, many more tips came to mind, but I’ll save those for another post! :)

I know that one draw to homeschooling for many families is the relaxed structure and flexible approach it allows.  As all families (and kiddos) are different, that just doesn’t suit everyone … us included!  Sure, there has to be flexibility and of course: no amount of organization and structure can produce a perfectly flowing, distraction free day.  Knowing and accepting that ← ← is a huge key in and of itself!  But boy-oh-boy does it excite me to find these little tips and to see how they can drastically improve our experience.  Prayer + Preparation = a better school experience for us!

Thanks for visiting and I’m always happy to answer any questions regarding what I’ve posted!  <3

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  • Erin - Reading your post and looking through your pictures makes me miss school so much! My mom homeschooled my 3 siblings and I from kindergarten through high school and I can’t thank her enough. The time and creativity that homeschooling moms pour into their children is amazing! I just want to say good job! Your boys will always remember the joy of days off, nature adventures, learning together, interruptions, short notice field trips, lots and lots of stories and mom going crazy, mom excited, mom always being there… I am so excited and pray that i too will get the privilege of homeschooling my children one day.😊ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Gosh … can I just tell you how encouraging this is to hear, Erin?? Thank you thank you. <3 And it sounds like your mom can be an example to all of us .... she sounds wonderfully devoted to you and your siblings. :)ReplyCancel

  • KatrinaB - Thanks so much for these, Lacey! This is our first year homeschooling (only homeschooling my youngest — 3rd grade), and we are working on finding our way. :) I learned quickly that Post-It flags are indispensable. :) And that prayer is absolutely vital.ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Katrina! It is so good to hear from you! <3 I'm excited for you and your youngest that you get to homeschool together. AND I'm glad you already found that post-it-notes are helpful. :) I would have saved myself a lot of time if I'd utilized them years ago! :)ReplyCancel

  • Carol - It took me many years to learn some of these concepts as well! The clean kitchen and protein breakfast are imperative. One big revelation I had when the kids were younger was to get them on the trampoline during breaktimes. They could get all the wiggles out and come back in tefreshed and ready to be on task again. They had to jump at least 100 times, lol.ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Yes! Having that break is super helpful … and this sounds like one more good reason I should give to my husband for why we should get a trampoline. 😉 Though I wonder if I’d have to lasso my boys to bring them back inside. 😀 They always want to work before play so they can play uninterrupted once they are done. LOL …ReplyCancel

  • candy - Don’t you just love The Action Bible! We gave it to our oldest son last Christmas and it’s gets read mostly every night! The illustrations are amazing.ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Candy! It really is fantastic. Having the visuals really helps drive the story deeper into our memories. :)ReplyCancel

  • Mom - Oh, my heart is singing! and I can’t stop smiling :)
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Amy - These are the things that have been rattling around in my head, and you clarified them so well. I always try to overcomplicate things. Now I can look at your list for daily encouragement and put each point into practice. We are In the same boat with a houseful of boys to homeschool.ReplyCancel