Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Wordless Wednesday: Backyard Water Fun

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day 2019

A big Happy Father's Day to the amazing guy we call Dad, who loves us so well, works so hard, and adds adventure to our normal everyday.  We love you so much!

Happy Father's Day to the amazing Grandpas, Great-Grandpas, uncles and other that pour into our kids' lives and have poured into our lives as well. 

Definitely a day worth celebrating on the gravelly road.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Book Review: The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

The book "The Next Right Thing: Simple Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions" by Emily P Freeman  is exactly what it claims to be.  I have never thought through decision making process from a faith-filled perspective in quite the detailed and soulful way as this book walks the reader through.

Each chapter provides something new to consider and ponder, with the author's personal experience and graceful calm tone, ending with questions to consider, a prayer and action to take. The author encourages the reader several ways to make space and time to really listen and then do the next right thing in love.  This book is one to soak up slowly to better let the thoughts ruminate, to help you quiet the fear and chaos that can come from unmade decisions, helping you find clarity and peace.

While this book may seem just for those facing big life decisions or those who find unmade decisions crippling, it can really benefit any reader. Taking the time to really consider your decision making process, creating more space to allow for Spirit-led decisions, learning to really listen to what God is saying in your life, and adding skills to your tool-set will benefit you in future decisions or transitions.

This book is worth the investment of time and thought, filled with so many great nuggets of advice and encouragement, helping readers to move forward to do the next right thing in love.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Interviews and Reviews, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Last Day of School 2019

Summer break has officially begun!  Today was the last day of school for our kids.  After all the countless field trips, outside science days, special events and end of year classroom fun, we made it to the end. 

So as tradition dictates, here are their last day of school pics with their first day of school pics.... which reminded us how rainy that first day of school was and the year ended with a big thunderstorm at the end of the school day.
Ike finished a great year of fourth grade, handling big projects and challenges, working hard, making some great new friends, reading so many books and in general having fun.  He is looking forward to a more relaxed schedule, playing baseball, minecraft, and earning some money helping with yardwork this summer (he has some big plans). He is also excited about moving to middle school next year.

Zman finished a great year of second grade this year.  He worked so hard, learned so much, made some great friends and gained confidence.  He is excited for more playtime this summer, being outside, fishing with Dad and giving gymnastics a try.

Peaches is all done with first grade. She worked so hard at school, thriving in the classroom, loving reading, making new friends, and excitement about all things school. The end of her school year was a bit tough with her broken arm from a fall the beginning of May, but she handled it with grace.  Her unique outfit on her last day was because she was participating in the end of year talent show with a few friends.

Because it was Ike's last day in the elementary school (next year middle school), I also had him take  pic with his first day of kindergarten picture. Oh my has he grown!

We are so thankful that they each had wonderful teachers who poured into them all year.  Each kid grew and learned and rose to new challenges.  We are so proud. I can barely believe we'll have a fifth grader, third grader and second grader in the fall. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mothers Day 2019

 We kept Mother's Day pretty low keyed here on our gravelly road. My crew made me breakfast and spoiled me with home made cards.  The boys went to archery for a part of the afternoon while my daughter and I watched a girly movie.  But the one thing I asked we do no matter what was take a picture together.  It took some convincing and several takes but I'm so glad we did.  Each is growing and changing so fast (seriously, when did my oldest get so tall?).  I want to freeze time and remember the wonderfulness and challenges and memories of being their mom right now.

A quiet day at home was a perfect way to treasure our family time, the blessing of being their mom, and life on the gravelly road. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Easter 2019 (photo overload)

Spring seemed so slow in coming this year, with an April snowstorm and two snow days recently, that the beauty of Easter was even more celebrated.  Time outside, time with family, so busy yet so beautiful.

Sooo many egg hunts  the last few days, including many practice hunts in the yard before Easter.

Of course dying eggs, which we were able to do on the patio in the sunshine.

A trip to Iowa to see family, good food, playtime with cousins and a big egg hunt. 

Easter baskets, egg hunt at home and Sunday morning church. 

Lunch with more family and another egg hunt (as well as a photo scavenger hunt).

A beautiful weekend celebrating of the hope we have this side of the empty tomb.

As is tradition, we also took our family Easter picture all dressed up and of course a few silly ones as well.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter.  He is Risen!!!

Loving traditions and slowing down to treasure the memories as we share our faith with our kiddos here on Life on the Gravelly Road.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Our Archer

Our oldest tried a new sport this winter...  archery.   He joined a youth archery club and shot his 60 arrows during league practice each week.   He  worked hard to learn this new sport, determined to improve each week, setting goals and crushing them.

And he qualified for the state youth archery tournament.

Coming home with second place in his bracket.

Celebrating determination, hard work and arrows that fly straight on life on the gravelly road.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Book Review: Winning the Heart of Your Child by Mike Berry

Winning the Heart of Your Child: 9 Keys to Building a Positive Lifelong Relationship with Your KidsWinning the Heart of Your Child: 9 Keys to Building a Positive Lifelong Relationship with Your Kids by Mike Berry.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book "Winning the Heart of Your Child" by Mike Berry is filled with experience-based knowledge and wise advice. It is a great new parenting resource applicable to all parents, filled with encouragement, hope and solid advice to be a positive parenting influence connecting to your child's heart, no matter how old your child is.

The author covers four basic parenting style traps that hurt a parents ability to influence their kids in a positive way (often winning the argument but not the heart). Then he covers 9 keys that aid in building a positive lifelong relationship with your kids, winning their heart. From loving boundaries, to consistency, to love no matter what, and keeping a long term perspective (raising future adults not kids), the book is full of positive advice not shame, meeting parents where they are with hope and help.

It  is no secret that I enjoy reading  parenting books.  I  believe parenting is the biggest hardest and best job we have and more tools in the toolbox is always helpful.  This book is a quick and interesting read that I enjoyed, providing actionable advice that can impact my parenting today for the better.

For more info on the book, visit

* I received a free copy of the book from the publisher as part of the launch team but my opinion and words are my own.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 21, 2019

Book Review: Brave Love by Lisa Leonard

Brave Love: Making Space for You to Be YouBrave Love: Making Space for You to Be You by Lisa Leonard

Here is another great book I just finished that I really enjoyed.  Lisa Lenoard’s “Brave Love: Making Space for You to be You” is a memoir that reminds readers that their worth isn’t by what they do, how much they give, or how well they fulfill the needs of others but instead God loves you just as you are. Lisa vulnerably takes us along on her journey to finding brave love with herself, and her relationships with her husband, her family and friends.

Life experiences, lessons learned and beautiful poetry woven together into a book that has something to share no matter your place in life… from her childhood, dating, falling in love and early years of marriage, being a special needs mom, launching a successfully jewelry business, to learning how to re-prioritize choices to bravely love self. Brave love means knowing you are already enough, already loved, already worthy of being loved, living accordingly and loving others. The author reminds each reader that we don’t have to be everything to everyone in order to love them.

If you are interested in this amazing book, check out the author's website and see the preorder free gift available before the release date Jan 29th.

* I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review, my opinions are my own.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Driveway Ice Ball

Melting snow quickly froze to ice, leaving a fairly solid layer of ice on our gravel driveway.  Slippery, and according to these two so much fun.  They have started playing a new game that appears to be a cross between hockey and stick ball maybe.

Laughter, falling down, and lots determination make this an activity on repeat here on the gravelly road.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Book Review: Made for the Journey by Elisabeth Elliot

Made for the Journey: One Missionary's First Year in the Jungles of EcuadorMade for the Journey: One Missionary's First Year in the Jungles of Ecuador by Elisabeth Elliot
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Made for the Journey” by Elisabeth Elliot is a short memoir that transports readers to walk with her through her first experience as a missionary to a remote area in the jungles of Ecuador as a young linguist missionary in the early 50s. The author’s transparency and detailed descriptions help readers slow down and really enter into the day to day life of that first year, from the physical and comfort challenges of adjusting to a new life style in the jungle, the practical challenges of trying to do the translation work to create a written alphabet with unclear direction or helpful native speakers, to challenges of the heart and faith that happen along the way.

The book is written almost journal like, bouncing back and forth between the everyday challenges (bugs, snakes, food issues) and the internal faith questions and devotional thoughts of a young missionary struggling with her purpose. Because this book only covers one year of her missionary life, much remains unresolved at the end of the book and those who are not familiar with her life story or other writings, can easily feel “left hanging”. There is an epilogue but in my opinion it did only a little to “tie up loose ends” in the story shared.

I enjoyed the read as it was interesting in detail and encouraging in how she experience God her first year in the jungle but likely wouldn’t recommend it often to others unless they were already interested in the life of Elisabeth Elliot or missions to remote unchurched areas.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Interviews and Reviews, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

View all my reviews
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