January – A Life Giving Home Discussion {Link-up}

Welcome to the first monthly discussion of The Life Giving Home (take 2)! I hope you had a chance to read the January chapters in both the book and study guide. If not feel free to catch up and join the discussion later! If you don’t yet have the books click below to order them:

Get The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. (Click the images to go to Amazon)


A Life Giving Home book discussion and link up


How this study works:

  1. On the last Friday of each month, I will post my overall thoughts on the chapter for the upcoming month and what suggestions from that chapter I plan to try. I will also share how things are going with previous ideas I have tried.
  2. In our Facebook Book Club we will discuss the chapter in more detail and work through the questions in the study guide.
  3. I will check in with everyone weekly in the book club group to see how we are all doing implementing suggestions from the book.
  4. You can also interact in the comments to discuss your thoughts on the chapter and/or link up your own blog post discussing the chapter using the linky.


My Thoughts:

Sally describes the new year as a new start, a clean slate, out with the old and in with the new! I agree with this and am excited about a fresh start in a new year. That said I tend to take the approach of wipe the slate clean and plan out a whole new schedule and routine and new ways of doing things and attempt to implement it all on January first. It took me quite a few falls flat on my face to get through my head that making changes that way rarely works. So this year I am making new plans and goals for changes in the rhythm, routine, and culture of our family but I will be implementing them very slowly, one or two changes at a time until they become habit and routine. I expect it will take most of the year to start seeing the changes in myself and in my family that I hope to see. I am learning to be ok with that and am just making a list of things to work toward….slowly. Sally also describes the culture of home as a garden that needs to be planned, cultivated, and worked. Gardens require a lot of work before you see the fruit of that labor. Sometimes it takes weeks or months to see the results of your work but sometimes it takes a year or more. Berry bushes generally take a couple years to establish themselves enough to bear fruit. Trees can take several years. I am viewing 2018 as a year of planning and cultivating and giving myself permission to slowly and intentionally build our family culture. Starting with the most important things we need to work on and slowly working my way through my list of goals a little at a time.

Sally touches on making plans within the limitations of our current circumstance, strengths, weaknesses, personality and the needs and personalities of our family members. This is another lesson I’m learning. My time is limited, very limited. My children have many and a wide variety of needs and my husband’s job keeps him away often. These and many other circumstances are what I need to keep in mind when setting goals and making plans. If I am overwhelmed and frustrated it is because I have overestimated my time and abilities and it is not fair for my family to suffer because of my own poor planning. Improving in my ability to realistically plan is one of my main goals for this year! One thing I have recently heard many times is that God gives you enough time in a day to accomplish all that HE has set out for you to do (not necessarily all that you want to do). If you can’t get it all done there is something there that doesn’t belong. I’m working on removing the things that don’t belong and focusing on His plan for my life.

Sally goes on to talk about planning and give a variety of suggestions to help in your planning. She then discusses routines and rhythms that we could work on in our homes. Making plans for my family, listing the things I currently do and those I want to do and then prioritizing and choosing based on how much time I actually have is one of my plans for January. I will also be setting up chore lists, our ideal daily schedule or routine and goals for my family. But as I said before I will choose one or two things to work on at a time as we develop new and better habits. I will be starting with working on our bedtime routines (and children staying in bed when they are told) and our morning routines. I think if we establish good rhythms at the beginning and end of each day it will set the tone for the rest of the day. I really want to incorporate Sally’s morning blessing into our day. I think that would really help my children feel loved and start out the day on a positive note. Once we have developed good morning and bedtime routines I will slowly add in many of the other routines Sally recommends.

This year I expect my planning and organizing will take most of the year. For example, I hope to thoroughly declutter my home but I don’t expect to get it done in one month. I also plan to overhaul and streamline my meal planning and grocery shopping but again that may take several months. I am also working on setting up a homemaking binder, another project that may take a while. Hopefully, doing these things slowly, intentionally, thoughtfully, and prayerfully will mean future years’ planning will be easier.



Your Turn:

Share your thoughts on the January Chapters of The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. You have 3 ways to share:

  1. Here on the blog in a comment
  2. In the Facebook Book Club Group
  3. On your own blog via the Link-up below


A Life Giving Home book discussion and linkup


Link-up Rules:

  • ONLY link-up a post that discusses the January chapter of The Life Giving Home book.
  • Copy and past the linkup button into your post or blog sidebar (or at least create a text link back to this post).
  • Visit at least one other post in the link-up.
  • (Optional) Share this post on Social Media to spread the word!
A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up

Facebook Discussion:

I am hosting a Facebook discussion group for this study. We will delve deeper into the book and discuss the study guide. We can keep each other accountable and encourage each other in our goals and efforts in creating our own Life Giving Homes. I look forward to seeing you there!


Next Month:

I will post my thoughts on the February chapter and what ideas I plan to try on January 26th. 

Life Giving Home Study – Take 2

At the beginning of this year, I tried hosting a discussion of Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s book The Live Giving Home here on the blog but for a variety of reasons I discontinued that series. I felt like I was too busy just surviving during my husband’s deployment to do any of the “extras” suggested in the book.

A Life Giving Home book discussion and link up

In the last couple months, I have come to the realization that cultivating the environment and culture in my home should be one of my top priorities, not an afterthought. I would love for others to join me on this journey, so I will once again be hosting a book study of this wonderful book starting in January and following month-by-month with the chapters in the book but with some changes to enhance the discussion.

This book is really inspiring and a little overwhelming. It is full of so many ideas I want to implement in my own home. I love and have gained insight and encouragement from many of Sally’s books and this one is just as great!

The book is written so that each chapter corresponds to a specific month – moving through the whole year. The companion guide, The Life Giving Home Experience, is also organized by month. We will spend 2018 working gradually through both the book and guide month by month, trying out a few ideas from each chapter in our homes, and sharing about our experiences and challenges as well as sharing additional tips and brainstorming solutions together. 

A Life Giving Home book discussion and linkup

We will read each chapter the month before the chapter title and I will post my thoughts on the chapter here the last Friday of the previous month (i.e. I will post my thoughts and plans pertaining to the January chapter the last Friday in December). Starting in the January post I will include how things went implementing the ideas for that month along with my plans for the next month. 

This year, in addition to the discussion here on my blog and a linky for other bloggers who would like to post their thoughts and experiences on The Life Giving Home, I will also have a Facebook group where we will discuss all of this in even more depth. This group will give everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts, plans, and experiences. It will include weekly check-ins on how everyone is doing with their goals and a deeper discussion on The Life Giving Home Experience study guide. (This group will also host a monthly book club beginning in February, stay tuned for more info on that!)

If you would like to participate all you need to do is:

1. Get The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. (Click the images to go to Amazon)

2. Read the chapter before the beginning of the month it is written and work through the chapter in the companion guide.

3. Pick a few suggestions to try with your own family.

4. Join the Facebook group.

5. Join me here on the blog the last Friday of the month, read my thoughts and share your own thoughts, what you plan to try, what you tried the previous month, what worked, and what didn’t what didn’t. Join me in the Facebook group weekly for further discussion. 

We will repeat this each month of 2018.

Each post will include a linky for anyone else who plans to blog through this journey with me but the bulk of the conversation will happen in the Facebook group.


A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up

The first few chapters of the book are an introduction and overview, I will discuss these along with the January chapter in the first post on December 29th. Please try to read these beginning chapters AND the January by then. 

Join my mailing list below to make sure you don’t miss any posts in this series!


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If you plan to join in this study leave a comment and let me know!

The Day Before Thanksgiving….Let’s Talk About Christmas!

I have several previous posts about our Christmas traditions so I thought I would round them all up in one place for you, plus share a little more about our plans for this year!

We were very happy to get to kick off the holiday season with Operation Christmas Child this year! We have missed being able to volunteer at our local Drop Offs the last three years. This year not only did we volunteer, we visited all 10 Drop Offs in our area!

You can check out the following posts to learn many of the ways my family celebrates Christmas:

5 Ideas For Your Best Christmas #1

5 Ideas For Your Best Christmas #2

5 Ideas For Your Best Christmas #3

5 Ideas For Your Best Christmas #4

5 Ideas For Your Best Christmas #5

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions Video and My Favorite Gifts to Make

patterns courtesy of snowcatcher.net

I haven’t quite completed my Christmas shopping yet. I am usually done by now but plan to finish up in the next week or so.


We don’t do traditional “Christmas food” on Christmas but we do have my favorite stuffing on Thanksgiving along with this delicious Duck. These could easily make a wonderful Christmas feast as well. We generally do enchiladas on Christmas Eve and two years ago we started the tradition of having Swedish meatballs (recipe coming soon) on Christmas. This year we are having lutefisk, another traditional Swedish dish with my parents a couple days before Christmas when we celebrate with them.

Our Advent Calendar Activities: Some of the posts above mention our Advent activities. This post includes instructions to download my Advent calendar from 2015. I haven’t finalized my calendar for this year yet but it will include the following activities:

  • Holiday Ball (for hubby and I, the kids will get time with grandma!)
  • Kids performing in the Christmas Choir
  • Bake and decorate cookies
  • Bake and decorate gingerbread houses
  • Share cookies with the mail carrier, sanitation worker, neighbors etc.
  • Saint Nicolas Day
  • Christmas movies on Sundays (Pure Flix is offering a free Christmas movie every Sunday from now through Christmas, no subscription required!)
  • Star Wars movie
  • Pre- Christmas at Grandma’s

I will sprinkle some of the random acts of kindness from my previous calendar among these activities.

That pretty much sums up our Christmas Traditions. I plan to spend December doing a lot of planning and organizing this year as well so I can start strong in January! 


What are your favorite Christmas Traditions? Let me know in the comments! 

Must Have Book for Moms: Lies Moms Believe (and How the Gospel Refutes Them) {Review}

A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a fellow mom blogger looking for people to review her new soon-to-be-released book. I love books and I enjoy writing reviews so I offered. Little did I know that this book was exactly what I needed at exactly this time. But, of course, God knew. I have no doubt His hand was all over me seeing the post on Facebook asking for reviewers.

The ebook version of the brand new book Lies Moms Believe (and How the Gospel Refutes Them) released today! I feel very strongly that every mom, and anyone who is thinking of becoming a mom, needs to read this book. I can pretty much guarantee you will find at least a few lies you have been believing about yourself and motherhood in this book. The freedom and peace that comes from seeing these lies crumble in the face of scripture are simply amazing.

Lies Moms Believe and how the Gospel refutes them book review Biblical encouragement for moms

The book contains 32 chapters each addressing a single lie. The lies are grouped into five categories. Each lie stands alone so you wouldn’t necessarily need to read them all in order. If there is a specific area of your life where you are struggling you can find a lie pertaining to that area and just read that chapter. The chapters are pretty short, around two to five pages. I read the book pretty quickly both because I wanted to get this review up on release day, and because I just couldn’t get enough! I would suggest reading a lie a day, look up the verses, pray for God to reveal how the lie has been impacting your life, and let yourself mull it over for a bit.

Rebekah combats each lie with scripture. She doesn’t make wide assertions that can’t be backed up or do mental gymnastics with scripture to make it say what she wants. She goes right to the Word of God and weighs what the world tells moms against what God says about us, our kids, and parenting. Then she challenges you to go to scripture yourself and test her words. Breaking down some of these lies hurts a bit, I described it to one friend as sandpaper. It can be a bit rough as it knocks off some hard edges we have developed. But it is also encouraging and refreshing to know we don’t have to live under some of the burdens we have been carrying.

Now, I have a confession to make. I didn’t read Rebekah’s bio (which I’ll put below) before I read the book. I’m glad I didn’t because honestly, it may have created a mental block for me. I’m not proud of this fact but I’m going to be honest about it because someone out there may have the same thoughts I would have had, and I do NOT want that to prevent you from reading this book. I have five kids and my oldest is 12, Rebekah has two young children. It isn’t that I would have considered myself more of or a better mom, but I would probably have questioned what a younger mom with younger children could tell me that I don’t already know. Oh, the pride. Yep, that is a weakness of mine. I’m so thankful that didn’t happen because she definitely had some things to tell me that I am so thankful I read with an open mind! Sometimes a fresher set of eyes and a less cluttered perspective is exactly what we need.

Lies Moms Believe and how the Gospel refutes them book review Biblical encouragement for moms

I hope I have convinced you to buy this book. If you read it with an open mind and prayerful spirit I have no doubt that it will change your life, your marriage, and your parenting for the better. With 32 common struggles, you are bound to find some areas you need to work on. I’m convinced there is not a mom out there who wouldn’t benefit from this. 

The ebook is available as of today! A companion study guide and the physical book will be released March 30, 2018. I am very excited about the study guide! So excited that I have decided to host an online Bible study in April; if that is something you are interested in make sure to subscribe to my mailing list with the form in the sidebar to stay up-to-date on the details!

About Rebekah: 

Lies Moms Believe and how the Gospel refutes them book review Biblical encouragement for momsRebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to “edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood”. Rebekah’s first book, “Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)”, releases in November.

You can learn more about Rebekah and follow her writing on:

Her Website – Hargraves Home and Hearth

Instagram – @rebekahhargraves

Facebook – Hargraves Home and Hearth

Twitter – @hhomeandhearth





*I received a free copy of the ebook Lies Moms Believe in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are genuinely and solely my own.*