3 {new} Little Things: an ebook, a photo wall, and team sports

This blog post feels a little like cheating. ;) I definitely could have written three separate, more detailed blog posts, but that's just how life is right now. I take what I can get, squeezing in writing time in the cracks of my time (and to be fair, my original #3 is in fact, getting its own blog post next week). Either way, I'm taking a cue from Amy at MomAdvice, sharing three little things making me happy this week. I hope you're inspired. xoxo

1. My new book

Read More Cover

Do you feel like you wish you had more time to read? I hear this a lot from moms and busy women. Well, guess what-- I wrote you a book!

My latest ebook is called Read More: why and how to make time for reading amidst the busyness of life, and it's free for my newsletter subscribers. Sign up for The Scoop, if you haven't already, and you'll get your free download emailed to you today.

2. A new photo wall collage

super awesome photo wall

I moved some furniture around recently that revealed a narrow blank wall in my living room. This is quite unusual for me, as I seem to have an aversion to blank walls and have most of them covered with art, photos, guitars or even a TV. Maybe someday, if I have a house with lots and lots of wall space will I leave some blank space. For now, in my tiny space, I can't seem to leave my walls be.

So, behind our couch we now have a cozy little pile of pillows and blankets; it's our new little reading nook and it's where we keep our library books. The kids love it. I came across a blog post by my friend Kacy and saw her photo wall, and realized I had seen something like that before-- I had seen the original tutorial years ago and loved it, but never thought I'd be brave enough to glue photos to my wall.

But then I thought about it. Hot glue peels off my counter super easy, and... why not? I suddenly felt bold enough to go for it, and I love the result. It makes me incredibly happy. You can see the full tutorial and lots of great tips on doing this over on Under the Sycamore.

 3. Foraying into the world of team sports

softball

We were a little nervous about entering the world of team sports. It's a big commitment and our lives are quite full already. Gigi's softball team is a couple weeks into their season, and Brody's t-ball team (which David is coaching) has their first game and Opening Day this weekend. Juggling games and practices, not to mention pictures and clinics and fundraising-- whew!-- it's a lot.

But we love baseball. And as we've jumped in, it really feels right. When we go to the ball parks, it feels like home, and getting to know the communities has been great, and makes us feel even more at home here than we already did. It's funny to see the different sub-cultures, too. Especially with softball. David has quite a bit of his own Little League experience but he's really noticed how different the softball sub-culture is-- funny socks, headbands, cheers-- totally different, and also silly, and well, fun.

Bonus~ one thing I'm not happy about: For the second year in a row, March caught me too quickly and I neglected to use my Anthro birthday discount. Boo-hoo. (Dreaming about this beauty and so many other things in the March lookbook. Flowy shirts and shorts combos are speaking to me.)

Leaving auto for manual: thoughts on stepping out

Leaving auto for manual and other thoughts on stepping out My friend Kacy has a phrase she has used a lot-- leaving comfort for courage-- that has always stuck with me. Isn't that just how we are to live? Outside our comfort zone, being courageous in the face of what may come, being bold, and strong in grace and in the gospel.

from auto to manual-1

It might be a stretch to make this analogy, but bear with me here. I recently started shooting photos on manual. This month's 10 on 10 was my first all-manual set. On Sunday, we spent a family day at the beach for my birthday (it was a gloriously lovely simple day).

from auto to manual-2

The fog rolled in thick and low, while the brightness of the sun still fought to shine through, making the lighting incredibly tricky.

from auto to manual-3

For quite a while now I've been shooting on A which means that I adjust the shutter speed but my trusty camera figures out the rest for me. It was a good stepping stone, but I've been standing there perched for far too long. (Professional photography is not my goal; I just want to learn how to use my camera better and get the most out of my photos.)

from auto to manual-4

I decided it was time to jump off that step and just start doing my best to set the camera right (armed with a couple of ebooks on photography and a skilled brother as references).

from auto to manual-5

I made a lot of mistakes and had to reset the camera with almost every shot. It was challenging and yet the photos that came out spark a lot of joy in me, knowing that I had to work at achieving the correct lighting.

from auto to manual-6

You know what holds me back and has me switching back to A or even to Auto in a dicey light situation? It's fear. Fear that I'll miss out on the perfect shot because I had the settings wrong.

from auto to manual-7

But the wonderful thing about digital photography is that we can take a virtually endless amount of photos (depending on media card size, of course). We just keep shooting and shooting and adjusting as we go, and checking to see if we get it right. Eventually, I think I'll get the hang of it (or I'll at least remember which way to dial the f/stops). It won't be so touch-and-go, and I'll be more confident.

from auto to manual-8

Any time we try something new, it's this similar learning curve.

from auto to manual-9

It feels like it takes this enormous amount of boldness to step out into the unknown or into a new direction, but the truth is that when we step out where God is calling us, we're stepping out onto the path that has already been prepared for us.

from auto to manual-10

We don't actually have to bolster up all this faith, all this courage, all this boldness on our own. He actually provides it for us as we go. We just have to ask for it! God's pretty great like that.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 4:14-21

3 little things... favorite Bible study tools {with a printable!}

three favorite Bible study tools from GidgetGoesHome.com There's a stark difference in my day when I take time to give myself a hard reset and a fresh start by reading my Bible first thing in the morning. Ideally, I get up early and enjoy the quiet and solitude of a still house at dawn, but of course, with three kids, someone is often bound to be up early with me.

The season I'm in right now is all about surviving and making do. I might not get uninterrupted time to journal my heart out like I did before I was a mama but that doesn't mean I can't read a few verses, review some prayer requests, and center my heart on the Lord even on mornings where the chaos starts early.

Here are a few things that make me happy as I dig into the Word.

ESV journaling bible

1. My Bible

I've been using a Crossway journaling Bible over six years now, but just this year I upgraded to a real leather version with a single column of text instead of a double column (bottom right photo above shows compares the two). I feel like the text lines up with my notes better with the single column. I've always been a verse-underliner and love inserting interesting notes so this Bible is really perfect for me. I hope it lasts me for many, many years, and gets super worn with lots of notes. There's nothing better than a worn, well-loved Bible.

micron pen for bible study

2. My pen

Thanks to my friend Susan, I finally discovered the best pen to use with this Bible, a Micron .25 mm. It's a very fine point so that I can write tiny notes, it doesn't smudge (she's a lefty so that was key for her to find), and it's archival quality. The other great idea Susan gave me was to use a new color each year. I started with brown, and I love how it writes, and how it, surprisingly, doesn't show through the pages like I thought this kind of pen might.

inductive bible study bookmark

3. A little guidance

I'm so excited for my CBS class to start up in two weeks-- I love having the homework to give me something focused to study in the Word (we're studying Daniel and Revelation this year!). But I'm also reading through all the epistles on my own, and hope to continue that even when CBS starts as they provide such practical advice on the way I want to live my life... and also, there's so much to underline and notes to transfer from my old Bible to my new one!

This summer for our womens' small groups we did some inductive Bible studying. I created a pretty little bookmark using some of the questions that our leadership team put together for a simple way to read the Bible and study it inductively. I laminated these for my girls and me to keep in our Bibles, always handy for us to use as we read the Word-- to not just gloss over what we read but to really extrapolate some tangible takeaways from it.

I wanted to share it with you, too! You can click to download the PDF of the  inductive bible study bookmark.

Linking up with Amy of MomAdvice for 3 Little Things. :)

What are your favorite Bible study tools?

Affiliate links included. Thank you for your support!