2017: A New Beginning - Write through the Bible

I want to try something different this month.
This month I want to encourage you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Then write out 1-2 verses that speak to you. It'll be different for everyone, but it's something that God is impressing on your heart.

Here's to a new beginning! Lets start fresh. I tell my boys every morning, if you missed yesterday just keep going, start today. Start fresh. Don't try to catch up because that will burn you out. Start fresh today, because ya know what? HIS mercies are new every morning.

I want to challenge you to spend a few more minutes meditating on the Word of God each day. Add something to your quiet time, change something up. Each month I am going to post a theme of passages or a book that I will be writing through. I want to invite you to write through the Bible with me as well.

Advent - Write through the Bible

Without Easter, Christmas means nothing. This is because Jesus had to die for His birth to be worth while. During the Christmas season we celebrate Christ's coming because He came to fulfill the promise of God to crush sin. Because of sin, Jesus had to become a perfect sinless man and die in the place of sinful men + women.


This month I really want to focus on what the season of Christmas is about. It's about God becoming man. It's about God's love for us that he would make such a sacrifice. I've chosen verses that display the story from the beginning to what we are waiting for now. Verses that begin with the problem that needed to be fixed, the fall of man, the prophecy of the coming of the Christ, and His birth, and finally his return.

You can download a bookmark for yourself here.

I want to challenge you to spend a few more minutes meditating on the Word of God each day. Add something to your quiet time, change something up. Each month I am going to post a theme of passages or a book that I will be writing through. I want to invite you to write through the Bible with me as well.

Give Thanks - Write through the Bible

As sappy as it sounds this time of year always reminds me to be extra thankful, to see God's grace and love in the little things. I find during the month of November as God preparing my heart for what is going to come next, the Birth of his Son!

I've picked different passages from all over the Bible that all speak loud of being thankful. Something that I can take with me and meditate on and just remember to "give thanks with a grateful heart". My goal is to spend this month preparing for Thanksgiving by seeing all that God has done for me and what I have to be thankful for, and also to set my heart ready to celebrate the birth of His son Jesus. I would love for you to join me on this journey and ready your heart as well.

You can download a bookmark for yourself here.

I want to challenge you to spend a few more minutes meditating on the Word of God each day. Add something to your quiet time, change something up. Each month I am going to post a theme of passages or a book that I will be writing through. I want to invite you to write through the Bible with me as well.

The end of myself

One of my goals for this blog was to be a place of truth & transparency. I rarely sugar coat anything usually giving it clear and straight. With that, life has been a whirlwind lately. I shared about a year ago that "I get quiet when the world is spinning around me. I settle in my mind and start thinking of all of the time I've wasted. I think back on my actions and how I could have changed them, I praise God for the grace He gave me. I withdraw from the public eye and just try to keep myself together. That's where I'm at now. I'm in a quiet place of trying to keep up with my responsibilities and just trying to get through it. I'm clinging to God; knowing that at the end he will get the glory. Nothing else matters."

And you know what? It's the same thoughts that I've been having for the past few months now. While it seems at times that I have been in a fog, I have been clinging to God praying that He will deliver me and praising Him for the little bits of grace I've seen along the way.

During this last month I wrote this down "I always think I have reached the end of myself, but every time God wants to show me something he takes me to a deeper level of brokenness that hurts more than the last time."

This past week a bit of the fog has lifted and I am seeing God's grace and faithfulness. God has been faithful to carry me through every single time. Which again reminds me that, I need to be patient enough to wait for His perfect timing. I will share the full story at some point, but for now the story isn't complete and isn't ready to be written.


Philippians - write through the Bible

For me writing and meditating God's word is important. I really will not learn it any other way.

All of the Illustrated Faith - drawing in your Bible is awesome. It's just not for me. I would be apt to spend more time trying to make the drawing perfect than actually meditating on God's word. I also really hate how I write most of the time, lets not even get started with how I draw. But knowing and meditating God's word is important.

This month I chose the book of Philippians. Philippians is known for being a resource through suffering. Remember as you write this month that Christ is your strength through everything you face.

You can download a bookmark for yourself here.

I want to challenge you to spend a few more minutes meditating on the Word of God. Add something to your quiet time, change something up. Each month I am going to post a theme of passages or a book that I will be writing through. I want to invite you to write through the Bible with me as well.



You're not alone

Hope.  Joy.  Peace.  Love.

There are days I struggle with all of those. I feel like I am constantly on the go and forgetting something. Always behind and exhausted. I would like to give you an easy fix right about now, unfortunately I don’t have one. I can tell you you’re not alone. Most likely that mom in the checkout lane with you is feeling the same thing as you.

At one point my youngest really enjoyed screaming while we were in the car line for school pickup. I say that he enjoyed it, because he was always screaming. It wasn't the usual happy scream, it was the “my older brother is unbuckled and I’m not and this is not okay” scream. I also liked to sit in the car line with my windows down and enjoy the cool air, which means everyone could hear him scream. One day in between his screams it hit me, I’m not alone! There was a soft screaming (again – angry scream) coming from another car in the line. I smiled. I often get so excited when I see other parents dealing with misbehaving children. Not because it’s not my kids, but because at that moment I realize I’m not alone.

When you put yourself in a place of isolation it’s never good. You lie to yourself that you are the only one having it hard, that it’s all about you. When in fact it’s not about you at all. When you isolate yourself you begin to judge others of what they think of you, how they act, and the lives they live. I know this, because this is what I want to do. Too often I’ve often judged people without even knowing them, just based on a few behaviors I’ve witnessed. Then I make up a whole story of who they are as a person and totally judge their character when really I am completely wrong. I’ve gotten to know some of the very people I judged and had to confess they aren’t like what I said they were. They’re awesome, and even a little like me. When you see how real others are you realize how much you share; how much they have the same struggles and heartaches as you. You're not alone! God purposefully gave us each other to make it through life. We can lean on others when we are weak. We can encourage others when we are strong. But above all we can "encourage each other daily so that none of you is hardened by sin's deception." Hebrews 3:13

My grace is sufficient for you

A few weeks ago I was going through a difficult moment. At the time it seemed like that season would never pass. I clung on to this passage from 2 Corinthians, 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
My Grace is Sufficient for you

I didn't realize how much this passage would have an impact on me over the past few weeks, and even today. Following God's call to leave everything and attend seminary has never been easy. Submitting to God and homeschooling the boys has been extremely difficult. While I see fruit from these obedient steps, there arestill days that are filled with loneliness of missing friends and family. There are days the children are well behaved, and there are days like today where all they do is scream and yell at each other and refuse naps and scream over schoolwork. Just because we have been faithful and obedient to God hasn't changed the difficulty of the situation.

A common thread throughout the entire Bible is that God is faithful. God does exactly what he says He will do. So then, His power will be made perfect in my weakness. Right now I am weak and I am clinging onto God's power being made perfect.

God's Grace

Last fall we were following someone to lunch after church. I spotted these gorgeous yellow wildflowers that followed the path of the power lines. I knew we couldn’t stop or we would be lost, but I begged John to stop at a later point. I just HAD to go back and capture God’s amazing artwork with my camera later.

When I stop to think about the glory of God in everything it takes my breath away. I start to look at every little flower, tree, cloud, everything differently! The fact that God made it just makes it simply amazing!  I can go overboard and focus on the details and miss the big picture, but I believe there is always a time when you need to focus on the details and see the majesty that God created. Looking at the beauty of one of these flowers makes me realize that God cares about the little things, but when you look up and see a whole field of them, you see a much bigger picture that God painted of his majesty.

I do this with my children too. When I start to look at them as gifts from God, when I think about their creation and existence and that it is because of God’s grace, I start to love and cherish them more. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of grocery store meltdowns and other embarrassing events I’d rather not experience.  But taking time to remember that God created them, they are HIS work, and that means they are full of splendor and majesty as well.

“Full of splendor and majesty is HIS work, and HIS righteousness endures forever” Psalm 111:3

Psalm - Write through the Bible

Writing through the Bible has become very important to me over the past few years. I retain more information when I write things out more than just listening. When John and I first started homeschooling our boys I began giving them passages from the book of John to copy down. I didn't have a theme or direction for them other than writing out God's word. But now I've began planning books and topics that I want us to spend writing down during our personal quiet times. My young children need to hear these words of God just as much as I do.

"For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations" Psalm 100:5

For the next 30 days I'll be writing down entire chapters from Psalms. I chose these chapters because they all speak about God's steadfast love. As I'm heading into fall busy schedule from the lazy summer it's easy to be distracted from why I am doing everything I'm doing. Everything I do is rooted in Christ and his work on the cross. Everything is because God first LOVED. Just like everyone else I need to be reminded of God's steadfast love. I need to know that it endures forever.

I want to encourage you to try this out too. It takes just a few minutes to write down these passages. I want to challenge you to allow them to burn in your heart all day long. Grab a bookmark below and write through these 7 Psalms with me!

You can download a bookmark for yourself here.


You might be asking yourself "what's raising oranges?"
Well I'm here to answer that.

When I was pregnant with our first child my husband said "if we have a boy, I'm going to dress him in all orange so I don't lose him." Since that time Orange has been a staple color in our house; that is now filled with 4 boys. Another thing my husband has always said is "I'm not raising boys, I'm raising men. You don't have pig farm to raise piglets, no you have a pig farm to raise pigs." The same is true with our children, we don't want bigger sized boys in 18 years, we want to raise Godly men!

Therefore, since we are raising men and our children are dressed in orange I birthed the name Raising Oranges.


Around 2010 I launched my first blog under my shop name, PaperFromHeaven. Raising Oranges was born in 2011 because I was wanting a different space that was more of a lifestyle blog and included content beyond PaperFromHeaven. After maybe a year in I felt burdened down by everything around me. I was at a point in life where I couldn’t continue to be on social media and control what was going on in my life. In a thoughtless moment I deleted everything, from my blogs, facebook, instagram - EVERYTHING! I can honestly tell you, being a hermit was wonderful. What started as a retreat for selfish reasons turned into an unexpected two-year time of growing in Christ. It was through careful prayer and talking with my husband and closest friends that I cautiously reentered the world of social media. Since rejoining society I still have moments of dislike towards social media, which has kept me from relaunching Raising Oranges. For over a year I have kept posts that I've written. Stored them away for a future unknown season when I would someday be ready to share.

Since we moved to North Carolina God has pressed upon me to start telling my story. God has used friends to remind me that He's given me a voice and I have something valid to say. Knowing my husband was going into pastoral ministry I always knew I would have some sort of role where I too would be ministering to people. Honestly, it scared me that I would have an impact in others’ lives as well.

While in the process to get this new site set up my husband said that I should have kept the content from my old blog, I replied “why, it’s not like it was any good” he said “it was, people were reading it, you were reaching people.” That’s when I came to the conclusion that what I write might be more integral to the way I serve others. This is why I have decided that my goal is to encourage moms and young women with Biblical truth in all aspects of your life. I want to let you know that you aren’t alone in this struggle to obey the commands of Christ while daily being told that you are doing everything wrong.