So, 31 Days Was a Bust

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Joyful Mothering New Season
I had good intentions, I really did. But real life took over and I’m sorry…but I’m not sorry. As much as I love writing and sharing our day to day with you, I enjoy living it even more. And honestly, I did get some ideas for posts that I look forward to writing!

But writing everyday became a burden rather than a discipline to enjoy. That’s not what I want. I can’t thank you enough for rolling with me and for your grace. I hope that the small picture I provided was a decent glimpse into our lives and I will continue to share some of our days sporadically.

As a mom who has come out of being pregnant or nursing for 12 years, I feel like I’m entering a new season. (And the adoption process is very much a pregnancy; more like a high-risk pregnancy due to all the uncertainties involved and instead of lasting 9 months, the stressful process of it all lasted 18 months).

So here we are, stress levels down, hormone levels down and I feel like a new woman ready for adventure!

I don’t want to forget how hard being pregnant and having a baby and other littles underfoot is because moms, it is HARD. I had a hard time ever wanting to even leave the house just because it felt SO overwhelming. And leaving for myself? I felt overwhelming guilty. I think part of that is just hormones taking over and amplifying everything.

Now I am in a place where I’m getting off the couch, going to the gym in the evenings when my husband gets home and having lots of energy to take care of my family.

And I won’t lie: the computer was a source of comfort and at times escape for me during this time. Do I have regrets about that? Not really because I was still home and available to my children and I was in a place of feeling desperate and in need of a community that felt “safe”, but kept at a distance…know what I mean? I think the thing that may have been neglected the most was the house. And my husband is awesome and never pushed me to clean or made comments about it. He had a few pet peeves I tried to keep up with, but he has always been an amazing support to me.

Do you remember MSN groups? Oh how I was sucked into those! I even started my own group and ran my own community for moms. Sometimes there was so much drama involved from differing opinions that it exhausted me and eventually I gave it up. That’s when I found blogging…way back in 2005 (though I know blogs were around well before then). That’s when I started writing for myself — before I actually knew the powerful potential of the blogging community.

Now, 9 years and 5 blogs later, here I am, at Joyful Mothering. My season of motherhood has changed dramatically since I first began, going from two children to now seven children, two of whom are adopted. Naturally the dynamic of my blogging is going to change, too. How many times can I share the same information about how we do devotions and our morning routine, though?

What is it moms need? When I browse blogs as a mom, what do I look for?

Today I, personally, look for a challenge. I want to be stretched farther and pushed beyond my own limitations. And lately, I have found very little of that among my browsing. Instead I find posts on complacency and being content where we are and I think for some seasons, this is necessary. But complacency on the outside is really a battle on the inside. Sometimes all we can do is hold on and soak in—I get that, because I’ve been there and I want to speak from that place and offer encouragement to moms who are just tired; physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Moms who are too exhausted to take on more than merely getting through the day because that’s simply the season you are in. Moms who need to hear that it’s OK to be tired and that you’re not fighting that internal battle alone.

But not all moms are in the same season–not all moms are exhausted (and I totally appreciate the ones who are). Some moms are in different seasons and need that boost for growing into the next level. This is where I am. I’m ready for some new challenges and I want to invite you along for the ride.

And if you’re exhausted, you will not be left out! As a mom on the other side of exhaustion (at least for now), I want to be the one who pours into you. I want to be someone who understands and encourages you — someone I needed when I was in that place.

I am excited for 2015 because I have some wonderful things in the works and I want you to be in on the planning. So I need your voice to help me.

I have a short poll here that will help me serve you better. It will only take about 20 seconds to complete. What would you like to see me writing more about?  Choose all that would apply to you and even add your own suggestion.

To take the poll: CLICK HERE

I am looking forward to some new adventures — and a new design in this space. Are you with me? :)

Balancing Blogging and Motherhood – My eBook Is Now Available!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

As a mother who has writing in her DNA, for a long time I struggled with accepting the reality that writing was OK in conjunction with being a mother. Sounds a bit silly to think that we can’t mother and pursue the passion God has planted in us. God has purpose behind our passions–sometimes the hard part is merely tapping into what that purpose is.

But how can we balance pursuing this passion while in the thick of motherhood?

Blog at Home 3D 500


This is something that I have learned through trial and error–and still continue to refine and learn as my family grows and my season of motherhood changes. At the time of this post, we are in the middle of adopting two sweet girls from Ghana, and their homecoming will certainly add a new dimension to motherhood, thus changing my dynamic for writing.

I have heard many, many moms state how much they would like to blog or write, but simply don’t have the time with caring for the many needs of their children. I certainly do not undermine or minimize the great needs of caring for our children, instead I offer some practical tips and encouragement for how you can do both motherhood and blogging well.

Blog With Integrity Pin


Blog at Home Mom was a refreshing and encouraging read for this blogging mama of 5. It was just the right balance of help and simplicity that left me feeling empowered to do mothering, life, and blogging well. You will love Christin’s winsome writing style and her no-nonsense approach to melding blogging and mothering. I highly recommend this book!

- Joy Forney,

“When you create a habit of writing prior to the day you post, you decrease the stress of trying to get a post up the day of.” #BAHM @ChristinWrites <–Click To Tweet


“Writing should be considered kingdom work before anything else—even if the work is done on your own heart.” #BAHM @ChristinWrites <—Click to Tweet


“You cannot blog with integrity if you don’t have your priorities in order.” #BAHM @ChristinWrites <—Click to Tweet 


Get your PDF copy here Add to Cart


Get it for the Kindle here. Now available on the Nook–get it here!

100% of the profits from this eBook go directly to our adoption travel costs. We need to raise about $5000 to bring our girls home. So when you purchase this book, you are helping us get one step closer to our goal. *Thank you*!!

Why I Blog

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

My friend Lauren over at Traded Dreams inspired me to share why I blog. I figured it was a great time to evaluate why I started and why I am continuing–because they have changed.

The reasons I blog today are not the same reasons I started out with. It is truly amazing to see how God has grown me through my writing on my blog. Yet, I am still learning so much.

Over the years I have come across several bloggers who have written on keeping some things secret, sacred, and close. That you don’t need to share everything with “the world”. I highly respect that decision for those who feel that compelling.

But I am not one of them, though I tried to be based on these promptings.

Sure, I can keep my personal information private, but my life was not meant to be lived in secret. I believe with all I am that God has called me to share what He is doing in my life and that cannot fully be done if I hold some things back. I follow the leading of the Spirit and know what to share and what things to wait on. But I have found myself not sharing as much as I should be because of what God may have spoken to someone else.

I was created to pay attention to the details, so often I do share details. I believe the details are much of where we see {or miss} God’s hand at work in our lives.

So, when I first began blogging, it was to empty myself, to help organize and clarify my own thoughts. Writing, for me, is one way I connect with God and He speaks to me. This is why I also keep a prayer journal. It helps me focus, too. But blogging is something different in a way. It involves writing, but what I write is different.

Over the last year, I’ve struggled a bit in my writing because I lost my voice through reading so many others. I had to take a step back from reading some of the blogs I love because I found myself wanting to adapt my voice to theirs. What came out was nothing but a mess. My voice didn’t come through the way it started off–which was deep and thorough.

It started becoming choppy and my thoughts were left incomplete. I was trying to write poetically like Ann Voskamp and lyrically like Emily Freeman.

I began Joyful Mothering as a way to challenge myself to be a better mother–yet in some ways I think it’s actually hindered that. I was setting standards for myself I couldn’t live up to. As a result, I began writing less and less because I couldn’t bear to share that I created this high standard for myself and I failed over and over and over again. How many times can my community take reading the failures of one person?

As a result, I stopped trying to be a better mother and settled for mediocrity.

I also set out to teach but I only know so much. I don’t have all the answers, so keeping up with posts on how to get your children to do chores or how to speak gently to them is impossible, because I am still learning these things!

So, my blogging focus has begun to shift from “do all, tell all”, to wanting to share God’s power through my life rather than my filthy deeds.

That doesn’t mean I won’t challenge myself once in a while, but because I’m striving so much to “do” for God, I have lost striving to simply “be” with Him.

It’s a funny feeling, but I miss Him. Have you ever felt like you miss God? You miss connecting with Him the way you once did? That’s where I am. This is where my blogging takes a bit of a focus shift.

That begs the question: why do I blog?

I blog ultimately to bring glory to God. This happens through sharing my experience with mothering, marriage, homemaking,  missions and writing our adoption story down as it unfolds. Much of our story still remains behind the scenes in order to protect our adoptive children and our adoption process. But eventually it will come out so you can see all the wonderful ways God has worked through this process.

I blog for accountability. But this is where it can get tricky. Although I need accountability, I don’t want to be eaten up by perfectionism.

I blog for community. I love connecting with women. I never believed I needed the kindred spirit of women in community, but the more I opened up to the idea and opened up myself, the more I realized what a blessing women are and how much I really do need them.

I hope you’ll stick with me as my blog goes through some growing pains. I’m learning the importance of a balanced life, which is why I’m coming out with an eBook on the subject. (Details to come! ;))

 Why do you blog?

A Place for Moms Who Write

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

I’ve started a little something for mom writers. It’s called Moms Write {#MomsWrite}

If you’re a mom who likes to write or would like to write, but struggles with the juggling of homemaking, mothering, and trying to find writing time, this is for you. This is an ongoing space for encouragement, tips, and accountability for moms who write and want to keep mothering well through it all.

Come join us?

Allume – the Best Year Yet

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

I have had the incredible privilege of being able to attend Allume every year it has run (which began as The Relevant Conference).

Last year I set out to the {then} Relevant conference ready to be all about myself. Let me tell you, I left that conference feeling terrible. I left empty and completely unfulfilled. The conference was fine. It was beautiful! But my soul was screaming at me for being so selfish.

But this year was different.

This year I was part of the Allume team–and at first glance you might think that something spectacular because of the title. You may think of me as some “big wig” superstar.

I’m not.

I’m just me.

What made this year so unique and so rewarding for me was the awesome privilege of being able to serve you.

Allume is a fantastic avenue to connect Christian women bloggers and I am so passionate about it’s vision, that being a part of it is  more than exciting for me.

God used Relevant last year to speak to me about my own gifts. I’m a writer, yes. I love to string words together and organize my thoughts and ideas. But I also enjoy {in a strange kind of way} organizing details and working administrative projects. It’s something I discovered of myself in high school.

Through a series of emails, God made a working connection between Sarah Mae and I and the next thing I know, I’m an administrative assistant (er, crackerjack) on the Allume team.

I am not in this position because I wanted to be part of a “big name”. I’m in it because I wanted to be part of a “big God” and I don’t believe it was an accident that He placed me here.

So, working behind the scenes and answering, literally, thousands of emails throughout the course of the year, and then seeing it all come alive as each team member did their part was nothing short of amazing.

The best part? Serving you. I have never had a more rewarding year, and being able to put faces to the email addresses I’ve conversed with was just wonderful. To hug the beautiful necks of ladies I had worked with on blog consults and have conversed with on Twitter and in Facebook groups was such a gift to me, that sometimes I’d grab women in passing whom I’d already hugged to hug them again! I just wanted to soak up everyone!

Furthermore, I got to meet and work with the amazing sponsors throughout the months and see their hearts behind their ministries. Each company represented at Allume is much more than a company alone. They have great vision for serving others, too. That’s what makes them such a great fit for Allume. Our goal is one in the same; to serve.

Thank you to those of you who stepped out and came up to me to say “Hello”. I really appreciate it and am sometimes really bad at recognizing people from their photos!! Apparently that’s not the case for me since people recognized me even when I didn’t have my name tag on! In fact, Sheila Gregoire shocked me by knowing me and my blog name!

So what is my take away from Allume this year?

Serving others is much more rewarding then serving myself.

That may be an obvious truth to some, but for me, it took real experience and regret for me to learn that.

Ann Voskamp is not wrong when she says you need to stoop lower to get the reward. That’s where it is…it’s not in reaching for a platform of people who will serve you (by making your numbers climb)–instead it’s reaching out to the people right in front of you to serve them. I reached out to help Sarah Mae and she accepted.

Many people throughout the weekend spoke the same truth in different ways. Trina Holden talked about fully serving the people already on your blog rather than going out to find more.

This space is meant to serve you.

My vessel, my life is meant to serve others so that I might worship Him.

How I Manage Blogging and my Business with Mothering and Homeschooling

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Last weekend I went to the Allume conference, which is a Christian Women’s Blogging conference. It was an incredible weekend.

Me and Mandy (@dailycupofgrace)

Several women approached me asking how I “do it all”.

Because I blog, work as an Allume team member, and just recently launched my own virtual assistant and blog consulting business, as well as homeschool, people are asking how I do it.

First, I need to be clear. While I do work for several bloggers as a virtual assistant, I do not work 40 hours per week for each of them–or even combined. I work anywhere from 1-2 to 3-4 hours per week, per client. And some weeks, I don’t have any work for some of them. On average, I work about 15 hours per week.

But there are some seasons, such as the 3 weeks leading up to Allume, when I have more hours then normal from any given client or project.

There are a few things that I keep in check in order to manage my family and my blogging/business.

Planning and Organization

I have to have a plan. If I don’t know the best times to work on certain projects, I won’t be the most productive assistant. I need to keep social media in its place so it’s not sucking away precious time from my children or my productivity.

If I am not at least somewhat organized, I will forget things. When you have 5+ clients plus blog advertisers, it’s very important to keep all their projects organized


I keep a schedule to help me make the most of my time. In the mornings I home school. For a few hours in the afternoon I work. My day resembles this:

5am – wake, quiet time/check in with #hellomornings, write, answer pressing emails, schedule social media for clients and myself

7am – breakfast, Bible reading, chores, ready children for day

9am-12pm – homeschool (clean in between)

12pm – lunch

1pm – toddler naps; mama works, babes play

4pm – tidy house and start dinner

5:30 – eat and clean up kitchen

6:30 – daddy time/reading time/game time/free play (depending on the evening)
– sometimes I work during this time

8:30 – bed time routine

9:00 – children in bed
– I read books or write on my blog; 1-2 times per week we have an in-home date night


Unless I’m trying to meet a deadline, I don’t work in the evenings or on weekends. I use those times to feed my brain with either inspiration or knowledge on how I can be a better mother, homeschooler, writer, assistant, blogger, etc. I also use that time to write.

My children do not watch television during the week, so I’m not tempted to just turn the TV on for them while I work. Instead, they are required to find something productive to do. Sometimes it’s Legos, sometimes it’s a CD book, sometimes my eldest 2 spend the afternoon writing their own books! And sometimes, yes, they get bored.

No, my house isn’t perfectly clean–and it wasn’t before I started blogging and running a business either! My husband doesn’t complain, but I do the best I can and train my children to help as well.

This schedule gives me rails to ride on, so when I derail (and I do), I know I have a guide to get back on and follow.

Do you have any questions about my schedule or other ways I manage? :)

21 Ways Postponed

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Happy October!!!

So I ordered my book over a week ago and it still has not arrived yet! So I will be postponing 21 Ways to Connect With Your Kids until next week.

If you are interested in joining in, you can sign up here. This will give you some time to order the book if you desire to join in!

You can also check out the awesome 31 Days series that bloggers all around are joining in on and writing up wonderful posts for. The possibilities are endless!

Also starting today is “A Holiday Ready Heart” that you’ll want to check out!

Have a wonderful Monday!!

Photo Credit

Information Overload

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Are you a glutton for information? I know I have been, but there’s something I’ve learned about this bad habit. It gets you nowhere if you don’t put steps to what you’ve learned.

Come visit me at Allume today as I offer you a challenge on spending your information.


Blogging: When You Just Want To Quit

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Have you ever gotten to a point where you just want to quit blogging? I know I have!  Today on Allume, I share the temptation I had to quit this weekend and why I’m pressing on. Plus, I encourage YOU if you’re struggling as well. Pop in for a visit!

How to Build a Tribe

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Today I’m at Allume talking about tribes, what they are, and how you can build one. Come on over? :)