positive parenting tip

Our kids are our little disciples, aren't they? Except they're so young and inexperienced in the world that we basically teach them e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Not just sanctification or helping them through an area of growth. ALL THE THINGS. The tough thing I'm finding with really young kids is that a lot of that requires frustratingly redundant repetition. Saying the same thing every day for months and months and eventually it yields fruit. We hope!

Well with really young kids it's often a lot of "don't do that!" and "no no no!" as they're about to smack their sibling or touch something hot or run towards an open staircase. It can all feel really negative and discouraging. A few years ago I observed a friend of mine with a baby the same age as Lily (who at the time was under 2 years old) correcting her daughter in a neat way. Instead of saying "don't touch" or "no" every time her daughter grabbed something she wasn't allowed to have (which of course is every twenty seconds give or take), she'd say "not for babies" as she took the object away.

Not for babies. 

I like it. Simple, direct, corrective. But not NO.


commercials make me cry.

Like, a lot of commercials. I'm well aware that I'm being manipulated but those ad men are just too good. This is one reason I love Netflix... not being sold anything (at least not as directly as in a commercial) is a huge plus. We don't have any other means of watching TV except the commercial-free glorious Netflix account, so I miss a lot of commercials. My parents recently told me about a NyQuil commercial about how Moms don't get to call in sick. It was my life a couple weeks back when we all had a terrible flu, and both my mom and dad on separate occasions mentioned this hilariously true commercial. Anyway, I haven't still haven't seen it but I appreciate the idea behind it, because hello, we can't. But anyway, commercials.

Have you seen the Similac one? I just saw it via Facebook and I can't stop welling up when I think about it, now 48 hours later. It hits a nerve because it is deeply true and many of us mamas have been deeply wounded in these Mommy Wars. Watch. Cry. Enjoy.



It's been a while since I've done a mélange of posts that have recently inspired me, so here we go!


scripture memory cards!

Every January we get a fresh start, if only in our minds. We make lists and dream dreams and aim high. Every year my top goal is to be more consistent in God's Word.

The past four years haven't been easy on me with three pregnancies + three seasons of sleepless nights and fussy newborns. But that fog is lifting! And it would be easy to continue giving myself the excuse that I have three little ones underfoot and at the end of the day I just don't have it in me to dig deep into the Bible and chew on those meaty chunks of scripture and let them nourish me and sustain me. Because I've been there. It's been true. There have been a lot of times in the past four years of pregnancy and new motherhood that I couldn't.

Of course, even then, God's Word was my strength and my portion but my time with Jesus looked differently. When you're averaging under 6 hours of sleep a night for months on end, you may not be able to study the Bible as academically and thoroughly as you'd like. And God knows you and your season and He is still there. There in the time you do get in His Word. There in the cries for help and quick prayers. There in the audio sermons while you're nursing all night. There in the attempts you do make to commune with Him. Motherhood and pregnancy aren't seasons where we're given an excuse to stop pursuing God, but they are seasons where God's grace is richer, if we'd just grab it.

Seeing Jesus in those long seasons of little sleep and physical exhaustion was probably more beautiful than when it's easy to catch his reflection. Because I knew I had nothing to give but HE WAS STILL THERE. And He is still here. He's seen me through.

This January, I know I'm going into a year where there will be no pregnancies or newborns. God can and probably will bring other trials my way, but for now, I know my time with Him needs to stretch. I'm ready, I'm alert, I'm willing. He wants me. So my goal has been not only more scripture in my days (a LOT more!) but more scripture memory.

Being the do-er I am, I searched Etsy and Pinterest for some scripture memory cards to help me on my quest. I wasn't thrilled. I found a few options that were out of my price range, and then I found a printable option (no shipping fees + print on whatever paper you'd like). But every.single.option I found lacked the meaty verses i was hoping to memorize. I was frustrated by the huge amount of scripture taken out of context, the verses split up, and the fluff! So I set out to make my own.

I spent the next week ferociously reading the New Testament. I nearly finished the entire New Testament in 7 days. I was hungry and I think you might be too. I found 70 verses that I knew I wanted to commit to memory. Can I memorize 70 verses in a year? Probably not, but these were the verses I wanted on my door posts and on my heart. These were the verses I wanted to chew on and be convicted of and delight in. So I made my own cards. Simple, modern, geometric, black and white (cheaper to print!), and chalk full of profound scripture.

If you'd like to order the PDF of my New Testament scripture memory cards, e-mail me @ emily.terreberry@gmail.com. The cost for the pdf is $8.

Print them at home or splurge on the super thick card stock. Cut them out and hang them up. Use them as a book mark for your Bible, or string up a garland of them. Basically, join me this year as I seek to get more of God's word in my heart and mind.


2014's movie based-on-a-true-story

Ah, family photos. The grueling pain of having them done pays off for decades (at least the parents hope). When we started a family there was one tradition I really wanted to start, and so far, four years in, I've managed to be consistent. How many other things can I say the same for? Very few. But this, this was important. Family photos once a year, and a family photo book collecting all of our snap shots will be done each January. How hard can it be?

If you scroll my instagram feed you will almost never see pictures with the five of us. We're a busy family and my husband works 6 of 7 days each week. And when we're together we rarely seem to capture it on film. Oh funny, I just made a historical joke. Film. Anyway, even if you are together with your family often it doesn't mean you have an additional person around willing to patiently take pictures of you. While your kids jump and tackle and stain outfits and fill diapers all during this precious gap of time when no one is napping or over tired, hungry, crying, or on a time out. Basically I've narrowed family photo taking possibilities down to three hours a year. And darn it, we used those three hours and our beloved friends Max and Rachel came over and blessed us with these wonderful images that I will cherish for years to come.

Every year we've done family photos it's been stress-city. My hopes are sky high and to accomplish my dream photo shoot so many things have to align perfectly. Kid's behaviour, lighting, outfits not getting dirty, location working out, general moods of all of us (because faking it is 99% of picture taking and that is HARD). I've been a bit of a hot mess in the moments before family photos in the past and I vowed to be different this year. We'd take them at home, we'd be open minded about poses and shots we wanted, we'd have back up outfits and spoil the kids with marshmallows if we had to! I wanted us to get great photos but I also wanted to have fun with my family, and I know my stress rubs off on my family and can ruin the whole thing I'm working so hard to make perfect.

Of course whatever could have gone wrong probably did. Brad and Lily arrived late from a grocery run so we were hurried getting ready, and on their drive home an enraged man yelled at our car window, frightening Lily. Brad spent a lot of time debriefing her and in the end she was her usual self, but it had him on high alert for the rest of the day. Our kid's room which is always the brightest room in the house wasn't very well lit as it was an unusually cloudy day, but our friends brought an extra light and we used lamps we had around the house to add light. I've never seen my living room so lit up! I loved that because of our friend's ingenuity we could take pictures in a few spots around the house - not just the kid's shared room.

Brad was a gem and let me dress him without question. Except when I said tie-under-sweater and then there were questions. This is the kind of outfit he would preach in at church but we're comfy people at home, so it was weird for him to be curling up on the couch in a tie. But honey, lets pretend you wear this when we're reading books on the couch with the kids. And my hair is always so straight. And look at me and smile because you're such a babe. If only there were speech bubbles because they might have read, "this tie is the biggest lie I've ever told".

Also, lets talk about Christmas cards for a sec. Did anyone send them? Because we only got like five. And the two pictures above were supposed to be sent out as ours but let's be honest, these pictures were taken on Dec. 22nd so who were we kidding? Even an e-card would have made it just in time. So sadly these cute shots didn't get used. We sent out a "Merry Christmas but mainly HAPPY NEW YEAR" cover up e-card this week and used a different picture from the series. Load. Off. My. Shoulders. Maybe I'll keep the sharpie sign for next year? Oli, promise to have the same smile, mk?

I think we all have a little cognitive dissonance when it comes to family photos, or any photography for that matter. None of it is real life. It's a little too polished to pass as "oh crazy, the mail man just came by and offered to snap a couple of these while we were all pleasantly sitting together as a family of five". There are lights and there is makeup and there is preparation and we're all smiling and hugging. I'd like to say that was every day, but it's not.

Here's how we resolved this disconnect. It's true, these pictures were posed. But they're an image of a real thing. A real family that loves and cuddles and laughs. It's a movie, based on a true story. And yes, we're also a family that fights and cries and sins, but we don't need pictures to remind us of that, do we? If we're honest, it's often hardest to remember the beautiful parts. Life is hard and this world is fallen, and we forget God and his promises for us and our families. But there is great love and great forgiveness thanks to Jesus, the author of both. And these are one way we remember his grace.

Happy New Year!
His mercies are new every morning.