One Word for 2019

It changed entire years when I started. It wasn’t like those New Year’s resolutions that you get depressed about because you fail almost as quickly as you start. This is totally different.

Some blog, somewhere long ago, gave the idea to choose a word/theme to work on for the new year in place of setting resolutions. You have a whole 365 days to learn, mull over, make progress in your word. It changed my life!

My first year with this idea I think I chose the word ‘Prepare’.  I was tired of always feeling under the gun, like I would be late, not have enough food, not have that gift ready, etc. So I began, day by day, focusing on preparation for the day ahead. I was learning to think of what would be expected of me in the next 24 hours and what I could do to best take control of my domain. I didn’t set a resolution of having every single thing prepared for every single day, or I would have felt defeated within a very short time. Instead I tweaked how I did things each day as I progressed a little at a time and created new habits both in thought and action that made my life go more smoothly as the year progressed. I learned so much without being overwhelmed! And many of the lessons I learned that year while caring for my home and family are now implemented to prepare for our conferences each fall!


In other years the words I’ve chosen have been Simplify, Organize, Family, Surrender…. And every single one has been used by God to teach me much throughout the 12 months I’m focused on it.

My 2018 word has been Hearts. The word Hearts has been written on my little Dollar Store chalkboard sign in my kitchen since January 1st of this year. A constant reminder that all day every day I am preparing for, molding, feeding, reprimanding, cleaning for, spending time with, HEARTS.


When my door bell rings I am meeting another heart that has just as many emotions and worldly cares as I do. When my child comes down the stairs in the morning and sits at the counter with bedhead and asks what’s for breakfast, I am looking at a fragile being that I can make or break with how I respond and speak. I’m interacting with hearts all day, every day.



A number of times I’d catch a glimpse of my Heart sign and have immediate twinges of guilt because I had forgotten my important word and knew I had failed much. I was also thankful for the visual right there to remind me before I lost too much time. God is gracious and I have learned much this year about myself and God has been kind and not allowed me to lose my mind as I waited up many late nights for my ‘hearts’ to return home after evenings of hockey games, campfires, and random fun times with friends. This past weekend I automatically thought of all the Hearts involved as I waded through the mounds of boots and jackets and toys and food scraps from my house full of family and friends saying goodbye to some special people who will be moving soon.


Hearts… I’ve been given a new focus for the people in my world this year. I see them differently. I have been humbled, given courage from, learned to care deeply for, and connected on a whole new level with the hearts in my world.

As you can tell from our pictures we often have a houseful. We love having our family and friends around us. I have had to let my dreams of a Pinterest style home go, and enjoy the relationships with all my people. The words that I’ve chosen over the years have all lended themselves to this same conviction that our life is about relationships. When I chose ‘Simplify’, I realized I was simplifying so that we could enjoy the right things, not the extras that weren’t eternal. When I chose ‘Organize’, life for all my people became easier and more enjoyable and we were able to include more relationships into our days. When the word was ‘Family’, I learned to focus more on my innermost circle because its super easy for me to get caught up in all the action going on around me. The ‘Surrender’ year taught me that I was selfish and need to let go of a lot of my own wishes because there were others I live with all day every day that had wishes, needs, and dreams too.





I can’t even hope to pretend that I’ve mastered any of those areas. But since that wasn’t the point, learning was, I can walk away from those years thankful and know that I’ve grown and made some progress.

So, since this simple practice has changed my life in a bigger way than I ever expected, I want to share the idea with you. Take the month of December to think about your word for 2019. Ask God if He’s got a word already picked out for you. 😉

I’d love to know what word you decide to conquer!!!



A cozy, snowstorm kind of day here in the Valley! I just finished up school with the kids and Nikki is here with her bible studying like crazy while the snow blows outside… so I just asked her to draw the names out so we could announce the winners of the book Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund.

Here are the names that were drawn from those who left a comment on this post.

So congratulations to Maureen Pritchett and Dini Braun! I will get your books to you soon!


A Giveaway!!

During my mother’s session, Keeper of My Heart: How God Transformed My Home, she mentioned a book that helped her tremendously as a brand new christian and homemaker. The session is needed very much in today’s world and is worth another listen! Somehow the book that was going to be a prize, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund, was lost in all the conference busyness. I decided it would be fun to have a blog giveaway so that you still have a chance to win a copy.IMG_5252

There are two copies to win and I’ll mail them (or hand deliver if you live close enough) to each winner. Contest opens today, Tuesday, November 13th and closes Wednesday, November 21st at midnight. I’ll be picking the winning names out of a hat here at home, all fancy-like. Watch for the winners to be announced on November 22nd!

Just write a comment on this post about this year’s  2018 Home & Vision Conference, whether you were there in person or listened in online afterward! If you haven’t listened in yet, check out the 2018 Sessions here and then you can try for the prize. 


2018 Printable Downloads

Very pleased to finally be able to share the art prints that were mentioned at the conference. Sarah Meadows created both of them for me and I am so thankful for her talent and willingness to help her poor aunt out! She said to share them with you all free of charge.

Our theme verse this year for conference helps us to remember constantly to reevaluate where each choice is taking us every day. Ponder the path of your feet and make sure you aren’t losing focus! Let this  beautiful printable be an encouragement to you through your days.

Click HERE to download  Psalm 119:59 art print!


And another somewhat sarcastic printable for those kindred spirits out there who like to say it like it is. In my first conference session I shared about how important it was to create a Bible addiction and that Sarah had made me a pretty little print for Christmas last year. Now it’s all yours, too!                                                                                                    We say it jokingly around here, but there is truth in jest. 😉

Click HERE to download Read Your Bible art print!



How to Study the Bible (with sermon link)

At the conference last week I shared my version of how to become addicted to your Bible. I’ve had the addiction for a number of years and I was thrilled with the chance to introduce a new way to dive into Scripture to so many women all at once. Many have been intrigued by the ideas I shared.

Here is my Bible Addiction Challenge in a nutshell:


My Bible reading plan is based on John MacArthur’s sermon I listened to many years ago.   It changed my life! I recently looked it up again and gave a listen and enjoyed it even more this time through. I promised to share it with you and here it is.

John MacArthur’s How to Study the Bible

I want to do what John MacArthur talked about and am concentrating on the New Testament for my Bible challenge and am starting in on reading through the Old Testament in a year using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological Reading Plan.

Let me know what you think!!!


Our Favourite Things

Here’s a list of links (in no particular order) to some of our favourite things that were mentioned at the conference this year:

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, Kate Rheaume-Bleue

Gluten-Free Baking, Kristine Kidd

Todd Wilson:

Jesus Storybook Bible

Waterlogue App

Loving the Little Years, Rachel Jankovic

Covenant Eyes internet filter and accountability

Sally Clarkson’s blog

Sarah Clarkson’s blog

Holly Myers Art

Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, Anne Ortlund

The Messies Manual, Sandra Felton


The Indestructible Houseplant, Tovah Martin

The Renewing of the Mind Project: Going to God for Help with Your Habits, Goals and Emotions, Barb Raveling

A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George





Thank you for all the kind comments about the meals. I promised some recipes, and since I can’t remember which ones in particular were requested, here’s all of them.



Best Cheese Ball, from Company’s Coming Appetizers

  • 2 x 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. onion flakes
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • Pecans or walnuts, finely chopped*

Measure first 7 ingredients into bowl. Mash and mix together. Shape into ball. Roll in nuts. Put cocktail knives and crackers nearby so guests can dig right in. Leftovers may be reshaped rewrapped and frozen if not going to be used within a week. Makes about 3¼ cups.

*For the conference, I rolled the ball lightly in a mixture of paprika and dried parsley instead.


Dilly Dip, from Company’s Coming Appetizers

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (Hellmann’s!)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. dry onion flakes
  • 2 tsp. dry parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. dry dill weed
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt (Hy’s!)

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Chill. Serve with potato chips, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, celery sticks, carrot sticks, bread sticks, radish, cherry tomatoes, green pepper slices and any other vegetable you can think of. Makes 2 cups.


Picnic Potato Salad, from an old Purity Cookbook

  • 1½ cups mayonnaise (Hellmann’s!)
  • 3 tbsp. sweet pickle juice (I use the brine from the dill pickles)
  • 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 2 tsp. salt (I start with one and add more to taste)
  • Pinch pepper
  • 8 cups cubed cooked potatoes
  • 1½ cups thinly sliced celery
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced radishes
  • ¼ cup chopped dill pickles
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, chopped (original recipe says 4)

In small bowl combine mayo, pickle juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside. In large bowl combine vegetables, pickles and eggs. Pour dressing over and toss gently. Season to taste. Chill at least three hours.

In case you’re wondering, a triple batch uses 10lb potatoes and fills a punch bowl!


Grammie Matheson’s Apple Pudding, family recipe from St. George, New Brunswick

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ⅓ c. milk
  • 1 cup sliced apples
  • 1¼ cups hot water
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together white sugar, flour, baking powder, milk and apples. Put in 1 quart casserole. Mix hot water, brown sugar, butter and vanilla together and pour over batter. Do not stir. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes.

This works well with other fruits – try your favourite!


Gluten-Free Apple Crisp


Overnight Oats


Gluten-Free Raspberry Oatmeal Muffins, from Gluten-Free Baking by Kristine Kidd

For the conference, I used blueberries instead of raspberries, and I skipped the initial browning of the oats. I often substitute millet flour for almond meal. I leave the nuts out of the topping and use cinnamon in place of cardamom.




Pumpkin-Date-Walnut Bread, from Gluten-Free Baking by Kristine Kidd

I often substitute cornstarch for potato starch, and didn’t add walnuts for the conference.




Sally Clarkson’s Heavenly Oatmeal Muffins, from The Lifegiving Table

When I add a cup of raisins or chocolate chips or fruit, this easily makes 24 muffins instead of 12 as the recipe says.



Wild Blueberry-Buttermilk Muffins and Pumpkin-Pecan Muffins, from Rise & Dine Canada



Sunshine Muffins and Apple Pie Muffins, from an old Berwick School fundraiser cookbook



The apple pie muffins are small, so I mixed up 1 1/2 batches to make the 24 muffins served at the conference.



Ted Reader’s Memphis-Style Creamy Coleslaw

I leave the onions and pepper out and reduce the mustard powder to ½ tsp. I don’t know if Memphis cabbages are smaller than ours, but I usually end up doubling the dressing ingredients.



Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Coat a boneless pork loin with lots of taco seasoning. If you have time, wrap it up and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I’ve been trying homemade mix recipes, and this one seems pretty good:

Slice up a few onions and put them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the pork on top and add a cup or two or chicken stock. Cover and cook on high until the pork shreds easily with a couple of forks: I plan on 5-6 hours on high or 10+ on low. If it doesn’t pull apart, easily, it’s not done! After you shred it all up, add salt and pepper if necessary. I like to serve BBQ sauce on the side so we can all add it to taste.

I do a whole 8lb loin cut in two pieces in my 8 qt slow cooker and slice up four onions for the bottom. Great way to feed a crowd!


Cakes!  Sarah increased all cake ingredient measurements by 50% in order to make 3 layers, and used 8″ pans so the cakes would be nice and tall.

Pink Vanilla Birthday Cake


Deep Dark Chocolate Cake


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


Hershey’s Best Brownies

To make them gluten-free, I substitute an equal amount of oat flour for the all-purpose flour. I increased this one by 50% as well and baked it in a 10×15″ jelly roll pan for the conference.

Uncle Marty’s Famous Egg Casserole recipe coming soon!

Must Read!

Jaquelle’s book is AWESOME! I simply cannot wait to meet this young woman in person. As if it’s possible, it makes me even more excited to sit in on her sessions.

I hope whether you are a teen or not you all read This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years. The message applies to my 41 year old self just and much as my 18 year old. Don’t let the word ‘teen’ under the title scare you away. Read it!

But if you don’t have a chance to pick it up or order it before, you will be able purchase a copy at the conference and chat with the author. I’m sure you will want your teens to read it along with you. 😉

We are continuing with our work to make this years conference the best one yet. Stay tuned as I get more details out to you.

We would appreciate your prayers through the preparations of the next couple of months as we wrap it all up pretty for you.