Write Them On The Doorposts: An Idea For Building A House

During construction of our house, my sister-in-law shared the coolest idea with us – when building their house, their family wrote scripture and their names on the wood studs with a Sharpie.

A home built around God’s word. Literally.

The passage in Deuteronomy about teaching scripture to children came to mind.Focusing on God’s word isn’t just for Sunday morning, but instead for every day, and should permeate every aspect of our lives.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

-Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (ESV)

As my husband and I prepared to walk through the house after framing (before drywall), we considered what we wanted to write on our doorposts.

What do we want our house to be used for? How do we want to live life as a family? What scripture is special to each member of our family? We really do desire for God’s Word to permeate our lives and for our home to reflect it to others.

We thought about what we do in each room of the house and picked scripture to remind us of what we WANT to happen in each room. It was really fun to think about the purpose of each space.

Thinking about our kids and what we desire for their relationships with God was even more fun. And special. By far, this was one of the best parts of building a new home – and yes, I think it was even more exciting than picking out countertops and finishes.

We’ve lived in our finished house for 2 years. While we know what verses are hiding just behind the drywall, it just isn’t enough to know the words are there. No, we want those words to affect our life.

Now we are finding ways to display the verses in each room. They will not only be part of the structure, but also part of the livable space.  We have a few more rooms to go, but are making progress!

Many of the verses are displayed today because my PhotoShop-talented mom gave them to us as a gift (Thank you!). Talk about a gift with deep, lasting significance!

Here are the verses we chose for our home and family.

Kitchen and Dining Room:

Kitchen and Dining Room | thisgratefulmama.com

Our family’s day starts and ends in the kitchen and dining room. We share our meals and talk about our days – the heart of our home. We chose Joshua 24:15 because we want to be a family who daily chooses to serve the Lord.

Choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Living Room:

Living Room

Our living room is where we hang out as a family and guests. It is where the television is, and where we spend a lot of our time. This is where life happens! Philippians 4:8 reminds us of what we want to happen in this room. We want our activities and talk to be filled with GOOD things that honor the Lord.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

Front Door:

Write It On The Door Posts | thisgratefulmama.com

On the post for our front door, we chose Numbers 6:24-26. I cannot think of a better prayer to pray over those who enter and exit our home. We are still looking for a way to display this one above the door.

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)


Write It On The Door Posts | thisgratefulmama.com

Our office is currently being used as a ‘LEGO room’. One day, it will be an office displaying Proverbs 19:21. This seems like a suitable verse for the place where we work, pay our bills, and consider our finances. We want all of these things to be submitted to the Lord and to follow His leading for our family.

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

Our Son’s Room:

Write It On The Door Posts | thisgratefulmama.com

Ephesians 6:10-11 was the first scripture verse our son memorized. He learned it while we were helping him work through his fear of thunder storms. It is our goal as parents to teach our children how to be clothed in God’s armor so they are equipped to stand firmly in faith on their own.

10 Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

Our Daughter’s Room:

Write It On The Door Posts | thisgratefulmama.com

Proverbs 3:5-6 was written on our daughter’s doorpost. It is our prayer that she will grow up trusting God to guide her steps. We pray this verse with her and over her often.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Our Bedroom:

Our Bedroom.jpg

For our room, my husband and I chose two verses. Ephesians 4:2-3 expresses how we want to treat each other – with gentleness, humility and patience through love.

The second is Song of Solomon 6:3 – we belong to each other…now and forever.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)


I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine

Song of Solomon 6:3 (NIV)

While our family is not always good at living these things out, the verses serve as a reminder to point us to God. Often, when the day seems chaotic, a glance at the displays in each room can give me words to pray for our family, and change our attitudes.

Our kids are also very interested in the verses and often ask us to read them out loud. And, we can refer to them as we teach them about each verse and what it means.

I am so glad we took the time to select and write scripture during construction. I love how displaying them helps our family to remember in God daily life, and as we share our home with others.

How have you posted what is important to your family in your home?




Don’t Look Too Close

Don't Look Too Close | thisgratefulmama.com

Ever have that kind friend over who comments on the cleanliness of your home? I try to be polite but sometimes it makes me burst out laughing before I can thank her.

Don’t look too close.

Being a mother of two little ones has required that I master doing ‘just enough’ cleaning. The house may appear to be clean, but I guarantee it took no more than 20 minutes to pick up and ‘clean’ before you came over.

Most likely, we ran the dishwasher last night, so we used paper plates for breakfast – I’m too lazy to put dishes away first thing in the morning. A few minutes before you arrived, we may have crammed the toys into the catch-all toy box.

Out of necessity (the potty-training-kind), I did quickly clean the toilet and surrounding floor this morning. But I would have done that whether you were coming over or not, because as I said, it’s necessity.

I do sweep the whole floor once a week, but most of the time I just touch up problem areas – around the kitchen island and by the front door. If you look for crumbs…you’ll find them. All over.

If your child is under the age of 2 and puts things in their mouth, I probably did vacuum the two rooms our kids will be playing in (although I have gone without vacuuming for quite some time when the vacuum belt breaks or the bag is full), but please know it wasn’t because I wanted you to see a clean house. No, it was to protect your sweet child from choking on the umpteen tiny clear Lego lights and who-knows-what-other-tiny-pieces all over my carpet. I am always amazed at the clatter of tiny things sucked up and tossed around the vacuum cleaner.

But don’t look too close…the illusion of clean isn’t necessarily clean.

The house is clean if you don’t pay attention to the crumbs accumulated under the overhang of our kitchen cabinets.

The house is clean if you don’t look upstairs where I surely did not vacuum…it looks like I vacuumed my stairs from the front door, but I only did the bottom 5 stairs and the landing  – the remaining stairs are still in a matted down, un-vacuumed state along with the entire second floor.

The house is clean if you don’t look into the laundry room at the mountain that is CLEAN laundry, begging to be folded and put away.

The house is clean if you don’t run your hand over any hard surfaces to check for dust.

The house is clean if you don’t open the hallway or mud room closets. Open and risk the impending avalanche.

The house looks clean when you arrive but won’t be like that again for the rest of the day week. The house usually looks like this.

The house is clean if you don’t look in the toy box. Nothing is sorted, matched or organized. ALL the toys on this floor fit in the toy box or cabinet in that room. If not, they are ejected to the basement (the kids want to play in the basement? Sure, but it’s a MESS. And not the ‘a few things are out, don’t mind our mess’ kind of mess…I mean a borderline-chaos kind of MESS).

My counters are clean and clear of mail and daily stuff, because the stuff was all shoved into my one three junk drawers in the kitchen or hidden under the now closed roll-top desk in the office.

The only reason this ‘clean illusion’ works is we are distracted by kids when you come over. When we didn’t have kids, it’s possible my house may have actually have been clean when you came over.

Back. When. I. Had. More. Time.

Seriously, what did we do with all that excess time?

The truth is, for the house to be truly CLEAN, I’d have to spend hours and hours that I do not have. I’d probably have to stay up late or get up at the crack of dawn to clean. Then as the kids got up, I’d have to chase them around, picking up after them, and probably scolding them to pick up. By the time you got here, I’d be one stressed out mama with a mop.

That kind of cleaning isn’t going to do us any favors. That kind of clean yields crabby kids and a frustrated mama.

The reality of playdates is this: our kids are going to track in sand, drop crumbs and play with toys. A house doesn’t need to be spotless for kids to have a good time or for their mamas to talk over a cup of coffee. As we talk, I’m sure we’ll agree our lives are much fuller now, even if they aren’t very clean

Plus…all this dirt must do something good for our immune systems, right?

No, I much prefer the 15-20 minute pickup so I can relax, enjoy your company and watch our kids giggle while making carefree messes and memories.

And to be clear, I am more than OK with you stopping by and seeing my house (and me) in a state of chaos and mess.  House is a mess? You’re still welcome here. Come on in and let’s be real with each other.

This life, this house, and this family are not perfect, and neither am I. No need to pretend among friends.

In fact, this house is often a mess. Don’t be alarmed. Sometimes, the mess is just here and evidence of a full life without much time to clean. We live here. But our relationship is too precious to cancel a coffee or playdate for a silly reason like my house being too embarrassingly dirty. Hopefully, you’re OK with that.

I’d much rather enjoy these messy years while kids are small than chase everyone around with cleaning products in an endless cleaning battle that cannot be won.

So my friends, if you comment on our home, please don’t be offended when I chuckle and say, ‘Don’t look too close’ – I’m not pretending my house isn’t clean – it really isn’t.

But thank you for saying it is.

Don't Look Too Close | Thisgratefulmama.com


22 Practical DO’s And DON’Ts To Show Love On Valentine’s Day {and Every Day}

How do you show your Valentine you love them?

this grateful mama

22 Practical DO's And DON'Ts To Show Love On Valentine's Day  {and Every Day} | thisgratefulmama.com

Valentine’s Day is not my thing. While I will never poo poo a chance to go on a date with my husband, I could care less about going on February 14th, when the restaurants are packed. I’m not big on fancy chocolates (and basically none exist that meet the nut-free criteria to enter our home), or flowers (ah-choo!). By far, the best part about Valentine’s Day paraphernalia is the Gobstopper Sweet Hearts that show up in stores, right after New Years Day (oh, man we just can’t survive even a week without a section in Target devoted to the next Hallmark holiday).

Although the actual day is no biggie to us, we always make a point of going on a date on another night in February. I’m happy to have dinner on a less-crowded night and to not be forced to find something in the color red to wear. As busy parents, we…

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Simple Teacher Valentines

Simple Teacher Valentines | thisgratefulmama.com

Our son is celebrating Valentine’s Day at school today. He picked out sport-themed valentines. He was very excited about them, and they were the perfect treat for a nut-free classroom.

Simple Teacher Valentines | thisgratefulmama.com

After signing 20 Valentines, he was ready to be done. However, I wanted to make his teachers something small to recognize the great job that they do.

Unsure of where to start, I decided to see if PicMonkey had any Valentine’s Day art. Lucky me, they have some really cute stuff under their Sweethearts Theme. After looking at what was available, I decided to keep it simple and create heart valentines with a short message.

I ended up making two different hearts with two different messages.

Each valentine is shown below – you can save them to your computer and print them if you’re in need of a teacher valentine. I opened my images with Windows Photo Viewer and used cardstock to print three copies (5×7 size, do not fit to frame).

Thank you Teacher Valentine | thisgratefulmama.com

Number One Teacher Valentine | thisgratefulmama.com

Our son liked the #1 teacher message best and decided to give the same one to each of his three preschool teachers. After cutting the hearts out, they were ready for the little man to sign.

To give the teachers a healthy treat, we punched a hole in the upper left corner of each heart and tied them to cellophane-wrapped red apples.

Easy peasy.

Simple, sweet treats to say thank you to three very special teachers.

Simple Teacher Valentines | thisgratefulmama.com

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We are ALL Moms – Choosing To Encourage, Not Judge Other Moms

We are ALL Moms - Let's Choose To Encourage, Not Judge Other Moms | thisgratefulmama.com

Why does it seem like moms are offended by each other on a regular basis?

Some stay at home moms are offended by other stay at home moms.

Some stay at home moms are offended by working moms.

Some working moms are offended by other working moms.

Some working moms are offended by stay at home moms.

Those stay at home mom and working mom labels make everything such a mouthful.

Good grief. Why is everyone so offended? Aren’t we all just moms?

Before I offend anyone – I don’t mean we’re ‘just’ moms. All of us are more – friends, daughters, aunts, professionals, volunteers, teachers, wives, athletes and more. But fundamentally, if those characteristics do not fully define us, why are we so quick to define ourselves by our activity of staying home or working outside the home?

Why are we so concerned about what we and others do all day? Whether we work at home, or away from home, part-time, full-time, or not at all, we are ALL full-time moms. Each of us became moms when we first loved our children. For some, it happened while babies were still in our womb. For others, it happened when they first began to seek out adoption, possibly while their child was in the womb of someone else.

It is our heart that defines us as a mom. Not what we do.

When our son was born, I worked outside the home. When our daugter was born, I stopped working outside the home. My days look different now, but I’m still the same amount of mom.

Once a mom, ALWAYS a mom – regardless of the other ways you spend your time.

Why are we so concerned with who feels blessed to be home and who complains about it? Why do we presume working or stay at home moms want to be home, or that they do not? Or that it was an easy choice? Why do we presume a working mom wants to work when some have to work to provide? Why presume anything?

Are we all so insecure in our own mom-role that we need to tear others down in theirs?

Quit judging! We were not put here on this planet to judge other moms. 

Now, I know some women can be judging, unkind, catty, careless with words or unaware of their impact, but we all need to grow some thicker skin. The word ‘offended’ is defined as resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult. Much of what we are offended by may have been unintentional and petty because we’re all just a little bit too sensitive.

Who cares if so-and-so is happy or unhappy in their situation-that-you-want? Their situation is NOT yours and theirs is much more complicated than you perceive it to be. And, although they may sound ungrateful, they might just be having a really bad day. Don’t we all have bad days?

Let’s focus on trying to be content in our own situation instead of the one we don’t have. The grass isn’t always greener, and sometimes it’s brown, crispy and a fire-hazard.

Who are we to call other moms ungrateful? If we’re offended by their lack of gratitude, we’re probably ungrateful in our OWN situation.

We are all women. Mothers. There should be comradery in these noble things.

It is time to start encouraging each other and to spend our time lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. Encourage the career-minded mom and cheer her on in her endeavors. Encourage the mom who stays home because she feels called to do so.

And please, we need to go out of our way to encourage the moms working or at home whose circumstance determined their days – they have set aside their preference and are doing what needs to be done for their family. We should cheer them on wholeheartedly.

It is time to extend grace when someone else’s words strike a nerve in our own life. It is time to leave our gossiping, angry blog-posting and social media slandering ways and to instead have empathy for each woman and her struggles. It is time to point each other towards hope and joy and to check our jealousy at the door.

We are ALL moms – that should be enough to be a community who supports each other in such an important endeavor.

Will you join me?