Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A New Home on the Web

Hi all! Just wanted to drop a post in and let you know that we have moved!

You can now find great content at

I hope you will head over there and continue to follow along on my journey!



Sunday, December 17, 2017

When the Rug is Swept Out From Under You

When Dusty and I made the decision to come to seminary in the summer of 2012 I had no idea what was in store for me. We would be moving to a new city, with new people, and a whole new way of life. And I was terrified.

Then, when we got here I learned all about the opportunities that were afforded to me as a seminary spouse. There is an organization dedicated to ministering and equipping ministry wives. There were even classes just for the seminary wives. I was super stoked to jump in and begin learning just as much as my husband was. After all, if one of you is called into the ministry, the whole family is. I felt like this was just what I needed to be able to be the helper I was supposed to be.

As I got deeper into the Seminary Studies for Student Wives program I realized just how much I was LOVING being in the classroom learning and growing. I also learned of the Master of Arts in Christian Education program that had a concentration focused on Family and Consumer Sciences/Home Economics (Homemaking) and realized that was something I really wanted to do.

So, I applied, and was accepted and I began the journey toward my Master's degree. I was stoked. However, the amount of confusion, push back, and critical response I got from people when I told them what I was seeking a degree for was monumental. There were people that were genuinely confused as to why this was a degree option at all. There were others who decided that I had completely turned my back on my gender by going against everything the current feminist movement stands for. And with each level of criticism I felt more and more like this was exactly what I needed to be doing.

I soaked it all in. I took as many of my concentration hours as was offered each semester. I attended almost every women's conference that took place on our little campus. I read books, I wrote papers, and I did all the research. All my seminary core classes have taken a back seat to those that have been offered in the concentration. So much so that I am just now getting around to taking a few classes that I should have taken within my first two semesters.

I had even made up my mind that I would continue taking the concentration courses as they were offered even after I had finished with my program in just 2 short semesters as a non-degree seeking student just so I could continue to grow and add to the wealth of knowledge that I had already received.

My path had been set. And then I had the rug pulled out from under me Wednesday afternoon.

You see, as I was handing in my final assignment to my professor for the semester, I was informed that the program was no longer going to be offered her at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. And not only that, the woman who has mentored me over the course of my educational career here, who has encouraged me, cheered for me, and showed me what it truly means to practice what she preaches will be leaving the school. And my heart is saddened. I am sad to know that the institution will be losing such a valuable asset both in the instruction and the program. Especially for a place that claims to champion the notion of biblical homemaking and encourages women and wives to be keepers of their homes.

The entire course of my life changed trajectory when I began the program here at the seminary and I was excited and encouraged at the way that the administration championed those of us who feel led to truly embrace the call to be keepers of our homes. Sadly, at the learning of the ending of the program, that in many respects is still in its infancy, it feels as if those who were championing the biblical mandate is now turning its back on us and leaving those in the younger generation to continue to flounder and wander aimlessly through this walk of life.

Motherhood, wifehood, homemaking…these are challenges that come with very little support, encouragement, or instruction. Like much of life, there is no clear-cut user manual, and the Family and Consumer Sciences concentration helped to give young women that guidance and encouragement that is so lacking in our feminist driven world.

Since I have already completed all the required concentration courses this change does not have any effect on my graduation plans. I will, Lord willing, be finishing up my degree by December of 2018. And then the question comes of "What's next?" Where do I go from here? How to I use the information to pick up the mantle that is being laid down so carelessly so that I can ensure that the knowledge that I have gained does not just become like the dusty books on the shelf that never get read?

That is my new goal for my little piece of the internet. To figure out exactly how to continue the work that had been started in me and through me. My hope and my prayer is that even though there are no longer going to be structured classes available where one can just sit and soak up the information, I
will be able to serve as a resource for help, guidance, and encouragement as we all seek to navigate this world and do it to the glory of God each and every day.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

November Blessings: My Kids

It's November 5th and I am already behind on my gratitude challenge. That is about par for the course for me though. However, this time it actually works out in my favor. Because day 3,4, and 5 are all about my kiddos. This way I can put it all down in one post and it works nicely.

November 3: Collin Dartanion

This boy is amazing. He is the one that made me a mommy for the first time. We have enjoyed 7 years of light, laughter, and love from him in ways I could have never imagined would come. He is smart, caring, and gentle. (Although he still doesn't realize his own strength most of the time). The way that Collin cares for and protects his little sisters is wonderful to me and I pray that he never loses that. He has a HUGE heart and longs to see everyone in the world have it as good as he does.

When it comes to learning he is quick and bright. We enjoy (mostly) our time of learning together each day and I look forward to seeing that little light bulb go on each time we sit down to learn something new. His face lights up when he figures it out and he can't wait to share with everyone the things he knows. 

He has plans to be a police officer when he grows up and is already wanting to do his part to protect and serve those he cares the most about. I couldn't be more proud of who this young man is growing into each day.

November 4: RaeLynn Arielle 

Rae-bear as we like to call her in this house. RaeLynn is spunky. She likes to be in charge and for everyone around her to know it. Her favorite thing to do is play "family" and she loves being the mommy to all her beautiful baby dolls. She can usually be found running around outside with her long hair blowing behind her and her shoes lost somewhere on the playground (I'm not even really sure why I make her wear them out the door since they never stay on). They say the definition of boy is "noise with dirt on it" but I can attest that you can use the same defining characteristics to describe RaeLynn, my little girl through and through.
She has started kindergarten this year and we are having a blast learning each day. She BEGS for her school time so she can learn something new. Teaching her to write has been fun and interesting since she is left handed and the only thing I can do with my left hand is hold a water glass (and even then I tend to be less coordinated than if I were doing so with my right). However, she has taken to it like a fish to water!. She is also an amazing gymnast who is quickly progressing through her skill work and has dreams of competing some day. 

Her life long goal is to become a princess and live in a castle. She also tells me she wants to be a mommy and take care of her kids like I do and I couldn't be happier with that decision. If she changes her mind as she gets older that is fantastic but for now, if she wants to be a mom and wife and spend her time devoted to her home I am all for it!

November 5: Madilynn Lane

Our newest bundle of joy. This girl has kept us on our toes since the day she got here. She is bright and alert taking in all around her most of the time. She has her moments of being cranky but that generally only happens when she is hungry or needs to be changed.

Her smile lights up the room and she is already trying to master the art of rolling over. Tummy time isn't her favorite because she can't get up and go just yet. She also isn't really a fan of being down flat on her back. Maddi wants to be upright where she can see the world around her.

I often hear how surprised people are at how well she holds her head up, how alert she is, and how tiny she is. And to that I generally respond that the tiny part is just how she likes it, and as for the other two, well..she has a big brother and a big sister to catch up to and she is ready to get out there to run around with them!

I am so thankful that God has seen fit to allow me to be the mother to these 3 amazing children. I see the goodness, faithfulness, and love God has for us in them each and every day. Many believe that life is in the big magical moments that take our breath away. However, over the last 7 years I have come to see that life is in the day to day. The routine and the normal that we experience is where I get to know and grow with my kids. It is my earnest prayer that when my children are grown I have the opportunity to not only call them kids but to call them friends because I am taking the time now to invest in their lives each and every day.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November Blessings: Day 2

November 2: My Husband, Dusty

Dusty Ray Marshall

My other half, partner in crime, and rock. 

This man is amazing. He works hard, loves deep, and laughs often. I never now what is going to come out of his mouth next so I have to always stay on my toes when he is around. 

My favorite thing to do is watch Dusty be a father to our kids. It is clear to see that they are his world and he would do absolutely anything for them, but his ultimate desire is to see all 3 of them come to know and love Jesus as much as he does. (we are 1/3 of the way there!)

I am thankful that God saw fit to put us together in this life. He allows me to dream a little and I force him to keep at least one foot firmly planted on the ground. Together we take this wild ride together. 

I couldn't have asked for a better person to go through marriage, parenting, or any other challenge we come up against with. My heart is forever his and I am thankful that I can call him mine.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Blessings: Day One

Here we are. November 2017

It's that time of year again when everyone takes some time to focus on the things they are thankful for. Generally I don't get involved with all the gratitude posts and writings because I want to think that I strive to be thankful for what I have all year long. However, the past few months have been both a huge blessing and incredibly hard and I feel like it would be best for me to spend this month really focusing on my blessings and what God has given me to remember that even through the hard times.

November 1st: My Salvation

I would be remiss if I made the decision to start this off by showing my gratitude for anything other than the blessing of my salvation in Christ first. This has to be the one thing that I am the most grateful for in my life. It it weren't for the saving grace that I received 23 years ago I would not be the person that I am today and I would not be living the life that I have today.

I don't think that at 8 years old when I made the commitment to Christ that I really and truly understood what it was that I was doing. And even at the age of 16 when I made the decision to rededicate my life after having made some less than stellar life decisions, did I really understand what I had made a decision to do. 

Even now, at 31 I don't think that I fully grasp the fullness of the sacrifice that Christ's death on the cross is. But the thing I do know is that I can wake up every morning knowing that I have a fresh start and I can go to bed every night knowing that no matter how good or bad the day may have been, no matter what mistakes might have been made I have hope and peace that all is going to be as it should be. 

Christ's death meant that I can life and life abundantly and for that I am grateful and thankful each and every day. Now my only prayer is that I do my very best to guide my children to the same hope I have.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

This Week In Review


My whole week was paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, none of those good intentions were actually accomplished. It truly felt like every time I took one step forward life pushed me backward at least two steps.

This week's topic in the Rest and Release Bible Study was focusing on God bringing beauty, friendship, fatherhood, and love into our lives. Each day focused on another aspect of God's love and beauty in the world.

I found that this week in particular that I needed the constant reminder that God is always around, always with me, always protecting and guiding me.

With that in mind I realized I needed to take a moment to see the good things that took place over the week instead of thinking about all the things that went wrong. So here we go:

Monday Collin was able to attend his art class and come home COVERED in black paint. He had the biggest smile on his face and said that class was awesome. I am super excited that he is enjoying the class. We also had a wonderful home group Bible study that evening. We even had a new attendee. It was good to see him again since he had been working out of state.

Tuesday we drove Dusty to work. First we stopped as a family and did some grocery shopping and then enjoyed an early lunch together. Once we got home from that little trip we got a bit of school work done. The rest of the afternoon went less than smoothly but we all had full bellies and warm bodies by the time we went to bed.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with some other seminary wives. The kids had a great time getting to play with friends and I had conversation with other adults. Then I went on to teach my weekly sewing class. The girls I get to work with are wonderful and I truly enjoy spending time with them each week.

Thursday was the rough day for me. This was the day that it felt like everything was going wrong. I am sure that much of it has to do with exhaustion but that isn't an excuse for the way that I found myself reacting to my children. The bright side is that they forgave me and we were able to move on with our lives. Another high note was that I had the opportunity to play with my new phone.

This day was exciting. I attended a hand lettering workshop where I learned the techniques that I have been puzzling over on Pinterest for a while now. I also spent a bit more time with some ladies here at the Seminary during the monthly "Porch Days" meeting at the Horner Homemaking House. The afternoon and evening were also fun while I played around with the new things I had learned and finished up a new sign for the house. I also received a beautiful gift from a friend right when I needed it.

Today I cleaned the church while also supporting the fundraiser trip to Rio. I picked up 7 photo frames and I have used them to redecorate the kitchen wall. The kids got to spend time relaxing and playing at home and I Madilynn spent a bit more time playing and being awake than she has so far. And now here I am sharing this all with you.

It's easy to see how when we get caught up in the moment we can forget the good things that are going on in our lives. However, when we step back and evaluate everything we can notice that life really isn't all that hard or bad.

Have you ever had a week that just seemed like nothing every goes right? How did you over come that struggle?

Monday, October 9, 2017

My Current Reading List

I LOVE today's writing prompt. It simply says: What are you reading.

I love to read. I always have. When I was a teenager living at home with my parents my mom knew one of the best ways to get my attention when I had gotten into trouble was to take away my books. Then I love all things fiction. I read through Little Women countless times and I read through the Harry Potter series at least twice.

As I have gotten older my taste in books has changed only slightly. Thanks to my grandmother and her love of reading I have become hooked on a handful of different murder mystery type books. My favorite ones are the ones that have recipes scattered throughout the chapters.

One of the other areas that has changed in my reading is that I find I am enjoying more nonfiction books with the purpose of helping me learn and grow. One of the HUGE benefits of going to the type of school I go to and being in the program that I am in, my "textbooks" aren't really textbooks at all. Not in the super huge long and boring book that is a better doorstop than reading material sense of the word anyway.

This semester my "textbook" is Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. This book is all about how we as women are called to live our lives together, learning, teaching, training, and fellowshiping as Paul described in Titus 2. Nancy breaks down the passage in easy to manage sections and really digs deep into what it means to life out life in the Titus 2 model of women helping women to become the individuals God designed us to be.

The second book that I am working my way through is titled Where's Mom? written by Dorothy Kelley Patterson. Mrs. Patterson is the wife of the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I attend school. I have had the pleasure of learning from her in a few different capacities. This book, although short in page number, is jam packed with the biblical importance of having a mother in the home as her primary focus. Mrs. Patterson lays out a case for why God designed women to be keepers of the home and helpers to their husbands, not as inferior beings, but as strong cornerstones of the family structure.

Book # 3 that I am currently reading is titled Eve in Exile: And the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle. Rebekah was one of the plenary session speakers at the Biblical Femininity conference that I attended Thursday-Saturday of last week. During her session she laid our a solid case for why we as women in America are in a perfect place to rebuild the importance of what it means to be innately feminine and how we were designed as women by God for a greater purpose than to just wear pretty clothes and have pretty things. This book takes the hour's worth of information that she shared at the conference and goes further.

The fourth book I am reading is Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. This book, though biblical teachings, stories, and the opportunity to reflect through question, breaks down fifteen disciplines that are vital to living a Christian life. Barbara helps to guide women to grow into mature Christian women no matter what is going on in the world around us.

The last book I am reading (which isn't in the photo above because it is lost somewhere in my bedroom at the moment) is Jen Hatmakers new book Of Mess and Moxie.  In her new book Jen, through her humorous method of story telling, reminds readers that we are not living life on an island. We are all intertwined together and while we may be a bit of a hot mess, we as women all have a bit of moxie within us. All we have to do is tap into that moxie, band together, and we can take on this world for Christ.

All of these books have one central theme: Women living out the life that God has designed for them following the biblical principles found in Scripture. Each one carries a bit of a different perspective but the message is still there LOUD AND CLEAR. We as women have a responsibility to take back our unique design given to us by God. We can not just wake up one morning and decide we want to be something different that what we were created to be any more than a donkey can wake up and decide it wants to be a quarter horse. It's just not possible. It is my goal and my dream to teach my daughters to embrace fully the women God has created them to be and it is through resources like these I will be able to gain to tools to do so!

Have you read any of these books? What is on your current reading list? Share with me in the comments!