Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

The holidays are absolutely my favorite time of the year. I allow for more treats than the other eleven months, coordinate the family to wear as much red as possible, and find myself always humming or singing the jolliest of tunes.

As a kid I would start my gift list in July. But after the Black Friday debacle of 2009 (if you’ve experienced Black Friday you know what I mean), the husband and I regained focus on the Season of Giving.

Every family has their own holiday traditions and we find ourselves always adding to ours. My favorites include skipping Black Friday/Cyber Monday altogether along with donating holiday leftovers and cookies to first responders.

This year we decided to add to the tradition with a little guy named Elfie. He looks just like your average plush Elf on a Shelf but is missing a nose thanks to a fur baby.

Usually people put their elven friends in silly or messy predicaments, explaining him/her keeping an eye on the children for Santa. While I love a laugh and a little Christmas magic, our family decided to turn Elfie into a visitor who encourages us to give during the holidays.

Every morning we find Elfie in a new place with a note. Sometimes he compliments our little one on acts of kindness such as sharing. Other times he leaves ideas on how we can give to others.

A New Tradition: Our Kindness Elf   www.herviewfromhome.com

So far this season he has suggested we give to Toy for Tots, send a care package to deployed soldiers, and donate some of our gently used clothes and toys to those in need.

As our son grows we hope this tradition helps him see that this time of the year is indeed magical, joyful, and wonderful, not because of the gifts we may receive but because of the opportunities we have to give.

The goal is that Elfie jump starts our giving and the little one learn the joy of generosity and kindness can last year long. In fact, I’m contemplating having our little visitor remind us once a month of a service opportunity. It goes without saying that we will seek daily to be as kind and generous as we can, not because of some plush doll or because it is December, but because we all strive to create the world in which we want to live.

I must admit, this idea was not my own. I recently read about The Kindness Elves as everyone began dusting off their Elf on a Shelf.

Even if you are into Elf on a Shelf I challenge you to consider having your elf suggest at least one service opportunity this year. It’s too easy to get all wrapped up (see what I did there?) in the joy of receiving. You can see the effects it has had on our society with the selfies that flood social media accounts. Why not start this year with a focus on what really matters?

BestWestern-NYE (2)

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Brittany Cole

Not your average Southern Belle, Brittany is a native of Georgia living in South Florida. She attended Auburn University (WAR EAGLE!) where she received her Bachelors in Political Science and has a Masters in International Relations from The University of Oklahoma. Brittany has many passions in life, in addition to being a wife and mom. She loves all kitchen-based activities, traveling, being outdoors, reading, yoga, and dancing. When you cannot otherwise find her, check the local farmers market – she’s the one buying obscene amounts of kale and turnips. Britt lives every day by the Maya Angelou quote, “Do the best until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better”. Her mission in life is to raise a family of compassionate and empathetic humans while doing the best she can to make the world a more tolerant, beautiful place.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading