Hf #013: Homemaking Through Different Seasons & Stages of Life

Homemaking – and our roles within the home – change from season to season and vary greatly depending on what stage of life we are in. Jennifer is joining us today to talk about having a vision for our homemaking and how our homemaking will look different depending on where we are at in life.

HF #13- Homemaking Through Different Seasons and Stages - Pinterest

Jennifer has 11 children and knows what it means to be busy. She is also a loving wife and devoted homemaker. She blogs over at The Focused Homemaker and she is with us in this week’s episode to give us a little glimpse into her daily life. She also gives some really encouraging wisdom from her 20+ years of experience as a homemaker.

I was so encouraged recording this episode with her and I love the advice she gives on knowing what season you are in and adjusting your homemaking to match that season. Let’s dive in!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What it means to be focused as a homemaker
  • How homemaking changes from season to season
  • Encouragement for the young mom who is stuck in the trenches and feels like her house is out of control
  • Homemaking routines that help you get back control of your home
  • A day in the life of a mom of 11 kids!
  • And how the Gospel impacts her daily life as a homemaker

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Resource of the Week:

homemaking101201(1)Homemaking 101 & 201 DVD’s

If you need some practical, hand’s on experience in homemaking, then these DVD’s are perfect for you! Jennifer walks you through all aspects of running a household in these beautifully made DVD’s.

Homemaking 101 will show young wives and mothers with small children how to efficiently and joyfully manage their homes, offer heavy doses of encouragement and give vision for being a keeper at home. Great for gifts for newly married brides or new moms! It covers cleaning, cooking, budgeting, bill paying, child training, scheduling, blessing your husband, organizing, and so much more!
Homemaking 201 encourages the Christian wife to view her home and service to her family as a ministry. Teaching in such areas as home maintenance, saving money by making homemade products, ministering to family, preparing for guests, organization, chores and projects for children, yard work, learning how to adjust any apron for the perfect fit, easy recipes, and creating a homemaking binder.
BONUS for Homemaking Foundation’s Listeners: Now through October 15th you can get 25% OFF the Dvd’s!! You can get both DVD’s for under $20 with coupon code: youngwife. These would make fantastic presents for other homemaker’s in your life!


Thanks for Listening!

HF #13 - Homemaking Through Different Seasons and Stages

Hf #012: What does it really mean to manage a Gospel-Centered home?

What does it mean to live out a Gospel-Centered home? How we define the Gospel – and live it out in our homes – can have a profound impact. But it takes intentional thought and purpose in our homemaking to focus on Gospel-Centered living within our home. From our marriages, to our kids, to our day-to-day activities – the Gospel impacts our lives fully and has the power to transform even the most mundane of tasks. That’s what today’s episode is focused on.

HF #12 - Managing a Gospel Centered Home - Pinterest

Having a Gospel-Centered home means purposefully and intentionally creating the goals, activities, and atmosphere in the home to be firmly centered on the Gospel. But this gets more specific than just running a Christian household.

It means intentionally focusing on the GOSPEL of Christ in all aspects of our lives: in parenting our children, in our relationship with our husbands, how we spend our time the priorities we make throughout the day, and how we use those small pockets of extra time. Let’s dive in!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • A clear definition of the Gospel
  • The Romans Road to Salvation
  • How the Gospel then has a powerful impact on our home
  • 4 Ways that the Gospel impacts our Households
  • My favorite Gospel-Centered resources and more!

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Book of the week:

What is the GospelWhat is the Gospel – Greg Gilbert

This is a quick, short book and won’t take you very long to read. But I highly recommend that everyone – even the seasoned Christian, get this book and read through it as a family. Jason and I are both reading it now and when our boys get older, we plan on reading it together as a family. I think we throw the term “Gospel” around so often, that we become numb to the meaning of it. And yet, the Gospel should be our primary focus in our homes. We need to teach it to our kids, hide it in our hearts, and have it open for display to those who come into our homes.

You need a thorough understanding of the Gospel, it’s critical! I highly recommend you check out this short book. You can get the hardcover for $11 currently on Amazon or it looks like they have it in pamphlet form for $2.99 on Amazon! I’m not sure if that’s the entire book, but it’s worth checking out if finances are tight.


Thanks for Listening!

HF #12 - Managing a Gospel Centered Home

But, I’m just too busy to read the Bible (From a Mom of 4)

I have a confession: I’m terrible about consistently reading my Bible. I know I should…I’m just not good at making it happen.

Call it devotions. Quiet time. Bible Study. Whatever you want to call it. I go in and out of seasons of regularly and consistently reading God’s Word.

But, I'm just too busy to read God's Word

And it’s not just about the routine of reading His Word. But ingesting it. Studying it with the intent of really wrestling with the text and understanding it. Taking that knowledge and soaking it up into my heart and soul and letting it transform my heart, attitude, and character. I yearn to have this sort of devotion life, but honestly, as a busy mom of 4, it doesn’t happen like I envision. 

Thankfully right now, God has been sustaining me in a season of more consistent Bible reading. But for a while I felt like I had an excuse: I am an exhausted mom of babies, and now toddlers and babies.

For a while I felt like everything I read on the subject of daily devotions shared the opinion that young motherhood is just not a season for much Bible reading. Most of the advice implied that since babies and toddlers are so tiring and require constant care and attention, then simply finding the time to read a Bible verse (or maybe two) in between dishes and dirty diapers was hard enough. And that this season won’t look like other seasons in my life.


Well that last part is certainly true. As a mom of four kids under three years old, life is busy, exhausting, and full. I don’t have the time to shower most days, let alone do hours of Bible study. And so, without consciously deciding to, I’ve been using this season as an excuse to not study God’s Word more.

It’s Not About a Lack of Time

…It’s a lack of priorities. 

Ouch! I’ve been increasingly convicted that I don’t have a time problem on my hands. I have a priority problem. Spending time in God’s Word takes intentional time, planning, and attention. Because it’s not enough to simply read Scripture out of routine. We must wrestle with the text, absorb it, and let it transform our lives. <— and that takes a lot of energy for this exhausted mama!

“This is why we should take caution lest we think that a mother’s greatest problem is a lack of time. How tempted I am to consider a busy season as an obstacle to rejoining in the Lord! The greatest obstruction to our joy in God is not a lack of time. When we have lost sight of an eternal perspective in our daily lives, the atonement becomes neither vital nor precious to us. A greater gift than time is the gift of forgiveness for our sins through Christ Jesus so that we can behold our holy God.”- Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, page 57

Re-setting My Priorities

For me, it’s not about a lack of time, but rather a lack of diligence. I put other things in front of spending time with God. Yes, I am a busy wife and mom but that is not where I find my true identity. My true identity is in Christ.

Most of us know that when we list the priorities in our lives it should go “God, husband, children…” and the list goes on. But when push comes to shove, in the daily busyness of life, does this list of priorities stay in order?

Yes – there are certain seasons where this balance shifts a little (i.e. when you have a newborn (or two), when your kids are sick, etc). Some days, you literally don’t have 15 minutes to formally open God’s Word – but the trouble is when this becomes the norm. And sadly, this is often the day in my own life.

Striving for Diligence

If I had one word to describe my “theme” for this Fall, it would be: Diligence. After a year of a rough pregnancy, deliver, and recovery, I am starting to get a little of my old energy back and I’m craving some sort of routine in our day.

With 4 kids under 3, this routine is held very loosely and not many of my “to-do” list items get checked off during the day, but I’m striving this Fall to live with intentionality. I so badly want to use the time I have with intention and diligence.


Because my time is so very limited, I want to make sure that those pockets of time in my day are used extremely well so that as a busy homemaker, wife, and mom I can actually thrive! And sometimes this means taking a nap while all four boys take a nap. Sometimes this means playing outside with them instead of doing the dishes. And sometimes this means turning the TV off and going to bed earlier than I would like so I can sneak in a few minutes with a cup of coffee and my Bible before the chaos descends. 

The days are sometimes long, I don’t always desire to open my Bible, and yet I’ve come to realize that I need to be intentional in scheduling in the times to read God’s Word. Does it happen everday? No. Is it always as long as I want it to be? No. Is it always fun and exciting to open God’s Word early in the morning when I would much rather sleep? Nope.

But I’m committing in this season, as busy as it is, to make this one thing a priority. Here’s what I’m doing:

Committing to God’s Word BEFORE I Look at My Phone

I read an article from Desiring God a few months ago and it convicted me so much that it’s been with me ever since. The article is called Six Wrong Reasons to Check Your Phone in the Morning and is based off of a survey they did of more than 8,000 readers:

“Our phones now go wherever we go — which is everywhere. And that means most of us sleep with our phones. In the bedroom, our phone wakes us up, tracks our sleep patterns, and makes us available in the event of an emergency.

All these benefits are wonderful. The problem comes when our phone is within arm’s reach and we grab it out of habit to check email and social media in our half-conscious state of sleep inertia — before our groggy eyes can even fully open.

Then we asked, whether you are more likely to check email and social media before or after your spiritual disciplines on a typical morning, 73% of you said before. Here’s the breakdown by age and gender.”

You can see the full study here and the really interesting thing to me is that out of all ages and between men and women, women ages 18-39 were the most likely to check their email and social media before their spiritual disciplines. The next most likely? Women ages 40-49! <—- Yup. I fit into these statistics. Do you?

I am not a morning person. For all of my life, through high school, college, and before having kids, I did my best work at night. My brain is more awake at night and I’m just more awake at night. But having kids and being so busy through the day has changed this. When I wait until the evening now to do my Bible reading, 90% of the time it doesn’t happen. Plus, this rang so true for me:

“Put another way, whatever we focus our hearts on first in the morning will shape our entire day.

So why are we so quick to check email and social media in the morning, and so slow to spend intentional time with God in his word and prayer? And can we find a better way forward in the pages of Scripture?”

I encourage you to stop, and go read that article. I think it will give you a lot to think about. I know it’s been stewing in my brain for a few months now. I want to be intentional with my time and plan out where and how I will spend my time. I’m working on these main areas right now:

  1. Exercising and getting healthy (losing the baby weight would be a good benefit too)
  2. Consistent Bible Reading
  3. More consistent and deeper Prayer

In the coming weeks I’m planning on sharing the new Bible reading plan Jason and I have been doing since July and I’m working on making prayer more of a priority throughout my day.

You can also read what books I’m reading this Fall.

Do you struggle with consistent Bible reading? When do you try and do your Bible reading? In the morning, over breakfast, before bed? Share in the comments!

My current favorite tool(s) for healthy homemaking…

Essential Oils. 

Okay guys, here’s the deal: For the first year or so that I started hearing about essential oils, I was super skeptical. It all seemed a little too good to be true. I saw essential oil consultants claiming that basically they are a cure all for everything. Then I started getting invited to one essential oil party after another.

For real. For a while I felt like my Facebook page was just one big advertisement from my friends for one essential oil company or the other (you know, the big two brands).

But still, I admit I was curious. So one day, a consultant from one of the big companies (I’m not going to get into the brand debate among those two big companies here today (i.e. doTerra vs. Young Living)) contacted me and offered to send me a kit of essential oils to try in exchange for my honest review. That was when I said “sure!” and my medicine cabinet hasn’t been the same since. The result?

I got hooked on essential oils

…but it took a little while.

I was definitely interested at first, but I’ll admit, I didn’t know where to start. The oils sat in my cupboard for a good while at first because I honestly just had no idea how to use them.

I was in a private essential oil group on Facebook but all the advice on how to use the oils seemed totally bizarre and foreign to me. “Oh just apply a little bit of oil A, oil B, or oil C to the area. But make sure to dilute it first or you could always diffuse it…” Um. WHAT? First of all, I have two of the three oils. Just TELL ME which one to use. Second, dilute it with WHAT and how much? And third, what in the world is diffusing and how much do you use?

You may be more familiar with essential oils then I was at the beginning (so you are probably laughing at how little I knew) or just starting out, but using essential oils does have a bit of a learning curve to them.

Essential oils have been such a blessing to our family. I don’t care what brand of oils you use (as long as it’s a safe brand) but please look into essential oils for your family’s health! I use essential oils for cleaning, home remedies, as room scents in place of candles, and more! But I’ll share more of that later…

“When we peel an orange, walk through a rose garden, or rub a sprig of lavender between our fingers, we are all aware of the special scent of that plant. But what is is that we can smell? Generally speaking, it is essential oils that give spices and herbs their specific scent and flavor, flowers their fruit and perfume.” ~ The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, pg 13.

An introduction to essential oils - what are they and how are they made

A word of caution

Essential oils can be dangerous. Yes – they are completely natural (at least the pure, good kinds are!) but they are extremely powerful and potent and used the wrong way, could cause some serious damage. Always do your research first and don’t just take anyone’s suggestions and run with them (even my suggestions below). Always check with a reputable source first (such as licensed aromatherapists).

You also have to be very careful when it comes to children, and especially babies! Oils are so potent and their little bodies can’t handle the oils in the same concentration as adults! There are also certain oils you should avoid during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

Yes – other moms, your friends, bloggers, and many consultants have wonderful advice and suggestions that can do a lot of good in your life and in your family, but until you are more comfortable using oils, make sure you always do your own research too!

But I at least want to get you started. I know from personal experience that I should have started using essential oils far before I did but I really had no idea how to start or what to use. So here is a quick start guide for getting started using essential oils:

How to use essential oils

Quick Start Guide for Using Essential Oils

1) Learn the Lingo

I think this is the biggest learning curve when it comes to essential oils – learning the lingo and what all the different terms mean so that you can actually do research for yourself! While there is more you can learn, here are the most common terms you will hear:


This simply means that you can apply the oil to your skin without diluting (see below) it first. Example: Apply Lavender neat to the rash. You would put a few drops of lavender oil on the rash without diluting it.


This one is as it sounds. If the instructions indicate that you should dilute the oil (which you almost always should) then you will mix the pure essential oil in with a carrier oil (see below). For example: Dilute melaleuca and apply to the area. You would add a few drops of melaleuca to some coconut oil and apply to the area. Essentially you are diluting the essential oil down so it’s not as potent – but still effective! 

Carrier Oil

A carrier oil is another oil that you mix in with a few drops of the pure essential oil to help the oils absorb into your skin better, spread farther, and reduce the potency of hot oils. Examples of common carrier oils are: coconut oil (my oil of choice), jojoba oil, etc.


A diffuser is kind of like a humidifier. You add water to a diffuser and then a few drops of your oil to the water and it diffuses the oil all over the room. You can do this for healthy benefits i.e. certain oils can help purify the air of sickness, bacteria, etc. or just for the yummy smell (my favorite combination is wintergreen and lemongrass – seriously guys, it’s awesome)!


This simple means that you apply the oil to your skin – either neat or diluted!


This one is exactly as it sounds, some directions will recommend that you take certain oils internally – meaning you ingest them. I highly recommend that you do your own research on this. Personally, my family does not take oils internally. I prefer to use whole herbs for that.

Not All Essential Oil Companies are Created Equal

No – I am not going to get into the great essential oil debate (young living vs. doTerra). I do have a personal preference between the two, but you know what? I own oils from BOTH companies. Gaaaaasp?!?

Yeah. I really hate these essential oil wars. But I think it is important to note that not all essential oil companies are created equal. That random of brand essential oil that you found at your grocery store or quasi-health food store, yeah, it’s probably not pure essential oil.

You see, essential oils are not strictly regulated. There is no real governing agency regulating what is in the oils and what can be considered “pure” oils. I would never pick up an unknown brand of essential oil and use it on my family because there have been private testings done that show that the cheaper brands are usually synthetic (aka they contain fake chemicals instead of pure essential oil) and can sometimes contain as little as 5% actual oil. ICK! What is the rest of the bottle made of?

Do your research and stick to a brand you trust and know is safe (and no, I don’t think you have to just stick with “the big two”). If it’s too good to be true (AKA cheap as dirt) then it’s probably is too good to be true.

How To Get Started With Oils

I highly recommend that you start with some sort of kit, that way you have the oils on hand and ready to use them when needed. And no, again, I don’t care what brand you get as long as it’s safe.

I knew that for me, the only way I would get into a consistent pattern of using oils was if I had a few to pick from. I started with a rather large starter kit (which was amazing) but you could even start with just a few oils.

The goal is to have a few different options of common oils so that you can start getting used to reaching for essential oils to help with that cut, bruise, sickess, or for natural cleaning.

If you want to start with a relatively cheap, simple starter kit, then Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint are the ones I suggest you start with. I also really love melaleuca and use it all the time!

Where To Start On Your Own Research

I think THIS was my biggest question when first starting out: With all the essential oil information out there, how do I know where to even start researching safe oils, safe brands, how to use oils, when to not use oils, etc? Everyone seems to be selling oils so how do I get solid, unbiased information?

The Answer: Certified Aromatherapists.

Basically, this is a trained professional who has taken courses and has certification in essential oils. There’s more to it than that, so if you want to know the different certifications, this page explains it well. It’s important to know where they got their training and to trust that person, but this gives you a starting point.


I’ve had so many requests (especially in the last few months) to cover essential oil topics. So if you have more questions, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to put together some more essential oil posts in the future.

What is holding you back from trying out essential oils?

What does Living Natural have to do with being a Christian?

We glorify God in our bodies when we take care of them in a way that we have the energy and stamina to serve him more fully. A healthy lifestyle promotes more energy and mental clarity to work hard at our jobs, take care of our home, diligently teach our children, love our husbands, and serve God’s church. READ MORE!

When “going green” and organic products first started becoming popular, I thought it was a wordly-hippie-waste of time. I thought, and still do think, that God is sovereign over this life and this world. The book of Revelation in Scripture clearly teaches that God will end the world on his time line (Matthew 24:36, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 21:1). Never again will the earth be destroyed by a flood (Genesis 9:8-17), but instead by fire will this life pass away and our new life will begin (2nd Peter 3:4-10). (Does this scare you? There is HOPE!)

It is not in our hands to control the fate of this world. I thought that was all the the “green” movement was about. Saving the environment. Or the panda’s or something. And besides, I don’t have money for all these expensive “green” and organic products. I thought you would have to be a millionaire to really eat and live that way. I just didn’t understand.

My eyes were opened

I thought we ate fairly “healthy”. We had protein bars as snacks. We didn’t eat red meat very often and didn’t have desserts all the time. And I even bought whole wheat bread! Sure we had boxed and canned foods mixed in with fresh foods…but we were “mostly” healthy and I really thought I was doing a decent job.

I thought this until we found out my husband’s cholesterol and blood pressure was way too high for a 25 year old! I knew that we didn’t want him on medicine the rest of this life so I began doing research. I started coming across articles and books that showed that maybe salt itself isn’t terrible. And red meat can have a place in your diet. And GASSP! Fats can be healthy?

My dietary world was turned upside down and I started researching everything I could! From eating healthy I started learning about toxins in other things such as my hand lotion, window cleaner, and laundry detergent. Slowly I have been converting our house into a healthy, non-toxic environment…or as much as I can that is in my control!

What does this have to do with being a christian?

Trying to live a healthy life and making many foods from scratch takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Quickly I had to decide if this was worth my time and money. Should I be spending precious time and energy on making things from scratch?

After all, we have such a limited amount of time on this earth! As a Christian, I know I will one day account to God for the time I spend. I don’t want to stand before Him on the judgement day and have nothing to show for my life. I want to vibrantly serve Him and I want my life to be clear to others that I am following the One True God. So how does this all play in with living a healthy life?

We have a responsibility to care for our bodies

In Scripture, God tells us that our bodies are a temple and that we were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Because of that, we are not to defile the temple. Specifically, God tells us not to defile our body with sexual sin but in a similar way I think we are supposed to take care of our bodies through proper nutrition, exercise, and creating a toxic-free environment for our families. We need to glorify God with our bodies.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV, emphasis added.

When you are overweight, out of shape, and making poor nutrition choices you will not have as much energy, stamina, or brain power to serve the Lord. We are to be good stewards of what he has given us. And he has given us these bodies for a limited time. We need to care for them to the best of our ability.

We glorify God in our bodies when we take care of them in a way that we have the energy and stamina to serve him more fully. A healthy lifestyle promotes more energy and mental clarity to work hard at our jobs, take care of our home, diligently teach our children, love our husbands, and serve God’s church. And all of that is glorifying to God!

Our goal in healthy living should not be to lengthen our lives but rather be able to more fully serve God.

What does natural & healthy living have to do with our lives as Christians? Find out!

My responsibility as a Homemaker

As a homemaker, God has given me the special task of caring for my family! This is my primary ministry in life – loving, caring for, and serving my husband and children. As the Proverbs 31 woman was busy caring for her household, I want to be busy caring for and creating a healthy environment for my family to live in.

Ways that I can glorify God in my Homemaking while living healthy

1) Use resources wisely

We are not rich. I don’t have money laying around waiting for me to buy expensive organic and specialty food. We are on a tight budget and every penny counts.

That’s why learning how to cook nutritious food from scratch is so important because 9 times out of 10 it can be cheaper!

2) Cook good food!

I don’t know about your family, but my husband LOVES good food! He could never be content eating vegetarian meals or tofu lumps. The good news is that eating healthy can be delicious with just a little preparation and work! In the end I am serving my husband and family by providing food that is healthy and yummy.

3) Train up younger homemakers

Homemaking (& cooking from scratch) is largely a lost art today. Many women enter into marriage woefully unprepared. They stumble into marriage without the most basic of homemaking skills. By spending time learning how to be a healthy homemaker, I can practice the Titus 2 model and pass this down to younger homemakers (and sometimes older ones too)!

4) Allow my family to more fully serve

As I mentioned earlier, I started on my real food journey when we found out my husband had high blood pressure and cholesterol. But as I continued on my journey I realized that things like my constant headaches and tiredness were not normal or okay! By implementing a healthy lifestyle I am able to help my family overcome many of these problems (and help avoid future ones) and free us up to more fully serve God!

When my husband isn’t plagues by illness, fatigue, or headaches and has more energy and mental clarity, then he is more able to provide for his family and serve God in His areas of ministries. I am being a helpmate to my husband by providing nutritious (and delicious) food!

Don’t make an idol out of living healthy

Finally, I want to share a piece of my heart. Learning how to live a healthy lifestyle can quickly become an idol for many homemakers. We want so badly to create a safe, non-toxic, healthy household that we forget who is really in control. While I think we should create a healthy home for our family to the best of our ability (without sacrificing other areas of our life), we need to remember that God has numbered our days (Psalm 139:16) already and nothing we do will add a single hour to our life (Matthew 6:27).

“Some godly people who exercise regularly and eat well drop dead at every age. And some sedentary overeaters live to be ninety. Our days are set by God, not us. You won’t live a day longer or shorter than God decides. But keep in mind that some people have survived the plunge over Niagara Falls. That doesn’t make it wise.” ~ John Piper, Physical Exercise: What I Do and Why