A Game of Online Tag

Tag, I’m it! When you have a blog and you get tagged, it means writing a post about said tagging. I’m way more into this game than I ever was with the childhood run-until-you-can’t-run-anymore-and-you-still-didn’t-catch-anyone game. ;)

The lovely Sarah Jo, in fitting with her style, politely requested to tag me before she did so. I asked for some details and then allowed the tagging to commence. And here we are!

Speaking of Sarah Jo, if you want to get to know someone with a delicate passion for the least of these, you need to head over to her blog, Paper-Bark Burch. I use the word “delicate” because her passion is obvious but by no means in-your-face. She posts regularly about the #EndIt movement to end child slavery and trafficking, along with some neat local businesses she’s been discovering in the heart of the Natural State. She’s a knitter by trade, so she’s always giving you peeks at her latest projects (which are fascinating, even for the non-knitter). And my favorite, of late, is her emphasis on stories — telling hers and encouraging others to share — and on living life outside of a prettily filtered square. I find her style and voice refreshingly distinct amidst a sea of drones; you just might, too!

She answered a few questions, and now it’s my turn. That’s the point of this online game of tag. :) So, here it goes:

{1} What am I writing or working on?

Well, I am working on something BIG behind the scenes. For some, it might not be big. For me, it’s gargantuan. I’ll be revealing exactly what that project is later in August. Change is in the wind, my friends, and this change will rock Renown and Crowned at its very foundation.

Other than that, Polarizing Opposites keeps me busy right now. I want to be thorough and encouraging to those on both sides of whatever chasm I decide to broach, which is much easier said than done.

{2} How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve always struggled to pick a specific genre for Renown and Crowned, and it’s morphed significantly from its hobby beginnings in 2010. I no longer post grocery deals I scored during the week. ;) I aim to engage others in thoughtful conversation about areas that many of us have in common – faith, family, finances – and challenge each other, myself included, to not blindly accept what the culture (or Christian sub-culture) is feeding us.

{3} Why do I write what I do?

God is Who He says He is, and He will accomplish what He says He will do. This blog has become my platform for making His name known, praising Him publicly, and encouraging others with His inerrant, unfailing Word. I write because He has called me to write during this life season. It challenges me to stay in His Word and follow hard after Him so that I can write eagerly each new lesson He teaches me.

{4} How does my writing process work?

Evenings are my oasis for writing. The little guy is usually in bed by 7:30, and A (my husband) works evening shifts. I brainstorm all the time, but formulating a blog post tends to happen after the sun goes down. I write and schedule ahead some (when my week allows!) to keep my during-the-day priorities and my stress level in check. I also keep a journal by my bed and attempt to write it in regularly. Sometimes my thoughts come together more clearly through pen & paper than they do via the keyboard.

So, now that you’ve had a bit of an introduction to the landscape of Renown and Crowned (or a reiteration, for those who have been here a while), I’m supposed to send you on to 3 bloggers who will post in the blog hop next week… but when I contacted a few blog friends, it seems summer kept their blogging schedule full. If you’d like some other blog recommendations, leave a comment and let me know what genre you’re looking for…and I’ll see what I can find!

Polarizing Opposites: Vaccinations, Alternate, and None

I’ve looked at the vaccination issue for a long while. I’ve hesitated to post our family’s current stance because 1) it may very well be different with the next child and 2) the backlash from the “other side” will likely be severe. It’s not a dividing line I want to walk.

polarizingvaccineParents who choose to vaccinate may do so

  • because their daycare/school system requires it
  • because of advances in the medical field
  • because they feel it is the best way to protect their children
  • because it is readily available in our country
  • for the greater good of the community

Parents who choose not to vaccinate may do so

  • because some immunizations were originally developed using aborted “fetuses” (babies)
  • because of the efficacy of “herd immunity”
  • because their child had one or more reactions to previous immunizations
  • because they view immunizations as unnecessary exposure to chemicals/viruses
  • because their child is/will be home schooled and less likely to be exposed
  • based on concerns that immunizations may be linked to certain disabilities

Parents who choose an alternate vaccine schedule may do so

  • as a compromise when one parent wants to vaccinate and the other does not
  • to placate a reluctant physician who will not support no vaccinations
  • to ensure their child is protected against the most fatal diseases without overloading their system with more than two immunizations at once
  • to observe their child for reactions to immunizations with greater accuracy

Parents make the choices they do for specific reasons. There is a plethora of information available to be consumed, and it can feel like a full time job just filtering through it all. Reports of an outbreak can cause some “non-vaccinators” [I can't call them "anti-vaxers," as some do, because I know that just because a family chooses not to vaccinate in their situation, it does not mean they are against vaccines.] to wonder if they made the right choice. Witnessing their child endure a reaction can cause those who vaccinate to second guess their decision. A look at the number of severe to fatal reactions to immunizations can lead the alternate schedule parents to wonder if they should vaccinate at all. It’s not an easy road to walk.

How this relates to the Gospel

Nowhere in Scripture is there a specific command to vaccinate, not, or follow an alternate schedule. Instead, each family should be in agreement, making the choice according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

By the same token, whatever decision a family makes should not be used as a means to garner support or ostracize others. I might wish others understood the reasons we made our choice, but I don’t expect everyone to always agree with our choice. Families make different choices in the vaccine arena, but those choices aren’t necessarily “right” or “wrong.” Paul calls the church at Ephesus to set differences aside for the glory of God and the furtherance of His kingdom… and we would do well to heed his words.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
-Eph. 4:1-3

Other Polarizing Opposites topics:

10 Minute Tasks Around the House

Last Monday, I posted some ideas for 5 minute tasks around the house. Maybe you have a full time job and are constantly juggling the work/home tasks as you attempt to find the elusive “balance.” Maybe you, like me, are an at-home mom with a Little One to keep you busy as you endeavor to accomplish something during your day. Maybe you just struggle with the whole homemaking/housekeeping routine because of the sameness of it all. No matter what your current life season, you just might find that 10 Minute Tasks will help you make some progress. And some is better than none.

These tasks may take a bit longer than 5 minute tasks, but set your timer if you need some motivation to stay on target. When 10 minutes have expired, you can stop the task or continue for another 10 minutes… depending on what you have time/attention for. ;)

  • Read two or three chapters of Psalms
  • Wash 10 dishes (or more)
  • Fold a load of laundry
  • Prepare fruit/veggies for the next meal
  • Find a home for 4 currently-homeless items
  • Clean the bathroom tub
  • Work on a craft project
  • Read a book
  • Write a thank you note or thinking of you note
  • Journal a funny anecdote you don’t want to forget
  • Create a “food on hand” list
  • Then begin to create a meal plan if you don’t already have one. Try to plan for at least two days
  • Pick up (or encourage) toddler’s toys

I don’t know about you, but it’s very tempting for me to check Facebook or Pinterest “real quick”… and 20 minutes later realize I should’ve used my time more wisely. How about two 10 minute tasks in that same amount of time? After I get home (visiting my parents currently), I am challenging myself to accomplish at least two of these tasks each day.

Your turn: What tasks did I overlook? What could you add to the list at your house?


But it feels more like 7.

That’s what A said when our anniversary was mentioned in Sunday school last week. And then he regretted that it sounded somewhat negative, because he absolutely meant it in the positive.

three{photo courtesy of Ae. We may have a photographer on our hands!}

Six years after officially meeting, three years after entering covenant, we still tell anyone who will listen that marriage is awesome. Skeptics don’t get it; it looks like we’ve stunted our “growth” by getting married. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to wait until A finished college to get married? From an earthly, financial perspective, they would be right. I would’ve had about 2 years in the workforce, money I could’ve set aside. We would’ve been DINKs going into marriage (double-income-no-kids). We could start our marriage off on “the right foot.”

But I wouldn’t trade the last 3 years for the supposed “right foot.” We’ve weathered some storms, I’ve learned heaps of contentment {still a work in progress}, and many, many memories have been made. The blessings have outweighed any hardships we’ve endured.

rollercoaster I am slowly learning some of the “extremes” the Apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the Philippians — coming out of a particular season may greatly contribute to my gratitude in the current season. Like the laundromat season. I love having a washer and dryer at home. The campus housing season. While I loved the tiny apartment (and accompanying rent), this two bedroom apartment feels pretty spacious. But I have to choose the be grateful and not look at the past longingly. That season is done and the next one has arrived.

And so it has. It’s a pretty great season, too. As of yesterday, happy 3rd anniversary, Love! I can’t wait to make it to 65 or 70 with you. :)

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 782. Take a look at this week’s list:
755. two days without the use of air conditioning
756. pineapple dribbles down a 2 year old’s chin and shirt
757. the on-cue “cheese!” of said 2 year old
758. the energetic mastery of somersaults! (and 20 mins spent in the endeavor)
759. mismatched couches
760. answered prayer!
762. an impromptu game of Carcassone with friends
764. resources for godly counsel
765. a like-minded sister willing to walk the hard, unpopular path of intentional discipleship
767. $0.99 waffle cones at a local ice creamery to celebrate our anniversary
768. Ae trying, and loving, a bounce house
770. reading books “together” with A after Ae went to bed
772. $1 night at the local pool
774. Ae went to bed with no protest
775. 2 games of Chinese checkers
776. No longer anemic!
778. words from the Holy Spirit when I have none
780. friends at the ready to pray!

Do you tweet? Keep up with what’s going on and join in the fun with the hashtag #neweverymorning!

Be sure to stop by:

And, of course, please leave your link in the comments!

Recap: Appointment #5

Hello from your friendly 28-week pregnant blog lady. ;) We had another appointment yesterday, so I wanted to write a quick recap for those interested in “the scoop.”

  • Blood pressure: 94/62. Average for me. Lower than last time.
  • Carrying “low,” according to the midwife. (I agree!) I didn’t catch my measurements, but I would guess I’m on target.
  • Baby’s heartbeat is 140bpm. At least Baby is consistent!
  • My iron level is 11.4!! I’m no longer in “anemic” territory. When I looked at Appointment #5 with Ae, wow. My iron level was 10.3… I’m so glad we could catch and correct that earlier on this time.
  • Baby is head down!
  • I haven’t gained any more weight.

Everything is looking good. For being barely into the 3rd trimester, I still have quite a bit of energy. I’m hoping that will continue for the next few weeks so I’ll be able to fill the freezer with quick & easy meals for post-Baby.

What we plan to accomplish either by the next appointment (32 weeks) or 34 weeks:

  • purchase Baby’s all-in-one car seat
  • purchase the birth kit
  • prepare some freezer meals

This little one will be here before we know it! And now… an updated picture.


Polarizing Opposites: Home School and Public School

A few weeks ago when our pastor said the problem with defining identity is that we use the choices we’ve made or the groups we’ve separated from (rather than finding our identity solely in Christ), one of my first mental applications jumped to the schooling arena.

polarizingschool.jpgThere exists a sentiment among some families who have chosen public/private school that homeschool families look down on them or desire for them to feel guilty for the choices they’ve made[1]. Sure, there are some gung-ho families who say not to discount the homeschool option on a basis of tight finances or “inability” to teach… and yes, there are a passionate few who cannot fathom ever sending their child(ren) to public school. But most of us as parents know that there are often factors we can’t see in why a family makes one choice or the other. As with any hot button issue, passion exudes from those on either side of the fence.

One-size-fits-all truly cannot work in a society as diverse as ours. Some full-time working moms choose to homeschool, and some at-home moms have children who attend public school. There are pros and cons to either choice, yet many families made the decision they did based on their current life season, family priorities, and goals. Many of us (on one side of the issue or the other) can understand that our families can’t all make the same choice.

Encouragement comes when we don’t compare my family’s choices with your family’s but instead choose to discuss those choices in a neutral manner. Will I fully understand where you’re coming from? Maybe not. Will you think I’m still a little looney for the choice we’ve made? Quite possibly. But iron sharpens iron when discussions happen with sincerity and genuine interest — not when we endeavor to persuade the “opposition” to “join our side.”

How this relates to the Gospel

Research shows that the majority of homeschoolers have chosen that educational setting based on “a concern about the environment of other schools,” which includes an increasing hostility to religious education[2]. Homeschooling can be an excellent opportunity for parents to put Deuteronomy 6 into action throughout the day, but not every one of those parents has these intentions.

On the flip side, some public school parents stay on top of discipling their children and keep the communication lines open in the few hours they have together each day. They don’t expect the public school to deal with character development, and they readily shoulder that responsibility.

Each of us has a primary obligation in our role as parents, according to Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:4b –

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 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.


…bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

All the time. God’s Word should be in our hearts and on our lips as we interact with those who share our home. When God and His Word take priority in our homes, He will — by His rich grace — use both the public school families and the home school families for His glory.

The point of the Gospel is ultimately His glory. Whatever your family chooses, whether public or private or home school, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

[1] The Buckout’s Blessings – Our Transition: Homeschool to Public School
[2] National Center for Education Statistics – Fast Facts

Your turn: Have you been on one side of this fence… or both, at some point? How were you encouraged as your family made the schooling decision?

See also: Polarizing Opposites: Home Birth & Hospital Birth
Linked up at WholeHearted Home

5 Minute Tasks Around the House

During that season of fatigue I experienced earlier this year, I managed to learn a few things. One of the most important things I learned was doing something, even a small something, is better than doing nothing. Were there huge tasks like laundry and dishes that kept piling and piling? You bet. Some days I woke up and headed straight to the couch to sit, overwhelmed by the enormity of just how far I’d fallen behind.

I’m in a season of comparative energy now, and there are still days I wince the huge tasks before me, wondering if I’ll ever get caught up. But I’m learning something now, too! Doing something, even a small something, is better than nothing. Wait… that sounds really familiar… Hmm. Maybe I just need to learn the same thing in two different life seasons so that it’ll actually stick regardless of the current life season. Maybe.

I’ve been brainstorming these days in an attempt to see the small, accomplishable tasks on the days I feel the weight of the large, daunting ones. And here are some of the brainstorming results:

  • Read one or two chapters of Psalms
  • Get dressed
  • Sort laundry
  • Start a load of laundry or transfer to the dryer
  • Declutter your coffee table/kitchen table/counter
  • Make the bed
  • Find a home for 2 currently-homeless items
  • Sweep the kitchen floor
  • Take out the trash
  • Wipe down the kitchen or bathroom sink
  • Clean the toilet
  • Weed the garden (even if this takes multiple 5 minute sessions… progress is progress)
  • Read a book
  • Create a shopping list (grocery or household)
  • Write down today’s (or tomorrow’s) to-do list

Distractions are everywhere. What if we focused for 5 minutes at a time, 3-5 times a day? Sure, we typically overlook these “minor” tasks, but they can help us accomplish something when we feel like we can’t accomplish anything.

Your turn: What tasks did I overlook? What could you add to the list at your house?