The response last week to the debut to this new series, Project Sweet Life was overwhelming. Your comments blessed me, friends. If you missed the answers to last week’s post, you can catch them here.
Project Sweet Life is a weekly series where I share my space with someone who is wholeheartedly chasing as sweet life well lived. This week, I am thrilled to be hosting the words of my dear friend Sarah Knepper who blogs at Redemption Diary. Welcome, Sarah.
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I am originally a Southern Gal from Tennessee. I was born in New Orleans and my family moved to Murfreesboro when I was 8. My husband and I, along with our three children moved to Central Ohio in May 2013. I currently stay at home and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to write.
The ordinary is full of glory. How do you make the mundane parts of your day happen?
I listen to a lot of Pandora. Either Francesca Batistelli, Adele, Ed Sheeran, NeedToBreathe, or Taylor Swift (no shame in it!).
Sometimes when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll walk through the house and pray or list all of the things I’m grateful for.
My kids help a lot with lots of chores and my husband will help whenever I ask.
The letter blocks are from a friend and the framed art is from Ann Voskamp’s free library on her site. This is where I spend so much time and I decided when we moved in that I needed it to be a place I can find joy and not just stare at the wall!
What is the most sacred part of your day? How do you make sure you don’t miss it?
I have a few different times of the day that are important to me. I try to wake up before my children to and read the She Reads Truth devotional. Sometimes I just read in bed.
Before my son and daughter leave for school in the morning, we always read Jesus Calling. It’s a quick read and I want them to have Jesus in their minds as they head off to face the world.
I take nap time seriously in the afternoons. My baby girl naps for a good two hours while the little boy I watch sleeps too. I usually prep dinner and blog.
Dinner time is so important to our family. This is where we discuss the day, share things we are grateful for and discuss life.
After the kids go to bed, I try to spend as much time with my husband as possible. He’s a night owl and I usually don’t make it to his bedtime, but we usually get in a few hours together.
I really try to be intentional with my time. Some days don’t work out the way I want them to and I miss out on one or all of the times I cherish. But planning my day and making it happen is vital. I can’t wish for these things to get done and then complain when I don’t focus.
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What is one tradition from your childhood that you still carry with you? What does that tradition look like now that you’re an adult?
The first thing I thought of was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. It seems so silly but I clearly remember being so excited to get up and watch. The turkey would begin cooking early so we could eat by lunchtime. The smell would wake me up and I was just so happy.
This past Thanksgiving we had a meal brought to us by our church family. I gave birth to our fourth child at the end of September and I struggled quite a bit with balancing it all. The women at our church were awesome. They brought meals to us for two months. So we enjoyed pot roast, veggies, rolls, and a lot of love. We all watched the parade and I felt so much peace. Sometimes saying no to things is the best choice I can make. I want my core family to be together and experience the reality of holidays. Then they can carry on their own favorites to their children one day.
What are you passionate about? How do those passions translate into your day to day?
For a long time I didn’t have any passion. Since I was a young girl I worried so much about what everyone thought. I was fearful of using my voice and standing out. Through some severe life experiences I learned that I am an encourager. I feel alive when I can connect with other women and help them gain the tools to work through life’s unexpected trials. But, I’ve come to realize the people I’m meant to encourage the most live in my home.
I try to speak truth and hope to my kids. I want them to understand that life will bring things we don’t understand and things that we don’t like. Scripture has become a huge part of our daily life and we are now memorizing Truth together. I also try to tell my husband how much he means to me and spend time with him. I write on a semi-regular basis and connect with ladies in real life and online. I just began mentoring moms for a church class called Mom Connection. I love it!!
What books are in your current to be read pile? What made you put them there?
I don’t have much time for reading these days but I did just finish The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. It is INCREDIBLE! I would recommend it for anyone who struggles with saying yes and no at the proper time. It really makes you think.
As a blogger I see tons of books written by other bloggers and I want to read them all. But between four kids, housework, writing, time with my husband, and church, books are not a high priority in this season of life.
Last year I read Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray, Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker, The Mother of All Meltdowns by Crystal Ponti, and a few mindless reads on my Kindle.
I chose those books because I love reading other women’s stories about the life we share. Being a mother connects all moms. We each experience similar things and need lots of encouragement.
When you dig deep into your core, what is one quote or inspirational phrase that will always be there?
God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Proverbs 147:3
This verse got me through a three years of dark moments and shakeable faith. When my first husband left me and our three children I walked through depression and battled a lot of insecurities. I hung onto this verse because to me it said that God will repair what had been broken even in the deepest places of my soul.
One thing I love is hearing what works for someone. So tell us one thing that works for you (household tip, fashion, etc).
I’ve never been one to wear a lot of makeup. I usually wear mascara, a little eye shadow (light color), a smidge of blush and lipgloss. Less is more, right?!
I have always believed in giving my kids responsibility from a young age. They began folding clothes at 3. Now they are 9, 7, and 5. They clean their rooms, do the laundry (including the washing machine and dryer responsibilities), unload the dishwasher, set and clear the table, and help with baby Anna. There is no easy way around this. You must be prepared to put your words on repeat and lead by example!!! But it’s worth it. They have already learned many things that I pray they will carry into adulthood.
Whoa! Sarah really gave us all something to think about, didn’t she?
Project Sweet Life is a weekly series on A Cookie Before Dinner. Each week, I’ll bring you the story of someone who is chasing a sweet life well lived and find out how they find time to pursue their passions. Together, we’ll learn tips and tricks and walk away with encouragement and inspiration. If you’d like to be part of the Project Sweet Life, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.