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  • Children's Book Recommendations

    A friend and I were texting the other day about children's books as she is expecting her first grandchild soon. I was excited to send her my recommended pregnancy books and told her when I had time I would send her our favorite children's books too. When I was taking pictures today, I thought I should write a blog about them and share them with all of you too! 

    I've made it a point to buy Aila and Avie books that are focused on character-building and learning about Jesus and His truths. I've even went as far as to pass along or donate most of our books that didn't really go along with that focus. So many kids books don't seem to have much point other than to tell a random story about princess or an animal on an adventure, for example. If it is extra educational (involving math, learning letters/grammar or facts about science, history, etc), promotes building character (kindness, patience, or emotional intelligence), or if it speaks truth about the Godhead, then it stays. Pretty much anything else gets passed along. 

    So here are thirteen of our favorite books in our house: 

    1. It Will Be Okay, by Lysa TerKeurst

    The first time I read this book to our girls I lost it--full blown crying and my girls were turning and looking at me like I was...well, their momma (because this happens quite frequently when you fill your house with books about Jesus). It's just really good-- it's about trusting God to take care of us, even when life gets scary.



    2. Does God Know How To Tie Shoes, by Nancy White Carlstrom

    This books is a little different in that I think of it as very abstract, or maybe imaginative? But I love that it incorporates scripture in conversational form as we do with our kids every day.

     Here's a sample:



    3. Next up, Just In Case You Ever Wonder, by Max Lucado

    This one I cried the first time reading too-- it is heart wrenching in a "I just want my girls to know about God more than anything else in the world and know I love them and am here for them no matter what" kind of way! We love this one. 

    See what I mean? 

    4. In My Heart, by Jo Witek

    This one is focused on teaching kids about their feelings. It doesn't mention God in it, but I think it's a great tool for increasing emotional intelligence. 



    5. I Talk To God About How I Feel, by Stormie Omartian

    This one takes emotional intelligence to the next level by inviting the Lord into those turbulent emotions. The pages of this book take kids through lonliness, fear, worry, anger and hurt. It teaches how to tell God about those emotions and tells of what God does and says in response. 



    6. Psalm 23, by Richard Jesse Watson

    This one is nothing but Psalm 23. I love that the girls can learn scripture and have a mental image to help with that memorization process. 



    7. Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

    This book shines in the concept and is a little lacking on the design and wording. I think it rambles a little and could be shortened by about half, but the idea that everyone carries an invisible bucket and it's up to us whether we fill each other up or tear them down is great. It dives into bullying and how people who "dip" into other people's buckets in an attempt to fill their own end up sad and empty. I would be so happy if Aila and Avie got this concept into their hearts forever and they strive to always be "bucket fillers".



    8. The Tale of Three Trees, retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

    Oh, this is a sweet story of dreams, patience, sacrifice and perspective. This one may make you tear up too, if you're anything like me. 


    9. Win Or Lose I Love You, by Lysa TerKeurst


    10. Thank You, God, For Everything, by August Gold

    This one truly is golden for walking alongside 'Daisy' through her journey of learning all she can be thankful for to God. Young and old will benefit from reading this book of gratitude.



    11. If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart, by Jill Roman Lord

    This sweet hardback book has been perfect for beginner babies learning about God. It's short, rhymes, and talks all about what it looks like if Jesus has set up residence in our hearts. 



    12. What Happens When I Talk To God? by Stormie Omartian

    This book is all about prayer! It is a little long (as I have found all my children's books are by Stormie Omartian), but it covers so many aspects of prayer--where and when you can pray, if you have to speak out loud, what to say and more. Let's teach our kids to pray when they're young so when they are older their prayers will be natural, confident and unashamed of talking to God in private or in public!



    13. His Little Princess, by Sheri Rose Shepherd

    Lastly, this book is one of favorties and we've started giving it as a gift along with one of these glittery, stretchy crowns at birthday parties. It is for little girls and speaks of their true value and identity as a daughter of the Most High King. I believe little girls would grow up to be less insecure, less shame-filled and more dependent upon the Lord if they confidently knew of their true identity. It is written for God's real princesses and is not a fiction, fairy tale book--genius. 

    Just look at this sample: 

    Well, those are some of our favorites! I didn't include any of our children's Bibles because there are so many out there. If you have any character-building and/or God-filled books you and your little ones love, please share them in the comments!

    Happy and healthy reading, 

    Kory 

  • New Print Time!

    I recently recieved a request for a new print-- a prayer by a very special person in my life. She delicately and very seriously pursues a balance between caring for herself, developing herself, valuing herself and caring for others, developing them and revealing to them their true value as well. It is refreshing to watch her become more herself every day and it is an amazing feeling to be on the recieving end of her healthy selflessness. I leave her presence feeling heard, affirmed, cherished and cared-for. And yet she admits when she needs time of refilling--whether that is a day of shopping, a day resting or a day in the presence solely of her Heavenly Father. The beauty of her ministry to others is not because she puts everyone before herself, but because she puts the Father before herself. Intimacy with God is her number one priority--over her husband, over her kids, over her career. She asked me to design this print for her because even though she does it so well already {she would never admit to that}, she needs the reminder to seek His strength, guidance and power to maintain the balance of caring for self and others every day. 

    Holy Spirit, may You help us all remain others-centered while we continue to become more fully ourselves!

    You may see other prints like these to download and print on the prints page

  • May Your Words Be A Gift

    "Watch the way you talk...Say only what helps, each word a gift." Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)

    A person very dear to me often uses the phrase, "Say what you mean and mean what you say" as a rule of thumb for communicating. At times I probably take it too literally and become too picky when it comes to slang speech, but other times, I know it is golden advice because not following it can be so harmful. I'm thinking of when people use over-arching and comparative statements, whether they mean to or not. It's taken a long time for me to pinpoint why it bothers me when people do this--I've been thinking about writing on this topic for months--so hopefully I can explain it today in a way that is full of grace and encouragement. I'm sure I have done it before at some point too. Growth. Let me break it down. 

    Have you ever read a mom's social media post that proclaims their daughter as the cutest ever or a wife that states her husband is just the best!? I didn't notice them as much before having kids, but now I see and hear people making those kinds of statements all the time. I suppose it is trendy, but I just don't like it. It's my opinion, really, so that's why I haven't wanted to write about it. But over time, I have realized when a person states something meant as a compliment to one, but it can hurt others, then there is a large, red flag waving. Red flags need to be addressed. 

    Almost all of us struggle with some forms of insecurity. I personally am insecure about the way I look, the way I carry myself, the way I explain things, the way I pray out loud, the way I read out loud, the way I drive, the way I cook--the way I do just about everything. I am insecure about even trying to come up with things in which I actually feel secure. Okay, my salvation. I am secure in knowing that Jesus Christ is God's Son and he died on the cross for my sins and I will be with Him in heaven one day. I can say that with full confidence, but everything else in my brain seems to be fair game to second-guess, unfortunately. 

    To be completely honest, it all depends on the day and how I am feeling. Some days I truly can feel free to dance in the middle of the street and really not care what others think of me. The last year has proven I can actually get up in front of people to speak or lead a group, but you can just about bet immediately afterward my internal voice is screaming, "It's okay, Kory! You're going to be fine. Their opinion does not matter. Your security is in Christ, not in the thoughts of others! Just keep going, keep showing up!"  

    When I read on social media that Jane thinks her husband, Jack, is the most amazing man in the world because he does all of these twenty things she has listed, do you know what the first thing is I do? I compare. I think, "Wow, he does all of those things? Does Ryan do all of those things? Do I think Ryan is the best?" What about when she says her daughter, Jill, is the cutest? The first thing I do is compare. I either think, "Wow, she is pretty cute"...or I think, "Actually, she's really not that cute." And then I feel bad for thinking that way. The truth is, Jane was the first one to compare, not me. I response was to compare because she initiated it. She stated that her daughter, out of all of the other cute daughters in the world, especially in comparison to my own {because I am the one reading it}, is the cutest of them all. The problem is that when it is worded that way, it causes the reader to immediately question the validity of the statement. It's stirs up comparison and I personally have fallen into the trap so often that it has driven me to write this post! 

    What if Jane thought to word her social media posts about Jack and Jill in a different way? What if she had said, "I love my husband Jack and I am so very thankful for all he does for me!" Or in regards to her daughter, what if she had said, "Jill makes my heart so full--I think she's so very cute!" What does that make me want to do? It makes me want to join her in her thankfulness. It makes me want to comment below her post and say, "Way to go, Jack, for loving her like you do!" or "Yes, she is so cute! Those dimples!?!?!" 

    What is the difference? It is the overarching statement that what you have is the BEST and what others have is second-rate. Let me let you in on a little secret: no one wants to feel second-rate. We all want to feel loved, chosen, picked-first, beautiful/handsome. We want to feel prized. So I am not saying don't affirm or compliment your loved ones--do!--but choose your wording wisely. Leave out the comparative statements. Express thankfulness for them without comparing them to others. You may truly think your husband is the best, but what value is there to say so on social media? Be a gift to everyone around you in your speech, not just to the people you are affirming. 

    And it's not just on social media. If my sister and I were sitting on the couch with a room full of people around and Ryan said loudly, "Kory, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever met!" Because of his diction, his specific choice of words, my sister could have immediately thought, "I am not the most beautiful woman he's ever met!". Nevermind that Ryan is my husband or my sister shouldn't need Ryan to tell her she is beautiful too. Maybe she wouldn't have thought negatively as a response, but what if she did? Do we take a chance at hurting somone or change the way we say things to prevent it to the best of our ability? If Ryan had chosen his words differently, if he would have looked at me and said, "Kory, to me you are so beautiful!", the whole focus would have been on my beauty, as he intended. Think about your words. Think about what they are saying to everyone listening or reading. There is power in the littlest of words. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 

    "Watch the way you talk...Say only what helps, each word a gift." Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)

  • Surviving, Friends and Empathy.

    Surviving, but not quite thriving. 

    That's where I am--teetering between both. We had our second baby girl last December, she turned 12 weeks old a few days ago and our oldest turned two years old in January. Both are in diapers, both wake up to the other crying in the middle of the night and both always seem to be hungry at the same time. I am functioning, surviving, getting just enough sleep and putting meals on the table, but I look forward to the days of thriving again! 

    That being said, I am incredibly grateful for the moms God has placed in my life recently! Through various Bible studies and 'Moms Connect'-type groups I have had the chance to get to know lots of moms in all different stages of raising their kids. What I appreciate most is they get it. Whether they have four young ones or just had their first, they seem to understand that it is so hard! I very much appreciate being able to share how tired I am or how frustrated I am and these moms have listened! They haven't said back, "Well, I can beat that...I have THIS going on." They don't try to compete with how bad their life is or was and it is so refreshing! They just have empathy. Oh, sweet empathy.

    "Empathetic people can "walk in your shoes" and feel your feelings without judgement or advice. An empathetic person is for you. No matter what you say or reveal about yourself, this person is on your side and wants to help, even if she disagrees with or disapproves of what she hears." ~Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend {emphasis mine}

    Doesn't that sound amazing--just to talk with someone and have them listen and feel for you and that's it!? I feel like this is so uncommon!

    I do have a few people in my life whom I specifically ask for advice, but I can honestly say I don't want it from every person with whom I talk. Surely I'm not alone in that!? God has provided me an amazing support system and a 'fruit-bowl' of people that I can go to--some for food questions, others for cloth diaper questions, others for sleep training, beauty tips, house repair, etc. I don't for a second pretend I know what I am doing in life by myself. It wasn't until I learned about my identitiy in Christ that I became secure enough to ask people for help and glean from their experiences. It seems so backwards that the more secure I am, the more comfortable I am knowing I don't have it all together. Regardless, I am so thankful. 

    I am thankful for my messy, giggly, whiny, hungry girls. I am thankful for these women God has placed in my life after years and years of praying for friends. I am thankful for empathy. And I am incredibly thankful for my sweet, sweet heavenly Father who provides it all. 

  • Just show up and do the next right thing, even when you’re shaking.

    A TEDx talk was forwarded to me recently via email and with a 20 month-old baby running around, it took me weeks {with multiple tries} to listen to the first 10 minutes of it. But today, during Aila's nap, I was able to listen to the last seven minutes of it and it blew me away! I related to it so much--the pain in the journey as well as the result of the journey. Here it is: 

    “These days, I’m not a superhero and I’m not a perfect human being, but I am a fully human being and I am so proud of that. I am fortunately and frustratingly still exactly the same person as I was when I was 20, and 16, and 8 years old. I still feel scared all the time, anxious all the time, oily all the time. I still get very high and very low in life, daily. But I finally accepted the fact that sensitive is just how I was made, that I don’t have to hide it and and I don’t have to fix it; I’m not broken. And I’ve actually started to wonder if maybe you’re sensitive too. Maybe you feel great pain and deep joy, but you just don’t feel safe talking about it in the real world. And so now instead of trying to make myself tougher, I write and I serve people to help create a world where sensitive people don’t need superhero capes, where we can all just come out into the big, bright, messy world and tell the truth and forgive each other for being human. And admit together that, “yes, life is really hard”, but also insist that together we can do hard things. You know, maybe it’s okay to say, “actually, today I’m not fine”. Maybe it’s okay to remember that we’re human beings and to stop “doing” long enough to think and to love and to share and to listen…

    Life is beautiful and life is brutal; life is ‘brutiful’, all the time and every day. And only one thing has made the difference for me and that is this: I used to numb my feelings and hide and now I feel my feelings and I share. That’s the only difference in my life these days. I’m not afraid of my feelings anymore. I know they can come and they won’t kill me and they can take over for a little while, if they need to. But at the end of the day what they are is really just guides, they’re just guides to tell me what is the next right thing for me to do. Loneliness, it leads us to connection with other people. And jealous, it guides us to what we’re supposed to do next. And pain guides us to help other people. And being overwhelmed, it guides us to ask for help. And so I’ve learned that if I honor my feelings as my own personal profits and instead of running, I just be still, that there are prizes to be won and those prizes are peace, and dignity, and friendship.”

                                                                                  -Glennon Doyle, TEDx {emphasis mine}

    What do you think?

  • What I've been doing

    It just so happened that family wanted to babysit Aila this morning and I suddenly received the gift of a free morning! Yessss. I decided it was time to update my blog and let you all know just what all has been going on in my world over the last several months. The laundry, dishes and cleaning can wait. 

    Within a few days of our fifth wedding anniversary, Ryan, Aila and I moved into a new home! 

    We saw the heartbeat of the newest member of the Buttrey family.

    We found a new gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe that is DELICIOUS. 

    We didn't waste any time on ripping out the upper cabinents in our new kitchen and installing open shelving, beadboard and a much needed {huge} island. 

    Aila fell asleep in my arms for the first time in about nine months--it was glorious.

    It didn't last long, but she sure is a happy girl. 

    I learned how to cut watermelon in a new, fun way. 

    I have missed our clothesline at our previous house so much I decided to hang Aila's diapers on the string of lights on our back porch--our poor neighbors. Since this picture, I invested in a fold away laundry rack from Costco that I LOVE. 

    I revamped my mom's turkey casserole recipe to make it gluten-free and dairy-free! AMAZING!

    Aila and I have snuggled.

    We've hiked.

    And we've let Papa take pictures of us after we found out we are going to have ANOTHER little girl in our family. She hopefully will make her appearance this coming December--the perfect Christmas gift!

    Hopefully you enjoyed this very short recap of my last few months. It's been different. The Lord has led me through the stress of moving and a very different first trimester with this second baby. It has been much more of an emotional roller coaster than I experienced with Aila's pregnancy. I have had moments of peace and joy and other moments {more like days} of depression and unlogical hopelessness. Since I've moved into the second trimester, it has evened out a little and I feel more like myself--thank you, God. 

    My doctor also suspected, ran blood tests for and diagnosed me with Lyme disease last month. That has been a roller coaster in itself--one that I will have to expound on another day. 

    It really has been a busy, stressful, intermittently joyous and painful last few months. I am so thankful Ryan, family, friends, Aila and my sweet Lord has been supporting me and walking beside me through it all!

  • What do you need?

    "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

    I love these sections from chapter seven in the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan: 

    "Perhaps you don't need fire from heaven, but peace. Perhaps what you need is wisdom to know which decision to make. Or courage to do the right thing, even though you might lose your job. Or maybe you need love because you feel alone. Or you want people with a similiar vision to journey with and support you along the way. Whatever you need, the point is that God is aware of you and your circumstances, and He knows what you really need. He is able to bring these things, people, and circumstances into your life.

    But God is not a coercive God. And though He desires for His children to know peace and love and to have wisdom, I have noticed that often He waits for us to ask. 

    He desires to do more than "help out" a bit. He wants to completely transform us. He wants to take a timid heart and set it ablaze with strength and courage, so much so that people know something supernatural has taken place--life change just as miraculous as fire coming down from heaven. He wants to imbue us with His wisdom because He is the "spirit of wisdom and revelation" (Eph. 1:17; see Isa. 11:2)...

    I don't know about you, but I cannot simply muster up more love. I can't manufacture patience just be gritting my teeth and determining to be more patient. We are not strong or good enough, and it doesn't work that way. None of us can "do goodness" on our own, much less all the other elements that make up the fruit of the Spirit. 

    But despite our inability to change ourselves in this way, to simply become more peaceful or joyful, we expend a great deal of effort trying. We focus on what God wants us to do and forget the kind of people He wants us to be.

    Instead of mustering up more willpower, let's focus our energies and time on asking for help from the One who has the power to change us. Let's take time to ask God to put the fruit of His Spirit into our lives. And let's spend time with the One we want to be more like."

  • Grainless Cereal and Whole Chicken

    This is our final week of living in our current home, so I made a new batch of our Grainless Cereal to get us through a busy week of packing. It's not only so much easier to grab a bowl of cereal in the morning, but it also means we have less food in our refrigerator to deal with when this week comes to an end!

    I also updated the Whole Chicken recipe with pictures! Hooray!! Take a look and if you make either of them, let me know how you liked them!

  • Can One Make a Difference?

    My husband and I sold our house and are in the process of packing. I love packing and really anything that has to do with organizing. The thought of finding a home for all of our stuff in our new house is crazy exciting--now if I could just convince someone with great style to come decorate it for us! 

    While sorting through books to box up or give away, I came across this book someone gave me years ago when I was first starting to claw my way out of my chains of insecurity. On the second page, I read this:

    "How many people does it take to make a difference?    ONE.

    One song can spark a moment
    One flower can wake the dream
    One tree can start a forest
    One bird can herald spring
    One smile begins a friendship
    One handclasp lifts a soul
    One star can guide a ship at sea
    One word can frame the goal
    One vote can change a nation
    One sunbeam lights a room
    One candle wipes out darkness
    One laugh will conquer gloom
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start a prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    One voice can speak with wisdom
    One heart can know what's true
    One life can make a difference
    That difference starts with you."

    Isn't that beautiful? I love the variety of hope in each line. It's encouraging to know I can make a difference, even if it doesn't seem like a big difference in the grand scheme of things. God thinks it is a big deal when I act out of love or obedience to Him, no matter how small the act. I serve a God who sees me, who percieves every deed, hears every word, knows every thought and He is rooting for me to succeed and change the world, even one smile at a time.  

    My life goal is to know Him more every day and to live out of the result. 

    "...the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits." Daniel 11:32

    I love the idea that I am carrying out great exploits for God, even in the smallest of ways in my everyday life. Every word matters to Him. Every thought, every action, every detail--He cares deeply about it all. I want to acknowledge His love for detail and His love for me and invite Him in to my everyday life so He can make every word and action count. 

    I don't believe in myself, because myself alone is a crazy, jumbled mess, but I believe in the God who is inside of me. Without His grace coming through me, I am judgemental. Without His patience, I am hurried and irritated. Without His peace, I am uncertain and worried. Do you see the me without Him? Without Him in me, I am all things yucky. He is everything good in me. 

    "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17

    So God, with You in me, I can make a difference. And with Him in you, you can make a difference too!

  • A Face & Body Moisturizer We Love

    Recently I whipped up a few jars of moisturizer that we three Buttreys use on a regular basis. It's safe, natural and best of all, effective! It has three ingredients, only costs about $3.50 a batch, takes less than ten minutes to make and lasts for a long time! 

    Looking for an inexpensive gift idea? I purchased these cute jars and simply wrote on a tag the ingredients and preparation instructions, just in case the friend I was gifting it to wanted to make more herself. I then tied the tag around the neck of the jar with a pretty ribbon and voilà!

    What prompted me to look for a homemade moisturizer recipe? Read why here and make some for you and your family!