It's been a while since I've done a mélange of posts that have recently inspired me, so here we go!


scripture memory cards!

Every January we get a fresh start, if only in our minds. We make lists and dream dreams and aim high. Every year my top goal is to be more consistent in God's Word.

The past four years haven't been easy on me with three pregnancies + three seasons of sleepless nights and fussy newborns. But that fog is lifting! And it would be easy to continue giving myself the excuse that I have three little ones underfoot and at the end of the day I just don't have it in me to dig deep into the Bible and chew on those meaty chunks of scripture and let them nourish me and sustain me. Because I've been there. It's been true. There have been a lot of times in the past four years of pregnancy and new motherhood that I couldn't.

Of course, even then, God's Word was my strength and my portion but my time with Jesus looked differently. When you're averaging under 6 hours of sleep a night for months on end, you may not be able to study the Bible as academically and thoroughly as you'd like. And God knows you and your season and He is still there. There in the time you do get in His Word. There in the cries for help and quick prayers. There in the audio sermons while you're nursing all night. There in the attempts you do make to commune with Him. Motherhood and pregnancy aren't seasons where we're given an excuse to stop pursuing God, but they are seasons where God's grace is richer, if we'd just grab it.

Seeing Jesus in those long seasons of little sleep and physical exhaustion was probably more beautiful than when it's easy to catch his reflection. Because I knew I had nothing to give but HE WAS STILL THERE. And He is still here. He's seen me through.

This January, I know I'm going into a year where there will be no pregnancies or newborns. God can and probably will bring other trials my way, but for now, I know my time with Him needs to stretch. I'm ready, I'm alert, I'm willing. He wants me. So my goal has been not only more scripture in my days (a LOT more!) but more scripture memory.

Being the do-er I am, I searched Etsy and Pinterest for some scripture memory cards to help me on my quest. I wasn't thrilled. I found a few options that were out of my price range, and then I found a printable option (no shipping fees + print on whatever paper you'd like). But every.single.option I found lacked the meaty verses i was hoping to memorize. I was frustrated by the huge amount of scripture taken out of context, the verses split up, and the fluff! So I set out to make my own.

I spent the next week ferociously reading the New Testament. I nearly finished the entire New Testament in 7 days. I was hungry and I think you might be too. I found 70 verses that I knew I wanted to commit to memory. Can I memorize 70 verses in a year? Probably not, but these were the verses I wanted on my door posts and on my heart. These were the verses I wanted to chew on and be convicted of and delight in. So I made my own cards. Simple, modern, geometric, black and white (cheaper to print!), and chalk full of profound scripture.

If you'd like to order the PDF of my New Testament scripture memory cards, e-mail me @ emily.terreberry@gmail.com. The cost for the pdf is $8.

Print them at home or splurge on the super thick card stock. Cut them out and hang them up. Use them as a book mark for your Bible, or string up a garland of them. Basically, join me this year as I seek to get more of God's word in my heart and mind.


2014's movie based-on-a-true-story

Ah, family photos. The grueling pain of having them done pays off for decades (at least the parents hope). When we started a family there was one tradition I really wanted to start, and so far, four years in, I've managed to be consistent. How many other things can I say the same for? Very few. But this, this was important. Family photos once a year, and a family photo book collecting all of our snap shots will be done each January. How hard can it be?

If you scroll my instagram feed you will almost never see pictures with the five of us. We're a busy family and my husband works 6 of 7 days each week. And when we're together we rarely seem to capture it on film. Oh funny, I just made a historical joke. Film. Anyway, even if you are together with your family often it doesn't mean you have an additional person around willing to patiently take pictures of you. While your kids jump and tackle and stain outfits and fill diapers all during this precious gap of time when no one is napping or over tired, hungry, crying, or on a time out. Basically I've narrowed family photo taking possibilities down to three hours a year. And darn it, we used those three hours and our beloved friends Max and Rachel came over and blessed us with these wonderful images that I will cherish for years to come.

Every year we've done family photos it's been stress-city. My hopes are sky high and to accomplish my dream photo shoot so many things have to align perfectly. Kid's behaviour, lighting, outfits not getting dirty, location working out, general moods of all of us (because faking it is 99% of picture taking and that is HARD). I've been a bit of a hot mess in the moments before family photos in the past and I vowed to be different this year. We'd take them at home, we'd be open minded about poses and shots we wanted, we'd have back up outfits and spoil the kids with marshmallows if we had to! I wanted us to get great photos but I also wanted to have fun with my family, and I know my stress rubs off on my family and can ruin the whole thing I'm working so hard to make perfect.

Of course whatever could have gone wrong probably did. Brad and Lily arrived late from a grocery run so we were hurried getting ready, and on their drive home an enraged man yelled at our car window, frightening Lily. Brad spent a lot of time debriefing her and in the end she was her usual self, but it had him on high alert for the rest of the day. Our kid's room which is always the brightest room in the house wasn't very well lit as it was an unusually cloudy day, but our friends brought an extra light and we used lamps we had around the house to add light. I've never seen my living room so lit up! I loved that because of our friend's ingenuity we could take pictures in a few spots around the house - not just the kid's shared room.

Brad was a gem and let me dress him without question. Except when I said tie-under-sweater and then there were questions. This is the kind of outfit he would preach in at church but we're comfy people at home, so it was weird for him to be curling up on the couch in a tie. But honey, lets pretend you wear this when we're reading books on the couch with the kids. And my hair is always so straight. And look at me and smile because you're such a babe. If only there were speech bubbles because they might have read, "this tie is the biggest lie I've ever told".

Also, lets talk about Christmas cards for a sec. Did anyone send them? Because we only got like five. And the two pictures above were supposed to be sent out as ours but let's be honest, these pictures were taken on Dec. 22nd so who were we kidding? Even an e-card would have made it just in time. So sadly these cute shots didn't get used. We sent out a "Merry Christmas but mainly HAPPY NEW YEAR" cover up e-card this week and used a different picture from the series. Load. Off. My. Shoulders. Maybe I'll keep the sharpie sign for next year? Oli, promise to have the same smile, mk?

I think we all have a little cognitive dissonance when it comes to family photos, or any photography for that matter. None of it is real life. It's a little too polished to pass as "oh crazy, the mail man just came by and offered to snap a couple of these while we were all pleasantly sitting together as a family of five". There are lights and there is makeup and there is preparation and we're all smiling and hugging. I'd like to say that was every day, but it's not.

Here's how we resolved this disconnect. It's true, these pictures were posed. But they're an image of a real thing. A real family that loves and cuddles and laughs. It's a movie, based on a true story. And yes, we're also a family that fights and cries and sins, but we don't need pictures to remind us of that, do we? If we're honest, it's often hardest to remember the beautiful parts. Life is hard and this world is fallen, and we forget God and his promises for us and our families. But there is great love and great forgiveness thanks to Jesus, the author of both. And these are one way we remember his grace.

Happy New Year!
His mercies are new every morning.


Hospitality and Small Children

 I originally wrote this in 2011, and it's more true today than ever.

One HUGE difference from my pre-kids days to my current reality is that entertaining and hosting people can seem like more of a burden than ever before. I used to thrive with company over. I loved tidying up my home, planning a menu, and having a full house of family, friends, you name it. When Lily was born it drastically changed. I had less energy. The house was always a mess. Cooking and baking became more rare. People coming over wasn't as "fun" anymore. 

Lately Brad has been challenging this view. He's obviously sympathetic to my lack of energy, especially with my current pregnancy on top of a 9 month old, but he's also the greatest influence in my life other than God, so when he speaks, I need to consider what he's saying. And I have been (not that I'm always so ready to be corrected, mind you!). He's been encouraging me to show hospitality more, though it's harder than ever. Why? Because it's one of the greatest ways to love people.

Something I've realized through trying to understand to what degree I should be serving others alongside my family in this season is that hospitality is not hosting/entertaining. In my head, the two were inseparable. But they are quite different, and when you get that, you realize that showing hospitality doesn't have to be a burden when you're in a season of difficulty - especially with small children. Entertaining has a heavy emphasis on showing someone a great time, amusing them. There's a lot of pressure there. An entertaining evening usually means a nice meal, planned activities, a pleasant atmosphere (read: clean house!), everyone on their best behavior, etc. Now check out the definitions of hospitality.


1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
I take this to mean that showing hospitality is opening your door and heart to people. Even when the house is messy. Even when you're just ordering pizza. Even when you don't have the perfect evening planned. It's showing generosity and love, usually in your home. That sounds like something I can do, if I so choose. But what it also required is that I choose love and generosity above appearance and "perfection". Would I be as proud to open up my home if I'm not offering a three-course-meal made from scratch? I should be, but in my pride, I'm not. 
Something I'm working on, with Brad's inspiration, and also the inspiration of  this article recently posted online.


Sharing my heart for families in cities

This week I was so grateful to share a post I'd written on The Gospel Coalition's blog about the severe lack of families in the urban church and the great need for them. Brad and I joke that my favourite questions are "how's the church plant?" and "how do you find living in the city with your three kids?", because seriously... don't get me started. I love getting to share my heart on the two subjects. It's one of the biggest reasons I keep this blog going and why I was so delighted to share with the broader audience of TGC.

Here's an excerpt:
Families are a particular blessing to the urban church and to cities, which makes their absence all the more frustrating. For the same reason families don’t want to move to urban churches, urban churches need them deeply. Cities can be cold and heartless, but a Christian family offers warmth and care. Cities can be competitive and rough, but a Christian family shows mutual serving and gentleness. A Christian family reminds the world that we need one another.

I have seen firsthand how my family has been a blessing in ways often overlooked in suburbs or small towns. Families offer grounding where the urban church can be evanescent. Families offer stability where the urban church can be transient. Families contradict the city’s sermon that “it’s all about you” and invite the urban church to serve and love and lead and disciple.

The challenges to city life with children are legitimate: high cost of living, less space, fewer schooling options, increased crime (if only due to the increased population), and so on. Several years ago on this site Kathy Keller wrote a compelling list of reasons why living in the city with children is wonderful. Even so, families give up a great deal when answering the call to urban ministry. But could it be that one of the ways we pick up our cross and follow Christ is to lay down our right to a yard and white picket fence? To lay down our right to a driveway and garage? To lay down our right to home ownership at all?

You can read the whole article on The Gospel Coalition blog.