The Power of the Praying Wife




While I was resting on Sunday afternoon, I decided to pick up The Power of a Praying Wife (again) instead of The Connected Child which I’m in the process of reading (again). Each chapter is about a different aspect of my husband’s life with suggestions of how to pray for him. The first chapter is much longer than the rest and it’s all about His Wife—praying for his wife. It started out by making it clear that if you’re praying “God, change him, ” you need to shift your perspective. He’ll change whoever is willing to change. You have to be willing to change yourself and to ask God’s help to change you.


I like the analogy she explained that while the husband is the head of the household, the wife is the heart of the household and regardless of who works outside of the home more or who spends more time with the kids, there are certain roles that fit the head and certain roles that fit the heart. (You might not agree with this Biblical picture toward marriage and that’s totally fine with me. We believe it and it works well for us.) This has been a little bit of a challenging balance for Jason and I. Because he’s a musician, he’s often at home during the week, which means more of the childcare responsibility falls on him. It makes it very difficult for him to get the work done for his career that he needs to do. And because I work outside of the home, even though it’s my desire to be taking care of Ali, cooking, cleaning, etc. (it’s Jason’s desire for me, also) that’s just not where we’re at right now. But we are working more toward that goal everyday. It’s a huge blessing that my bosses allow me to work from home 2/5 days of the week so that I can spend those days with Ali, relieve Jason and not ask Ali’s grandma’s to babysit too often. I do, however, want to step it up in the area of taking care of the household. I love to do it and it speaks to Jason’s love language (acts of service). I’m doing a lot more of the cooking now that we’re in our new house, even though Jason is a great cook. We’re both really happy with the shift.


There are 30 chapters in The Power of a Praying Wife, intended for each to be read and prayed every day for a month. I pray for Jason a lot but I love this book because it brings up things that I often don’t think of to pray about. I hope he’s feeling the affects. I know that I am feeling changed already.


Soaking It In


I disciplined myself to rest from sundown Saturday until sundown Sunday. I’m trying a new thing this year inspired by the way the Jewish people observe the Sabbath (only I’m doing it the following day). I had spent every minute of Ali’s naptime and every evening after she’s asleep for several days nesting–organizing, unpacking the last few things, hanging shelves, curtains, etc. Either that or I was finished up some wedding invitations I designed for my sister’s friend. Jason was in Florida on tour and I had been busy. It was really difficult to rest, especially on a gorgeous sunny afternoon. Once Ali was asleep, I decided to sit outside in the sunshine for at least 20 minutes to get my daily dose of Vitamin D.


Our courtyard offered the perfect spot, in direct sunlight just for an hour or two in the afternoon. Lucy joined me outside while I planned our meals for the week and sent some emails I’d been trying to find time for.


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Once I came back inside, I spent sometime reading and started a book that I’ve read several times before, The Power of the Praying Wife. After a few hours of forced rest, I had a list of things I was ready to do as soon as the sun went down, which was just about the time Ali was waking up from her nap. It’s hard to explain but I felt really truly refreshed: full of energy and joy. Ali and I ate dinner, went grocery shopping, I gave her a bath and put her to bed and then I cleaned the house. Wow! I felt ready to start the week and to welcome my man home on Monday after 5 days in a tour bus. Home to a clean house with a full fridge, meals planned for the week, and two happy girls waiting for him.

Fluttering Hearts


Maybe it’s part of my nesting urge. While I was cleaning out the future kids room, I found an old poetry book at I was going to put in the yard sale pile. Then I got inspired and remembered a project I saw on a blog a few years ago. I made a banner with cut out hearts, stapled with pink staples onto rainbow colored yarn. I hug it over the dining room windows, by the front door, and I love the shadows the hearts cast on a sunny afternoon. There is a heat vent on the floor under the window so when the air is running, the hearts flutter around. I’m in love.

Valentine's Day paper heart banner made from an old poetry book - Valentine's Day paper heart banner made from an old poetry book -

Valentine's Day paper heart banner made from an old poetry book -

Valentine's Day paper heart banner made from an old poetry book -



Apparently I’m nesting. After getting the news that we had a February 28 deadline to reopen our home with DCS, I spent most of my free time during the weekend while Jason was out of town hanging pictures, unpacking those last few stubborn old boxes, sorting, organizing, hanging curtains…

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We also got the door lock for the hall closet and our new home phone line set up.

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I think maybe Jason is nesting too, because he’s patching up spots on the wall where we had some nicks and scratches as I’m writing this. We still need to assemble the monster KURA bed, install safety locks, cover the outlets, secure the TV to the wall in the den, rugs need to be “secured” with antislip pads…we also need to get a booster car seat, another twin mattress, night lights…Sheew! Is my list getting longer instead of shorter, or it just me?

New Home Tour: Kitchen


Well, I suppose it’s about time that I start giving a virtual tour of our new home. Y’all were so patient and encouraging during the building process and now that we’re getting more and more settled in, I’m feeling ready to start sharing some rooms. Let’s kick this thing off with the kitchen, which is quite possibly my favorite room of the house. I’ve been challenging myself to take over more of the family cooking and I’m starting to really enjoy it…due in part to how much I love the functionality and atmosphere of this room. Everything ended up just like my plan with a few additions thanks to our friend Andy at Markraft Kitchens.

When I walk through the front door, this is my view of the kitchen.


Having an open shelf for cookbooks was on my dream kitchen wish list. We also have a medicine lockbox (DCS requirement) for our daily vitamins and tissues. Ali won’t leave anything on this shelf alone.


I was originally going to get silver stools but I decided we needed some color up in here. Our countertops extend out about 12″ there for casual conversation with friends while we’re cooking.


Another dream kitchen wish list item: a corner cabinet facing out under the bar toward the dining room. It ended up being the perfect spot for Lucy’s food and accessories, and her water bowl is very close to the sink. Perfect.

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This section of cabinets is the pantry, coffee/tea bar and home of the small appliances.


Another dream kitchen wish list item. This coffee/tea bar turned out even better than I had envisioned. We use this everyday, many times a day.


I prefer to keep my microwave and toaster oven hidden so he’s where they live. I’m so glad that Andy, our cabinet guru, found a way to make this work for us.


That door there is our coat closet.


We’re planning to add a tile backspace eventually. I really love the light we get in this space.


Our architect, Ryan Thewes, was so thoughtful and thorough with his planning of window placement. The clerestory windows let in a ton of light, mostly indirect. We never need to turn lights on during the day.



Besides the cookbook shelf, one open shelf for our everyday dishes and glasses was at the top of my dream kitchen wish list. BAM. Exactly how I wanted it!


This was a last minute addition to our kitchen plan: a pull out drawer for the trash and recycling. I’m so glad we did this. It’s really practical and I like that it’s close to the front door (the one on the left) where we walk in with the junk mail and go out with the trash.


I’m getting used to cooking with gas. My favorite part of the Whirlpool White Ice gas range is the knobs.


So that’s it, my dream kitchen!



Floors: natural, unstained, utility grade hickory
Cabinets: walnut-stained cherry and white thermofoil sold through Markraft
Countertops: Kashmir granite
Appliances: Whirlpool White Ice
Pendant lights: IKEA
Big A: ReAbide
Stools: Tabouret on
Love Bacon print: Matt Butler on Etsy
Wall color: Greek Villa by Sherwin Williams

If I skipped anything you’re curious about, just ask!

Phone Photo Friday


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Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!

2013 Calendar – Christmas Gift for My In-Laws



For Christmas, I made Jason’s parents a photo wall calendar. I looked at templates online but nothing fit exactly what I had in mind so I decided to just buy photo paper and washi craft tape and make one myself. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I mostlyused pictures of their three grandkids—Ali and her cousins Aiden and Eliza. I also mixed in some family portraits and some funny ones of the adults, too.




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Alianna at 18 Months


I am in awe of you, beautiful girl. You are full of joy, wonder and spunk. We have challenging days when you’re quest for independence pushes the boundaries of my patience. But more common are the days when I sit back and delight in you; when I thank God that I get to be your mom, that I get to hang out with you, that I get to receive your hugs and kisses, that I get to meet your needs.

I am so proud of the little girl you are becoming. You are extremely friendly but it’s more than that—you love people. I see you scanning the room when we’re out shopping or eating dinner, deciding who needs your sweet smile and “hi!” You’re never discouraged when ignore, you keep on going. You’ll smile and say hi for as long as it takes until the guy in line behind us (desperately trying to mind his own business) finally cracks a smile and says hi back to you. You are strong and confident. You are willing to try anything, and in fact would like to try EVERYTHING that you see us or someone else you look up to doing.

Including the potty…


Or the rhythmic cup thing that mommy does for you on the side of the bathtub.


You have no shortage of personality!

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Uh oh!


Or hair… Your hair is much longer than it looks because of all your curls. I’m still learning a lot about how to style and care for your hair. Thanks for being patient with me. Dad has even started helping a tiny bit and put your hair in a ponytail the other day.

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Oh look, I caught you in the act of breaking the coaster holder and I didn’t even know it! You love those coasters as much as any toy you own.


You’ve also started to really love your books. Or “boops” as you call then. You can say “duck” and “cacka” but for some reason you can “boop.” It’s cute.


You’re cute. Gorgeous.

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You also say “Bible” and like this version best.

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Spoons? Who needs ’em!


Taking the First Step … Again [Foster Parenting]


My phone rang and when I saw DCS on the caller ID I had an adrenaline surge. Do they know? Can they call already? Is there a  kid? All of that went through my mind before I pressed answer and said hello. It was our case worker, getting back to me. I had sent her an email telling her we’d be ready to reopen our home soon and I was wondering what all we needed to do.

We’re not ready but I contacted her because I needed a nudge. Not that I’m procrastinating, but there are just so many little things we still want to do to get settled into our new house – hang more shelves in the garage, figure out storage for my work room, landscaping, bigger art, hang the art we have … we’re pacing ourselves with time and money. Before we reopen our home we need to assemble the bedroom for “the next kids,” get a home phone, lock up our medicines, cleaners, knives, a whole list of little things. When I talked to our case worker, I found out their policy changed (shocker…). Originally she told me we could be in “closed” status for 2 years without having to redo our PATH training and home study but they’ve changed it to 1 year. I’m glad I called when I did because we’re 5 weeks from the 1 year cut off. Within that time frame we just need to amend our home study, not redo everything. (Thank God!!!)

That means we might start getting calls by March 1. So, I’m kicking into nesting mode again. But it’s so different this time around. I’m not sure if I’d call it excitement… We’re going to Disney World! That would be excitement. We’re climbing Mt. Everest! That would be adrenaline. I’m getting pumped up but I know it’s not going to be fun and easy; it’s going to be difficult and likely painful. There are a lot of logistics we don’t know and it’s impossible to plan for at this point… like how are we going to manage childcare for another kid (or 2?) during work hours. I don’t know. How is Ali going to respond. I have no idea. What are we getting ourselves into. Don’t ask me.

One thing I do know: we’re supposed to do this. God has called us to be foster parents and we will say yes. Again.

From experience, I can say with confidence that He will not lead us into something and then abandon us. He will equip us as we go and bring light to each step, one at a time. Here we go again!

Here’s my pictorial to do list.

This bed needs to be assembled, curtain hung, art hung, etc.:


I wish we could use this phone:


This drawer needs a child lock:

This closet (where we keep our cleaners and medicines) needs a locking door handle:

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We loathe these things… and need to cover about 5,000 more outlets:


The dept. is not going to like this:


Or this:


Phone Photo Friday



Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!