Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

More Than Just Making It (with giveaway!) August 31, 2017

Filed under: reads — dayna @ 6:30 am

As far as I can recall, I’ve been on government assistance twice in my life. The first time I was eighteen and got set up with all the available resources while in a residential half-way house following a stint in rehab. Sobriety didn’t stick for long and I slipped back into substance abuse and out of the aid system.

The second time I was nineteen and placed on emergency medicaid during a psychiatric hospitalization after yet another drug overdose. Looking back, I know it was a hand-up to a lost soul until the Lord built a new support system and life around me. But those are stories for another time…

I’ve not experienced any of those services as a mom and wife simply trying to make ends meet, but Erin Odom of The Humbled Homemaker has, and she has a powerful story of faith and truth to tell.


In her new book More Than Just Making It, Erin recounts her personal journey through financial crisis to a place of greater stability and shares much of what she has learned along the way. More than anything, Erin’s family’s story is one of heart and perspective change. She tenderly describes her reality of past pridefulness and privilege being wrecked then rebuilt into humility and gratitude.

This book is a worthwhile read for individuals in any financial situation. More Than Just Making It is partially a heart-felt memoir full of personal reflection. It’s also packed with practical money management and frugal living information. Above all though, true to its’ subtitle, the book offers HOPE to the financially frustrated. Both the reader struggling with their own financial difficulties, and the reader wanting to understand and help with the hardship around them, will find wisdom within its’ pages.

Erin is a strong writer with vivid stories, elegant sentences, and precise word choices. Throughout the book, her tone is that of an experienced, well-informed friend. Somehow she seems to be listening through the pages and always offering compassion and gentle suggestions.

More Than Just Making It also has insightful financial and cultural analysis of the last few years. The research included is highly relevant as the author discusses how the times and financial climate influence outlook and mindset of multiple generations.

Erin includes chapters on frugal living topics such as curbing spending, budgeting, grocery expenses, shopping and creating more income. My favorite chapter though, is titled “Changing Our Mindsets.” In it, the author imparts a vision of a more aware and practically helpful church culture. She challenges the reader to see individual situations as unique and to extend dignity to all.

I personally also appreciate that Erin presents being a full-time mother as a legitimate vocational choice even in difficult times and sometimes  (especially with the costs of childcare) as a more financially-wise decision for a family. While our family is not currently struggling to put food on the table and we’re thankful for college degrees that could allow for increased income generation if necessary, we still have some financial situations laden with anxiety.

After reading More Than Just Making It, I feel less overwhelmed and better equipped to tackle our financial goals. I’ve been encouraged to develop a working budget and practical plan to live more frugally so that we might:

  • gain traction on lingering student loan debt
  • save more aggressively and intentionally
  • give more generously and with less conflict

And now for some fun stuff I want to share:

mtjmi freebies

More Than Just Making releases on September 5th. It’s available for pre-order now and there are some awesome pre-order bonuses being offered with it! They’re super-easy to submit for here after you’ve ordered your book.

There’s also an amazingly huge “mega-giveaway” going on for pre-orders right too! See the details here.

And last but not least: I have a copy of the book to giveaway!! Leave me a comment telling me why you’d like to read More Than Just Making It and on September 4th I will randomly select a comment- maker to receive a copy! That still gives you time to pre-order and collect the bonuses if you don’t win;-)

A prayer for all of us:

gratitude mtjmi

*I’m honored to have been a part of the More Than Just Making It Launch Team and enjoyed reading my advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.


What We Wonder August 30, 2017

Filed under: Motherhood,Uncategorized — dayna @ 11:50 pm

He was doing his usual investigations. Under a huge patio umbrella outside a fast food place, eyes big and thinking out loud. “So… you turn this handle around and around and that makes the rods push up and out and the umbrella goes up…” Pleased with himself, he pauses for moment.

“He always wonders about how things work” the oldest muses. “He has to figure it all out and understand why and how things do what they do… Is there something wrong with me that I don’t wonder about that? I mean, I’m not that curious about how things work. I’m just glad that they do,” she finishes simply.

I smile and reassure her. “Not at all, honey. He does wonder about that all the time though, hunh? You’re probably curious about other things.”

“Yeah.” She agrees with her honest confidence. The four of us meander across the parking lot and load up in our van.

“I guess we all wonder about different sorts of things. What do you wonder about?” I continue. Turning onto an unfamiliar street, I’m faced with a large hill off the side of the road. “For example, I wonder where does that street go? What’s up that hill? Can we get to it? How would we get up it?”

“Let’s climb up it!” he suggests excitedly. With nowhere we really need to be, I point the van in the direction of the large empty hill oddly on the outskirts of town.

My oldest continues our easy dialogue as we go. “Well,  I guess I wonder about people. Like when I see someone walking or in their car going somewhere, I wonder where they are going and what their story is. I wonder about their life and the people they know. Or if I see a wall or a gate, I wonder what’s behind it. What’s happening there?”

I’m smiling a bit to myself as the van winds and ascends. Treasuring in my heart the simple self-awareness of this writer-girl.

My little-middle girl pipes up. “I wonder if things are true. I wonder what’s real or not. Like in stories, and legends or things we hear about. I want to know what is true.”

Dazzled, my breath catches a bit. I’m in awe of them and us and the things we talk about.

“That’s true isn’t it, Jo? You do seem to seek what is real and true.” I see her matter-of-fact expression in the rearview mirror as my heart swells gratefully.

We go to that hill, pull to the side of the road and start to head up it on foot.

We discover, as is so often the case, that while from far away it looked green and soft, underfoot it’s rocky and covered in high, sharp weeds. There’s no visible trail and we don’t have the right shoes this night.

After a few minutes of exploring, we add the climb to the list for another day and load back up.

The gentle conversation about “wonderings” resumes and my heart is bursting full- of who they are and what they think.  The profound gleams in the midst of all the ordinary.