Blog

10 books in quarter 2

If you’re looking for book recs, here’s what I read in quarter 2 of this year. I’m honestly shocked I read 10 books this quarter with one of my big goals being to read the Bible in 90 days but Audible sure helps! 😉 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin This book was really insightful. I tend to feel mentally weak and within the 13, I

Read More

My quarter 2 goals update

This year I’m trying something new. In the past, I’ve updated goals monthly and felt that was way overkill and then completely stopped updating. I think it’s helpful to see how goals ebb and flow throughout the year in real life so I hope this is encouraging as you look forward to the next 3 months.  Here’s a recap of my goals for 2021 and what I did in Q2

Read More

Behind the scenes of a book launch

In October 2021, Val’s legacy book on prayer, Pray Confidently and Consistently releases. In it, she examines 15 weights that hold us back from a thriving prayer life–like the weight of perfection, control, and comfort–things she’s experienced herself and has combated as she’s deeply studied Scripture, committed to prayer, and learned from the prayer warriors that have gone before her. We believe this book, along with the Holy Spirit’s guidance,

Read More

Our best tool for praying powerfully

Recently, I’ve been convicted by the casualness I bring to my faith. Don’t get me wrong. I read my Bible and pray regularly. I genuinely make time to praise and worship the Lord and actually enjoy it. I’m learning to love others more selflessly and value God’s kingdom and not just my own comfort. But as I’ve read accounts through history about prayer and get a bigger picture of the

Read More

In defense of… or a defensive gospel?

Over the years, there has been a pendulum swing within Christian culture (I talked about this a bit in The Finishing School…) . Just in the last couple hundred years, we went from fire and brimstone to the prosperity gospel message, but we’re starting to see another reactionary shift. The latest trend is to make sure it’s clear that Christians will suffer. I’ve seen this message and I’ve seen many

Read More

How to meet with God on vacation

I know “God takes a holiday” feels a little tongue in cheek, but how often does it feel like time with God flies out the window on vacation? You’re likely with people 24-7, maybe sharing a hotel room with kids, so there’s no “waking up early” option. I’ve totally been there. The last two vacations I had, I got very behind on my reading through the Bible plan. And to

Read More

Get rid of unhealthy thinking

Thank you to our guest blogger, Carrie Whyte, Co-founder of The Watermark Shop for this post! We go through most of our day on auto-pilot. Getting dressed, making breakfast, driving to work (or walking across the hall to our home office!) happens without us thinking too hard. In fact, many experts claim that at least 90% of our decisions are made subconsciously. Our brain creates neural pathways that are like

Read More

Creating a community of prayer

The summer after our online prayer course officially released, I was craving community. (Kara, here!) We had recently started going to a new church and I hoped that asking some gals from my small group to do the prayer course with me would be a good start. Friendship is a bonus, but we also believe the best accountability to actually pray is to invite friends to come alongside you. When

Read More

I don’t do it all (and why you shouldn’t either)

This post first appeared in 2016 but I thought it was time for an update!! If you’ve read The Finishing School, you have already heard me quote Professor Bruce Hindmarsh when he said: “Busyness is moral laziness [because it is often a statement of our excuse to be inattentive to people]…But God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do moment by moment to respond

Read More

Motherhood is more than a meme

Have you seen Yes Day yet? That movie with Jennifer Garner who’s a mom who says no a lot and when she realizes she’s no longer her fun-loving self, she’s determined to shed the grumpy mom and be the fun mom again.  When the story started developing, I looked at Tyler and said “Who’s the lesson for in this movie?” because I felt all the eyeballs on me. Am I a

Read More

Necklaces that prompt us to pray

Summer Ellis has become such a sweet friend through our visits to Magnolia Market for vendor fairs that when she approached us about collaborating on a collection of necklaces it was a no-brainer! We’ve joked before that if Val Marie Paper was a jewelry company, it would be Summer Ellis Bijouterie. Val doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry, but has begun wearing a couple of her pieces because of how

Read More