No Spend January 2015 Challenge! Who is with me?

No Spend Month Challenge #nospend #savemoney #howtomakeabudget #howtosavemoney #cutbackspending #thriftyliving #twelveOeightblog



Ok, I know it’s technically not the new year yet, but I had to tell you about something I have been working on.

As I have prepared for Christmas, wrapped gifts, made lists, and baked the days away, I realized how much stuff I have.
Not only how blessed I am, but how self-sufficient I could probably be if I was to just put a hold on spending and
use what I have for a month.  

Regular recurring obligations, as well as food, gas etc… are still in the budget.

What am I taking out? For a few weeks, stops for chai, trips to the craft store (I know), and anything I don’t need.

While shopping and thrifting are a huge source of fun for me (I am probably not super alone in this) I love to save money
and get a great deal.  So, I am going to do a fun giveaway at the end of the month to share the love!

More on that soon.

For now, here is what you need: a desire to spend less, save more, and have more peace and order in your home & life.

So, yeah.

That’s pretty much everybody.

I have seen challenges before and liked the idea, but some of the tasks were too hard (I feel SO lame admitting that!) [Read more…]

He washed it white as snow…

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain…

He washed it white as snow.


Winter Photography, blue red white christmas holiday decor nature berries branch berry branches print photograph, "I Wonder as I Wander"



It’s odd when memories come to us, for so long I assumed it’s because we were reminded of something
or someone who touched our life.  But I am beginning to wonder if memories seep through when we are
at our most quiet and peaceful.

In the simple things.

The everyday.

I sit here this evening cooking up a big batch of waffles since I didn’t make it to the store today, and I
know I will have a group of hungry kids expecting something good in the morning.

The little red light on the side of my waffle iron blinks red when it’s ready for me to pour in my batter
and close the lid.

The iron is gets very hot before that light flickers on, and it makes me think of how I tend to wait until
my light is flickering before I am ready for God to pour out His love and grace abundantly on my heart. [Read more…]

Fall Family Photos 2014 + feeling thankful

Runkle fam 1


Do you make resolutions at the end of each year for the coming New Year?
Some years I do, others it passes and I realize I haven’t thought about it at all.
Each year however, the thing that I desire most is a feeling of balance.

So I set out to create systems and ways to feel more balanced, and organized.

But it didn’t really help change how I felt inside.

At the end of each day, week, I felt like I had not accomplished what I had set out to, which created
frustration and discontentment.  I began to see that what I was truly craving was peace.
Peace for me came in the form of my faith in God, accepting today as it is, and living one day at a time.


Sounds like I have got the unbalanced thing beat, I don’t.  Not at all.

But by keeping things in perspective, taking better care of myself, and relying upon a wonderful,
beautiful group of friends sisters I am not alone in this whole Mom-who-feels-tired-and-just-wants-to-sleep thing.
I don’t have to be perfect, and that is so freeing. [Read more…]

Guess who turned 1 this weekend?

kaleb 1st birthday pic 1


It’s been a year, a whole year since our sweet little man came into our lives.

My first baby, had her first baby, and well…he’s already a year old.

I can’t believe it!!

Yep, that’s a whole bunch of teeth in there too, and he is taking those first steps,
and discovering how to climb up the stairs, opening every cupboard, you know… discovering everything!


He’s busy, and snuggly, and funny, and sweet.
And this past year has been full of a double joy, not only enjoying a first grandbaby, but seeing my
eldest have a baby and learn, and grow with him is magical.

My youngest three will probably not be starting a family anytime soon as they are stilll 8, 5, and 4.
Yeah, in case we have never talked about it, that’s a 14.5 year difference between my first two kiddos.
I like to live on the edge like that hee hee ūüôā

Anyways, I had to show you his sweet and funny pictures from this weekend, his very 1st Birthday Party.
They are so sweet and I am just smitten, enjoy!! [Read more…]

There is a season turn, turn, turn

summer 5 watermark 

 I know change is good, and when it’s change I have been craving or working for
then it naturally feels like a success.

A goal met.

Crossing a finish line.

But sometimes change comes and it doesn’t feel great.

At least not a first.

Embracing it, especially when it looks like the direction we are needing or have to go.
It feels like loss, and trying to imagine the new reality feels like something inside of us has died.

The loss of whatever the dream was, or had been.
When faced with change, or the need to make decisions that mean big change,
it doesn’t feel like promotion, it feels like I am losing something.
Something I had wanted, but it’s not all about me.  So, I check my pride at the door
and get down to the real deal of my heart, and motives.  And stubborn will.

Logan has been asking to go to school for the past 8 or so months.
Not just out of curiosity, but really taking as much of a stand that an 8 year old
can take, and making it known he would like to enroll in our local school for 3rd


I had our curriculum all picked out, and lots of fun activities lined up.



But we made a promise to ourselves when we began the home school journey four years
ago to try it in the first place, to evaluate periodically, and listen to each
child, and their heart.

[Read more…]

How to have an epic summer + commit to way less

Let’s face it, we all find ourselves in a rut sometimes.
There seem to be many ways to arrive in burn out land.

Especially as we transition into the summer months and may
be trying to figure out how we are going to enjoy time with family,
friends, lots of activities, travel, visitors, planning a fab BBQ or two,
and perhaps some time to relax.



Here are a few that you may be able to identify with:

  • not enough sleep
  • too many commitments
  • not staying true to yourself
  • having grace with others, demanding perfection from ourselves
  • wanting it all now

I am guilty of all of these, usually three or more at the same time
just to keep myself stressed out and distracted from what really matters.
Since different stuff matters to all of us, but most of us have some common
things that throw us off track I can think of three things that are rut-busters
we can implement as we move into summer.

[Read more…]

Choosing a bunch of happy today


If we ask our children and loved ones what they really want in life, they would probably
tell us that they want to be happy.

I have thought a lot about happiness and life so much since my Mom passed away
in early April.  After the initial shock wore off I have to admit, I felt cheated out of
having her in my life and seeing her grand-kids and great grand-kids grow up.

It hurt every time someone mentioned their Mom, because it just reminded me
of loss and pain.

My Mom and I didn’t have a perfect relationship, but we learned how to just let the
other be who she is and stop trying to change each other.  After realizing that we had
really done a good job of this, I stopped to look at all of the relationships and circustances
in my life.  The greatest amount of peace I have had has come after letting go of
false expectations I had in the first place.  The root of this seemed to be comparison.

If I just (fill in the blank) then I will be happy.

[Read more…]

Happy Mother’s Day

Our first rose of the year bloomed just in time for Mother’s Day!
It’s the little things that seem to bring the most joy in life,
I hope your day is full of those things that bring you the most joy.
Happy Mother’s Day friend,

Dentists, coupons and letting stuff go…

Do you ever just get to the point where you let a few things slip and really don’t care?
I feel so flaky for even typing those words.¬† But it’s true.
And if we are friends, then you need to know who you are friends with right?


 I am a recovering perfectionist.

I spent so many hours every week planning, perfecting, cleaning, shopping
all to make sure everything was perfect.
Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping, that’s not changing.¬† I’m not crazy, just tired.

Seriously, tired of juggling so much I just have had to let a few things go.
It’s not that I don’t care, I do.
But really, how much of my time, my life do I want to spend obsessing over stuff.  
Worrying about it, trying to fix it, fight it, change it.
Some of it I have control over, and some I don’t.
Maybe it’s because I have four kids, and I wear a size 18 AGAIN!
I just seriously do not have the internal fortitude to get on a treadmill
every morning.   I know I will lose the I-had-my-last-baby-at-39-weight
I am disorganized.
I keep a few areas of my home fairly neat and clean, but the 
bedrooms and bathroom are seriously leaving something to be desired.
Master bedroom closet? I hope the kids never try to play hide and seek 
in there, we may lose one of them.  I would rather paint a table, make 
milkshakes with my kids, or nap than clean a shower.  
I don’t have time to try to be perfect anymore, it’s boring
and the only person who cares is us.
I am terrified of the dentist.  Over 20 years ago I had a bad 
experience while visiting a new dentist.  He drilled on the wrong tooth,
broke it, it abscessed over the weekend and I needed emergency treatment
after three days of agony.  That is a lot of TMI, sorry.
In the grand scheme of things my dental drama is not a big deal,
but it was a helpless feeling.¬† He isn’t practicing anymore, which helps.
But I am thinking about being fully under next time I need 
to get any work done.¬† I don’t want to just lay there freaking out
and freak out for weeks before the appointment,
and freak out while I am tilted back in the dental chair with rubber
stuff hanging out of my mouth.
It is very hard to have a panic attack like this.
You end up looking like a rabid squirrel, and the dentist is always cute.
I don’t clip coupons.¬† And I don’t organize unless I have to.
I am a fairly thrifty shopper and cook, and shop two grocery stores
but we have to eat gluten free.  So many of the coupons are for
processed food we can’t eat.¬† Give me a stack of coupons for
Hershey bars, I will use every single one of them.  But come on,
brand name cereal that even after the coupon is still more 
expensive that the store brand? And I cannot find a store in my
town to double a coupon, so I am leaving this talent to someone
else way better at it than me.
I tend to run a bit late, like usually.
I was punctual in my younger years.
Then I turned 35, had three kids in five years, and it all went out
the window.  I feel like a rock star if I have been able to accomplish
even a couple things around the house on an average day, and pat
myself on the back if I am only a few minutes late for an appointment.
There should be an automatic grace program for anyone who has 
spent their morning  chasing one or more kids around, getting them 
fed, dressed, checking pants for poop, loaded in the car, broke up
two fights over toys while driving, didn’t get in a car accident, and still
made it to an appointment only a few minutes late.  
Give the lady a medal.
She just herded a wild bunch of children across town in her
car and has cute jeans and lip gloss on.
She’s doing the best she can.
Finding out that people don’t like you.
It hurts, and no one wants to talk about it, but someone needs to teach
us this harsh reality when we are young.  Not everyone is compatible.
People will not like us, what we do, how we look, talk, live, you name it.
As long as we are respectful and kind, we don’t have to adore everyone
and they don’t have to all adore us.¬† It’s just not going to happen,
and will make the whole “being perfect” thing way easier to
kick to the curb.  
It might be in our neighborhood, extended circle of friends, and their friends,
church, family, the list goes on.
Be you, bravely.  It looks way prettier than perfect any day.
Add some lip gloss are you are SET!
Take a deep breath, feels good doesn’t it?
All you have to do is be the very best you that 
God created, that’s it.
I give myself permission to mess up.
I am not flaky, just being real.
I don’t have to stress about little or big things today, I can just
enjoy what I have now, with those I love and cherish.
There you have it, a few things that I have found I do not have time for.  
What are you not finding time for right now, yet totally ok with?
Hugs to you friend,

Why Moms Need Friends Too

The journey of motherhood is on my 
mind and heart with Mother’s Day coming
up.  But also because I had the blessing
to spend the day with a large room full of
Moms I love.  These women are in my MOMS
group at our church.  They are the most 
beautiful, engaging. witty, real, honest,
loving group of people I get the honor 
to hang out with.
I shared a little bit about being a 
recovering perfectionist today, and a few 
things to think about when we strive to 
live intentionally and use our gifts.
Sometimes we don’t remember them or know
if we ever had any.  We are just tired, and want to
sleep a whole night.  Or put some laundry away
without it piling up again so fast.  To eat a meal
quietly or have a phone conversation.  A real 
phone conversation without apologizing for
the kids screaming every few minutes. 
But our friends understand, and they love us
anyways.¬† They don’t care if your roots are¬†
super grown out, or if you picked up all 
of the dirty clothes in the bathroom before
they come over.¬† They don’t care if you have¬†
a lot of money, or can afford to brew a pot
of coffee and enjoy it with them.
Some friendships are new and like a shaky
newborn calf, they take time to grow and 
become strong.  Other friendships seem
to be able to weather anything.  It makes me
think about those first Spring flowers and
how brave they are to push through that 
cold frosty dirt.  But they do it anyways.
That’s what they are supposed to do.¬† They
are brave, strong and forge ahead when
we sometimes cannot understand how.
We need to allow ourselves to lean 
on our friends when they can pull us through
the dark times.  And to be that for
another Mom is such a blessing.

Our theme this year has been 
“together we are stronger”
and it is so very true.  That becomes
more real to me every day.
We all want to be a good Mom,
a great Mom.  But we cannot do it
without the group of women in our 
lives.  We are better together.
I spend this afternoon enjoying a few 
quiet moments while kids are napping.
I cannot imagine what life would be 
like without the beautiful women God
has put in my life.  Some of us have met
some of us have not yet.
But either way I am blessed.

 Hoping you are inspired to call that friend
and go to coffee.  
You know you will have fun.
The kids will survive.  The house can wait.
Go laugh and be silly.  You will be 
glad you did, promise.

Hugs & blessings

Thank you so much for reading, and as always, may your heart and home be full of everything you love! xo, Tanya         linking up to: And these awesome parties: