Living in the Land of Beige and Giveaway with Jill Savage

UPDATE: Just wanted to hop on a second to say it is not too late to be entered in the give-away for one of Jill Savage’s books My Heart’s at Home.  If you haven’t read the following post and interview with her, read on!! For the rest of you I wanted to answer a couple questions I have been getting a lot lately. They are both “yes”.

YES….I will be writing about the reason we chose to sell our home and reverse the American Dream, going from nearly 8 acres, a pond, creek and woods to hunt in, along with a custom-built, 2,950 square foot home to a modest 1608 square foot ranch in a subdivision lot near town. I just haven’t found time—with all of the down-sizing, basement-finishing, garage-sale readying that I have to do—to be able to sit down and write it. Also, I have a few other pieces to write including a Proverbs 31 devotion that was due LAST WEEK!!!  (Sorry, sweet Rachel!) And…..

YES….I do plan on writing more about my weigh loss and helping to facilitate some of you cyber-friends dropping some unwanted poundage as well. I’m doing my best to get around to that one too!!! (If you don’t know my story of losing over 100 pounds, scroll down to May and a post called American Idle)and the series of posts left for a week or so after that, which are found in the end of May, beginnng of June) Also, please leave a comment if you are interested in a once-in-a-while post and comment sharing on topics related to being strong and healthy in order to serve our families. (i.e…..weight loss and exercise, recipes, tips, helpful Scriptures, etc…) I’m game if you are!!! Chat at you soon!


I just realized something. I live in the land of beige!!!

Yes ma’am. This new house we bought is wonderful for our family. Just big enough. Brand spankin’ new. (It was a spec home that a very reputable builder built two years ago but, in our poor Michigan economy, was unable to sell.) In a great subdivision. Located just three or four minutes from town. I have only one complaint about our new abode.

It is a little heavy on the beige.

Beige siding. Beige carpet. Beige linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms. Beautiful beige ceramic tile in the entry way. Beigey-taupe walls.

Every single one of them.

Now, this beige overload was one of the factors that actually drew us to this house. All our furnishings would match!!! No need to purchase new comforters and such. Our old ones would do just fine. However, we did have to sell our old living room furniture since this living room is so much smaller. So, while we are waiting to find something new on Craig’s List, we decided to put the sectional, that will go in our basement family room when it is finished, in the living room for the time being. Guess what color it is?

Yep, you’re one step ahead of me!!!

So the other day, as I was having a nice-and-neutral meltdown about all of this with my dear friend Suzy on the receiving end of my “phone-a-friend” cry for comfort, I had an idea. I needed to do something, ANYTHING, “pretty” in my home.

You see, because we are really only half moved in- (still waiting for the basement to be finished with the family room, and two teenager’s bedrooms) we are in a holding pattern. The kitchen is set up. One bathroom has a clear shower curtain liner in it. All of the kid’s clothes are neatly folded—okay piled—in laundry baskets in our master bedroom while they work out of them acting as temporary dressers. They grab a blanket and pillow to bed down somewhere every night. (There is one twin bed in Spencer’s room which they take turns using.)

But nothing “pretty” had been done yet. No color anywhere!

So I grabbed the gift card that our realtor gave us to Bed, Bath and Beyond and I hunted me down some “pretty”. Shower curtains, towels and rugs. I stayed up late that night and got all of the pretty in place.

Now two rooms have splashes of color. One bathroom in terra cotta and sage green. One in chocolate brown, pale aqua, and lime green.

Ahhhhh…..what beauty. I keep walking in those bathrooms just to get me a quick fix of pretty.

Now, we still aren’t to the place to be able to hang much up on the walls. The place is still 92% beige. But the splash of color was the fix I need.

You know, sometimes as a mom, we too get in the beige rut with our mothering. Our routines and responsibilities have us stuck and stagnant. What we need is a fresh new perspective, some creative ideas and a healthy dose of encouragement. You know, a splash of color!

Ta da!!! Enter my friend and partner in mom ministry, Jill Savage. Many of you may already know her as the founder and director of Hearts at Home. Maybe you heard her on Focus on the Family. Perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak.

I know her as Jill. My decade-plus long friend. Fellow mom, cook and carpooler. She does what I do, just a state or two away in Illinois. And she LOVES to encourage moms. So this week. I’m letting her do just that here on my site!

Enjoy the following info about Jill and interview with her about her latest book My Heart’s at Home. Then, see how you can win one of three copies of this ‘splash of color’ mothering book.

It may be just the shot in the arm you need!

Sweet, color-other-than-beige blessings,


jill-brown-150×150.jpg Jill Savage( is an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging moms. She is the author of five books including Professionalizing Motherhood and her most recent release My Heart’s At Home.

logonew150.jpgFeatured on Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman magazine, and Family Life Today, Jill is the founder and director of Hearts at Home (, an organization designed to encourage, educate, and equip women in the profession of motherhood. Jill and her husband, Mark, have five children and make their home in Normal, Illinois.

Jill, tell us a little bit about what prompted you to write My Heart’s at Home ?

I was pursuing some personal growth opportunities through professional counseling. Most counseling sessions begin by looking at your childhood experiences. When I asked my counselor why that was so important he said, “The first 20 years of a person’s life lay the foundation for the 70 or more years of their adult experience.” As I pondered his statement I began to move from thinking about the home in which I grew up to the home Mark and I were creating for our children. Right now, we parents are laying the foundation for the rest of our children’s lives. That’s a pretty big responsibility!

As I continued along this line of thinking, I began to recognize that our home plays many roles in our lives. Home needs to be a safehouse where we feel loved and respected, a rest area where we pull off the highway of life and find the refreshment we need, a trauma unit where we can find healing from the hurts of the world, a church where the foundation of faith is laid in our life, a playground where we laugh and play together, and a pep rally where we are celebrated and encouraged. These are just a few of the many roles I explored in My Heart’s At Home.

I also began to realize that in the same way that you need a blueprint when you are building a house, moms and dads need a blueprint as they are building their family. My hope is to cast a vision for parents on the importance of home and the many roles that home plays in our life. If we have a vision for the home environment we’re creating, we’ll be much more intentional as we mother everyday. In fact, the subtitle of the book is “Becoming the Intentional Mom Your Family Needs.”

In your book, you speak of the many roles that home plays in our children’s lives. Which role or roles do you most enjoy??

I love home as a playground. I enjoy it when our family plays together whether it’s a pick up game of baseball in the backyard or a board game on the dining room table. I’ll admit, though, sometimes it’s hard to play when I feel like there’s so much to do. That’s when I have to remember the importance of home being a playground and that I have to let things go in order for us to play together.

I also enjoy home as a church. I like sharing my faith with my children and seeing the lightbulb of understanding going on for them.

On the flip side, which role is the toughest for you as a mom?

I think that home as a trauma unit is hardest for me. I’m not a real emotional person and I don’t get my feelings hurt very easily. Because of that, I can tend to be an insensitive wife and mom. I can approach disappointments in life with a “buck up and move on” attitude rather than recognizing the need to grieve. Having the vision of the importance of home being a trauma unit has helped me to be more sensitive and caring when life throws someone a curve. Without that vision in front of my eyes, I would (and did!) add more pain to an already painful time in my husband or children’s life.

How has your approach to mothering changed over the years since you welcomed your first child?

I’ve learned to not make mountains out of molehills. The oldest one is always the guinea pig and I fear that many times we battled over things that really didn’t matter. I think that particularly happened in the teen years. I’ve learned to hear my kids out and let them dream rather than playing the realist and telling them why their dream isn’t practical. Someone once said that moms need to learn to be dream makers rather than dream takers. I’ve definitely learned that over the years.

I’ve also learned that letting go is an important part of the mothering experience. In my early mothering years I tried to control too much. It’s not easy to let go, but it’s important and it helps our kids grow into the mature, responsible adults we want them to be.

I hear often from many weary and burned out moms who seem ready to throw in the towel. What encouragement can you give them as one who has already launched a few adults from the nest? Why should they “keep on keepin’ on”?

It took me many years to learn to adjust my definition of accomplishment. When my kids were younger I would get to the end of my day and think, “What did I accomplish today?” Usually the answer was “not much.” But that’s not true. Moms need to redefine accomplishment—you see a mom won’t really get a feeling of accomplishment until 20 or so years have passed. That’s why moms need to recognize that everything they do today is for one very long-term goal: to raise a morally responsible, respectful, loving adult. So every story that you read (for the 20th time in a day!), every bottom that you wipe, every meal that you make, every sporting event you attend, every consequence you give, every loving word you speak, every task that you teach, every snuggle that you have on the couch…every one of those things work toward your goal of raising a morally responsible, respectful, loving adult. What you do when they are 2 makes a difference when they are 22. That’s the ultimate goal a mom is working toward.

When you are ready to throw in the towel move your eyes from the short term goals that keep getting frustrated to the one long term goal you are working toward. And not only that, move your eyes from the mountains to the Mountain Mover. You and I aren’t designed to mother alone. We’re designed to walk this journey in relationship with the God who created us and loves our children even more than we do (can you imagine that?)

Any other advice or insight into what this book is all about?

bookmyheartsathome.jpgToday’s world offers moms a lot of wonderful opportunities. Often times we become so enamored with all that’s available to us that we forget the importance of what is happening at home. Raising a family only happens once in our life. We can’t go back and do it over again. And believe me, the time flies by so very fast. My prayer is that My Heart’s at Home will help moms (and dads!) keep their focus on home and the importance of making it all it can be. In a world that offers so much I long for more moms to say, “I can do that sometime…but for now my heart’s at home.”

What is next for you and the rest of the Savage clan?

We’re just five weeks away from another wedding. Our daughter Anne was married two years ago and now our son Evan is getting married in August. It’s hard to believe that my hands-on mothering season is already over for both of them. With three more at home there’s still a lot of mothering going on, but it’s going by much faster than I ever imagined.

51fxb9-olpl_sl500_aa240_.jpgI also just finished my sixth book and it will release in February 2009. Real Moms….Real Jesus will look at the human experience of Jesus and how his experiences on this earth allow him to be a Savior that understands us. For instance, when Jesus walked through a crowd everyone wanted to touch him. People would just want to touch the hem of his garment to find hope and healing. Most moms experience something similar. We have a baby attached to our breast and toddlers attached to our legs and then when we fall into bed at night we find a husband with a gleam in his eye! It feels like everyone wants a piece of us! Yet, Jesus understands that because when we lived on this earth everyone wanted a piece of him, too.

I’m very excited about this book and my prayer is that it will connect moms to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to chat with us today, Jill!!!

Okay, now for the give-away…… Leave a comment any day this week letting all of us cyber-friends know either #1–what is one way you have found to keep your heart at home OR #2–what is your biggest hindrance to keeping your heart at home. Also feel free to hop on with any doses of encouragement you can give to any of the rest of us who leave a comment in that second category! Both Jill and I LOVE to see moms connect with each other and ultimately with God. Your comment must be left by midnight Sunday. Jill will choose three random winners to receive a copy of her new book and we’ll announce them on Monday.

Happy mothering!!!!


  1. Girls,

    I have loved hearing your heart this week! Thank you for sharing honestly about the importance and the challenges of keeping your heart at home! My we continue to encourage each other in any way we can!


  2. Thank you, Karen, for that great interview! Thank you, Jill, for writing such a relative book.

    I, like many of the moms who posted above, keep my heart at home one day at a time by evaluating every opportunity to be away from home! It has taken me quite a few years to learn that it’s ok for me to say no. I do not have to be head of the ladies ministries just because my hubby is the pastor!

    Part of my ministry at home is as a homeschooling mom. This keeps me at home for sure…if not mentally, it certainly does physically! LOL!

    But…the homeschooling is also a hindrance at times. Sometimes people think that because we homeschool that I must be available to babysit for emergencies and such and it is just not that way.

    By spending time with my heavenly Father and by spending time alone with my husband, I keep my priorities in line and they help me keep my heart at home. Praise the Lord!


  3. The thing that keeps my heart at home, is that I try to pray for my family everyday – sometimes more than once a day. I give God all of my thanks, praise, fears and requests about my family. Doing this keeps me ever mindful of each one of them. I also let each one of them know how much I love them.


  4. My sons, Aaron (26) and Evan (24), are out of the house now, so I was reflecting on what my husband & I did that has helped them become wonderful adults! One thing, we supported them in whatever they chose to do – Little League, 4H, Cub Scouts… all the way through high school sports. We attended every event, volunteered, sponsored, etc.

    Also, meal times were spent talking …about everything that was going on, personal or current events. We may have only shared one meal together in a day, but what a wonderful chance to know what they were thinking or feeling!

    Last, but not least, the boys were raised going to church and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior as preteens. I have prayed, and continue to pray, for my sons daily, hourly.

    I have taught school for 28 years (this year will be my last). Aaron is now a teacher and coach! God called us to be Christian role models in the public schools. (Evan chose the business route, working for a mortgage company where he can be a light for Christ, as well.)

    This book, if I win it, is not for me. It is for Aaron and his wife who have just become parents for the first time. Yeah, I have a grandchild, a boy…Sawyer!

    Thank you for letting me ramble! I hope it helped someone!

  5. Hello again,
    Laura V.-Thanks for your reply. I’m glad to hear it from someone. I clicked on your name and went to your blog but didn’t see a place to email you, so here I am again. :)

    Well, I’ve enjoyed reading other comments of moms. I can relate to what many have written. You’re right, Wani, It is A LOT of work and may seem overwhelming, but that’s when God can take over and help us.
    We women need to stick together and remember that when it seems as though we are going through something alone, often others have gone through it too….of course we have the great Comforter with us as well.

  6. Good morning fellow Sisters in Christ!

    The Lord has called me to be home since I was a little girl, and the biggest hinderance has been other well-meaning women (believers and non believers alike). They have believed the lie that working at a career other than the one the Lord has called us mommies to is much more fulfilling. Not to say women shouldn’t work outside the home, but to remember our true calling to our family first and to be in God’s Will. The Lord has blessed my time at home and last school year I was able to work two days a week at our older children’s lunch room – fits in their schedule, I get to see the goings on in their enviroment and it brings in a little $$. I pray I never take my focus off what God has for me to do, it’s important and our time is short.

    Blessings on your day,
    Lisa in WA

  7. I have wanted to be a wife and mother for as long as I can remember. Somehow I think I didn’t really realize the amount of responsibility a wife and mom carries on their shoulders! I get overwhelmed by how much I’m really “in charge” of and not having created the routines to be able to do them all well. I’m working on getting a do-able schedule for me and the kids so I can have good time with them and still get something done around the house, cook dinner and errands done. Its alot when you really think about it!

  8. A mother’s heart really is at home. I struggled between family and ministry for a while until I realized that my children are my first ministry. Speaking and writing are seondary.

    I keep my heart at home by committing to their events before I book one of mine. I keep my heart at home by getting off of the computer when they come home from school. And I keep my heart at home by telling my children how much I love them through word or action everyday.

    It’s important to love your children. They’re the ones who will one day choose our nursing home!

  9. One way I have found to keep my heart at home is to have close friends who do the same.

    I didn’t realize how imperative this was until I recently went to a family gathering with sister-in-laws who are completely career driven, and who happen to have very lucrative jobs.

    I began to feel somewhat inferior in my less than designer clothes, as the driver of the oldest car, etc. I felt fortunate that I don’t have to spend the majority of my time in their presence. Don’t get me wrong, they are fine people, who just happen to have VERY different values.

    While the fancy cars, clothes, jewelry, homes, etc. would be fun; what I have with my nuclear family is far more valuable. I encourage ‘hearts at home’ moms to find like-minded friends who can relate to your real daily world. Blessings to you all!

  10. One of the hindrances I have to keeping my heart at home is perfectionism and the fear of what other people think of me and my kids.
    I am in the middle of it right now, with 4 young kids (ages 5 and under) and the e-newsletters and blogs of women who have been there and survived are helpful to bringing me back to having my heart at home!!

  11. Amy V., you asked if dwelling in the past happens to anyone else. It does. I have a hard time with my in-laws because of things in the past that I am trying to forgive and forget. I want a good relationship with them for my daughter. You are not alone. I struggle with past things, too. Remember that God can and will help you!

    One thing that has really helped me keep my heart at home is to realize that I don’t need to control everything. It no longer frustrates me when my daughter chooses not to eat very much at a meal. I finally realized that if she doesn’t eat much at a meal, she’ll eat a big snack. Maybe she is in the mood for peaches instead of apple or maybe she just isn’t hungry. She is 13 months and was born pre-mature because I was very sick. The guilt I carried from my illness (I had preeclampsia that was recognized by a new doctor the day before my daughter was born which was 13 days after a move from St. Louis to the southern-most part of Texas) and about how our move affected my baby really hurt my attitude as a mom. It took me a while to realize that if I calmed down our home would be happier. When days get tough, I think back and remember how far we’ve come, and it makes me very happy. When my baby has several days in a row where she doesn’t sleep well, I remember how far we’ve come and how good we are doing. It helps me relax and enjoy being her mommy instead of fretting over things.

  12. I agree with what most of the moms already put in their comments: keeping my heart at home involves realizing I can’t say yes to everything that comes along, and starting the day with quiet time before the Lord gives you a better perspective on family life.

    I also have to admit that I had to quit wanting to be Supermom! She just doesn’t exist!

  13. The way I make my heart at home is to let it be the softest place to fall. The outside world can put so much on our loved ones. The enemy is ready and willing to attack any and everything. My home was full of abuse when I was growing up, I hated to go home. I never took my friends there because I didn’t want anyone to know. I have three teenage boys 19, 16 and 15. A couple years ago we gave the boys big game room separate from the house. At the time we had sold our church and were meeting in a middle school. It sent waves in our youth group. The boys wanted to hold youth here, so for about two years we had 15- 20 teenagers converge on our house minimum once a week. We named the building “UNITY HOUSE”. It stands for Understanding Needs In Today’s Youth. We have been so blessed that our boys feel comfortable having friends in.
    Beige isn’t a bad color, it is very neutral. It is nice that you can add splashes of color as needed and make them meet your current needs. I hope you can find the splash of color for your rainbow and it continues to make things feel at home Karen.

  14. Hello Moms!
    I really feel God is speaking to me regarding this topic….Heart at Home. Yesterday, before church I kind of had a melt down. I cried in the arms of my husband about a bunch of ‘junk’ that happened years ago (and I mean like over a decade ago). I felt this anger like I’ve never felt and it just overflowed and came out in the form of tears and clenched fists. As I sobbed and sobbed I realized that, although I was a Christian, I didn’t have much room in my heart for Jesus. My heart was too full of other “junk” that really shouldn’t have been there.
    My point is that I’ve held on to things I have no business holding on to. Does that happen to anyone? I mean, I planned on giving it to God, I even talked to Him about it, but I must not have, because it was there all along.
    I re-dedicated my life to Christ with a sense of peace that could only come from Him.
    Ok….now that that’s out there….I really believe that God is reminding me to stay in the PRESENT. I focused too much on the past. Hey, when I went to church yesterday (after I applied makeup to cover up my red eyes and look somewhat presentable) the sermon was about, you guessed it….living in the NOW. How we shouldn’t dwell on the days “back when…” Sure, it’s fine to cherish memories and laugh at past mishaps, but we shouldn’t STAY there. This is what I’m learning about now in my walk with God.
    My daughter turned eight on Saturday and this was a hard one for me. She’s our only child and it seems like 8 is so old. Well, if my heart is truly at home, I don’t need to dwell on the fact that she is, in fact, growing up. I need to be present with her, to give her my all and to cherish her NOW…..yes, I can remember past memories….but I need to focus on making NEW memories with my family.

  15. Good Mornin”
    I live alone now…the four babies have all left the nest :)
    The biggest challenge I faced as a single mom of four was balancing everything….housework, a job, time with the kids, time for myself….I prayed for balance…sometimes I felt frustrated and out of sync…But, I must have done all right because all of my children are respectable adults today….
    Of course, hindsight is always better….perhaps, I should have…or shouldn’t have….But, we are only human…and with prayer and God’s help, we will be the best parent for our children…after all, that’s why God sent that child to us….then, we need to step back, and let God do the rest….

  16. Does realizing what has been keeping my heart from my home and finally, thanks to this blog post, figuring out how to fix the situation count? I used to be really good about setting boundaries with my time and commitments outside of the home. As I read the blog, I realized that I have allowed my heart to be filled with the urgent, rather than the important. Just this morning, I was telling God “Something’s gotta give”! Little did I know He would provide this gentle reminder to my priorities back in order. Thanks for letting me ramble!

  17. One of the ways I keep my heart at home is starting every morning of my day, before the rest of the house, at time with my Savior. We’re blessed to have an enclosed ‘carolina room’ (well, we live in NC!) where I can sit comfortably, listen to the birds, sip my tea and read the scriptures. If I can committ to this, 30 minutes minimum each day, I remain so much more peaceful and calm and full of grace! It’s amazing! I also have this cute little resolutions for Mom’s that I printed off from you, Karen, that is one cute little scrapbook paper and attached together with a pretty ribon, to remind me of my daily priorites as a child of God, wife and mother! Thank you, Karen! Did you know, someone out there in cyber space is still reading your resolutions in July? Thank you sister in Christ! :)

  18. Good Morning…First I want to say I enjoy your blog, Karen. I found it when you were talking about the weight loss stuff…gave me the shove to get back on track and start walking again…
    so THANK YOU =)

    Now for the way I found to keep my heart at homes…… to always let our children know that no matter what happens in this journey of life they are on, the door is always OPEN. I remind them Jesus is always there for them but so are we……thats what makes us a family. Sure you are going to have those ‘she did it first days’, no matter HOW old they get, but when it comes down to it…..we are what you have (family). It’s been a daily conversation lately due to the fact that our baby (18 years old son) is leaving for college in another state in 15 days…and that our middle child (21 year old daughter) has moved back home for her senior year of college, she is a 5th year senior….’home is where your heart is…..a place where the front door is always opened and you are loved by the people inside……no question!”
    Thanks for letting me share……..I hope I made sense.
    Have a blessed day!

  19. The hardest part of keeping your heart at home is when you see financial need for your family and you know the only way to meet it is to find a job. For the last seven years I have been trying to help make ends meet with my direct sales businesses. My husband just got a new job in Georgia (we live in MI) and I look forward to getting involved with the kids schools and getting our home more organized. The new job in GA means I don’t NEED to work any more. I am so thankful!

  20. Hello fellow Moms-
    My biggest hindrance to keeping my heart at home used to be doing what I thought God wanted me to do. I worked at our church in the children’s ministry. I loved the kids and the parents and saw God’s hand in the ministry. I also volunteered at my kids school and was on the PTSA and in charge of the book fair. I was busy, busy always doing something at school or church. I was also very stressed for a variety of reasons and my family was suffering. Seeing what it was doing to my family, I realized the need was to find a different job and let go of some school obligations. I passed the baton of the book fair to another mom and started looking for a new job that would be a good fit for my family. But, I wasn’t finding a job with the same flexible hours. So I prayed, “Lord you are going to have to hit me over the head with a brick, because I don’t know what to do. Stay where I am at or do something new?” Well, 2 weeks later, God hit me with a brick- My husband was transferred with his job, 2 hours away to another state.

    I didn’t work at first, but set up our home. (Painted rooms-we didn’t have all beige :-) but I didn’t like the yellow living room or the gray bathroom.)

    It was a tough winter for many reasons but I spent time with my family. Actually made homemade meals and tried to help my children adjust to a new school. I have been asked to be the VP of the PTSA here but said no- I am not going to overload myself again.

    I have found a part-time job and did direct VBS at our church this summer but am trying hard to keep my heart at home.

    Recently, a friend from our old town came to visit with her son. She said, “Your home seems so much calmer. It’s less stressful and your daughter doesn’t seem to act up as much.” That was all I needed to hear. Even tho the move has been extremely hard- we all miss friends and familiar activities, in the long run this was all in God’s plan and He knows what is also in the future.

    So my lesson learned here is to not be full of doing what you think God wants you to do but to ask Him first to help watch out for your family and help you make wise choices of things to do even if it is His ministry. Your first ministry is to Him, your husband and your children. My baby just turned 9 and time has flown by so fast. The housework and laundry will always be there, someone will always want you to do something at church or school but your kids will not always want you to read a book or play dolls, baseball or a game.

    Thank you for letting me share.

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