Recently on Practically Joyful

When Enough is Enough

When Enough is Enough

  It was a morning just like every other morning, but for some reason, I had had enough.   I went downstairs to greet Strong as he pounded away on his door, letting me know he was ready to be up for the day. As […]

The Birth of Our Miracle Girl, Éowyn Mercy

The Birth of Our Miracle Girl, Éowyn Mercy

  Childbirth is nothing short of a miracle. I am reminded of this each time I have the honor of witnessing it, whether from the mother’s side, as I encourage her to push one last time, or from the infant warmer where I am preparing […]

Jesus and the Flu

Jesus and the Flu

This past week was hard.


The GI bug hit our home in one of those “middle of the night” sorta ways. You know, the kind where you wake up to undigested food particles all over the floor, causing you to play hop scotch from the door, to the drum set, to the pile of books, and finally to the safety zone of the bed . . . except not (insert face palm here).


This particular little bug was sneaky. Rather than hitting all of us at once, it decided to take its good, ol’ time, slooooowly creeping from one . . . to the next . . . to the next. Let’s just say this mama was dunzo after sanitizing and scrubbing and washing and changing and cleaning just about every possible surface in the house for the third time. (Doesn’t the flu know that we’d rather it come over us like a tidal wave than this ebb and flow nonsense?!)


Today is day six, and I am exhausted. I’ve had too many skipped showers, skipped meals and interrupted naps. Potty training has gone out the window because pull-ups are easier. Our meals have consisted of bananas, toast, and crackers, because #puke. And I’ve had too many short-fused discipline moments to count.


When baby girl started round 2 tonight, I finally hit my personal limit. You know, that limit where you say to yourself, “It’s too much, I can’t do this, something has to give.” There I was, drenched in this morning’s breakfast and trying to decide whether to strip her clothes or mine, when I finally broke down and cried. And only then, did I finally remember to pray.


I’ve had this happen so many times before. This isn’t the first week that life has happened, and I’ve tried to do it all myself because I think I’m capable, only to find that I’m not.


I, myself, am not enough.


I am emotional, prone to stress, quick to speak rather than to listen. I am independent to a fault, I only see my to-do list, and I have an overwhelming desire for perfection.


I am weak.


But, Jesus. He is strong.


When I finally broke down and prayed tonight, I was reminded that God always provides everything I need, if only I seek Him. I had been so focused on washing this load of laundry, and cleaning that carpet, and making this soup, that I had forgotten to ask Him for strength. But there He was, eagerly waiting for me to come to my senses and remember Him.


Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m choosing to lay aside my pride and ask for His help. Because there’s no award for doing it myself (pretty poorly, I might add).


Don’t forget to remember, mamas.


XO, Kayla

Mottos, Minivans, and Staying Debt-Free

Mottos, Minivans, and Staying Debt-Free

      We did it.   We finally bought a van!!   We are in full celebration mode over here, and I can’t rave about it enough. I never thought I’d be a van mom, but, boy, is it convenient!! The sliding doors, the […]

Surviving a Flight with Two Kids in Tow

Surviving a Flight with Two Kids in Tow

  Yup, you read that title correctly. I did the unthinkable and willingly flew to Florida with my toddler + 10 month old. Solo. AKA no Daddy present. And, might I add, my goal was a relaxing and restful getaway? Call me crazy, but I […]

Stephanie’s Miracle

Stephanie’s Miracle

It all started with a phone call. I was talking to my sister, Stephanie, on the phone that afternoon while she was running some errands. We were sharing our excitement about our upcoming trip to Niagara Falls and laughing about the fact that she had just bought the same boots as me. I heard a rustling noise, but didn’t think much of it since she had me on speaker phone. That was, until I heard her start to moan. She said the words, “Oh, Kayla,” to which my first response was “What?” She then said, “I just got hit.”


My heart was flooded with panic.


Immediately, I began asking her where she was, frantic to call for help. She continued to moan and said, “I can’t feel my legs.” She wasn’t responding to my questions and continued to moan in shock. My heart was in my throat, and I told her to calm down, all the while knowing I was the one who needed to calm down. Within about two minutes, I heard a man’s voice telling her that help was on the way and asking her if she was alright. She repeated, “I can’t feel my legs. I’m scared.” No sooner did the words leave her mouth than I heard a woman begin to pray and ask Jesus for peace.


My instincts were at war. I wanted to hang up and dial for help, but I also wanted to stay on the phone to make sure she was going to be ok. I had been yelling into the phone, hoping those who were with her could tell me what had happened, but their sole focus was Stephanie. I finally decided to hang up and call my mom since I had heard the man say help was coming.


When my mom answered the phone, I was braving panic as I explained what had happened and begged her to go find Steph. I knew she was scared and would want one of us to be with her. My mom told me she’d find out what was going on and call me back.The few minutes I waited were filled with tension and me repeating the name of Jesus. My mind was racing and I couldn’t form words to pray. My mom finally returned my initial call to tell me she was on her way to the accident.


The next half hour was a blur of phone calls, as I anxiously awaited updates on Steph. My mom had called the owner of the salon where Stephanie worked, who’s husband was on the volunteer emergency response team for the area. They found out from him where the accident was, which spurred my mom to call my dad; she asked him to go to Stephanie’s aid since he was only working five miles from the crash site. I tried to get ahold of my niece’s dad, Mike, so that he could pick Kaci up while my family went with Stephanie to the hospital. I threw some things in a bag, waiting to hear which hospital she’d be going to and wanting to be there with her. And then I got the call, the one I’ll never forget:


Me: Hello??


Mom: Kayla. It was a semi.


Me: What?!


Mom: A semi hit her head on.


My mom could hardly choke out the words and everything stopped. A million and one thoughts were racing through my head, thoughts about survival rates, possible injuries, wondering if she’d ever walk again, and my desperate need to be with her. I immediately called my husband, sobbing as I told him the news. He was home within five minutes, telling me he’d wait with the kids and that I should go.



It took almost an hour for emergency personnel to cut Stephanie out of her car. The entire front of the car was crushed in around her, and the sight alone was enough to make any parent nauseous. The fireman and paramedics were calm and steady as they worked to free her from the wreckage. My dad and brother got to the crash site as they were preparing to start the process; my dad was able to go to Stephanie and tell her he was with her. When my mom got to the scene, she ran. She said by the looks of the car, she knew they were lying about her daughter being alive; she needed reassurance. The rescue workers allowed her to go to Steph’s side, touch her face, and let her know that she was right there with her.




A life flight helicopter was waiting at the scene while rescue personnel worked tirelessly. Stephanie was quickly taken to Akron General, where she was tended to by a trauma team. Meanwhile, I was en route to the hospital, begging God for a miracle and playing Michael W. Smith’s “Sovereign” on repeat, believing that He was good no matter the outcome.




When I arrived, I was ushered to a private waiting room where my mom and I swapped stories, each wanting to know what the other had seen/heard. Minutes passed and we were spoken to by several physicians and surgeons, each one surprised by her lack of injuries. We were finally permitted to see her before she was taken for her first of three surgeries. We cried, kissed, and gently hugged her, praising God for the miracle of her life and asking Him to guide the surgeon’s hands.





My eyes are filled with tears as I remember all the emotions of those few tremulous hours after the accident. I was anxious, yet filled with an overwhelming peace knowing God was present. My mind was unable to form words to pray, but my heart cried out in desperation for a miracle. Fear threatened to encroach on my confidence, but I clung to past evidence of God’s faithfulness in my family.


Looking back on that day, I see God’s hand in so many ways.


He was the One that prodded my heart to pray for protection over my family the day prior.


He was the One encouraging and fighting alongside Stephanie through the song, “King of My Heart,” which she had been listening to on repeat that morning.


He was the One that urged her to call me during that drive. If not for that phone call, we may not have known about her accident for minutes, most likely hours.


He was the One that protected her from the semi, cocooning her inside her car in the most perfect way.


He was the One that brought the right people at just the right time to pray a covering of peace around Stephanie while she was trapped.


He was the One that guided the rescue personnel’s hands to safely remove her from the wreckage.


He was the One that shielded her body, leaving her with so few injuries that even the doctors were amazed.


He was the One that saved her life.

My Favorite ALDI Finds

My Favorite ALDI Finds

  ALDI. It is my obsession every. single. week.  Our family has been shopping there consistently for several years and I still haven’t tired of going!!   If you’ve never been there, it’s a shopping experience unlike any other. You can read here about why […]

My Best (Not-So) Kept Secret: ALDI

My Best (Not-So) Kept Secret: ALDI

This post contains affiliate links. Everyone has that one thing that they absolutely cannot live without. For some, it’s chocolate and coffee. For others it’s long bubble baths amidst candlelight. For me, it’s ALDI. Yup, I said ALDI (I am not ashamed)!! But I am […]

Creating a Grocery List + Sticking to It

Creating a Grocery List + Sticking to It


Remember that time you made a grocery list but forgot it at home, so you were left guessing as to what was written on that tiny piece of paper? Or maybe you took it with you, but you were pregnant and hungry, an impossibly dangerous combination to beat, which meant at least 47 unnecessary items were added to the cart. Or maybe you decided not to make a list and just wing it, because life’s too short.


We’ve all been there. And while I’d love to say these are not based on personal experiences, they are (especially scenario number 2). But the good news is, I’ve learned a lesson or two in the midst of these grocery shopping fiascos. So, let’s dive right in!


Creating a Grocery List


Whether you like it or not, grocery shopping is a smoother process when you have a list, especially with kids in tow. Remember the brain block I talked about when it comes to meal planning? That same little devil likes to sneak in while you’re shopping, leaving you stranded in the middle of aisle six, trying to decide if having pasta four nights in a row is too much (the answer is yes). Rather than playing this never-ending mind game, win the round by creating a grocery list.


In my opinion, the best way to create said list is by meal planning. When you create a menu for the week, you not only save yourself the daily headache of “What’s for dinner?!” but you also cut your shopping time in half. Look over your menu, read the recipes, and write down the items you need to buy. There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe and realizing half-way through that you’re missing two important spices. Don’t forget to add in breakfast, lunch, and snack items, too.


What about those items you run out of during the week? Great question! There’s a super cute magnetic notepad by Knock Knock called “All Out Of” that is perfect for reminding you of those items that can fall by the wayside. By keeping it on the fridge, anyone in your home can add things to the list, therefore creating a reminder for you when you shop. (Get it here.)


Not really a paper kind of gal? Try out the iPhone “Reminders” app. My hubby and I share three lists: ALDI, Walmart, and Beuhler’s. Whenever he’s getting low on mustard, he adds it to the Walmart list for my next trip to the store. BOOM. No more eggs? He adds it to the ALDI list. DONE. I love that both of us can add an item to the list on our phones, and it will show up for the other with zero fuss. This has become my favorite way to create our weekly grocery list, because while I’m likely to forget that sheet of paper on the counter, I’m less likely to forget my phone. Plus, we can separate items by store, saving me even more time when I actually go shopping with my kiddos in tow.


Sticking to Your List


Ok, mamas. This is the hard part. Despite my habit of making a grocery list, I am notorious for coming home with no less than seven impulse buys. While there’s nothing wrong with shopping outside the list every once in a while, this habit of mine has slowly leeched 5 dollars here and 17 dollars there, which, by the end of the year, could mean hundreds of dollars. Not to mention that us mamas are notorious for buying way too many veggies in hopes of making our families healthy, only to find they’ve become moldy several weeks later.


While I’m not saying you should stop buying veggies, I am saying that shopping from your list is a discipline. By creating a grocery list from your meal plan, you’ve taken the guesswork out of what and how much to buy, leaving you with a solid game plan that’s based on reason. However, when you start adding items to your cart that look interesting or that the kids are begging for, you’re making decisions out of haste, and you’ll most likely end up with a lot more than you need. Take my advice and only buy what’s on the list (your wallet will thank me)!! Unless, of course, you forgot to add toilet paper; in that case, go nuts.


So, here’s to better habits, faster grocery trips, and happier wallets!!


XO, Kayla


*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated via the affiliate links in this post. All products mentioned are ones that I’ve used, and come with my personal recommendation. I am an independent blogger and all opinions expressed here are my own.

The “How To” of Meal Planning

The “How To” of Meal Planning

  Ok, mamas.   You’re here because you need a change. Hats off to you!! It can be so hard to get out of the “I’ve-always-done-it-this-way” rut. You got this, mama.   You know that feeling you get when you realize you have no idea […]