Every Chapter Has an Ending

In 2012 I started a blog called “Centsable Girls” with my friend. We were really into extreme couponing, we were teaching classes, and I thought having a blog to support our new business was a great idea. I posted weekly deals, money saving tips, and local grocery store coupon finds. As our coupon business died out, I started writing more and more about my day to day life as a stay at home mom, but always under the theme of being “centsable”. Everything was about budget, getting out of debt, and having a thriving family life on one income. I hated feeling so constrained and not having the freedom to write about whatever I wanted. I just wanted to write.

So I re-branded and launched my new website, along with my first ebook (a toddler activities ebook), and When at Home was born. I had five readers. I only shared my posts on my personal facebook page and I wrote sporadically, about nothing really. Toddler activities, family trips, but nothing deep or raw like you’re used to seeing around here now. That didn’t come until a year later. I went to visit my Papa in Georgia when Emery was just a few weeks old. Papa has always been a huge fan of my writing. Ever since I was a little girl, he would tell everyone how talented I was and how I was going to write a bestseller one day and make us all rich. (HA!) I’ve always been a writer, but had kind of neglected that skill in pursuit of other things. One day during this visit, he was sitting outside on the porch and I sat down next to him.

I wish you could know my Papa. He’s the wisest person I know, the sweetest disposition, the thickest southern accent you’ve ever heard, and he is always, always, right on the money when he speaks into your life. So as I sat down next to him on the porch, he immediately asked me about my writing. What was I writing? Why wasn’t I writing more? What was I doing with the gift God had given me? He was gentle, but he called me right out. He said, “Kristen, God has given you have gift. You have the ability to change lives with your writing. I really believe you do. Why aren’t you doing that yet?”

And I didn’t have an answer. Maybe I was afraid. Maybe I was intimidated. Maybe I didn’t think I had a loud enough voice to really make a difference. Maybe it was none of those things. Maybe it was all of them. I didn’t know. But I knew he was right. I needed to be writing and I needed to be writing things that mattered.

At the time, I wasn’t really writing on the blog at all. Every now and then, I’d write something funny about having a newborn, something about cloth diapers, I think I had a giveaway or two. But then I wrote this post about Miley Cyrus and had 2,000 views in one day. That was huge for me. HUGE. Which is hilarious to me now, but at the time, it was such a big deal. It was the first time I wrote something really raw and it was getting shared and commented on and I thought to myself … hmmm … maybe Papa was right.

So I started to experiment with writing what I was thinking and feeling in a truly authentic way. And every time, every.single.time, someone connected with it, responded to it, and confirmed that I was on the right path. I am a good writer and I had been wasting that gift for such a long time.

Fast forward two years and here we are. You’re not reading this because you really liked my sponsored posts or my reviews. You’re here (or so I assume) because you connect with my thoughts on motherhood, faith, parenting, and/or marriage. I know that there are really talented writers who can blog about those things and do sponsored posts and reviews seamlessly and comfortably. I’m just not one of those people. I’ve grown more and more uncomfortable with using my children as a way to collect sponsored posts and reviews. I’ve become more and more protective of their stories and adventures and photos. I don’t want to be a slave to my blog, always thinking of the next post, the next paycheck and always worrying what the comment section is going to say. I’ve come to a very clear crossroads and I know the path I’m going to take.

When at Home is in fact, coming to end. I’m closing this chapter of my life and it feels really, really, good. But I’m not going away! I’m going to transfer all of my most popular posts and relaunch a new website under my name. When at Home is merging with kristenlavalley.com and it’s going to be really good.

No more sponsored posts. Ever.
No more reviews.
No more sidebar ads.

The new site will be fully crowd funded. That means I’m going to occasionally ask you guys to throw a few dollars into my paypal account. Your donations will cover the costs of running the site as well as other incidentals like … a muffin and an ice tea while I write my soul away at Panera, babysitter fees if I can find someone to watch the boys for a few hours so I can write, respond to comments and e-mails, and work on my next book.

I’ll be writing two essay type posts a week and one instagram dump so you can keep up with what our family is doing without me writing a gazillion individual blog posts about it.

I’m going to spend less time worrying about the technical side of growing a blog and focus on my writing and the community that surrounds it.

I’ll be getting more active in the Thrive Intentionally community and focusing more of my energy into growing that group and helping the members be more intentional in all areas of their lives.

I know change is uncomfortable. I know it’s not easy. I’m well aware of the fact that I’m going to lose a lot of traffic and quite a few followers for making this switch, but I’m ok with it and I hope you are too. This feels so good. So, so good.

Thanks for being on this journey with me, friends. I appreciate every single one of you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll answer as best as I can.

When at Home

Sorry For Angry Texting You.

Dear Husband,

I’m trying to understand your world. The world where you go to work, have conversations with adults, sit in a quiet room and work without being interrupted by dirty diapers, tantrums, whining, skinned knees, or stolen toys. I’m trying to be gracious because you love your job and that is a wonderful thing. I’m trying to be understanding because you work so hard for our family. You work long hours and do things you don’t want to do so that I can stay home with our kids.

But darling. It’s so hard during the day without you here.

Your presence brings balance to the chaos that is my life. When you’re around, I can almost feel like an adult again. You take the weight off and I dread the morning when you leave again. Because when you leave, you take the peace and quiet with you.

When it’s just me and the kids, I feel stupider. See? That’s not even a word and I’m using it shamelessly because these kids make me stupid. I used to have adult conversations. I used to have opinions on the world, on politics, on things that mattered. I still have opinions, but I can’t find them. If you see them, please put them on a shelf away from the kids. I really don’t want them to get peanut butter on my opinions.

When I’m home alone with a four year old, a two year old, and a five month old, I feel like this is it for me. I’ve peaked. At 28 years old, I have done all that I’m going to do with my life, so I better be stinking AMAZING at it. Because if I fail at this stay at home mom thing then I’ve failed at life and that cannot happen. 

So then I put all this pressure on myself. I want our kids to be happy. I want them to be not hungry. (Why do they always want to eat?) I want them to be clean. I want our house to be clean. I want to have dinner on the table and the dishes washed when you get home because this is my full time job and I’m old school like that but sometimes I can’t get it together and my life is just one long run on sentence.

And that is why, dear husband, I angry text you at noon. Ok fine. I angry text you at 10. BAH. Ok. 9 o’clock! I angry text you thirty minutes after you leave because that is just how it is. I don’t know why I feel like you need to know that all hell broke loose the moment you closed the door. In the back of my mind, I know I shouldn’t. I know that you need to get your head in the game. You need to start work and you can’t focus on the job you get paid to do if I’m sending you pictures of the two year old trying to swim in the kitchen sink. I know this.

And yet I still text. 

So this is my official formal apology. I’m saying I’m sorry, but I’m not repenting because I can’t promise you I won’t angry text you ever again. I will try to tone down the amount of texts you receive throughout the day, but it’s possible that if I send you just one, single, solitary angry text, it will be 57 pages long.

All that to say … thanks for being the kind of guy that I want to vent to all day long.

Your Slightly Angry Wife.

Sorry for angry texting you.

Decluttering My Life

You know that feeling when you’re walking, and you trip, and then you keep tripping and you just can’t seem to stop tripping. You try to gain balance, to reach out for something to stabilize your fall, but you just. keep. tripping.

That is my life right now.

Ever since we got to Massachusetts, I’ve felt like I can’t get ahead of my life. The past two and half months have flown. Everything feels like chaos. I can’t keep our schedules straight or the house clean and I’m pretty sure all I do 98% of the time is chase Emery around, pulling him off of furniture and cleaning up his disasters. Every night I think “Ok. Tomorrow will be different. I’ll clean up as I go, have planned activities for Emery, put dinner in the crockpot in the morning and everything will be better because I am so intentional.

And it just doesn’t happen.

The biggest thing is our apartment. I just really, really, hate it. Zach says I need to change my attitude but how do you convince yourself to be ok with something that you despise?? I know it’s just temporary, but there are no words for how awful it is to come home to a place that doesn’t feel like home and just makes you feel stressed out. The apartment is really inefficient and has no room to put any type of storage things. We keep our towels in our end tables, our sheets in the pantry, and our toiletries stay in a box in the attic. We don’t have a lot of furniture, or shelves, or bins, or places to put things, so the clutter is real. It’s real real. So we bought this book and so far it’s been sooo good for us.

de clutter

I’m throwing out EVERYTHING. And we don’t even have that much, but I just can’t deal with the clutter. It’s killing my soul. I’m not the type that can look at a massive mess and be like, “Yea let’s DO this.” I look at a mess and feel defeated and stressed out and think, “What’s the point? There’s no way I can get this clean. Ever. In all of time.” Marie Kondo says that if it doesn’t bring you joy, you should throw it out so that’s what’s happening around these walls. I’ve thrown out bags of toys, pillows, sheets, dishes, clothes, more clothes, more clothes, shoes, books, and whatever else gets in my way. (And by thrown out I mean donated so no yelling at me.)

It’s liberating. LIBERATING, I tell you. I’m so tired of the excess. Why do we feel like we need so much, stuff?? And as the bags head out the door, my stress level goes down. My mind feels clearer. And while I still don’t like living here, and I don’t think I ever will, it makes this awful apartment a bit more manageable. I don’t dread coming home like I have for the past two months. I know we’re going to need to purchase some new things (like a table. and a couple beds. and new sheets. and a desk. and shelves.) once we move into our house, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, this feels right. Am I crazy? Am I going to regret it all? Maybe. But at least my apartment is going to be clean, right?


So that’s where I’m at lately. I’ve convinced myself that once this apartment is livable and doesn’t stress me out as much, I can focus on all that I’m doing for the new website. And I’m SO excited about it and can’t wait to share it with you, but I have to wait. Because it’s not even close to being done yet. I’m working on some major blog decluttering as well and it feels so freeing. I think you’re really gonna dig what I’m working on. I’ll stop vague blogging now, but guys. It’s good. It’s real good.

Also. I miss you. How are you? What’s new, friends?

Seven Year Itch.

When I was 20 and engaged to the boy I’d only known for a year, I didn’t think a lot about what marriage would be like. All I knew is that I was in love, he loved Jesus, he loved me, and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Our families raised a few eyebrows at our fast paced relationship, but we didn’t care. We knew we didn’t know it all, but we wanted to learn together.


Our first year of marriage was easy. When everyone told us, “The first year’s the hardest!”, we were like, “really?? Cause this is AWESOME.” By the time our first anniversary came around, we would often say to each other, “When is the other shoe going to drop?” Because it just wasn’t hard yet. Oh, young Kristen and Zach…if only I could go back in time and slap you around a bit…


I would tell that newlywed couple that when people say, “Just wait! One day you’ll hate each other!”, they’re probably right, but that doesn’t mean that will be the end of your relationship. It is possible to be thoroughly disgusted with each other and have zero desire to walk out. Things will not always be sex and fancy dates, and size 3 jeans. You will change. You will grow. You will hurt each other. You will say things that you cannot take back. You will have no idea what to do when tragedy is staring you in the face. But you will have each other. And that will have to be enough.

secondYou will watch each other become parents. You’ll think that it’s the most natural thing in the world, to have made a baby with the love of your life, but it’s the most challenging thing you will ever do together. The two of you were raised very differently and so you parent differently. You won’t know it yet, though. Not until that first baby has a vocabulary and an opinion and the second baby is on the way. Then you’ll come face to face with the fact that you don’t exactly see eye to eye on this raising kids things. You’ll push each other and throw horrified looks at each other and you might even wonder if you should have ever had kids in the first place. Raising people is a whole thing. They didn’t tell you about that in premarital counseling, but you’ll ebb and flow and find your rhythm. And when you don’t, you’ll be ok.


It will never be just the two of you again. From now until you are laid to rest, you will be worrying about someone else. This little human that you brought into the world will depend on you for everything and you will forget that before you were a parent, you were a spouse. When the nights are long and your fuse is short, try to remember that your frustrations with each other stem from a mutual exhaustion. You’ll get through this. Maybe not in one piece and definitely not without some poo in your hair, but you’ll come out the other side and you’ll love each other more for it.

fourthThere will be seasons of unemployment. There will be seasons of doubt, of confusion, of walking away from your faith. There will be times when one or both of you will feel lost and depressed. You will experience loneliness in a way you didn’t think was possible. Your kids will test your resolve and your marriage. There will be death. There will be life.

There will also be crazy. So much crazy that you’ll completely forget about your fifth anniversary and settle for a rushed breakfast with your 2 year old and newborn at Cracker Barrel before the work day begins. You’ll be disappointed and frustrated, but you’ll forgive each other. Eventually.

sixthAnd right when you think you have your life figured out, there will be curveballs. You’ll be terrified. But right there in the middle of the crazy, there will be so much joy. I wish I could tell you how amazing your life is going to be. Seven years will fly by and your life will change so much that it’s barely recognizable. But it’s going to be so good, kids.

When You’re Waiting

For almost two years, we lived in the question mark. We always had a question on our lips. Will Zach find a job? Did we make the right decision? How are we going to pay that bill? Will we be able to buy groceries this week? Will we ever get out of the basement? What is our purpose? Have I missed my calling? Every day it was something else to question and worry about. We were lonely, a little bit lost, a lot apprehensive, and just so done. There were days when I was so frustrated, I just yelled all day. I cried. I punched the shower wall a few times. It was exhausting.

Nobody enjoys the waiting room. Especially when you don’t even know what you’re waiting for. Your head and your heart are full of questions and fear snuggles in and makes itself at home. You’re surrounded by voices. Well meaning family members, trusted friends, random strangers, blog posts, podcast preachers, and books. Everyone has something to say. Everyone has an opinion. And yet, there you are in the waiting room, trying to drown out all of the noise, full of questions and absolutely no idea what to do. I’ve been there. And what happens next is exciting.

Soon you’ll move from the question mark to the ellipses. You’ll stop asking “Why?” and “How?” and start asking, “What’s next?”. Excitement will replace your fear. Peace will replace your worry. You may not have all the answers yet, but you’ll start to sense things shifting. Purpose will hang in the air and you’ll know that God is doing something. You won’t know what or when or how, but those questions won’t matter anymore.

There is rest in the ellipses.

God is not in the business of leaving his children hanging. I know it might seem like he’s forgotten you. Abandoned you, even. You’re probably angry, and with good reason. You’re worried about your family, your future, and your finances. Nothing seems to be working out and you’re not sure you can make it another day. But you can and you will. Not just because you have to, but because God is faithful.

For two years, we struggled and we strived and we didn’t get any answers. Zach and I all but walked away from our faith because we just couldn’t understand why God was being so distant and silent. We ran from our callings and blocked out any and all wisdom that came our way because it didn’t fit our idea of what we wanted for our lives. We spent way too much time in the question mark. And then all of a sudden, almost out of nowhere, things became clear. We were wrong. We needed to repent. God wanted to do something and we weren’t letting him. It took a few weeks for us to let it all sink in, but once it did, we chose to step into the ellipses. We chose to believe that God was good and that he had something bigger for us than what we wanted. We chose to sit. And wait. And listen. And rest. No more striving and seeking out our own will.

And that’s when things started happening.

Less than three months after we moved from questioning to resting, we were on our way to Massachusetts. Zach took a job in full time ministry after we swore we would never be in full time ministry again. Funny how things work out. Our season of questioning and waiting is over and what is happening now is bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. Whatever season you’re in, whether you’re full of questions in the waiting room, or you’re resting in the ellipses, I hope you’ll find comfort knowing that God has not forgotten you. Rest in the knowledge that his love for you is irrational and that he only wants good things for his children.

And for goodness sakes, get out of that waiting room and REST.

When You're Waiting


Hey everyone! This is a little glimpse at the type of content that will be in my upcoming, real, hold in your hands DEVOTIONAL BOOK. I’m so excited about it. If you want to keep up to date with the project, sign up below.