Bedroom Makeover (Nectar Mattress Review) + Easy DIY Baby Wipes

(If you're here for the DIY baby wipes, scroll all the way to the bottom of this post.)
Over Christmas break, my husband decided to make us a new bed, and my family pitched in to buy us a new mattress + all of the accessories! Guys, it was like our bedroom got a makeover. I seriously can't believe how much more relaxed and excited I feel when I enter our room. The Nectar mattress has added to my life, friends.

Check out this before and after:
We were sleeping on a mattress and box spring that my husband had used all through college (so, about ten years old if we're doing the math...). And the bed itself was an adjustable metal frame that sat low to the ground and did nothing for the sense of style to our room. So this change was B I G for us. Huge, in fact. It's currently remaking our marriage.

Just kidding.
But honestly, I love how much it inspired me to make our bedroom a safe haven for us - not just an awkward place to throw everything that didn't belong in the rest of the house. It had been a laundry holding area, a make-shift office, a storage room, and a place for all of my husband's tools. Another thing that helped me shift my mindset in a positive way was an amazing decluttering course by Allie Casazza. Her course was another special gift from my husband. It has launched me into this new year with a drive to clear clutter and minimize stuff so that I can maximize my time with my family. It all starts with choosing your priorities, my friends.

Side note, isn't the bed my husband built amazing? He's made a lot of furniture for our home recently, and it makes my heart happy.
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty details of this beautiful Nectar mattress:


  • 365 day "home trial" - a year to decide if you want to keep it
  • Free shipping and returns
  • 2 free pillows
  • Forever warranty
  • Memory-foam mattress that is "medium firm," the perfect in-between
  • Works with ALL types of bed frames

What it actually looks like:

  • A super comfortable, memory-foam mattress
  • 2 pillows of decent quality
  • Very easy setup (pull it out of its plastic wrap and watch it "grow")
  • Medium-firm consistency; soft, yet sturdy
Extra Comments: 

  • I was legitimately surprised that it came with no instructions in the box. There was no paperwork or anything. Just a rolled-up bag inside a box. Granted, the box was pretty. But still. Thankfully, their website provides plenty of information.
  • It takes at a week to fully get used to a new mattress. Allow the mattress and your body some time to get to know each other!
  • I loved the feel of it right away. I generally love soft mattresses, pillows, and couches - things that "hug" me immediately - while my husband prefers thinner, firmer surfaces. This mattress seemed to fall right in the middle, which is perfect for two people on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Thanks for the read! If you are in a similar boat, I highly recommend giving Nectar a try! We are extremely pleased with it. I promise that I am not being reimbursed for this review. (It'd be cool if I was though. Ha.) And as a thank you for reading my review, here's that lovely baby wipes recipe I promised you.


DIY BABY WIPES

Cheap, easy, natural
1 roll of paper towels (can also use Bounty paper napkins instead)
2 c. water
2 T. coconut oil
2 T. baby body wash (your favorite brand)
10 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)

Separate your paper towel roll into segments. I like to cut them into thirds because I prefer a lot of small wipes. Then put the water, coconut oil, and body wash into a large pot and heat on the stove till warm enough to combine. Turn off the heat and add your stacks of paper towels. Allow time for the mixture to soak all the way through. Then put into ziploc bags :) This recipe can be easily tailored to your needs!

This doesn't require much time at all, but I do keep some store-bought wipes on hand for in the car and for "emergencies" (aka weeks where I forget to make more wipes haha).
I like to cut the paper towels into thirds to maximize their usage.
Let me know if you have any questions!

Emmanuel Flames

The darkness pours in thick. Before you know it, the whole room is filled with it, heavy and suffocating...and in the dark, fears start to surface.

But you remember Jesus. He is there with you. Emmanuel, remember? God with us. In the cold of winter, God with us. In the pain and worry and fear, God with us. And perfect love casts out fear.

A candle flame flickers in the middle of the room. God with us, lighting this candle of hope. A single flame of perfect love to cast out flickering shadows of fear to the corners of the room.

Your heart swells with hope.

But...it is only one candle. And soon, the darkness just outside this circle of light seems just as terrifying as before. "Really, Jesus? Is this all You can muster? One candle of light, when You spoke the blazing sun into being?"

Come light your own candle in Mine, He whispers. Come find your own light in My light. Then there will be two candles. Then My light will spread.

So you do. Hands shaking, you raise your white stub of a candle up to His sturdy flame and watch as your wick slowly burns...and gently takes on the flame. Now you have your own light.

It's warm and bright and the darkness seems to shudder at this sharing of light - sharing, but not lessening. For in Christ's kingdom, sharing always means multiplying. Sharing breaks bread in two and then into five thousand. Sharing splits flame into ten, and then twenty, then fifty, till a whole church is filled with little fires of hope-light on Christmas Eve. Sharing takes a handful of flour and a drop of oil and feeds three souls for many days (1 Kings 17).

What sort of strange multiplication is this, that splits and breaks and empties and buries and somehow grows the most beautiful trees in the end?

"And he said, 'With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.' " // Mark 4:30‭-‬32

This is the kingdom we get to be a part of. Where sharing produces more than keeping it to yourself. Where giving leaves you filled up, not emptied. And where hope lights candles in the dark which nothing in this world can snuff out.

This eternal flame we look to - this Jesus born on Christmas to save all our days and resurrect our own flames - this Son of God knew what it meant to be emptied and shared and broken. In every way. He shared a home in His mother's womb, knowing the dependence we feel every day. He shared food and hours with people, every one of them as familiar to Him as the moon at night. And then He broke bread...and broke His body. Then He shared Himself, ended life...to bring life. Like a splintered log becoming pieces to light a dozen fires. He was broken for us - the seed dying in the ground, only to sprout up into new life, more glorious than before.

"And Jesus answered them, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.' Then a voice came from heaven: 'I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.' " // John 12:23‭-‬28

This darkness all around is not dark when we share our lights, passing down candle flames one hand to another. The Christmas Eve service brings a settling of hope. Nights of cold and dark are filled with light. And the anticipation rises as we sing the praises...o come, let us adore Him. What once was a long trial of hope for hundreds of years as the world waited for the Messiah to break upon the earth is now a hope fulfilled in Emmanuel, God with us. Not just for those short years of His presence on Earth. No, now our hope is even stronger with the Holy Spirit living in our hearts.

A living hope (1 Peter 1:3-9).

The anticipation, this hope for God's glory to break across a broken world? It did not end with Jesus' life. It split apart the curtains in the holy of holies, offered us His Spirit to bring us closer to Him, and then made a new promise, the one that lay scripted into the foundations of the world from the beginning of time:

I AM coming back. I AM going to break the darkness permanently. I AM going to free you from every single thing that is against you. You are Mine, and I am coming back for you.

"O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord, Emmanuel..."

This overwhelming love, this glorious presence of God, is His gift. A gift that we can re-gift and give away and pour out and still there is more - a division that multiplies. An equation that surrenders. Emmanuel = God with us. There is no subtracting from this. Have you been trying to add to it, friend? To get a different answer or find another gift?

I grab my candle, hold it steady. I hear the voices rising together in one song of worship to the King. And I turn, my toddler watching wide-eyed, and see my two little babies being baptized. Water washing over their heads, the name of the Trinity being spoken, and two souls being brought to His feet. I cannot save them. But I can bring them as close as possible to Jesus. The pastor hands us two candles and I smile. Because sometimes the way you share His light - the way you pass on a wick of this eternal flame - is by lighting the candles of new life. By bringing a baby into this world. By bringing a baby to the very throne of grace.

Bring your family, tiny candles flickering fast, into His presence today. Offer them up in prayer, soothe them with His word, dazzle them with the story of His birth. And give them the gift of your being present today, because He has given you the gift of His presence.



Sunset Moves

The day is stretching out, the final wrap-up of all things lingering in the air, caught in the golden sunbeams. Birds are alive and busy, giving voices to the air and the trees. And I am just sitting, waiting. Watching it all from a contented posture.

As a mama, I don't get many moments like this. Moments where the people in my life aren't tugging at me, or where my own sense of urgency isn't craning it's neck to do and see more.

This moment seems so full of life and peace, and I wonder...is this what brings God closer? Is it the silence or the emptiness of the moment? And so I ask you, if you think you know what it is for you:

What opens your heart to experiencing God's presence? What draws you closer to Him?

This isn't one if those questions with a right answer. I believe that each of us was designed to know God's presence in different, specific ways. If that sounds a little too...hippie...for you, take a minute and think about this:

What distracts you from God's presence?

We all know that these distractions exist. And if there are things in our lives that can take away from our knowledge of and focus on our Maker, than the opposite must also exist: there are things that enhance our experience of God.

The crazy thing is, the list of things isn't small. I have a feeling many people would be inclined to give automatic answers like church, worship music, reading the Bible. All true, and all good things, but our experience of God doesn't stop there. That would negate everything else that we do and see on this earth, and would reduce us to mere spiritual beings. But as long as we are alive here, we are physical, too.

God's presence isn't a movie theater we escape to every once in awhile or a church service we occasionally show up for. He's not a short vacation from "reality" or work. God Almighty, who created all things, is involved in all these things. He is not limited to certain areas of life.

Honestly, I think my morning devotions have gradually tended toward this "vacation" mindset. My time with Him has become quick nibbles of His grace, a snack on His word before I rush off to more necessary things. And I end up short, wondering why He doesn't seem to be enough for me during the day.

This lack I feel seems to relate to the amount of time I spend trying to siphon out anything from His presence that might solve today's problems. The way I get caught up in monologue-ing my worries.

When I'm "with" God, how much time do I spend actually listening to His voice? Waiting to hear from Him? Asking what He has for me, instead of begging Him to come do all the things I want Him to get done?

There are two concepts about God that have been twisting back and forth in my soul these days:

On the one hand, there is the overwhelming definition of His love that winds through the entire Bible, wherein the theme is simply to be with Him. Accept His love. Enjoy His presence. That in the midst of every other thing under the sun, there is this strand of spider's web that glints in the morning light - a mere whisper of His voice, "Just be with Me."
"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." // Hosea 2:19-20
That is the first concept I can't escape.

The second is this: God's command to do. He calls us into His love, and immediately there is this change, where our beloved hearts have a need to act. His words toward us are not passive, but demanding. Do My will. Serve. Love. Be My body in this world. Share all that I have taught you. You are blessed in Me...now go.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit...I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned...If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." // John 15:1-2, 5-6, 10-11
To me, these two concepts (His love that quiets, His commands that motivate) have seemed to be contradictory. If He is all about loving me exactly where I'm at, than my job should be to relax in that knowledge. But when I flip that coin, I feel this anxiety that God is always on that move and that I have not been moving with Him. There isn't time to merely sit quietly in His presence! There is only time for more doing, reaching out, loving and saving and making a difference.

I sit back and close my eyes. Where are You, Father? Which side of this coin is really You?

The walls around me are dusky with shadows. The thin carpet underneath my crossed legs feels both scratchy and soft - a testament to its long life. The sun is just beginning to pull low in the sky, reaching for the treeline, slowing down time as the sunset always seems to do.

As I sit and contemplate how to know His presence more fully and more often, I begin to move. There is music in this empty room and I can't help it; I start to dance. I feel graceful, connected to these songs of praise in a way that I can't when I'm sitting still. There is no one here. Nothing to do, or clean, or tidy. There is no one to serve or listen to.

It's just me. My body, alone and stumbling, but somehow...whole.

This is the way I worship. This is the way I experience His presence. Dance has always been more than a workout or hobby for me. Even when I am ungraceful in the motions, it still feels right, as if my body were made for this dancing. Not that I always know it, but that my body does. This body that He formed and breathed life into.

When my mind has forgotten, my body can remind me. So often we push aside emotions and physical sensations as not being from God, and it is true, they are poor leaders for our faith, easily manipulated. But they are not separate from our spiritual life. God has given us ways to connect our souls with our flesh. Think how communion is bread and wine - things that satisfy, give us pleasure, connect His words with the physical realm.

As my dancing turns into a surrender, I realize a startling, subtle truth: the two concepts that have been at war in my soul are not playing tug of war at all. They are twisted together. Inseparable.

If we know His love, we become a picture of that love. It is not only who we are when we talk to ourselves in the mirror. It is our movement, our song. Love has never been passive. Being loved and loving others is obeying His commandments. And love knows so many forms.

I often want the doing, the loving, to have a specific recipient. I want it to have a goal...and then a good result soon after. But perhaps the doing has to just start with doing - without anyone to see or know or react. An action not for man, but for God Himself. And if we are faithful in these small things - these actions that seem so minute and unnoticeable - then I think He begins bring a recipient and a goal your way. He begins to push you to be faithful with more.
"I think of those words we long to hear, the ones we've talked about before. 'Well done, my good and faithful servant' (Matt. 25:21). There is no exclamation point. No extravagant adjectives. No long and complex explanation. There is simplicity. It sounds like not one BIG accomplishment but instead a lifetime of obedience. So ordinary you might miss it if you're not paying attention." // from Fiercehearted by HolleyGerth
If you have been standing still in your faith, I beg of you to start to move. Move your feet to the beat of the music. Move your hands with the threads of a blanket or the kneading of dough or the raking of earth. Find your doing in the here and now.

He is there. He sees it.

And the more you move, the more the people around you will be moved. Everything has a beginning and an end. Begin, and let God choose the ending.

Move. Today. Without complete understanding of where it will take you. Move because He's given you this body and this place for this very reason.

He has a work that He has created your hands to do.

Work, and bear fruit.

"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." // Galatians 6:8-9

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." // Ephesians 2:8-10