How to Embrace Slower, Simpler Living

Mentor Mama:

Today we are going to be talking about embracing slower, simpler living wherever you’re at in life. You know, many people have a strong desire to slow down and live more simply and authentically, but for so many reasons they feel unable to make changes that can lead to peace and contentment. Our guest today, Lana Stenner, author of the soon-to-be-released book, “The Grace-Filled Homestead: Lessons I’ve Learned About Faith, Family, and the Farm,” will be talking about her journey to create that life for her and her family. She will be sharing with us some practical steps that we can take to slow down and enjoy simpler living.

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Mentor Mama:

Lana Stenner is an author, podcast host, college professor, backyard farmer, and the author of “The Grace-Filled Homestead.” Twenty years ago, Lana and her husband CJ decided to ditch their fast-paced hustle for a simpler life. They found a small farm on the edge of town, moved their four little children into a 100-year-old fixer-upper, and began to focus on God, goats, and gardens at the Grace-Filled Homestead. Lana is grateful for God’s grace and uses her time helping others strengthen their faith, family, and farm. Please welcome Lana!

Lana Stenner:

Thank you so much for having me. What an honor. I just love your podcast and it’s just pure joy to get to join you today.

Mentor Mama:

Lana, thank you so much for meeting us. I’m just so excited to talk about this topic because I feel like secretly inside there’s probably a lot of us that, kind of, have this thought of, wow, wouldn’t it be amazing to really slow down, move to a farm? And certainly, when people pick up a copy of your book and see all these beautiful pictures in there, they’re going to want to do it even more. So, tell us what initially compelled you to so radically change your hustle lifestyle in the corporate finance world and move onto the farm.

Lana Stenner:

Yes, so we were going 90 miles an hour down the hustle highway. Both, me and my husband were just working so very many hours, and we had really great jobs. My husband worked for the airlines, so he had free flight travel. I was in corporate America, and so, before we had kiddos, it looked on the outside, like we were very successful and on track. It was about at the point when our first son was born where we were like, okay, we cannot keep up this pace. I worked about 45 minutes away from home and it was sitting in an hour and a half of traffic each way. And, we just knew at that point that we wanted a different lifestyle, but of course, we weren’t prepared for that. So, we started taking steps and it took a couple of years. It was baby steps of trying to figure out our finances and living a little tighter on the money side of things and that’s what brought us, eventually, to the point where I could quit my job, and stay at home. We found a farm and moved. It’s tiny, it’s only four acres, but we have everything here that we would want and it’s just one of those things that, I would encourage anyone that’s thinking about that, is most things that you see on the online platforms and the, what I call, comparison apps, Pinterest and all that, it looks so quick and simple and looks like a fairy tale. It’s a lot of hard work and what you don’t see behind the scenes is a lot of hard work. I try to show a little bit more of the behind-the-scenes in my stories, you know, the piles of manure and all the things, but it’s a lot of steps and planning and taking your time and, you know, if you’re not there within a year, that’s okay. Just keep moving forward to whatever that lifestyle is that you’re wanting and you can make it happen. And, a lot of what we are doing is not necessarily based on where we live. We could have made those shifts right back in the neighborhood, with our normal little backyard and, you know, we could have had a chicken coop back there and, kind of, just de-stressed the hustle. We could have totally done it there. So, it’s less about the piece of property that you’re on and more about taking those steps with the mindset of intentional living with whatever is important to you. You know, you can make it happen. Just plan on doing it in baby steps.

Mentor Mama:

Great advice. What were some of the early challenges that you guys faced and how did you overcome them?

Lana Stenner:

That’s such a good question. We had so many challenges in the first year. We had no clue what we were doing. We were just two young kids with four little babies. We didn’t even know what we were doing, and we buy this fixer-upper house that, you know, most of our friends and family thought we should bulldoze over. I mean, it was a hundred years old. They did have some good bone updates, you know, like the roof and some of the structure was pretty sound, and so, we got lucky with that. But right off the bat, we were hit with thousands of dollars worth of septic in the basement. And, you name it, we were hit with it that first year. And so, it is just one of those where if you know that that’s the path you’re on and you just chalk it up to, this is life and this is the path and it’s not going to be easy, but we know we’re on God’s plan. And so, you do what you can and you just get up the next morning and you work really hard. We did and there were long, long days and we would put those kiddos to bed and we were just wiped like, can I even walk and get in bed? I’m so tired, clean myself up, wash all the yuck off of me and get in bed. But you sleep so well! You just know you’re in God’s plan. Even if you’re having hard days and struggles and problems, if you are in tune with God and you know you’re on the right path, somehow it doesn’t matter. You know you’re going to get through it because you know what’s in God’s plan for you.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, for sure. I love how you have these three G’s that are some of your passions; God, goats, and gardens. Tell us a little bit about why you’re so passionate about those things.

Lana Stenner

God is the obvious piece of it all. I am a complete 100% Jesus freak. I’m not ashamed to say it. I can’t get enough of God. I wish I had every minute of every day just to study His Word and fix my attitude. I need to be in constant communication. Ten or fifteen minutes in the morning that I used to do doesn’t get it for me. I mean, I need Him every minute of every day, and I don’t know if that’s just, I have a rotten attitude or what, you know? Every little situation from physical things to mental things to a text or something in your business going south, or some technology not working or whatever it is. I feel like He is everything to me, and I need Him more than just a few minutes in the morning. I need a constant connection with Him. So, God’s everything to me. I know I’ve turned into this hyper-spiritual person, that’s what all my conversations come back to. But He is just as good as it gets and my goal in life is to seek out His goodness and know more about Him. I’m on my 10th time reading the Bible through every year, and the more I do it, the less I know. I have a gazillion questions. More now than I did the first time. I thought I knew everything the first time I read it! He’s just a mystery, His goodness, and the way He does things is just amazing to me. So, God’s everything. As for the goats, that’s kind of the simple no-brainer. I mean, if you look at goats, you just can’t help but have a smile on your face. That’s just pure joy. We have many Nubians at our property, they’re the kind that has long floppy ears and they’re just ornery as all get out. They’re like puppy dogs that just want to jump on your lap and nibble on your t-shirt. They’re very snuggly and sweet and ornery, always jumping around, they’re just pure joy. And then gardens, we have a lot of vegetable gardens and flower gardens and I’m just one of those people that need to connect to the dirt. I need my hands in the dirt. It is a lesson in patience though because you have to truly plan out your gardens and we start seeds inside in the basement under grow lights, and it’s a process, and God works so much like that, here I go back to God again, but the way that we do our plants, God works like that, you know, He cultivates the soil and He plants little seeds and He has plans for the growth and the harvest. It’s a long process and it’s not easy and you have to take steps and you don’t want to miss a certain timeframe in the season or it’s too late or it’s too early and so, I love the organization of it that you have to plan it out and my goodness, when you get that harvest, there’s nothing like eating something that you’ve grown from seed in your basement. There’s the joy of that and again, even if you don’t have space for a garden, even if you’re in an apartment and can only do like a container salsa garden or something, just taking your kiddos out or just you going out with your best friend and planting a little seed out there that grows into a tomato plant or pepper plant or the herb gardens, which, you know, makes every meal wonderful. There’s just nothing like it. You just feel connected to the earth, you feel connected to God, and there’s just a purpose in it, and I love that. It’s so basic and primal, but it just does bring pure joy.

Mentor Mama:

It sure does. It’s so interesting that the Bible so many times refers to agriculture and growing. I have a garden as well, and it’s kind of like you’re a proud parent of this little tiny seedling that starts to grow and you’re watching it all along and it’s really a fun process.

Lana Stenner:

Yes, it is.

Mentor Mama:

In your book, you talk about perfectionism and that it can steal our joy and take away from the peace and contentment that can come with a simpler lifestyle. I love too, how you said that as a college professor, you have said that A plus perfection is just overrated and we need to live our best life at a B minus. So help us understand how we can shift our mindset of perfectionism to just really embracing an imperfect life.

Lana Stenner:

And that is not a popular concept, but I’ll tell you, I believe it 150%. If you can take any situation that you’re in, whether it’s, you’re interested in getting chickens in your backyard or whether you’re interested in starting a business, take those two examples or any other thing that you have on your heart that you want to do. If you think through it, a B minus will actually get it done and get you moving on the right track. And if you wait for A plus perfection, you’ll never do it. For example, with the chickens, I have several friends that have asked me a million different questions about chickens, and they subscribe to YouTube channels about chickens, they’ve read books on chickens, and here we are now six years later and they still don’t have chickens. It’s really on their heart, they want it, they have the piece of property for it in their backyard, and their neighborhood allows it, but they’re waiting to know it all and to have a perfect coop and a perfect setup. The same thing goes for business. If you are wanting to start a business, if you wait till every single piece of it is in place and perfect, you’re not going to do it and it’s just not going to even happen. But if you take that jump and if you’re okay with, okay, this might not be absolutely perfect, but I’m at least showing up and I am putting myself out there, and here’s my product or my service, you’re at least showing up and getting it done. As with anything in life, I talk about in the book, I had horrible fears about having people over to my house. I’d been on Pinterest, I’ve been all over the social media apps and I wanted to have dinner parties, but just the thought of it not being absolutely perfect. I might get the décor perfect, but then is the food going to be perfect? You like to pull it all together when you’re on a tight budget and you don’t have a caterer and you don’t have a house cleaner, if you don’t have other people to do those things, it can be a bit overwhelming. I was at the point where I kind of just threw my hands up and said, you know, people don’t really care about all that. Of course, they like that, they like yummy food, they like decorations on the table or whatever, but what they’re truly there for is for community with you and your family or you and your friend group or whatever it is. When you can, kind of, start ditching that, I have to have it all perfect and just lighten up and expect things to go wrong and just deal with it, you start seeing some really big momentum in your life in all the areas as long as you can just jump in there. I know it does sound absolutely nutty for a college professor to say, you know, a B minus is better than an A plus, but I’ve even seen it in the classroom. In the classroom, you can get a book smart, A plus on a test, but you know, if you are challenging things and really writing your heart in some essay question, those are the kiddos that really get it. They understand what is going on. Whereas if you’re just regurgitating what a book says and getting an A plus, are you really learning real-world knowledge on that topic? And so, real-world knowledge in college is more of a B minus than an A plus textbook, because most of the textbooks don’t have everything that’s up to date. So, I would say it across the board, well, maybe, outside of a brain surgeon, there are a few things that I want you to have an A plus in. But some of the other things, most things in life just go for it. You can work your way up on year two to the A plus if that’s what you want, but just go for it and start it.

Mentor Mama:

I feel like, at least for me, perfectionism itself has been self-imposed and not something that I’m certainly proud of, but you are so right that it actually causes us to freeze and not accomplish things, which is the reverse of really what you’re trying to do. So, I love what you’re talking about there and it definitely is a mindset. It’s interesting too because one of my daughters has always had the B minus mindset and she’s had a lot more peace and she always ends up doing better than that, but, the anxiety and stress are a lot less when you also don’t have that perfectionism.

Lana Stenner:

Right. Absolutely.

Mentor Mama:

Well, you’re often quoted as saying God is still in the miracle business. I was reading in your book that you were diagnosed with this peach size brain tumor and I saw the picture in your book, which was staggering, and you recently had a four-hour surgery and a hundred percent recovery with no cancer. Can you share a little bit about what God taught you through that experience and just how embracing a simpler life helped in that situation?

Lana Stenner

Yes, and just hearing you say that gave me goosebumps because looking back, that was in December of 2020, so not that long ago, and it still seems so surreal because I’m sitting here with a hundred percent recovery, no deficits, no cancer. They didn’t even have to shave my head, which I know sounds very shallow, but it was something I expected and when I woke up, I still had my hair. I was diagnosed with a peach-size brain tumor in the fall, two days before Thanksgiving in November of 2020. I didn’t have a whole lot of symptoms. I had some horrible headaches and I was going into a busy weekend needing to grade some papers and we were coming to the end of the semester. I just had a lot to do and I was like, I just can’t take an Excedrin and go lay down, I need to crank out some work. So, I went in and I’m thinking, you know, I’m a little on the older side, I’m over 50, and so, I was thinking, is this hormonal? Is this Covid? Is this allergies? What is this? And so, they said, what you’re explaining sounds a little different type of headache, so we’re going to send you for some scans. And of course, they did one and then sent me right away to another one and the diagnosis was a peach-size brain tumor, and they wanted to do surgery right away and get that out of there. There were some parts of it that they said was too risky that they didn’t think they could remove, and they were thinking that it was not cancerous by the look of it, but they didn’t know. So, I had about three or four weeks there before the surgery, and I will tell you this, and I sound like a crazy person when I say this, but I wouldn’t trade that timeframe between the end of November and the end of December when I had the surgery for anything. I had the peace of God during that time. He hit hard. I didn’t have a care in the world. Of course, everyone around me was beyond stressed, but I’m a recovering perfectionist and I’m always go, go, go, and if something doesn’t work, whatever it is, technology or anything, give me 10 minutes on YouTube, and I’ll figure it out. And as someone that’s very high energy, always striving, striving, striving and can always fix things and kind of a control person, when you come to the end of your rope and you know there is not a YouTube video, there is not a green shake I can take here. There is nothing that’s going to fix this, but God. You have to, kind of, completely shelf all of your anxiety and just turn it over to God, and I really did it, surprisingly. It had to be the peace of God come over me. I don’t know what it was, but I had a lot of peace and trust and I knew, either way, whatever happens, this is God and He’ll work it out. And you know, sure enough, He did. We had the long surgery, and right away there were a lot of complications during the surgery. I won’t get into all of it, but they came out in the middle of it and told my husband, “We’re doing blood transfusions, we’ve had complications, she’s losing blood like crazy, she’s going to be paralyzed, don’t be surprised if she’s paralyzed,” all this stuff. And you know, I wake up and I can feel my hands, I can talk. How are the kids? And, everyone around me is just like, what just happened? And literally in 48 hours, I was home and I had 40 staples in my head. I still had my hair. I mean, when I look at that, I just think—but God—I mean, especially with all those complications and there are so many gazillions of little tiny stories around that where He just showed up every minute with these little signs that He was in it to give me the peace and to give others around me the peace. And He’s still in the miracle business. I’ve grown up in the church. I’ve been in the church my whole life. You know these things, you know Him in your head and you know all about God’s peace and joy in your head, but when you go through a situation like this, it becomes as real as this coffee mug that’s sitting here next to me. He does miracles. And I say that and I kind of chuckled because I know that, and I’ve always known that, but legit, He really is still performing miracles in 2022, and in 2020, He is still performing miracles. And I know that they don’t always turn out. We have another friend of the family that’s going through a similar situation and it’s not looking good and I do have a lot of questions, you know, why me, why? I’m older, I’ve had this full life. Why do I get the happy ending in this story and others don’t? I don’t know. Again, God’s a mystery and that’s going to be a question I ask of Him, but I know He’s still there and He still cares about us and will heal us in His own way, whatever that looks like. He’s just amazing, and my purpose in life is to shout from the rooftops of His goodness and that He’s still here, He’s still listening. You think the world around you is so different and it’s changed so much, and sometimes we can get in the negative mindset of like, oh, it’s a dumpster fire and everybody’s against each other and all this. God is still here. And if you are reading through the Bible, you realize none of this is new. Wars and famine and all the things, they turned to God in those times too. And He is everything and He’s still working miracles and sometimes they’re tiny little ones in your day and sometimes they’re big brain tumors, but He is still involved in every minute, in every aspect of your life.

Mentor Mama:

He sure is, and I love what you said about when you’re going through such a tremendous trial in your life, and when you fully surrender, you’re at the point where you have to just rely on God. That’s it. You’re at the end of your rope, so to speak. And so, your story is amazing, and praise God that in your situation, you’re here to talk about it because that is giving a lot of people hope.

Mentor Mama:

For those that are reading this today, so many of us aspire to live more slowly and simply, but just don’t know how to do that or feel maybe like we can’t. What are some small steps that we can take in that direction?

Lana Stenner:

I would say first, is acknowledging it and setting your intentions. Not that it has to be a farm lifestyle and not that you have to go out and get chickens, but just setting your intentions for the day and, kind of, scratching out some of the things that don’t matter. I’ve always been kind of slimmer on the materialism type of thing, you know, I’ve ditched the fancy purses and the fancy cars and I drive a super old Jeep that’s getting ready to have 300,000 miles on it. We’re not materialistic and you can kind of pat yourself on the back sometimes and think, okay, you know, I’ve got it together. But really those are not the things that truly matter. The things that matters are the things in your heart and your day and what is taking up space. And so, just being very intentional and mindful of, what is that lifestyle that you want? And if you want to truly slow down, some things are going to have to go, and chances are it’s not going to be the material things that matter as much, but it might be, you hate to say this, but it might be a relationship, not that you have to cut it completely off, but maybe it’s time that you’re giving to a relationship that might be toxic or something like that. Maybe it’s that I’m working two or three jobs and I’m going to try to cut it down to one. So, identifying really what is taking your time, and what can go, and taking those hard steps, I would say would be the first thing. And then, throughout the day possibly checking back in every decision you’re making, looking at, is this going to get me to the end goal of this slow living and taking it slower or is it not. Is this going to add stress? And that’s hard to do because a lot of the things that we’re doing are really good things, but you have to cut them out. And then I would just say, it’s focusing that extra time that you have onto what it is that’s your priority. So, if that is in the farm lifestyle, the backyard farm, you know, right now it’s fall and most people think about gardening in the spring, but right now, if you want a garden in the spring, you could start your beds right now and preparing the ground for that and getting compost and piling it on there so it gets all those nutrients through the winter. And so, it’s just taking steps with whatever you decided intentionally for your life and putting that into place with that extra time that you have and taking those steps. It’s funny, because coming out of the business world, a lot of it is that organization that they pound in your brain when you’re in business school, but a lot of it applies to the farm, a lot of it applies to your spiritual life. You can’t expect to be super close and tight with God and feel that slow-living peace where you’re truly trusting Him even in tough situations, if you don’t spend time with Him, so maybe something has to get cut out of your day so you can read your Bible or have worship time or prayer or journaling. It’s all about time, and I hate to say that, but it truly is. Whatever it is that you are seeking out, it has to have your time and attention. And so, that usually means something else has got to go, and a lot of times that something is good. We just had a peach tree split down the middle because I didn’t prune it as I should have and we pruned the big branches, we did good, but we got really busy right in that certain week or two periods where we were supposed to go pinch off these tiny little, beautiful blooms that are so pretty and pink, and I didn’t do it, and then, sure enough, we had a gazillion peaches, but they were the size of golf balls—very tiny, and they weighed down the branch and they split it, and so, I’m looking at that going, that is such a metaphor for life. It’s so hard to prune off those little, beautiful flowers, but if you don’t, you’re not going to get something big like you want. You’re going to get a bunch of little stuff that isn’t worth having because you can’t even eat it. And so, it’s really focusing your time on what your priority is and it’s hard to do. It’s not easy, for sure.

Mentor Mama:

One activity I know that you can do is to have a journal and log exactly how you are spending your time, even if it’s an hour on Facebook, and then look back at the end of the week and see where your time is going so that you can try to assess things. Lana, you devote an entire chapter in your book to gathering and sharing meals together with your family. Tell us why you think this is so important and the benefits that you can have from that.

Lana Stenner:

It is, to me, the foundation of a family is at the kitchen table, whether it’s a big old farm table or whether it’s just your kitchen bar area on the island. That is where the family congregates, they gather there, that’s where stories are shared, that’s where you celebrate, that’s where the tears are, that’s where the conversations are happening. And I think that setting up those times in advance to make it happen, is so important. We did it when the kiddos were little and all of our kiddos were in sports and we were kind of running in different directions with sitting in bleachers and going to this meet or that or whatever. And, it was hard to do, but trying to schedule times, and maybe it’s breakfast time, maybe it’s lunchtime on the weekends, maybe, if you have an extended family, maybe it’s a Sunday afternoon and get together and watch the football game or something like that, but I do believe those are the times when everyone lets their guard down. Food is comforting. We’re all about food over here. We love food and we like making it too. I mean, getting your produce out of the garden and chopping it up and grilling the meat on the grill together, it’s a beautiful thing for a family to do. And preparing it at home is going to be healthier, it’s going to be cheaper, and the conversations that happen over the dinner table, are just everything. If you have that, you have everything and if you don’t have that, it doesn’t take a lot of work to start it and start doing those traditions. And again, going back to your earlier conversation about being perfect, ditch all that! Even if it’s on paper plates. One of our absolute favorites is potato soup in the winter. It’s definitely not healthy. There’s lots of cheese and bacon and green onions and it is delicious, but I can make that up a day in advance. It’s in the fridge and we just put it on and no one ever misses that meal, and it’s so simple. Those are the moments where you’re just sitting around with your favorite people, whether that’s a whole family, or if you’re young and single, invite a friend over. Those are the real moments and I think 2020 and the pandemic really brought that to light because you were either home with your family doing those things, or you were stuck by yourself in an apartment or something, and you realized, oh, this is needed. This is a part of who I am and I miss it, and so, there’s one good thing that came out of that, is we realized just how important that downtime with family is, and then I’ll tell you what, those are the things when you do get a brain tumor or when someone gets in a car wreck, when grandpa dies or when you get hit because it’s going to happen, life is hard and you’re always hit with something, a family member might lose their job or something. Those are the times during your meals that it just makes it all better because you’re there with your people and they can help you through that situation. So, I encourage that, definitely.

Mentor Mama:

There is really nothing like sharing a meal together and inviting others to join you in that. Definitely, don’t feel bad if you’re in a season, if you’re listening to this and you’re like, oh, just like Lana said, my kids are going every which direction, you can be intentional. I think that’s one of our roles as moms are saying, okay, you know what? You find a time that’s going to work and everybody needs to be there because this is important, and I think when your children look back on that later, they’re going to remember those times and those meals that you shared together.

Lana Stenner:

Yes, and as you said, it can be some big gourmet meal and that’s fine if you have the time on a Sunday afternoon and no one’s working and all sports are canceled, but on a normal Tuesday night and the kiddos are going every which direction, it’s okay if it’s hot dogs and chips, just find 10, 15 minutes to sit down and chat and ask, how was your day? So important. We’ve been there.

Mentor Mama:

On this topic of parenting, in one of your chapters, you discuss intentional parenting and peaceful mornings with kids. Tell us a little bit about how you caused a shift in your own parenting strategy.

Lana Stenner:

So, with four kiddos, about the time the third and fourth were coming up, I was realizing this shift. Every kid had a phone by this point and there were a lot more outside influences on the kiddos. And our mornings just started getting kind of hectic, and I’m still over here nagging at them to bring their socks, their dirty laundry down, and why are you wearing that? That kind of thing. And I realized, you know, we had a couple of situations with some families that were close to us and I just realized the world is not like it was 5, 10 years ago and I need to shift, because we were in full busy mode in the evenings with all of their events, and I just shifted into, this is going to be peaceful and I am going to use this time instead of just harping at them to get out the door, I’m going to get up super early, I’m going to set the tone, light a candle, and play worship music. And so, I kind of set some rules that they didn’t really like right at the beginning, like, no phones in the bedroom at night, so they had to wake up with an alarm, you know, the old-fashioned kind because I did notice they were up and doing chats late at night and they weren’t getting their sleep, and we love our sleep over here. And I knew, I could tell how tired they were. So, that was a big shift and it didn’t go over very well, but it was so worth it. And then, we just did a little morning devotion and basically, I had zero expectations of them and I would just read for one or two minutes out of whatever devotional I had around there so they would at least get some Scripture, and they’re just shoving in their food, they don’t have to talk or do anything. There were times when I was thinking, okay, this is not sinking in, but it really brought some good conversations. A lot of times, later in the day, there would be a conversation or a question about that Scripture or, they would say, man, I wish this person had that this morning because they were really struggling. So, I just encourage you, it might be that 60 seconds is all the time you have, and then, hug them at the end of the day, just try your hardest not to nag at them because I was doing that nonstop and it just was setting the tone for a very angsty type of day. A lot of families are homeschooling and it’s a little bit different, but still, the mornings can be stressful, and if you can set the tone and set it up where everything’s organized the night before and you have some of these little rules in place, it’s a game changer, definitely. I strongly encourage any mamas that are out there struggling with their mornings to just kind of make a couple of simple little shifts and it will really change your whole relationship with your kids where they start chatting with you and talking with you.

Mentor Mama:

Two things I’ll just add to that is, one thing that I learned through being with other moms, too, was just remembering to pray for my child before they left the front door in the morning because you learn what their little trials are or big trials or whatever it is, and I know my daughters mentioned to me before, like, gosh, I remember when you used to pray for me. That too can lend to that calmness and reminder that this is in God’s hands, He’s got this. And the other thing too is, one of my favorite times of the day with kids was when they would come home after school and they would have their little snack time and I would kind of do what you did for snack time. Like I’d have the little candle and the snacks all set out and give them time to decompress and talk about their day. So, you can definitely maximize those special moments with your kids.

Lana Stenner:

It’s good that you say that because in the afternoon at that snack time you get so much scoop about what’s going on that you would never get if you missed out on that snack time. I’m so glad you brought that up. That’s such an important part of the day.

Mentor Mama:

Lana, as we wrap things up here, what are you hoping that people are really going to walk away with once they’ve read your book, “The Grace-Filled Homestead?”

Lana Stenner:

That’s a tough question. That’s a good one. Really, the most important thing is God’s goodness and He is there. And also, if He is putting a dream on your heart, whether that is anything about backyard farming or any of that, or something else, whatever it may be, maybe it’s a business, maybe it’s a relationship, whatever it is, just keep praying for that. Keep in alignment with God, and follow those dreams, because I don’t think those are just shallow dreams in your head. I think God puts those desires there because He knows what’s good for you. Of course, I want to share about the goat joy and the gardens and the chickens and all that fun stuff, but the main piece of it is just attuning to God and following your dreams because most of the time I believe those come from Him and He can help you make them happen.

Mentor Mama:

Your book is absolutely gorgeous, for our listeners out there, it has beautiful photographs in it that will just warm your heart and make you laugh. You’ve got recipes and tips and your writing is just beautiful. Lana, how can people find out more information about you and your book?

Lana Stenner:

My website is lanastenner.com. Very simple. Then the main platform I’m on is Instagram, @lanastenner, and also, Lana Stenner, and the Goat Gang on TikTok. TikTok is what it is. It’s just a lot of fun, silly animal videos, but the website is kind of the main place where you’ll find all the things at lanastenner.com.

Mentor Mama:

Awesome. We will include all those links. Before we go, I just want to ask you some of our favorite Bible study tool questions. What is your go-to Bible and what translation is it?

Lana Stenner:

I use all kinds of different translations for different things and I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but I like the NIV, I like the ESV, but my primary study bible is a New King James Version. It’s the Spirit-Filled version. It came out from Thomas Nelson and I’ve had it my entire adult life. It’s actually about falling apart here. I’ve actually had some of it kind of come apart from the binding. But, the reason I like that version, it might be more of the study pieces of it that I really like, just because it has so many maps and concordance and all the different things that if you’re kind of stuck on a verse, it has so many references there for you to study it out.

Mentor Mama:

Excellent! Do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Lana Stenner:

I do, I’m all big on underlining and using your Bible to highlight and use sticky notes, but honestly, I know this is going to sound very strange, my main tool that I have been using in the last two years is actually my printer. I used to use a lot of sticky notes and I would write a Scripture and I would stick it up on my mirror, or somewhere if I found something that I thought was profound and would help me through the week. Maybe it was my situation when I was in that season of the brain tumor, but I started printing out versus really big. I didn’t want them just small on my mirror. I need this bigger-than-life. If I had a tapestry on a whole wall, I would be fine with it. And so, I started printing one Scripture on a piece of paper and I would tape it up, and I have this door, you know, those farm type doors that are five-panel doors, it’s a double door, so it gives me 10 slots for these Scriptures, and I would just print out one Scripture on a full, huge piece of paper and tape it up. My kiddos would even come in and they’re like, wow, is this wallpaper or what? I’m like, I need to be surrounded by the Word of God and a little tiny sticker on my mirror in the bedroom is not going to do it, I’m sorry. I need to see it all day long in my family room where I’m coming in and out, and I have since taken those down, you know, it was through my brain surgery season, but I’m still big on printing big ones out and putting them somewhere that I see it multiple times a day. It’s harder for me to memorize Scripture. I know where it’s at and all that, but I just need to be reminded. I want to be reminded of God’s goodness and His Word. I just want to be surrounded by it. So, my printer is my latest one and I know that sounds a little strange!

Mentor Mama:

No, I love that. That’s such a great idea. Lastly, what is your favorite app or website for bible study tools?

Lana Stenner:

I use YouVersion every morning. Also, I have a one-year Bible reading plan that is on my website that starts in Genesis and goes all the way through Revelation and so, a couple of years ago I came to the realization that there’s an audio bible. And, I used to not think that was not a legit Bible reading, but now I do kind of a mixture of it, so when I am using the audio, it’s YouVersion and I love the simplicity of it, that you can change the voice, you can change the version that you’re interested in, it works with all different plans and so, YouVersion is a good one that I use.

Mentor Mama:

Lana, thank you so much for being here today to share your wonderful advice on embracing a slower-paced lifestyle and how that can positively affect every area of our lives. And for our readers, please pick up a copy of Lana’s new book, “The Grace-Filled Homestead.” Also, be sure to leave us a comment on your thoughts about this topic. And finally, head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. Thank you so much for joining us today on our blog. We love you all. Have a blessed day.

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