friday close-ups with: Kalyn Merriner

It has been way too long since we have had a Friday Close-up. If you are interested in being interviewed or being a guest poster please email me at

Kalyn Merriner went to seminary with my husband Nick at Westminster Seminary California. She is now married with a sweet baby girl and is someone who is always smiling and has something encouraging to say. 

1. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have one daughter who just turned 11 months old.

2. What has been the hardest part of being a mom?

One of the hardest parts (so far) of becoming a mom has been surrendering my schedule to Ellie’s. Having another person completely dependent on me at all times, and knowing that my plans for the day or night will most likely be interrupted frequently has really stretched me.

3. What is the best part of being a mom?

My favorite part of being a mom is probably the same as the hardest part, being really needed all the time. While it’s exhausting, it’s the most fulfilling and meaningful work I think I have ever done! It gets me outside of myself and I know I’m doing exactly what I was made to do. (Also I LOVE the big smiles I get when I get her out of bed).

4. What is the best advice you have been given?

The best advice I have gotten was from my Mom while I was still pregnant and freaking out about possibly losing her. She told me that the sooner I surrendered her to Jesus the better, because there would just be more and more things that were out of my control. This advice comforts me so much now when I start to be scared about raising her well to love the Lord. It is such a daunting and intimidating task until I remember to fix my eyes on Jesus, the faithful Shepherd of little ones, and His power and might and promises.

5. What is something that you do for you? (hobby or craft or read, etc.)

Something I do for me….right now my favorite thing to do for me is really any time that I get to spend with my husband – he’s working on a MBA and working full time, so my favorite “me” time is “us” time. ;) I also volunteer once a week at a pregnancy center – the ladies there have become a second family to me and are helping me to grow in my understanding and living the truth of the Gospel. Being there refreshes my soul!

6. How has kids effected your marriage?

I would say that overall having a baby has strengthened our marriage. While it can be trickier to spend time just the two of us, our hearts are bonded together in the purpose of caring for a little Sweetie. I also have never been so in love or grateful for my husband as I was during labor and those first few weeks afterward as he took care of us. Seeing him grow as a daddy is my favorite.

7. What is your favorite baby products?

Since they got their new line of baby products, Aldi is my favorite place to buy diapers, wipes, puffs, formula and other baby snacks. The diapers in particular I have been super impressed by – she can sleep through the night in them (7:30-5ish), and they are so reasonably priced!

8. What has been the best resource for you since being a mom?

My little sister and my mom have been my best resources for Mommy questions. My sister has been great because she had two babies in the few years before I had mine, so she is right ahead of me and able to answer a lot of my questions. My Mom has 8 children (6 are now adults and two were adopted and are still little and at home) - so she is a veteran and has also been really helpful.

9. What is your go-to snack? 

My favorite snack right now is a bowl of Aldi-brand cheerios with honey drizzled on them and milk

.10. What is something you have learned about yourself since being a mom?

I think, similar to marriage, having a baby has revealed the depths of my selfishness and my own finiteness. Basically, motherhood continually shows me my need for Jesus. I am so grateful for His blood that covers me for His Spirit who strengthens and changes me. Before I had Ellie, I was given a booklet by Barbara Miller Juliani called "Preparing for Motherhood", which I highly recommend (even for already- Mamas). In it she talks about Isaiah 40:11 "He will tend His flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." This sweet promise is such an encouragement- as I struggle against my selfish desires and strive to love my family selflessly, and when I feel at the end of myself, Jesus has promised to gently lead and carry me as I care for my precious little Ellie. 



friday close-ups with: Cristal Porter

I am going to be starting a fun series on the blog here on Fridays where I ask moms some questions about their motherhood journey. Each week might have new questions or the same as the week before but I will interview a new mom each time. If you are interested in being featured or have some questions you would like answered be sure to email me at:


Our first Friday close up mom is my friend Cristal Porter:

1. How many kids do you have?  1 child 

2. How many weeks were you when you delivered? 39 weeks when I delivered. About 4 days from due date.

3. Did you have a vaginal birth or c-section? C-section

4. What was your pregnancy food craving? Was obsessed with Mexican food. Beans and rice. 

5. What baby items you could not live without? Can’t live without long sleeve onesies. Put them under her clothes every day for an extra layer of warmth and sun protection. Also socks because they constantly disappear. I should seriously just have a new pair for each day. 

6. Best advice ever given was this, “The baby will be fine. What matters most is that you’re OK.” Really validated how hard it is to be a mom and also how it’s ok to work at taking care of yourself. Such a discipline.  

7. What was the biggest surprise of being a mom? Biggest surprise of being a mom was how difficult it is. No matter how much I was warned. It’s like a slow death of self! And also how much I would enjoy it. On the days where I don’t listen to the temptation to be bitter or covet my old life, I truly enjoy the moments with her. Working on this!

8. What was/is the hardest part of being a mom? The newborn phase. It was SO hard. Perhaps because you never know what on earth is making them cry and because Olivia was particularly big on communicating when something was wrong. Whether it was in the car, protesting of naps, during a tummy ache, when she was cold, etc. Man…that newborn cry was tough! 

9. What is your go to snack?  Right now I’m all about bananas in the AM. If I’m really hungry I’ll eat a piece of leftover protein and a portion of a baked sweet potato. Typically in the late afternoon. 

10. What are your favorite mommy resources? My favorite resources are: Wellness Mama, Weston A Price, Dr. Sears and a few other moms with similar parenting styles. 

11. What is/was your favorite stage? My favorite stage is the one we are in so far. She is 9 months and honestly the most incredible little human. I’m enamored by her personality and I'm enjoying watching her mature. Gah just love her so!