Photo Cards for Christmas 2015

After two years of sending out zero Christmas cards, we caved in and bought Christmas cards again this year for Christmas 2015.


And I totally caved (eek!) and got some gorgeous gold foil cards from Minted. Which I told myself I was never going to do.

First of all, Marisa Vasquez Photography did a great job on our family photos. Thank you Marisa!

Second of all, the Minted photo cards were so pretty and classy.

One of the reasons I stopped sending out cards in years past was because I was trying so hard to stick to a strict holiday budget. Cards are so expensive, stamp prices are always going up, and we figure we can send cards out every other year.

Of course, once the cards from our friends started to arrive (I love that I know I’m going to get Lesli’s card first!) I wished so much that we had made a card too. Even though it costs money, it’s like a small gift to friends, a gesture of love and reaching out, even though you hardly get to see each other anymore.


There is something very touching and lovely about receiving a Christmas card. The family photo cards are a double bonus. Brilliant. Before we used to send a card and a newsletter, and now it’s possible to send a photo as the actual card. Friends and family can (hopefully) keep it for years to come.


This year, Christmas 2015, we are going minimalist with Christmas gifts to the kids. With four kids in one room, we have no space for more toys. So we are giving gifts that are an “experience.” Which means quality time together as a family and fun memories.


This decision also leaves us with a little more money in our Christmas budget for cards.

Here are our top three cards:




Which one is your favorite?

For the next two days, you can take advantage of the Black Friday deals at Minted. You can click here to see the pretty cards.

Now if I can only find my list of addresses!

Where is your favorite place to buy holiday cards? Have you tried Minted yet? What do you think?








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Letter From a Guy Who Loved the Book

Every so often I get an email from a reader who just pours love and encouragement into my life. I can’t even tell you how much this means to me. I want to share a letter from a guy who loved the book. Yes, a guy. This was my first letter from a guy, and I have been praying for him ever since.

The thing was that I almost deleted this email before I read it. I almost missed this email. I thought it was spam or something because the subject was GTMTOY. But he was abbreviating the title of my book! Once I figured it out, it was so so so sweet. Please read on to hear a little bit of this brother’s precious heart.

.  .  .

Dear Chelsea,
My name is Benjamin and though I was born in America, I’ve lived almost my whole life in Spain.

So, I’m this 17-year-old missionary kid living in Mexico who’s searching for Christian fiction in Smashwords and … BOOM! I find Goodnight to My Thoughts of You by Chelsea Rotunno.
I just ended it a few moments ago!

Wow! Your book hit my spirit and soul like a bomb, honestly. At first, I thought I was simply going to read Christian romance but then I found this was one of those books God uses to talk to you, so I better read it all soon.


I’m a guy and I think this book should be read by both groups of young men and women whose desire is to find God’s love and holiness in order to wait for the one He has prepared for you.

I identified with Charlie’s character. His weaknesses and affinities are pretty related to mine. Miriam’s situation with her mom made me think also I should value more my parents’ counsel. Her dreams about her future and how she learns to walk through the valley of the shadow encouraged me. Now I want to know what I can give to God instead of what should I have received.


I just want to end saying that the most tremendous thing about this book is that you let God pour out his love through your hands and you wrote this awesomely well-written, too real book.

May God bless your ministry of words and I hope I can read your next book. God bless you and your family!

Kind regards,

.  .  .

So as I always do, I will include my follow up email and his response. Because this guy is so precious.

.  .  .

Dear Benjamin, 

I just read and reread your email probably 7 times. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! It’s like this payment from heaven. I am so rich right now because of what you just wrote in that email.
You know, when I was writing the story, I kept feeling God urging me to finish and get this story out there for his children. Not because he wanted to teach his children something, necessarily, but because He loves his children (you) so much!
Benjamin, he loves you so much. 
His discipline is so good. He is the best Father, disciplining and training his children like only he can.
I have had to go through so much discipline in my life in order to have the wisdom to make choices that are according to God’s design. God’s wisdom is all throughout his design for love, marriage, and intimacy. I pray that you will trust his design and experience that joy and freedom that comes with it. He will pour out his love on you.
But forgive me for preaching! I am just so happy that you enjoyed the book! 
May I quote your email on my blog? I love to share emails like this.
Also, would you be willing to write a review of the novel? It’s so important for readers to know that the book is worth their time. It’s especially cool to have a guy’s point of view on the novel. I don’t think any guys have reviewed it yet. 
Here are the links: 
Thank you so much. You are so kind to send such an encouraging email. You made my day. God bless you and your family too, Benjamin!
Love in Christ, 
.  chelsea rotunno  .

.  .  .  

And, of course, he said I could post his letter on my blog. Thank you Benjamin! Here is his reply:

.  .  .  

Dear Chelsea,
I’m sorry for any inconvenience you may had had reading my last email, because my first language isn’t English.  You don’t know how that “preaching” you wrote to me touched my heart. Because those words were exactly what I was looking for.  As I told you before, I can feel His love in your words.  Of course you can quote my last email! I’m just really happy you could take your time to read my last email and answer me. Also, I will write a great review in the links you showed me.  God amazed me and surprised me with Goodnight To My Thoughts Of You. I will recommend it to my English-speaking friends. I pray that someday your works can be translated into many, many languages. 
I pray also that God will continue to touch the lives of teens like me by reading your book. May God bless you in every facet of your life!
Love in Christ,
P.S. By the way, I love to write poems and songs. Your poems in the book encouraged me to keep writing. 

P.S. 2  You made my day too.

 . . .

Go ahead and take a second to say a prayer for Benjamin to meet the most amazing, God-fearing gal in His perfect timing. It might not be for years to come, but I believe God wants to bless this guy and show him more and more of His amazing love through a marriage union.

Heavenly Here With You, the second book in the Charlie & Miriam series, is in the works. Be sure to keep in touch so you can help me choose the book cover! More info soon. You can subscribe to the blog here to receive free email updates. Thank you and God bless you!

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Fall Photo Candy

As I was searching for photos to add to my high school writing class’s fall e-newsletter, I came across some great photos that Andy took years ago. I thought I’d share them with you too!

OK, so this one is first because it just took my breath away. I don’t think I appreciated these almond tree farm photos from our trip up to Visalia (back when we only had one child.) But now when I see this photo, I am so awestruck.


How many pumpkin photos have I seen? But I just love this one!


Just in case you need an idea for a pumpkin carving contest, this frog pumpkin was our award winner at a family event a few years back. Hello Froggy!


I found that spectacular green pumpkin (and the two smaller pumpkins on top) at Underwood Family Farms. They always have amazing pumpkins to choose from. And so many fun things to do with the kids.


Andy says he took these pictures years ago when he was on his way to work really early in the morning.


This one is pretty too.


Finally, here’s a fall photo that really makes me want to sit down with a mug of apple cider and read the classic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley in front of the fireplace. Or listen to the Frankenstein audio book while I’m doing dishes, because that is more likely to happen.


And just one more fall photo! Candles from our friends Jake and Annie’s wedding. Awww! Such a beautiful evening

Need a craft to do with your kids? Check out this cat craft and this tree craft. And here is a recipe for yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with cream cheese icing. Here is one for our favorite pumpkin soup.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful fall season. We sure are glad the weather is cooling down here in Southern California!

By the way … which photo was your favorite? Leave a comment and let me know you were here!



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3 Supermom Powers I Didn’t Know I Had



The supermom ability to track every spot that was affected by a poop explosion from my child’s diaper. Everything that the baby touched, where they sat, where they might have sat, while the diaper was seeping with poop. Every spot goes into a mental file while the diaper is changed and the child is bathed. And then the supermom cleaning begins! I use my poo-dar ability to retrace the baby’s every location and clean and sanitize thoroughly.

Ninja Reflexes

The supermom ability to catch a large glass jar of applesauce mid-air at Trader Joe’s, after my son throws it straight up into the air because he’s trying to get it into the shopping cart. Even though I only have one free hand because I’m holding a baby, I’m able to catch the glass jar of applesauce in my left hand, preventing it from smashing into a zillion pieces. The worker at Trader Joe’s who is stocking the applesauce jars can testify. His face is priceless. I think he is actually scared of me after seeing me display my ninja reflexes.

Panic-Cleaning Abilities

The supermom ability to clean the entire house in ten minutes. A friend texts and says she is in town and will be stopping by soon. Panic cleaning begins, and the clean up that usually takes all day is attacked with such ferocity that it is done in 10-15 minutes. Friend arrives and wonders why I am sweating so profusely, and I confess that I was panic cleaning. It’s not actually a confession; it’s more like I’m bragging about my mommy superpowers.

(I have to attribute the term panic-cleaning to my dear friend Leann. When she said it, I knew exactly what she was talking about.)

P.S. Pearl is already almost 10 months old!

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Best Emails Ever

The best emails ever are the ones from girls who read and loved my book Goodnight to My Thoughts of You. Thank you so much for your emails ladies!!! Here is the most recent email, from Grace:

Dear Chelsea,

Hope this finds you well. I’m Grace from Indonesia. I’m a Christian girl, a pastor-daughter, a teens-ministry teacher, and an amateur Christian-devotional writer. I just finished reading your novel Goodnight to My Thoughts of You. And honestly, it blew my mind, turned my heart upside down. Your novel touched me deeply.


Thanks to you. At first, I did not want to read the entire novel, as the novel has two parts which I literally thought this would be a long way to go to read the entire parts. But the title successfully persuaded me to little by little, digging out each chapter. And here I am writing you an email just one day after I completed reading it. I experienced so much fun, joy, and even tears in your novel. It was so powerful. I can see the reflection of my self in Miriam character. (Well, it is not 100% of her, but may be around 65%.) There are several questions in my mind that have been answered in your novel. Thanks to you once again. I am now recommending it to my Christian best girl friends and my students. Your novel has also motivated me to start writing my own Christian novel (love story about my parents, 😀 since I’m still “Lady in Waiting” mode) to encourage my girls in church to stay pure in the eyes of the Lord before marriage. It is most likely in Indonesian language. For your information, it is so rare to find a Romance-Christian-based-novel  in Indonesia.


I am really looking forward to read your next novel Heavenly Here With You. May God bless you through the writing process for the sequel. God bless your husband and the children.

Warmest love,



When I read stuff like this, I just cry and thank God for such a blessing. I mean, Indonesia? How awesome is that?!

I responded with this email:


Dear Grace, My sister in Christ,

I have prayed for you a few times already since I received your email — I prayed for you tonight too. I thank God for you and your sweet spirit! I hope I can express how grateful I am for your response to my novel; I am just praising God because my story has touched your life–all the way in Indonesia. And we have a sisterhood and a kindred spirit in the Lord Jesus. How amazing! I am so excited for you to write your parents’ love story. I would love to read it. If you look on my blog in the category called “On Writing” you will find a series of 5 posts about “how to start writing your story.” I hope you find them helpful! Please pray for me as I continue to write and prepare the next few novels. I praise God for the riches I have received from your encouraging words. God bless you, sweet Grace! One day soon you will know why your email came to me in perfect timing. Trust the Lord; he is so good. 

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Love, Chelsea Rotunno

P.S. May I quote your email on my blog?

P.P.S. Please leave a review of the book at one or both of these websites (Amazon and Barnes and Noble) so other girls will know you enjoyed reading it! Thanks!


And her response just melted my heart! :)


Dear my sister in Christ, Chelsea,

I was so happy to read your email. Thank you for your encouragement on my writing. I’ll take your advice and read in your blog. When I finish my writing, I’d like to share it to you. But may be it will take a longer time, since I am going to write in Indonesian language first to reach Christian girls community here. I must admit that in Indonesia, there are very limited sources for Christian novel, theology and or motivation for youth written in our language. If we have any, it must be in English and  compared to the majority of population who barely speak English, our teenagers / youth are inadequate to read it comprehensively. Yeah, this is a very sad condition. That is why I am hoping I can be a good writer to share God’s love to the next generation.

I have prayed for you to finishing the sequel of your novel for several times. I prayed that the Holy Spirit will bless you with wisdom and creativity to present a fresh story that speaks to the deepest soul of your reader just like the first one.   

Just when you feel discouraged, believe Him and read this below verse:   Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”   

PS: It is my pleasure if you’d like to quote my email on your blog.

P.P.S: I also have written reviews for your book in those links above. Hope there will be more readers discover your book.

God bless each of us! :)

Warmest regards, Grace


Oh my goodness. Thank you Jesus!

Hey there! Have you read my novel Goodnight to My Thoughts of You ? It’s not too late to get your free copy of the ebook, or leave a review so other girls will know you liked it! And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you can get free email updates!

Thank you so much.

xo, Chelsea


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Peonies in Bloom


My next-door neighbor, who is one amazing, spunky, 85-year-old German woman from Belgium, loves to tell me all about everything. She comes over to chat a few times a week, always with some gift, like a small bowl of meat loaf, potatoes, and corn, or her latest egg salad.

I think she is absolutely wonderful.

So my neighbor (Let’s call her Eve) loves gardening and flowers.

She also knows how much I love flowers, and she’s probably observed that I am not very good at keeping them alive, so she keeps dropping off books for me to borrow about gardening and such.


Last year we had a great conversation about peonies.

I bought her a bunch from Trader Joe’s when they were in bloom. After I handed them to her, she taught me a special fact about peonies that I would like to share with you.

“In German, this is called pfingstrose. It is the Pentecost rose. The flower has this name because it blooms at the time of Pentecost.”

This year, Pentecost Sunday lands on May 24.


And here they are.


Showing up everywhere.

I admit that I didn’t know much about Pentecost until I looked it up. It’s the story from the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles, and today it is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

A few more facts about peonies that you will find interesting (if you love them as much as I do!)

Peonies are used in a lot of Chinese art
Peonies are the national flower of Taiwan
Peonies are the state flower of Indiana

Peonies bloom near Pentecost, about 50 days after Easter, which marks the end of the Easter season and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

I have wanted to write about my wonderful neighbor Eve for quite some time now–but I didn’t know where to begin. She is like a grandmother to me. And grandmothers have really cool things to teach us about the world. I promise I will write more about Eve and her husband soon.

Buy some flowers for your next-door neighbor and you never know what will happen!

I hope you enjoy your peonies this season.


And I wish you a blessed Pfingstsonntag.

What is your favorite thing about peonies?

Is there something very special about peonies or another flower that you can teach me?

Please share!



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How do you start a blog?

Many women ask me this question: “How do I start a blog?” and I always give them the same answer: I took The Blog Class with our real life friends Emily and Ryan of Jones Design Company.

If you know you want to start a blog, stop reading this post and click here to see the re-launch of The Blog Class with Emily and Ryan.

If you are familiar with blogging, you could start a blog pretty easily with a template and a free account. These free resources are great for people who want to use their blog as a sort of online journal that they can share with others.

But what if you need more than that?

What if you need someone to explain everything to you in a way that you actually understand it?

The Blog Class includes 40 cheerful, inspiring instructional videos that you can view over and over at your convenience.

What if you need shopping carts and customizable everything?

If you plan to sell something from your blog, or promote your book or homemade products, you need a customizable template (which comes with the Blog Class! It’s the Canvas theme, which normally costs $100; it’s the same one I use). This way you can add your own graphics and info for your business, and make changes to whatever you’d like to change as time goes on.

What if you want to save tons of time and avoid mistakes that many newcomers make?

For example:

What size photo can you add to a blog?

Why does the size of the photos matter?

How do I adjust the size of my photos?

How do I avoid spam comments? (I’ve had like 13,000 spam comments in just two years that were blocked because Ryan helped me find the right spam blocker!)

How do I make sure I don’t pick up viruses?

And here is the big one:

What if you need lots of encouragement?

Emily and Ryan are some of the most encouraging and generous people I know. They will put 150 % of their effort into helping you succeed, and they will encourage you and cheer you on.

Emily and Ryan truly encouraged me. I don’t think I ever would have started my blog without this class.

If you are stuck anywhere in the process and you really need things to come together for your blog, take this class! It is totally worth the money. Check out their info page here. It’s time to get started because you have something beautiful to offer and you need to get it out there! Good Luck!


Please share this post with anyone you know who is thinking about starting a blog!




P.S. Do you have any questions for me about blogging? Feel free to ask me anything you’d like in the “Reply” section and I will get back to you.

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Comparison Detox

comparisonBe sure to read this through to the end.

Last night I had a dream that I was on a TV show where people were watching my family and other families live our normal, everyday lives. We were just doing our thing, raising our kids, and having a good time in life.

But in the dream, I was feeling competitive. I kept checking to see our show’s ratings and, particularly, what people thought of me as a character on this show. It was like the results were posted at the end of each day, and I could see how many people were following, liking, or voting for me, Chelsea, on the show. In my insecurity, I checked what other people were getting for votes as well, to see how I compared with them, you know, to make sure I was keeping up.

Do you know how many votes or likes I had? One. Just one (1) follower. You know how that makes you feel? If you only have one “like” on a photo or something that you post? I felt like that. Sort of dumb and embarrassed. Sort of OK with it, too, because it was what it was.

I frantically checked what another person got, and to my relief, she also had just one “like,” one follower, one vote. For some reason, that made me feel better about myself. She had only 1. Phew.

When I woke up from this dream, it stuck with me all day, as dreams sometimes do.

I do not consider myself a competitive person, and I certainly don’t feel like I should be considered better than anyone else. But I do have a nagging fear of not being able to keep up. I prayed about it, wondering why I would be feeling so insecure and competitive in a silly dream that didn’t really make sense.

And these words came to me in my time of prayer:

Comparison Detox

God, do I need a comparison detox? What does that mean? Should I fast from something so that I can be purified in my heart? Should I take a break from reading other people’s blogs? Should I take a break from social media and checking in on how my friends are doing?

I decided that maybe I need some time to be creative instead of wasting my time comparing my life with the lives of other people–particularly women in my demographic: American moms in our 30s, trying to keep our kids and houses healthy and in order–and to redefine beauty in an age when we have access to endless beauty that we observe and share on virtual platforms.

I think God was telling me that I need some good old-fashioned spiritual discipline. I need to fast, abstain, and detoxify, purify my heart and mind. I still don’t know exactly what this means or what it will look like, but at least I am sure of one thing: I need to cleanse.

And I think it has something to do with the example set by Jesus at the last supper: the washing of feet. An attitude of “how can I serve others?” instead of “how can I keep up with others?”

Back to my dream: For some reason the number in the dream, the one vote, really stood out to me. Because how pathetic is that? Just one “like” on an entire day of my life? Just one?

I asked God, “Why just one vote, God? Why just one follower? Why just one ‘like’ for me, and the same exact number for my friend?”

And God, because he is so awesome, said, “It’s me. I am your one vote. I am her one vote.”

It was God that “liked” my day. And it was Him who followed my heart, and judged everything about me–everything that really mattered. God cares about each one of us and follows us throughout our day. He is the only judge who matters, and he is not judging the way the world judges.

Suddenly the dream made so much more sense:  no one really knew me or cared about me the way He did. And comparing myself to anyone else was a waste of time; at the end of the day, we were all equally loved and celebrated.

Was I OK with that? Was I going to be all right with everyone seeing that I had only 1 vote?

Yes, I’m definitely OK with that.

Should I try my best in all areas of my life? Yes.

Do I have to keep up with everyone else?


Other women have been posting about this topic of comparison as well, which tells me that it’s not just me who feels parched and tired, trying to keep up. Maybe God gave me this dream to help another woman today who needs to hear that she has God on her side, and he loves her, and he hopes that she can find peace and rest in Him, the living water that never runs dry. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. Just love others and be eager to serve the poor and needy.

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Broken Dishes



I want an 8×10 print of a broken dish to hang in my kitchen. Or maybe an actual broken dish hung on the wall as a decoration. Because I need a constant reminder: it’s only a dish.

This little dish was part of a tea set that my daughter got for her 3rd birthday seven years ago. It’s a really cute little tea set. Was a cute little tea set.

It broke, obviously, when my kids were playing with it the other day. For some people, this is no big deal. Just toss it. Forget about it.

I wanted to toss it. Instead, I left it on the kitchen counter for a week, because I had to try to glue it back together. I had to at least try.

You see, I’m realizing that I have a really hard time letting things be broken. Just broken. Let it be broken and throw it away.

So after a week of staring at it, I threw it in the trashcan. And then I took it back out.

To take this picture.


I think this plate was a reminder to me that it’s okay to feel broken, to be broken, to let things be broken without having to fix everything and put it back together and make everything whole again.

I think some other people might feel like me sometimes. Like nothing should break. We have to keep it all together, in perfect balance, every day.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve got those plates in a balancing act, spinning on the top of sticks, and the plates are wobbling back and forth. At any moment they will fly off the sticks and smash into the floor.

And then, instead of sweeping up the mess and throwing it all away, I’ll sit down to glue all the pieces back together and make it look like it never happened.

I’m trying so hard to keep everything together.

I don’t want anything to fall apart.

I don’t want me to fall apart either. I can’t. I have too many people to take care of to let myself fly off the handle and break.

I feel a huge pressure to raise our kids right. I have to protect them and give them only the best experiences to they will grow up to be strong and healthy in every way. I have to serve the healthiest food three times a day and keep everyone’s teeth brushed twice a day and wash all the sheets once a week and make sure there are no crumbs on the floor because our town has a lot of crickets.

And the more time I spend on the computer, the more pressure I feel to keep my home perfect and orderly and beautiful like everyone else’s, even though I have five kids in a two bedroom house.

I try and try and then something breaks.

And sometimes I scream and cry or say things I regret. And–sometimes–I keep the Elmer’s glue coming and make it look like everything is fine.

It doesn’t mean I have failed.

Because life isn’t a great big test, and we are not going to receive a report card at the end of our life and get a 4.0 GPA in Motherhood, Home Keeping, Wifehood, Remodeling, Healthy Meals, Church Participation, and Emotion Control.

Is it possible that it’s good to be broken sometimes?

To toss something that we thought was so valuable but really wasn’t that big of a deal?

To reevaluate some of our expectations of ourselves and others?

To reprioritize?

To remember: it’s only a dish?

. . .

By the way, Andy finally tossed the broken plate in the trashcan, and I didn’t take it back out. I thought about it, you know, in case my pictures didn’t look good enough and I needed to take more, but instead I just






And I haven’t thought about it once since.

Not at all.

Not even one time about how I didn’t even try to glue it … and it might have worked.


Let me know you were here! Give some love and leave a reply.



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Thoughts on New Life


Have you ever felt like a part of your life was done for?

a relationship with someone you love

a job or career

the chance at true love

the willingness to go on

a friendship

your marriage

a second chance

your faith in God

your heart?

 . . .

N E W  L I F E

This plant lay dormant since 2010, meaning the flowers fell off and all it had was leaves for 5 years.


I kept it around because I have a hard time throwing things away. Also, my sister has always gotten her orchids to bloom again, so I knew it was possible.


The leaves looked pretty.

Would it ever bloom again?


Then, as time went on, the leaves didn’t even look pretty. They turned yellow and fell off.

But more leaves grew.


One day my daughter peeled each of the new leaves in half down the middle. You can still see one of them is peeled in half (on the bottom right). I was so mad.

Still, the plant sat on our mantle or on the computer desk. I didn’t even water it. I was waiting for it to die so I could throw it away.


The woman who cleans my house watered it once a month.


The leaves reached desperately toward the sunlight, eager to live.

One by one the broken, peeled leaves fell off and more new leaves grew.


This year I made one change. I placed it in a new window, in a different room. The kitchen, as it turned out, was better for this orchid.


And a new stem sprouted after 5 years.


And within a month … here it is.

Just as it was made to be. Just gorgeous. This plant brings me so much joy.

More so because I thought it was done. I thought it was fruitless. But it was alive.


I’m so glad I was wrong. I’m so glad I didn’t throw it away. Because this year this orchid proved to me the message of new life: new chances, new beginnings, hope, and beauty.

The very thing I thought was dead brought me so much joy.

Because I held on. I don’t always hold on. But this time I did.

. . .

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her,

I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?

–John 11:21-26

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Rotunno Mini Update — March

1-title-miniupdate-orchids-3M A R C H  2 0 1 5

Everyone asks, “How is it going with 5 kids?” Our 5th baby was born in December, and she is now almost 4 months old. We just celebrated our oldest child’s 10th birthday. Wow! A decade of raising kids.

Mostly, our answer is: Life keeps going. Life is not much different, besides that we are generally tired all the time, and we have a new little person to make us smile and laugh all the time. So things are good!

Here are a few quick updates; what I like to call a …



O R C H I D 



This orchid, which has been dormant for a few years, finally sprouted a new flower after I moved it to the kitchen window. Orchids need specific conditions to sprout a flower stem, like a north-facing window and cold nighttime temperatures. I guess it liked my kitchen window better than the other window that I thought was facing north! You should have seen me when I saw that it finally grew. I was ecstatic! Now we are just waiting for them to open! Pretty exciting for a person like me, who usually can’t keep plants alive.


My son hardly eats, but we found something that he love love loves. Tilapia with lemon and butter. So this has become our family’s new favorite dish. It’s really easy to cook. I just rinse the fish (de-boned, of course), pat it dry, and set it in a baking dish with about 1/4 cup butter and the juice of one lemon. I sprinkle dill on Andy’s and mine, although my kids prefer no dill. Then I just bake it at 350 for about 12-15 minutes. We usually eat fish with rice and steamed vegetables, like broccoli or asparagus.



Speaking of vegetables, Andy and I have become addicted to juicing veggies. We had this Waring Pro Health Juicersince our wedding day and are finally using it daily. It’s so funny, but juicing veggies has become a special time alone together, like making and drinking coffee. We make each other a juice drink and say, “Oh, try this one! It’s good!” Pretty romantic, I know. These little moments alone together are pretty rare these days! Andy’s secret ingredients to add to any veggie combo: 2 apples, half of a lemon, and about 1/2 inch of fresh ginger!

T H E   S P L I T Z


A. has been stretching for ballet, and it turns out she is Gumby. Like she can’t even feel it when she stretches. It’s insane. We are trying to figure out what she’d like to do with this talent. Any ideas?

H A I R C U T ?


Does JL need to cut his hair? Because he really doesn’t want to. I love it long, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s getting too long, you know? You want your kids to be happy and express themselves, but you also want to balance that with teaching them proper grooming. What is your opinion?


My book is on the front page of Noietrade in the New and Notable section this week. Kinda fun. Check it out here.


TMI: I got over mastitis last week. It was not fun. But just like last time I had it, which was with my last baby, it cleared up within 48 hours. I had to rest and load up on vitamin C, which my friend got for me after I texted her about how sick I was. Mastitis is like a breast infection caused by a clogged milk duct. When my babies start sleeping more, I forget to nurse them and I let them sleep through a feeding. Mix that with not drinking enough water, and then it hits: flu-like symptoms, dizziness, headache, chills, fever, and soreness. Thank God it is over! It is so hard to take care of kids (and a baby) when you are so sick and can hardly lift your arm.


We are looking forward to our next Gleanings for the Hungry trip, which is coming up in a few months. Can’t wait! Gleanings is a YWAM base, and they process peaches and nectarines, dry and ship then to starving people in other countries. You can read more about this trip we take as a family every year here.

And for those of you who have been following my blog . . . I still have not put a photo of the new baby in this frame. We are pretty busy around here, in a good way. I’m sure I’ll get to it soon.



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Encouragement at the Perfect Time

Two sisters from two different countries in Africa emailed me last week. It was the perfect time to receive encouragement.

First, I got an email from Lola:

Hi Chelsea, I just read your book Goodnight To My Thoughts of YouVery awesome. The first time I’m reading a book of you. All the way from Nigeria in Africa.

Isn’t that just amazing?! See, I love that God called me to make my ebook free. Anyone can download it from anywhere around the world for free. Christian sisters from every continent have read my book. Wow.

Then, the next day, I got another email. Chanda wrote:

Hello Mrs. Rotunno, I am a young reader from Zambia (in Africa) and I absolutely love your book! I have recommended it to others and I am very impatient about the release of the ebook’s sequel. I wrote this email to find out when you are releasing Heavenly Here With You. Thank you for reading and I would greatly appreciate a reply. God bless you.

I wrote:

Dear Chanda, Wow! Thank you for your message! The Lord has used you to encourage my heart. May I quote your message on my blog? Also, please pray for me as I finish Heavenly Here With You. I hope to have it ready in November. God bless you!

Chanda wrote:

Dear Chelsea, Of course you can! I would be more than honoured to feature on your blog. I am happy that I have been a blessing in somebody’s life — especially somebody like you. I really cannot wait until November now. I will surely pray for you as you write. Thank you so much for your response. Chanda

It is not a coincidence that this encouragement came at the perfect time.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for your perfect timing.

… And thank you, my friends, for your prayers and affirmation.

Heavenly Here With You

by Chelsea Rotunno

Coming Soon!

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You know, it’s not easy to write a book when you have five kids. It’s not easy to write a book with one kid. Writing is hard work whether or not you have any kids. It takes a lot of time and concentration–two things I don’t have a lot of these days, with a newborn and everything.

Excuses, excuses.

I never accomplish anything when I make excuses.

But I can accomplish a lot when I commit my work to the Lord.

He has heard our prayers.



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Five-Minute Necklace Organizer

necklaces-3Finally. No more tangled necklaces.

My daughter brought home a tree branch that had been painted white. I thought it looked pretty so I kept it for awhile, not really thinking much about it.

Then it came to me. We can hang the girls’ necklaces from the branch.

It might sound silly, but this solution for organizing necklaces has made me so happy. Something that was disorganized is now in order! It makes sense!

No more tangled, knotted, crazy necklaces that my girls can never wear.

I mounted two hooks next to the door frame in their room (strategically higher than my two-year-old can reach), hung a few necklaces on the branch, and set it horizontally in the two hooks. Brilliant.

The branch is light enough for my girls to lift off the hooks, but they don’t really have to lift it. They just have to undo the latch on the necklace they want to wear.

It made me so happy, I just had to share it with you. For anyone who has necklaces piled in jewelry boxes where you forget about them . . . try out this easy, free necklace organizer. What a difference! Practical and pretty.


I created peace and sanity in one tiny aspect of my life–and I am really happy about it.


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Who Does She Look Like?

To me, all babies look alike, and they all kinda look like old men.

So many people have been telling me that baby Pearl looks like my son. I thought it would be fun to look at some pictures of him and the other kids when they were babies and compare to see. Who does she look like?

On Christmas Eve, we took this picture of the kids. So here is what they look like now.


Here is Baby P at two months old. We finally got a picture of her smiling! That’s when you really begin to see what they are going to look like.


It was great to go through some old photos and enjoy the memories of each of my kids at that age. Here are some pics of my first baby, Baby E.








And photos of my second daughter, Baby A. Yes, she was a large-normous baby with tons of hair.








Here are a few baby pics of my son, Baby JL.







Finally, the 4th child, Baby R.


1-baby-r-4 1-baby-r-1




Who do you think Baby P looks like most? Baby E, Baby A, Baby JL, or Baby R?


or as R calls her, Baby Pear.


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A Great Book for Little Girls


“Mom, are you crying?” (How many times have I heard that question lately?!)

Today I found myself in tears after reading this book to my 7-year-old daughter.


Originally published in 1944, The Hundred Dressesis an introspective story about girls “having fun with” a Polish girl at school who only has one dress that she wears day after day. But this story is not written from her perspective . . . it is written from the perspective of another little girl who observes her mistreatment and learns to respect people who are different.

Every little girl should read this book.

Every woman should read this book to her little girls.

Have you ever felt what it’s like to be outcast? Outside the circle of girls? Unable to keep up with privileged women or families who are well-off? Imperfect?

I have.

The Hundred DressesNewbury Medal Winner, is on the reading list for my daughter’s homeschool curriculum. It is a great book for every little girl, whether she is learning to read or has been reading for years.

Because now it is our turn to teach our daughters to be kind to other children and stand up for the outcast.


I hope you enjoy this book as much as my daughter and I did.

Have you read it? Did you read it as a kid? It is one of those books that needs to be on every girl’s bookshelf. So relevant, universal, timeless.

The Hundred Dresses
 by Eleanor Estes

. . .

Soon I will add a page to this website that has a list of my favorite books, books that have changed my life, inspired me, or that I just highly recommend. Stay in touch and see if we have any favorites in common!

xo, Chelsea

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