A Time Management Secret For Your New Year

Dec
28
- by Anne Everitt - Leave a Comment
A Time Management Secret For Your New Year

A common struggle many of us mamas face is in time-management and over-committing ourselves. I’ve found that when I over fill my plate with things God has not asked me to take on, it is my kids and husband who feel the effects of it the most. When I am tired, stressed, and too busy I become harsh and impatient and since I’ve given my energy in other directions, I have none left for the ones I am responsible to care for and who need me most. As the New Year approaches and many of us take time to evaluate our lives and set goals for the upcoming year, I’d like to share the best time management secret I’ve found:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35.

"What was the secret of Jesus’ ministry? He prayerfully waited for his Father’s instructions. He discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer. Because of this he was able to resist the urgent demands… and do what was really important for his mission. The Gospel record shows that Jesus worked hard. Yet Jesus’ life was never feverish; he had time for people. His life showed a wonderful balance, a sense of timing" 

From Charles Hummel’s Tyranny of the Urgent

As we prayerfully evaluate our “plates”—our responsibilities, commitments, opportunities, goals—the things that make up our days— and lay them before the Father, it is helpful to examine our hearts and ask ourselves what is motivating my decisions in how I spend my time or what I am choosing to commit to? Is it a wrongful heart attitude—maybe of seeking escape, recognition, status, position, control, approval from others, identity? I’ve found that when I prayerfully search my own heart, I can more easily discern the Father’s agenda from my own agenda.

“There are two opposite ways to use our time. One person goes through the day responding mainly to inner compulsions and outward pressures of the moment. Another has a plan that sets priorities and prayerfully makes decisions in advance.” -Charles Hummel

As we venture into a New Year, I invite you to make a commitment with me to slow down. Listen. Be with Him and ask Him to help you craft a plan for your days. Know your God-given portion (and feel free to remove those things that God is not asking you to do!). Scripture tells us that Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. He didn’t live according to the agendas or expectations of the world around him. He was free to live in perfect balance and timing because He spent time with the Father and let the Father lead Him. Ask God to give you a clear vision of your mission as a mom so that you can set priorities—and in doing so, live in freedom to say no to the (often good) things that keep you and me from doing the most important in the mission God has called us to as mamas.

Photo Credit: Cold Prayer

For When you Need More of Christmas

Dec
27
- by Misty Krasawski - Leave a Comment
For When you Need More of Christmas

“And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’ And they stood still, looking sad.”

Luke 24:13-17

The end of December brings a certain melancholy emotion with it. Christmas holidays are wrapping up, the trees in our living rooms turning crunchy, holiday candles burning low. The plates of cookies are dwindling, visitors are returning home, and the flurry of activity winding down. Moms often feel they’re entirely spent after several weeks of busy-ness.

This story found in Luke 24 gives us a glimpse into the lives of two men who had been followers of Jesus. After His crucifixion, they apparently left Jerusalem and traveled together lamenting about all that had occurred over the past few days. Their grief is understandable; the Savior they had loved and probably hoped would change the future of their nation and the world had been crucified before their eyes, and they were missing Him, unsure of what was next.

Jesus approaches them—disguised, somehow. He walks and talks with them, and when He asks what they had been discussing before His arrival, they stand still and look sad.

I do that, sometimes.

When I lose sight of the fact that Jesus is with me—when I feel like He’s gone somewhere else, too busy for me, perhaps, or maybe disappointed in me and focusing His attention elsewhere for the moment—I have a tendency to stop moving forward. My face becomes downcast. Everyone feels the effects.

But Jesus … He is there all the time. Just as He was with the disciples on the road to Emmaus even in their grief, He is near us even now. That’s what we’ve celebrated all this month—the coming of Jesus, the Advent of Emmanuel—the One called God With Us! Whether we can see Him or not; feel Him or not; recognize Him or not. In the valley and on the mountain, the calm or the storm, He is near.

As this year winds down, friends, may I just encourage you to take some time to reflect? Sit down with some tea and a candle and your Bible, somewhere quiet. Read His word to you. Ask Him to speak to your heart, to reveal Himself, to remind you that He is with you. Because it is true. The glorious wonder of Christmas; that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; that He has sent us a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Who is in us and with us every moment of every day; that wonder is true every day of the year. It may be time to pack up the decorations, but Christmas never need be far from our hearts if we embrace the truth of His coming and the glory of His staying. Happy New Year! May it be full of the glory and wonder of everyday moments with a Savior who is truly Emmanuel!

What To Do When Your Love Doesn't Feel Very Patient

Dec
26
- by Kat - Leave a Comment
What To Do When Your Love Doesn't Feel Very Patient

“Love is patient. Love is kind…” 1 Corinthians 13

I want to be endlessly patient with my children, I really do. But so often growing in patience feels like using the Force. It’s an inaccessible superpower that I don’t seem to be able to master.

I think I need a Yoda - someone to show me the secret to this mysterious thing called patience. Someone to teach me how to harness it and master all of it’s complexities.

I pray that God will help me be better at it. I read books about it. I count to ten and take time outs.

But then I realize, in classic Kat fashion, I am WAY overthinking things.

Patience is actually quite simple. Like ridiculously simple.

As I was getting ready for a trip, recently, and wanting to be very healthy and well rested, I drank lots of water and went to bed earlier for about a week before I was due to leave.

Guess what? I could have been the poster mom for patience. I resolved conflict without breaking a sweat or losing my cool. I smiled compassionately at the exasperated moms at the grocery store while my three children and I sang worship songs and quoted Bible verses as we shopped.

Or something like that.

Here is what I realized: Patience has as much to do with our physical bodies as it does with our emotional and spiritual well being.

It’s silly that I ask God to help me be more patient when I’m staying up until midnight checking Facebook and drinking caffeine all the next day to compensate.

I know making healthy choices isn’t easy. I go back and forth all the time. But I also know that when I am making healthy choices, I am a much more patient, energetic and kind mother.

As we look forward to 2013 and consider our New Year’s Resolutions, remember that exercising and eating healthy doesn’t just impact the way we look, but it more importantly affects the way we behave.

So here are a few SUPER SIMPLE things we can do to help us be more patient moms this year:

Drink water Fill 4 bottles of water and keep them in the fridge. It takes five minutes (if that!) the night before. Then aim to finish all of them during the day. Most of us reading this are walking around dehydrated. It’s amazing how this simple act will impact our energy, emotions and patience level.

Eat a healthy breakfast I know it sounds silly, but the food we eat affects how we treat our children. Just like a big Thanksgiving dinner renders us useless and sleepy, a poor breakfast will make us tired and grumpy. Throw in a smoothie or a piece of fruit. Add an egg or whole wheat muffin. Just making a small, simple change can have a huge impact.

Talk Less, Do More Try to have one on one time each day with each of your children. So much of our children’s misbehaviour can be resolved with a hug or a date night. They want our attention and naturally will resort to any means possible to get it. Just like a starving child needs a full tummy to have the energy to learn. A child starving for attention needs a full heart to grow in wisdom and knowledge.

Walk Daily Now you may be feeling like I’m adding One. More. Thing. But the beauty of this list is that they all work together. Dave Ramsey calls it the snowball effect. When we are conscious about eating a healthier breakfast and drinking water, we’ll have more energy to go on a daily walk. Going on a daily walk is the perfect way to spend one on one time with our children. We can listen and fill up their attention basket. When their attention basket is full, less patience we need each day.

Read often We are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So why not spend time with the most amazing people we can find - through books, sermons, podcasts, audiobooks, and an audio Bible. You will be amazed at how having constant input from inspiring people will affect your attitude and ability to be the mother God made you to be.

I know some of these suggestions are incredibly simple and obvious, but if you’re anything like me, they are not always a part of our daily life. When we make them a priority, we have a strong foundation for our parenting.

2013: This Is Your Year.

The beauty of a New Year is that it is a fresh start, a blank canvas ready for a masterpiece.

“With God all things are possible.” Mt 19:26

By His grace and a few simple, wise choices, this can be the year we become the patient and kind mothers we long to be.

Merry Christmas

Dec
24
- by Kristen Kill - Leave a Comment
Merry  Christmas

Pudgy Fingers

Dec
22
- by Amanda Walters - Leave a Comment
Pudgy Fingers

She holds my hand

All four pudgy fingers still wrap around my one

Darkness envelops us 

Feety PJ’s soft to my waking up self

 She sucks her thumb

Content next to my warmth

She breathes deeply

Exhales

Knowing she is loved

Welcomed here in our bed

She receives my affection, my blessing softly spoken

Into her hair at my chin

Receiving as children do

What is laid before them

Hands cupped to receive the blessing

This youngest of four, baby woman child

Fierce with compassion, with boldness & beauty

Pouring forth her blue eyes, blonde hair

So lovable, yet hard to love right now

Needy, unpredictable at times, strong willed

She keeps me humble & exposes me 

These fingers hold tight

Gripping though it is time to get up

Rubbing my one finger as if to say “Thanks Mom”

Thanks for loving me.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.  Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God- for God is love.  God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love.  It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us.  

1 John 4 7-12

Today, fellow Mamas, may we give the gift of love to those in our care.  May Father put to rest the allusion of bringing lasting happiness through the perfect gift.  May we cease striving today and give the gift of love from a pure heart.  Our enemy is on the prowl to steal. Resist him.  Choose love.  Exhale, “Thank you, Jesus for this child or these children I get to love this Christmas.”  

Thank you Father for showing us how passionately you love us by putting in motion the most amazing rescue mission ever through moving into our neighborhood through a baby born in a stinky barn.  You amaze me.  You are way too good!

Won’t you join me in worshiping Him through inviting Him to love others through you today?

Excessive Giving ~ A Christmas Tradition

Dec
21
- by Renee Parris - Leave a Comment
Excessive Giving ~ A Christmas Tradition

In most of our homes, by this time of year, similar things are happening.  Trees have been trimmed, halls bedecked, lights twinkle, holly berries are tucked into boughs, stockings hang waiting to be filled, and ribbon donned packages are stacked under trees adorned with our precious ornaments and favorite things.

Our senses are on overload as sights vie for our attention, carols and instruments float on the air for all to hear. Oh, and just sniff the air for pine-infused cones and sugar cookies and gingerbread adding their flair to the season.

Concerts and plays to attend, gifts to wrap and deliver, food to bake and share, pictures to take and cards to mail.  All of this in addition to plates that for most mommas are full to overflowing and we can find ourselves stressing in the midst of the most “joyous” time on earth.

Christmas is one of those times of year when it is difficult to stay focused on our family principles, philosophies, and missions.  We can so easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose the true meaning of the season which of course is celebrating the birth of Christ.  That celebration, for most people, comes in the form of sharing generously with those we love.

Matthew 25:34-40 tells us, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” 

I was blessed to grow up in a home where our parents, as a way of life, focused on those less fortunate.  It seems there were always extra plates on the table and someone sleeping on couches or coming to live with us for a while.  People floating in and out of our lives was very natural for our family.  As members of church and civic organizations, our parents modeled to us children that there were always those with less and that we as a family had a responsibility to fill those needs.  Although we never had excess, we always had what we needed and they made sure that we shared whatever it was we had.

My husband and I have tried to continue that lifestyle with our children.  Additionally, we are always looking to learn ways from others to share what we have.  Many people have great ideas for giving and sharing but here are a few tangible ways to give our excess away at this time of year.  Perhaps these ideas will spark an idea of your own.

Make and share cookies or baked goods (even those given to you can be re-gifted – most of us receive more than we can or should eat).

Share with:

Local fire fighters, EMT, or 911 workers

The city workers who are salting the roads on a bitter cold day

Security guards and valet workers at hospitals, parking garages, etc.  

Have your children go through toys and books and downsize in preparation for the new gifts they will receive.

Drop off toys and books to local shelters

Package books and toys and take to area hospitals

Give stuffed animals to EMT workers to take to accident scenes

Ask for help from guidance counselors at schools who will  know which children need extra gifts.

Purchase to-go containers, package and deliver meals

Elderly folks - many are lonely and would love a quick visit

Recently widowed folks who could use the physical touch of a hug

Share some soup with a family that you know is struggling financially

Cook dinner for your local law enforcement team

Ask your children to pick one friend each and cook dinner for their family

Help someone be warm and dry.

Gather coats, gloves, and scarves and deliver to shelters

Keep umbrellas in your car and give to someone who is caught in the rain

Stash a few blankets in your trunk and share with the homeless

All of us are busy, but slowing down on purpose to bless those around us will often benefit the giver more than the recipients.  Helping others is an automatic endorphin-laced activity that lifts our spirits and brings joy to our day.  What a life to model to our children…that of sharing excessivelyHow much we have is not the question.  How much we share should be the focus.

Mark 10:21 says, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

May I suggest that you take the last few days before Christmas and gather your family around you and just discuss some ways that you could reach out and bless others before you open the blessings under your own trees?  Your children may have wonderful ideas of who to bless and with what gifts.  As a family you could pray and ask the Lord to lay on each of your hearts one person or family to help.  Then come back together and make a plan for how that can be accomplished.

I pray blessings to you and yours as we celebrate the greatest gift ever given.  I often try to envision what that night was like when Mary gave birth to Jesus under that star-filled sky.   Of course Joseph was with her but I wonder if anyone else blessed her that night.   May we bless someone this season that needs an extra hug, meal, toy, or love.

Merry Christmas sweet friends!