5 Devotional Tools for Busy Moms

I creep down the stairs, careful to step over the squeaky step. It’s 6 a.m. and I head straight for the coffee pot. I choose my favorite green flowered mug from the cupboard and pour a fragrant cup of coffee. With any luck I’ll get a chance to sit down and enjoy my coffee in a quiet house while the kids still sleep. I love a little time just to myself to read scripture, journal, or read a book I’m in the midst of before the rush of the day begins. I reach for the sugar bowl and freeze.

A cry breaks the silent morning. My toddler is up.

It seems like no matter what time I choose, my little one makes that her time to rise as well. The time may even vary day to day, but it seems like she can sense the fact I opened my eyes and can’t wait to join her mama as the new day begins.

It’s morning like these—that happen more often than not—that I need an easy way to spend time with God. I usually spend time with him while my baby munches Cheerios or flips through board books by my side. For now, gone are the days of more extensive study. Sometimes I need an app on my phone to read scripture while holding a child who does not yet want to be put down. Or listen to an audio devotional while fixing breakfast. Or to read from a prayer book because I don’t have the quiet enough to form my own thoughts.

Today I'm sharing 5 favorite devotional tools for busy moms over at For the Family.

And don't forget to share some of your favorites too! 

Sing a New Song: Music for the Whole Family

We all jam ourselves into the car and buckle up. Windows down, I search for my keys while my daughter inevitably demands:

“Put the Jesus song on!”

I have to admit that I’m just a bit tired of it. After all, I have been listening to it for five plus years. But my daughter never gets tired of it.

“Again!” she often pleas. We have to put a limit on how many times it will repeat.

“After three times your brothers get to pick a song they want to listen to,” I’ll remind her.

But hey, at least she’s begging for a song about Jesus, right?

So what is this Jesus song that is in such high demand by my five year old?

Continue reading over at For the Family . . . 

The Supermom Myth

0c65c09e-c5d6-45b8-bd2e-846abffd7f28
0c65c09e-c5d6-45b8-bd2e-846abffd7f28

I keep coming back to the theme of comparison and viewing it from various angles in my articles. That's because I see and hear it everywhere I go these days: in conversations with my friends and on social media. I touched on the topic from the creative mom viewpoint and as well in my article Guilt-Free Motherhood. And I love how my friend Amy Kannel got to the real root of comparison in her article Chasing a Standard We Can Meet.

Today I'm writing about The Supermom Myth. If you are striving after supermom status or instead view a friend as a supermom and think you could never compete, this article is for you.

Because the fact is Supermom doesn’t exist. And never has.

Check out The Supermom Myth over at For the Family.

How to Have Fun with Your Kids

“Did you have a fun vacation?” I asked. My girlfriend had just gotten back from a week in the mountains.

She looked at me quizzically.

“Fun?” she questioned. “A relaxing, restorative time, perhaps, but not fun. I don’t really have fun with my kids, do you?” It was an honest question she was asking.

I thought for a minute. “Yes, I do,” I answered. My kids have thrown their share of tantrums and bicker with each other like the next set of siblings, but generally, I do have fun with my kids.

The conversation got me thinking; do most parents have fun with their children? Although my response to my friend’s question is true, I’ve certainly gone through seasons when fun has been harder to come by. We parents teach our kids table manners, interrupt sibling squabbles, pray for them, help them with homework, but do we actually have fun with them? Do we enjoy our kids for who they are, with their own quirks, sense of humor, and interests? And if not, is there a way to intentionally pursue more fun with our kids?

Join me over at For the Family for some ways to cultivate FUN with your kids this summer.

Cultivating Family Culture

I slice the earth with the blade of the shovel, digging carefully around the roots of the peony bush. For two years, the bush had not thrived. It had not bloomed well and had gotten powdery mildew on the leaves. It did not get enough sun in its current location. I placed the uprooted plant into the wheel barrel and pushed it around the house and to the front garden, which gets more consistent full sun. I transplanted it next to the arbor that guards the entrance to the vegetable garden. Now it has a spot to flourish.

Cultivating family culture is a lot like gardening. It sometimes takes some transplanting, pruning, and watering to make your family culture really flourish.

Writing today over at For the Family. Join me there.

Creating in the Midst

I can't remember how exactly I came across Corinne's blog. I think I may have met her in the comment section of The Habit of Being's blog. I enjoy Corinne's thoughtful writing and following her lovely Instagram feed. Corinne has been doing an interview series called Creating in the Midst, where she features various women who homeschool but also pursue creativity in some way. It's been interesting to find out how other homeschool moms seek to find time to be creative themselves in the midst of educating their children.

Yesterday, she featured my own thoughts on creating in the midst. Read my thoughts over at Corrine's blog.

Guilt-Free Motherhood

May is the month for Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate the hard work of motherhood and show our appreciation to mothers everywhere.

Or, it’s a day to feel guilty.

I’ve known women who’d rather skip celebrating Mother’s Day due to babies that have died, strained relationships with their own mothers, or because they suffer from an acute feeling of failure in their own mothering.

Mother-guilt can come in many forms. Do I breast feed or bottle feed? Continue to work my full-time job or stay home? Parenting choices and options are endless. Add to that the constant stream of social media that can lead me to compare my lifestyle choices to those of others and I can soon be questioning if my choices are the “right” ones.

Thankfully, there’s a way to be set free from guilt-induced motherhood.

Continue reading over at For the Family

Cultivating Creative Motherhood

“I don’t know how you do it,” she said as I walked my friend towards the door. “Homeschooling, four kids, writing…” her voice trailed away.

I didn’t know what to say. Instead I felt uncomfortable and said lamely, “Well, it keeps me busy!”

But that was the third time someone had said something similar to me in a month. I’m not wonder woman. I don’t have amazing multitasking skills. I don’t want people to think I do. I don’t do more or better than any other woman who juggles children, work, home, and extra-curricular activities.

But I have made creativity a priority, even after I became a mother. I don’t want to look back over my life and say, “I wish I made more time for _______ instead of washing dishes and doing laundry.”

Whether you identify yourself as a “creative type” or not, everyone is creative in some aspect of their life. As a Christian I believe God made us in His image. He is the ultimate Creator. When we use our creative talents for expression and problem solving we are imaging God, and so it is little wonder we find the act of creating so satisfying. When we create, we image God by crafting beauty, displaying truth, fulfilling a service, or doing good in the world on behalf of others.

But not everyone feels the need to be creative. I’m not writing this article to make you feel guilty if you aren’t a person who desires to have a creative outlet. I’m not advocating adding one more thing to your to-do list or for you to get less sleep than you already do. But if you identify yourself as someone yearns to express yourself creatively but struggle to find time or make time for it in your life, I’m writing this to encourage you.

Continue reading over at Ungrind.

How do you cultivate creativity for yourself in your home?

(Image from Ungrind.org)

Newborn Lessons

Last Christmas we received the best present we could ask for: the birth of our daughter.

Although she is not our first child and I knew what to expect when it comes to having a newborn in the house, each child is different and has their own personality. It takes some time to get to know this tiny new person who has just arrived into our home and family. And even though I’ve had other children, it’s easy to forget just how draining a sleepless night can be or the challenge of getting dinner on the table in-between feedings and diaper changes.

With each new baby we’ve brought home, they have gently taught me some valuable lessons. Lessons I hope to keep with me even after this stage is over and gone.

Join me over at For the Family to keep reading.

Am I Beautiful?

I was putting her to bed the usual way, with a song and prayer.

Suddenly, my four year-old daughter made a pouty face.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, stopping the song mid-line.

“You sing prettier than me,” she sulked. And then, as if it added insult to injury: “You sing prettier than me and are more beautiful than me.”

I must admit I found my daughter’s comparison of herself to me — at the age of four no less — sobering and a little disturbing. That she would already feel some need to compete in the beauty and talent department with another female saddened me. It also made me realize how innate those feelings can be.

I already knew she was tuned into recognizing and valuing beauty — in nature and in other people. And most days after picking out her clothes, she comes down to the kitchen to ask what probably every woman has wondered at some point, “Am I beautiful?” But this new revelation of comparison and competition made me think deeper about the message of beauty I want my daughter to receive.

Join me over at Ungrind to finish reading

Image Credit: Ungrind.org