"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed." -Linda Wooten

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy Fall Y'all

Fall is my favorite time of year!! I love the crisp, cool mornings and the pleasantly warm afternoons. I love the blanket of changing leaves that cover the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love the football games, bonfires and pumpkin EVERYTHING!!

I love that life starts to slow down just a little bit. If only for a season...

I, too, find myself coming into a season of slowing down. When you have kids, a full time job, a handsome husband to care for and a household to run - slowing down seems like an impossibility. I get it - we are BUSY, in every sense of the word. But we are making subtle changes to slow down - if even for a moment, and savor this season of life we are in.

Nevaeh is in the 2nd grade and Lillian began kindergarten this year. I have learned from experience - that when kids start school - TIME FLIES!! Seriously - the years are zooming by at warp speed. Childhood is SHORT and gone far too soon - even sooner in today's society.

So we have intentionally made changes to focus on family and savor these sweet years we are in.

Thankfully - this fall season gives up a lot of opportunities to spend fun times together as a family.

What do you do to make time for family? Do you have standing game nights, family date nights, etc? Do you have special fall activities or traditions that you look forward to each year?

*Just this week we started Family Game Night - and every year we visit the Pumpkin Patch and pick out our own pumpkin to carve.

We would love to hear your ideas.

***Join me here on Monday as we resume the Managing Mama Series - we will be talking about "To Do" Lists

Monday, September 1, 2014

Managing Mama: Getting In Your Prayer & Quiet Time

I'm excited to begin our first series here at Grace For Mama. I know life gets crazy - and it seems like "busy" is a constant state of mind. Life can quickly get overwhelming. So, to manage it all - we must learn to prioritize and manage our time well.
Routines are the hallmark of me 'keeping it all together'. And at the top of every to-do list, the central aspect of every routine, has to be God. You can read my blog post about the importance of staying plugged in here:
Speaking from experience - I know I am much more equipped to handle my day when I begin it with prayer and Bible study. However, this quiet time that I so desperately need, always seems to be the first thing I can't seem to make time for in my busy day. We make time for what is truly important to us. You have to do some self-reflection and see where your priorities truly lie. Pray, ask God for direction, ask Him for the self-discipline to rise early and meet with Him.

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”
Proverbs 8:17

There are a few resources I use - that make getting my prayer time and quiet time in, easier.
First is my Bible Study group, Good Morning Girls. I have been doing GMG bible studies for the past 3 years. These studies have really streamlined and simplified my Bible study experience - plus, the online community is an added accountability system where we can encourage one another to be in the Word each day.
The second resource I use is the YouVersion Bible app. With YouVersion you have instant access to the Bible, in multiple translations, and LOTS of Bible reading/devotion plans right on your smart phone or tablet. Let's be honest - we are ALWAYS on our phones. This makes getting in your Bible reading super convenient (you can even highlight text and make notes).
The third resource is the Focus on the Family; Family Talk; & Family Life Today iPhone apps. Each of these ministries have been very encouraging to me in my marriage and parenting - and with the app I have instant access to broadcasts on a wide variety of topics.
Bottom line - only you can order your life. You must make the decision to make this area of your life a priority and do it every day. Set your alarm clock, build it into your to-do list, put it on your calendar. Make your appointment with God, the most important appointment of your day.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”
1 Chronicles 16:11
 Do you have any helpful tips to share?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Managing Mama - A New Series

When I first began this blog, back in February, my goal was to encourage and equip other mamas to live their best life. I work full time, outside of the home, and have 2 young daughters – I get it, life gets a bit chaotic sometimes.
Between work, homework, soccer practice, dinner, bath time, housekeeping, laundry, my husband and 2 kids with needs that must be met – I find it difficult to manage it all. Now that we have settled into the back to school routine – I thought it may be a good time to start the “Managing Mama” series. Over the next few weeks, I will share with you on how I keep it all together.
Luckily – I am a natural organizer and multi-tasker, so this comes easy for me. For some of you – your strength may be in another area and you find yourself drowning in the day-to-day tasks that need to be accomplished.
Through this series we will talk about:
*Getting in your Prayer and Quiet Time
*Creating and Maintaining a “To Do” List
*Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
*Housekeeping & Laundry/Getting Kids Involved – The Chore Chart
*Keeping it All Together – The Home Management Binder
As we wrap up this weekly series at the end of September – we will join Courtney at womenlivingwell.org as she walks us through her annual “Making Your Home a Haven” series.
So be sure to check in every Monday as we learn how to “Manage Mama”.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Stay Plugged In Mama...

It had been another one of those days…in fact – “those” days seemed to be the only kind of days I’ve had for a long time. My husband was working late – it was 8:00 in the evening and I was going on my 14th hour of work (both inside and outside of the home). Because for us mamas, it seems like the work never ends. I had a rough day at work, a busting headache, I was on my 7,485th basket of laundry and the kids were on my last nerve.
As I folded towels and looked at the clock – thankful at least that bedtime had come and the house would be two voices quieter, the first tear fell…followed by 200 hundred more. I felt defeated. I had been dealing with some health problems that kept me bedridden the weekend before – and I was behind in laundry, housecleaning, dishes, and Bible study…behind in life. I felt lonely, desperate and completely disconnected from God.
I stood there, weeping, blabbering up prayers faster than I could think, pleading for God’s help – pleading for God’s presence. As I prayed, thought, cried – I realized, I’m disconnected because I never plug in.
“But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness…” Matthew 6:33a
I have an iPhone (you other Apple snobs out there can attest to the fact that the battery life is HORRIBLE) and I have to charge it every.single.night – sometimes even during the day. Its charge dwindles fast – especially when I have several apps going at once, sucking the power life right out. Is that you mama? Are you on your last 10% with 10 more people lined up, sucking away your resources, your words of encouragement, your servitude, your joy? Are other people, things, a job sucking the power right out of your life?
When my phone dies – its done! I can plug it up and it isn’t instantly back at 100%. It takes time – in fact it takes time for it to even get charged enough to power back up. When we disconnect ourselves from God by not praying, not reading our Bibles, not going to church (guilty as charged on all 3 accounts) – our power will fade. And it takes time to build back up.
That’s why it is so important to stay connected to our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t want us doing this alone – we were NOT designed to live this life a part from Him. He has created us with a God shaped void – with in an inborn desire for Him.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that night – at the time I wasn’t sure my prayers got further than the ceiling. I know now that He heard me – He always hears us. He had been waiting on me to come to Him…
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.”   Isaiah 30:18a
It is my desire for you to know that you are not alone. All of us mamas have walked this path – or will. We are here to encourage one another, learn from one another and support one another. But you – YOU – have to prioritize your life – and make sure God is at the top.
This doesn’t mean that you must spend hours in prayer and Bible study each day. But it does mean the effort must be made. Take time to plug in so you don’t power off!
How do you stay connected? Do you have set times for prayer and Bible study?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

When You Lose Focus...

This motherhood gig is tough stuff. I’ve been reading Christian blogs on parenting and marriage for more than 5 years now. I’ve been writing on my own for just as long. I felt like God had planted a seed in my heart to be shared with other mamas – but the “unworthy” lies of the enemy kept me silent. Finally – in late winter, earlier this year, I decided to take a leap of faith and join the blogosphere with a little “mama” space of my own. I was terrified – putting myself out for the world to see, and read. And then, sooner than I would like to admit, my blog became more about stats and page views and less about the message I was delivering – and I stopped. Suddenly I had made this ministry about me and not about Him, and without Him, there’s just no point.

I have days, months, seasons just like you. Times when I feel like a bad mama, a bad wife, a bad friend, a bad Christian. Times when I don’t measure up in my husband’s eyes, my kids’ eyes and I’m certain, not even God’s eyes. I lose my identity in the madness of this crazy, busy life and I lose focus.

We are taught, by society, that we have one life to live, you only live once, and all the other tacky clich├ęs go on. We are torn between what and who we are living this life for. Girlfriend, I understand that frustration, that loneliness, and that “burnt out” feeling all too well. I know all too well what it’s like to feel like all we do isn’t really making a difference. I lose sight of who I am easily. Yes – I am “wife”, “mama”, “employee”, “friend”, “daughter” – but, above all else…I am the child of the One True King.

“26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” – Galatians 3:26-27

When this life gets to be TOO MUCH – when you feel like you are falling short in all areas of your life – sometimes you have to go back to the starting place. Before you married that handsome man of yours, before you birthed those beautiful babies, before you entered this world as an infant yourself – you were God’s.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 5:1

I can only offer advice that I have used and benefited from. And I know this – these things work. When you start to feel isolated in your own world, often times it’s because you have relinquished connection with The Most High. I understand you are busy – we all are. This time of year is especially chaotic. But, if you keep plugged into the Word, stay on your knees in prayer, and stay connected to your life source – you will find the strength to wade your way through the busyness without losing your sanity and your joy.

I challenge you (and myself) – to make reading your Bible and going to the Lord in prayer a priority EVERY DAY. Set your alarm 30 minutes early so you can get up, have that coffee J and begin your day with God. Use your lunch break as your study time, or, have your quiet time after the kids go to bed.

You can’t be your best for everyone else if you aren't taking steps to BE. YOUR. BEST. And you are only your best when you are living in obedience to Him.

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