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parenting

When Your Quiet Time isn’t so Quiet

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

Yes. This. Everything about the above verse makes me want to type in all the praise hand emojis. Because quiet, alone, unseen, rewards, secret … all these words tug at my busy-mom-of-three emotions.

Then … reality hits.

Mark 1:35-37 is more my reality …

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. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

“Everyone is looking for you!”

Is this your life too? I assume I’m not the only one who gets up and goes to a solitary place to pray, only to be followed by little people. *wink*

Even if I wake earlier than usual, odds are one of the children will wake up and interrupt me. They will need breakfast or help going potty or help finding their favorite shirt or something. That’s how it is. This is my reality in this season.

So yes, many of us have very, very little time to ourselves right now.

I’ve included below a few captured “quiet times” of my own so you can see what I’m talking about.

I used to think because of this lack of privacy and silence, my quiet time wasn’t meaningful or productive, so often I’d grow frustrated and even resentful for not getting “ideal” time with God.

But I’ve learned – am learning – that God can and will use my not-so-quiet moments to grow my knowledge and relationship with Him.

No matter how hard I try, some days my “quiet” times are going to be filled with doll babies, nursing real babies and feeding eggos to older babies. All with Peppa Pig blasting through speakers.

But I know God is with me wherever I am, whatever I’m doing and no matter who is around me.

While I still crave and love the literal “quiet” times I get with Jesus, I’m learning to roll with it and recognize not every moment with God has to be perfect and serene, with all the spiritual type of feels. Because REAL LIFE, friends.

So how do you have a productive quiet time in a not-so-quiet scenario?

Here 4 things that help me have meaningful Not-So-Quiet Time.


Keep Him handy.

This is number one for me. Keeping scripture quotes, bibles, devotionals, even prayer prompts handy is great for when I do find a few silent moments throughout the day. If His Word is right there, it’s easy to take advantage of the time that does pop up.

I keep my phone close by me almost all day long (I know, I have a problem), so it’s easy to hop on a Bible app (YouVersion and the First 5 app are great for quick and short reading) or listen to an audio Bible.


Plan ahead.

Okay, so we’re going to devote time to God, but we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, if we’ll be interrupted or sidetracked.

Pick a bible reading plan to follow or a book that studies the Bible. When I wake up, I know which book I’m going to grab (right now I’m finishing up Wendy Blight’s I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God) and get through what I can. If I have to stop in the middle, I have to stop in the middle. I don’t waste time flipping through the Bible, wondering “where should I start?” 


Plan to not follow the plan.

Let’s be real. It isn’t always going to play out how we imagine it. So if you are currently trying to read through a bible study book, and you’ve been unable to sit down that day to read it, you’re going to have to engage a new tactic for the day. Sometimes, I will go back to the First 5 app or something similar, where there is a ready-made and short devotional quickly available that I am not currently following.

Here are another couple strategies I use as a back-up plan (adapted from [re]SOURCE, by my good friend and pastor, Jessica H. Morris).

[re]THINK – Reflect on what you learned or read in your last quiet time. Re-ask some questions to yourself about the subject and ask yourself what stands out most to you about it, that applies to you most personally.

A good strategy here is memorizing scripture, as well. Take a scripture verse and meditate on it all day, write it down in an email to yourself, chant it over and over, write it on sticky notes posted all over your house, or whatever you need to do to keep thinking about God’s Word.

Here, the goal is to re-engage your brain to meditate on scripture or what God is telling you.

[re]PRAY – Pray a prayer familiar to you. Maybe you re-pray what you prayed about yesterday, because it’s still relevant. Or you pray the Lord’s Prayer. Maybe you speak to God through a Psalm of Thanksgiving or Psalm 23, both effective and familiar to many.

The goal is simply to speak to God. Speak to him while you drive, while you shower, while you climb each stair in your home. But to simplify it and keep persistency, pray what you’ve heard or prayed before.

Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. (Colossians 4:2)


Do it out loud.

Okay, so you’ve woken up early, settled in for some QT with Jesus, and your little one sneaks downstairs.

This is often an “UGH” moment for me. But I have to force myself to remember it doesn’t have to be, nor does it for you.

We can pull them up next to us and read out loud, pray out loud, or explain to them what God is teaching us. Remember in Mark 1:35-27 when Simon exclaimed to Jesus during His quiet time, “everyone is looking for you”?

Well, do you also remember how Jesus responded?

“Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. (Mark 1:38-39, emphasis mine)

He taught.

Let’s take a page out of Jesus’ book, and when people are looking for us, let’s teach them and pray for and with them. He reminds me our people should be inclusions, not interruptions. Because this is why we are here.


So there you have it. These are some of my tricks for meeting with Jesus during a non-quiet or restful season of life.

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for connecting with Jesus during your Not-So-Quiet Time. Post them up so we can all learn from each other.

 

A Welcome Back + A Discount + A Freebie = AWESOME SAUCE

Hi, friends!!

It’s been a month and a half(ish) since I last posted, when I told y’all I was going to be doing some cosmetic updates to my website — and TA-DA!! It’s done!! (I hope you like it, because I sure do! And if you don’t … well, then I humbly ask you to not mention it to me. 😉 Thank you to What’s Inside Designs for the awesome new graphic design look!)

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 6.14.26 PMThis past month, I not only updated my website, but also wrote my first ebook! Thou Shalt Not Kill; Encouragement for When You Want to Kill Your Kids is a short devotional written specifically for the mamas (and daddies!) who are quite certain the only way to escape the crazy of parenthood is to kill.
(Not really … but really…)

It will soon be for sale online!

However…
As a WELCOME BACK gift, I am offering it to you FOR FREE!!

(Because “FREE” rocks. Duh.)

All you have to do is subscribe below and you’ll receive your free downloadable version immediately!

OH YEAH!!!
And I have ANOTHER surprise for you!

beckisprintshoplogoRemember how I met 800+ new BFF’s this summer at the She Speaks Conference? Well, one of them is the fabulous Becki Campell. Not only is Becki an incredible writer/blogger, but she’s also an artist! (I’m a tad jealous of her skillz, fo sho.) You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website if you’re interested in stalking her a bit. 😉

Because Becki is AWESOME, she is offering you, my dear readers, a 10% discount to her online shop, A Shiny Reflection!!

So here’s what you need to do get these goodies – subscribe below. That’s it.
(**Current subscribers, you have already received this information via email! Go check your inbox! … Or your junk mail – I’m using a new email system, so it could be there!)

Subscribe to new posts!

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Once you subscribe, you’ll get my FREE ebook and the 10% of discount code for A Shiny Reflection Shop!

I hate to say I told you so…
BUT
I told you this post was going to be AWESOME SAUCE.
Free stuff for everyone!

I’m so happy to have the ebook finished, happy to have the site done, happy to offer you discounts, and happy to be back with you! (I plan to post weekly on Tuesdays, so be on the lookout for posts then!)

Now, let’s all do a little dance and celebrate!

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Post Back 2 School: I Wasn’t Sad

I wasn’t tearful. Or even a little sad.
But I wasn’t cheering. Or even a little happy.

The days have been too long for sadness.
But the years have been too short for happiness.

What I do know is so much has changed in one year. In two years. In six years.

I’m grateful, yet thankless … excited, yet dreadful … nostalgic, yet completely casual.

My heart swells looking at both of them, knowing everything they have done in their short years and how much they will do in their days to come.

Am I the only one still confused on what my feelings are with back-to-school? 😉

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Three Times the Fun

Last weekend, we held a gender reveal party for Baby Fun #3. (Three! Jesus, be near…)

And because Pinterest rocks I’m so creative (<– LIE!), the decision was made to use silly string as the baby’s gender announcement. With so many kids hanging around my friends these days (i.e. their parents), I thought it would be fun to use silly string, where all ages could get involved.

Full disclosure: I’m pretty sure the silly string was more fun for the adults than the kids, but whatevs… 😉

After my doctor’s appointment that morning, I hustled over to my friend Molly’s house with the sealed envelope containing the ultrasound picture. Molly went shopping for the appropriate colored silly string and wrapped/decorated the cans for me.

To answer a popular question I’ve received – no – I had NO CLUE what the gender was until that evening’s silly string war. Only Molly (and McKenna – because TEARS) knew.

(In related news, McKenna is an amazing secret-keeper. She won’t break. No matter how many ponies and KitKats you offer.)

Later that evening, we had a crew of family and friends come eat and celebrate at our “tailgate.” I had the best time. (And I think most everyone else did too.)

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Invites

(Quick Shout-Out: Thanks MIL, FIL, and mom for helping this preggo get ready for the party!! *high fives all around* I couldn’t have done it without y’all!)

Below are a few pictures snapped during the moment of reveal.

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A girl.

Another girl.

Three girls.

I can hardly believe it.

While some may say we’ll have our hands full between the hormones, boyfriends, shopping, hair drama, and weddings we’ll have to pay for… I say we’ll have our hands full of fun.

Three times the fun, to be exact.

And I say we’ll have our hands full of blessings.

Three times the blessing.

Surprise! I’m Not Hating on this Vacation… Yet.

We are four official “school days” into our summer vacation and I have to admit, things haven’t been so bad. They’ve been rather… how shall I put it??

Glorious!

Yes, yes – you read that right. I, the self-proclaimed Hater-of-School-Vacations and Pro-Year-Around School With NO INCLEMENT WEATHER DAYS ALLOWED person have actually enjoyed this first (almost) full week of summer vacation.

(Don’t worry – after summer camp and VBS has concluded in two weeks, I’ll be back to my normal vacation hating self.)

BUT…

In the meantime, my fellow mamas, let’s sing a song of praise for the following:

**NO PACKING LUNCHES!

**NO ALARM CLOCKS!

**NO GRUMPY PANTS IN THE MORNING BECAUSE WE MAKE THEM BRUSH THEIR HAIR BEFORE SCHOOL SO TEACHERS AND ROOM MOMS WON’T JUDGE US. *we have no plans to brush our hair at all this summer. At. All. And I’m not mad about it.

 

It’s the simple things in life, people. And we are praising God for a great start to summer!

What are you grateful for this summer vaca?

Because We Be Crazy

I figured my family’s crazy was deserving of a blog post.

We’re about to start this whole parenting thing… all. over. again.

Wish us luck as we prepare to welcome our third … (third?!?) … child this coming December!

The Car Line Commandments

So…

The car line.

It’s the last week of school, and if there has been one thing I’ve learned this year about being an elementary parent, it is there is a set of unspoken rules when one is a steady member of the car line.

The car who makes an “illegal” right turn into the parking lot? The future subject of scorn and target of mind bullets from other mamas.

The car whose automatic doors don’t open quickly enough because mom forgot to put the vehicle in park? The subject of rolled eyes and impatient school employees loading kids into cars.

I’ve watched mind bullets from other parents fly, and have been on the receiving end of those rolling eyes.

The car line is not for the faint of heart. Or the highly distracted driver. (Hi! That’s me!)

So I’ve put together these commandments for the rookie parent to reference next fall. Because you’ll need them.

So I wish you good luck, Upcoming Kinder Parents…

And may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

The 10 11 Car Line Commandments:

  • Thou shalt not park in the designated car line area if your child is a walker. (Can I get an AMEN?!?)
  • Thou shalt not covet other, newer models of the minivan.
  • Thou shalt pack a plethora of snacks, books, and DVDs for students and younger siblings.
  • Thou shalt not honk.
  • Thou shall pay attention at all times. ALL TIMES.
  • Thou shalt not yell at the crossing guard. He/she is your lifeline to getting to the front quickly.
  • Thou shalt not yell at pedestrians to walk faster. (Even though they should.)
  • Thou shall stay in your vehicle.
  • Thou shall put your van in park BEFORE opening doors for children.
  • Thou shalt not shall not speak to your child (minus a quick “put on your seatbelt!”) before pulling away.
  • Thou shalt not forget to relieve oneself in the restroom before entering the car line.

The Honey Badger Strikes Again

So if you’re friends with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I guarantee you’ve seen pictures and posts about my sweet, precious, and innocent youngest daughter. (You’ve “LIKED” those pictures, right? RIGHT?? 😉 ) Meda Grayson is almost two years old and a bundle of sweet joy. Her spunky personality keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh. She’s our good-natured, soft-hearted, little Meda Pita.

If you’re friends with me on any of those social media outlets, you’ve also probably read that Bryant and I have dubbed that sweet, precious, and innocent little girl with a “sweet, precious, and innocent” nickname.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 5.44.38 AMMeet The Honey Badger…

Other nicknames include the following:

  • Honey Badge
  • Badge
  • Badger
  • HB

I’m sure you’ve seen the rather crude, but hilariously funny (because I can’t NOT laugh at dumb stuff) YouTube video “The Crazy Nasty Honey Badger.”

While this video is stupidly hysterical (and pretty accurate in describing our youngest with quotes like “honey badger don’t care.”), it’s actually NOT the documentary that clued us in to this perfect nickname for sweet Meda Pita…

Bryant & I are nerds enjoy enriching our minds with mind-numbing enlightening documentaries via Netflix. One night, we clicked on the title, “Honey Badgers; Masters of Mayhem,” and proceeded to watch the entire film.

Dumbfounded, we sat watching the antics of these crazy little beasts. They are animals with attitude. The documentary called them among the bravest in the African brush. They also said they were probably the smartest.

I’m not so sure on that last part. I mean, these guys would fight lions… on purpose.

Doesn’t sound too smart to me.

Anyway, I believe it was the point when the honey badger climbed into a refrigerator and began swiping food out onto the ground that Bryant and I looked at each other and said, “It’s Meda.”

Yes – Meda Pita is the Honey Badger.

So why has she been dubbed the HB?

I’m glad you asked.

Well…

I could tell you about how Meda once ripped hardware right out of a splintered door frame (sorry mom!)…
Or I could mention when she ate directly out of the trash can…
Or I could even talk about time her older sister screamed, “Mom! Meda’s trying to set me on fire!”

Any of those scenarios could work in accurately describing our little honey badger.

But I’m going to tell you about the most recent endeavor of the Badge’s. (Okay, it’s not the most recent. That would be last week’s coffee incident involving my expensive handbag. But I’m not ready to talk about that just yet.)

I’m going to tell you about this:

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It was last Monday. I remember what day it was because I was vacuuming. (Come back to see my post next week on my practical (sounding) cleaning schedule).

As I vacuumed the plethora of crackers, dog hair, jelly beans, and stickers that were ground into my living room carpet, Meda was playing nicely, pushing a toy stroller around the house.

It was only a few moments that she was out of my sight.

But that’s all it takes.

I turned off the vacuum and heard a little voice gleefully singing, “Weeeeee! Weeeeee! Weeee….”

That third “Weeeee!” was interrupted by a loud clang.

As I rushed into the dining room, I didn’t hear any crying, but instead,

“uh oh…”

(Little kids are the darnedest things, aren’t they? Not even two years old, and she knew she had screwed up. *shakes head*)

Sure enough, as I entered the dining room, the light fixture was hanging lower than usual and swinging precariously out of the ceiling like a pendulum.

The honey badger was standing on the dining room table, guilty arms raised above her head and looking at me over her “O” shaped mouth. Without another sound, the little scoundrel scurried down onto a chair and then onto the ground, where she took off at a 22 month old sprint away from me.

Because that’s what honey badgers do.

They leave mayhem in their wake.

And their moms to clean up after them.

(Okay – that was a lie. I don’t know if honey badger mothers actually clean up after their young. And I know I definitely didn’t clean up her mess. The fixture is still broken. We’re not what you might call “go-getters” around here…)

But seriously – this kid is a master of mayhem.

And we love her.

Despite the expensive things she has destroyed. Or the number of dirty diapers she has removed herself and spread everywhere.

She makes us laugh (when we’re not catching our breath from chasing her) and smile (when we’re not repairing something she’s damaged).

For you moms of other honey badgers (please, tell me I’m not the only badger parent!)…. I have no advice.

None.

You’re on your own.

Just try to stay alive.

And I’ll do the same over here.

*fist bump*