Staying Hydrated Naturally!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Healthy Living Blog Tour

Today’s post is part of the Healthy Living Blog Tour, bringing you practical tips for a more natural approach to life. Read more about the full schedule and the awesome giveaway to go along with it here, then enter to win at the bottom of this post!

During my first year of running, I was also a nursing mother. After long runs or really hard runs, I would find myself feeling sick or crampy and it was just miserable. I couldn’t figure out why I was having so much trouble until I realized I was not hydrating well. As a nursing mom, I didn’t even think about the extra fluids I would need to keep myself hydrated.

Even after I was done nursing, it still took me one more miserable post-race sick day to realize I needed to get serious about hydration. Not only did I rethink my hydration plan during runs, I also started looking at how much water I was really drinking on a regular basis and the level was pretty low.

My goal now is to stay well hydrated daily, even more so leading up to long runs + race days, and I’ve found new ways to add variety to my water intake in a natural way. Here are some of my favorite ways to stay hydrated naturally:

Staying Hydrated Naturally

Coconut water

I do not drink coconut water on a daily basis, but it has been my #1 help for rehydrating after a long, hard run or race. Coconut water is high in potassium as well as electrolytes. Some people don’t like the taste, but I don’t mind it, especially when I know it has helped me avoid sickness and cramps after a run.

SodaStream

We made the investment in a SodaStream earlier this year in an effort to cut back on pop and it is so much fun! There are lots of natural ways to flavor you DIY soda water at home, but my favorite so far has been with citrus essential oils. Using a glass cup {no plastic}, I put in some ice, followed by soda water, and then 1-3 drops of wild orange, lemon, or lime essential oil. It took me a little bit to get used to no sugar in my “fizzy” drink, but now I find it so refreshing! I drink at least 16 oz. of citrus soda water every day. Not all essential oils are ok for internal use, but these citrus oils from doTERRA are safe to ingest. Find out how to get your own essential oils here.

Frozen Fruit

Fruit in water looks pretty and frozen fruit can also help it stay cold. Frozen fruit is also a great way to add subtle flavor to your water. My friend Beki from The Rusted Chain mentioned the delight that is frozen pineapple in water, and after giving it a try, I have to agree! Frozen berries are also very yummy!

Good Old Water

Yes, I’m trying to tell you about variety here, but I really do love water as is. Ok, I prefer ice cold water, to be perfectly honest. But I’ve found that having a water bottle I love helps me drink more “plain old water” in a day. An insulated Camelbak has been my water best friend for a while now. I take it everywhere with me and it is the biggest help for me staying hydrated in the most natural way! I will admit to having bought a new water bottle for myself when I need new inspiration to drink more – no shame in that!

Staying well hydrated is important for so many aspects of our well-being. Pick some natural ways to make your water more exciting and you’ll find your whole body thanking you!

What is your favorite way to stay hydrated naturally?

*****

Are you a boy mom interested in getting started with essential oils? We have a class happening just for you this Thursday!
Boy Mom's Guide to EOs
Brooke and I will be casually discussing the ways we use essential oils as boy moms and we’d love to have you there! For more info and to sign up, come join The Oily MOB group on Facebook!
*****
As part of this fun blog tour, you can enter to win a Family Physician Kit full of great essential oils to use with your family and in your home! Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly.
The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Celebrate Mom with Origami Owl!

I’m a little late to the Origami Owl game, but it hasn’t taken me long to discover just how wonderful it is! I’ve seen a few bits and pieces of it here and there, but then a high school friend of my sister’s gave me the full experience and that had me sold!

Here is my very own Origami Owl Living Locket…

Origami Owl Pendant

Stephanie is a mommy of two little ones and an independent designer with Origami Owl! She let me pick out a few charms to fill my medium-sized living locket and tell my story – I love how it turned out! The four-leaf clover is for my Irish background, the running shoe is for my new found love for health + fitness, and the changed heart is for my always-work-in-progress growth in faith. It is JUST PERFECT.

Origami Owl has lockets of many metal finishes, chains of varying lengths, and TONS of charms that will perfectly represent you or the loved one for which you buy this as a gift! I’m thinking about adding the birthstones of my boys next!

Origami Owl Free Charm

Stephanie is running a special just for my readers and just in time for Mother’s Day! Just “like” Stephanie’s Facebook page + place an order of $35 or more {before tax + shipping} and get your choice of a free charm through April 30th! Place your order here, then email stephanieaudra at gmail dot com with your order number and your choice of charm {name + item number}! Do NOT add your free charm to your cart when placing your order. Free charms are based on availability and may not arrive in time for Mother’s Day, but Stephanie will do her best to make it happen, so place your order + email her early!

You also have the opportunity to win a $25 Origami Owl gift certificate over on Stephanie’s Origami Owl Facebook page - while you’re over there “liking” her page for the free charm offer, click on the Giveaways tab to enter!

If you’re wondering about getting your order in time for Mother’s Day, check out this shipping guide to help you out:

Origami Owl Mother's Day Shipping

If you haven’t fallen in love with Origami Owl yet, NOW is the time! Don’t forget to take advantage of Stephanie’s free charm offer by April 30th to treat yourself or a special woman in your life this Mother’s Day!

Which charm will you pick as your free one?

 

Thank you to Stephanie for this lovely locket and special deal! I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

April Showers Bring May Flowers 50% Off Sale!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson! 

I love rainy days and the new growth it produces, so I’m loving today’s Fashion Friday sale from Cents of Style!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 4/18/14- Floral Accessories 50% off with Code APRILSHOWERS

All floral and rainy day accessories in their shop are 50% off + free shipping today only with the code APRILSHOWERS at checkout!

Let’s take a peak at some of the CUTE things you can get for 50% off today…

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 4/18/14- Floral Accessories 50% off with Code APRILSHOWERS

The abstract floral scarf pictured above is only $7.95 & FREE SHIPPING. This is down from $19.95 normally!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 4/18/14- Floral Accessories 50% off with Code APRILSHOWERS

These graphic rain boots are just $27.97 SHIPPED! How awesome do they look with the brand new t-shirt line Cents of Style launched last week?!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 4/18/14- Floral Accessories 50% off with Code APRILSHOWERSUse the code APRILSHOWERS today only to get 50% off these rainy day and floral accessories and many more!

Do you love rainy days as much as I do?!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Life-Giver {and a KraftyKash Sale!}

life-giving: imparting, or having the ability to impart, life or vitality

God built into all of us as women the ability to give life. When we talk about this in relation to motherhood, thoughts of pregnancy and childbirth come to mind. But the role of a woman as a life-giver goes far beyond those moments of waiting and labor, and most of the time, the life-giving has nothing to do with the physical act of birth at all. In the Five Aspects of Women, Barbara Mouser says:

“All of us are lifegivers. We have a created capacity in our bodies and in our spirits to give life, to nurture, to heal, to comfort, to encourage, to make things alive. Motherhood is important, but it is not the sum total of lifegiving.”

I wrote about the life-giving aspect of women in a series several years ago and all of that still resonates deeply within me, maybe even more so this year as I am focusing on vitality. Not only do I want more life in my days for myself, I want to spread and speak more life to those around me.

Give life. Speak life. That’s the kind of mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend I want to be.

Let’s celebrate the life-giving ability of all women this Mother’s Day.

Life Givers

This gorgeous new leather dictionary cuff from KraftyKash is serving as my reminder that, when filled up with by the Holy Spirit, I can be a giver of life to those around me, especially my family, by the way I speak, act, serve, and love. I can’t believe she was able to find my word, but I also can because God makes things work just like that, doesn’t He?!

Life Giver Close

I love this cuff because it has meaning, but also because the leather and snaps are tough enough to stand up to life as a boy mom and the accents are very feminine! It is also has two snaps to make it adjustable for any wrist size! But the very best part about the work of Kashoan at KraftyKash is the personalization. You can choose just about any word that has great significance to you or the person you are giving it to and she will find it if it is out there!

This would be the PERFECT unique Mother’s Day present! And with that in mind, the vintage dictionary leather cuff, normally $30, is on sale for just $25 PLUS free shipping in the United States when you use the code homewiththeboys at checkout now through April 23, 2014! Go! Order one or two or ten now!

Who has been the biggest life-giver in your life? What word would you order for that person?

 

Thank you to Kashoan at KraftyKash for this beautiful cuff bracelet to review and the sale to share with you! I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

A Mom’s Guide to Better Sleep

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a hard time falling asleep. I would lay in my corner room with the pink and blue heart wallpaper in our home on the corner of the block and listen to the wind blow through our huge evergreen tree, cars driving by, people out for a night walk. I wasn’t usually scared, but I was a worrier and that manifested itself mostly at night. I can’t even really remember what I worried about back then, but this difficulty falling asleep carried through to adulthood.

Once I became a mother, I found myself exhausted enough that I was falling asleep fairly soon after my head hit the pillow, but now I wasn’t sleeping very soundly. Mothers hear every little noise in the night, don’t we? And although I don’t worry too much before I fall asleep these days, if I’m awakened in the night, I do have a hard time drifting back to dreamland.

I had a startling revelation when I got my FitBit for Christmas. This device is worn on my wrist all the time and tracks my level of activity throughout the day. It also tracks my level of restlessness during the night. I don’t have a newborn or even a nursing baby anymore, but I was shocked by how restless my sleep was and by how often I wake in the night. No wonder I’m so tired during the day!

Armed with this information, I’ve been on a mission to get better sleep at night and I’m sure some of you are searching for similar relief! Here are some of the most important things that have led to a better night’s sleep for me…

Mom's Guide to Better Sleep

1. Stretch before bed

We carry a lot of tension with us throughout the day – lifting and carrying children, scrubbing, picking up, all kinds of work and the stress that comes with it leave us tense as we wind down our day. I’ve found a little stretching or foam rolling before bed helps my body relax and power down. I started using a foam roller after I started running and it feels like a deep tissue massage for my hamstrings, back, calves, and so on. Like a massage, it can hurt to get the muscles worked on, but afterwards, I find everything much looser. The slow movements of stretching and rolling also have the added benefit of being very calming.

2. Wash your face

I do a terrible job of remembering to do this on a regular basis, but when I do wash my face with warm water before bed, it helps wash off the things that have collected during the day and leave me feeling clean and refreshed as I lay down.

3. Read

There is just something about reading that gets me in the right frame of mind for sleep Well, except when I get all wrapped up in a an awesome fiction book I can’t put down and it is part of series and I stay up reading until 1:00 a.m… {I’m looking at you, Lisa T. Bergren} Most of the time, I try to read one chapter of a good, uplifting book before bed and that is just right.

4. Clear your mind

When I couldn’t fall asleep as a girl, I would often start praying about whatever was worrying me and then drift off in the middle of praying. Doing something to clear your mind will help keep you from staying awake with your thoughts. Praying is perfect when worry, fear, or anxiety keep you up. I’m also a brainstormer, so I’m often up with all sorts of dreams, plans, and goals swirling in my mind. I keep a notebook by the side of my bed to make to-do lists with things I’m afraid I will forget or to jot down ideas that pop into my head, such as writing topics. I also keep my Joy Dare journal in my nightstand to jot down a few gifts from the day to end on a high note!

5. Essential oils

If this hadn’t worked for me, I wouldn’t be sharing it with you right now. We’ve started using essential oils in our home and my friend Brooke recommended spreading a little lavender on my pillow before bed to help me sleep more soundly. And it totally did. I saw a noticeable decrease in the amount of restless and awake time on my Fitbit even the first night. And then I tried the Serenity blend from doTERRA and WHOA. I slept the same amount of time I normally sleep that first night I used Serenity but I slept so well and woke up feeling very rested. While I love lavender for all sorts of things, I love the smell and calming effects of Serenity even more. You may need to experiment to see what essential oil is the most calming for you! To find out more about the oils I use and recommend, visit my essential oils page and please feel free to contact me with any questions!

I still get woken up in the night by this child or that child on occasion, but overall my quality of sleep has improved immensely since implementing these few aspects into my nighttime routine. I kick myself when I leave one out and wind up feeling exhausted the next day…or maybe that was because of that great book again…

What helps you sleep better at night?

 

Disclosure: I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA. I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly!
The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Super Fun T-Shirt Launch Sale!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson! 

I went through a phase where I thought printed tees were not my thing, but a whole lot of t-shirts have changed my mine recently, including this awesome new custom t-shirt line from Cents of Style!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 4/11/14- Custom T-Shirt Line- 55% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code LAUNCH

Cents of Style is releasing their custom t-shirt line with a bang, offering designs and sizes for everyone at 55% off + free shipping today only with the code LAUNCH at checkout!

I got to pick out my favorite tee from the line for a sneak preview…

Wild & Free Ostrich

Inspired by Jessi’s posts about living wild and free, I chose the Wild & Free black v-neck tee in a small. It fits perfectly, feels super comfy {60/40 cotton-poly mix}, and I adore the design! And bravo to Big J {our seven-year-old} for capturing me with my new friendly, feathered friend!

Wild & Free Giraffe Side

I know I can wear this tee with so many things – jeans, shorts, maxi skirts, and more! All the the new tees from Cents of Style are super fun + versatile!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 4/11/14- Custom T-Shirt Line- 55% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code LAUNCH

The t-shirt line includes v-necks and baseball style tees in sizes small to extra large! Today only, every shirt will be under $16 shipped with you use the code LAUNCH at checkout! Get yours before they sell out!

Which new custom tee design is your favorite?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Freeset + Micah 6:8

Ten years ago, I couldn’t even tell you where the book of Micah was in the Bible. Today, a verse from that Old Testament book is one of the most important in my life and it is being plastered around my home and in my heart.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. Yes, this is what I want for myself and my family. It’s not a hard verse to remember, but visual reminders are always good to spur us on to action. That’s why I love my newest bag from Freeset, the amazing organization rescuing women from slavery in India and giving them jobs with which they can love and support their families!

Freeset Bag Only

This is the Territory bag from Freeset with the words, “Act Love Walk” in the print. It has become my laptop + travel bag because it holds everything so well!

Freeset Bag Open

My laptop fits in its sleeve in the back section, while I can put a steno notepad and my favorite magazines, plus a few other odds + ends, in the front section! The front flap closes with large velcro strips.

Freest Bag Back
And on the back side is a zippered pocket for anything you might want to keep separate and secure!

Freeset bag Full

We use Freeset bags for EVERYTHING, so I’m glad to have this Territory bag for my own personal use now! It fits all my needs for a computer bag with room to spare, it shares a message close to my heart, AND it supports the beautiful women rescued in India, now working jobs they love!

Freeset has TONS of bags of all shapes, sizes, and uses. Check out their whole line, especially leading up to Mother’s Day! The jute gift bags are so cute!

Do you own a Freeset bag yet? Which style is your favorite?

 

I received this bag to review from Freeset. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

out with the old, in with the new

I’ve struggled with exercise-induced asthma since I was a teenager. Well, I didn’t struggle with it a whole lot unless I was doing something really active, and up until a few years ago that wasn’t much! Seasonal allergies seemed to make it worse as well. This was a major hurdle I needed to face as I took up running and I did so armed with inhalers and determination.

It wasn’t until last year, when meeting with a new doctor, that I learned something about the way my breathing works that could help me avoid these asthmatic symptoms while running. She told me when I was feeling like I couldn’t take a full, deep breath, I needed to try to blow out as much air as possible. I won’t say anything technically or medically right here, but basically the “old” air in my lungs was leaving no room for “new” air. I needed to focus more on the exhale before I tried to get a good inhale.

I was skeptical at first, but, for me, it really does work. I still don’t feel like my breathing is normal, especially while running, but I am much more able to control it when I concentrate on “out with the old, in with the new.”

This is the rhythm I find in life and faith as well. I like to start new things. These new things are usually good things, meant to help me with time management or my prayer life or loving my family better. But in the process, I often hold on to the old, even if just by a thread, because it feels comfortable, familiar, non-threatening.

Out with the Old

Trying to add new to my life while holding on to the old leaves me gasping for air, desperate for a full, refreshing breath. Getting up early to spend more time with the Lord before everyone wakes up doesn’t work so well when I hold on to the comfort of late nights reading or watching TV. Frustration sets in quickly when I make up a new schedule but let the old time-wasting habits hang around.

Our pastor spoke this weekend on the ways the enemy seduces us, gradually drawing us away from God with things we don’t consider sins. We rationalize these things as not harmful even though they distract us from relationship with God. We need to recognize the seduction and repent of our part in it, but the last step was the key and the one that really got me. Replacement. Get the old, self-centered, time-wasting, worldly ways out and fill in that space with the true, real, satisfying pleasures of God.

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. ~Galatians 5:16

It really is not enough for us to just take on the new. Colossians 3 is often quoted for its verses about putting on the virtues of love, compassion, kindness, and so on, but do you know what comes before that? Paul FIRST asks the people of Colossae to put to death the old – all manner of evil, impure things. It is only after the old is gone that the new can be put on.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. ~Colossians 3:5-10 12-15

When it feels heavy to put on the virtues of Christ, it is usually because we haven’t let go of the things of old yet. Layering kindness on top of bitterness or envy just feels fake and stifling. Stuffing down anger with pretend patience won’t feel refreshing in any way.

This week, as we draw closer to the time set aside to remember our Savior’s death for my sins, I’m reexamining my repentance of old and choosing to clean house in my soul. I need to make room for more of Him and that means getting rid of the sins, the time-wasters, the unnecessary. And in it’s place will be the best kind of new – the new things of Him refreshing, restoring, and continuing the good works He has planned for me.

Acts 3 19 20

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Found: An Interview with Micha Boyett {Part 2}

Here is part two of my fascinating interview with Micha Boyett, author of Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer, releasing next week!

Before you read below, check out my thoughts on this fabulous book and part one of our interview, including more about how Micha discovered the Benedictine way.

foundcoverE: You are the mother to TWO boys now. How has your journey of prayer + motherhood continued or changed with a second child in the house?

Micha: Having a second kid magnified the intensity of motherhood for me: More love. More stress. More anxiety. More insecurity.

I have a friend who says she never really felt like a grown up until she had her second baby. I totally get that. Having one child is hard, but you can still feel capable of giving yourself fully to your child. There’s this moment after your second child is born when both are crying and you have to choose which one you will comfort. And you realize this is a metaphor for life from now on!

I have had to learn that I am not enough for my kids. And I’ve had to learn to trust God with my own inabilities as a mom. I cannot hold both my children at the same time. And the older they get, the more I realize that I cannot always rescue them. I have to trust that God’s grace fills in the gaps.

That sort of growing up has reverberated out into my prayer life. More is demanded of me. Therefore, I have to be more protective of the kind of mom I’m going to be for my kids. The changes have really been pretty simple. I go to bed earlier now. I expect less of myself. I allow myself to get the sleep I need. And then I wake up really early so I can pray. Waking up early to pray is much easier when you’re not up all hours of the night trying to be a super hero.

And when I don’t wake up early and I don’t spend time in prayer, I actually believe that God continues to love me, that God is still here with me, that I’m still being remade, even though I didn’t live up to some spiritual ideal. That’s the biggest change that has happened for me. I learned to extend God’s grace to myself and, through that, to my kids.

 

E: Do you include your husband or children in the Benedictine prayers?

Micha: The Benedictine monks and nuns mostly emphasize the Psalms during their daily prayers. (Modern-day monks usually pray through the entire book of Psalms every two weeks.) They also practice a kind of prayer called Lectio Divina, in which you read through scripture in a slower, less intellectual, more heart-driven way. There are a couple of scenes in the book where I pray using Lectio Divina.

I still practice Lectio Divina. I’ve just begun meeting with a group of friends (other moms) once a month for Lectio. And I still use the Psalms in my prayer life, though I don’t have a specific schedule of Psalms like I did in my story.

I love to emphasize the Psalms with my kids, especially my oldest, who really feels things deeply the way I do. I discovered a beautiful children’s book of Psalms—Psalms for Young Children. It emphasizes the whole gamut of emotions in the Psalms in a tender, gentle way that my kids really get. So we read through them when they’re feeling worried or sad.

But more than how I include my husband or my kids in the way I pray, I think the bigger change St. Benedict’s Rule has made in my life will be through my character, my sense of peace. I’m much more at ease with the “ordinariness” of this season of my life. I’m at peace with how I use my time and how God loves me. And I think my boys and my husband experience that on a daily basis. I’m a different mom than I was three years ago, because the Benedictines helped me learn to believe that God’s is finding me, restoring me, here, right now. That has really changed everything.

F176576857

E: In the book, you say, “My life has value because God has touched every mundane moment with the glow of holiness.” How do you remember to find that holiness in the mundane?

Micha: Some days I remember to look for it and some days I don’t. In the book I talk about “paying attention” and I really believe that gratitude is the beginning and ending of that process of noticing God in my ordinary life. On the days when I feel like a failure as a mom, or a friend, or a follower of Jesus, I’m learning to start back in the most basic place: gratitude. Even if I don’t know how to pray, I know how to thank God for my three-year-old’s laugh or for pieces of avocado on my slice of toast. And as soon as begin attributing the good in my life to God, I begin to see the holiness of my life again.

You can find links to buy Found and the other books recommended here. And join us tomorrow for part two of my interview with Micha!

mbheadshot

photo credit: Mark Kuroda Photography

Micha (pronounced “MY-cah”) Boyett is a writer, blogger, and sometimes poet.  A former youth minister, she’s passionate about monasticism and ancient Christian spiritual practices and how they inform the contemporary life of faith. Her first book Found: A Story Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer is available now on Amazon and will be in stores April 1. Boyett and her husband live in San Francisco with their two boys. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and at michaboyett.com

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Found: An Interview with Micha Boyett {Part 1}

I would love to have you join me at Thrive Moms today to read more about the questions I’m asking God and myself about motherhood!

*****

I’ve been devouring books lately because there are SO. MANY. GOOD. ONES. coming out this spring and I’ve had the privilege of reading several advance copies. I honestly can’t get enough reading time and when I do, I just want to read and read and read these gems.

One of the first of this spring delivery of words I read was Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer by Micha Boyett. I didn’t know of Micha before I stumbled upon her book in the faith section of a review site. It was a total God-thing I found her there because her words spoke straight to me heart.

foundcover

Found is a story of purpose and motherhood and chaos and quiet and so much questioning with which I could absolutely relate. What happens to our faith when we’re doing something different than we ever thought was in the plan? How do we approach the feelings of insignificance in our current role? Where do we find the time and space for Him when little ones are always in our hands and at our feet?

This is truly a beautiful book so many will identify with because seldom does life go exactly as we had planned from day one. And the busyness of life threatens are quiet, intimate relationship with our Savior. But Micha offers hope in her journal-like memoir of discovering the time for all things, inspired by the Benedictine way of life and faith.

I had SO many things I wanted to ask Micha after finishing Found and she graciously agreed to an interview. I couldn’t NOT share all the beauty in her answers, so I’m dividing it into two parts. Here is part one…

mbheadshot

photo credit: Mark Kuroda Photography

E: What initially led you to research the ways of Benedict?

Micha: I came into motherhood during a season in my life when I felt pretty frantic about my own spirituality. I was trying to be enough for God, trying to make my life count. And being ordinary seemed the furthest thing from what God would want from me. So I was desperately striving to care for my kid AND do the “big” stuff, the hard spiritual work of ministry.

I was in youth ministry then and felt constantly torn, just like most working moms, between my passion for my work and my students and the demand of my child. And I feared that if I left ministry, I was leaving the thing that made my life valuable.

So much of it came down to a skewed perspective of God. I felt like if I could just figure out how to be more organized, how to be on time, how fit more in to my schedule, then I could finally pray enough, be enough, to feel valuable.

I came to Benedictine spirituality through one quote in Kathleen Norris’ book, The Cloister Walk. In her preface, she mentions that the Benedictines have always believed “there is enough time in each day for work and study and rest and play.” As a mom, I thought maybe I’d found the Holy Grail. Maybe there was a way to have enough time in the day to be everything I needed to be!

The story of my book, though, is the reality that “enough time” is not a five-step plan, some secret sauce that nobody else has figured out. It’s a spiritual condition of believing that there is enough time because God is enough, because God is making me enough.

 

E: What is your favorite prayer of the day in the Benedictine tradition? Favorite psalm to pray?

Micha: I talk about this verse in the book, but it’s become natural for me to pray the psalm that Benedictines pray each morning when they wake up. “Oh Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51:15).

I love praying that before I open my lips. Before I’m barking orders at my kids to get dressed for school. Before I’m nagging my husband to take care of something for the house, I want to order my heart and my lips into one straight line. Will my mouth declare God’s praise? Will my hands? Will the words I write and the way I change that diaper and the grace I offer my Kindergartener when he refuses to focus on his homework?

What will happen when I open my lips today? Who will I belong to? I want to belong to Jesus. I want to belong to the God who rescues me again and again. I want to recognize God finding me, right now, today. Here.

 

E: What books do you recommend on the topic of prayer and Benedict? {This is for me, too – I’m very interested!}

I mention a lot of books in Found. But my favorite Benedictine author is Esther de Waal. Her books Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict and Living With Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality just clicked with me. Also, The Benedictine Handbook has been important. It includes the Rule of St. Benedict and some reflections from monks on his teachings. It also includes a prayer guide, which I like to go back to from time to time. Also, Macrina Wiederkehr (a Benedictine nun) has a beautiful book called Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day, which works more as a devotional tool, taking you through the daily hours of prayer and offering scripture or poems or reflections to meditate on during those specific moments of prayer.

You can find links to buy Found and the other books recommended here. And join us tomorrow for part two of my interview with Micha!

 

Micha (pronounced “MY-cah”) Boyett is a writer, blogger, and sometimes poet.  A former youth minister, she’s passionate about monasticism and ancient Christian spiritual practices and how they inform the contemporary life of faith. Her first book Found: A Story Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer is available now on Amazon and will be in stores April 1. Boyett and her husband live in San Francisco with their two boys. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and at michaboyett.com

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook