A Periscope Peek at My Morning!

I have included affiliate and referral 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!

Last Friday, I went live on Periscope in the early morning while my kiddos were still sleeping to give you a little peek at how I handle my morning “quiet” time. Have you tried Periscope yet? It’s pretty fun – live videos from people you choose to follow and that you can interact with during the video! I’ve worked out with one and listened to worship on another. If you’re on Periscope already or going to join now, I’m “homewiththeboys” over there, just like everywhere else!

Here’s what I shared…

If you’re seeing this in your email inbox, click here to see the video!

Resources mentioned in the video:

If you’re new to the whole idea of morning quiet time or need some extra guidance in how to manage that time of day, I highly recommend you check out Hello Mornings! This community started by Kat Lee is the reason is started and stuck with a focused, productive morning routine in the first place. They have great challenges and accountability – so valuable!

Talk to me about your mornings and your Bible study time – how does it look for you? How do you want it to look?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

That Special Thing About My Mom {One of Many}

This post is part of a Mother’s Day partnership with Shari’s Berries. I received free product, but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

This past Mother’s Day weekend, my parents agreed to have the boys at their house while The Hubby and I went to run a race. If you know my mom, this wouldn’t surprise you in the least.

IMG_6481

My mom has always been the woman who welcomes people in, and of course, she gladly welcomes her grandchildren any time. We are so blessed by their willingness to watch the boys and the ways they make the weekend fun for them.

It was in the original Mother’s Day plans for us to come back from our race and to indulge in some beautiful, yummy treats from Shari’s Berries with Mom. They asked me to pick out some wonderful gifts for my mom that we could all share. But on Saturday, Mom came down with a stomach bug and ended up being quarantined in the basement while Dad tried to corral the crazy that is our boys.

By the time, we arrived on Mother’s Day, Mom was feeling a little better and the Shari’s Berries treats had arrived, but you know how it is with the stomach bug – decadent treats (and taking pictures with them) were not a good fit for the day. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been sick like that, the last thing I want is for people to be around. But Mom always makes the best of every situation and we were welcomed in as if she had been healthy all weekend. This is what makes her my wonderful mom. She’s not just a good hostess, but also never makes anyone feel like an inconvenience, even in the most inconvenient circumstances.

Shari's Berries Treat Box

Later in the day on Sunday, we opened up the Shari’s Berries treats – because Mom insisted – and enjoyed the scrumptious gourmet chocolate covered strawberries. Fruit and chocolate are always a good combination, but Shari’s Berries takes it up a notch with delicious toppings and lovely presentation!

Shari's Berries

Mom was able to enjoy a treat from the Mrs. Fields box that was a little less rich – the cinnamon sugar cookies were soft and perfect for a stomach not quite ready for chocolate decadence! There was also toffee fudge in that box that I hope she’s been able to enjoy by now because YUM!

Shari's Berries Both Boxes

I wanted to share pictures with you today that captured the welcoming, loving spirit of my mom on that Mother’s Day, but instead my words will have to do. I’m not sure any words or pictures could accurately capture what makes her the mom I love so much. Just know that there has never been a person who was not welcomed with open arms in her presence and her home, even at the most inopportune times. Like when you’ve had the stomach bug and three crazy boys in your house on Mother’s Day weekend.

I love you, Mom. Thanks for being who you are – an amazing example of unconditional love, making the best of every situation.

What makes your mom so special? How did you celebrate her this weekend?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

It’s a Henkaa Mother’s Day Giveaway!

I was given this dress as part of Henkaa Mother’s Day celebration! I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve had my eyes on a Henkaa dress for quite a while. Maybe obsessing a little bit.

A Henkaa dress is the perfect item for any woman to have in her capsule wardrobe because it can be worn so many ways. And a Henkaa dress is the perfect investment for a mom because it can be worn before, during, and after pregnancy – not many clothes in our closet can do that, right ladies?! I wish I had a Henkaa dress when I was having babies!

My first Henkaa dress, the Iris Midi, arrived last week and I’ve had so much fun styling it! The fun thing about the Iris is that is has SLEEVES! Yes, sleeves, but it can also be styled as a sleeveless or strapless dress, too! Talk about versatile!

Henkaa Iris Midi Dress

The style on the left was for a date night with The Hubby! The fabric of the Iris is so luxurious – perfect for getting fancy and throwing on some heels for a night out! In that style, the halter top was made by tying the sleeves behind the neck.

For the style on the right, I went a little more casual with some of my favorite fair trade accessories from (affiliate link) The Root Collective and Work of Worth! This would be a great look for brunch or a baby shower. I love that the sleeves make this dress a piece I can keep in my closet year-round!

I can’t wait to try the Iris in many more styles! Here are a few of the 15 ways it can be worn:

iris-lineup

 

Henkaa has tons of tutorials and inspiration from real women to help you make the most out of your convertible dress. The tutorials helped me figure out how to wear new styles in not time at all!

Did you know Henkaa also has a versatile bag in their line-up? The monogram multi-way bag is perfect as a diaper bag, daily carry-all or travel companion and can be worn as a handbag, cross-body bag, shoulder bag or backpack! Detachable straps and TONS of compartments on both the inside and outside make this a bag you will take with your every day to carry whatever you need – diapers, books, gym necessities, and more!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Henkaa and I are teaming up to give one Iris convertible dress + one monogram multi-way bag to one of you beautiful ladies! I’M SO EXCITED!!!

Henkaa Mother's Day Giveaway

To enter this marvelous Mother’s Day giveaway, tell me which color Iris dress you would pick and where you would wear it to celebrate Mother’s Day – fancy brunch, moms’ night out with girlfriends, a day of shopping without kids, or something else fun!

This giveaway ends Sunday, May 10th at 8PM CST. One random winner will be chosen and announced Monday, May 11th! Only open to those with a US shipping address. Must be 18 or older to win. One entry per household please.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Mother’s Day Gifts at Sweet Prices!

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!

It’s time to celebrate moms and DaySpring has a sweet deal to celebrate the special ladies in your life! Now through May 3rd, use the code MOTHER35 to get 35% off one gift for mom!

These are a few of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts for my mom (or for me!)…

Lisa Leonard - Gold Bar Mama Necklace

This gold Mama bar necklace from Lisa Leonard is just gorgeous. Regularly $52, get it for Mom during this sale for just $33.80 AND free shipping! Anything from Lisa Leonard is a win!

42986GIFTSET

If Mom loves to journal with her morning coffee, this Beautiful Beyond Words gift set would be the perfect gift! Get the journal, mug, and plaque for just $21.43 during this sale!

SHINE

Tell Mom how much appreciate the light she brings to your life and home with this Shine Letterpress Block Set! These letterpress blocks are one of my favorite things ever in my home and you can’t beat this deal – just $29.25 for this set with the code MOTHER35 + free shipping!

And, the best deal of all, is this fabulous Daily Grace Cake Pedestal, which is on sale for just $12 now through May 4th! Yes, you CAN use the MOTHER35 code on top of this sale, bringing the total to only $7.80!

Remember: DaySpring also offers free shipping on all non-clearance orders of $25 or more! Treat several special women in your life to these lovely gifts this Mother’s Day!

 

Which Mother’s Day gifts would you pick from DaySpring for the special woman in your life – or for yourself?!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

This is the philosophy I live by when cleaning and organizing: it gets worse before it gets better.

When my desk area gets out of control with papers and books and an array of other things that shouldn’t be in a desk area (Legos, food wrappers, running watch…you just never know), I know the only way to tackle the mess is to spread it out all over the dining room in order to be sorted and organized properly. My husband would say it’s easier to keep it organized little by little as I go, but how is that fun?! (Truthfully, I’d really like to be able to operate his way when it comes to organizing. Maybe when I grow up.)

The “worse before better” mentality must be applied when approaching potty-training as well. Trust me – we’re nearing the end of this process as I type this. To be perfectly honest, I might have been okay with #3 staying in diapers a little while longer because diapers are easy. Diapers are convenient. And potty-training is neither easy nor convenient. I knew he had to be potty-trained, but I may have been dragging my feet a little as I thought about the time and energy that must be spent to get a kiddo out of diapers.

I put aside my fears two weeks ago and the potty-training began. It had been almost four years since my last experience, but I was suddenly thrown into the world of asking Double J every 15 minutes if he needed to go to the bathroom. Of running to the bathroom at any “sign.” Of coaxing him to sit on the toilet just a little longer so we wouldn’t be back there again in five minutes because he wasn’t actually done. Lord, have mercy.

Now, two weeks later, boy #3, our last, is now in underwear and I feel triumphant. I really do. But I’m honestly a little tired of all the time we’re spending in the bathroom. I’m reminding myself that this is part of the “worse” before the “better” of him being able to go to the bathroom independently. It’s a process and I know where we’re headed and that’s where I’ll keep my eyes fixed.

Sometimes itgets worsebefore itgets

The cleaning and potty-training have been real life, in-my-face examples of something God has been trying to teach me about my heart lately. I’ve been holding on to some ugly stuff for a while because I just don’t want to deal with it. The ugly stuff is stuff many of you are probably struggling with as well. It feels “easiest” to just push it aside to work through another day. Except “another day” never comes.

This weekend, as I was making my way through another toddler-bathroom ordeal, I realized my spiritual eyes are too focused on the right now, when they should be looking to the “better” God wants for me. I will have to face some hard truths, make some sacrifices, go through a lot of discomfort in the “gets worse” part of the journey, but I have to trust God that it will all be worth it. And I will have to keep declaring to Him, as one of my favorite songs says, “You’ve never failed me and You won’t start now.”

It may seem easier to slap on a smile and stuff my stuff deep down to handle in the future, but I want to rip off the bandaid today to face the worst, work through it with my Savior, and get to the best He has promised me. And I know a clean heart will feel even better than having that clean desk and potty-trained toddler!

Are you facing a “gets worse before it gets better” situation today? How can I pray for you?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

The Hope Every Mom Needs

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’m so excited! It’s like my friends are having a baby today, but instead it’s a book! And this new book is an important one for every mom.

Brooke McGlothlin {my MOB Society cofounder} and Stacey Thacker released Hope for the Weary Mom a few years ago as a self-published ebook, then in paperback. It was a powerful read for myself and for many other mamas. And a publisher took notice.

Today, Hope for the Weary Mom is releasing again, but this time with TONS of new, hope-filled content and coming from Harvest House Publishers! This calls for a happy dance!

Friends, I am the weary mom they wrote this book for {not specifically me, but you know what I mean} and I’m guessing many of you would say the same. It’s ok. Mothering is hard, holy work. Just because you’re weary doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Brooke and Stacey have written a powerful message to help you and I refocus and find the source of true hope in the middle of motherhood.

Hope-Weary-Mom-Official-Cover-300

This isn’t one of those motherhood books that tells what you should and shouldn’t be doing. I can’t read those books. This book is like coffee date with two real moms who go through the same things as you. They have found a perspective and lifeline of hope in Jesus and they’re offering it to you with love.

One of my very favorite lines from the whole book is something I need to memorize and internalize…

“Our kids need moms who will get up, dust themselves off, and cast their nets one more time.”

That speaks right to where I am as a mom. Sometimes, after going several rounds with the kiddos, I just want to throw in the towel. But that is not what hope would do. Hope never gives up, just as Jesus never gives up on me.

“When you cling to the end of our rope, we pray you see him. He is your shelter. He will support you. He is the answer. He is Hope for the Weary Mom. ”

Please, dear mom friends, get this book for yourself today. Let the truth of it sink in to your hearts. Go through it with a small group. You are not alone in being weary, but together, we can find and CHOOSE hope!

*****

For a very limited time, when you purchase your copy of Hope for the Weary Mom anywhere books are sold, you can get three free videos from Stacey and Brooke giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how they personally overcome weariness and choose to live a hope-filled life.

In the videos, they’re allowing you a look into their private lives, sharing specific examples of those weary moments all moms have and how to find hope in the midst of it.

It’s like having two friends walk along-side you as you figure out this motherhood thing…and I couldn’t have picked two better friends for this job!


Declare StaceyBrooke and I dotMOM
I highly recommend these videos, because Brooke and Stacey are full of honest wisdom and lots of grace. They speak from a place of vulnerability and every word has been bathed in prayer.They’re only available during launch week for the Hope for the Weary Mom book, so go grab your copy now, keep your receipt, and then visit this site to claim your free videos. Be sure to tell them I sent you!

Brooke and Stacey, THANK YOU for writing this book and spreading this life-giving, hope-filled message! I love you both dearly and I’m SO proud of you!

Oh, and I’m actually mentioned in the book! When you read the book, let me know when you find it!  A little book hide-and-seek for you!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Prayer + Motherhood

I’ve been on my knees a lot to start this new year. It seems that when one declares a word for the year, that very thing may be the thing you for which you have to fight the hardest.

I believe that also goes for anything to which we are truly dedicated. Our marriage, our children, our ministry. The enemy doesn’t want us focused on these good things. And so the most important things in our lives are also often the most challenging.

JJ puzzle blog

Motherhood is one of those for me – something I’ve always wanted, something I treasure, something I want to do well. And yet it is also more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

As I’ve tried to proceed in 2015 with JOY, I’ve grasped new glimpses where I didn’t see it before, but I’ve also been met with much discouragement in the form of distraction and arguing and disobedience. I often feel beat down by the end of the day.

I’m not saying this is all my children’s fault. I’ve made plenty of negative choices, particularly in my role as mom, that have left me worn, losing my focus on joy. But I haven’t given up. I can’t ever give up because I’m mothering with an eye on eternity.

j homeschool writing blog

Through it all, prayer has been my saving grace. Early morning prayers for wisdom and love. Midday prayers for a peaceful afternoon. Evening prayers asking for forgiveness and new mercies for the next day. Prayers all day long to find the joy in all of it.

Boys Reading BW blog

I don’t tend to write out my prayers, but the focus on the Tommy Nelson blog this month is on prayer and God just spilled these words out of me as I wrote my heart for moms of boys – and for me. I’m not writing + praying as a mom who has figured out this boy-raising thing, but as a mom who desperately wants God to show me what these boys – MY BOYS – need from their mother. I need His wisdom. I need His strength. I need His grace. And so do my boys.

J Knex Seagull blog

I used to think God was calling me to be a mother because I would be good at it. {insert my laughter here} Now I know motherhood is my calling because it is always refining me and keeping me dependent on my God. Motherhood draws me close to Him + prayer is our best form of communication.

Moms – join me in prayer this week, this month, this year? Whether you are a mom of boys, a single parent {or sometimes single}, a woman who longs to be a mom, or any mother – someone is praying the same prayer you are. And there are more motherhood prayers yet to come on Tommy Nelson this month, so stay tuned!

If you have a specific prayer request related to motherhood, share it in the comments or feel free to email it to me. It would be my joy to pray for you today!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

They’re Speaking a Different Language, But I’m Still Listening

The Star Wars obsession in our house has reached full throttle. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Star Wars, especially the original three episodes. Han Solo is my favorite. Who is with me?!

The boys, however, have taken liking Star Wars to a whole new level. They want to watch it all the time. They check out books about it at the library. They play Star Wars games and play with Star Wars Legos and have lightsaber fights with the pool noodle lightsabers I made for Little J’s Star Wars birthday party.

STAR WARS EVERYTHING.

So when we sat down to watch The Empire Strikes Back, I wasn’t just getting Luke + Leia + Han + all the droids. I was getting full commentary on every ship, weapon, planet, and character that came in to view on screen. My brain just about exploded. I know the boys get their ability to talk for hours from me, but OH MY GOSH.

I will fully admit here that I wanted to tune them out for much of the movie. I don’t really care whether Chewbacca is using a Bowcaster gun or the stormtrooper’s BlasTech E-11 blaster during the battle at Cloud City. Are you impressed with my knowledge there?! All from my boys. And I think I can recognize an X-Wing from a Tie Fighter, but I don’t mind if I don’t know all the names of the other ships.

My boys, however, care deeply. They love learning about Star Wars and they love telling me about it. Most of the time, they sound like they are speaking an entirely different language, but I’m still listening.

Listening to Your Kids

I’m still listening when they talk on and on about Star Wars because I want them to know THEY matter to me. Star Wars isn’t my whole world, but these boys are, and I can show them just how important they are to me by just listening. I can look them in the eye and ask questions when I don’t understand. Their handsome faces just light up when I ask them to explain the droids to me or on which planet everyone has now arrived.

I’m still listening because I want them to keep talking to me. I want to listen when they talk to me now about what matters so they know I will keep listening as they get older and the things that matter to them change. It may be Star Wars now, but some day it will be friendships and peer pressure and deep faith questions and even girls…so not ready for that. 

On the nights where I think we’re just settling down for a relaxing family move night and I, instead, get an earful about jedis and padawans, I am committing to listening and letting them know they are heard.

Listening to Your Kids 2

Keep speaking that strange language to me, boys. I’m still listening and I always will.

What do your kids talk to you about that you just don’t “get?” How do you make them feel heard in these situations?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Two Songs: When God Speaks Through the Mundane

He climbed up into his big boy bed – a new, unfamiliar, but also exciting place for him. The sheets had trains and there were no bars holding him in. The freedom was fun, but I could sense his uneasiness as we tucked him for his first night on that wooden captain’s bed. All seemed fine until, just seconds, after we closed the door, the crying began.

“I scared,” he said. These were words I had never heard from his less than two-year-old mouth, but I wasn’t totally surprised. Growing up and trying new things can be scary.

As I tried to calm him, he suddenly asked, “Mommy sing?” This former music teacher’s heart skipped a beat at the sweetness of his request. I always wanted to be the mom who sang her children sweet lullabies before bed. And I did when they were babies, but the older two boys didn’t seem to need or want the signing as part of their bedtime routine. I was thrilled to comply with his desire for a bedtime song from Mommy.

I started with the song that was playing right after he was born, “How He Loves Us” by David Crowder. That became the song he wanted every night. Until Frozen came out. Then, you guessed it, “Let It Go” was requested on repeat. And then came the night where he asked for both songs. Convinced it was a stalling tactic, I sang the chorus of each and called it good.

A chorus of “Let It Go,” the chorus and bridge of “How He Loves Us” – that became our routine every night. After a while, the sweetness of it wore off for me. I began to see singing these two songs as mundane, ordinary, even tedious and annoying.

But after a long day of kid-wrangling and house-cleaning and food/clothing/homeschool battles, I melted into that wooden rocking chair in the corner of his room at 7:30pm as usual. As I started to sing, tears fell and I felt like the Lord was making me hyper-aware of the words I was singing. The words I had sung dozens of times. They were speaking to me in that dark nursery.

Two Songs

The annoying routine suddenly became a sweet message from the Lord…

Let go of the hard stuff from the day. Give it to Me and shut the door on all of it. There are no grudges to be held. No pity parties to be thrown. Just let it go.

And do you know how much I love you? No, do you REALLY know? Even if you lost it with the kids or forgot to change the laundry or burnt dinner…I’m still head-over-heels for you, My child. You don’t have time to keep thinking about all that crummy stuff from the day because I love you and want you to move forward in that love!

I barely made it through my two-chorus standard that night as I choked back sobs. These two songs weren’t picked by my son. They were picked by my Jesus to speak to me just when I need it most – as the day ends and the perceived failures of the day pile heavy on my shoulders. He cared enough to speak through those moments I thought were just a means to getting my son to sleep.

Two songs. Songs I gladly sing now when he asks. Songs I can still barely make it through without the tears flowing because He speaks freshly these reminders into my heart every time.

Let it go and remember how much I love you.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Spiritual Mothers + Messengers

I knew there was a reason I wasn’t able to write about the #SheSharesTruth topic of spiritual mothering yet. It’s because what He had on my heart for it was just perfectly in line with the Five Minute Friday word: messenger. So I’m combining the two…

It’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Messenger

And the #SheSharesTruth topic…

How is spiritual mothering already taking place in your community? Has a godly woman influenced you in your growth in the Gospel, or has mentoring a young believer impacted your life? How would you like to see Titus 2 shape your relationships moving forward?

*****

And go…

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. ~Titus 2:4-5

The call in Titus 2 to us as women is very clear. Older women are to teach the younger women, and not just older as in years, but further along the path, if even just by a little bit.

I have seen so many women floundering with no one leading or encouraging them in the ways of Christian womanhood. And I’ve heard lots of excuses from women why they aren’t being these mentors to younger women: work, too busy, not “good enough,” nobody wants to hear from me. Yes, they do, and knowing and experiencing all this makes me want to be a spiritual mother even more when the time is right.

Spiritual Mothers

We need messengers, ladies. Women who aren’t there just to say, “Cherish this time.” We need honest messengers of hope and Truth, women who have raised families well in the name of the Lord, not perfectly, but with His grace. Women who know the struggles of the daily motherhood grind and looked to the Lord to sustain them.

My heart is burdened to tell the next generation of women and moms that it is all worth it, but it is NOT easy and that is all the more reason we need Jesus. I love all the things Titus mentions – marriage and home and family – but I could not do a single one without the Spirit guiding me and giving me fresh strength when I’m all out.

I’m grateful for the honest spiritual mothers that have brought these messages to me – not sugarcoated with “You can do it!”, but rather messages full of understanding and the reminder to always look to Jesus to guide me and get me through one day at a time.

Wherever you are in your journey, FIND those messengers and BE those messengers, sisters. Spiritual mothering is a holy call.

Stop.

*****

Read the beautiful words of my fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday and She Reads Truth today!

How has spiritual mothering been important to you? If you don’t have a spiritual mother, what would you hope to gain from one?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook