How To Read the Bible Every Day As A Busy Mom (without getting up at 4 am)

how to read the Bible every day

Busy moms want to know how to read the Bible every day, without getting up at 4 am or locking the kids out of the bathroom! Here are 4 tried-and-true ways.  I hunched over the stove, tears dripping down my nose.  “Why God?” Another wail came from upstairs. It was my baby, who hadn’t slept more than 45 minutes at a time since he came home from the hospital, weeks ago.  I was exhausted, but I hoped against all hope that this time he would sleep for a bit, and that I would get to sit down with God for a while.  But no. My eldest was snoozing soundly in his bed, but this baby needed constant movement to sleep, and my power levels were flashing red.  “Why won’t you make him sleep so I can spend some time with you? Isn’t that a good thing?”  In the midst of … Read More

Encouragement and Tools for the COVID-19 quarantine

help for the pandemic

Hey friend, I know you’ve been flooded with COVID-19 emails, blog posts, and memes this year. I’m not here to spread any alarm (or toilet paper), but rather, some hope! First, I have a short devotional. Then, some resources to help if you’re suddenly at home with your kids for a couple weeks. In This World You Will Have Trouble… Bad things happen. Death and disease and disaster have touched us all. And yet, in the midst of all this, I’m reminded of this conversation Jesus had with his disciples: (very paraphrased from John 16) Jesus: Things will be bad. Yes, I just told you more than you can bear. But the Spirit will help you. Soon I will leave. Disciples: Wait, what?! Did he just say he will leave? Hey Jesus, we don’t get it. Jesus: Yes, I’m leaving. I’m going back to the Father. Disciples: oooooooh. Now we get it. (raising eyebrows at … Read More

Yes Mama, you can be a spiritual leader in your home

Moms can be spiritual leaders too!

If you grew up in the evangelical, North American church, we were probably filled with the same teaching about a wife’s place in the home: second place. Our husbands were told to make every final decision, and to be responsible for the spiritual lives of their whole family. If they DIDN’T do that, their masculinity was questioned. Our job as wives was to be meek helpers. If we DIDN’T do that, our femininity was questioned. Can I say something without you totally freaking out? I don’t believe that anymore. And while that thinking was fully embraced in the past because it was culturally enforced, our Western world is changing, and roles are less defined now. If we try too hard to hold onto an old model, we create a new problem: I think that as moms, we have too often let our families slide far away from God because we … Read More

Your Ultimate Guide To Celebrating Lent…No Matter What Christian Tradition You’re From

Lent for all Christians

I first heard of Lent waaaay back when I was about 20. That first year, I decided I wanted to try celebrating Lent by giving up something: sugar. That was SO hard. And to be honest, I didn’t really understand why I was doing it.  Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about celebrating Lent. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here are a few myths and truths: Myth #1: Celebrating Lent is only for Catholics. Truth: Lent is observed by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians alike. Lent is an ancient practice that began long before Christians used such labels to define ourselves. Myth #2: Lent is 40 days long.  Truth: It’s actually 46 days! Those extra 6 days are Sundays, when tradition says that you can break your fast. Myth #3: Lent is about fasting. Truth: Well, that one was partly true, but Lent isn’t just about giving up something.  There are 3 traditional Lenten … Read More

How To Change An Old Habit (Like a Tired Bedtime Routine!)

change a bad bedtime routine

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward.  Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.  In the previous lesson I taught the brain science behind creating a brand new habit. So now let’s talk about how to change a habit.  THE BEDTIME HABIT For example, let’s talk about bedtime. What is your family’s bedtime routine? Some people have awesome bedtime routines, but for a lot of families, bedtime is frustrating. Everyone’s tired and cranky, and kids know how to push mom and dad’s buttons. Parents want to just chuck their kids and shut the door but kids want to get 18 … Read More

Why I’m not going trick-or-treating this Halloween

halloween pumpkins

The black and yellow wings tugged at my shoulders and the tights scratched my legs. Little bits of sugar clung to my chin as I peered behind my grandma passing out candy to the neighbor kids. We were passing out candy and in my preschool mind, Costumes + Candy = Best.Day.Ever. But except for the one time I helped my grandparents pass out candy, my family didn’t really *do* Halloween. Most years we avoided the issue altogether by hiding in the basement, and other years we had a fun family night at the indoor amusement park. One year we attended a “harvest festival” put on by a local church and I discovered that Pentecostals are a lot of fun. True story. As a teenager my friends weren’t terribly interested in trick-or-treating (although we were known to go Christmas carolling in mid-summer…) and as a young adult I helped out with my … Read More

The Introverted Mom’s Summer Survival Guide

introverted mom surviving the summer (barely)

I’m an introverted mom. There, I said it. Maybe you can identify? For us introverts (and probably even a lot of extroverts) sometimes those long days of summer where all the kids are home can seem more like an eternity. The kids chatter in our ears all day, demanding popsicles, books, activities, attention, popsicles, stories, food, drinks, bandaids, popsicles, and peacemaking. Did I mention the popsicles? All that noise truly wears on a introverted mom, and it can feel like all we want to do is: a) hide in the bathroom orb) sign the kids up for summer school. But let’s face it: our kids want our attention in the summer, and that’s a good thing! Instead of just booting them outside every chance we get, let me tell you how I set up my home for a successful summer. On a related note, check out this highly recommended new release … Read More

How Protestant Prayer Beads Are Saving My Prayer Life

Make your own prayer beads

I didn’t realize until recently that Protestant prayer beads actually exist, but now they’re helping me grow my prayer life for the first time in a long time. The stresses of the day paraded through my brain. I could see each and every unmade decision, each possibility, each worry taking shape behind my closed eyelids. My body wanted sleep but my brain wouldn’t let me go there.  “God please…” I thought, then the worries reached their bony fingers back into my brain and snatched away the prayer.  I reached over to my end table, hand patting around in the dark. There they were. My fingers closed around the cool string of beads and I clutched them to my chest.  They were new to me, these prayer beads. For my whole life I had believed that using a tool to help me pray was an unholy cheat. Something used only by … Read More

Engaging God With All 5 Senses (Plus One Bonus Sense!)

How to connect with God using your senses

Engaging God with all 5 senses can truly help our faith grow. Historically the evangelical church has shied away from using senses (aside from auditory), but perhaps there is something to be learned from more ancient traditions. It comes every year: cinnamon-scented air, delicious desserts eaten without regrets, knitted sweaters snuggling our upper bodies in warmth, bright lights twinkling from eavestroughs, familiar songs being played in every building. What did those sensory images just evoke in you? Joy? Warmth? Excitement? I think the reason we love Christmas so much has something to do with the sensory experiences we enjoy every year, and that those sensory experiences have become traditions. Worship through the senses For the ancient Jews, the sense of smell was a key part of tradition of worship. The familiar scents evoked thoughts of God’s holiness, love and redemption. In fact, there was a very special incense blend that … Read More

How To Love God With All Your Mind

How to love God with all your mind by studying the Bible

Learning how to love God with all your mind can be a powerful tool toward connecting with God!   Hunched over my Bible, I sat on the floor in the hallway of the physics building during my first year of university. It may not have been the most effective place for quiet time with God, but it was sunny and, since class was in session, only the occasional student walked past. I was struggling with the purpose of the first covenant that God made with the Israelites: why did he even bother with it, seeing as they abandoned him on a bi-weekly basis and he had the whole plan with Jesus in the works anyway…?? I don’t even remember what verses I was reading at the time, but a heartbeat later I was shocked into an understanding of God’s purposes that I hadn’t had before, and it was thrilling. I … Read More