Summer Fun – or Something Like It

Summer is just killing me, y’all. sophia2

This is my second summer being a stay-at-home mom and, let’s be honest, last year doesn’t count. I had a newborn and, if I made it through the day without losing a kid or my mind, I considered it a win.

This year has just been different. Oh, it started out great. The older kids have reached this wonderful age where they can get their own pop tarts and, on occasion, fix my morning cup of coffee. Don’t hate. Your kids will get there, too. It’s really the least they could do considering the amount of bodily fluids and such I have had to clean up during their short lifetimes.

girlsBut, now, we are six weeks in and the bloom is officially off of the rose.

We have reached the point where there is whining, complaining and grumblings of boredom. And don’t even get me started on the kids. Some days, my idea of getting dressed is changing from my pajama pants into my yoga pants. I look at the dirty breakfast dishes and think, if I just brush off the crumbs, I could use those same ones for lunch. Someone tell me that you understand. Please?

So, what is a poor mama to do when it’s crazy hot outside, the natives are restless and you just can’t take one more argument over who gets to play with the one Barbie that still has clothing?

  • Anytime can be bath time. My kids love the bathtub. I do not care what time of day it is, if they are getting on each other’s nerves (or mine!), I let them play in the water.
  • The Kitchen is a playground. Since my oldest was a toddler, we have had a pretend kitchen in the playroom. Sometimes, however, I let them use the real thing. They can bring their babies and use the plastic dishes and serve up some great pretend meals.
  • Ice is nice. This one is complicated, but stick with me. Fill a container with ice. Give it to the kids. Let them sit on the porch or patio. Just beware – you may end up with ice down the back of your shirt.Lost River Cave 3
  • No sock left behind. There is a purpose for all of those socks without matches. They make fabulous hand puppets. Some markers and any other random art supplies and this will occupy the kiddos for some time. My rule? They must give each puppet a name and a personality. This occupies them for quite some time.

Maybe, with just a little bit of creativity, we can make it through the rest of summer. Before you know it, we will be up to our necks in school stuff and counting down the days until summer.

Bible Study Tips for Beginners and Busy Believers

It’s a  whispered plea for energy as a baby cries in the middle of the night.  It’s the weary body in need of an extra dose of grace to make it through the midnight hours. It’s a request to reveal the significance of the seemingly insignificant.  It’s a need to see the purpose behind the apparently menial and never-ending tasks.breakfast dishesIt’s a wounded heart elbow deep in soapy water seeking just a moment of peace in the midst of an otherwise chaotic life.

It’s the desperate prayer for more hours in the day to handle the career, the home, and the family.

For a weary mom, this is often the extent of her time with God.  It has become a muttered request under her breath as she moves from one activity to another.  It is a desire to spend time with Him mixed with the shame of not knowing how to make the time.  If this sounds like you, please know that you are not alone.

Embrace your current season.

I remember well the days when I could spend an hour, maybe two, at my kitchen table with my Bible and journal. I could spend uninterrupted moments lost in a Beth Moore Bible study.

These days, the most time I have sitting in one place is in the bathroom and, let’s be honest, I’m usually not alone. (Is that TMI? So sorry.)

In-depth studies may not work for you right now.  Choose a short devotional that can be read while the kids are eating breakfast.  Or, don’t laugh, keep it in a basket in the bathroom.  Find five minutes.  Then, when you realize you do actually have five minutes, go for ten.  You’ll find, if you make the effort, God will help reveal extra time in your day.  Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is a great devotional option.

Take small bites.

Every January, people all over begin the read-through-the-Bible in a year thing.  There is nothing wrong with this endeavor.  I have done it myself.  (Okay, who am I kidding? I usually tap out somewhere around Numbers.) But, here is a potential problem with it.  Depending on the season you are currently in, you may not have time or energy to read two and a half chapters every day.  And, if you do, you probably won’t get much out of it.  Then, guilt sets in.  The last thing in the world a tired mama needs is guilt.

So, pick a book and read through it slowly.  If you only have time to meditate on one verse – then just read one verse.  Take that one verse with you throughout the day.  You will be surprised at what God will reveal to you.

scripture doodle PinDoodle your thoughts.

I laugh when I look at my old journals. Pages and pages of scriptural analysis and all the details of my latest drama. There is nothing wrong with that. I love reading those thoughts and seeing the truths that got me through different situations.

What if you do not have time for that now? What if you only have time for the scantest of notes before the toddler is finished with her pop tart and demands your attention? Doodle your thoughts. I’m serious. Key phrases, little pictures – you will be amazed at how much fun it is and how meaningful those doodles can be to you.

Learn the power of a Post-It note prayer.

Say it with me, “Post-It notes are our friends.”  How many times have you told someone you would pray for them?  Now, how many times have you actually prayed for that person?  Let’s face it, the best of intentions get all tangled up in meal planning, errand running, church activities and life.

For months, I had a Post-It note on my bathroom mirror with the name of a sweet friend battling ovarian cancer. Every morning, when I brushed my teeth, there was her name reminding me to stop for a moment and pray.  Several times, throughout the day, I would go into the bathroom and there was that note. Right now, there is a Scripture verse that reminds me of the source of my energy. (This verse is a keeper for tired moms. Jeremiah 31:25. Write. it. down!)

Keep a pack of Post-It notes somewhere convenient and use them.  Put them on the window over your sink and pray when you wash the dishes.  Put them on a mirror.  Put them on the monitor of your computer.  You will be surprised how often you find yourself praying. rise and shineThere will come a day when you are back in a position to devote hours to Bible study.  But, for now, do not let guilt convince you that the little you feel capable of right now is not even worth it.

Use short devotions instead of long Bible studies.  Take small, yet meaningful, bites of Scripture instead of large amounts that leave you overwhelmed.   Use the power of the Post-It note prayer.

You will be amazed at how God will meet you where you are right now.

~~~~

You may also find these Tips for Scripture Reading with Little Ones helpful!