Me Time: Everyday Essentials

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After discussing the two extreme’s of “me time”, and what an effective time of solitude needs, I would like to discuss some everyday essentials for taking care of YOU.

It is very common for mom’s to naturally let themselves go as they care for their children. No doubt our hearts are in the right place! However, we need to caution ourselves to think through what we’re really sacrificing. Are we putting forth our best efforts by sacrificing our own, simple needs?

I used to [and sometimes still struggle] with caring for my basic needs without feeling guilty simply because what I was doing focused on me. I needed to learn that it’s not selfish to take care of myself! God wants us to care for ourselves (1 Cor. 6:19). If he doesn’t want us abusing ourselves, would he want us neglecting ourselves?  Some may vary on what they consider “needs”. So let’s begin with the basics.

  1. A regular shower. Let’s face it, when you have kids, a shower tends to become a luxury. Sometimes we can’t squeeze it in when we’d like. I’ve come to find that I feel my best when I’ve showered [go figure]. This is something we need to make time for. I would even go so far as to say to make time for it daily. Some like this commodity every other day, but there are more benefits than cleanliness alone.
  2. Get fully dressedFlylady makes an excellent point to why she highly suggests “getting dressed to shoes“. It is motivating–especially the shoes part. She highly recommends shoes that lace up because they are harder to take off and are snug on your feet. When I am wearing my shoes, I know I am in “work mode”. At the end of the night, when my shoes come off, [typically after the children are in bed], I instantly relax. If you don’t like to wear shoes in the house, buy a pair that are for the house only. Trust me on this. :)
  3. Style your hair and face. When you feel your best, you’ll do your best. Simple as that. You don’t have to wear make up. A simple wash will keep you feeling fresh. Brushing your teeth counts as well. Don’t feel guilty for taking 5-10 minutes to blow dry your hair if that’s how it looks best. Take care of yourself.
  4. Get with God daily. This is the most important need that we have. We need His strength, wisdom, and direction every single day. We cannot get that if we are not connecting with Him, through prayer and His word. We tend to hear this over and over again. There’s a reason. Make it a priority to get with God daily.
  5. Exercise. Yet another dreadful task we never want to take the time for. This one may require a bit more selflessness if you don’t like to exercise [like me...ahem]. A simple walk is sufficient. Something to get your blood moving and energy up a bit. It doesn’t have to be long; 5-15 minutes. If you can’t get out of the house, consider buying a workout DVD. You’d be amazed at what exercise can do for your energy and mentality.
  6. Eat!  I forgot to put in to eat! As a mother, I often forget this very important necessity! Take the time to eat.

These are simple, daily necessities that every mother needs. There is no reason we should feel guilty for doing these things. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can best care for others.

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What do you need to do that you are not doing because of guilt?

A Gentle Answer Now Available on Kindle

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A Gentle Answer is now available for Kindle for just $2.99. You do not need a Kindle device, just the Kindle app.

This is a resource for mothers who need help keeping a gentle tone in the midst of frustrations. It offers insights that we often don’t think about on the fly. I hope that it will encourage you to pause and take a step back before choosing to respond to a child who’s having a difficult day, or react from having a difficult day of your own. It is easy to vent when frustrations are built. This book is meant to help moms study helpful scriptures in order to work from the inside out.

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Me Time: Be Intentional

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Last week I posted on Two “Me Time” Extremes.

The extremes were that some believe they are entitled to “me time” and plenty of it and often would get angry or frustrated when they couldn’t get it. The other extreme is that some are wholly against this “me time” and believe it to be nothing less than selfish.

Me Time: Be Intentional

I wan to dig in more to why I disagree with throwing out me time all together.

I used to believe that any time I did anything for myself, it was selfish. Everything from doing my hair (blow drying), to putting on make-up, to going out to coffee with a girlfriend. It made me feel guilty, as if my time should be invested somewhere else. So I would always throw my hair up, never add “life” (make up) to my overtired face, and turn down invitations to go out of the house. I fell into the trap that doing any of these things made me less than a sacrificial mother.

The result of doing this? I didn’t take care of myself well. I was constantly burned out (and you could tell). I was literally running on empty and had very little to give to my family. I rarely conversed with adults other than the few minutes before and after church, and my husband in the evenings. (Not that conversing with my husband is not fulfilling, because it is. He’s a great conversationalist and listens well)!

I have heard the argument that God will provide us with the time we need to rejuvenate and I totally agree with that. That’s why He created, and made into law, a day of rest, once a week. The Sabbath day was created for us (humanity) as “permission” to take a day off. (Mark 2:27)

The key is to make this time fruitful. We can take a day off and come back feeling the same way (or worse) then when we left if we’re not intentional about how we spend our time.

Identify Our Needs

We go through different seasons, even if it’s on a week to week basis, where we have need of different things. We might need time to talk with a girlfriend over some struggles we’ve dealt with or are dealing with (without family bashing, of course). We might need to go out for genuine FUN to just loosen up our uptight-selves! Perhaps we need extra time with God and just need to get away to pray and seek Him through His word. It may just be that we want to CLEAN while the house is empty. Honestly, even that can be refreshing because you are being productive with no interruptions. Sometimes the need for rest is not always physical. For me, it is often NOT physical. Whatever it is, identify what needs to be filled in order to refresh yourself to better serve.

Plan Accordingly

Based on discovering your need, plan carefully to fill it. If you need to spend more time in the Word and just bask with God, don’t accept an invitation to go out with a girlfriend that week. You will surely come back with an unmet need and not be refreshed for the coming week. That’s when the need for more “me time” comes in. Because our needs were not met. Take care to plan a time when your greatest need will be met that week.

Also, do not plan your time of solitude while the kids are with you and no one else can care for them, if you can help it. This can often end in frustrations because your time is not productive or interrupted. I don’t mean that to sound selfish, but the point is, once a week, you needtime to refresh. If the time was not planned well, it will do little good. And everyone is different–if it refreshes you to have time while the kids are still around, that is totally personal for you.  Maybe your time is productive spending it having FUN with your kids. You know your needs best.

Be Productive

Keep your mind focused on meeting your needs. Don’t get side-tracked into doing something else. If you want to spend time writing [because for me it's a huge release], don’t waste your time social networking or commenting, etc. If you’re a blogger, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Use the time you have the way it was intended so your need is met and your “tank” is filled. (Or stress is released) The point is to stay focused on filling your need. Although this is a time of solitude, it is for your good and the good of your family, and the time needs to be disciplined in order for it to be effective for you.

Finally, after your time of solitude,

Prepare Yourself to Go Home

Don’t allow yourself to remain in the “me time” mentality. Once your time is up, pray, and prepare yourself to serve again. Too often we can remain in a state of solitude in our minds and become distracted from our children or tasks, and/or frustrated with their needs because we are not truly back “home”. So, be sure to prepare yourself to go home and serve again. Be aware that the house will still need cleaning and children tending to when you get home. The whole point of this “me time” is to refresh you to serve again. Resist the temptation [and flesh] to seek more of it before the week comes around again.

A few notes:

  • This time is not the same and should not replace your time with God, in prayer and in His Word, on a daily basis.
  • I believe making this a weekly endeavor is completely acceptable but be sure to talk it over with your husband so you can agree on what will work best for your family.
  • You don’t necessarily need to be out of the house to be productive. However, if you’re anything like me, sometimes getting out is the most productive because you are not in constant view of what needs to be done while you should be focusing on restoration to come back (in body and mind). If you are focused on all that needs to be done when your time is up, you will not be productive in your time.

In part 3, I address some small (but big) day to day refreshers that help you get through each day as it comes. These refreshers help you feel your best in the day to day. They may not address your biggest need, however, they can help prevent your biggest need from getting bigger.

What do you do for mom time?

Me Time : Two Extremes

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Me Time - Two Extremes

As a mother, so much is required of us. Let’s face it, mothering is not easy. Rewarding, yes. Easy? Far from it.

It empties us regularly. Not of fulfillment, but of rest and clear thought.

Many of us have been taught one of two things about me time. You know, the time a mother gets alone?

Two Extreme Beliefs About Me Time

1. We believe that we deserve “me time” based on how hard we’ve worked, how many hours we’ve put in, and the stress our “job” as a mother puts on us. After all, we’ve earned it.

or

2. We are fully against the “me time myth” and believe it’s an extreme act of selfishness for any mother to desire such a thing.

Here’s why both these extremes can be unhealthy.

Entitlement Leads to Bitterness

When we believe we’re entitled to this time for ourselves, it’s easy to see how we can fall into the trap of having rights to get it . I mean, we do work extremely hard and need a break, right? Well, yes, this is true. But we have to be careful how we set our minds on this. When we believe we are entitled to, have earned, or deserve something, we can get very upset when we don’t get it. This can put our family in a foul position. They become the target of our irritability when we don’t get what we want. In fact, sometimes we can actually blame them or become bitter toward them because we feel as if they are the reason for our “need” of me time and possibly the result of not getting it at times.

Additionally, when we do get our me time, what we have chosen to do was not very productive at “filling our tank”, so we begin to need this me time more often. We indulge in our flesh and it is never satisfied. Our need of me time is focused on only ourselves and satisfying its desires {which are never really satisfied}. No matter how much time we got, it wouldn’t be enough.

This becomes a dangerous breeding ground for selfishness. This me time can become such an idol that all we can think about is the next time we’ll get some. It becomes an addiction. Yet it lacks substance so it’s not truly fulfilling.

It is a Myth Moms Need a Break

On the other hand, some completely reject me time and claim the need is a total myth.  Any woman who felt she “needed” this me time was just being selfish and trying to feed her own desires. God put us into this role and we should not try to “escape” it. We are to put our children and husband first and learn to sacrifice. It is absurd to think that mothers need a break.

 

Both these ideas of thinking can be toxic. There may be mothers who can go long bouts of time without needing to step away for a breather. And there may be some who need to step away more often than some would be comfortable with themselves. We all carry different needs and to dismiss or degrade one mom’s need over another is dangerous.

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I caution both of these me time extremes. Neither one is healthy. Either we’re “over eating” or we’re “starving” ourselves.

In order for me time to be healthy, it needs to be productive.

Next Monday I will address being intentional with your me time.

What do you struggle with when it comes to getting time for yourself?

Linked with:

The Modest Mom
Mama Moments
Monday’s Musings
Making Your Home Sing

When You’re Tired of Being Out of Control

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Many of my frustrations lie within my inability to control most situations. From our adoption, to selling our house, to the dog barking incessantly for what she wants until she gets it.

God Controls the Wind

Out of {My} Control

It’s frustrating to me because I’m simply unable to control these situations. I cannot control how my kids will react when I tell them what I’m making for dinner, or when it’s time to pull out lessons, or when I tell them they cannot watch anymore TV. Their reactions are out of my control. I can discipline them and teach them, but ultimately the decision is up to them.

It’s exhausting to constantly hold on to what I think I can control because when I’m unable to control it, I become frustrated. I take it personal. I don’t understand why things can’t go the way I expect them to.

Sounds kind of like a toddler having a temper tantrum, doesn’t it?

The only thing I have in my control is what I choose to believe about where God has me in this season and how I choose to act (or react) as a result. Will I choose to believe that He has my best interest at heart? Even if I don’t get what I want when I want it, so to speak?

My best interest may not be what I think it is.

There are so many circumstances that are just out of my control, yet I continue to hold on and try to navigate things I don’t even have access to. It’s like trying to drive a car from the passenger seat. I don’t even have a steering wheel, but somehow I think my ranting, complaining, whining, and woe-is-me attitude will move the car in the direction I want to go. And quite frankly, it’s exhausting.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am in the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Not Our Burdens

I see a pattern of this behavior when I’ve allowed myself to try to do things on my own. Like I’ve allowed myself to become disconnected from God and believe that I need to do everything and control every situation. But that’s not how God designed us. We have to remain in Him or we cannot do anything. That’s not to say that we’ll be able to control things, quite the contrary. We’ll learn to give up that control and be OK with it.

He never meant for us to carry such a burden and trying to control everything is a burden. Most of what we want to control really isn’t in our power to control anyways. The illusion of control does nothing but drain us of energy and joy.

When the wind picks up or changes direction, God still holds on to us, directing us to fall in with the wind. We can choose to follow His leading, or be crazily blown about trying to gain control of what we cannot control. When God calls us into the air, He’s the one controlling the wind, not us.

Mommy Control

This is no different in motherhood. In fact, I think in some aspects it’s amplified. And because we may have this illusion of control, when things don’t go our way, it can cause some major frustrations, leading to mommy anger that gets vented on our children.

I have been doing a lot of reflection on my own mommy anger and it’s root cause and I have a feeling I’m not alone. I also know that I’m tired of constantly trying to control things I really have no control over. There is a big difference between influence and control. We lose control through anger when we feel like we’ve lost control of people or circumstances.

I will be diving more into this in the coming weeks. Please tell me I’m not alone. It’s not that I am eager to have an epidemic of angry moms, but rather a movement of moms who recognize the root of their anger and want to eliminate it. I think for many of us, it starts with control.

Mothering by Heart

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Do you tend to be attracted to books or posts on how to mother better? I know I do. I’m curious to know if anyone has successfully implemented the strategies laid out in these books. I’m not knocking them, of course (hey, I read them, after all!).

But I’m curious whether these books were birthed from families who were so successful in their particular methods that maybe they were convinced it would work for everyone (or most everyone)? Because let me tell you, I have yet to implement any one method successfully.

Motherhood requires...

Behavior Modification

Many parenting books focus on bad behaviors and how to modify them. They offer step by step instructions and formula’s that must get results, or the parent is doing something wrong. But these books lack a vital component: knowing the heart of your child.

As a result, I’ve learned to focus more on behavior then connecting with the heart of my children.  Maybe mothering is not so much how to as it is to know. It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of focusing on behavior modification. I don’t just want my children’s behavior to be modified. It’s not enough and if it were even possible, we wouldn’t have need for a Savior.

So what is possible?

What does mothering look like when we take our focus off the behavior and shift it to their heart?

Mother-to-Child Relationship

As children of God, He calls us into relationship with Him. In fact, our relationship with God was so important to Him, He made a way for us to remain in relationship by taking care of our sin since we couldn’t do it alone. At all.

Do I now expect my children to perform when I can’t even do it myself? My mothering has been reduced to a list of do’s and don’ts. While there is definitely a place for that, it’s not the starting place.

It starts with being in relationship with my children; building a real connection with them. By understanding their own hearts, their own fears, their own desires, their own convictions and leading them to repentance so they can be restored. Jesus reached out to the unlovely because of love. He chastised people who were so focused on following the rules, they missed God in the flesh! They missed out on being in relationship because they didn’t see their need for a Savior.

Are our children missing out on God because they haven’t learned about their need for His grace?

Our children’s behavior can be unlovely at times–just like ours. But we cannot lecture or punish them into perfection. We must lead them to the cross of Christ. Only Christ can turn hearts toward repentance–to Himself.

And there are some things that God has instructed and asked of us as mothers. We are absolutely called to discipline our children, but how much more will they receive it when their hearts are turned toward ours and towards Christ’s because of that relationship?

Mothering by Heart

Mothering by heart means knowing our children’s hearts and pouring into them as Jesus poured into His disciples and those he encountered who wanted more of Him. Not knowing them from afar, but connecting and interacting with them. Not just filling their heads with knowledge but by living life, playing, creating, and working together.

There is a practical way to walk this out, but it requires that we listen to the rhythm of their hearts. When a child lies, why are they lying? Punishing them for lying may not be enough to purge it out. What is the underlying reason for a child to lie?

Sin will always be a part of us while we’re living this life, but that doesn’t mean we allow it to have it’s way in us, or our children. When we deal with a behavior from a child, it’s typically a maturity issue, not always a sin issue. Children are learning as they grow what is right and what is wrong. They are learning how to express themselves acceptably and respectfully.

Our children require a lot from us at every age and every stage, and when we fail to meet those nurturing needs, they often respond with negative behavior. Sometimes, we are the ones who need the chastisement because we need to set things aside so our children’s need of us can be met.

Motherhood requires a pouring out of self, every single day, consistently. It isn’t just a one time deal in order to change behavior. Bad behavior is often a symptom of something deeper. A need unmet. Misunderstanding or miscommunication, etc.

Mothering by heart requires that we seek out what these deeper issues are so they can be changed.

Do you struggle with merely behavior modification, too? What area do you think you can reach your child’s heart on a deeper level?

Some real, down to earth books on mothering  I recommend:

(These are affiliate links– thank you for your support!)

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

The Mom Walk by Sally Clarkson

The Mission of Motherhood  by Sally Clarkson

The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

Ten Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson

Discipline & Discipleship Webinar by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

The Delight of Motherhood

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Motherhood is hard and requires we recognize our responsibilities and obligations, not only to our children, but to God. Yes, we have responsibilities under God. They are prevalent throughout scripture.

Our delight in motherhood cannot come from other's behavior or...

The Delight of Motherhood

And there is a delight in fulfilling that duty. But our ultimate delight in motherhood comes from our delight in the Lord. If you desire to be a good mother, a delightful mother, you must delight in Him!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

There is much joy in motherhood. And honestly, I am writing this after a rather trying day of being a mother. But I’m learning that where we found our joy is the key to making it an ongoing blessing in our lives. Finding joy in my children’s behavior alone is going to bring me on quite a roller coaster ride…where there will most likely be way more downs than ups.

Our children are going through a growing and maturing process just like we are. They will never be perfect and basing our joy on their outward behavior will only leaves us empty and, well, joyless.

Likewise, basing our joy off our own performance will leave us shortchanged every single time. Joy doesn’t last on the performance of people or the circumstances of our lives. So placing it there simply isn’t wise.

First, Delight in the Lord

Joy is from the Lord, when we have our eyes fixed on Him. Joy is found when we recognize our purpose is from Him and not our own personal endeavors or desires.

Job raises some great questions,

Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times? Job 27:10

Delight in motherhood comes from that deep understanding, embracing, and walking out of the role God has given to us, but only after recognizing our life is in Him. 

I know that my joy can easily be stolen when I depend on it from the wrong places.

I delight in motherhood when I delight in Him, first.
This is part 3 of a 10 part series on Biblical Motherhood

Biblical Motherhood Series

Follow my Biblical Motherhood community board on Pinterest for the best encouraging and empowering articles on biblical motherhood around the web.

Biblical Motherhood on Pinterest

For more 10-Day series’, check out iHomeschool Network!

Autumn-Hopscotch-2013

 

A Mother’s Duty

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The duty of motherhood shapes us to...

A Mother’s Duty

When we think about responsibility and our roles as mothers, there comes with it the reality of duty. Duty is not a dirty word. Duty is recognizing we have an obligation we are expected to uphold, whether we feel like it or not. God has given us the role of mother, to care for , teach, nurture, discipline, and disciple our children.

This is not something to be taken lightly. And believe me, I know it’s not an easy role. But never once were we ever promised an easy life. In fact, I think to expect such a thing is truly far-reaching. It’s impossible, even if we try to control all our situations, eventually hardship will find us. Or we are majorly neglecting areas that need more attention in our life for the sake of ease.

A Simple Life

My husband and I have taken multiple trips with our children to a local historical village that allows you to go in and out of the old houses and shops from the mid-1600s to early 1900s. Some of the exhibits are actually live which means they have people dressed up in clothing from that time and literally cooking meals they would have cooked in the way they would have cooked them.

We always leave the village longing for a simpler life. People back then, they literally worked in order to eat and survive. The women spent all day cooking a meal to feed their family because that’s how long it took! The work was rewarding and family time was valued. Today, rather than working to survive, we work to entertain.

The Value of Work

We want everything to be as easy as possible, to take the load, off so we can chase our own desires. And I promise you, I am just as guilty of this as anyone. Why do I want to work in the kitchen all day preparing meals when I can get it from a box and it takes 20 minutes?

This has proven to be completely unfulfilling in my own life. Why? Because God didn’t create us for a life of ease, and when we take shortcuts we lose something of value in our role.

I understand we live in a fast-paced culture and society. It’s almost inescapable. There are pressures in all directions beckoning us to do one more thing. The busy life is hurried indeed. But the decision to follow that flow is entirely up to us. We do not need to engage in everything society does (or even everything we or our children want) in order to become successful people.

We don’t need to reject all modern conveniences either, but I  believe there is something of value to learn from the days of old. I believe we lose something when we take shortcuts. And I don’t think all the tools and gadgets are all necessarily for our good. Not sin, just not necessarily profitable. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. Proverbs 13:4

I’m not saying we can never do things out of convenience; but less is more.

We Have an Obligation

So, what is the duty of motherhood? It’s to embrace our calling and wholeheartedly walk in it. It’s to recognize that we have an obligation to our children to pour into them. And I can promise you that it won’t be easy and recognizing this fact will help us know that when things are hard, we’re in the right place.

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

Poverty is more than financial. We lose much when we aren’t putting in the work required to nurture our children.

…a child left to himself shames his mother. Proverbs 29:15

This is part 2 of a 10 part series on Biblical Motherhood

Biblical Motherhood Series

Follow my Biblical Motherhood community board on Pinterest for the best encouraging and empowering articles on biblical motherhood around the web.

Biblical Motherhood on Pinterest

For more 10-Day series’, check out iHomeschool Network!

Autumn-Hopscotch-2013

 

How to Sow Into Your Children Individually

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Our children are individuals. If you are a mother to more than one child, it can be easy to lose sight of this fact. As a mother of many, I have been prone to fall into this trap. There are ways we can sow into our children as a group, such as making good meals, having family read alouds and family game nights, taking them out to special places, etc.

4 Ways to Sow Into Your Children as Individuals

But as individuals, they have more specific needs that we need to meet. Here are just four factors to consider when sowing into your individual children.

Sowing just means to plant seed for. We are planting seeds for a robust harvest of many kinds of “fruit”.

Age

This is probably one of the more obvious factors but age has a lot to do with what we sow in and how we do it. Currently I have five children living at home who are all biological. They are 3, 5, 6, 8, and 11. My 3 year old does not require the in depth conversations my 11 year old does. He is happy just to have me sit and watch him play or help him with a puzzle. On the other hand, my 11 year old loves to pour out all her ideas on me and one way for me to sow into her is to listen and encourage her in these ideas.

When we do Bible reading, my younger children will not understand the deeper meanings of the Bible the way my older children will. I sow Bible stories and simple truths into my young children while I encourage conversation and critical thinking with my older children.

Clearly these look different from each other and this are just a couple examples. The more time you spend with your children individually, the more you will see their needs and the best way to sow into them. Conversely, when you see a child misbehaving consistently, this could be a sign they need you (or dad, or both!) to pour into them. These little seeds will bloom beautifully later!

When our two adopted daughters come home, ages 8 and 10, new needs of sowing will be present.

Personality

Some children are talkers and some are listeners. Some are thinkers some are doers. This will be another deciding factor of the best way to sow. My six year old is an affectionate guy and he needs me to sow in hugs, kisses, and cuddles. He needs affirming words and encouragement.

My five year old is active and needs plenty of good ways to be active. Failure to sow into her need to be active leads to lots of unreleased energy channeled in the wrong direction. It could result in more serious problems later in life if I do not sow into her self-discipline and healthy direction.

Passions

Our children will have passions for different things. What can we do to sow into them? Do they enjoy art? Sow into that passion by offering space and supplies to create–but even better than that is sitting and creating alongside them! I think art is a lot more forgiving than music or singing!

My daughters love to dance and my boys like baseball. Those are the extracurricular activities we allow them to do.

My six year old has a passion for music and wants to learn guitar. We are sowing piano lessons for him (first) so that when he is older, God can use his gifts for His glory.

Helping our children live out their passions isn’t enough on their own. Those passions need to be directed down the right avenue. We need to train our children how to be open to God’s calling on their life and seek what He would want them to do with these passions that would glorify Him.

Gender

This factor may not weigh in until our children hit a certain age, but eventually, it will come into play how we sow. And mothers and fathers will sow differently.

I believe this factor requires lots of conversation sowing. Lots of talks about life and roles. What does God expect from each gender and how should they respond? How can our daughters be excellent wives to their future husbands? One of the best ways to sow this seed is to lead by example. Let your daughters see you being an excellent wife to their daddy.

All of these things factor into how we can sow into each individual child.

There are a thousand little ways to sow. Our goal is to make sure we are sowing the right ways into the right children for maximum growth. We also need to make certain we are sowing into fertile soil. One way to prepare the soil is to pray for our children.

What way can you add to this to sow into your children? What individual need do you see standing out in your individual child?

7 Ways to Conquer Your Morning Routine

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Mornings are the time of day when my children thrive. They are most awake and most alert and it’s the best time for lessons and learning and all things the [potentially] disciplined mind requires. The house is wide awake with wonder and that curiosity needs direction.

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As a blogger, my first inkling is to jump on the computer and sip my coffee while browsing the new posts filling my Facebook timeline and my Twitter stream. It doesn’t matter how well laid out my plans are or what the schedule is for my children. If I am not actively involved in directing them, they lose focus easily and nothing gets accomplished.

There are 7 things I aim for to help us stay on schedule, especially in the mornings when we are all at our best.

1. Wake up early.

This is probably the most important foundation for me in getting a great head start on the day. Ironically, I do not consider myself a morning person. However, I recognize that this is the best way for me to get ready for my day in a variety of ways. It allows me adequate time to wake up, spend time with Jesus, drink some coffee, and be prepared when the children wake up.

2. Look over my schedule

Maybe it seems redundant, but if I don’t look over my schedule everyday, I easily forget what I’m supposed to do. Parts of my schedule change seasonally, so it’s not hard to forget what lies ahead for my mornings. Looking over my schedule allows me to make another mental note of what I can expect.

3. Don’t sit down.

This may sound strange, but for me, if I sit down to do something, such as check Facebook, I struggle to get back up. I need to keep moving in order to keep up.

In fact, I need to be dressed in real clothes and shoes in order to be motivated and remain productive.

4. Complete a task before moving to the next one

I really try to complete one task before moving on to the next one. If I leave half a dozen projects undone, I don’t accomplish anything.

If I’m working through homeschool lessons, I cannot stop in the middle to work on a cleaning project. I’ll lose the attention of my children and it’s hard to get it back! I’m not talking about taking a break, but getting distracted.

5. Avoid distractions.

Don’t stop to do research on curriculum while you’re homeschooling or look through photo albums while you’re cleaning. Distractions kill productivity. Stay focused and stay on task.

6. Follow up and inspect my children’s work.

It does no good to set our children off to do their chores or independent lessons if we do not follow up and check on their work. Make a habit of this and we’re sure to create laziness in our children who are unsure of their expectations and lack accountability.

7. Be all there.

Find joy in your schedule, don’t just mechanically get through it. The schedule is a guide in order to help us maximize our time and accomplish the most important things. But if we aren’t all there, in those moments, we miss the point. When our heart is somewhere else, we will not give our children our best.

A combination of these 7 tips can make for a powerful, productive morning.

What tip can you add that helps you get through your morning routine?