Tuesday, November 26, 2013

40 Days of Being Still

I was so encouraged by friends last week on my "40 Days" post. So thank you. You know who you all are.

I'm noticing some really good changes in my every day life from starting the "Being Still" challenge. Every morning I've been letting the kids climb into bed with me and we cuddle for a good half hour- even the baby. Warm, under the covers, and just being together. These moments are so sweet. Lots of kisses and giggles. Inevitably though someone's tummy starts growling and we are headed downstairs for breakfast. But I am less grumpy (I am NOT a morning person) and that's made a world of difference in how I start my day.

Before I let myself get frustrated for the day with spilled cheerios on the floor, fighting over the t.v. channel, or being late for preschool---I've started some really good habits. Instead of pouring the apple juice, the first thing I do is grab my box of matches and light the candle on the stove. And as the match is burning the wick, I am praying that the Lord would help me stay focused on Him throughout the day. I usually pray for patience too because we all know that is not one of my spiritual gifts, ha. I am seeing how much more focused I am in prayer as I am doing something. Reminds me of when I read Brother Lawrence's writings about communing with God in the mundane every day things.

Another change is in my voice. It's amazing how when you shut down technology for most of the day how much quieter it is! We aren't yelling over each other and I'm not getting frustrated and short tempered with kids while trying to get that "really important email" written.

Confession: Sometimes I told my kids I was "working" when I was really checking out posts on Facebook. I know seriously. I really should have been honest and said, "Mommy needs some mindless reading time when you are all getting along and being really quiet."

I have simplified my Bible time and therefore have MORE Bible time. Instead of having a couple of different notebooks, a variety of writing utensils, etc. out to have my quiet time- I literally have two things. My Bible and a pencil.

Ya'll ...or ...You Guys (depending on which side of the family you are on)!!!

How could something so simple have so much more depth? Why do we complicate things that aren't meant to be complicated. Instead of a notebook I have taken to just writing like crazy on the passage that I am reading. This means I am never "missing" that certain notebook and not searching for just the right colored pen. I bought four packs of Ticonderoga pencils and an electric sharpener. This means there are sharpened pencils every where.

Sidenote:  I love a bouquet of sharpened pencils.

So the conclusion of this week is:

simplify+ quiet= depth, calm, and content

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Monday, November 18, 2013

40 Days of Being Still- Week 1 & 2

You know when you commit to something, especially if that something is in the realm of being closer to God -all crazy breaks loose? Yeah, that.


Being still has been a huge struggle these last two weeks. I started out going strong. I lit my candle, prayed my prayers, read my Bible. I felt less stressed, enjoyed the calmness in my home, and even read THREE books. 

And then week two...

And I realized...

That for the first three weeks of this challenge, Hubs would be traveling. 


And as I let the phone creep back into my hand, the computer migrated back down to the living room, and the t.v. came back on...

I felt it all slip away.

And today I was just frustrated. I wanted to be stronger. To not be the one that caved and gave in. But the loneliness and stress of single parenting won. The t.v. was on a lot today. My phone had to be recharged mid-day. And we all know that there was no such thing as a calm and patient mama. 

But tonight I realized something. It's not about me. It's not about how strong I am. It's not about how good a mom I am. And it's not about how in-depth of a quiet time I have. It'

All I'm supposed to be doing is listening. Waiting for that voice, that nudge, that calm presence to guide me through each moment. 

So tomorrow I am starting over. The phone goes back to the docking station. The computer goes back upstairs. And I am going....

 to just listen. 

Don't forget to check out Kendra's updates as well at: Preschoolers and Peace

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Friday, November 1, 2013

40 Days of Being Still

One of the most profound moments of the Allume conference for me was during Sarah Mae's breakout session. At the end of her talk she told us how she was on a "40 Days of Seeking God's Face" challenge. She had basically eliminated technology from her daily routine. She wanted more quiet throughout the day so that she could hear God's voice. Then she challenged us to do the same!

Wow, that's what my heart needed. Since the beginning of my pregnancy  I have had my phone next to me 24-7. And guess what? That's stressful! People expect immediate responses to emails, calls, and texts. My inbox is flooded with useless emails each and every day (I woke up today with 638, really???- I'm a SAHM not an office manager. Why do I need that many emails? Ridiculous!).

Forty days brings us right into the season of Advent. I want to enter Advent with a calm peaceful heart that is focused on Christ and not on the rush of the season. I am going to keep it very simple.

Here's some practical ideas of how to accomplish this. I am going to give you a list of how I am doing this through out the day. Keep in mind that everyone's list would be different. My list is even different from Sarah Mae's!

1. I am leaving my computer in my office and not bringing it down during the day.
2. My cell phone will stay in the kitchen and I will not carry it around with me.
3. I will unsubscribe to the ridiculous amount of emails I am receiving.
4. No online shopping unless I am ordering Christmas gifts.
5. I will not watch GMA in the morning.
6. Eliminate t.v. shows that do not give a wholesome message. Bye Bye RHO...

So what am I doing? This list is even more important! This is where the "being still" suddenly becomes possible. Through out the day I want to actually notice all the gifts that God has given me. Anyone read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts? My new journal is ready to start recording the beautiful things that I am not noticing because I am so distracted.

1. Find my eucharisteao again. 

2. Specific time in the word each day with journal entry.

3. Light a candle in each room. This is my physical reminder that I am in God's presence! I read this many years ago in a book called Beautiful in God's Eyes. 

4. Fill up the time spent with t.v., cell phone, emails, etc with more fun activities with my children. How about we actually play Creationary, Trouble, or Candy Land.

5. During our homeschool time-making Bible time our FIRST priorty. Even when I am stressed out about getting enough done!

***A little story, wonder why this mama craved the words Sarah Mae was saying? Because I was there with my four month old. Who wouldn't nap at all! Who started fussing during the session. And this mama was tired. And when I walked out of the room 20 minutes into the talk, a tall dark haired women came up to me, took Lorelai out of my arms, and said to go back into the session. And I did. Umm, seriously that was a God moment, because what mother in her right mind would hand her new baby over to stranger and walk away for 30 minutes. So when Sarah Mae issued the challenge my tired grumpy heart was more than eager!***

Each Friday I will post about my progress and if you are interested feel free to comment about how you are living out 40 Days of Being Still. Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace and Stef at Educating Laytons are doing this challenge with me. Feel free to read through our posts each week.

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