Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spiritually Refueling: How to get devotional time when you are the mom of little ones

I have been attending a local Mommy and Me program at a church near our home. My church does not offer a ministry like this so I am visiting a church that offers this ministry. I have really enjoyed getting to meet other moms with children my son's age. I guess you could say I am making friends for my son...

At the last meeting the following question was posed to us: In your daily routine, how do you incorporate the word of God?

The Scripture they presented was Isaiah 55:1-3 " "Ho, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David."

I think this is an important question to ask, one that every Christian should ask themselves periodically. I thought this was as good a time as any to evaluate my spiritual practices. I have been thinking about this question for a few days and while I know I make an effort to get the word of God in everyday, I admit it is hard to do sometimes. I know if I have struggled with finding a way to maintain this spiritual practices that there are other moms out there who are struggling too. Here are some suggestion based on what I do and some that I have found on the Internet.

Reading the Word with your Children

One of the ways I get my daily does of Bible study is through reading Bible stories to my son. At least once in the day I try to read a Bible story with him, we usually do this in the morning when we are getting dressed (he needs a chance to run around in between putting on articles of clothing). We are currently reading The Story for Little Ones: Discover the Bible in Pictures by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. I really enjoy this book because it makes the stories short and sweet and sums up the moral of the story very well. After we read one of the stories I talk to my son about it. He isn't old enough to have a discussion with me yet but it gets me thinking and reminds me of some important stories I have forgotten. Plus it is hard to get frustrated with your son for taking so long to get dressed when you just read a story about how much God loves you...


There are many great children's Bibles out there to choose from and they even have Bible study board books. We also like a series of books that explain the holidays and who the saints were that inspired them. I do not personally pray to saints for intercession but I do think saints offer good examples of Christian role models. They also offer a brief understanding of the roots of popular holidays. 

Product Image Product Image Product Image The Story of Christmas

Listening to the Word on the Radio or Pandora

The radio waves offer many opportunities to get The Word. When my son is in the car we I try to make sure the music and talk coming through are of high moral quality. The song "Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear" comes to mind when we are in the car. I also like to play music when we are at home during play time too. I am fortunate to be married to a music worship leader so we have a great library of Christian music but we also listen to some other channels too: 

  •  KLove: which is an internet radio station
  • Pandora: has many Christian artists and you can create a station using your favorite artist. 
  • 99.5 KKLA: The Intersection of Faith and Reason (where you can hear sermons all day long, including sermons by Steve May and Rick Warren, and listen to discussions of faith matters from Christian leaders)
  • 95.5 The Fish: The Los Angeles areas Christian music station
  • We also listen to a CD by Fisher Price called Sunday School Sing-Along 
Sunday School Sing-Along   -


Many of these channels also offer free apps. and you can stream the music from anywhere. 

Bible Study Right and Proper

While the things listed above are great ways to stay focused on God and get my daily dose of The Word, it does not replace picking up the Bible and spending time with the text it self. I find it incredibly hard to get daily Bible Study. I will admit that I get frustrated with devotional books because I feel guilty when I open them up and realize I missed a day. Then catching up becomes overwhelming. There are a couple of ways I tried to get a daily Bible study in but I have personally not found one that works well for me. I will find my grove one of these days. Below are some websites you can subscribe to or Apps you can download that will send you daily devotionals. 

Books

The lady leading the Bible study at the Mommy and Me program I attended suggested that we find a book over the summer to read. This may or may not be something that works for you. I don't find much time to read for personal fulfillment and when I do it is usually a parenting book (I wrote a blog on the toddler books I have read).  However, I have read a few Christian parenting books that I really liked.






  • Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson. This is just a great book for those of us trying to raise Christian sons. Dr. Dobson is well known for his ministries and his parenting advice. This book is one I know I will come back to as the years pass and my son grows. 


  • The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer is the female companion to The Resolution for Men which is offered by Going Beyond Ministries.  My husband got me a copy when he bought The Resolution for Men. It might make a good Husband and Wife devotional time if you are looking to do something together. I will be honest this book is on my night stand and I try to pick it up to read but it is not always on the top of the stack...I am struggling to get through it but maybe it will be one of those books that I just pick up every now and then a few years from now it is finished... 

Closing Thoughts

While it is really easy for us to be hard on ourselves as mom's we have a lot on our plate. After leaving the Mommy and Me program I had a moment where I felt really over whelmed and a bit guilty that I wasn't taking more of an active role in doing a personal daily devotional. Then I realized that faith isn't about how much you do it is about the effort you are putting in. Jesus told us "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." Matthew 17:20. Jesus knew we would have times when it would be difficult but He also showed us that all thing are possible through Him. There a Christians all over the world who cannot read and who have never read the Bible, yet they believe. Even though I can access The Word, they are no less of a believer than I am.  

After writing this blog I felt better. I know I am trying and I know I am trying to teach my son about Jesus as well. As a teacher I know that the more you teach something the better you know it yourself and for me I think this is true; especially when it comes to getting The Word in on a daily basis. Many things have changed in my life since becoming a mom and it doesn't and shouldn't surprise me that my spiritual practices have changed to. Is spending time with The Word important? Absolutely, and like all the other things I do these days that means my child is right there doing it with me. It may not look like the kind of devotional I did when I didn't have kids, but maybe it shouldn't look the same. When my son is ready to study The Word meditatively then I will be right there to show him how. For now stories and songs are working great. The stories of the Bible are accessible to both of us and I consider that a Win for Jesus! 

If you have suggestions or resources you would like to share, please post them in the comments below! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

For Mama's Who Sew or those who Sew for Little Ones

While I was waiting for my son to arrive I did a lot to sewing. Now that he has arrived I still do a lot of sewing, only now sewing is more of Mama Therapy. It is a great way for me to relax and it seems we always need something for the house... Here are some projects I have been working on lately. I hope you find them helpful too.


Reverse Applique Onesie

A fellow blogger, Sew Beautiful Blog posted a great Free Reverse Applique Onesie Tutorial on her blog. When I got my new sewing machine I decided to try it out. I strongly recommend that you use stabilizer for this project. I did not use the bird pattern she had but used a printed dinosaur fabric I had in my scraps instead. After it washed the edges of the shirt rolled up and it looked very rustic and cute!



Hanging Towels
My toddler thinks it is funny to run away with my kitchen towels. I remembered the towels my grandma used to have and I realized there was a very good reason for them. I went on an Internet hunt and found  some free sewing projects for hanging kitchen towels. They also make great gifts for a Mama when her toddler starts to walk!

  1. Blogger Mary at Pin. Sew. Press has a very cute hanging towel. I did not put these in my kitchen since my son would love to pull the ribbon and untie the bow but I did make some for my guest bathroom. Here is a link to her Tutorial: Stay-Put Kitchen Towel.  

My Easter Egg Version of the Stay-put Kitchen Towel
2.  At About.com Sewing there is a page that has instructions and links to free hanging towels. The How to sew Your Own Hanging Dish Towel page has a PDF link for the top pattern. I used the second pattern and found that I needed to increase the length of my tail to fit my stove handle. Personally, I would have liked to have a picture on the page, however you can see a picture on the one I created below.


My version of the hanging dish towel.
3. At Embroidery Library Inc. they offer many free patterns for cute projects. Many on the projects feature embroidery since they sell embroidery patterns, however, I leave out the embroidery part and my projects are still cute...They have a free downloadable PDF of their No Slip Dish Towel.  They have several cute ideas on this site so it is worth spending some time exploring this page. This is my favorite version of the hanging dish towel. It was also very quick to make. I make two in 45 minutes.

My version of the No Slip Dish Towel

Nap Time Roll Up Mats
Although my son does not yet need a nap time mat for preschool, my nephew is about to turn three and does. So I went on a hunt for free patterns. My nephew is into dinosaurs so I wanted to give him a mat that was personal. Here are two free patterns for Roll Up mats. I am currently in the process of making one by combining the two patterns and adding a few of my own twists to it. I will post pictures and feedback later...after my nephew had received the gift..!

1. At Prudent Baby you can find the DIY Nap Mat/Bed Roll. This pattern had far too much bias tape for me so I continued my search. I really only used this pattern for the pillow insert idea.

2. At Sew 4 Home they have a different version of the same thing but they call it the Cozy Kid's Roll-Up Nap Blanket. I liked that it has a pillow insert and that there is less bias tape.  I liked the directions on this one the best. It was very helpful and well written. I made my mat a little wider. I also did not seal the top of the mat but put Velcro on the top instead so that I could remove the pillow I made for washing. You could also stash a book in top with the pillow too!