Baby Moses Craft

This week our Bible story focus is on the story of baby Moses.
We made a craft to show baby Moses in a basket. I used ovals and emphasized this shape. One oval for the basket. One oval for the baby. And for my littles I just drew the baby but an older child might have fun drawing their own baby. Then we glued straw, dried craft grass and craft moss to create a “basket.” We talked about how Moses’ mommy must have felt tucking her baby into his basket. The kids wanted to make a “soft” basket for their baby. So sweet!



Early Morning Treasures

I’ve had so many early early mornings this week. Mostly because my little girl calls “Mama!” loudly in pain from teeth that won’t cut fast enough, discomfort from a stuffy little nose and sometimes her wakefulness is a mystery I’m just too tired too solve.
I’ve been trying trying trying to see this as an opportunity to spend special time with my daughter instead of an interruption to my sleep, an inconvenience, shortening my quiet time with the Lord, an incident that throws a wrench in my ability to get breakfast on the table.
I thought about this as her tiny cheek was pressed against mine this morning, little wispy toddler hairs tickling my nose while we dozed on the couch. I sleepily drank her in. She won’t be 20 months old forever!
And then I read this in Desperate:
“To me, one of the beautiful graces of a strong woman is the ability to see the true value of her own life and the lives of her children, and to celebrate them every day, as Jesus did. It was Jesus Himself who gave the example of treasuring children; He took time out of His busy day to hold them, to tousle their hair, to bless them.”
-Sally Clarkson
After I put my baby girl back to bed, I thought about what a special gift our still-dark-outside cuddle time was. If she was sleeping I would have missed so many kisses, extra squeeze-y hugs and that sweet little face peering close into mine and breaking out in a sleepy smile. I prayfor Jesus’ eyes to see what treasures my children are!


Broken Things


Last October, my husband broke.

I mean his brain broke. And his body broke. And no one could tell us why. Or what exactly was wrong.

And I stood by, helpless. If you were take my sweet husband out for coffee, he would tell you all about his experience. And how it drew him closer to his Creator. And I promise you, your jaw would drop as he shared with such grace and faith. He’s just like that. But I confess to you that I don’t handle brokenness with dignity. When I patch things together but they just turn out ugly. Cracks showing. Glue and tape slapped on. But barely. When the God of the Universe approaches brokenness, He makes it new. Beautiful. Better than before it was broken. That is what He did for my family.

My husband came home after a normal day at work one day complaining of a low hum in his ears. He confessed kind of sheepishly that he had also had a small panic attack. He’s a laid back guy. A tough guy. Not like him. Said it just came on and he didn’t know why. And that was the beginning. The next day the hum was worse. The panic attacks increase in frequency and intensity. The vertigo begins. So dizzy he can’t walk. Several days of laying on the couch. Too anxious and dizzy to move.

What could be wrong? God, fix Him.

The first doctor’s appointment. Sent home with a bag full of meds that didn’t work. Blurred vision. Can’t go to work. Hyperventilating. Lumps under his armpits. Depression and fear keep him bound to the bed or couch. He excuses himself from the dinner table to sob in the bedroom. Day after day after day after day.

What’s wrong sweetheart? Is it me? I’ve put too much stress on him. Maybe if I was a better wife, he wouldn’t be breaking. God, how can I be better?

Doctor’s appointments. Two and three appointments a week. More pills. No answers. No difference. Pains in his side. Mysterious physical symptoms continue to appear. He speaks very little. When he does it doesn’t make sense. Paranoia sets in. Everyone is trying to get him. It’s time to take the guns out the house. His hands shake. He doesn’t remember things. Days become weeks.

Will this hell ever end? I’m angry. And feeling sorry for myself. I snap at the kids. I want to run away. Should I put together a resume? I’ll surely have to go back to work soon. God, how could you let this happen?

Counseling. Grief counseling. Marriage counseling. It’s PTSD. Or so they say. But I’m not sure. I feel like they don’t know why he’s breaking any more than I do. They say all of the physical symptoms are unrelated. Some get better and some stay the same. But then the freak accidents begin. He throws his back out. He breaks a tooth. Etc., etc., etc. The stack of bills and laundry is staggering. Months without an end in sight.

Every thought in my head is red. I squeeze my lips tight. I can’t breathe. No one understands. Screams threaten to seep out my nostrils, my ears, my eyes. I don’t want to talk to God anymore.

I collapse.

Where are you God?

Quiet. I anger-pray. But weakly. I’m so tired.

What do you want me to do????

Get up earlier. I hear it inside. But it doesn’t make sense. I’m desperate though.

God, I’m going to meet you in the morning. Are you going to show up???

The next morning, I wake at 6 am. I make myself coffee and eggs. They taste amazing! It’s been so long since I’ve had good food. I crack open the beautiful new Bible my husband bought me for Christmas and carefully turn the pages to the book of Job. The study I’m beginning is called “Abounding Hope.”

You showed up! My heart leaps.

I read. I highlight. I make notes in a pretty pink journal. I crawl onto the floor and place everything on the altar. I cry and tell Him everything. He already knows. He gives me peace.

You are the God who sees! I’ve missed you Father!

My husband does not get better. At first. But something in me changes. I turn over my un-fixables to my Father. I go through days making crafts with my children. I bake bread. I run. I snuggle up to a man who no longer resembles the one I married. I rub his furrowed brow and pray over him. We pray together. We look up scripture before we go to bed. And pray some more.

You go before me. You are with me. You are for me.

I didn’t cause this.

I can’t control it.

I can’t cure it.

But I can be a contributor. One who brings grace, love, kindness, joy. Or one who brings a dark cloud.

However, Bringing a life-giving contribution to the day requires some digging in to the Word and planning and consulting with a Savior.

Since then, I’ve made having my quiet time with my Maker a priority. I smear His Word on my body like war-paint. I praise Him. I sing. I listen. I ask for Him to draw me closer. I write out all the ways I can bless my family and others on a purple legal pad. All before anyone in my house is awake.

My husband is getting better!!! Our marriage is stronger. My faith is bigger. My husband’s faith is bigger. We will get through this.

You are the God who fixes broken things! Hallelujah!




What I’m Reading: Desperate

Desperate: Hope For The Mom Who Needs To Breathe
by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

Well, I’m actually not still reading it. I just finished reading it and have a few videos left to watch before I send it off to a friend. It’s the kind of book that, if I was a bazillionaire, I’d buy boxes and boxes of this book to give out to every mommy I came in contact with. It’s that transformative.
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll go chapter by chapter and reflect on what I’ve learned. I think this is my way of hanging on. I’ve already started a new book that’s also really awesome but Desperate is like an old friend I don’t want to part ways with just yet. What better way than to write about it?



Sweet Baby Quiet Time

This made my heart sing.


Sweet Baby Girl love love loves to re-read our children’s devotional after we read it as a family at breakfast. My precious 17 month old climbed up into her stroller (one if her favorite spots to look at books) and intently thumbed through her little devotional for several minutes. Toddler quiet time with God.

Lord, may my children always delight in your Word! Teach me to model for them the joy I have spending time in your presence that they would chase after you too! Amen.



O quiet time! Wee hours filled with scrambled eggs and sausage, too many cups of coffee, prayers, journaling, savoring the Word…oh, how I love my morning quiet time with God!!!

This morning I read Psalm 17: 6-9.


 In verse 7, it refers to God’s “steadfast love.” Now I know what “steadfast” means but sometimes it is powerful to look up a word. Get it’s full meaning. Here’s what I found:
This is the God that parts waters. The God who gives new names. The God who hung the rainbow in the sky. The God who saved me from my childhood. The God who protects me from my adversaries: fear, pride, resentment. They are no match for the Immovable.

Holy Father, keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings from fear, pride and resentment. Cover me with faith, humility and acceptance as I go out from the comfort of my quiet time to serve you in this world. Amen.



Some Mornings…

Some mornings I…

Wake up late

Forget to brush my teeth

Hear kids crying upstairs

Don’t get my quiet time with God

Desperately need His grace

And then I read this with my kids from their devotional:


And I rest in His peace. That’s all I really needed anyway. Hearts.


How I Clean When I’m Overwhelmed: Part 1

How I Clean When I'm Overwhelmed Part 1

I haven’t written much lately. Mostly because I’ve been completely overwhelmed. Swamped by life.

Sick kids.

Sick husband.

Sick me.

Birthday party.

Sick again.

You get the idea. And it’s in times like these that the house gets really, really, REALLY messy which makes everything seem even MORE overwhelming.

“Lord, help me find a place to start,” I pray.

Getting started is the hardest thing to do when you feel helplessly overwhelmed. But serving others is often the best way to get out of the funk and get started.

“How can I be of service to those around me?”

And when I mentally phrase scraping gunk off of plates as service to my kids and husband and anyone who might pop in unannounced, I usually have a heart change. Here’s a few methods I use to get started:

1. Hit the “Big 5”: Do a little bit of each: dishes, laundry, make the bed, vacuum, wipe down bathrooms

2. Room Blessing: Make a list of 5 things I could do to bless a specific room

3. Stress Lists: Identify the top things I could do to relieve some anxiety and do just those things

4. Cleaning Party: Turn on some music for the kids and have a cleaning party

5. Setting a Timer: I set the timer and work as hard as I can for a set amount of time

I’ll be writing more specifically about how these methods work in my life in this series. How do you clean when you get swamped by life?


Putting God in the Middle


I’m a person who needs routine. Craves it. I like being told when I’m going to be eating lunch. When I get off work. When I’m expected back in. When to have such-and-such on so-and-so’s desk. Love it.

But I’m terrible at creating my own schedule. My own routines. I’m getting better. Again, it’s a process. Rena “It’s-a-process” Sites. That’s me.

I think one of the reasons I had such an overwhelming black cloud feeling about staying home was because I had no idea what of we would possibly do all day. My entire life up to that point had been planned for me. And I absolutely didn’t mind. Freedom? No thank you. So, I’ve gradually had to learn…wait for it…Self Discipline. Ugh. And…Organization. Ewww.

I’ve also learned (the ugly cry hard way) to stop trying to create the Perfect Schedule. Oh, yes, the Perfect Schedule. Where every minute of the day is beautifully recorded on color-coded spreadsheets. The Perfect Schedule is totally unattainable because days vary, children grow and change. And really, when I spend all day racing to mark things off an impossible list, I’m not thinking too much about God’s Will for my day.

So here’s what I do differently: I create a Loose Schedule and Chunk Routines.

That probably sounds like a lot of jibberish so let me just give a real example. Here’s our morning loosely:

8:00  Kids wake up; do Morning Routine; Breakfast Routine

9:00 Independent Play Time in room; I do some set chores

10:00 done with Independent Play Time; Mid-morning Routine

11:00 Snack; Play Outside

Here’s the important part: Within this flexible schedule I’ve got some routines built in. And within those routines, I intentionally put interaction with God right smack in the middle of whatever we are doing. And I post the routine where everyone can see it. I do it more for myself. I desperately need a posted reminder that it’s time to praise, pray to or learn about my Creator. An added benefit is that I get to do all of that with my kids in an organized, predictable manner. We are developing the habit of spending time with God.

Here’s an example:

The thirty minutes between the time the kids woke up and came downstairs to breakfast was often the worst part of my day. Chaotic. Upset. Little demands. Fights about going to the potty. Fights about getting out of jammies and into real clothes. What a grumpy way to start the day. So this was the first time chunk to get an overhaul.

What it looks like now:

1. Wake up.

2. Go potty.

3. Get dressed.

4. Brush your teeth.

5. Listen to praise music and play.

There it is in black and white. Posted on the kids’ bedroom door. We read it nearly every morning. And there are rarely any more fights about potties and jammies because all the expectations of what we will be doing before we go down has already been laid out. Easy.

And the best part  is praising the Lord together. Carson soaks in the music while quietly playing trains. Livie sways with her sippy cup. And I sing. And sing. And sing. What a beautiful way to start the day.


Meeting with the Boss


Here’s what my morning routine has traditionally looked like:

1) Wake up to a tiny toddler voice describing my role in his bodily functions:

“Mommy!!! I need to go pee pee! Mommy!!! I need you to heeeeelp!!!” or “Mommy, my nose is wet!!! I need a tissue!”

2) Race up the stairs with one house shoe on to help said toddler on the potty or nose wiping.

3) Slump wearily onto the couch.

Hungry. Haven’t gone to the bathroom myself yet. Already exhausted before the begins.

4) Inside head scream, “Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!”

No checking in with the Big Boss.

No lovingly turning the pages of my Bible to discover how He expects me to conduct my business.

No finding refreshment in my Savior.

God, save me from this day.

No wonder nothing gets done. No wonder I’m stuffed to the brim with resentments. Feel lost. Can’t function. Snippy with the kids. No wonder I don’t know what the heck we’re doing for the next 12 hours. What did I expect?

And then I came across this wonderful blog: Inspired to Action. And read her e-book “Maximize Your Mornings” which you can get here. Total life-changer. Such a blessing. I love her practical tips.  Plus it’s easy to read and she’s funny.

Here’s what my morning routine looks after reading this e-book:

1) Get up a few hours before the kids and start the day in prayer while eating a HOT breakfast.

Yes, and HOT coffee. I had forgotten food could even be eaten hot. Did I mention it was hot?

2) Spend some time in the Word and pray over my day.

3) Write down my plan for the day.

4) Exercise.

I recently started getting up even a teensy bit earlier to…

5) Make breakfast for the kids and have it ready and on the table.

I’d really, really to add in…

6) Get a chore or two done before any one else gets up.

But it’s a process. Progress not perfection.

I can tell you when I wake up to spending some QT with my Maker, I feel ready to conquer the day. My heart is prepared for service. I’m energized. (That might be the coffee talking.) And I’m genuinely excited to hear my sweet babies’ voices on the monitor.

When I meet with Boss before I do anything else, Little Mommy Syndrome fades away…

I’m ready for work.