Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Three Days of Birthday Celebrations! October 11, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:40 pm

October is always a month full of birthday celebrations. I absolutely love it! Birthdays are a big deal to me. I want to make them as special as possible. Homeschooling has some big perks when it comes to birthdays. Instead of sending a treat to school with the birthday kid and seeing them at the end of the day, we can change our homeschool routine and have a family adventure. Homeschooling allows you to include life experiences as a part of your curriculum – so birthday adventures count as field trips. It’s a win-win!

Our birthday celebrations kicked off on Thursday when we had dinner with my family. The boys picked their favorite meal of Papa Murphy’s pizza. Owen picked brownies for dessert and Graham picked cinnamon rolls. Jeremy and I talked the boys into a Mickey Mouse themed birthday this year. Six and eight might be a bit old for Mickey, but 1) they still watch Mickey Mouse and 2) we used the theme to announce our trip to Disneyland next month. Since my parents are joining us on our Disney adventure, we thought this family dinner would be a perfect time to share our big news. Jeremy programed Alexa to tell the boys that we are going to Disneyland. The kids sat silent after Alexa told them they were going to fly on an airplane to meet Mickey Mouse. They weren’t sure what to make of it. After reassurance that this was in fact true and a few YouTube videos to show just how awesome Disneyland is, we had some very excited kids (and adults, too)!

Friday was Owen’s 8th birthday! Within the realm of reason, we allow the boys to pick their birthday adventures. Owen asked to visit the Space Needle. He also really wanted to see Sounder and Amtrak trains in Seattle. Jeremy and I haven’t been to the Space Needle since we were dating and it’s changed a lot since then! In the gift shop, the kids enjoyed the display of a giant Space Needle made from LEGOs, complete with figures looking out of the observation deck. The elevator ride was also a huge hit. The highlight of the outing was the lower deck which features a revolving glass floor. The kids thought it was so neat to look down below and watch the world slowly moving. Owen selected Chipotle for lunch and chocolate cake for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a very fun adventure! And yes, we did see the much anticipated Sounder and Amtrak trains as well. I know you were wondering!

Jeremy informed me that Owen is halfway to getting his driver’s license and I just can’t even process that! Owen is still obsessed with trains – a love that started young and has only deepened with time. His favorite subject in school is science with social studies coming in second. He feels a great sense of love and responsibility for his chickens, especially the three youngest (who he views as his babies). Owen is super creative and loves to build with LEGOS, Hot Wheels tracks, and train tracks of kind. He is usually up for any adventure, but is also content to be at home. As much I wish I could rush through bedtime, he is my kid who always asks to snuggle. It’s been such a joy to watch him grow into the cool kid he is today and I am excited to see where the future takes him!

Saturday was a birthday bash with Jeremy’s family. Our kids absolutely love cousin time so this celebration was a big deal to them. They were jazzed for playtime with their favorite people. The party was fairly standard – a piñata, snacks, gifts, and dessert. I might be a baker but I know my capacity during a busy week. Instead of homemade goodies, I attempted to elevate Costco muffins into “Mickey Muffins.” The boys adore Costco muffins and the leftovers would act as breakfast for the following week. It was an unusual dessert choice, but it worked. (Remember, we had cinnamon rolls on Thursday night. We love breakfast food!) One of the highlights of Saturday’s celebration was the kids getting flashlights out after dark and running around the house to surprise and chase each other. It wasn’t quite an organized game of flashlight tag, but I’m sure it’s the beginning of games like that in our future. The boys had a blast!

We still have a few more birthdays to celebrate this month, but we’re only responsible for one more celebration. Graham’s 6th birthday is a week away! We are excited for another day to break away from routine and have a family adventure of Graham’s choosing. Until then you’ll find me recovering from all the fun and munching on muffins.

A cavity-free trip the dentist on Wednesday. Owen lost a tooth last Monday and has another wiggly one almost ready to go!
Getting ready to celebrate on Thursday night!
Mickey LEGO sets were a huge hit!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Happy 8th Birthday, Owen!!!
Not the classiest birthday dessert, but I think these Mickey Muffins are still pretty cute!
6 & 8 are pretty great!!!
The countdown is on!
Wrapping up the weekend with a quick visit to a local train show! Owen is currently saving and planning for model trains.
 

The Best Month of Fall October 3, 2021

It’s the best month of fall! Or really the best month of all! October is my favorite!!! I’m ready to embrace all the autumn traditions, eat all the yummy treats, revel in all the beautiful colors, and celebrate all the birthdays! (So. Many. Birthdays.) October is simply the best and it’s finally here. Some people countdown to Christmas. I countdown to October. For some this is spooky season, but we don’t really do spooky in this household. As Graham said this week “it’s pumpkin season!” That feels more accurate. Bring on all things orange!

We got a jump start on the October birthdays by celebrating with a friend who also has an October birthday on September 30th. It technically wasn’t October yet, but all three boys were less than a month away from their birthdays, so it was acceptable. It was funny because all the kids got books (shows you what type of moms these boys have). My guys got slime as a part of their gift. Let’s just say that slime isn’t a staple in our household… My boys are years behind the slime trend until now. Those containers of slime are seriously the best birthday present they ever received. Okay, not really, but they are big fans. Now that the first birthday gifts have been exchanged, the boys are anxiously counting down to their actual birthdays and family celebrations.

Our first autumn tradition of October was a visit to the corn maze. I like to visit the corn maze early in the season so it’s less busy. I’m thankful my hubby and boys (mostly Owen) love to read maps. Without them guiding me, I would wonder aimless until I stumbled on the exit by accident. The corn maze with my boys takes less than an hour and that is going through two separate mazes. I almost feel like we should do a timed challenge because it feels like a race. Left up to me, it would be a full day endeavor. So glad God made my guys with decent directional skills. They certainly make up for my lack!

Other autumn adventures for me include reading Jane Eyre for the first time. It’s been referenced enough recently that I decided I should read it for myself. Thanks to watching random movie clips over the years, I know the basic plot of the novel. If I didn’t know what was coming I would be rightly spooked from time to time. Even though I don’t do spooky, this book has those October vibes all over it.

I met up with my forever friend, Maggie, for lunch yesterday. Hashing out life with this dear friend is one of my favorite things to do! She is an amazing woman and I am so thankful we get to walk alongside each other through all the ups and downs of life. I had a fantastic mini pizza and mini piezookie at BJ’s Brewhouse. My soul and my tummy left our time together very happy!

It’s been a drizzly sort of day here despite the fact that my weather app says it’s not raining. Sundays are a favorite with me recently. We usually don’t have plans and I’m back to watching online church so it’s a good, settled in at home kind of day. I’ve done some tidying to reset for the week. I watched church while baking my October sugar cookies. Very cozy and yet productive vibes. After a couple days of back-to-back activity, it’s nice to have no where to go and really nothing pressing to do. Rest days at home are the best! And with that being said, I’m going to hunker down to do some journaling and reading. Not a bad way to spend a day!

A rare and wonderful sight! Trying my best to raise readers! This week Owen had a new book arrive and he was jazzed. Graham followed suit with his school reader.
I also made chocolate chip cookies for our birthday play date this week. A classic for company!
Love our family outings on Fridays! So much fun!
If I didn’t know the paths met up this would stress me out.
Meeting Jane
Love my time with Maggie May!
These are a few of my favorite things!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – September 2021 September 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:55 pm
After a lot of fiction the last few months, I added some non-fiction back into my reading diet. I adore fiction, but it was nice to have a change and process some interesting topics.

Fiction

  • Finale by Stephanie Garber – This was the conclusion to the Caraval series. I loved the first book and had reservations about the second book, so I was curious if I would like the third book. The answer is yes! I did like it. I enjoyed seeing the story from the perspective of both sisters. As a finale to the series, I was surprised with the ending.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud – This book was Courty’s fiction pick this month. It’s a story of a girl kidnapped from her family to be a body double for a mean princess. While it sounded appealing, I will admit that this book fell a little flat for me. I didn’t love it or hate it. I just learned that it’s the first book of two which makes sense since the ending left a lot of questions unanswered. I now have book two on hold at the library. Maybe book two will improve my opinion.
  • Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – My monthly dose of LMM. I love visiting Prince Edward Island. These two novels are about Anne’s children. Rilla of Ingleside is a favorite of mine, but the WWI plotline always makes me cry.
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – This novel takes a look at the value of life and getting a chance to see if the grass is greener on the other side. The main character tries out different versions of her life based the many directions her life could have gone. It was interesting and a good reminder that we are here in this life for a reason. Our lives matter in ways we don’t realize or understand.
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay – A lovely novel about a girl coming out of the foster system who is given a grant to go to grad school. She must write letters to the founder of the foundation that offered her the grant while she’s in school. I loved that the main character was a book nerd who lived through classic characters and then learns to live and love in the real world again.
  • A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter – This book is about a girl who sells moths so she can give herself a better education and future. It’s set in the swamps of Indiana and the sequel to the novel Freckles (which I enjoyed immensely). While I’m not very interested in swamps and moths, the story is wonderful.
  • Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong – This new release felt like a classic rom-com when I read the description. The main character uses a list from the 1950’s to find dates while her brother’s roommate films the escapades for a YouTube show. Super cute and very funny!
  • Resort to Love Series by Angela Ruth Strong – Love Finds You in Sun Valley, ID, Finding Love in Big Sky, MT, Finding Love in Park City, UT, Finding Love in Eureka, CA, Finding Love in Seaside, OR – I’ve owned the first book in this series for years, but never knew it was a series until this month! The series follows five brothers each taking their turn to find love. It was a fun to reconnect with characters I met years ago and see how the whole family story came together.

Non-Fiction

  • Don’t Over Think It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel – This was Courty’s non-fiction pick this month. I’ve never read Anne Bogel before and as you can see from my next two books listed, I binge read all her works this month. Over thinking is something I struggle with and this book was both practical and encouraging. This was one of the better books I’ve read on the subject.
  • Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel – I love talking personality! I’m a huge fan of the Myers-Briggs assessment and the Enneagram. One of the funny moments from this book is that Bogel thinks my ISTJ personality is similar to Marilla Cuthburt in the Anne books. The older I get, I will admit that I understand and relate to Marilla more. The connection made me chuckle.
  • I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel – This small book made my soul smile. A whole book dedicated to the love of books and reading made me feel understood. As an avid reader who often feels like I’m alone (or weird) in my intense love of reading, this book felt like finding a kindred spirit.
  • Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez – I’ll be honest, this book was heavy and very political. As someone who avoids politics, I knew it would be a difficult read, but I’d heard enough about the book that I wanted to read it for myself. This book left me with lots to process. It reminded me to seek Jesus above culture. Hard topics can lead to beneficial processing and this book provided that for me.
  • People to be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue by Preston Sprinkle – This was a staff read by our church this month. The topic gripped my heart, especially as a parent. I know it’s important to process this topic so I will be prepared for conversations with my kids and others in the future. I appreciated Sprinkle breaking down both affirming and non-affirming perspectives. He did a great job of sharing his study of what the Bible says and how to love a community of people who have been deeply hurt by the church. This is a resources I will return to in the future. I am grateful for the personal wrestling I had to do while reading this book. It was a worthwhile and impactful read.
  • Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst – A friend lent me this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect based off the title, but I knew I’ve enjoyed TerKeurst’s books in the past. The book spoke to controlling our emotions and the meltdown spiral that can happen – especially when rubbed the wrong way by those closest to us. I gleaned wisdom and good reminders from this book.
 

Visiting a Wildlife Refuge September 27, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:30 pm

The highlight of our week was visiting the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (what a long title). We had Jeremy back after two weeks of hunting. It was a lovely day for a family outing. The autumn sunshine was beautiful. We visited the wildlife refuge last November. It was a cold and wet experience. We turned around without finishing because attitudes were failing… at least, Graham’s was. Owen was super disappointed we didn’t make it to the end so a future trip was promised. This Friday was that promised trip and we did make it to the end! The warmer weather certainly made a difference. Our boys loved walking out over the water of the Puget Sound and watching the tide go out. We saw many birds, wooly worms, and even harbor seals. I haven’t always appreciated outdoorsy activities, but I’m growing in my fondness for nature. I also have a thing for boardwalks. I think they are super neat. So a long walk on a boardwalk with my family in the autumn sunshine was awesome.

We’ve wrapped up our fourth week of school. Each week brings more confidence and we are finding our groove. The week was slightly off because we were still on the hunting schedule. Jeremy was out super late on Monday night and the boys just so happened to join him that evening. Thankfully, Papa brought them home, so bedtime wasn’t super late. Tuesday was a tired day though because I had waited up for Jeremy. I can’t tell you the last time I stayed up till midnight or later! I’m officially old. Our whole family slept in on Tuesday and the beginning of our day was an hour behind our usual schedule. A bonus of homeschooling is the flexibility. I’m a structured person, but it was totally fine to start school an hour later so we could have a slower start after a later night.

Other than the hunting schedule, the week was fairly quiet. Lots of reading for me and playing for the boys. It’s been a good book month. I’m excited to share the books I read this month in my next post. The boys are super creative these days with building train tracks, Hot Wheels tracks, and making LEGO creations from their imaginations. Their creations keep them busy and entertained.

It’s crazy to believe that we are in the last week of September. Now that the end of the month is near, I am feeling much more settled. I also love that we are moving toward October – my favorite month of the year! October is filled with beautiful colors, yummy flavors, birthday celebrations, and fun traditions! There is so much to look forward to right around the bend!

Country boys in camo out hunting with Jeremy
I embraced the late start on Tuesday by making pancakes. I don’t usually make a hot breakfast on weekdays. Our schedule was already off so why not?
I had to document my last walk of summer on Tuesday evening! Rain welcomed in autumn with us the next day.
I got my haircut this week and decided it might be time to update my profile pictures since it had been a few years. Books as my backdrop seemed fitting.
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
 

Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom: Conclusion September 23, 2021

Filed under: Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom — Amy Scott @ 2:00 pm

I know that was a lot of possibilities to process! My hope is that you’ll take this list home and think about what works for your personality type and your household schedule. Try something new, do something different, see how it works. View your quiet time with God as an experiment. It doesn’t have to look the same every day or in every season. Find what works in your daily life and build momentum.  Don’t be afraid to start small!

Life is full of seasons. Raising kids takes energy and focus. It can be easy to put our souls on the backburner as we take care of everyone else. But for the sake of your family, please prioritize your faith, because your soul matters! Often as moms we can set the tone of the home. Your whole family will benefit from you spending time with Jesus. Building your own faith helps you create a legacy of faith in your family. So do it for you, but do it for your kids, do it for your spouse, or friends, or community. A more Jesus-centered you is better for everyone! BUT… don’t turn that into guilt. Let that be your inspiration. Time for yourself and time with Jesus really is for the good of all!

Thoughts to Ponder:

How do I connect best to God?

Do you feel His presence most out in nature, while reading, while writing, while verbally processing, through creative expression like art or music? Does your quiet time need to be super quiet or would you benefit from audio or even visual materials?

When would my ideal quiet time be?

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Is there is a time in your kids’ schedule that naturally gives you a break (like nap time or quiet time)? Is there any alone time in your day that you haven’t utilized for time with God (like drive time or when you’re getting ready)? If you’re too tired at the end of the day, at what point does your energy level in the day change? Try to find a time before that shift in energy occurs.

What obstacles are keeping me from spending time with God?

Think through distractions or things that have been given too high a priority in your life. Too many commitments? Not enough margins in your day? Waiting for the “perfect” moment that never appears? Netflix? Phone scrolling? What time could you repurpose for quiet time?

Who can support me?

Whether you need accountability or someone to actually hang out with your kids so you can get alone, who can you bring alongside you to encourage you and support you?

Who could you talk with about what’s worked for them and maybe get resource recommendations? Do you have mentors or a community of friends?

What resources could I look into it?

Bible reading apps, reminders and timers on your phone, visual reminders around the house, books, devotionals, Bible studies, podcasts, journaling. There are so many great resources out there!

The End!

Thanks for hanging in there through four posts!

 

Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom: Part 3 September 22, 2021

Filed under: Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom — Amy Scott @ 2:00 pm

Suggestions of Things You Could Try: Part 2

Use a Journal:

Some people journal about the passage of Scripture they read. You can write out a verse that stood out to you or reference the passage and then journal about what this passage means and how you plan to apply it in your daily life.

Some people like to use a prayer journal. This allows you look back and reflect on the ways that God showed up for you.

If you make a prayer list, you can easily find and highlight prayers that have been answered.

Breath Prayer is a Life Saver: (As in it has saved my kids’ lives and my sanity more than once.) Find a super short prayer that you can say in the moment that draws God into the situation with you. For me it’s “Lord help me” – I say this all-time throughout the ups and downs of kid drama. Calling God into the moment helps me to a more mindful mom when I go to address a sibling squabble. Praying and talking to God throughout the day helps me keep my cool and stay focused on what matter most.

Take or Make a Still Moment:  Create still moments (they won’t happen on their own very often) and invite God into them.  Take a deep breath or two in the closet or the bathroom. Reset your mood and focus your mind. Just a minute of intentional tuning into God can make a big difference.

Use Car Time as Prayer Time: Moms spend a lot of time in the car! Think of all the drive time you have with errands, school drop offs, extracurricular activities, etc.If you drop the kids off at school, say a prayer for them as you’re driving out of the parking lot. Or pray together on your way to school. Simple prayers invite God into our everyday moments. Including your kids in prayer grows your faith legacy.

Other Great Places to Pray:

  • In the shower
  • On a walk
  • Resting on your pillow before going to sleep
  • Resting on your pillow before you get out of bed in the morning.
  • Out and about around your community, prompted by what you see.
  • Anywhere and everywhere

Let the Background Noise Be Praise: Worship music in the background can help uplift your spirit and give you moments to praise God throughout your day.

Light a Candle: This might feel like a hazard in some homes, but lighting a candle can be a visual reminder to pray or think an intentional thought. Maybe you want to remember a specific friend who is going through a hard time, a family member who is ill, or maybe your community, or a certain missionary. When your eye catches the candle flicker, say a quick prayer.

Decorate with Index Cards: Put up Scripture or prayer requests in highly visible places to catch your eye throughout the day.

Find Your Spot: Some people have a prayer closet or a favorite, comfy place they like to go to spend time with Jesus. Finding a spot to have time with Jesus can help you build your routine because you know that when you’re in this space, you have a certain purpose. Also, family members might be less likely to interrupt you if they know you’re in your Jesus spot. Or if anything, they can see you having time with Jesus and that is a testimony to how you value your faith.

Find Accountability: One of the biggest ways to make a new habit or routine stick is to have accountability. Include your friends or spouse in your faith journey. Ask them to check in on you – you can even give them specific times you would like them to check in – like once a week or once a month (maybe more frequently if you really need the support).

Ask for Help: Be honest with a spouse, friend, or a support person when you need a break. Sometimes you need to get away to be with Jesus. Say so. Ask someone you trust to take the helm and give you some uninterrupted quiet time. Your family and friends can’t read your mind, so if you don’t tell them what you need, they are likely not to pick up on it. My husband very rarely says “you look like you need some quiet time alone with Jesus. Go.  I’ve got the kids” – but if I tell him that is what I need, he is happy to make that work.

Ask Around: Find a mentor or a community of friends who can share wisdom and insight into what works for them. Find someone with a similar personality type or who you admire and see what habits and routines they have. Ask what resources people have used and loved.

Perfect Attendance Isn’t Mandatory: Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day, a week, a month… you get it! Pick up where you left off and keep moving forward. Don’t let guilt get you down!

What Works For Me

I’ve given you plenty of examples and suggestion and I’ve mentioned my own habits, but here is my ideal routine. Note: it doesn’t happen this way every day and yes, I occasionally forget and miss a day. It’s okay. I’m human!

My ideal quiet time:

Location: The loveseat in my bedroom tucked away from the rest of the house. This is “my” spot and the whole family knows it.

Time: During afternoon quiet time, back-up plan – after the kids go to bed.

What do I do:

  • Take a few moments to close my eyes, take some deep breaths, try to decompress from the craziness of the day so I can show up fully in the coming minutes. Invite God into the moment. I want to be open to see Him and hear Him and do as He says.
  • Read my Bible Reading Plan which is currently the whole Bible in two years.
  • Journal: I write down what’s on my mind and going on in my life. I’ll list things I’m thankful for and what I’m worried about. I find that writing down my thoughts helps me release them. My journal time is part life-processing and prayer. I often look at it like I’m writing a letter to God. Like we’re pen pals.
  • Prayer: I have a set time that I’m reminded to pray with my Bible reading app. I usually take my daily petitions to God and whatever seems the foremost on my mind. I have the habit of praying throughout the day, so as something comes to mind, I pray about it then and there. Also if someone asks for prayer in a text or on social media, I try to pray for them right when I see the message and then when they come to mind throughout the days and weeks that follow. Prayers can be super formal or flowery, but I find that I prefer chatting to God like he is a good friend in the room with me. Nothing fancy, just honest, real, stream of thought.

How long does my quiet time take? Anywhere from 15-45 minutes, but almost always less than an hour. Because I try to find ways to connect with God throughout my entire day, I don’t feel like my quiet time needs to be super rigid when it comes to a length of time. God is always present and ready to connect with me if my eyes are open to Him.

To Be Continued…

 

Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom: Part 2 September 21, 2021

Filed under: Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom — Amy Scott @ 2:00 pm

Suggestions of Things You Could Try

I tend to be very practical person. I like tools and resources that I can put to use. I’ve brainstormed some ideas and asked some friends about what works best for them to have quiet time with God. These are all things you could try. Not every suggestion will fit with your personality type or schedule, but hopefully you’ll come away with some inspiration and guidance on how to find quiet time with God as a busy mom.

Here we go:

Do what works with your mental capacity and schedule: You might start at 2-4 days a week, instead of every single day. The goal is to build consistency. Like I said earlier, for the first couple years of Graham’s life, I couldn’t swing everyday Bible reading, but I was able to swing 3-4 days a week. I accepted that as good enough for the season that I was in (even though in previous season I was able to do more). Remember every season is different and things will change with time.  Start small to build and grow in your routine.

Consistency is the key! A foundation of consistency will get you through the hard and dry spells. It’s not about checking something off of a daily to-do list, but investing in a relationship. Somedays the relationship feels more vibrant than others and some days are chill. Be okay with the different vibes, but keep showing up.

Use a Bible Reading Plan: Pick a Bible reading plan that sets you up for success. Before I had kids, I read the whole Bible in a year, every year. It was my standard. Now with kids, I read plans that have shorter daily readings. I’m currently using a Bible in two years plan, but I’ve also honed on in plans that focus just on Psalms & Proverbs or the New Testament only. Biting off more than you can chew will lead to discouragement and frustration. It’s better to have manageable victories that create momentum then to give up because you can’t live up to your own expectations.

Use a Bible App: If you use a Bible reading app, you can set daily reminders to read your bible or to pray. Using a Bible reading app allows you to listen to your Bible in the shower or while you’re getting ready, folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or when you’re driving in the car.

You can use an app like Pause to intentionally stop – set reminders for prayer, scripture reading, taking a deep breath, thinking of something you’re thankful for, etc. This can be helpful in creating intentionally mindful moments throughout your day. You can also set alarms on your phone if you don’t want to download another app.

Set a Timer: I used this suggestion all the time with my 4th-6th grade girls. Read the Bible for 5 minutes and pray for 5 minutes. Timers can help you stay focused and not get distracted – and 10 minutes seems way more doable than an hour. You can always set a longer time, but starting with a shorter amount of time can help build the habit.

Use a Variety Resources: Variety can help keep your faith interesting. Read books or listen to podcasts. Growing in your faith doesn’t have to always look like Bible reading and prayer. If you have a devotional you like or an author you enjoy, use those resources. Maybe instead of Bible reading on Tuesdays, you listen to a sermon or a podcast. Mix it up and keep things interesting as long as it doesn’t mess with your momentum.

Join a Bible Study: Time alone with God is irreplaceable, but you can supplement your quiet time by doing a Bible study. You can do these with a church group or just find one to do with friends – you can use Zoom to meet up and keep things travel free and no one needs to host. You can also use a Bible study as material for your quiet time and go through it on your own.

If Something Isn’t Working, Move On: Maybe it’s the time of day you’re trying to make work or the materials you’ve selected. If something isn’t working and you’re dreading your quiet time, don’t hold on to it. Assess what the issue is and adjust.

Minimize distractions: This might seem impossible in mom life, but I’m not talking about the kid crazy in the background, I’m talking about technology or things that might catch your eye. If seeing dirty dishes in the sink distracts or discourages you, have your quiet time in another room. Set your phone on do not disturb or silence it. Ignore texts until after you’re done. Maybe keep a piece of paper on hand to jot down random thoughts that you don’t want to forget. By writing the notes on paper, you’re less likely to be sucked into a rabbit trail on your device.

You Can Say No: I’m not suggesting you say no to God, but to other things. Not overscheduling your life gives you capacity for time with God. When you overschedule your days, not only is finding the time hard, but also your energy is spent. Even if you get a quiet moment, you might feel too tired. Living a life with intentional margins and boundaries will help you avoid burnout and create space for faith at home.

There will always be a million things to do. There will never be a perfect time to get away with God. Evaluate your capacity and prioritize. God wants a relationship and relationships take time and energy to maintain. It might mean putting off unloading the dishwasher until after your quiet time or choosing God over Netflix.  We all have the best intentions with our time and ultimately you decide what fits in your day.

Find an Ideal Time, But Also Have a Back-Up Plan: I’m not a morning person so my ideal time for quiet time is actually during our daily quiet time – an hour a day in the afternoon where my kids are in their rooms to rest. I use this time as personal care for myself (most days). Sometimes our afternoon quiet time doesn’t happen, so I have the back-up plan of after the kids go to bed. It’s nice knowing that if I miss my ideal time, there is still a way I can make it work.

Don’t Be Afraid to Have Your Quiet Time in Front of Your Kids: While not as ideal as complete solitude, I will sit down to read my Bible or journal with my kids present in the room. Usually, I’ll do this if they are actively engaged in something. They still interrupt or distract me, but I think it’s important for them to know that I try to make time every day to read my Bible and journal my thoughts. Now that they are older, they ask me questions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. It’s a great way to start faith conversations with my kids.

Use a Children’s Bible and Do Quiet Time with Your Kids: It’s okay if this Bible time with your kids constitutes your own quiet time as well for a season. Reading a Bible story and saying a quick prayer is a great starting place for your children and it’s also a great starting place for you.

Use a Family Devotional:  Family devotions are a great way to grow in your faith as a family. It can be as simple as reading the same Bible passage, discussing it, and praying together. Or going through a devotional book together as a family. We can grow in our faith right alongside our kids. We got Owen Indescribable: 100 Devotions about God & Science by Louie Giglio as a baptism gift. He is reading it on his own, but we’ve also read some of the devotions together. It’s been a great conversation starter for us. Don’t look down on kid resources; they are great for adults too!

To Be Continued…

 

Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom: Introduction September 20, 2021

Filed under: Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom — Amy Scott @ 2:30 pm

As I was working on my workshop for women’s conference, I realized that my notes to busy moms really could apply to anyone who is struggling to find time with God in the midst of life’s busyness. When busyness is a barrier in your relationship with God going to back to the basics and keeping things simple can be helpful. My presentation was about an hour long, so obviously too long for one blog post. I’ll be dividing up my talk and sharing it here in a mini-series this week. I hope your encouraged and maybe even walk away with some new ideas for finding time with God.

Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom Workshop:

My name is Amy Scott. I’m married to Pastor Jeremy, the children’s pastor here at Bethel. I also happen to be an ordained minister as well. Jeremy and I have two boys, Owen who is about to turn 8 next month and Graham who is about to turn 6. In an unexpected twist in my life story, I now find myself in my second year of homeschooling. I am still in the trenches of kids 24/7 at home and balancing my faith in the midst of household chaos.

I grew up here at Bethel Church. My family moved to the area and we started attending here when in 7th grade. While I made a decision to follow Jesus as a young child, I didn’t really fall in love with God’s word until I was a freshman in high school. I joined a youth leadership team and part of that commitment was Bible reading. Weekly, we would have to share what we read and what stood out to us in God’s word. I thought I knew the Bible because I had grown up in church and heard all the Sunday school stories. I was blown away when I actually read the Bible for myself. When I read it cover to cover, I was amazed. My faith took on a whole new vibrancy!  God’s word is powerful!

Throughout my high school years I felt a call to ministry. I knew I either wanted to marry a pastor or be a pastor (turns out I did both). I decided to go to Bible College because I knew I was going to be a church lady and I wanted to be well-equipped. College is where I hit my first snag in Bible reading and quiet time. What I used to do for my own personal faith became homework. After studying God’s word for four years, I definitely had new wisdom and insight, but I also experienced Bible burn out and that led to guilt. I loved God. I wanted to be in ministry. But I had no desire to read my Bible for personal reasons. It felt too much like school. Thanks to wise friends and mentors, I realized that it’s okay to have my quiet time look different in different seasons of my life. I’m a rule-follower and a lover of routine, I had gotten it into my head that my quiet time with the Lord had to look a certain way and I was thrown off when that no longer worked for me.

I’m thankful that I learned this lesson in college because I would learn it again in motherhood and this time I didn’t get tripped up as easily. After having my oldest son, I fell back into daily times with God fairly easily. Owen was a great napper so I often had quiet moments throughout the day and I would spend them with God. My steady routine was harder to regain after the birth of my second son, Graham. While I might have still had quiet moments throughout the day, I felt like my mental capacity was different in the season after having Graham (I’m not blaming Graham. I had new mom brain, a toddler at home, some big life stuff to process). During this season, I embraced having a quiet time with God almost every other day. About 3-4 times a week and it was never a super-lengthy or in-depth study. I will say that Bible reading was harder for me in that time, but prayer became more important – it became a lifeline in that season. Things shift from season to season and that is okay. I’m so thankful that I’ve learned this because it has freed me from so much “I should be doing it like that…” guilt.

Guilt is a common feeling that comes up when we talk about what we should be doing. It’s easy to get caught up feeling bad about the things we should be doing, but aren’t. Side note: as you’re listening to my suggestions in this workshop, instead of thinking I should do that, think I could do that. Give yourself some flexibility, some options, and a chance to experiment. Taking things from a “should” to a “could” in your mind frees you from guilt and opens up more possibilities.

If you’ve been in church for a while you might be familiar with this passage from Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message where Jesus says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I don’t know about you but being tired and worn out seems relatable to me a mother. And adding heavy religious expectations on to ourselves isn’t the kind of life-giving relationship that Jesus wants to give us. I pray that as you process how to find quiet moments with God in your day; you’ll remember that he won’t place anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. He wants you to live freely and lightly!

This might be a bit of a basic place to start, but I’m going to start with the why we should find quiet moments with God in our daily lives. One of my joys has been teaching 4th-6th girls for over a decade on Wednesday nights. When I talk with the girls in my class about having a relationship with God, I try to have them think of their relationship in light of real-life relationships. Girls know what it’s like to have a BFF or a super close friend. I ask them to think about how often they talk to their friends. How often do they want to see them and hang out with them? A relationship with God is the same way. Friendships are built around spending time together, about communicating, and about listening. Our relationship with God is similar to a relationship with a friend, a spouse, a child, a parent – time matters, communication matters, and listening matters.  This is why it’s a worthy endeavor to find time with God in your daily life.

Also Jesus modeled this for us as well. He often got away from the crazy crowds and the hustle of everyday life to spend time with His Father. I often think of the disagreements between the disciples on the same level as sibling squabbles. It takes energy to lead and guide people. As leaders in our homes, we need to be connecting with the Father to get refilled, renewed, and restored. We can’t give from an empty cup. If Jesus needed quiet time away with God, then we need it too!

To Be Continued…

 

Juggling September 19, 2021

This week felt a like a juggling act. I seem to say this every September and yet I continue to forget – September takes so much energy! It’s a lot of work. I thought without kicking off a new MOPS & MOMSnext year this fall, September would be less effort… less energy? I don’t know. Just less. But September 2021 chuckled at me and went on being just like the many Septembers before it.

We finally had our first four day school week and it made a huge difference. Getting into the school routine has taken more energy than I expected. Shocking, right?! I thought we would pick up were we left off on in May. Easy peasy. I didn’t account for how much we really slowed down over the summer. Graham being in kindergarten and using new curriculum has also taken more mental energy than I realized. Three weeks in, I am happy with the direction we are headed and I am hopeful that very soon we will be settled.

Hunting season for Jeremy means lots of single parenting for me. Jeremy’s alarm goes off at 4:30am and I do my best not to let it stir me. My mind doesn’t need to be awake and processing before dawn! Jeremy sometimes comes home in the afternoon for a short break before heading back out until after the boys’ bedtime. One of my highlights from the week was Jeremy falling asleep on Graham’s bed during afternoon quiet time. Graham also fell asleep and thought it was a dream come true to have a nap buddy (those were his literal words – dream come true). Our family routine is all thrown off, but it’s doable because it’s a season.

Our Friday adventure moved to Thursday because Friday was forecasted to be damp. I knew Jeremy would be out hunting so I invited my mom along for a hike at Lewis & Clark State Park. Let me tell you, I deeply appreciate Jeremy’s sense of direction. When I’m with him, I never worry about where I’m at or if I’ll be able to find my way back to our vehicle. I had a very specific trail I wanted to hike and it was embarrassing how long it took me to find it. I also had many moments on the trail where I hoped we were going the right way (and it was supposed to be a simple loop). We enjoyed hiking and exploring a new area, but I never had full confidence as we wandered the park. Being the co-pilot is a role I appreciate even more after trying to lead the way in unfamiliar territory. So thankful my mom came along as a second adult just in cause my worst-case scenario fears came true. I’m a big fan of the buddy system. Also, my mom carries bear spray, so that’s helpful, too!

On top of juggling school, Jeremy’s schedule, and extracurricular adventures, I had a conference to prepare for this weekend. Being real here, I have a complicated relationship with indoor church. I agreed to be a part of this conference at the beginning of July when COVID restrictions were loosening. Things have changed since I said yes. I’m not the type of person who backs of out a commitment easily, but I sure thought about changing my yes to a no. Ultimately, I decided to attend the full conference despite my discomfort. It was a lot of time in a mask (worshipping in a mask is possible, but a very sweaty experience) and I was in the minority for following current mandates. It’s uncomfortable being someone who noticeably stands out. Prepping for the conference while being on the hunting schedule was also challenging, but I felt prepared by the time Saturday’s workshop arrived. My class was small. Seven moms joined me to talk about finding time with God as a busy mom. The workshop had MOPS vibes so I felt in my element. Plus talking about how I love spending time with God and giving suggestions so others can connect with God was an awesome opportunity. I’m glad I followed through on my yes, despite the discomfort.

Side note: I’m thinking of turning my workshop into a mini-series here on the blog. As I was preparing my notes I realized that these suggestions for finding time with God could apply to anyone, not just busy moms. When busyness is a barrier, it’s good to go back to the basics and keep things simple. Stay tuned! I can’t let all those words I typed sit on my computer. I want to send them out!

Despite the juggling act and out of sync schedule, I still had what I needed to to get through this week. The boys begged Jeremy to take them out hunting on Friday which gave me a big window of quiet time to prepare for the conference and to be still before lots of activity. While church is complicated for me, I loved the moments of worshipping in a dark sanctuary. I’ve missed being surrounded by loud music, raising my hands, praising God with words that stir my soul. It was sweet to revisit a spiritual practice that means so much to me. Yes, I am tired after the big weekend… and yes, I still have another week of elk season left. But today I am happy to be home, to listen to praise music as I vacuum, and to know that nothing is pressing or urgent. God has been so good through all the juggling of this last week. He will continue to sustain me through September and that brings so much peace to my heart. I can do this!

The sweet life of homeschooling. Popcorn from a science experiment and Teddy close by while working on math.
Binge reading The InvestiGators. Owen kept asking to read more chapters even though school was done. I love when a good book grabs him!
Graham was so proud to read the first story in his reader all by himself! Love seeing my kids excited to read! My bookworm heart is thrilled!!!
Feeding the monster with his reading words
Hiking at Lewis & Clark State Park
Hiking at Lewis & Clark State Park
Always drawn to water!
Hiking Buddy!
Strangest or coolest find?!?! Giant rocking horses!
When Jeremy comes home the boys are literally all over him!
Documenting my workshop before the ladies arrive
Enjoyed a cookie decorating workshop on Saturday afternoon. I’ve never used royal icing before. It was fun to learn something new, but also to have the prep work done for me. All I had to do was play! And then eat!
 

Beginnings and Endings September 13, 2021

This last week was a big one even though at a glance it might have looked somewhat average. It was far from that, though! This week could be defined by beginnings and endings. Some things are just starting and somethings have come to a close. So let’s dive in!

I’ve been praying about a big decision that I finally went through with last Tuesday. I took time to talk it out with trusted people and I sat with my decision over Labor Day weekend to see it stuck. I’ve been a part of a team that supports women ministers in the Northwest Ministry Network. When I said yes to this commitment two years, I thought I was heading into the school-age years with my kids and I would have more time to pursue vocational ministry. But… I couldn’t predict a pandemic. Because we are homeschooling, I’m still home with my kids 24/7. Also, due to COVID conditions in my area, my in-person attendance at church is limited. I’ve loved being a part of this team because the women are incredible. I enjoyed getting to know them and I’ve been inspired by their leadership. But I’ve felt like the odd duck on the team. I am not actively pursuing vocational ministry. It’s just not the season of life that I am in. I would love to be a part of this team in the future when my season of life aligns better with the purpose of the team. I’ve been feeling the conflict between the life I thought I would be living right now and the one that I am actually living in this moment. It’s okay to say that this isn’t a good fit right now, but I hope it will be someday.

The other ending in my life has been a long time coming. I finally let go of my Usborne Books & More business. For the last year, I’ve kept the business active so I could receive discounts on my personal purchases. Now the cost of keeping the business active is no longer saving me money. I’ve been a UBAM book lady for 4.5 years and I’ve loved it! I loved introducing families to great books. Our home library exploded because of this business. It was such a blessing to my family. In the season of building our house, this book business gave me something to focus on in the waiting period. It was an important part of that building season for me. I’ve collected the last of my rewards and placed my final order as a consultant. It’s bittersweet, but I’ve known the end was around the corner for awhile. I will remain a loyal customer. I truly love this company and their products. Books are the best!

Endings can be sad and it felt weird to end two things in one week. I will admit that as my commitments continue to scale back, I’m often left wondering what is God is doing. For so long I’ve been defined by all the things I’ve been able to juggle. The pandemic has certainly made my world smaller. Instead of being worried or upset, I’m choosing to see this as a strategic time in my faith journey. Letting go of things isn’t in my nature, so I know that God is teaching me and guiding me. I’m trusting that he has a purpose in all the change.

Let’s focus on the the beginnings! It’s still the beginning of the school year. Somehow I always forget how much adjusting goes into the month of September. We are getting into our new school routine. It’s mostly gone well, but I’ve learned a few things the hard way. With Owen, I had him hit the ground running with school instead of easing him back into it. Our schedule will be lighter this week. We’ve been doing five days of work in three days for the last two weeks. This week we’ll do five days of curriculum in four days. The extra day should make a difference.

I’m happy to report that Graham is beginning to read! It hasn’t fully clicked, but he has made so much progress! I’m starting to feel more confident in the program we selected and in my ability to teach him. I’m so excited because learning to read is the beginning of beautiful things! Reading is such an adventure. I can’t wait for Graham to experience the joys of reading. We’re starting small, but we’re definitely making progress! Praise the Lord!

This week we met up with a few other homeschool families to launch rockets. We aren’t a part of a formal homeschool group, but a friend of mine hopes to facilitate a monthly outing or experience for homeschool families. The boys had a blast chasing rockets through the field with friends. We used bigger engines this time and that made our rocket even more impressive than when we launched it last fall.

Hunting season has also begun. Jeremy needed a new long sleeve camo shirt and while running errands, he picked up shirts for the boys, too. They got to join him for the evening hunt yesterday. Graham talked with me for a solid 10 minutes about his adventure when he got up this morning. The highlights were seeing the other family members out hunting. He also mentioned that he would be sad if they killed an elk. I’m guessing he is going to be a social outdoorsman verses a serious hunter (at least at this at this point in his life). Hunting season can be an intense season with early mornings, late nights, and a lot of single parenting. Since Jeremy took the boys out last night, I was able to work on my upcoming workshop I’m teaching next weekend. My parents also watched my boys for a few hours this weekend so I could prepare. I’m thankful for the extra support during hunting season.

That wraps up this week’s recap. Lots of big decisions, but also lots of fun. I’m glad the school year is underway and we are finding our groove again. September always takes way more energy than I expect, but it’s full of good things and important adjustments. I am learning a lot in this season and I’m keeping my eyes open for what God is doing in my right now, right here, ordinary life. It’s good and I’m grateful!

Network of Women Ministers Team Day – November 2019
We had so much fun with the freebies I earned through my book business – June 2017
Working my book business at a vendor event – June 2017
Cookies of the Month: September! Apple Season! My mom asked if I could make a treat for her to share with friends and I thought I would experiment with apples!
We ran errands to get rocket engines and a new camo shirt for Jeremy. I joked with Jeremy that we should get pumpkin spice doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and he was totally up for it. They got our order wrong, so Jeremy kindly went in to fix things. We got the correct dozen for free! Gotta love an unexpected surplus of treats!
Getting to launch our rocket
Blast off!
Rocket retrieval
Ready for hunting season to begin!