8 Ways To Fit More Reading Into Your Day

14
Jan
2014

 Finding-Time-To-Read-Moms

I share a lot of books with you all that I read, and I am often asked, “How do you find time to read?”  I thought I would share with you how I find time to read – and that is the key word – FIND!

Time doesn’t just magically appear.  You have to put a priority on managing the time you have for the things that are important to you.  So if reading is important, you will need to carve out time purposefully as well as use the time that often goes unused in effective ways.

As we look to start a new online book study in a couple weeks, I want to challenge you to make time to read, be prepared for the discussion each week and be committed to reading, both for pleasure as well as to improve yourself as a mom, wife and woman.

Here is how I find time to read, amide the juggling of motherhood duties:

Morning Hours

Morning is by far my most favorite time to read, before everyone else gets up.  I have a regular routine of getting up before my family, it fluctuates on time, but it can be anywhere from 5:15 AM to 6:30 AM depending on circumstances of the evening before  {Like the other night, I didn’t get to bed til after 10 PM because I just HAD TO watch Downton Abbey – I mean priorities right?}  So I didn’t get up til 6:30 AM.  But I much prefer having more time in the morning for my devotional time and then diving into whatever I am currently reading.

Make Waiting Time Count

All that time can be lost or put to good use, the waiting.  Whether it is waiting for an appointment, waiting in the car pool line, waiting on hold, the grocery line – if you add up all that time, it really counts.  Have a book with you at all times, you can pick it up and read a few lines and benefit from that time rather than really looking at it as wasted time.

Portable books

This is where things really pay off.  A lot of us have portable devices to carry our books with us very easily.  Most have heard of Kindle books, but even if you do not have a Kindle, you can enjoy the incredible benefits of having a book on several devices all at once.  You can download Kindle reading APPS for your phone, iPad, Mini-iPad and computer.  I love the flexibility of reading a book on my iPad Mini, but also having the same books on my phone.  By downloading the Kindle APP for my phone I can access the same book I was reading in the morning on my iPad later in the day while waiting at an appointment and it knows exactly where I left off.

This is by far one of the easiest ways to get more book reading for your time costing you nothing!

Exercising

I haven’t been real good lately with reading while I am on the treadmill, but there was a period of time when I was walking that this was a great way to get ahead on my reading.  Now, I am running, which makes it a bit tricky to keep my eyes focused on the page, but it can be done – if you are skilled!  So if you are a walker, use your iPad on prop it up, or you can even use your phone and hold it while walking on the treadmill.  If you are an audiobook fan…..keep reading!

Audio Books

If you enjoy listening to podcasts in the car, then why not add books to your options?  Our library system has a wonderful set up so that I can download audio books right on my phone and play – love it!  You can also enjoy audio books on the treadmill so as well as grocery shopping {sans kids!} and doing household tasks.  Did you know that there is an option on amazon.com to pay a bit more on a kindle book and get Whispersync on some eligible books, which allows you to switch back and forth between the text version and audio?  It is so cool!

I have used Audible.com before I enjoy the ease of downloading books and their selection.  You can grab a 30 day free trail too, which gives you a chance to try it out and see if it works for you.  The variety of books is pretty amazing, more than what my library offers for free.  

Ax the TV

I had to set up some perimeters with my kids with regard to the TV watching in our home.  It all started last summer and I was the bummer mom in everyone’s eyes!  I decided that from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm the TV would stay off.  It works well, and amazingly enough, I even benefited from it being off – I was able to pick up a book more often and enjoyed some quiet reading while my little guy played outside or was in the bathtub.  See what turning the TV off will do with your reading time!  I dare you!

Self-Care 10

How about that little task that appears daily on the Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner – up at the top – Self-Care 10?  You can grab 10 minutes a day at least and apply that towards you needs of caring for yourself.  If reading is something that you enjoy and that fills your tank up, use that as one of the fun things you can do each day to care for yourself.

Before Bed

This one can be a bit tricky for me, as I tend to drift off really easy when I read, most especially in the evenings.  Half of the week I am home alone, my husband travels and my older kids are at their other parent’s house, so it is just me and my four year old.  So at 8:30 PM, I am left to my very own agenda – no one else but me and what I want to do.  I often will crawl into bed and open a book.  I love the quiet and can often read a chapter or two before the sleepiness overcomes me.

When is your favorite time to catch up on reading?

Finding Restoration and Renewal

15
Oct
2013


I was overwhelmed with your kind responses after reading my post yesterday.  I honestly had trouble sleeping Sunday night because I was wondering if I shared too much.  It is scary to reveal your heart to the whole world.  The easier approach would be to continue on my way, showing you only the side of me which is all perfectly lined up and straight, which is not much of me, mind you!  But instead, you met me with your words filled with grace letting me know you feel my pain and you in fact might be in the midst of your own.

I thank you for being that kind of community here.  That is what Christ wants, us to build relationships and to share from our hearts and I want that to be this kind of place, even more so when we mess up.

For those of you who responded to me, sharing that your hearts were feeling much of the same as I was, I wanted to give you some steps to move forward and help get out of the pit.  

I am still in the midst here, but am working hard on making things right and moving forward.  It’s great to share feelings and know that others feel the same, but if I can’t give some concrete steps to help others move out of the mess, than I am not supporting you all the best I can.

Journaling

I have not been a big journal person.  There have been different times in my life where I have kept more of a diary , but gave up this type of exercise because I felt I didn’t have time for it.  Honestly, I think that was my lame excuse.  I don’t really feel I am much of a writer either, but the thing is, when you journal you should not be worrying about the writing per say, but rather just getting stuff out on the paper. 

Over the past five or six months as I have been incredibly faithful in my morning devotional time (thanks for the HelloMornings group I am a part of) I have kept a journal.  Some mornings I write 2 sentences, sometimes it is just a verse that touched my heart, other times it is 3 pages of stuff overflowing from my gut.  This has been my tool to unwind emotions, frustrations and find even the simple joy in the seemingly unimportant when I otherwise wouldn’t see it.  Being the task orientated person that I am, I often find these types of ‘ways to explore my emotions’ as a waste of my time.  So far from the truth and I am sure a way of the enemy to keep me from digging deeper.

Morning Quiet Time

This will have been beat into your head and mind forever!  I can tell you over the years I have been very faithful in my morning devotion time and also a big fat “loser” in making sure this happened.  But I will say, and I know it to be true – when I spend the time in His word and allow Him to work on me first thing – before I start anything else, it makes a difference.  I can find hope, even in the midst of my sinfulness and frustration.  I can be recharged and encouraged to keep pressing forward.  

When I miss the time or am in bed thinking I will just sleep a little bit longer, like I did this morning, my body now actually begins to ache knowing what I will miss out on.  I know I will not get what I need in order to fulfill the needs my family has for me to serve.  Even in the midst of my bitterness and discontentment, I can find bright spots to carry me forward and it comes during this special time each morning.

YouVersion

I enjoy being surprised!  If you have not discovered YouVersion, an app for your phone or iPad, get it.  You have a wonderful array of different bible studies that you can choose from and they are all free!  I usually have three or four  different ones going at the same time, add that to the verse and passage for the day, that everyone else reads who is doing YouVersion, you are all set!  I love that it seems whatever comes up on my screen for the day is exactly what I felt God needed me to read.  I also am doing a Joyce Meyer 365 day devotional – Promises for Your Everyday Life, one on Serving, Hopelessness and Attitude.  Um- hum….yep, I need all those areas right now – BIG TIME!

Prayer

Taking time each morning to pray for myself, my husband and my family has made a big difference in my attitude and my ability to serve.  I admit, some mornings when I am feeling quite discontent or frustrated, it is hard to pray, but I force myself to do this out of faithfulness and obedience.  I found that when I write out my prayers in my journal it can be helpful – I can go back and review what I’ve prayed and can be so encouraged to see how The Lord has been working, even when I cannot really see it.   Because He is!!

In His Word

You have to be in His word – period.  However you choose to make this happen, do it.  His word has the ability to change – and I can honestly say that when I am at my most frustrated the last place I want to be is curled up on the sofa pushing pages in the Bible and seeking His truth.  But I know that is the enemy revealing in his success of taking me away from my Savior.  The one who gave it all so I could live – if Satan can succeed in keeping me out of God’s word, then he has won half the battle.

Scripture

Find scripture that moves you and motivates you.  Write those down on 3 X 5 cards and place them everywhere.  Be reminded in the midst of your day that He is here with you.  I have felt such relief with these scriptures:

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:31

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  Romans 8:37

Pray

I find myself calling out to God more and more during the day.  instead of having this feeling like, I can handle it all, I realize I cannot and need Him even more.  If I do not call out for Him to intervene with His wisdom and guidance, then I am really on my own and portraying a mindset that I can do it all, which is not the case and arrogant to say the least.

Crying

Yep, I found myself in church Sunday just crying. I couldn’t say exactly why, but I felt relief.  I am an introvert and I keep things hidden and inside.  I think it makes things so much easier, but that is not always the case.  Find a place to be vulnerable, let emotions flow and allow His healing to emerge.

Repeat 

Yep, keep doing this over and over – it is an ongoing process!

I pray that The Lord will meet you wherever you are, in whatever mess you find yourself.  It is never too late or is it too overwhelming.  Know that I am praying for you all – we are a community of moms trying to do this whole gig right.  It is hard and we need each other nearly as much as we need Christ.  Give yourself GRACE ladies – GRACE!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase we receive a portion of your purchase at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting The Confident Mom.

 

Does My Stress Affect My Kids?

24
Sep
2013


I’ve been under a bit of stress lately – I hate to admit it, but there are times it gets the best of me.   Stress for me not only reflects in my attitude, but higher levels of stress can trigger my depression and anxiety to begin to rise, which is not healthy at all and I want to keep far away, {thank goodness I have immediate help with my depression and anxiety right at my finger tips!}  I know we are commanded to not worry or be anxious, but the flesh so wants to take the drivers seat – can you relate?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, my prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

“These kids are driving me crazy and no one is helping!”

When things get to be too much, often the ones in mom’s direct path take the brunt of the frustration. The way we deal with stress can affect our kids and will create a less than desirable atmosphere in our home.  In the moment, we forget the damage that can be done.  We yell, scream, roll our eyes in frustration, lose our patience and show our inability to control our emotions.  We act like children.  Embarrassing.  We teach our kids to do the same, which is really the wrong message.

Stress can be both good and bad. When we respond favorably in stressful situations, we learn to cope with the event and go on.  I’ve managed to become much better at running interference with rising stress.  I’ve been able to recognize the signs before I end up blowing my top.  I am so thankful, more often than not I just need to stop in my tracks, say a prayer and then breath deep.  When my kids see me stepping back and taking control, it teaches them a life skill that is extremely important. [Read more…]

When Normal Doesn’t Work Anymore

8
Jul
2013

I’ve been procrastinating.

Yep, it’s true.  This may be a secret you didn’t really know about me, that I can often be found procrastinating tasks that I just do not want to do.  I’ve struggled with it all my life and at different times it rears it’s ugly head.  I’ve needed to make a decision and was having a hard time finding the time to do it.  I knew something wasn’t right, but didn’t want to say anything.

It isn’t something I readily admit, but this post is about being real today ladies.  It is about sharing some things that have been on my mind for a few weeks and I’ve tossed and turned trying to decide what to do. {Seriously, I’ve been losing sleep at night, awake for hours – which we all know helps nothing!}

And you see, that is the problem, I was trying to decide.  ME.  I was placing my struggle before the Lord, but my real problem was –  I wanted a fast solution and I didn’t want to wait long enough for Him to answer.  Ouch, that happens a lot to me, I either procrastinate or try to do it on my own.  I think I am giving the problem over, but I end up hanging on to 1/3 of it, not really giving it over.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and uninspired with blogging lately.  I can totally understand why and am not embarrassed at all – the past month and a half has been rough for our family.  My father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and 9 days later passed away.

My husband traveled each week to Albuquerque to help his mom out and spend time with his dad, which left me in Seattle caring for the rest of our family.  This was what we knew he needed to do, but it was still hard, very hard.

In addition, our dog Riley who has had trouble with seizures began having them again and it causes a lot of stress in our home, sleepless nights and extra care for him.  It is tough.  It is sad.  It reminds me the reality that his life will likely be cut short because of this issue and the demands it puts on our family.  Silly, that a dog can be so close to our hearts, but he is.

We’ve had some disappointing news with one of our kids too, which shifted emotions all around – and was hard dealing with when one parent was 1000 miles away.

I was running a full-time business from home during this time.  I had decided earlier in May to do a 30 day blogging series, my 30 Days of Summer, so this required a lot of time writing, doing research and sharing.  In addition to that I was keeping up with the regular coaching clients I have, following up on Summer Calendar sales and the such, as well as working on future projects – always in the works.

I thought I was doing a good job – but you know what – I may have been doing a ‘good’ job with my business but I had nothing left for my husband or family.  I was literally exhausted and barely keeping my head above water.  I know that is not God’s desire for me.

I’ve been praying, asking God to show me an answer to my dilemma and I got it. We visited a new church today, out near our little beach cottage and today’s message really hit me.  I know it was God’s answer, showing me that my blog had started to become an idol, rather than Him being what I worshipped.  I began to see my identity linked to what I accomplished each day with regard to my business.  I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit it, but I am honest and real with you all, because often times I get emails from you telling me your faults and how I’ve helped you regain balance where you’ve fallen off too.  I am not perfect and the way to make change is to first admit when I am wrong and turn from that wrong.

We are all in this together, this journey of motherhood and keeping priorities in line.  I share with you how to look at where you spend your time and determine if your priorities are lining up and quite honestly, I was failing – failing miserably.  So, when I am looking at how my priorities line up for me, my business is below my husband, family, home and even me.  It is time to re-invest in the role God has in store for me – as a wife, mother and woman who can encourage others.

So, I am taking a sabbatical – a break or change from a normal routine  { http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sabbatical} and it is starting today.  My wonderful husband has taken my whole family home with him and left me at the beach for 3 days!  Yes, three whole days to reflect, spend time alone and re-focus.  I know this is what I need to come back with a new vision for my role in our home.

I will be taking the rest of July off from blogging.  I will still be coaching and doing a few behind the scenes things, but I will not be doing any posting.  I will be re-releasing my Back to School Action Guide this month for 2013/2014 – so you will get a quick post about that when it releases (those who purchased last years version will get updated calendars – so watch for that!) I will also be releasing my Become a Frugali$ta in 30 Days – Money-Saving Secrets for the Frugal Family Manager ebook on Kindle, so if you’ve procrastinated grabbing that in PDF, do so now, as it will not be available on my site – only amazon.  In addition, my web-site is undergoing a facelift, so it will be fun to come back to a new look.

I am excited to step back from writing and spend some time listening to what God wants to speak into my heart. That is the real goal here, as I take a ‘sabbatical’.  I am attending the “She Speaks” conference this month and am anticipating learning a lot and coming back with a renewed excitement for writing, sharing my story and learning how to help more moms.  But I do know that I cannot help anyone else if I am not doing my best job as a mom and wife first and foremost and spending time with Him, who I want to direct me.

As I take this time away, I pray you will come back when I return and give me a shout out.  I know I will not be able to stay away from facebook the entire time, I love sharing my life with you all, but know I will be there a bit less.  I want to enjoy summer with my family and this little break over the fourth of July weekend gave me a peek at what I have been missing while spending so much time sitting at my desk.

Thanks for allowing me to be real and share with you when I get things a bit messed up – thank God for grace and forgiveness. Now, I am off for my first walk on the beach….alone…..with open ears to hear…..

Having Grace to Change

25
Apr
2013


We all want things to change – we want to change our kids, our spouses, our homes, our body – it can be endless.  There is something to be said for being ‘content’ for sure, but when you find the real desire to change behavior or a situation, you can only focus on yourself.  We can spin our wheels by thinking we can change other people; in reality we can only change us {with help from The Lord!}.

However, desire to change is just not enough. Deciding what changes need to be made, setting goals, and taking action steps are all required in making real changes that last.  It takes time, prayer and an attitude of grace with ourselves to move forward and tackle frustrating situations and/or behavior. [Read more…]