Giving Thanks for Moms…(and a few coupon codes!)

By | General | 4 Comments

Thank You…

I’ll be spending this week mostly offline with my family. But I want to take a minute to say…thank you.

Thank you for being a part of this community. Thank you for your encouraging emails.

Thank you to being the kind of mom who wants to learn and grow.

Giving Thanks for Moms

Thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made, are making and will make.

Thank you for doing laundry, washing dishes and wiping down the counters.

Thank you for packing lunches and brushing hair.

I know you have amazing talents, skills and ideas. I know you could make more money, get more recognition, make a wider impact…if you didn’t invest so much time and energy into your children.

Thank you for following in the footsteps of Jesus, the servant leader…

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
– Phil 2:5-7

Thank you for changing diapers and making beds.

Thank you for getting up at 3am when you hear your children cry.

Thank you for holding them close and magically making everything alright.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to the boys and girls who will soon enough be the men and women who change the world.

What you do matters more than you’ll ever know. Your work impacts us all.

Thank you.

A Few Announcements

I also have a few announcements and fun coupons for you today!

Giveaway Winner
First, I want to announce the winner of the Scripture print from Marydean Designs. The winner is Christina Y. Mary will be contacting you to get your information, Christina!

Undivided Mom Coupon

I featured Kayse Pratt on the blog and the podcast a few weeks ago, and because I had changed the posting dates on those, the wonderful coupon she created for us….expired. My bad! But I’ve gotten in touch with her (she just had her new little boy the week the posts went up!) and she has created a new coupon for you. It’s even more than the last one. She’s giving you 30% off – not just for Undivided Mom, but also for any item in her shop! The coupon code is UMSPECIAL20 and you get use it at her shop by clicking here.

Huge Meal Planning Sale!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat Every Black Friday, the folks at my very favorite meal planning site – PlanToEat.com – have a massive 50% off sale. I seriously love this site because it makes the meal planning / grocery shopping / cooking process SO, SO, SO much easier.

It does take a little bit of upfront work to input your own recipes (although, input is as easy as 1 click if the recipe is online) but once you get your recipes in…(sigh)….it’s wonderful. You can create menus and then you can plan a whole week or even month with a simple click of a button.

Now if they could just solve my laundry problems. Click here to check out Plan To Eat and make sure to head there on Friday (I’ll post a reminder) if you want to get their 50% off deal.

And to help you get a jump start, I’ll be hosting another Meal Planning Bootcamp in a few weeks for those of you who sign up. Stay tuned.

For Bloggers…

Finally, if you’re a blogger, my Blog Planning Kit is on sale this week as well. Use the coupon code THANKSGIVING to get 50% off. Click here to learn about the Kit.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, good memories and thankful hearts.

How To Minimize After School Insanity: The School Pick Up Line Prayer

By | General | 19 Comments

minivan
3:00pm – 3:10pm. I call it The Gauntlet.

The 10 minutes after I pick my kids up from school are some of the craziest minutes of the day.

They all have the verbal stomach flu. The words don’t stay down. All their weariness and emotion from the day comes bursting out the moment they get into the car. Everyone has something to say, right now, and it’s really, really, really, really, really, really important.

I have to somehow decide who was talking first, help them take turns and try to prevent WWIII from breaking out before the minivan door slides closed, shielding the rest of the world from the shrapnel of emotional overload.

Now, it’s not like this every day. Most days are simple and fun and easy, but I never know when a Gauntlet Day will hit, so I want to arrive fully prepared.

I’ve started the habit of praying as I sit and wait in the school pickup line. Something like this:

school-pick-up-line-prayer

God is so faithful to change my focus and give me His wisdom and insight into each child’s need. A simple prayer and I’m ready. Bring it.

Is it crazy in your car (or home) in those first few minutes after school? How do you tame the insanity? Click here to join the discussion.

Weekend Reading

By | General | One Comment

patience

1. Have you been following along with the Motherhood Bootcamp? It’s been powerful.

2. The mom blog world needs more slam poetry.

3. Speaking of blogging, if you are a blogger, I just opened up my second round of Blog Coaching yesterday. There are 3 spots left as of this morning. Click here to find out more.

4. SimpleMom is no more.Click here to find out what happened to my friend Tsh’s blog.

5. The Philippines needs your help.Click here to help. For those of you who have asked, I’m happy to report that my family in the Philippines came through the storms unscathed. Do keep praying for all those who suffered loss, though.

6. This post my friend Kristen wrote about social media and our kids…bam. Totally made me question (in a good way, my perspective on what I share.)

7. And this post from my friend Liz is pretty much genius.

What great things have you found on the good old internet this week?

Do I Spent Time With My Kids or Just Next To Them?

By | General | 13 Comments

Note from Kat: This is a guest post from Kayse Pratt.

We baked muffins yesterday.

By “we”, I’m referring to myself and my two-year-old. My very active, not at all patient enough to bake muffins, two-year-old.

And by “baked muffins” I mean we dumped ingredients from a box into a bowl, and got more ingredients on ourselves and the counter than actually in the bowl.

But we baked muffins. Together. And it was fun!

Admittedly, the perfectionist in me struggled the whole time. I could have easily done everything myself, in much less time, and so much cleaner. I could have checked it off my to-do list and moved along to my next task. But if I had chosen to do it myself, I would have missed out.

See, we didn’t just bake.

We talked. We laughed. We learned. We made memories. Over muffins.

I’m trying this thing where I spend more time with my kid. Not just next to her, but with her.

I’m really good at spending time next to her. I’m blessed to stay home, so we’re together all day. But often, she’s playing and I’m on the computer. She’s eating lunch and watching Elmo while I browse Facebook. She wants my attention and I want just five more minutes to finish a blog post.

We’re together, but we’re not. I’ve realized that I’m missing her life, and that terrifies me.

undividedmomdistraction

I don’t want to look back on my life in twenty years and realize that I missed the precious time I had with my children by living in a state of perpetual distraction.

I’ll be honest. I think puzzles are fun for about three minutes. Playdough is the bane of my existence. (How does it get everywhere?!?!) And I’m eight months pregnant, so getting down on the floor to have a tea party, and then getting back up again is basically a full-body workout for me.

But I love my daughter. I desperately want to grow her into a woman who knows she is loved and cherished, understand she’s been made for a purpose, and lives with a passion for the One who made her.

I’m learning that I can’t do that distracted. I have to do it in puzzles and playdough and tea parties. That’s our season right now, and those are the moments I’ve been given. Precious moments.

Before I’m a writer, or a blogger, or a community leader, I’m a mom. And I want to mother with a purpose and a passion. Focused and effective, not distracted and scattered.

The realization that this does not come naturally to me? It’s humbling. It drives me to Jesus, because I honest-to-goodness just can’t do it without Him. It takes everything I have, plus His strength, to stay engaged and consistent and undivided.

But I’m trying. I’m putting down the computer, praying through puzzles, and learning how to live out my purpose as a mom.

And she is noticing. The tantrums have lessened. The hugs have increased. We are enjoying each other in a way we’ve never been able to before.

It’s worth it. The sacrifice of giving myself to the work of raising her, it’s paying off already in little moments, big smiles, and muffins that came from a box.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Undivided_Mom3D

 

Be sure to check out Kayse’s new eBook, Undivided Mom! It’s a 14-day devotional for moms who feel distracted, pulled in a million different directions, and really just desperately need Jesus to keep them from losing their ever-loving minds. It’s about mothering with a vision, with a purpose, for His glory, and through His strength.

This is a book for anyone who is longing to find a glimpse of Christ in the chaos of everyday motherhood.

It’s for you. For me. For all of us.

CLICK HERE to check out Undivided Mom and grab your copy now! Use the code UMSPECIAL20 to receive 20% off of ALL of the eBooks in Kayse’s store! (Coupon expires 10/31/13.) You can also find Undivided Mom on Amazon.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

profilepicture2Kayse Pratt is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom, married to her favorite musician. She is passionate about the Truth and has a heart to encourage women who are quietly struggling in their faith. Relatable and witty, Kayse writes in a genuine way that both endears and entertains. Kayse writes about faith, family, and real life on her blog, kaysepratt.com. Additionally, Kayse is the founder of Simply Devoted Ministries, a contributing author for Allume, and serves as a leader for (in)courage Community Groups.

Kayse would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest!

ITA #19 – Motherhood in Manhattan – An Interview with Kristen Kill

By | General, Podcast | 17 Comments

kristen-killToday is a really fun and fascinating episode. I’m chatting with my friend Kristen Kill about what it’s like to raise 4 young kids in the middle of Manhattan. There are some crazy twists to seemingly simple things like grocery shopping, getting to church and when to let your kids be independent (in a city of 9 million).

We talk about this and more, including raising kids in a counter culture way and when and how to teach independence – no matter where you live.

And I have a fun family night activity that you don’t want to miss. Grab some headphones and join us!

I also want to note that I mention an e-conference with Sally Clarkson in the podcast. That has been postponed for a couple weeks. I’ll keep you updated, though, and let you know the new date as soon as possible.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

HopeWithFeathers.com
ItakeJoy.com
Kristen on Twitter
Soap.com
Diapers.com
Seamless.com
Amazon.com

How to Listen to This Podcast

If you’re new to podcasts, think of them like little radio shows that you can listen to at your convenience. They are perfect to listen to and learn from as you workout, fold laundry, wash dishes or conquer the world.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Click through to the site and click the little play button at the beginning of this post.
2. Listen on your smartphone, iPad or iPod Touch – There are a lot of great podcasting apps. Apple has a free one in the app store, but I like one called Downcast. It allows me to search for shows, subscribe to them and even speed up the audio.
3. Subscribe to the Podcast – just click here to access the podcast in iTunes. You can also search for it on your smartphone app (like the ones listed above) and subscribe.

Motherhood Bootcamp – Be a New and Improved Mom in 10 Days

By | General | 22 Comments

Motherhood-Bootcamp

How’s that for a sensationalistic title?

But who wouldn’t want to be a new and improved mom in 10 days? I know I would. And honestly? I think it’s entirely possible. So, we’re gonna try it.

Are you ready?

Motherhood Bootcamp Details

WHO:
Inspired moms who are willing to take a little action. (See what I did there?)
WHAT:
Read, discuss and implement Sally Clarkson’s book 10 Gifts of Wisdom
WHEN:
November 4th – November 15th
WHERE:
The Inspired to Action Facebook Page
HOW:
Sign up below to get the reading schedule and be notified when we start. I recommend buying the book as soon as possible and getting started reading it so you can take notes and prep for our discussions.


RSS and email subscribers, if you don’t see the signup box above, click through to the blog to sign up!

Where I Got This Crazy Idea

As I started reading Sally Clarkson’s new book, The 10 Gifts of Wisdom, I realized I wanted a group of women to read and discuss it with. I wanted to ask what other moms do and what resources they use. I wanted to figure out how to apply her nuggets of wisdom to my day to day life.

Hmmm….a group of amazing moms who want to learn, discuss and grow? I think I might know where to find a few thousand moms like that.

So starting next Monday, I hope you’ll join me on Facebook each weekday for 10 days of discussing, learning and sharing.

Being intentional changes everything.

It’s nothing terribly formal or fancy. Wear your pjs. Make up optional. We can’t encounter wisdom and not be changed by it. Either we embrace it and grow wiser or we ignore it and grow more callous.

Who Do You Want to Be 10 Days from Now?

If you join me on this adventure I know we’ll be new moms in 10 days. Perfect moms? Nope. But the more we embrace wisdom, the more we’ll resemble it. Who’s in?

Enter your email below and I’ll send you the (super simple) reading schedule. It’s a short book, so this is one book club every mom can manage. It’s only 97 pages long. I’m pretty sure most of us read at least 97 pages of Facebook updates in 10 days. So it’s just a matter of whether you want to be full of motherly wisdom in 10 days or full of wisdom about your best friend from second grade ate for lunch.

Your choice.

10 days. 97 pages. You can do this.

If I’ve done my job, you’re inspired….now it’s time to take action.

{fistbump}

RSS and email subscribers, if you don’t see the signup box above, click through to the blog to sign up!

Bible Study Tip #2 and a FREE Bible Study

By | Encouragement, General, Study the Bible | 46 Comments

Note from Kat: This post is written by monthly contributor Katie Orr.

ITA Katie Orr

Last month I introduced a new series of Bible study tips for the overwhelmed, tired, and really busy. This month I have another tip to share and a tool for you to put it into practice!

free bible study.005

A free (yes FREE!) 4-week Bible study.

I’ve put together a free 4-week Bible study just for you. This is designed for the really busy and overwhelmed who long to be in the Bible but just don’t seem to be able to make it work. I’ve been there, and know that sometimes you just need a bit of guidance and lots of grace.

This Bible study includes 3 days of work for each week which can be done in 5-10 minutes a day, with an option for additional days if you find you have more time.

Free Bible Study for the Overwhelmed

This study will be available here at Inspired to Action for a limited time as a free download. So, be sure to download your copy today! I’ve also made it available on Kindle for 99 cents. (Affiliate link)

The Abundant Living Bible study is still available for FREE for subscribers on my personal blog.

Bible Study Tip #2: Ask Good Questions

Really good Bible study comes down to asking good questions about the text. In this Abundant Living study I’ll introduce a way to study the Bible while reading with different “glasses” on, which is simply reading the verses with only one topic in mind. I have found there are three very important “glasses” to use, with which we can view the different layers in the Bible.

  • Truths
  • Promises
  • Commands

You can take a verse, passage, or even a book of the Bible and study it by using these glasses and we’ll put this method into practice this month through the Abundant Living Bible study.

Are you in an overwhelmed place? Does finding 5 minutes three times this week sound doable? Just click here to download the free Bible study and let me know in the comments that you are in. I hope you love it!

Miss tip #1 in this series? Catch it here.

About Katie 

Women's Bible StudyGrace-clinger. Truth-speaker.

Learn more about Katie on her website KatieOrr.me.

It’s Action Time – Join Us for a Free Parenting Webinar

By | General | 6 Comments

Sometimes I’m all about the inspiration, but today I’m bringing the action…

If you’ve ever been frustrated with your level of patience as a mom or with the responses you get from your children when you ask them to do (or not do) something, I’ve got a resource for you.

2-PPS Webinar Image

Every few months, I host a webinar with my friend Amy McCready. She is a parenting expert and an often featured guest on the TODAY show, the Rachael Ray show and all kinds of other fancy places like that. But we have her all to ourselves on October 17 at 8:00pm CST to ask questions and learn from all her amazing ideas.

She’ll be sharing her fantastic wisdom. Seriously, some of my most tried and true parenting tools I got from Amy. She has incredibly practical, useful and inspiring ideas and strategies. If you’ve attended one of our webinars before, you know how good her stuff is, so I hope you’ll join us again. I learn something new each and everytime.

If you’ve never joined us before, it’s a really fun time where we chat in the comments while Amy teaches us. She’ll answer some of our specific questions and you’ll also get a lot of fantastic feedback from everyone who attends.

The spots do fill up fast, so I’d recommend registering sooner rather than later. And if your spouse can attend with you, that’s really helpful because you’ll want to implement some of her ideas and it will be great if you’re both on the same page.

To register, just click here. I’ll see you on the 17th!

Here are the details about what Amy will cover during the webinar:

 
Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling

Tired of the yelling?  Tired of the whining?  Tired of being tired?

You’re not alone.  From toddler temper-tantrums to teenage talking back, parents wonder what it takes to get kids to cooperate.  If you’re tired of nagging, reminding and yelling to get kids to listen – this session is for you! Inspired to Action is excited to partner with Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions & TODAY Show contributor to offer a FREE LIVE training webinar on Thursday, October 17th at 8PM CST. Discover proven tools for your most frustrating discipline dilemmas including the 5 R’s of Fair & Effective Consequences. This hour-long investment will lead to a lifetime of peace in your home.

All you need is your computer. (No webcam required.)  You’ll see and hear Amy on your screen and you can even ask questions and she’ll make them part of the presentation. Parents RAVE about this session.

RSVP today and then kick back and learn from the comfort of your home.

In the meantime, we’d love it if you could let your Facebook friends know about this exciting webinar – just click this link to share on Facebook.

About Amy McCready

Amy_McCreadyParenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and a “recovering yeller.” She is a champion ofpositive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids.  Amy reaches a worldwide audience with her PositiveParenting Solutions Online course and is a frequent guest on the TODAY Show and has also appeared on Rachael Ray, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and elsewhere. In her most important role, she is mom to two teenage boys.

Join Us!

Sounds great doesn’t it? Just click here to reserve your spot. See you on the 17th!

10 Ways To Protect Your Kids Online

By | General | 10 Comments

(Note from Kat: Today’s post is from my friend, and monthly contributor, Liz Griffin)

Can we all just take a moment and freak out about the fact that it is already OCTOBER?!?!?! Wowzers, it snuck up on me. Anyone else relate?

School is now in full swing and that means homework. Which means our kids are spending even more time on computers and online. For many parents that is a scary thing. Identity theft, cyber-bullying, and online predators are very real dangers.

However, there are a lot of simple things we can do as a parents to make the internet a much safer place for our kids.

10-ways-to-protest-our-kids-online

Recently I had to do a lot of research on how to keep kids safe online for a campaign I was helping with. Being the generous soul that I am, I decided to pass on this helpful info to you fine mamas today.

10 Ways To Protect Your Kids Online

1. Don’t let you children use the internet when you are not there. If your kids are older and have phones then this is a bit harder to enforce. However, a general rule is that if a device is online the parent should be able to see the screen.

2. Talk about clear boundaries and expectations. Spend time setting guidelines for how the internet will be used in your home. What sites are allowed to be visited and how will social media accounts be managed? Be clear about what your kids are allowed to post and the consequence will be if kids don’t follow the rules.

3. Limit time spent online. Bored kids wasting time online is never a good thing. Decide how much time your kids can be online and stick to it.

4. Know what social media your kids use and have access to their passwords. If your kids are going to have an account on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever else, then you should be able to see what they are posting and what is being sent on their private messages.

5. Teach kids how to recognize ads and not click on them. Younger kids can often stumble across unwanted content by accidentally clicking on an ad. Teach your kids how recognize ads or pop-ups and how to close them properly. This also reduces the risk of them accidentally  opening something that contains a virus.

6. Change photo settings. When locator services are turned “on” in your camera settings, you are telling someone exactly where that picture was taken. Before you share that adorable picture on Instagram, make sure you aren’t sharing more than you intend to. You can watch this video for more information on how to post photos safely.

7. Regularly check your kids social media friends. Look at the people your kids are friends with online. Browse their pictures and posts. If you have any concerns talk to your kids about it.

8. Put internet filters on your computer. There are some great options out there that will block unwanted websites, images or other material that you don’t want your children to see. Installing a filter is a great way to protect your kids!

If you have older kids and want to monitor what they are looking at online, I recommend Covenant Eyes.

Net Nanny is a great parental controls software to install on your family’s computer, tablets or phones.

9. Tell your kids to report anyone asking them for their personal information online. Make sure your kids know that it is not normal for someone, even another kid, to ask for personal information over social media or email. Let them know to tell you if anyone asks them for details about your family.

10. Invest in real life relationships. Making sure that your kids learn how to build solid friendships with others is essential. When kids have a positive peer support group in place they are far less likely to be affected by cyber-bullying or online predators.

Our kids will grow up with the internet being a very real part of their world, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  We have the opportunity as parents to teach them appropriate ways to navigate their online lives.

How does your family handle online activities? Do you have any other tips or suggestions to share? Click here to tell us and join the discussion!

20130218-193106.jpgElizabeth is a church planter, speaker, writer and naptime abolitionist. She lives in Texas with her husband and two little kids. Her other hobbies include wasting time on social media, trying to remember where she parked her car & browsing Pinterest for DIY projects she will never actually make. You can visit her over at Lark & Bloom or on twitter @larkandbloom.

 

Why Our Children Need Us To Make Bad Art…

By | General | 10 Comments

my-guitar

I play the guitar, badly.

Despite my intense love for music, I’m not what you would call “musically gifted.” I have no rhythm, I rarely can find the right note and, from what I understand, those are key elements of making beautiful music.

So I make ugly music. I grab my beloved little Baby Taylor (best Christmas gift ever – thanks hubby) and I ruin all my favorite songs. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to play for anyone outside my family (although, if you’re interested in making this offer, I’m open to rethinking my stand), but my kids love singing with me.

They run to their instruments to join in. They sing and dance around the room. Now, don’t get me wrong. We are no family von Trapp. This isn’t amazing music. This isn’t commercial art.

It sounds exactly like you would think a rhythmically challenged, tone deaf woman playing a guitar with her three children accompanying her on a piano, violin and plastic tambourine would sound.

hugs

But I don’t think the sounds we make are the art. I think the art is my willingness to step into a place of vulnerability and lead my children in something I have no natural talent at….and allow them to come alive.

Last night my home was filled with the echoes of my children singing these words:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

To hear my own children singing these words….if that isn’t the most beautiful art in the world, I don’t know what is.

So, I challenge each of you this weekend to make art with your children, even if you’re bad at it. The process, their presence, your love is what makes it beautiful. That’s what makes it art.

(If you haven’t listened to the Inspired To Action Podcast from Wednesday, be sure to go listen. I chatted with author (and friend) Emily Freeman about her book A Million Little Ways and how we can uncover the art we were made to live. Her wisdom and encouragement are well worth your time.)