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

How To Be a Victorious Mom

By | Encouragement, Get Inspired, Guest Posts | 10 Comments

Katie Orr

I’ve been feeling quite a bit like a defeated mother lately.

Failure is my reality. Discouragement lingers. Condemnation hangs.

Truth is the only thing that can pull me out of the pit. Truth is what takes me from a defeated mom to a victorious mom.

The truth is, though I stumble, God is pleased with me.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)

I can’t get enough of Romans 8. I am not condemned. I am set free. The Spirit of God dwells in me.

And there is so much more.

Today, I choose to cling to the truth that I am not condemned. The chains of my sin are gone. Though I still trip over them, no more are they attached to my wrists. I have a choice to live in freedom.

Victorious Mom.005

So I choose today to live as a victorious mom. Not a guilty mom. Not a burdened mom. A mom who is free to love, care for, and enjoy her precious children.

We are more than conquerors
through him who loved us so.
The Christ who dwells within us
is the greatest power we know.

He will fight beside us
tho’ the enemy is great.
Who can stand against us?
He’s the captain of our fate.

Then we will conquer never fear
so let the battle rage.
He has promised to be near
until the end of the age.


We are more than conquerors
through him who loved us so.
The Christ who dwells within us
is the greatest power we know.

-Unknown hymn I grew up singing.

Let’s be victorious moms today. Lord, enable us today to walk in the freedom you have provided for us!

Are you feeling condemned today? What truths do you cling to when you are tempted to live as a defeated mom? I hope you’ll share with me. I could use some encouragement today.


About Katie 
HelloMornings Director

Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker.Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Auburn fan. Loves to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime.

Learn more about Katie on her website Follow her on Twitter.

Why I need the neediness of my kids.

By | Encouragement, General | 18 Comments

Surrounded by half-open boxes, bare walls, and the mess involved in moving a family of five to a new state, I attempt to do a puzzle with the kids.

A fight quickly ensues over who gets to do what part of the puzzle. Pieces fly, drinks spill, and my blood pressure rises as the screams, squeals, and complaints rise.

I think I might. just. go. crazy.

Trying—with ALL my might—not to scream out of frustration and throw my own puzzle pieces across the room…I lay my head down on the table and pray.

Lord, I can’t do this! I can’t do this! I can’t do this! I want to spend good time with the kids, but I can’t handle this chaos! I want to RUN AWAY. Help me stay. Help me do what you have called me to do. Help me love this messy, stressful, chaotic life.

Why does motherhood have to be so hard?

I’ve asked God many times why being a momma has to be so hard. I love my children and am so thankful for the privilege of motherhood — but it is an incredibly wearisome and difficult journey!

My mind races with questions throughout the day, as I try to deal with the frustrations that come my way.

Why do these kids have to be so darn needy all the time? Why does my four year old HAVE to be by my side all the time, begging me to hold her? Why do my younger two love to crawl into bed with us at night? Why does my two year old insist that I stand and hold him at 6AM—the exact time I set aside to study my Bible and enjoy a quiet cup of much needed coffee?

When I think about what life might be like if my kids played happily, slept soundly, and let me run my days exactly as planned, I start to see a pattern — and I’m not sure life would be the haven it seems it would be.

What would motherhood be like if my kids didn’t need me so much?

Without their demands I would be content to put my role as mom on auto-pilot, so I can get “more important” things done.

Without their cries for attention I would forget that being their momma is not just about feeding their bellies and keeping them dressed, but about preparing them for life ahead and filling their soul with all they need to make that journey.

I would be tempted to ignore their true needs: love, attention, and Jesus.

The kids aren’t the only ones who would miss out. My own need for Jesus would be forgotten.

Without their neediness, I wouldn’t be needy myself.

While I am certainly looking forward to my children growing out of their physical dependance on me to hold, wipe, and cradle, I pray that my dependance on Jesus would be something I never grow out of.

I choose to thank the Lord for this season. Every frazzled, frustrating morning is an opportunity to cling to Him. Each messy moment a chance to depend. Another day filled with the demands of my children is a day filled with the choice to follow the example of my Savior.


So, I think we will try out that puzzle again today…here’s to keeping the pieces on the table this time, and maybe even getting a box or two unpacked!

What in your life is driving you to neediness? Are you running to Jesus with your need? Leave a comment here to share your heart.

(Don’t you just LOVE this puzzle? You can get your own here, and help support the HelloMornings Challenge when you do!)


Katie Orr: HelloMornings Director

Jesus-lover. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Auburn fan. Longs to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime. Co-author of Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time and author of Focused15 Bible studies. Creator of Do Not Depart where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

KEPT by the power of God {1 Peter Study}

By | Encouragement, General, Study the Bible | 11 Comments

An old sign hung in my parent’s house for years. Growing up, I never understood what it meant, or what it was for. All I knew is that it also had also hung in my great-grandparent’s home, and it reminded my dad of his fun summer vacation days visiting their Kentucky home.

“Kept by the power of God.”

I assumed it meant something good, but after being immersed in 1 Peter for months, I get it.

I am kept; all I am, all I have, and I will be hinges on one thing.

God’s power.

This week in our study, we read through the book of 1 Peter. What a rich set of verses! As we fly over the book for a bird’s eye view, here are a few themes we will all discover together over the weeks to come. What rich truths we have to claim!

Here are four transformational truths weaved throughout the book of 1 Peter. All of these truths are dependent on the power of God in our lives!

Keep focused on Christ.

Life is hard. Scripture promises it will be harder for those who follow Christ, but I have not been sent into the fire alone.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21 ESV)

Jesus is my example of how to walk through any fire my loving Father allows. Even though Christ desired to avoid unnecessary suffering, He chose to walk into the fire, confident it was His Father’s good plan.

The Father knew best; the son obeyed perfectly.

Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus.

Eternal security is possible.

In a world full of broken promises and shattered dreams, it is hard to imagine any sort of commitment lasting for eternity. There is much debate—even in Christian circles—as to whether or not a covenantal relationship with God can be broken.

We won’t get very far in our study before we hear Peter’s heart on this.

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is IMPERISHABLE, UNDEFILED, and UNFADING, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)

I am chosen. An adopted child of God. Royalty. That can’t be undone!

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:29 ESV)

I am kept safely in His powerful hands.

Persevere through the race.

Endurance to the end of this difficult race of obedient living is proof of the keeping power of God in my life. Not because I am the super-Christian, but because He has enabled me to finish this race well. Even when I am weary and want to give up, His strong hands keep me like a parent keeping their little one safely on the swing.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded . . . by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:7,11 ESV)

Perseverance doesn’t mean I never stumble and fall, it means I get up—by the strength that God supplies—and start running again!

Tell of God’s glory through obedient living.

I have choices to make. These choices do not lead to my salvation—I am already eternally secure in Christ, remember? But if my life looks no different next year than it does today there is a problem.

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…”(1 Peter 1:14-15 ESV)

I must remember I am still on this earth for a purpose—to make God known through reflecting His holiness! The way I live my life, raise my children, love my husband, and serve my community is all an opportunity to show off the holiness of Christ and the power of His work in my life.


Do you believe you are eternally secure in Christ?

Are you going through a difficult time and need to refocus your eyes on Christ?

Did you read 1 Peter this week? What did you see in your “fly over” of the book?

Let’s chat in the comments!


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About Katie
Jesus-lover. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Auburn fan. Longs to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime. Co-author of Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time and author of Focused15 Bible studies. Creator of Do Not Depart where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

Why You Were A Great Mom This Week!

By | Encouragement | 76 Comments

FYI: I had a few guest posts go up this week on various blogs. Check them out if you get a chance. I hope they encourage you:
Why Parents Need More Sleep and How to Get It
One thing more important than a mentor
I’m Done Living A WalMart Life

I Don’t Think I’m The Only One

My house was an absolute wreck.

Packing peanuts e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. I desperately needed to mop (still do) and I hadn’t seen the bottom of my sink in two days. My email inbox is in the triple digits and we had cereal for dinner twice this week.

“Ugh…what’s wrong with me?! Why am I the worst mom in the world?!”

Perhaps it was a little “Anne of Green Gables” of me, but I’ve thought it before. Perhaps weekly in moments of self frustration.

Have you ever thought that?

As moms, we  can be so critical of ourselves. We want to be better so we constantly look at what we are doing wrong and rarely take the time to look at what we’re doing right.

But the fact is, if you’re taking the time to read blogs about motherhood, then you’re an awesome one. You want to learn and grow.

Tell Us What You Did Right

Today, I want to challenge you to tell us one thing you did GREAT this week as a mom.

Maybe it was:

  • cooking dinner
  • playing a game with your kids
  • praying for your children
  • getting out of bed with a smile
  • being patient even just once when you didn’t feel like it
  • having a good conversation with one of your children
  • snuggling

It can be absolutely anything, big or small. I just want you to take time to think about what you do well, because you do A LOT well. No, you’re not perfect. None of us are. But let’s all get in the habit of giving ourselves as much credit as we do critique.

Tell us! What is one thing, big or small, that you did well this week? Click here to share in the comments! (I’ve shared mine there as well).

Happy New Year (?!), The Secret To Your Success And a Great Resource For Your Kids

By | Be Productive, Encouragement | 161 Comments

photo credit

The Mom’s New Year

To a child, there’s nothing like a pack of brand new, freshly sharpened, colored pencils, it’s like a masterpiece waiting to happen. A box of imagination and possibility.

The beginning of a school year can feel like that to a mom too. It’s a fresh New Year. A chance to be organized, to do more, do better and improve on last year.

But, for many of us, all of our good intentions lose their sharpness after a couple weeks and far too often, by the time December rolls around, many of us feel frazzled and frayed.

We’ve missed soccer practice…seven times. The after school snack is a bag of cheetos instead of homemade granola bars. And all our grand plans to finish Christmas prep by October 1 are 8 weeks overdue.

So today, before all our expectations and disappointments make their homes in our hearts, I want to tell you, remind you, assure you, that it’s okay to fail.

No one succeeds because they never fail, they succeed because they didn’t let their failure have the last word.

Those who accomplish goals, get organized and find themselves ahead of the game do so because they dust themselves off after each fall.

The secret to success isn’t the lack of failure, it’s the determination to start again each time we do.

So as we look to a new school year, whether you are homeschooling or traditional schooling, resolve to give yourself grace if your actions don’t meet your expectations.

A Simple Tip

One thing that helps me fight discouragement, is that I’ve determined to always view Mondays as a blank canvas, a fresh start, a new week, a masterpiece waiting to happen.

If you need to, write “blank canvas” or “happy new year” or “masterpiece” on each Monday of your calendar. And whatever you do, don’t let failure have the last word. You’re so much better than that.


(Update from last week’s giveaway – The Avodah “HelloMornings” Coffee winner from last week’s link up is Katie Haney. Yay!)

Today I’ll be giving away 3 copies of the The Dig for Kids! The Dig is a great kids Bible study created by Patrick Schwenk, husband of The Better Mom Blog founder – Ruth Schenk. It covers the book of Luke and really teaches children how to dig into scripture, ask questions and search for answers. My kids have really enjoyed it and I think it is a great resource for school year morning devotions. Click here to learn more about it.

How To Enter The Giveaway
Tell us, in the comments:
1. What kind of schooling you do, or plan to do, (homeschool/traditional school)
2. Share one simple back to school tip (organizing, snacks, lunches, planning, schedule, homework, etc.) you use now or remember from your childhood (if you don’t have school age children yet).

Click here to leave your comment and enter the givewaway.

We’ll announce 3 winners next week who will win a copy of The Dig for Kids. You can also click here to learn more about The Dig for Kids.

12 Women I Admire and Why

By | Encouragement, HelloMornings Challenge | 14 Comments

Today I challenge you to go on a treasure hunt. Find the “treasure” in each person you spend time with today. Notice what makes them special…and tell them. Here are my treasures:

The 12 women want you to meet today are all part of the HelloMornings Team. They are making the next HelloMornings Challenge happen and I couldn’t be more honored and excited to work with them.

I hope you enjoy meeting these lovely women and that they inspire you to make the most of today.

10. Katie


Yes, I’m starting with #10, the OCD in me can barely stand it too, but this team wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Katie so I wanted you to meet her first.

Katie is pretty much amazing. I am ridiculously thankful for her. She is a finisher, the sort that makes ideas actually happen. She has gathered together this wonderful team of ladies who are all committed to help helping women develop the habit of meeting with God each day. Katie is just fantastic to work with and I’m pretty sure this whole thing would fall apart without her.

What is one thing that you need to finish today?


Takes Action
Joyce is the sort of person who sees what needs to be done and just does it. I remember one particular day last year after a HelloMornigns Challenge registration opened and I was flooded with comments and questions. With fear and trembling I opened my computer to reply – only to find that Joyce had already answered EVERY. SINGLE. question. I can’t even tell you how much that blessed me.

As you go through the day today, look for needs others might have, even if they don’t voice them. Then don’t just offer your help, do something.

2. Kristi

Gives 100%

One thing I adore about Kristi is that she is wholehearted. She doesn’t do things half way. She dove into HelloMornings and God has been doing mighty things in and through her. Lately, she’s really been focusing on fitness and nutrition and leaving a trail of inspiration behind her. You’ll be hearing more from her soon…

What is one area of your life that you need to give 100% to?

3. Heather


Heather has a habit of making me cry – in a good way. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve had a challenging day (and Heather didn’t necessarily know) and I’ve opened my email to find an emailed prayer from Heather with just the right words that ministered to me. I love how God speaks to people the exact things others need to hear.

How can you pray for someone in your life right now? Pray for them and then encourage them.

4. Linnie

Community minded
Linnie has an awesome accent. She’s from South Africa and I could listen to her talk for days. But what I love more about her is her passion to draw women together in community to pursue God more deeply. Lives are being changed because of her commitment and faithfulness.

Who can you get together with this week to encourage?

5. Lara

Word artist
If you don’t already follow Lara on Twitter, you need to fix that. She can do more with 140 characters than I could do with 140,000. Her words are beautiful and I’m so thankful she shares them with us through the HelloMornings Bible studies and her inspiration and encouragement on Twitter. Also? She raps. +140,000 cool points.

Write a note to someone today. Words from the heart are always beautiful.

6. Julie

Voice of Wisdom

I am so thankful for Julie’s voice of wisdom. She is full of the Grace and Joy that comes from a life lived well with Jesus. She is a grandmother and has so much experience and a heart to share it with others. It’s such a blessing to have her on our team.

Are there any younger mothers you can encourage?

7. Aubrey

Goes the extra mile
Aubrey is a runner so my description of her is something of a pun, but it’s also entirely true. Not only does she run marathons, but ever since joining the HelloMornings Team, she has gone the extra mile. When I went on vacation last month she completely took over the weekly emails allowing me to savor that time with my family. It was a priceless gift. Her faithfulness inspires me.

How can you serve someone above and beyond today?

8. Larri

We have thrown the kitchen sink at Larri and she hasn’t flinched once. From technical duties to organizational tasks, she is always ready to help and to figure out whatever is needed. She bravely takes things on and gets them done.

What big tasks are on your to do list today? Pick one and tackle it. Be unafraid.

9. Amanda

One Smart Cookie
Amanda knows the business of blogging. She’s been so gracious to answer questions and share her wisdom. Also? She’s just cool. She’s one of those people that you know you’d want to be BFF’s with if you lived in the same time zone. I adore her heart for impressing God’s word on her children’s hearts.

What can you do today to impress God’s Word on your children’s hearts?

11. Kris


Kris has such a tender and encouraging heart. She is always cheering others on in the HelloMornings Twitter stream where she has been an incredibly faithful voice. This upcoming session of the HMC, she’ll be focusing on serving the Accountability Captains – encouraging, answering questions and generally being awesome. I think her personal Twitter handle exemplifies her best – @alwaysalleluia.

Who can you encourage today? What can you thank God for right now?

12. Susie

Heart to mentor
Susie is the wonderful sort of person who loves you enough to ask you the hard questions. Questions about family, balance, relationship with God. The questions that keep you accountable and make you grow. Combine that with her heart for prayer and you have a woman who is constantly building those around her. I’m so thankful for her!

How can you pray for and invest in your children today?


Who is a blessing in your life today? Tell us about them and why your thankful for them. Then write a note and let them know! Click here to share.

Note: Today is the LAST day to register to be an Accountability Captain for the Fall HelloMornings Challenge. Click here to learn more and join us!

The Year of Motherhood: Fruit of the Spirit

By | Encouragement, General, Guest Posts, The Year of Motherhood | 18 Comments

Six months into the challenge ….

This completes the sixth month for my YEAR OF MOTHERHOOD challenge that I started this year.  My whole intention with this challenge was not to compare myself to others, or to see how bad I am at certain areas of motherhood, or to point out how good I am at other aspects of mothering; no the whole point in my challenge was to do just that, to CHALLENGE myself to look deep inside myself and allow myself to focus more in depth on certain areas of my parenting each month.

So far, I have gotten up before my kids each morning, not been on the computer while they were awake, spent one-on-one time with each kid each week (attempted to do that!), planned family nights, tried to encourage them daily, and this month we focused on the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT that Paul laid out for us in Galatians 5.  Doesn’t all that sound like I’m automatically up for mom-of-the-year?!

Talking about the Fruit of the Spirit

This month was so much fun and a big challenge as well.  I started out by ordering a book that would help me plan different activities for the kids to learn more about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I basically just used this as a guide to a few activities that I did with the kids.  It was good and I’m sure everything that I did most of you super crafty moms could have come up with on your own, but for me it was a great help.

One night I was talking to Aaron on the phone while he was out of town and he asked me how talking with the kids was going, and I started venting my frustration about how they don’t really listen to me.  I felt like I was trying to give them truths from the scripture and they kept arguing, or fighting, or just not paying me a lick of attention.  I was a bit discouraged.

Two days later he was home and we were all around the table eating breakfast and Aaron asked them what they knew about the fruits of the spirit and to my surprise they all started saying stuff about each one.  I was amazed and super proud all at once.  He looked at me and I’m pretty sure I had tears in my eyes, because sure enough they had been listening even when I thought they didn’t care.


They are listening.

I think this is why God put these words for us in his scriptures, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontless between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorpost of your house and your gates.

I learned this month that God really knew what he was talking about when he told us to constantly talk to our kids about His Word.  Even when we think they are not listening to keep talking.  Even when we think they don’t care, keep on talking.  Even when we feel as though they are too little to understand this, keep talking.  God commands us to talk about His Word with our kids, and I’m starting to figure out that He knows what He’s talking about and has great reasons for His commands to us!


Next month … lots of praying

For the month of July I’m going to be praying more specifically for my kids.  I pray for them daily, but I’m hoping that in this month I can really identify some specific things I can go before the Father on their behalf about.  I know that once again this will have a huge impact on our home, my kids and especially me as well. 

I’m asking that God opens my eyes to the power that our prayers can have.


How do you pray for your kids?  I know I’ll be using Inspired to Actions prayer calendar for kids that I love already so much.   Join me in this journey this month of going before the LORD on behalf of our kid!  Click HERE to join this discussion!

3 Things I am Learning About Exercise

By | Encouragement, Get Inspired | 60 Comments

My husband and I just started P90X yesterday. My abs are still a bit shaky and I can already feel my shoulders getting sore…but I did it.

Day 1. Done.

Only 89 more to go.

We have been wanting to do P90X for a while now, but the craziness that has been our life has not allowed it. Well, all that changed this past Saturday when my husband graduated from seminary with his Master of Divinity.

It has been four long years and my sweetie has worked SO incredibly hard—he even graduated with a 4.0!

So, P90X, here we come!

Some seasons allow. Some don’t.

While I am excited to be able to “bring it” to P90X, I know without a doubt that we could not have even attempted something like this until now. It was not realistic for me to find an hour to workout.

Alright, now it’s confession time. I’ve been getting up early for years now, and I have YET to incorporate exercise into my morning routine. You would think that getting up at 5:30 would be long enough for me to squeeze it in. But it has just not happened—for me. Either I wake up the kids, run out of time, or end up falling asleep if it involves laying on the ground.

I feel as if I have needed every moment of that precious morning time to connect with God through journalling and Bible study. So, I decided to just let it rest—this feeling that I should be able to do it all—and I now enjoy my morning time, just as it is.

Plus, trying to get this body moving out of my comfy morning chair is quite a struggle.

There is always something that can be done.

It seems as if things change so quickly with little ones—and that makes it hard for me to get into a good routine.

So, I’ve just tried to find what works—until it doesn’t.

There was a while there where the double stroller and I were great friends. I had my route, and we we walked it a few days a week. My two youngest enjoyed the free-ride, and it got my heart pumping.

For another stretch of months, I would run/walk one mile after dropping my son off from school. My husband has flexible hours, so he would stay at home a bit later in the mornings a couple days a week while I got in 10-15 minutes of cardio.

I’ve even tried to do sit-ups while I brush my teeth. (That one didn’t stick…)

Focus on desire, not longing.

I tend to envy those who are able run regularly, have a gym with childcare nearby, or can do a real pull-up. (Here’s looking at YOU Kat!) But that usually turns into a pity party of how if this or that were different, I would work out more.

Reality is, I do what I want to do.

If I want to work out, I will make it happen. If I don’t, well, I won’t. (And haven’t.)

My stage of life may one day be such that I can find a running buddy and train for a marathon. God may bring us to a town with a childcare-provided YMCA right around the corner. And, I am certainly hoping that I will soon be able to do a darn pull-up.

Instead of wasting time longing for what others have, I need to focus on what desire I do have to work out, and get moving!

What’s your story?

I am no expert at exercise. I am certain many of you are in much better shape than I am. These are just a few things I have stumbled upon along the way.

I’d love to hear about your journey toward incorporating exercise into your life.

Since the hubs and I will be doing this together, we plan to do our workouts together at night, but there may be some days we try it out while the kids are around. What tips do you have for incorporating your children into your workout? Let us know in the comments.

One thing’s for sure, trying to get a good family picture this past weekend MUST have burned some calories!!

Take 204:


The Year of Motherhood: Themed Family Nights

By | Encouragement, General, Get Inspired, The Year of Motherhood | 14 Comments

April Family Night – Recap!

My April challenge was to plan a family night each week that was more than dinner and a movie.

I feel like my husband, Aaron, and I spend a good amount of quality family time with our kids, but for some reason I felt as though we needed a little boost to our nights.  I wanted to put a little pep in our step and bring them up a notch. 

Our first family night was a LUAU FAMILY NIGHT theme and it was so much fun with the kids.  I learned that on one hand it was super easy because it’s food we would have normally eaten, and I didn’t have to buy much to make the night special.  We played limbo with a broomstick I found in the backyard, and silly straws and virgin pina colada’s don’t cost too much these days!  The kids loved it.  At one point I looked at Aaron and thought, I could do this.  I could plan something like this every week and be a really “good” mom!

The next family night snuck up on me and I was not as prepared. Around 5:30pm I was still at the grocery store and texting everyone I knew in our neighborhood asking if they had a tent that we could borrow for our camping theme night.  We finally got a tent, and finally got dinner made and in the end had one of the kids favorite desserts, but it was stressful for me, and I felt like I was more concerned with feeling like we were “camping” than I was with hanging out with my kids.  Sure they ate in the tent, but I’m not sure I talked to them at all during the dinner.  I could check another family night off the calendar.

That family night left me feeling defeated.

Another night was completely unplanned and we ended up making nachos late at night with our boys while watching a movie.  Aaron looked at me and we kind of had the look that we both knew what we were both thinking.  We both knew that this was a memory night.  Completely unplanned and no theme at all, unless you call it a “How-much-gross-food-can-you-eat-in-one-night” theme!  My kids thought it was hilarious that we put a TV in their room and let them eat nachos on the floor while we watched a movie.  It was out of the box and so fun for them.  I didn’t plan this theme.  

It was just life happening and it was perfect.

Themed family nights have been fun and they’ve also been draining.

I’ve learned this month that each mom is different and I need to know my limits.  Planning themed nights is not my thing, and I can say this with all confidence…. I’m.okay.with.this.  For me, I’ll still do a theme night every once in a while, because my kids loved it.  I’ll also not stress about them, because my kids also just love it when we’re together eating nachos on the floor in their room just because.  No theme necessary.  Just because.

The Next Motherhood Challenge

My challenge for May is to encourage each of my kids daily.

To say this out loud seems very elementary, but the point of this month is to stop and really talk to my kids each day.  If you are like me, you wake up; get them to school and when you pick them up from school the whirl wind starts.  The hours between 4 and 8 pm should be the sweetest, but sometimes they are the craziest.  Baseball practice, homework, piano lessons, church stuff, dates nights, etc. etc. etc.

I want to slow down each day and spend time exhorting my children.

I want to look at them and find their strengths and encourage them in them daily.  Unfortunately this will be a challenge for me.  Instead of seeing so many areas that need improvement I’m asking God to help me see the areas they are succeeding in and encourage them there.  In Hebrews the writer tells us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you maybe be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”.  That’s what I want for my kids.  I want to be their biggest fan and encourager.

Will you join me this month in becoming your kid’s biggest fans?

Together, let’s find ways to encourage our kids every single day.  When they are driving you nuts, find something good in them that is worthy of encouragement.  Let’s cheer our kids on with encouragement this month and all the months to come!

Share with us in the comments how you take special time out each day to encourage your kids.Click here to join the discussion!