Happy New Year!

New beginnings are the best; they are a chance to start fresh! I am so thankful for new starts and for God’s absolute grace that washes over me again and again, like the waves of the sea.

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  – 1 Timothy 1:14

Wishing YOU the joy and peace that we are invited to experience as we start a new year! Looking forward to a wonderful year!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  –  Thessalonians 2:16-17

Gratitude: The Cure for Entitlement

The Cure for Entitlement: Gratitude  the cure for entitlement is gratitude

My son has been excitedly asking about our gratitude jar for the past month. Filling the jar with things we are thankful for is a tradition we do every November. Every day in November (ideally… we often have to catch up!), we write down things we are thankful for on slips of paper and add them to the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, we read all of our notes aloud. It is a humbling and gratifying experience to say the least. To hear aloud my family members say things that maybe I never think to be thankful for, this fills my heart! This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Get Our Hearts Right

It surprises me that he asks and even remembers! Our gratitude jar simply sits on our kitchen table for one month out of the year. It precedes Christmas, which can become an extremely materialistic time of year if we’re not careful. I love that it makes an impact on him, and I hope we keep this tradition for many years to come. More than anything, in our entitled world, I want our kids to know the source of everything. I want them to know that it comes from God, and not from any work they can do themselves. Sure, hard work is often rewarded, but this gratitude is what separates the entitled from the humble and thankful.

gratitude
Simple Jar or Bucket

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your container has to be Pinterest-worthy to use! A gratitude jar (or gratitude bucket!) can be as crafty as you want, or have time, to make it! It’s the practice, the habit, of daily writing down things we’re thankful for that we’re after. If you have time to make it super-cute, then by all means, do! This year, my usual glass apothecary jar was being used for something else. So, we are using a galvanized bucket with a ribbon tied at the top! Times are busy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss this opportunity! Who knows how many more years our kids will want to do this?! I do hope it sticks with them. But regardless, it will be a fulfilling memory to store away for future thanksgivings.

Solutions to Raising Grateful Kids

Beyond this simple idea of a gratitude jar, here are other ways to raise grateful kids in this entitled world:

  • Express thankfulness in prayers and blessings. Thankfulness is a key element of prayer, and in blessings at meals, we bless the food and thank God for providing it. Creating this habit reminds us daily to focus on God, and not on ourselves.
  • Give gifts and serve in the community. When you give generously, you think of the receiver and it forces you to look beyond yourself. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our situation, that we fail to look outward. Giving good gifts to teachers and others in the community helps us to voice our appreciation of their work.
  • Get into nature and experience the awe and beauty around us, given to us by God. How can you look at a sunrise and not be thankful?!
  • Live intentionally. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, focus on what your purpose is and do that well!
  • Keep Christmas about the cross, and not just wanting more “stuff.” We can challenge ourselves to give and not just want. The 3 Gift rule helps our family keep away from all of the “I wants.”

Expressing Gratitude Creates Long Term Impact

Ultimately as parents, when we “teach” our children, we’re really teaching ourselves, right? This reminder every November is good medicine for me AND it’s great for our kids. We’re raising up the next generation, and who wants a bunch of spoiled adults running around! Long term, I believe practicing gratitude creates healthier families. Think of how much better you sleep when you’re not overspent and overworked? When you’re able to focus on living intentionally, grateful for each day. There are even studies pointing to gratitude reducing anxiety and depression in adults. The results of one study are preliminary, but it suggests practicing gratitude actually rewires the brain! Knowing that the future ahead for our children is not going to be any easier, I want to give my kids all the tools to have long, productive and meaningful lives. Gratitude is a simple answer.

For more posts related to family and living intentionally around the holidays, join our newsletter and click to read these posts:

Christmas Giving with Kids
Three Gift Rule
Living Intentionally as a Mom

A Devotional: Proverbs 31 Woman

Wisdom, Faith, Productive, Industrious, Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31 Woman

When I think of the entire Proverbs 31 Woman passage as a tribute to the ideal woman, it’s an inspiration to me, as unattainable as it may be to meet every goal listed in that long passage!  But…it’s an inspiration, and it sets my mind and heart on a WORTHY goal, because we serve a WORTHY God, and this world is filled with so much less than ideals that are worthy!  My hope and prayer is that this website points you to God, and that you may find in your own time with God, to discover all of the ways that you are worthy of becoming like the Proverbs 31 Woman.

“Encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”  – 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Mom’s Priority serves to encourage and help moms achieve financial, organizational, family, social/ethical, and personal goals by providing money and time-saving strategies that allow moms to use their hearts in their time and purchases for good.  As moms, we want to live our lives fully and with purpose, as we raise up the next generation.  This looks a little different for each one of us, but in our quiet times with God, He  shows us how to live, if only we are willing.  He is faithful!

For more devotionals from Mom’s Priority, click here.

How I’m Simplifying So I Can Live My Priorities (Again)

I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength

to start all over again.  – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Simplifying

I am re-reading this book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist because it is like balm to my tired soul.  This time, I am reading it a chapter at a time, pausing to meditate on the thoughts she shares in it.  I found this book at just the right time; I just officially stepped down from leading our women’s ministry a few mere weeks ago, and my heart aches.  On the other side, in order to live my priorities, I know it’s what I had to do, what God is leading me to do. 

“As painful as it is, I know sometimes you have to let some GOOD things go in order for the BEST things to have a chance to GROW. ” – Shauna Niequist

Simplifying and Living Your Priorities

Simplifying and Living Your Priorities

Live Your Priorities

This F. Scott Fizgerald quote ties perfectly into “Mom’s Priority.”  The whole theme of Mom’s Priority is helping moms live out their priorities, or in other words, live a life you’re proud of.  Priorities vary from mom to mom and season to season, and there are so many good ones.  At the end of the day, you want to be spending your days and thus years, the way that brings God the most glory and you fulfillment as you follow His will.  

I wish I could give you this 10 step guideline to making your life perfect and always in order, but that’s not life.  Your priorities change, but having the tools (most importantly, prayer!) to help you simplify and keep your priorities in that season- this is what I hope we help you with.   

Ultimately, like Niequist said in this book, ” we decide where the time goes.  There’s so much freedom in that, and so much responsibility.”  

God Provides

10 years ago, I became a mom and after 8 months of working full time/momming, my husband and I decided that I would take a break from work to spend time raising our baby.  I can’t tell you where all of that time has gone, but for me, raising our children has been the most rewarding, fun work I have ever done.  And because we prayed about it, planned, and were obedient, God has provided in chilling, absolutely amazing ways.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I am proud to be devoting my energy to being a mom.  I am thankful we simplified our lives during those busy early years.  (If you want to know how to start saving money, start here!)

Learning to Say No

But in the meantime, I have picked up a ton of extra jobs.  Volunteer jobs abound when you stay at home, even if you’re working while you’re home!  Because of my “responsible” personality, like she mentions in the book, I have stepped up too many times to keep on going forever!  Starting a Sunday school class, leading women’s ministry, leading a girls’ missions group, being room mom, volunteering at the school weekly, being married to a little league baseball coach … these were current volunteer jobs up until a few weeks ago.  But, a new season is arising, and all of these things can’t go on forever.  Her book talks about saying no, which is an important skill to learn.  As much as we need people to step up and lead, we need others to step back and give them that chance. And give ourselves time to breathe! 

When we were just leading Sunday School and I hadn’t yet stepped up to leading women’s ministry, I was more thoughtful and I intentionally prayed for friends and the couples in our class and the issues they were facing.  I made a point to reach out and check in occasionally and I considered it a joy to do so.  More recently, I have become frantic and overwhelmed with all of the growing responsibilities.  I’m not as fun with our kids as I used to be, and I no longer reach out as much!  God made it clear: It’s time to scale it all back and regain our focus. 

Staying Focused on Your Priorities

Granted, I didn’t make this change voluntarily; rather, it took a painful event to realize that it is all too much. With kids at home, the time flies by way too quickly and before long, they will be grown.  There will be time for other priorities!  But right now, our focus is on God and family.  He makes the others fall into place, and I honestly pray these tools here on Mom’s Priority help you save money and time so you can live your priorities.  I share what has helped us, because too many times you don’t know where to turn. 

The Frantic Epidemic

It seems to be an epidemic:  overcrowded schedules to keep up with little to show for it at the end of the day, or year.  More and more moms on medication for anxiety, insomnia, and other illnesses.  Families frayed at the ends because of endless demands of travel tournaments, kid activities, and often, work commitments.  I don’t think God planned it this way.  We’ve taken it all to the extreme because that’s what we do.  But, there is time to scale it back, simplify, and focus on your priorities.  God provides. 

Pruning

These resources shared are not an excuse to not serve, because Jesus commands us to love one another above all.  Instead, I believe it frees us to love and serve, as God leads us.  Tonight, I trimmed up a cherry blossom tree that had grown multiple trunks from the base.  The tree has been an eyesore as I drive past it for weeks (maybe months).  The additional trunks were dying, and the main tree was not growing properly because of the additional growth.  It reminded me, as oddly working in my yard often does, of my life, giving myself to too many good endeavors.  The end result is a mess, and not the way God designed it.  John 15 talks about pruning to keep the vine fruitful, and that is what I had to do with this tree. The same is true in life.  I’ve asked myself and will ask you, Are you living your priorities?  At the end of our lives, only what is done for God’s glory will last into eternity. 

Are you living your priorities? 

More Resources

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst is a great book that reminds us that each decision is a turn in a direction. 

Andy Stanley is currently doing a sermon series on Breathing Room.  He says, “Sometimes we can’t enjoy anything because we’re trying to do everything.”  This sermon was perfectly timed for my car ride the other day, and I can imagine others will benefit from it as well.

Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson is another book to help us discern between “man-made obligations and God-given invitations.”


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Encouraging Friends through the Seasons of Motherhood

DEVOTIONAL

Encouraging Friends through the Season of Motherhood

Motherhood is hard work. You start out cradling this tiny, amazing human that is completely your responsibility. Then you find yourself running after little chubby toddler legs as they sprint as fast as they can toward the most dangerous thing in the room, followed by the “I can do it by myself” stage where you find yourself constantly cleaning up spilled milk and scraping glue off the floor. And, that’s only the beginning! Because, then the little tiny human decides to keep growing and growing until eventually he or she becomes a grown man or woman – and how are we supposed to handle it when all of a sudden we have no say in their lives? It’s just hard.

That’s why, we encourage you to lift up all the mothers in your life- friends, sisters, co-workers and even the stressed-out mom you see struggling through the supermarket. And, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because we are called to do it. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” And then in Ecclesiastes 4:9 -12 (ESV), it says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

With these Scriptures in mind, we asked several DaySpring staffers to let us know how they encourage the moms in their lives. We hope these questions and answers will give you some ideas on how to lift up your friends during each season of motherhood.

What is your favorite way to bless a new Mom? 

A meal in week 6. This is the week where all the help is gone, the meal train ends and sleep deprivation sets in.  I also tell a brand new mom to trust her own instincts.  READ MORE @ Dayspring

 


Thank you to DaySpring for allowing us to share an excerpt from this devotional.  Advertising Disclosure: Some tips include links where Mom’s Priority receives an incentive per click or per purchase.  For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Disclosure.

Good Friday 2017

He was pierced...Mom's Priority verse of the week

He was pierced for our transgressions…Isaiah 53:5- God’s sovereignty over time- Mom’s Priority

Every year, a fresh reminder of His Grace and ultimate sacrifice is offered on Good Friday.  As I look around at my life and others, I see His Sovereignty.  His Sovereignty is weaved through our disappointments, our heartaches, and our joys.  Only He knows the full story, and it is Good.  I am thankful, so thankful, for this sacrifice over 2,000 years ago that gives me the Hope I need for each day.  To know that by His wounds we are healed.  I am so thankful for His grace and sacrifice, for Good Friday.

I posted this verse on Monday, and have literally had the song “By His Wounds” by Steven Curtis Chapman, Mac Powell, and Brian Littrell in my head ALL week.  Thank goodness, because I needed it!  Where would I be without Jesus, and the forgiveness, grace, and love he bought with His ultimate sacrifice over 2,000 years ago?  I can’t even imagine.  I reread Luke 23 this morning, and it hurts, to think about the pain and agony Jesus went through so that we could feel His Comfort and HOPE when a loved one passes away or even in the day to day life when we sin and desperately need forgiveness.  We praise God today and always for having the love and foresight to send His Son for us; in humble adoration, we lift up our praises.

For more devotionals from Mom’s Priority, click here.

For more inspiration, check out Mom’s Priority’s Pinterest Board “Inspiration!”

Be Still

Be Still and Know that I am God

Devotionals for Moms

Devotionals for Moms

Probably like many of you, I love photography. I am a little obsessed with taking pictures. ? In the early years of motherhood, after leaving my corporate job to stay home with my babies while my husband traveling most of the time (supporting our family well), I had lots of moments without adults to talk to! It could have been lonely, but I took it all in. And in the moments when my babies wanted me there close by to play, or while I fed them, changed their diapers, and rocked them to sleep, I prayed…a lot. And I took in all the sights, feelings, (smells even) in. I can’t tell you how much I loved being able to be outside in the backyard with the sun shining down through the trees while my babies played, and I thanked God. I thanked Him often, for my husband, for these babies, for our house, and I said I’d never take it for granted, that I get to enjoy all of these precious gifts! Read on…

Love Does

We all fail at loving well all the time, which is why this article from DaySpring is such a good reminder and encouragement.  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it can mean much more than just the romantic love.  Loves does, which is what Bob Goff’s book by the same name encourages us to do.  As a mom, how will you love others well? 

Loving Others Well

Love Does

Love Does

John 13:34-35 TLB says, “And so I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Just think about it – there is not one person Jesus does not love and did not come to save – this includes everyone you lock eyes with, walk past on the street, hear about in the news, live next door to, stand behind in line at the grocery store, or sit next to in the waiting room. When we actively love those around us, putting their needs before our own, we are taking the same amazing love that Jesus has poured out to us and becoming a living, breathing, beautiful display for humanity.

You see, while many believe love is a just a nice, heart-warming feeling, as Christians, we are called for it to be more than that – we are called to take action. We can share God’s love by noticing the unnoticed, loving the unlovely, or even by extending grace to those who are not so easy to be around.

To read more and to find out about Bob Goff’s amazing book (I highly recommend for an easy but inspiring read), Love Does, check out DaySpring.com.


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PINspiration

A BIG fan of quotes, verses and inspiration, so I am loving Pinterest lately!  Check out this board on Mom’s Priority Pinterest for much more encouragement and motivation!  Some are anointed with the ability to connect with people flawlessly through words and pictures; you’ll find them through this Pinterest board.  God’s Word never fails and is always flawless and timely, so many Bible verses are pinned.  Enjoy!

For I know Pinspiration

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!!” – Jer 29:11