Jul 21 2017

Are You Collecting Flowers of Gratitude or Weeds of Grumbling?

Flowers and weeds. They’re the same to a young child. They’re all beautiful. But as we grow, our tastes mature. Weeds are weeds. We prefer flowers. Flowers are a gift.

As I think about prayer, and praying the truth, I’m reminded that thoughts can be like weeds or flowers. We collect our thoughts which direct our beliefs. In joining Five Minute Friday, here are my five minutes on collect.

Collecting Flowers of Gratitude

Collecting Flowers of Gratitude


She collects flowers from a field. One after another, she plucks and puts them in her little hands. She fills her hands and returns home with her treasure. Lifting them up to me, she smiles and says, “Mom, these are for you.” I receive them for what they are, an expression of love. She’s so sweet, but I don’t have the heart to tell her. She’s given me weeds.

But I’m reminded anew of the weeds I collect. They aren’t flowers, they’re weedy thoughts. Grumbling thoughts. Ungrateful thoughts. Woe-is-me thoughts about my life. I collect them and give my handful of awful-life thoughts to God. These aren’t given as an expression of love to God. And thankfully, God is loving enough to tell me my thoughts are weeds and shows me a field of beautiful flowers. Flowers, if I chose to collect them, would fill my hands with beauty and fragrance. These are flowers of gratitude. And when I’ve collected my words of thanks upon thanks, this I can give to God. Yes, this bouquet of thanks is an expression of love. It brings me joy and honors the One who has blessed me so much.


Praying the truth about our lives

When we choose to think about and express gratitude to God in prayer, we are praying the truth about our lives. Yes, life isn’t perfect. Yes, life hurts sometimes—or a lot. But the truth is that God is in control, and he is working his perfect plan of redemption in our lives. He is redeeming every moment, even the ones that look like unrecoverable, grievous loss. Even if that is the only thankful thought we can conjure—we must speak it boldly. Praying the truth turns our thoughts toward the eternal while giving us the grace and strength we need today.

Weedy thoughts

I look at the pile of dishes in my sink, and my thoughts run toward grumbling. I don’t wanna do the dishes. I start plucking those weeds so effortlessly. The sour seeds spread. Why do I have to do them? Why won’t anyone help? I’m always the one who sees the mess and have to do it alone. I’m never gonna… All of a sudden, my thoughts are consumed, and I’ve lost all joy and energy. It’s one sink of dishes—not really a big deal—and I’ve wrecked my day.

A gentle reminder towards truth

But the gentle voice of God speaks and reminds me of the truth. I have a pile of dishes because God has blessed me with a family, and we have full tummies. I can thank God for my family, for his provision of food, and the opportunity to serve them. This is the power of praying the truth about life.

The thoughts are the beginning but never stop at thinking thankful thoughts. Speak them. Proclaim them. God is good not just because of who he is, he is good because of what he does. Every, every, EVERY good thing comes from God (James 1:17).

Got something good in your life?

We all do. Let’s thank him. Let’s pray the truth about our lives in words of thanksgiving.

Sign up for the PARK Plan

The PARK Plan

If you’d like to find out how to pray the truth about your life, sign up for my PARK Plan email series. PARK is an acronym for Pray Ask Rest Keep. After you sign up, you’ll receive a weekly email taking you through each step of the PARK Plan.

Dandelion Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Bouquet Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Permanent link to this article: http://realinginlife.com/collecting-flowers-gratitude-weeds-grumbling/

Jul 19 2017

How Godly Self-care will Cure Burnout

How Godly self-care will cure burnout

How Godly Self-care will Cure Burnout

I lay there trying to sleep. I know I need to go to sleep. I want to sleep, but I can’t. My mind is alert and racing. My chest tightens with tension. Being awake is the last thing I need, but I can’t find sleep for all my searching. I’m like a hamster running on its wheels getting nowhere fast. Exhaustion and insomnia are two of the telltale signs of burnout. Along with that are the symptoms of irritability, a lack of motivation to do anything important, and unexplained health problems. The common symptoms of burnout sound very much like the normal experience of many mothers.

Burnout and motherhood

Brain fog, not getting enough sleep, and taking care of everybody else’s needs in place of self-care are symptoms of burnout that are also common struggles in motherhood.

When I was a mom of three young children, I went to the doctor because I was convinced something was physically wrong with me. When the doctor came back with the test results, I was floored. He told me, “You have three young children.” That was his diagnosis. I’d already convinced myself I had a thyroid problem or something. I went away sad because I wanted a pill, a procedure or a simple solution. I didn’t know then that a cure existed: I needed to take better care of myself. If the doctor told me that, I missed it. At the time, I ignored and undervalued self-care. I disconnect the relationship between self-care, my health, and my ability to care for my family well. I slogged through those years never realizing there could’ve been another way.

A reason to change

I’m just now seeing the importance of self-care. My body is older, and the long term effects of burnout are no longer tolerable. The ways I coped earlier in life doesn’t work now. Getting to the end of one’s self is often the impetus for change. I wish I had gotten there sooner.

The key to move from burnout

There’s a high chance you could be suffering from burnout if you don’t prioritize self-care. The best kind of self-care is godly self-care. Understanding and applying godly self-care is the key to moving out of burnout while taking care of your family and growing into God’s design for your life.

Godly self-care, the cure for burnout

Godly self-care asks: What is important to God? And What does God want me to do?

How does godly self-care cure burnout? It strips away the irrelevant and moves the answer of priorities away from feeding pride and control issues. If we weren’t concerned about our image or feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders, life would be less stressful. Asking ourselves why we do what we do, if we can be honest, will find many answers rooted in pride or control issues.

  • If I have a guest coming over, I spend extra time cleaning up. I tell myself I want her to feel welcomed and at home, which is true. But the bigger drive is avoiding the feeling of embarrassment if she saw my house in disarray.
  • I might read and reread an email before sending it. I tell myself I want the communication to be clear, which is true. But the bigger drive is trying to impress. I want the person to think I’m an intelligent and competent person.

Can you relate?

How to stress less

The problem is not with keeping a clean and welcoming home or writing well, it’s the overdrive that pushes us into burnout. When we listen to God, we can be free to impress less. Impressing less means stressing less. We can do our part and let go of the rest if we’re connecting to God. Mediocre is not the goal. Obeying God is. When we listen to and obey God come we can find rest for our body, mind, and spirit. We can direct our energy toward what it is truly important and experience immeasurable joy only found in walking with the Savior.

How do I know what God wants me to do?

The short answer is to ask God, listen, and obey. That’s easier said than done. Do the obvious and keep a listening ear. It takes practice. If you continue the practice of asking (through prayer), listening (to God’s word and godly wisdom), and obeying, you will improve. Matthew 11 speaks,

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

Matthew 11:28-30


Would you consider signing up for the PARK Plan?

The PARK Plan is an email series you can get for FREE. In the PARK Plan, the “A” is all about asking God to lead in his prorities.

The PARK Plan

Sign up here.


Hamster photo by My Name on Unsplash

Permanent link to this article: http://realinginlife.com/godly-self-care-will-cure-burnout/

Jul 17 2017

You don’t have to be a gourmet to feed your kids

You don't have to be a gourmet to feed your kidsYou don’t have to be a gourmet to feed your kids

I like to eat healthy food. Sometimes I like to get fancy. My gourmet wouldn’t qualify for some tastes, but I’ve discovered that I don’t have to be fancy to feed my kids. That’s great news because, most days, I’m just thankful I can get something on the table . . . before they “starve to death” or need to go to bed.

Grace over guilt

If the food isn’t homemade, I feel like I let my family down. Scratch cooking is healthier and cheaper, my inner mantra chides. Pride drives unrealistic expectations, I try to remind myself, scratch cooking isn’t always a better choice. That inner voice, the second one that’s showered with grace, is right. Feed your kids but don’t forget to feed yourself grace.

Cooking from scratch isn’t better if…

  • We’re getting stressed in our kids’ direction over it.
  • We’re under a time crunch.
  • It’s not practical.

The best meal plan is one that fits…

  • who we are (including our season of life)
  • the family enjoys, and
  • fits our budget.

Use meal planning to feed your kids (and reduce your stress)

With meal planning, you can reduce stress, include healthy choices, and fit your budget. The focus on feeding your kids is not on scratch cooking, pre-made foods, or eating out. When you plan, you have choices. You choose what works for you. The magic of meal planning: Once you decide, all you need to do is work your plan. Bye-bye decision fatigue.

Check out my Real Meal Planning ebook.

Learn how I meal plan to help you in developing your own meal plan for your family.

Real Meal Planning

Gourmet sounds like...

Gourmet sounds like

BunBun felt happy about me making spaghetti one night. She compared making chicken nuggets verses making spaghetti.

“Spaghetti is mom-met not gourmet,” she told me. I soaked in her perspective on gourmet. Apparently, gourmet isn’t good either. “Gourmet sounds like shellfish stuffed with something disgusting,” she continued.

What does gourmet sound like to you?

Her comment typifies what my family thinks about gourmet. That takes pressure off.

I suspect your kids don’t care so much about fancy either.

The best we can do is good enough. The hard part is giving ourselves grace along the way.




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Permanent link to this article: http://realinginlife.com/kid-quotes-gourmet-sounds-like/

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