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10
Ways to be a Happier Mom

 

1. Life is not an emergency. 

Life’s a gift.
Just. Slow. Down.

 

2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace. 

Do whatever it takes to wake to wonder right here.

 

3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy. 

Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and memorize it.

Without the lens of His Word, the world warps.

{Slowest=fastest to joy}

 

4. Laughter is the cheapest, holiest medicine. 

Preschoolers laugh 300 times a day. Aim for double that. Tickle someone, (yourself!), if necessary. This is good!

 

5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace. 

Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege.

Never forget.

 

6. Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection

A perfect home is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Christ and Beauty are embraced.

{Perfect does not equate to immaculate.}

 

7. A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. 

A minute dawdled here, a minute scrolling here — they can add up to your life.  Write down your intentions for the day and prayerfully live the intentions and spend your life well by paying attention to the moments — which pays thanks to God.

A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.

 

8. Believe it: I have all I need for today.  

The needs of our day are great but our God is greater and we call Him Providence because we believe: He is the One who always provides.

{And when God provides, He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn’t praise always be on the lips?}

 

9. Slow. Children at play. 

The hurry hurts the kids.

Time’s this priceless currency and only the slow spend it wise enough to be rich.

If we had to actually buy our time, would we spend it more wisely — spend it more slowly?

{God’s Word never says Hurry Up. God words only whisper: Wake Up.}

 

10. Love is patient. 

Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him.

Patience. Love always begins with patience and patience is a willingness to suffer.

 

Bonus: 

The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right — but about receiving Grace

The sinners and the sick, the broken, the discouraged, the wounded and burdened — we are the ones who get to celebrate grace!

Regardless of the mess of your life, if Christ is Lord of your life, than we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace — because when it’s all done and finished, all is well and Christ already said it was finished.

 

Q4U: What is your plan to be a happier mom (happier person!) this fall? Let’s be a community and resource to cheer each other on to happier living (parenting!) this fall! Jump into the comments with Just. One. Thing. you are going to do toward happier living: 

Will you join in the conversation here? (Email and RSS Readers — come join the conversation here?)

By Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience

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  1. 1

    As I anticipate welcoming our fist babe this autumn I’ve been really pressed by God to consider just how much we are committed to doing (inside and outside of our church community). Reading Margin by Richard Swenson and Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist has helped me to frame a desire for a quieter, simpler, more Christ-orientated life. And caused me to write some difficult but necessary emails requesting space to step back from roles I have previously filled regardless of if I had the energy or not. I’m learning that sometimes the best way to be prepared for serving is to step back and be still.

    Praying we can all learn this despite the huge push in our culture to be busy and ‘active’ Christians.

    • 2

      Ah, so. there. with. you, Brie. Practicing the discipline of the Present, yes? Isn’t this always the holiest work of all — to lay aside an agenda to carry a cross and the presence of Christ. Praying to be ‘active’ with you…

  2. 3
    Melanie Vanlaningham says:

    Perfection has been choking my joy and a comment years ago still whispers I’m not enough. Martha Stewart I’m not -always felt I had a Mary heart, and that’s what I want. I don’t want to wait until my house looks beautiful to invite someone over – my heart has already called them in. Letting go of ‘not enough’ and staying close to the One who is always more than enough. Celebrating my mess today, because it is a life being lived, and basking in His perfection. I’m sharing dinner tonight in my ‘perfect’ mess.

    • 4
      Kate Martin says:

      Melanie,
      Well said! I remember those early years of marriage and babies. Always wanting the house perfect, which it was. Perfectly clean, perfectly organized, and well decorated. I strived so hard! But one thing was missing, peace, rest, and joy. It lacked joy, it was empty. Now i have learned that the goal in life is not to have all the dishes done, the closets organized, the decorating complete….but to have Christ fill me, that is the real joy, and His love pouring out of my empty vessel.

    • 5

      Melanie….this is what I struggled with deeply today. Perfectionism. Tidiness. Cleanliness. It consumes me! I’m a single Mother with an 8 year old boy. He wants me to go ride bikes, I say wait until I’m done with chores/cleaning. Seriously?!?! I hate it! How did you get go?

      Thanks so much for posting this!
      Danna Blackburn

      • 6

        My kids are aged 4, 2yrs5months & 5months. I too, am always busy cleaning and tidying to the extent that I get angry with them. Do they have a happy home and happy mother? I am doing them justice? It helps to know I am not alone and there are other Moms who battle as well. ‘No more desperate moms’ has been a tremendous help, as well as Ann! Thank you all Moms for all encouragement!
        Sonja ( South Africa)

        • 7

          Thank you, Sonja. Reaching over with a hug just now, friend. With you in this, friend!

        • 8

          I don’t have children, but I have the dis-ease of cleaning/perfection. Yikes! My husband once said that people will remember the peace and love of our home MUCH LONGER than the clean-ness of our home. Besides, when I am in another’s home that is “perfect,” it only creates a spirit of envy….nothing close to peace and love. I pray that we might all put the brooms and vacuums and Swiffers down long enough to look around and say, “It’s perfectly o.k. as it is, let’s relax and enjoy our home.” Love love love to all.

  3. 9

    Ann,
    I was challenged by your #3. I read scripture, but I don’t always intentionally try to memorize it. I need to get back into that habit! It’s kind of like packing my emergency kit, because when storms come along (and they will) I need to be equipped with God’s grace on the tip of my tongue. His word is what I cling to and the more of His word I can have tucked away, the better. Not only for the storms, but when life calls for praising Him, I want to be ready with scripture to bless and praise Him. I am a very early riser and need to commit to using more of my time to not only drinking in His word, but committing it to memory. Thanks for the gentle nudge!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 10

      Yes, yes! You have it, Bev! I find that the only way I can keep pace with it all is when I keep company with Christ – day in and day out! With you, friend!

      • 11
        Kate Schwas says:

        I so resonate with this. My husband and I are really focused on memorizing Psalms and Psalm 16 became the only thing I could pray wholeheartedly last year when we were in the midst of a very scary pregnancy. When I’m scared to just pray “your will be done” and don’t trust my own feeble needy, wordy prayers, the Psalms are always the best for me – they help me get back aligned.

  4. 12

    Slowing down, giving up control and viewing trials that come my way as a chance to develop my trust muscles in the Lord. :)

    • 13
      Beth Williams says:

      AMEN Brittnie! I usually complain about trials and life not going the way I want them. Learning to pray about everything!

  5. 14

    Getting in the kitchen with my five year old and almost three year old and baking up a storm. We baked a cake and made homemade icing yesterday and had the best time. Planning to incorporate a lot more baking this fall.

  6. 16
    Emma Harms says:

    As I grieve the very recent death of my own mother and anticipate the beginning of motherhood myself in November, realizing that each moment is precious, never again to be savored. Living in fullness of joy as I light fall candles, hold my husband tight, feel baby kicks inside of me, soak in His Word, sip chai tea with a friend, hope for Heaven – all is well and all manner of things shall be well.

    • 17

      Oh. Friend. I pray earnestly. Putting on the armor of God with you, and battling for JOY in Him…more love than thin letters can hold Emma! ((you)) Just love your Jesus loving heart.

    • 18

      Oh Emma, I lost my Mamma 2 months before my second child was born. It was her only goal to hang on long enough to see her but our Father took her home before she got a chance to see her. I’m praying with you and walking with you today as you long to have your Mamma there with you. I’m so very sorry sweet sister! It hurts I know.

    • 19
      Beth Williams says:

      Emma,

      Praying for sweet peace to cover you during this time. Hold on tight to God and your precious hubby.

      Lord,

      Please shower Emma with your love & hold her tight during these times of grief and joy. Help her to feel the warmth and tenderness of your strong arms. Bless her with peace & happiness@!

      AMEN!

  7. 20

    My goal? Slooooowwww dooowwwwwnnnn. Oh, how I need to do that! Slow down body and mind!

  8. 21

    I am seeing how much my inner desire and pull to please others is robbing me of true joy and contentment. I am missing the freedom that can overcome our hearts when our identity is in him and not in our false identity we build by performance. My goal is to take the mask off, the heavy load i carry and bring those things to my strong tower of refuge. In him i am enough and his love is enough!

    • 22

      Stacey,

      I see this in my own life, and for this and a few other reasons I took a two week sabbatical from church. It’s hard to explain so that it makes sense, but I just needed to get back to just God and me, no one watching, no one wondering, just the two of us. I wrote something on my profile the other day about laying at the foot of the cross, so his blood could fill all the broken places. Praying for you.

      • 23

        Stacey and Simone, I understand this battle completely. I and my family also took a sabbatical from church and did home church for 1 year. We needed to learn how to be loving with each other and be with God, without others looking on. We needed time to listen to God and ask Him what our next step would be. It was a blessing–Some Sundays I would wake up with anxiety and just want to go to church, because I did not know what else to do on a Sunday. So, we reclaimed Sabbath and started practicing it on Sundays. Then, God lead us to a small church home mixed with lots of people who “don’t have it together” and they meet only on Sunday evenings. We are able to still Sabbath on Sundays and to SLOW DOWN, so, as AVK says, we don’t get hurt in the hurry. Love and Peace on your journey.

  9. 24
    Rachael says:

    I’m praying that being intentional and present for me can mean not just “getting things done or checking them off the list” but really living in each task – appreciating the opportunity to just be in that moment while doing what needs to be done. I’m such a list-checker that sometimes my joy comes in the checking off and not in the doing – I want that to change!

    • 25

      Yes, I get this, Rachael. With you in this. It’s just a humbling gift of the Lord that we can gather here and encourage one another in Him! I humbly count it, *you*, a grace…. eucharisteo, sister! :)

    • 26

      Jeff Goins has a new book out, ‘The In Between’, encouraging us to focus on all the minutiae of our journey and not strive forward to the next thing constantly. http://goinswriter.com/inbetween/ – I haven’t yet read it myself but I know it’s getting a big reaction.

      • 27
        Rachael says:

        Thank you both. It brings joy to my heart to think about others off in their corners of the world taking time to respond to my thoughts. You brought me joy today. :)

  10. 28

    I love your suggestion to Just. Slow. Down. This is what I need. Want to make a commitment to a few quiet moments every afternoon after finishing homeschool in the afternoons this year. Just a time to say, “Hi God. What do you have for the rest of my afternoon?”

    • 29

      Betsy—thanks for posting this. Love the “Hi God. What do you have for the rest of my afternoon?” I feel like I am ALWAYS rushing rushing, but it shouldn’t be my agenda, it should be His! Thanks. :)

    • 30

      Thanks for this. I also homeschool and also would love to practice that…thanks!

    • 31

      Betsy,
      I have been told that Susanna Wesley (mother of John Wesley, founder of Methodism) would sometimes sit at the kitchen table with her apron over her
      head. That was the sign to the children that she was taking some quiet time.
      I think that you are right on.

  11. 32

    It really spoke to me that hurrying hurts the children and I truly do believe that…as we embark on a year of Classical Conversations and attempt homeschooling I realize that I need to let go of a lot of my commitments and focus on my children and enjoy the slow moments…thank you so much Ann for taking time to share from your heart!

  12. 33

    Smile. How much of a day, a moment, my heart, even a mess can be changed in an instant with a smile. The kind that deepen the lines around my eyes as I remember the Joy of the Lord and His many gifts. It has become an inside joke sort of thing here at our house, about getting our wrinkles in the “right” places! As the Lord allows, I don’t want to arrive in my senior years with a wrinkled brow from constant furrowing. But oh to have lines around the eyes and mouth instead! Our children have even lovingly commented to others (who were gracious to hear the compliment behind it) that they are getting their wrinkles in the best places!

    • 34

      SO. Love. this!! YES, yes, yes, Karen! Wrinkles in the right places! Will be thinking about this all day… *thank you*!

      • 35
        Debby Cartwright says:

        As I read this post about smiling it reminded me of the preciousness of a smile. When I visited my sweet mother in law this morning who has Alzheimers, I wanted to take her picture and I asked her to smile for me. She replied that she didn’t know how. She is only able to smile reflexively now, but not when she thinks about it. Thank you Father for this precious woman and for being on this journey with us.

  13. 36

    When I saw this pop up on my reader and read the first few lines I thought, “this is really for everyone, not just moms.” And then Ann’s original post popped up and it said “person” and not “mom”. Curious how this changed.

    I really think it applies to us all. Even those of us longing to be moms.

    • 37
      Rebecca says:

      Right there with you sister. . .ESPECIALLY for those of us longing to be moms, it is a daily choice to choose happiness. To choose the Word ( i needed that exhortation to memorize Scripture), to choose to slow down especially when as a non-mom the world tends to have even higher expectations of who you should be, what you should accomplish, how much you should produce in the workplace. To choose not to nurture bitterness and resentment toward those who already have the precious, lovable, noisy blessings we long for. To choose to look around our lives, and give thanks for the peculiar gift of this unfulfilled longing. To believe that the Lord is using it to bring about more of His character and more of His glory.
      So yes- I agree. Ann’s post is a good word to all of us, whether or not the title reflects that.
      Blessings to you. . .

      • 38
        Elizabeth says:

        praying for you, Rebecca

      • 39

        Praying for you.

      • 40
        Beth Williams says:

        Rebecca,

        Prayers for you. Know that God’s timing is perfect. He will provide a child for you when you are fully ready in His eyes. Waiting is never easy–having patience doesn’t come naturally. I like how Isaiah put it–

        “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

        God Bless you!

  14. 41

    I am going to plug the holes in my pail. I fill it but it leaks out before I can dip into it and give out of the abundance that slipped away because of missed opportunities and distractions. The day vanishes and I forget to live out of the fullness. Happy is to give out of the fullness, the fill and give again.

  15. 42

    turning the TV off!!!! savoring my children as they are…..my 5 year old’s gentle obedience, my 3 year old’s silly laugh and “mommy” play, my 1 year old’s LIFE as we almost lost him in that crowded NICU over a year ago. time in HIS Word…..as I find myself too busy with life for the best things (the lie I find myself saying). thank you for moving my numb heart to action! I’m reading your 1,000 Gifts – thank you for blessing me!

  16. 45
    Cherrie Bitcheno says:

    Responding to all I have …with gratitude. Reacting to all that happens…with gratitude. Treating people I encounter and instruct…with gratitude. Approaching unknowns …with gratitude, because He is with me, He is in me, He watches over me, He advocates for me. Tackling tasks I dislike doing… with gratitude. Ecclesiastes 7:8 admonishes me, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Instead of allowing myself to become infected by negative people, share with them things for which I have…gratitude. Saturate myself in the Word…with gratitude. Transform my thought life with thoughts mostly of …gratitude. I want to be consumed …with gratitude. In a word, happiness, this fall…or any other season for that matter, is to live…with gratitude. Thank you Ann for teaching me that the height of my joy is in direct proportion to my… gratitude. It is the best way to bask in His Presence and to experience it in a fuller capacity!

    • 46
      Jackie Siet. says:

      I am with you, Cherrie! Let’s ask each other how we are doing with our focus on gratitude! Great reflection.

  17. 47
    Cheryl Mejia says:

    Few things remind you to be in the moment with your children like getting ready to send them to college. Our oldest is leaving tomorrow and I wish I could stop time and just soak in all these wonderful moments together before she is not here to hug every day or sitting with us at the dinner table. We have had 18 years together, but how many times was I just too task-minded or didn’t really stop to listen. I know the journey is not over and I am so thankful for her beautiful faith…. And she is the one who is in the moment with people, who is not caught up by tasks and perfection, who is a beautiful example to me. More thankful for God’s grace, His word, and His reminders to not miss what He has for me today and every day in the present moment. It’s a wonderful, daily gift of manna.

    • 48

      Beautiful Cheryl — Just to whisper — I prayed for you today. With you.
      *Thank you* for sharing your heart. Waking to the moments with you, friend.

      • 49
        Lisa dekleine says:

        Cheryl,
        So with you at this moment as well. Our daughter is leaving as well. She will be heading of to N.S. This mama has been trying to take all the moments in. As we celebrate her 18th birthday today I am watching her take in all the moments. Glad to know another mother going through this time. Praying for you and our girls. :)

        • 50
          Cheryl B says:

          As I read through each comment I am In awe. This message I needed to hear,to savor. I am the mom who rushed when they were young. The Mom who has to have everything in order. Never slowing down who has always struggled with trusting Gods time, and being still to let Gods love carry me. My daughter is leaving for school Saturday she is in her second year…where did last year go! Though, this time it will be different. I am recovering from an ankle injury and surgery. I have limited mobility unable to do it all! Everyone has to help me! I am humbled and grateful to be so loved and to take this trying time to pray and trust and savor Gods love for me and to be still, Gods got this taken care of.

  18. 51

    In my life no 7 and no 9 are intimately linked. I squander so much of my God-given life and then hurry hurry hurry (bad temperedly) to catch up. We are just starting to apply to adopt for the 3rd time and I am so aware of all that I need to change and correct to make room in my heart for a third child- I know i can’t do it alone but with God’s grace I can. I need to print this out! Thank you, Ann, as ever.

  19. 53
    Danielle says:

    Love this post. I need to slow down. Say yes to what God leads me to do. Say no to what he doesn’t. I love my kids, but I lose that patience thing so quickly anymore. Praying for myself and all of us mothers doing the hard work and sculpting beautiful souls for kingdom purposes.

  20. 54
    Jessica says:

    . I will listen, observe and just be. Finding Joy in the moment is what I desire.

  21. 55

    embrace
    i want to embrace my beautifully messy life. i want to embrace my husband and his differences. i want to embrace the many holy interruptions throughout the day and embrace the struggles that are really opportunities to trust. i want to embrace His promises and embrace my girls all day long.

    • 56
      Janet S. says:

      Oh, yes! Embrace! You said it so well….thanks, I needed to hear someone put some of my experience into words….your words bring my hope…

  22. 57

    This time in my life I am going from parenting my 2 boys ( 17 & 19 ) to seemingly parenting my Mother. She is moving here near me after the death of my Father (2 1/2 years ago). Your words about slowing down are so precious as I look at my Mother and know that I will need to slow down to enjoy her and not hurry her. This time with her will be a gift and I’m not sure how long it will last. It’s so very important to change our perspective from looking at people as an incovenience to our busy lives and rather approaching them as adding richness to our days…the frosting…the fragrance…the finishing coat! Thanks for this wonderful reminder Ann.

    • 58
      Hampgal says:

      Meagan, I am praying for you & your family as you minister to your dear mom. Mine moved in with us for 6.5 years as we homeschooled, then moved to assisted living for 2 years. She went to be with the Lord this past December. It was a joy to care for her, even though there were very difficult times (she had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases). God’s will & timing is perfect. May He give you strength and patience to be a caregiver, physically and spiritually to your mom. Reading the Scripture together will be so precious!

  23. 59

    “Love is patient.” I have a deeply scraped up, scarred adult child – wounded by the lack of a godly father – a product of an unwanted divorce. As a result of this unacknowledged pain, he has decided to live a gay lifestyle. Daily I am called to trust the powerful love of his Father God and to pray for my son no matter what I see on Facebook or hear from his pushing against Truth. Suffering is an honor. Suffering is a part of life this side of Heaven. It’s how we suffer that fights battles in the unseen. In the unseen I choose each day to believe the Love of God through Jesus can defeat the greatest enemy of our souls. It doesn’t ‘look’ hopeful. So I trust in His Love in spite of what I see. Love is indeed patient and never fails. Thank you Ann for the myriad of ways you point me to His Love.

  24. 63
    stacey smith says:

    Ann, thank you so much for your posts, especially for this one. I’ve just had two daughters leave home this summer- one for marriage and one to get away from me. I have two young sons whom I am raising and homeschooling. I have been praying for a vision for how to raise them in grace and love so that I will keep their hearts. “The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right — but about receiving Grace” really speaks to my heart because this is what the Lord has been teaching me. God bless you for fulfilling the calling to motherhood and author/blogger as your writing and experiences continue to teach and bless me!

  25. 64

    I’ve been reading Brother Lawrence “The Practice of the Presence of God”. That’s my goal.

  26. 66

    Hearts hurt & life is what it is. Praying a touch of heaven to bless your hearts(all of you) today!

  27. 67

    Make sex a priority with your husband. Far too many women embrace the Mommy mode full time and abandon the wife mode. Kinsey reports that a whopping 72% of all married women over thirty have their husbands on a starvation diet of sex once a week or less where the average man requires sexual relief 3-4 times a week

    • 68
      Burt Arno says:

      I can’t believe the inappropriateness and insensitivity of this post. It comes right in the midst of all of the other comments related to spiritual concerns of these dear sisters in Christ. Your carnal whining suggests you could use some professional help.

  28. 69
    Heather says:

    Where do I begin because I’m guilty of it all? Slow down, show more patience, laugh, and focus on God’s grace.

  29. 70

    Leaving my phone in another room…. Checking it only a few times a day. Refusing to be so easily distracted by the world, choosing to dwell in my home, find my connections in the embrace of family.
    If they need me, they will just have to come over and visit like we did in the “old days” before cell-phones. ;)

  30. 72

    Bonnie, your story closely mirrors my story. Eucharisteo, no matter what it looks like, give thanks, He is faithful. You, (and I), and our kids are not alone.

  31. 74
    Ashley B. says:

    I just had a big garage sale to get rid of STUFF. Too much stuff to pick up was hindering joy, peace and hospitality. My kids’ rooms went from overstuffed to hardly anything and no.one.misses. It! Now we have more time playing/talking together instead of so much time fussing over unimportant THINGS.

  32. 75
    Meredith says:

    To act. To get out there and be uncomfortable. To go to the ends of the earth. So I can be taught.
    To love. simply.
    To be filled with God’s joy.
    Gratitude!
    To be Bold. To be courageous.
    To act.

  33. 76

    I got a big, heavenly nudge to the left arm upon reading #3. Lately, I’ve been feeling busy, burdened, and overwhelmed. I’ve been pushing Word time to the side to accomplish tasks I feel need my attention more immediately. But, praise God, “sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy.” Why do I fight against this simple truth? When I slow down and spend time with my Father, I make quantum leaps with my to-do list and with my life.

  34. 77
    Danielle May says:

    In the word and in the moment. Just be present. With Him and with them (hubs & babes). And just soak up what He gives in that moment…a verse, a song, a picture of His beauty, a hug, a tear, a giggle, a look of wonder, a truth or fear shared, LIFE.

  35. 78

    One word: Enough.

    I am enough, because HE is enough.

    (And this can also be a gentle reprimand to: ENOUGH!… spoken in love: Enough with the worrying. Enough with the busy-ness. ENOUGH… because this moment is slipping by and you will never have it again.)

  36. 79

    Perfect list and reminder for this juggling act labeled motherhood/parenting/life. I just shared with all my friends hoping it will penetrate their hearts as well.
    Blessings,
    Anna

  37. 80
    Lora VanderGiessen says:

    Hi Ann… I have a special request… Can you send me a email where I can write you a private note? Thanks!

  38. 81

    I am going to be intentional with my favorite (and only daughter). She will celebrate her 10th birthday this fall and I have missed out on getting to know and enjoy her. I have spent so much of my time rushing through my days, trying to get it “all” done and saying the words “hurry up” more than the words of love and encouragement. It breaks my heart to know that I have failed so much with her :( Pray for me please!

    • 82

      Lana! Praying now, friend!
      Lord God, please go before us…
      We pray for wisdom and clarity as busy mom’s…for the works of our hands to be used for Your honor and glory alone…and whatever You have for us, Lord, we bend the knee to Your perfect will — You make all grace.

  39. 83
    diana caskey says:

    “Love is Patient’ …. from trial to trial, glory to glory, Jesus (our patience) gets all of the credit. <3 What a blessed privilege to be a mom and a "Nannie." I love my family and my children, none of us are perfect (and I sure am not) but I know God is at work in all of our our situation(s). Such a responsibility today as a parent and my heart goes out to all of you beautiful moms/single mom(s). Praying for more Father figures to step up and take responsibility. Love the Slow down. Just got back yesterday from visiting my family in Austin and visiting with my 3 grandchildren there. They have a ranch and horses, turkeys, cats and dogs, aquariums, (mom and dad are biologists). Love to all, Diana Thank you Ann of grace for your heart that "shines" for us ladies and how you bless us all with your timely messages. The fruit of the spirit is love, may we bear much fruit.

  40. 85

    Laughing in the chaos of living with 10 children, 6 of whom are age 3 and under. So overwhelming at times, but praying for JOY in the daily moments. Living in a different culture and focusing on the adventure instead of the hard. Praising God even in the storms of life.

    • 86

      Holly,

      I only have four, but you’ve given me some perspective. Ten little blessings . . . praise God! Laughter, added to my list.

  41. 87
    Lori Barre' says:

    I am walking through so many transitions from what seems an old lifestyle light years away now. Divorce tore my family apart 6 years ago, but continues today. I am closing the door of homeschooling after 14 years. I earned a B.A. Degree and God has blessed me with work so the youngest two girls (11 & 14 yrs) will be going to public school for the very first time in their lives.
    The reality for me though in all of the ugliness is that while I am thankful I am so heartbroken for the life stolen from my family. I encourage so many around me while inside I feel so ravaged trying to fulfill a life that was meant for two people to carry. I have joy from my kids and the natural beauty around me, but have this constant weight of never being enough.

    • 88

      Oh, Lori. Tears with you, friend. Your words pierce right through. Praying just now — that today you feel wrapped in the love of Christ and amazing grace and you feel His strength in your bones, gently reviving your heart. You are so loved…

  42. 89

    I’m a relatively new Ann Voskamp community member and profoundly grateful to God for leading me here. Although I’m 62, child raised and split between ranch life (mostly) and city, I feel at home. Tears of release pour from my eyes at every post and I marvel at the comments – try to read every one. Obviously, God isn’t finished with us as long as we’re on this side of Heaven. I’m thankful that Ann’s words reach every age & status and thanks be to my Lord for bringing me here. Such provided comfort as this equates to His grace.

  43. 90

    After I finished reading this (especially #10 and the bonus thought) I felt immediately convicted. I turned away from the computer to ask my 6-year-old son for forgiveness for being so grouchy and harsh when he unintentionally spilled his juice all over the already messy table at breakfast (30 minutes before, at least). I love how the Holy Spirit works through your words so often for me, Ann, and I love how my son responds with a huge joy-filled smile when he says, “I forgive you!”, followed by launching himself at my neck for a hug. Today, there is grace…

  44. 92

    Ann, I loved this. So many items on your list are simple, yet profound. #5—After years of dealing with the pain of infertility, God gave us two children through adoption. They fill up my life with joy, heartache and knees-on-the-floor time in prayer over them as they approach the teen years. My dear friend, Beth Vogt, reminded me early on: Motherhood: Perfection not required. As a semi-perfectionist, this has come hard, but I’m learning to shut perfection out in my thoughts so I can just enjoy my kiddos, quirks and all.

    The perfect house is non-existent, especially now that I’m following a calling that requires much time each day. I have a husband who is understanding and supportive in this call.

    My biggest change for this fall is that I have stepped back (not out) of a number of ministry-type roles at our church. For a season. I’m looking forward to stillness and quiet for this season to spend with the Lord in His word. Looking forward to growing closer to Him and to seeing what He has for me in this new season. Being open to opportunities I couldn’t have said yes to if I was still busy. I hope my hubby and I can teach our boys what it means to have an intimate, vibrant relationship with our Creator as we live in this time of stepping back.

  45. 93

    One thing I am striving to do for a happier life is to not just accept God’s will for my life, but to live fully in it, to embrace it and do it with my full heart instead of just going through the motions.

  46. 95

    In the midst of life changes…moving our family from San Diego to Jackson Hole, WY. Not really making a lot of sense to this “perfectionist, list maker”. But believing Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Slowing down, trusting my Heavenly Father on good days and not so good days, patience and kind words for my soon-to-be 16yr old Son, love and encouragement for my Husband and his new job, taking this time to soak in Scripture and let Him lead me on this new journey! Thank you Ann, your words could not have been more perfect for me today

  47. 96

    I’m going to close my laptop, phone, tablet, whatever, after dinner and listen. Really, really listen because one day soon my children’s sweet voices will no longer be around to fill my home. Amy

  48. 97
    Miranda Arthur says:

    I love this!! Definitely needed this today and will post it in my house so I can see it everyday!!
    I also shared this with the MOPS group I’m in, I hope they enjoy it as much as I did!
    Thank you for sharing and being such a blessing to those around you!

  49. 99

    Live for today. Enjoy where I am at in my journey, right now – and stop mourning over the past and racing toward the future. It sounds so simple, but embracing today is so hard for me!

  50. 100

    Wonderful list, Ann. Breathing me out, praying Him in–to live that way, only by His grace!

  51. 102
    Momma Wynd says:

    Sometimes I can’t tell if I am surrendering it all, being patient, and living in the moment or if I’ve just given up…praying to be more intentional.

  52. 103
    Cassandra says:

    I want to stop missing the moments and realize making memories can be messy! With a 4 yr, 2 yr and 7 week old, life seems so slow some day, so overwhelming andessy but that is the moment for now, enjoy it!

  53. 105

    Wonderful stuff…thank you so much!
    I’m going to be working on memorizing more Scriptures…I’d love to be warp free this Fall!

  54. 106
    Cassandra says:

    Julie, I love your comment! ” breathing me out, praying Him in!” I’ll remember that throughout my day!

  55. 107

    Thank you, Ann, for reminding us of what we know but somehow manage to forget – almost daily. I just wrote a blog yesterday about my longing for true beauty – the kind that comes not from the foundation that I buy at the drug store, but from my foundation being Jesus Christ. That is my solitary goal for a happier life this fall.
    http://www.duaneandjenny.blogspot.com/2013/08/true-beauty.html

  56. 108
    Grace Aspinwall says:

    Remembering that “busy” doesn’t equal “happy”. Eliminating stuff from our schedule and taking time to enjoy the toddler times with my daughter. It makes us BOTH happier to my be rushing around.

  57. 109

    My dear mama died from cancer not too long ago and she used to say, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” I’m going to try to take that to heart this fall. Remembering that the joy or sorrow with which I choose I embrace my motherly vocation reads on the faces of my beautiful children. I pray for that awareness to awaken within me. God love you all!

  58. 110
    Rebekah says:

    Eucharisteo. Thank you, Ann. Thank you Lord.

  59. 111

    Ann,
    I am going to be grateful for what I have. That means also that I will take good care of what God has given me: my brain, my body, my opportunities to be a gift to others. You have been an incredible gift to me, as I turn to read your blog every single day, often excerpting your words at my blog.

  60. 112

    Embrace who God created me to be! I was created in God’s image and He loves me just the way I am. What a gift. I am going to try to remember this as I go about my daily life.

  61. 113
    Samantha says:

    Try to reconcile my guilt for having to work and leave my beautiful 3 year old son at home. Live the moments I do have with him well.

    • 114

      Samantha,
      You’re doing what you have to do for him. Regret it, maybe, but don’t
      feel guilty about a necessity. Been there, done that. Praying for you
      to have peace about having to work.
      Helen

  62. 115

    Well, my children graduated from high school, and for a homeschool mom that creates a huge void in my life! I am facing this fall with a renewed quest for my identity and worth as God sees me, not as my children “need” me to be! I am practicing gratitude, seeking Truth in situations, eating right and sleeping well…gifts I should have given myself years ago! (and reading powerful blogs!) :)

  63. 116
    Karen Papadopoulos says:

    Hoarding less, not just things, but time, strength and energy. I really want to spend this one life well. I’ve got a daughter on the World Race with Adventures in Missions and one, a senior finishing up high school. I’m a single mom and I want to be able to hear Him and follow Him and seek Him with all my heart. My daughter’s have chosen to seek His kingdom first, and I want to lead well, and lay all the stuff aside that doesn’t matter. I want to spend it all for HIM!

  64. 117

    I’m done ‘mothering’, now I get to ‘GRANDmother’. These tips are directly related to the mental list I go over before I get to begin the day with my grandbabies! I just want to love them; for them to know love without expectation, without fear, without doubt and with LOTS OF GRACE!

    Thank you for sharing a tangible list that I can share with my daughter and daughter-in-law!

  65. 118

    Ann,

    How true these are! #6 has always been a struggle for me. I felt a failure if my home wasn’t “perfection” after all, I am a stay-at-home-mom [photography business from home mom too]. These words are so needed! Thank you!

    ~ Laura

  66. 119
    Dawn Watkins says:

    I want to listen well- to my children, to my husband, to those who are speaking all around me- and respond well – with the heart of God and hands of Jesus.

  67. 120

    Ann, you know the prayer of my heart. Being grandmother now daily to a 4,3,2,1 and soon newborn. Energy is low but gratitude for theses moments are high! Pray for wisdom for this mamma who is pulling out the cobwebs and trying to ” mother” again!

  68. 121

    connect…with my kids and my husband and my girlfriends in a meaningful way… not through facebook, the cell phone, email…
    be physically present as much as possible… :-)

  69. 122

    I have always loved to craft… a gift inherited from my Grandma. Lately I have been challenged to not be so overwhelmed by what I can’t do in this world that I neglect to do what I can. So… I have been busy cutting up old clothes and fabric scraps and crafting them into hair bows. I have a dream to sell them and use the money to buy a sewing machine for a women overseas who is longing for a new life. Don’t know how exactly how to go about it, but my Grandma used to daily say “With God all things are possible”. I’m choosing to believe her!

  70. 124

    I really messed up on 9 and 10 this morning. It was needless and I saw the hurt on her face. I am humbled by this post and need to seek forgiveness before the day is out. But I am clinging to your bonus: grace to get me through. Happy birthday by the way, Ann! You and I are only days apart. I celebrated my 40th on the 20th:)

  71. 125
    Shaanti says:

    #7 is on my heart! I’m going to live intentionally! So many of my days slip by without the things I wanted to do being accomplished, whether its chores/projects or spending meaningful time with my 3 boys. I don’t want to get in bed at the end of the day and wish I’d done things differently. I like the idea of writing my intentions for the day down and prayerfully living them!!! This is what I’m going to do this year!

  72. 127

    Dear Ann, your blog is like water to my parched soul..thank you for putting God’s word into such wonderful perspective.

    #7 is what I am going to practice more each day. To be more present with each and every person in my life! Each moment is precious and we miss so much in our crazy busy (or just plain distracted) lives.

    Thanks!

  73. 128
    Valerie says:

    Mother to a 7 & 4 yr old. Actually surprised how much your blog has encouraged, convicted &determined me to be a ‘now’ momma. I want to savor these often crazed moments with my sweet children. When I make myself stop & remember after the 100th time hearing “Mamma” that I am truly the most important person to them right now, it changes my whole nurturing. I want to be the God given light to them. As I do this I find I want to spread love right out the front door. God is so worthy of this & much more.

  74. 129

    Thank you for this. I’ve not been a happy mom today. Or recently. We moved. My husband has a stressful situation at his job right now. Our first-born starts kindergarten on Monday. I am overwhelmed. And what overwhelms me most is the desire to control. People. My circumstances. Others’ opinions of me.

    Early in the year, I chose my One Word as “release.” And I will continue that theme to be a happier mom. To let go of the need to control every.single.detail. To let go of the need to make a good first impression on the teacher and the school and the other parents. (Because I don’t want to be THAT mom who’s always forgetting stuff or doesn’t know how to pack a nutritious lunch.) To be comfortable with who I am and who I’m not. And to rest in the moments that come. (That’s probably more than one thing but it all feels related.) :)

  75. 130
    Nichole says:

    The Lord has been speaking to me about being thankful in all things for about 3 yrs. I memorized the scripture and asked Him to bring me deeper still. Oh! Did He ever. The past three years have been the most difficult in our lives yet I cannot believe how He showed himself and brought us closer to Him! Life can be backwards sometimes in the way that those moments were worth sooo much!! This summer has been much more quiet and I’ve realized how much clearer we can SEE when we are asked to slow down. When we have no other choice but to hang onto Him and BE STILL. This fall, I will not be thinking about the tomorrow’s or the yesterday’s but live in the richness of today and enjoy every moment. :) thank you Ann for your honesty in a world where it’s hard to come by. XO

  76. 131
    Nichole says:

    Lisa, I’m praying for you right now….we also moved from New Brunswick to Ontario. Away from the ocean I love. And the people I love. It’s a humbling experience to meet people who don’t know the “real” you. I struggled between hiding the introverted, a bit disorganized and sometimes not put together person and feeling like I was not being honest with myself. Because I wanted people to like me. I’ve since realized it is far too exhausting to try and keep it all together lol and found some new people who appreciate the real person I am and have since become “real” with me also. Such freedom in our honesty with each other!! Anyway, just felt touched by what you said because I certainly can relate!!

  77. 132

    I don’t get a lot of time with the kids since I work full time. A half hour in the mornings before daycare drop off… a couple hours in the evening between dinner and bedtime. It is a hard road laden with self-created guilt and regrets. The time I have with them is always hurried — “hurry up, get your shoes on, I’m going to be late to work again!” — or made weary with stress and frustration as the toddler screams for dinner and the preschooler whines that dinner doesn’t consist of hot cocoa and ice cream. I rush them to bedtime so I can get the chores done, and then the guilt pours in for my not cherishing the time. My goal for this fall… make the most of this time, since I can’t get more of it. Hug the toddler and love on her when she’s screaming in my ear to be fed. Lovingly tickle my preschooler and tease him about how silly hot cocoa would be for dinner. Play blocks, sing songs, read bible stories… for the trash can be taken out later, and the plants can be watered at night, and the laundry that has sat in the dryer for three days already? It can wait a couple more.

  78. 133

    Embrace grace. This fall we have started homeschooling. I am scared but hugely excited to be with my kids! I am still trying to get slowly organized and into a better routine, but am going forward in faith. Today I asked the Lord if my expectations are too perfectionistic? Yes. My two goals are thus: may they enjoy learning and enjoy loving God. I pray to stick to these goals admidst SO MUCH imperfection! God is with us! I am reminded of Gideon and his small faith and also the boy who gave his small lunch to Jesus. Is it possible He can make a miracle of grace here?! That’s my hope! God bless you and yours and for keeping the faith!

  79. 134

    Dearest Ann,
    I just love your words! This list was a terrific reminder for me to live my life and embrace the moments. My 4 babies are all grown up now, and I have two beautiful granddaughters. It took me all this time to realize that my time is a precious commodity! I want the girls to know that their Meemaw thinks they are precious, and that time spent with them is for them. We don’t have to worry about messes or stresses, let’s just have fun and be together! Say yes to baking, cooking, coloring and board games, one more game of checkers? YES PLEASE!!!
    Lisa

  80. 135
    Heather E. says:

    I didn’t time to read all the comment, so someone might have already mentioned this. But, this list would be a wonderful printable so I can keep it in front of my face at all times and remember what is important. Thank you for your wisdom and for sharing this with us. Bless you.

  81. 136

    Slowing down feels scary, maybe I’ll actually notice what I’m thinking, feeling and doing. I don’t know I’m ready for that

  82. 137
    Meredith says:

    Ann, as always you have a tremendous way with words. Patience being love that is willing to suffer. That’s me today. The endless demands of three little boys driving me mad, as I suffer, head pounding, stomach growling, bladder needing to be emptied–I cry out LORD! And I snap, yell, grab arms, etc. I fail over and over and over. I know HE hears. Know HE cares. Know HE sees. I Know HE loves instead of this . . . . I often wish HE would save me from myself sooner. Before the snapping.

  83. 138

    Ann
    I always find your messages inspiring and calming. Thank you again and again.

    My focus is #7. Lists are my friends and so I need to remember how much they help me stay focused and organized so as not to waste the precious time I have been given.
    I live over 4,000 miles away from my grandchildren and children. It breaks my heart to not be closer to them to join in their growing up and adventures, plus be a support to my children. I aim to be more relevant to them by more contact through media and phone calls. I want them to grow up knowing who I am and create a legacy with them and for them.

  84. 139

    Ann, I always read what you have to write and often share it–am always impacted by it; encouraged, challenged, comforted. Rarely do I cry. Today I am crying rivers because I have just begun the homeschooling journey this week with my two boys. I am having such a difficult time finding balance between how to get what they have to learn in, and just allowing them to be boys. Also between being firm (lest they walk all over me and refuse to do their work), and just loving and patient (which is not my nature–working toward this w/Him). So today has been such a hard day. I’ve really failed in the patience department and spend so much of the day feeling frustrated and angry. I just really needed to read this–to remember these things. Thank you.

  85. 140
    Kimberly says:

    From one homeschool Mom to another, how do you not hurry kids when they are continually SO slow with their work? I feel like I’m constantly redirecting them back to their work and even then, they get very little free time because it took so much longer than necessary and it’s time to get the next thing done. I hate doing it, but they wouldn’t get any schooling done otherwise!!! Help!

    • 141
      denise mcintire says:

      Somebody please.?..I’m waiting for somebody to respond to Kimberly. I have been homeschooling for 16 years….Seven blessed children..My oldest is 21.the youngest is 7..I truly am loving my children…but so often frustrated with myself in not being able to get the ‘required’ work accomplished with a consistent positive, patient and cheerful attitude. All of them are still living at home, the oldest two going to college…the challenges of keeping this household rolling let alone keeping eyes heavenward has me weary and worn…searching and grasping for the space to slow down and absorb the moments with this precious gift of family….but then I hear someone yell out..’hurry up and get after meal chores done and brush your teeth..it’s time for bed’… oh…that’s my voice….

  86. 142

    Its on the edge of spring here – that place downunder from you. It feels like months of keeping warm have built an expectation of cold. As I lean towards spring, and warmth, Im very aware of how Im walking a twist in the road, as 21 years of parenting has had to give way to the reality of one recently married, one more about to leave, and a 13 year old boy who is very certain he needs his Dads voice in his ear more than my own. None of it is tragic – its very standard really. But the pain of letting go doesn;t feel very standard, and after years of nurturing its a a bit of a deep hole of the unknown. So this spring, Im not going to take life so seriously – or as an emergency! – and Im going to find ways to laugh. Parenting is this wonderful, joyous ride, where we pour the best of ourselves out like warm milk. Im going to trust theres something more around the corner. Trust that the Lord is only up to good.

  87. 143

    Oh how I want this so badly. I often pray for peace in the hurried day of a full time job and three children. I believe I get a little closer everyday but my husband seems to drift further away. Tips? Trick? Help?

  88. 144

    This summer was “moving day” in my heart…The Lord helped me box up all the defeat and worry and fear and self-doubt and negative attitude and perfectionism (well i’m still packing this one, but…it’s almost full) and I taped the boxes shut!! I labeled them, stacked them at the door and called the moving truck of the Holy Spirit to come MOVE THEM OUT. As a mom, and as a wife all this hoarded junk was tripping me up, tangling my heart, my hands and my feet, causing happiness to be far, far away. But i’ve thrown it all off and and thrown it out…

    This school year – I’m filling my heart back up with love…joy…peace…patience…kindness…gentleness…faithfullness…goodness and self control. I’m reminding myself that these are gifts of the Holy Spirit that grow as fruit in me when I walk in the Spirit; walk with Him. Such great and mighty gifts He gives! So, since this summer cleanout my heart is lighter and happier – even when the house is a wreck and the homework is just endless and there are just TOO MANY demands on my time. When i get frazzled, I just imagine the sound of that Holy Spirit truck beeping as it backed up right to my heart’s door and then I smile at all that God got rid of – making room for more of Him.

  89. 146

    I am going to get my 1000 gifts book back out and be more thankful. As a mother of 8, I get overwhelmed too often. I really should be overwhelmed with God’s gifts! They really are too many to count. But I smile now as I think of our 18 y/o (in 4 days) starting college next week, a million thanks for one graduate from homeschool. And another smile at our 4 y/o sitting next to me with pudding mustache. A victory this year with our 14 year and a spiritual battle, a beautiful life restored. 21 years of marriage in a sea of divorced friends and family members. Last year we posted 1000 thanks across our wall For November. I think we will make it a monthly habit starting this month. We truly have so much to be thankful for. Thank you Ann, so often God speaks so clearly, right to my heart, through your willing words. And I am all the happier.

    • 147

      Ah, Angie – your words? Your heart? Lays this sister right low and I whisper thanks to Jesus for you and yes, ma’am — we’ll keep pressing on to Jesus together. All thanks to Him! :)

  90. 148

    As always thankyou for the reassurance of His goodness experienced in joy through awareness of His blessings. It always lifts my heart in gratitude when I am reminded.

  91. 149

    i tend to live life as an emergency…worry can grip my soul with so much fear that i can’t shake it and this can tend to upset the whole of my being. i haven’t always been a worrier … this is a new occupation since our children are now grown adults. i have got to believe that God loves them more than i do and let them make mistakes that will continue pointing them to the one and true God…
    also, i need to trust in Scripture verses He has given me so generously for our family.
    thanks ann, again, for these great reminders…

  92. 151

    Just wrote these down in my prayer journal…I’ll be returning to them often!

  93. 152
    Truthseeker-Truthliver says:

    Thanks Ann. This was good. Even though I am graduating my youngests this year, they still need me to be ‘present’ with them. For late night talking and praying! I tend to be so distracted in my mind with many details regarding finances etc. But God is gently reminding me to slow down and I think of Jim Elliot’s quote, (perhaps stolen from someone else ?) “Wherever you are, be all there.” Truth. So, even though my children are young adults now (!), I plan this year to slow down and enjoy the “Mom”ents with them! For their joy and my own happiness (JOY!) too! Amen. Pressing on!

  94. 153
    Beth Hill says:

    Young moms, please take this excellent advice into your souls now! I was that perfectionist, hurried, impatient “Christian” mother who made my family miserable during those young years. Oh how I wish I could take it back, but I now count on the promise of the Father to restore the years the locusts have eaten. I have been set free from those awful character flaws and live a much simpler life where I spend lots of time in prayer and Bible study. Thank you, gracious Father, and thank you, Ann, for so beautifully sharing your heart with us.

  95. 154
    Melissa says:

    I just returned from a week at Mission of Hope, Titanyen, Haiti. I am still trying to process all that we witnessed there. We truly have so so much to be thankful for! It’s all grace. I have never witnessed such joy and celebration in spite of such extreme poverty. Humbling to say the least.

  96. 155

    being on a scavenger hunt for his love has kept me from falling back into an emotional pit.! Thank you Daddy for working through Ann to get me out of the pit! I want more than anything to say “Yes”! to my 7 year old whose always asking If I will play but I’m soooo exhausted from caring for my 10 month old and all I want to do when she naps is nap too! I’m tired and when she sleeps it seems like the logical thing to do is to play catch up with the housework. In this I feel so trapped and don’t know how to balance. I need advice if any one is willing to share the anecdote to these tough moments. ~ Knowing now All is really grace!

    • 156

      Hi Lori,

      As I read your post, I felt led to reach out to you and encourage you in your journey.
      Now that my children are well past that stage, (they are 12 and 16) what stands out to me is that the season you are in passes quickly so quickly although I remember that, at the time, it seemed like it would last forever. God doesn’t expect perfection and there is no one right answer. I can’t say “always stop and play with your daughter” or “always take a nap so you are rested” because some days you may need to do one and some days you may need to do the other. What I do know is that your Father knows what you need and what your daughter needs and I believe He longs for us to turn to Him in the big things and the small. Take a moment to ask Him when you are unsure and be patient with yourself if you feel you don’t always “get it right”. He is. He loves you unconditionally and longs to be there for you. A verse I posted on my mirror when my children were young and often felt as you do was Isaiah 40:11 – “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Praying for you, sister.
      Sandy

  97. 157

    I just recently read ” grace for the good girl” by Emily p Freeman and it was such a gift. My biggest take away is that my sweet family (my patient husband and 6 month old son ) will get the “leftovers” of efficient me is not careful. I too, like Samantha and Vanessa, have to leave my baby each day to go to work. To savor. That’s my goal. And not get angry with myself when I blow it because the recovering perfectionist gets angry at herself and that helps no one. Reminded of one of my favorite quotes… “there’s no one way to be a perfect mother (or friend or wife) but a thousand ways to be a good one.”

  98. 158

    This fall I am committing to make more focused, intentional time for Christ and to continue on the ever arduous journey that comes with being a natural “worrier”. The enemy knows that is my greatest weakness, and I have been so guilty of letting him work the “what if’s” and the emergency mentality into the corners of my brain. I have decided that our society gives people like me a pat on the back for being “organized” or “type A” or “always on top of it”, but I have learned through meditating on the Word that worry constitutes disobedience. It really took breaking it down to Worry=Disobedience to make me realize what damage I was doing to my relationship with Christ to defend my worrying and stress by calling it responsibility and realism.

    My committment is to be more intentional every day with my time and continue to lean into Him!

    Thank you, Ann, your words in my inbox everyday affirm, encourage and inspire me to press on!

  99. 159

    Ann, you said in an earlier comment you keep pace with it all by keeping company with Christ. I read your list and then something else about how prioritising spending time with Jesus and in the Word over everything else really is the way to see the rest get done. But practically speaking what dies this look like for you? An early morning quiet time or…. ?????? I’d be so grateful to know as I feel I run or perhaps it should be sprint on empty an awful lot of the time! X

  100. 160

    Yours is the only ‘non-purposeful’ blog I read, Ann. Everything else is about marketing online and I don’t know what.
    And yet I find in your words the greatest purpose. You model what you stand for, a life that notices the detail and is thankful for it, a life that sees God in every little thing.
    Sometimes I get glimpses of that in my own life.
    Most often not.
    I want more of it , going forwards. I want more One-on-one with Him.
    God bless you in what you do, Ann.

  101. 161
    Bronwyn says:

    Big gulping tears…sit still more rather than pushing harder all the time, remembering what Dr Tony Evans said about desiring to be the woman He created me to be rather than who I think I should be. Trying to believe that God really does love me. Thank you Ann again.

  102. 162
    Kimberly says:

    After a year in public school, I am bringing the 11 and 12 year old back home to resume our homeschooling lifestyle. Maybe it’s because the oldest 2 are now away at college, but I have a new perspective on just how fast and fleeting childhood is. The demands of last year strained us all and I’m grateful for the chance we all have to slow down and breathe again. Glad I found this blog!

  103. 163
    Melissa says:

    Waking up to the gift of now, in Him, because that is all I have assurance of. In my autoimmue/allergy chaos, my health, my kids health, trying to move forward but being thankful, for all this chaos is a gift, specificlly prepared from my Father, to sculpt me and those around me into His new. I am desperate to start reflecting my God and His goodness. Thank you Ann for pointing me to Him.

  104. 165

    I just gave birth to our fifth child two weeks ago, and as we are rapidly approaching another year of homeschooling (with three boys, ages 6,5, and 3, and two girls, ages 16 months and 2 weeks!), I am trying to get back on track with daily time in God’s Word and prayer. I am longing for His presence in my life, and I know the only way we’re going to make it this year is through God being our top priority and focus. One thing I am resolved to do: Go. To. Bed. Earlier. It’s the absolute least I can do for myself and my family.

  105. 166
    Rebecca says:

    “God’d word never says Hurry Up.” Uh, except when it says “Flee” immorality, hurry up to Egypt to escape Herod, be quick to hear (yes, but slow to speak…) etc. Yes, I too am sooo susceptible to “hurry sickness” and haphazardly practice the Discipline of Slowing (thanks, John Ortberg–”The Life You’ve Always Wanted.”)

  106. 167

    In soaking prayer nearly a year ago I heard Him say “breathe My breath”. Your words convict me of not having listened well – and of having largely forgotten – because I still gasp and choke and tense all up trying to breathe by myself. And then follows the impatience with the kids and the husband and the job and the… mess.

    The words of everyone in this community bring tears to my eyes – thank you all for sharing and Ann for following/leading the way

  107. 168

    I will choose joy…. Joy instead of depression. Faith instead of fear…. Although my life is in a difficult season… though the earth give way and the mountain fall into the sea… I will CHOOSE to trust my Father and choose to focus on what is GOOD. Jesus.

    • 169

      Hi Sandy, this is very encouraging. Sometimes we feel like we are going to be swallowed! I too am in a difficult season. Recently separated with 3 beautiful children. Running a business which is losing money by the second and dealing with my verbally and emotionally abusive husband, in a non-Christ filled world is almost more than I can bear. However for some reason, God thinks I can cope with it all. So I too choose JOY, choose to laugh, choose to pray and to TRUST because……”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and I know that “God is not the author of confusion but of PEACE” so therefore “I praise him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. Imagine doing life without this hope! God helps me breathe. Be Blessed xx

      • 170

        Thank you Alison! You have encouraged me as well! Praying for you, my friend.

  108. 171
    Lisa Smith says:

    Unplug a lot more. Count the moments. Focus on those around me, really focus- eyes, mind, heart, everything. And I love your comment about preschooler’s laughter. I have 2 preschool granddaughters living with me, as well as my youngest two, and they do laugh alot. I plan to join in and enjoy that laughter while it fills my house!
    Thanks, Ann!

  109. 172

    Read this list! Re-Reading it again today makes me think that I should print it out & read it when I am in those ever-present stress moments in the middle of homeschool/mess/life. Something on this list will be applicable. And then my memory/meditation verse next to it. I miss so many beautiful moments in my life by losing them in daily cares and my petty anger.

  110. 173
    Melanie M says:

    Ann and all of you precious, dear sweet saints,
    Thank you for sharing your hearts. My heart was moved deeply to conviction and a longing for action after reading Ann’s 10 Ways…and then my heart was moved to tears and a longing to hug each of your necks. Thank you for sharing your joys, your pains, your burdens, the struggles, the laughter, the victories. I smiled and laughed to know that as my family in Christ one day I will get to hug your necks! And we will rejoice together that it was all so worth it.
    Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercies and His Grace, in His Mansion bright and blessed, He’ll prepare for us a place. When we all get to Heaven, what a Day of Rejoicing that will be!….indeed.

  111. 174

    I loved this post. I need to do so many things, but for starters: simplify– declutter, have fewer material possessions and papers, etc, that rob my peace and joy; cherish– my kids and husband more, and as one person said above, get to know them better bc I feel I have wasted some years being caught up in the rush of life and the desire to please others; and figure out who my true friends are, ones who point me towards God more, who don’t gossip, etc, and who love me in spite of me; and last (although there are many more)– unplug– turn off electronics after dinner and BE present with my family! xoxo

  112. 175
    Shawna bear says:

    As a Mom I will extend more grace …to me! I live my life as an apology, never ever feeling like I measure up. Christ has redeemed me! I am His daughter, and He will not give up on His best for me. Less perfection, more grace!

  113. 176

    Enjoy God in every moment-be aware of the little miracles-the head ache which disappears,the music which cheers the rainbow which brings hope,the hot meal and family time!:)

  114. 177

    Hi Ann, I am dealing with my son of 33yrs of age with crohns who has moved back home with us. I don’t have small children but I love exploring your site. The one thing I have taken out of this and reading your book, is that life is NOT and emergency. I have come to stop~remember to go to the Throne not the phone first~and at times wait. I came home this morning after meeting a friend for breakfast and found I had about 3 things to do for my son about apts and tests because a test he had was inconclusive so he needed more, he is so down, that I am the go to person for things so I just curled up in my chair after a few calls and said this is crazy~~he is HMO and needs referrals for everything first~~~~~I just didn’t know what to do first~then I remembered after I asked God for
    help, that LIFE IS NOT AN EMERGENCY! thank you for that Ann, it sure has stuck in my brain! I also keep you 25 manifesto up at work and try to saturate my brain with those too. You are a blessing to all who encounter your writing’s ~thank you for being so open about your life.~Sue

  115. 178
    Jennifer says:

    This fall my baby girl starts HS. My middle daughter starts college. My oldest daughter starts a 2 year commitment to mission work. And my oldest and only son is seeking God’s will for his life after losing a full ride athletic scholarship halfway through his junior year due to his inability to get out of bed and go to class. I love him beyond words but in order for both of us to thrive this momma is going to do what she should’ve done long ago and give him some space so he can hear his Heavenly Father’s voice instead of mine. I will continue to pray earnestly for him to know and understand that his identity is found ONLY in Christ and not in how he performs. I am so thankful that God continues to let me see him working in the lives of all of my children and my husband.
    Thank you Ann for continuing to share your heart. You are a blessing.

  116. 179

    Ann, would you make this into a pdf printable? I have three wonderful daughters who would love something like this! And, thank you for your posts . . . ALWAYS! Did I mention that “my” world fell apart 6 years ago and for these past 6 years, unimaginable events have happened . . . in the midst of tears, frustration, and sadness, I found your book. I remembered WHO held my life and events in HIS hands . . . I remembered to THANK HIM always . . . I am on year two of 1,000 gifts . . . three a day . . . and LOVING it! What a blessing and encouragement you have been . . . love your blog! Thank you again, Carol

    • 180

      Carol, if you go to the top where the bowl of red apples is there
      you will find a printer icon above it, click on that and you will get the choice
      of a PDF to print!

  117. 182
    Amber Garsee says:

    Smile when i talk to my children
    So they will do the same!

  118. 183
    Jena Martin says:

    Ann, I am going to purpose in my heart to give my children the gift of a slow down. My oldest daughter is a sophomore in college. We moved her in last weekend. I realized that she and I never had just a mom and daughter night to hang out. I am so busy with my two younger children that the two older ones fly on auto pilot. I have been mother for 20 years and I have never quite figured out how not to hurry. Even in my 40s I can’t just be still and know God without a lot of effort on my part. There is always another “task” to complete on my to do list. Because I worry about checking off my list, I hurry everyone. The hilarious part is that I have NEVER accomplished my goal to finish the list. I want to enjoy my family, friends and people I may meet that day. I want my day to be interupted by Jesus so I will slow down and truly live. Will my children only have memories of their mother harping on them to get their shoes on so we can leave? I truly hope not! As I write this I am laying beside my 4 yr old son, with tears of love streaming down my face. This is my blessing number 850.

  119. 184
    Matilda Harris says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder about slowing down. To me it’s like being all here. Just be where ever you are, not with wondering minds or heart split in several places. Just BE!

  120. 185

    God is speaking to my heart about truly being intentional in my parenting. My 8 children range in age from 30 down to 3(raising a grandchild) and the older ones need to be loved just as much as the youngest. The physical energy in caring for the little one somehow seems easier than the mental/emotional energy it takes to love the older ones, at least today. I am taking time to love each one individually and appreciating their special gifts. Praising God for His grace in all things!

  121. 186

    Realizing that my children are growing up fast and needing to “Be still” really resonates with me right now. Just to sit back and take it all in and live in the moment and try not to be worried about things that haven’t and may never happen! Let Go and Let God is what I am trying to do!!!

  122. 187
    Celeste Hill says:

    To be really intentional and very present as our boy Robert enters into his Senior year in high
    school. To praise The Lord in unemployment (after 10 yrs 7 months) with the same company.
    To look to Him for the promises he speaks over our lives and live in those promises, to know
    what he says about me is true and not believe the lies (those nasty fiery darts).

    I just want to encourage all the Mama’s with youngster to hold tight to the memories, as the saying goes “Time flys” it is so palpably true and so difficult to realize when you are in the throws
    of raising those babies and thinking that all the other stuff matters more. It does not!

    Praying to be the daughter, wife and mom he has positioned me to be and knowing that I can
    only accomplish that by kneeling in the am to Him that has allowed me to begin another day.

    Father thank you for new mercies, may you bless each daughter and son that has stopped to
    express their hearts needs and the victories. Tend us Lord, Amen.

  123. 188

    Anne,
    Your words are so inspiring. I am so thankful for this post. My hopes for this fall are to slow down, be present, and be patient. My children are 12, 10, 7 and 3. They are at such different stages. I want to appreciate each moment of those stages. Time is going by so quickly. Thank you for this list and for asking the question!

  124. 189
    Rebecca says:

    I struggled to read todays message as I have struggled with infertility for 8.5 years. As I read through the responses and commitments of women, I came across a post by another Rebecca who had not yet become a mother. She commented on being “thankful for the peculiar gift of this unfulfilled longing”. 6 days ago I suffered my fourth miscarriage and after surgery, lost the ability to ever conceive on my own without IVF. As beautiful as Ann’s words were, it was this other Rebecca’s words I needed to read today. While it isn’t a “gift” I would wish on another, there IS a gift in the longing… It continually keeps me in prayer and in supplication of Gods grace. If every wish and desire was granted, would I stay so close and long for HIS healing in my life so fervently?

    • 190

      Dear Rebecca, I prayed for you! I have 2 brothers/ sisters-in-law who are childless. Thank you for sharing that “there IS a gift in the longing… It continually keeps me in prayer and in supplication of Gods grace.” Blessings.

  125. 191

    Ann! I have your older version of this hanging in my kitchen and made copies for sisters and sisters in law. I saw a cousin quote it on Facebook a few months ago. Your words travel far. Will you make this version a printable?? Pretty please :) The Pinholes, the seconds and minutes wasted. That’s the one I need to focus on right now. Thank you for your words. Thank you thank you thank you. {and I hope it’s OK that I shared this link on my blog. I just wanna share it with as many as I can.}

  126. 192

    To learn to deal with stress, to bring my anxieties to the Lord and just RELAX in Him! Thanks Ann!

  127. 193
    Barbara says:

    Thank you, Anne, for your loving heart that flows through your words and comfort and encouragement to all who read…
    My children are all grown with children of their own. Oh, how I wish that resources like yours were available way back when my children were small and I struggled with so many insecurities and unknowns and lacks of understanding with no mentors like you by my side to teach me and walk with me and encourage me and show me! Today, I see all my lovely young friends with their children, and watch them patiently teach them, always instilling godly values into their precious little hearts. I watch them mentor each other and walk with each other and encourage each other and feel so blessed for them.
    My opportunities to experience all that as a young mother are long gone. But I have grandchildren now that I can love and be an example for in the times that God allows for me. And I can serve my young mother friends when they are weary by washing their piles of dishes and helping with their peaches, grapes, and tomatoes when the harvest is ready, but the responsibilities are so many all at once. And I can try to encouragement my children to use their time with their little ones wisely, because one day, they will be gone, too. And I can encourage them to find fellowship with godly parents that can walk with them so that they are not alone. But in the end, the only thing I can really do is leave them with my all-knowing Heavenly Father, and humbly ask Him to replace all the wasted years with good years, happy years, eternally prosperous years.
    All you dear sisters who write your loving and kind and compassionate words for others and each other, you are doing a wonderful service for them and for me. Don’t ever stop holding up each other’s arms…

  128. 194

    The other day, I heard a woman talking about putting on joy like a cloak – of choosing it in the moment and trusting that it is in fact God’s will for us. That image has stuck with me, and I pray it now most mornings, that the grace of His Spirit would mark me with joy. I remember after I had my third son wondering whether I ever smiled very much with my first boy – or if my eyebrows were forever knotted in worry or concern or impatience at his interrupting presence. My parenting muscles have grown – my eyes now open to the sacredness of these persons in front of me – and I want them to look back on their childhood and see my face stamped with the joy they bring me. I find that as I fully embrace the gift that they are, as I welcome them in the daily moments, I am in fact a happier, more joyful person. Thanks for these good words today, Ann!

  129. 195

    After struggling all summer with decision regarding finances, to work or not to work, my husband’s job, etc, I have fully embraced home schooling two little ones. I am beginning to see some negativity emerging from the eldest, which may be modeled by one or both of us parents. So my goal for the fall is to simply exhibit thankfulness to God and others in hopes of passing that attitude down, instead. Here I am, staying at home for longer than I ever thought possible, living my dream, supported by my family, and raising two princesses. What do I have to be NOT thankful for, really?

  130. 196

    Last night the violin played the sweet yearning strains of Thomas Moore’s “Come Ye Disconsolate” and once again I was reminded that “earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” That too is my truth. He can only speak if we will take the time to listen. xox

  131. 197

    I want my last thoughts at night to be thanking our Lord and my first thoughts in the morning thanking our Lord.

  132. 198

    #7 sounds like a good idea to watch as a student. What am I doing tonight after a late class? Chilling to relax, but probably letting too many moments slip away in the process. I am currently learning joy that comes from surrender of a long time desire. Sometimes one is happier if they just.let.it.go.

  133. 199

    The temptation is to make a list yey long of all the things I don’t like that I want to change. I know I would be overwhelmed and they would remain wishes on a piece of paper.

    But one thing, one thing can bring focus and is easier to attain. This fall, I would like to start keeping a journal. A spiritual journal, a prayer journal, a thankfulness journal: a life journal in which to record the silly things my kids say, the serendipitous thoughts that pop in my mind as I read Scripture, the heartaches as inevitably I rub against people and come off a little abraded. So if I get discouraged I can look back and read about better days, if I get down on myself I can remember the obstacles I have overcome. Most of all I can trace back the scarlet thread of God’s faithfulness.

  134. 200

    In the midst of selling our home, my husband becoming a pastor and moving into the parsonage I don’t want to treat life like an emergency and a list of things that need to be done. I don’t want to miss the moments with my children……especially as school is about to start again.

  135. 201

    SAYING NO TO GUILT. A thousand times a day if I have to! (wow, just realized a thousand times a day if I have to….I ordered your book Anne, and it is hitting me hugely right now that I just said that, bc I can replace those THOUSAND lies with a THOUSAND guilt crushing, chain breaking truths, taking each thought captive!) Guilt has been a constant in my life, I wear it and walk around with it and speak it and feel it in my bones, all the time. It’s always in my thoughts and most of the time I don’t even realize it is there. I measure each day as a success or failure, without realizing I do this (really I say I had an ok day or today was a total bomb…such litte grace for myself). Do you know how I define it as successful? It is when I don’t feel AS guilty. That may sound like a good thing, but it’s not; because the only reason I do not feel as MUCH guilt is because I feel that I have PERFORMED more or better. I was a better mom or wife or friend. I didn’t eat AS much ice cream. I didn’t compare myself AS much to other women who spend more time in the Word…..I earned it by my good being more than my bad. Or at least that I did SOME good….that I spent quality time with my daughter so I feel less guilty. That I left the house a TEENY bit messy so I could play with my two year old son. Oh, and most SURELY, I “earn” this more freeing and less guilty feeling kind of day if I spend any time with God, or if I spend my day with any awareness of Him and HIS plans. The things that I do that make me feel guilty are good things, I know that. But truly, they are not freedom bringing or chain breaking kinds of “acts’. It is ALL WORKS BASED. And at the end of the day if I feel I have been “better”, then I feel like He is more pleased with me. Less frustrated or annoyed or okay daughter yes I love you, but COME ON NOW. I have such a distorted picture of His love for me. I KNOW THESE ARE LIES. THIS IS NOT GRACE. I know it in my head and I can give it to ANYONE at ANY time. I am loving and forgiving and gracious and would give the shirt off my back to someone in need, even though our bank account is in the negative. BUT- I have thus far been unable to transfer all of the verses and knowledge and grace I have to give to others to my own heart and let is TRANSFORM ME…let is bring FREEDOM and life ABUNDANT. Grace that is FOR ME. Grace that crushes the guilt and loosens the chains and the yoke of slavery is NO MORE. This is bringing a glimmer of hope to my heart at this very moment. Hope- a word I am so often afraid of. So that is my one thing (in a long explanation:))- REPLACING GUILT WITH GRACE. TRULY BELIEVING IT and letting it transform all of the broken and hurting places in my life. Knowing that guilt is NEVER from my Father, but from the one who seeks to devour and destroy me. I pray for us ALL that we would be given (or rather, that we would receive, because He is always seeking to give us these gifts. He is longing for us to open our hands in trust and receive; but I cannot receive a gift if my eyes are closed and I don’t even know it is there being offered to me, for free, all the time, everywhere I go. SIDE BAR…I do forget that He has already given me everything that I will ever need in Him….the Holy Spirit LIVES IN ME . So often I ask for things He has already promised me, but I forget. So I don’t look and I don’t see. I don’t take ahold of that gift and open it. So many gifts thrown to the way side, left unopen, and yet the next day I will pray for it again. I have often gone through periods (and this helps so much) where instead of praying FOR something, I THANK HIM for it. For example… instead of praying “Lord please please please make this day better etc”, I change it to ” Lord, thank you so much for this day. THANK YOU that you have MADE this day and that I can already rejoice in it because you have gone before me and paved the way. You have for me everything that I need for this day, open my eyes to these truths. Thank you for walking with me every step of the way.” When I pray this way, it totally transforms my heart. It takes me from a prayer stance that is somewhat questioning if my Father will do these things for me, somewhat unbelieving and hesitant, somehwat pleading and deeep deeep down believing that if I ask enough or pray enough, His grace will show up……It takes me from a much weaker in the knees kind of faith to a boldness and to prayers where His truth literally immediately rushes through me and when I THANK HIm even when I don’t FEEL it, the feelings DO come when I obey. When I THANK HIM for giving me what it doesn’t FEEL like I have, I am reminded that Of COURSE He is going to be with me today. OF COURSE it is going to be a beautiful day, bc HE MADE IT. It literally replaces fear or doubt or worry with confidence, bc I am speaking His promises back to Him, letting them feed and nourish my soul with His truth. When I do that I walk in so much more awareness of who I am in Him and what I have been given in Him. It transforms my days. I have gotten so far from these type of prayers, and I believe He just brought this to mind for me and hopefully for at least one other person out there who has stuck with me long enough in this post to have gotten to this point!:)). If one person reads this and is encouraged, AMEN. Of course, I am not saying I don’t ever just fall into His arms and plead or weep or things like that, and I know He wants us, as His beloveds, to do just that. And I will often pray open my eyes or give me your eyes etc etc. But praying with thanking Him for things instead of asking for them has at times (when I am doing it) transformed my life. I worry less, I fear less. I trust Him more. I know who I am in Him more. I feel I have His armor on me more. It’s scary to pray with faith. It’s harder. But there is never a time when I have lived a life of prayers of praise and thankfulness that I regret, even if I had to step out of my comfort zone and walk in faith. Every time I have lived with a stance of thankfulness and boldness before Him (and the world), I am a different person. Ok, again, I could go on and on about this one and I don’t know if I have made sense. I DO know that the enemy does NOT want Abba’s warriors praying with boldness and thanfkulness, telling God what He has done, speaking out His Words into the atmosphere and thus changing it. I know the enemy hates these sorts of prayers bc they are prayers that change things. They are prayers, I believe, that move things in the spiritual realm bc they move us in our souls. Ok, end of LONG side note….) hmm…not sure what this sentence started as but I will just fill it in- Believing He will give abundantly and receiving for Him spiritual eyes that each day grow more aware of the light and the darkness…eyes and ears and hearts that would each day grow more attune to the ploys of the evil one. THANK YOU THAT WE WILL recognize it faster, resist it with boldness, and immediately walk in the truth to replace the lie. Thank you for this PROCESS that I know is not easy bc it will be met with joy and victory. That when ANY one of us “fails” and gives into guilt (once or a thousand or ten thousand times that day), that the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit would be met with our acceptance of HIS GRACE TO START OVER RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT. That it is ALL washed away INTO HIS SEA OF GRACE. Gone and completely forgotten. That just because we failed “that day” or this week or that hour or that year or all of those years, we are RIGHT NOW IN THIS MOMENT redeemed by the blood of the lamb who is WORTHY and WHO IS MORE THAN ENOUGH. Oh how I long for these truths to replace the lies at my very core, that they become so a part of who I am. That people just know it’s Jesus, because who else could it be that allows me to live with and exude bold, extravagant, giving, generous, and glorious grace to all ? And the humiliity that comes with it…knowing it is ALL HIM, and that I will BE A TESTIMONY to those who have been slaves, who have been in bondage to guilt….that I can stand up and say there IS VICTORY, there is HOPE. NEVER give up. NEVER GIVE UP. A thousand moments of guilt replaced with a thousand thoughts of gratefulness, gratitude, joy, hope, and expectant faith, all wrapped up IN AND BY AND THROUGH HIS GRACE ALONE. The GRACE that holds us up and holds us together, and that WE WILL break the chains a thousand times and freedom WILL REIGN. VICTORY.

  136. 202

    Spend time with my 3 year old.

  137. 203

    Oh how encouraging your posts are. I need to hear this. Everyday I need to be reminded to slow down, laugh and bring joy into my home. I count gifts every day (I’m on 1771) and am seeking joy always. But sometimes, I still need to remember to smile and play and relax and enjoy my little, precious girls.

    • 204

      1771 thanks unto HIM! Wonderful, Sarah! Keep counting, sister… eucharisteo! Right on through here, till we are home with Him forever!

  138. 205

    This is the second or third time I’ve seen be intentional and write down your goals. I’m wasting time a lot, its leaking out of my day so I’m gonna write down my intentions so I can stay focus throughout the day. I hope I show my kids how important time with them is by spending more time with them.

  139. 207

    As I read these comments I can see that most who have written are young moms
    (Under 45?) at 60 years of age, mother to 5 adult children, let me share what I learned too late. Spend your time with your children, incorporate them into the necessary up keep of the house but do not dwell on spotless and over organization. Those children fill your days today, tomorrow & next week BUT there will be a time when they will be grown and gone to lead their adult lives~~as they should! That can be your time to clean and sort and refresh your living space..for today and all the next 10-15 years of tomorrow’s, embrace those children, they are The Lords gift to you but only for a short time-savor each question, let bedtime prayers be a window into your kiddos hearts.. Listen to them, pray over them and let them see joy from Jesus in you as you lead them. You will never regret spending time with them… The memories will carry you into old age with wonderful memories!!

    • 208
      Rebekah says:

      Thank you. I am a young mom with five. Thank you for you words of wisdom.

  140. 209

    Yesterdays Grace; First kisses from my 8 months of granddaughter, Amelia, I am not just another person to her, i am someone important, First babbling chatter from 10 weeks old granddaughter, Ava.

    Three things i need to do today to bring me JOY, pray often, read and ponder the scriptures and sit on the back step and watch the sun set.

  141. 210
    Beth Williams says:

    What helps me most is listening to Christian music. I love quiet praise and worship type music playing in the background as I work through my day.

    Trying to be intentional about savoring more sunsets and enjoy each moment with my precious hubby. Just enjoying His precious paintbrush on this wonderful mountainous landscape–looking at the hues of red, green, yellow and the other myriad of colors. Taking time to Just. Be. Still.

  142. 212
    Emily Kane says:

    I am new to happiness. I didn’t know it as a child, thought it was for everyone else as a teenager, chased it with reckless abandon as a young adult. Now at the age of 35 – I own my happiness because God gave it to me and this momma is never letting go!

    We have become a slow family. Nothing is ever rushed – nothing . . . NOTHING :)
    We have become a family who names gifts, everyday, out loud.
    We have become a family who says no to protect our happiness, our slowness and our gifts.
    We have become a family who holds each other accountable at the end of the day for having let our light shine in at least one way.
    We have become a family who calls on God, nothing else . . .

    The Farmer and I are doing it differently, we have found our happiness and we are not letting go.

    • 213

      Emily! Your words here pierce through. *Thank You* for seeking Jesus, friend. And thanks to our God who can and does and will redeem everything! All is grace.

  143. 214
    Juli Evans says:

    I don’t want to waste any more time with fear and control! God knows what is best and wants what is best for me and my family. As we begin the paper work to adopt our 5th child I become paralyzed with fear. Is there enough of me? Can in handle this? God wouldn’t have placed it of our hearts if it was part of His plan. I must stop wasting my time with worry and replace it with prayer and joy!

  144. 215
    Yvette Hedt says:

    I’m heading for spring down here. The one thing I will do for a happier life is to bring my children back home after a few years of experiencing school. The joy of no longer living a double life. Living one way at home while being subject to another at school. Hmm. I can feel the peace beginning for all our hearts.

  145. 216

    Intentional! That’s the word I’ve been looking for! We’ve just made a huge life-change; hubby retired from the Air Force after 20 years, we’ve moved back to the east coast close to family, and I’m putting my oldest in public school for his senior year. God has called us to live for Him regardless of what the world says, and I try to, but being near family, walking this out needs to be very intentional, so that people know it’s not just a whim to live as we do, but that we’re intentionally following the Father and His ways. Not wandering aimlessly but taking my orders from the ultimate Commander. :)

  146. 217

    As the homeschooling mother of six, I wish I could impart to you how quickly time gets away from us. I will go from 6 in our home, to 2 this fall, as one has gotten married (we have a son-in-love), 2 have gone in 2 different directions for college, and one is moving out on his own. It is truly a bittersweet moment as we train them up to go, yet when they do, how we yearn for just a little more time. I can be proud of them, yet my heart aches at missing them. There is NOTHING more important than slowing down to seek HIM and share HIM in moments spent snuggling, laughing, playing and loving. I try to keep this thought in my head, in light of eternity, does THIS (event, activity, clean house) matter?

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    I long to slow the hurry and busy pace of our life. There are 6 babies all ranging in age, 19-6. We homeschool and I am tired of saying hurry up, I’m tired of my focus longing to check off the never ending list. When my agenda controls it produces anger, lack of patience, and no peace. I desperately desire to live our days with joy, and truly remember that life is not an emergency. My life is a beautiful gift, why do I allow that truth to be stolen away so often? I am starting this school year off with purpose. I purpose to slow, to be fully engaged in the small sweet moments, to take on less which will allow us so much more. Thank you, I needed these words and beautiful reminders today.

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    Thank you so much for this MUCH NEEDED post today! I appreciate it more than you know!

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    Once again I am reminded how precious time really is that I really should slow down. Watching my 4 year old try to keep up with her speeding mama just breaks my heart. I seem to constantly tell her to hurry up. I just realized a few days ago that “hurry up” may be one of the most used word in my vocabulary. From this day I want to watch her play, enjoy her in slow motion and know that she is with me for only a small time. My 1 year old, a constant reminder that life is not a hurry, when we go on walks he just seems to marvel at every piece of grass and every little stone. Oh how beautiful life really is when you just stop, and notice the hand of God all around. Thank you dear Ann.

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    One by one I have watched children leave for college. Starting with my first born 7 years ago, and every year since, my friends have released a beloved child into God’s hands to pursue education and dreams. It seems the best place for this growing-up process to occur is away from home. So, as a teacher, the school year about to begin, and my second born has one year left before her adventure begins. I want to slow down and appreciate every moment I have with my second daughter in a way I wasn’t able to with my first. Please, God, slow me down and help me recognize and appreciate every moment as a gift.

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    Not stress about homework! It was the source of all my anxiety and anger last school year.

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    Thank you Ann, for this is amazing post , it has truly blessed me. Love all the pictures. I stopped to remember when my four children where so young, the puzzles, the coloring book, the hand painting, reading, praying: I need to do that more often, SLOW DOWN……. They are now 36, 29, 19, and 17. The teens are still at home, I am learning after so much of my life to be a Mary and not so much a Martha…and honestly “I truly love it”…God’s word has changed my life, I am memorizing, journaling and reading every day. I have been doing online studies, and I feel such a lightened heart. God is so good. As a mother and grandmother I will continue to grow in the Lord…Hug my children that are home, more.. Send my love to my children that are out of town and send my love to my grand babies. I just loved #4 and #5 the Laughter – I tell me kids smile, its a gift from God, and can be a gift to someone you don’t even know. I will smile and laugh everyday regardless of what the day brings, and I will have my palms up, hands open to receive from the Lord, because I know no matter what, He is in control. I love what your wrote about Motherhood, we are co-laboring with our Lord. We are helping in molding our children’s lives…I love Jeremiah 18:6 As clay in the potter’s hands, so are you in My Hand’s” He is molding us, has a purpose for our lives, and is helping us mold our children to walk in His light, and walk in the purpose He has for their lives. Have a blessed weekend, and thank you again for such encouragement.

    Blessings, Anna

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    No. 8 is for me!
    “Believe it: I have all I need for today.”
    As I look at a new school year for myself (as an Educational Assistant), my own two high schoolers, my home stay high schooler, and my university-aged ‘child’, as well as a busy fall for my pastor hubby, and not feeling I received the rest I needed this summer, I will continue to focus on the reality that I have all I need for today … Thank-you for this reminder that will be my mantra.
    Carole

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    I just finished 1000 Gifts. In the chemo room with my best friend. Ovarian cancer has had it’s ugly grips on her for five years. She’s young. She has a husband and children who need her. Your book has changed my life, my walk. She tried to read it, but gave it to me because concentration can be a difficult thing for her, but as I closed the book and held it to my chest I asked her if I could read it aloud to her. She said yes. And there was a moment of grace. Right there in the chemo room, as the poison that helps my friend gain more moments was dripping steadily into her veins, grace flowed stronger. Flooded in with a deep gaze into her eyes, a knowing that God holds her, loves her, and cares for her moments. I’ve ordered a special journal to begin my 1000 Gifts journey. So for this fall, that is my one thing I am going to do to be a happier mom, wife, and friend.

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    I am working on following the 10 ways right now. As a woman going through a divorce and having to step up to do everything my husband did as well as work and raise our kids I find myself getting annoyed when they are too loud or come constantly barging in my room. I need to find peace with my surroundings and realize that one day my girls will be gone and I’ll only have the memories to keep me company.
    Thanks for posting/sharing this, I will do my best to try and follow it :)

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    I think being more intentional with my time. I get lost in email and Facebook, but its even more than that. I’m only working part-time at this point and its hard to get myself moving and finding another job. Deciding where I fit. I need to be intentional about using my gifts and talents to serve Him, whatever it might be. Whether I get a job in sales or waitressing, it can all be for Him.

    I always fit in Him.

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    Colleen says:

    Ann, my tearful eyes and full heart thank you for sharing your gift of writing. God is so present and felt so lovingly here. I read through tears of regret, yet with a profound hope of the joy Jesus Christ gives. Brings to mind something I love to re-read often from Charles Spurgeon: Esau said, “I have plenty(Gen 33:9), which is the best the world can say. But Jacob replied, “I have all I need”(Gen 33:11)—a truth too lofty for worldly minds. May we all further the truth and love of our God!

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    I plan to get up. Get up right when the alarm goes off — no snoozing. Then, I have the time I need to slow down. Less rushing through the homeschool lessons. Less rushing to get to activities. More time to enjoy each day. I just have to get up.

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    Dear Ann,
    Thank you for this post. I so want to slow down and be calmer, happier. But I almost never do.
    I realize that, for me, it is anxiety that drives me underneath to try to be what God never intended for me to be: Himself
    Even wanting to love others, when only He can meet the need. I want to grow in knowing Him as all in all and know He is enough right here and now for me, and for those I love. Thank you for what you wrote and how God spoke to me through these words.
    Bless you,
    Susan

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    In my little world, I have a Jesus seeking husband who adores me, three littles that crowd my feet, a Bishon that’s a little dirtier than she ought to be, & many longings for the days to come. The beautiful art of smiling at the future is getting etched in my soul. The schedule can crowd out life, every minute over planned can steal my ability to pause and see all that God is doing. I am a planner by nature, but I am not slow by nature. Learning to slow down and be thankful always, to simply delight in God & teach those around, especially the ones forever entering my personal space, to do the very same. Thanks Miss Ann! You are invaluable to HIs Body.

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    p.s. and i LOVE to memorize His Word — SUCH a wonderful encouragement to us all.

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    Karen Teasdale says:

    Slow down and not let life slip by….I definitely need to learn to live intentionally. I have been lax in my prayer life and reading the Word…yet always find time for emails, facebook,etc. It is amazing how much time gets wasted.

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    Lianna Hamm says:

    Thank you one and all for allowing your struggles and victories to be an encouragement to me! It is “in our weakness that the Lord’s strength is perfected,” Praying for this community and our families that the Lord would draw us closer to Him helping us “not conform to the ways of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds” by meditating on His word and making it a lamp unto our feet and a light unto out paths and hiding the word in our hearts!

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    This community looks so wonderful, I think this is what it’s all about…The Body of Christ. I’m in an odd season of life right now, a pioneer homeschool mom….My youngest is 19 now, the youngest of four sweet daughters, our oldest, 30.

    So many questions in life, so many crosses to bear, I see sisters in Christ here who are celebrating Thankfulness through some really heavy things and I wept with you, your thankfulness was so beautiful to me.

    My heart also weighs heavy at times, my girls wonder where Mr. Right is, why they were homeschooled and trained to love the home and no Mr. Right yet, they are seeing young men going to the ways of the world and it breaks their hearts and our hearts too, but yet we must give Thanks and live each day to the fullest and always remember Christ is our fulfillment, plus I thoroughly enjoy our girls going in and out of our home here, so no complaining here! *big smile* But I know they want families of their own too. It’s just such a big fat frightening world out there these days…it scares us all.

    My parents are in their 80s now, I’m an only child. They live apart, the result of a divorce when I was 19. I look at my 19 near old now and think I was such a baby, I went through things that no one should ever go through but I thank God because it helps me help others, to give them Hope. My heart is like a tenderized piece of flesh and now I’m thankful for it, it’s not bad, it’s good, I can see pain in others, and take the time to listen to their stories too. When I go in stores and restaurants I can usually find a dear one to talk with and encourage them as I am encouraged too, sometimes weeping right with them.

    I read Ann’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” (just finished!) and it was like a personal retreat for me, it made me see some things once again.

    Yesterday my mother in law came over, and I released the visit to Christ. We were doing homechurch yesterday and my girls thought we could watch Ann Voskamp on dvd, I used my Christmas money to get that dvd, for I knew I would love the dvd and be blessed by it when reading the book and seeing a short trailer. Well, sure enough yesterday, we showed the first lesson as we sat with my mil. My 30 year old pulled several kleenex as she watched, several of us once again held back tears. What a blessing in so many ways.

    Today I sat with my 19 year old as she is designing her photography blog, she still says… “Sit with me mommy”… I quietly and methodically hemmed a skirt as we watched ‘Emma’, no rush, just savoring these moments, the beautiful music.. all of these…Gifts.

    I’m so blessed reading the Thanksgiving, that Eucharisteo and seeing such sweet sisters, I want to be in too! Oh how it blesses my heart! I’m so thankful for sisters in Christ even so many I may never meet this side of Heaven.

    I think it’s so awesome also the way you Ann comment too. That says worlds.

    Loved the tip about the leaky bucket! Time flies, to heck with the cobwebs, to heck with “busyness” enjoy your children. I’m typing this with tears…before long our children are leaving at 5am to community college or taking off with a brief case to counsel unwed moms at a prolife center…Life is so strange like that, it makes me cry, it makes me smile, it makes me grateful. Eucharisteo dear Sisters, I’m one of you. <3

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    As simple as it sounds, I am going to pause for 5 seconds before responding to a situation. For example, I just opened a closet door and found the school supplies that I just organized (read between the lines: perfectionist) to be in disarray. Normally, I yell for the person to blame and lecture them about why this is wrong. But….this is not the end of the world! I must save my lectures for the important topics.

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    I desperately need to work on #7 … too many minutes wasted doing silly things while the good things are not getting done. Thank you for challenging me!

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    Jennifer says:

    All I can say is that I NEEDED to see this today! I have got to apply this to my life because it’s been in constant upheaval. I have to slow down and stop focusing on perfection. My husband was just sentenced to 16 years in prison. I have tried so hard to be a prayerful, diligent, supportive wife and he used to be such a Godly man. Satan interfered in our lives and he won him over but not ME! My changes I’m going to start applying this fall is that for the FIRST time ever I’m going to go to church ALONE! I’ve never gone without my husband and I know that for my children and for myself that is where we NEED to be. I have a long road ahead of me trying to be a single parent but God is on my side and I have to just let HIM have his way! I choose the right path starting NOW!

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    Melanie Nichols says:

    My goal is for my children to never have to ask me again to put my phone down and pay attention! I am so guilty of scrolling when I should be listening.

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    Jennifer! I will keep you and your family in prayer, so that courage is yours in your new life! Our goal is Heaven, so a day closer is a day more joy-filled. Continue to be faithful to God and your rewards will be beyond the upheaval you have been experiencing.
    As for me, I am raising my standards because “getting by” in my life of Faith is not enough. I live in God every moment of my every day, but my discipline (lack thereof) keeps me distracted and doing so many things. My discipline (asked for in prayer) will look like this: I will spend more daily time with my dearest of friends, Jesus; instead of giving up on my house, I will clean, but perhaps more slowly because a little one wants to help me; I will read a book, even if I have to interrupt my rhythm, because I realize that I haven’t spent TIME with my little ones yet; I will intentionally do little acts of love for each of the members in my family in the way that most speaks to them; I will slow down because if I do EVERYTHING with love, I have to…and my standards will indeed be higher.

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    Do you have a printable for this, Ann? I need to print it and post it!! Thank you for these good words.

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    Jennifer Frasure says:

    Ann.. Thanks for your words. I tried to find a way to email you and say thanks so much!!!! This year I promise to slow down to enjoy every hand held, every kiss, every I love you from my 3 kids. Two years ago I lost my son Andrew at 32 weeks gestation. For one hour I was given the honor of holding his hand in mine..one hour to love someone I had dreams of a lifetime for and one hour to etch his memory in my heart. God’s grace shows up when we are on our knees at 2am saying I am broken-hearted Lord please heal me. This April his twin Ben fell and was within 45 minutes of dying when I began to pray this prayer ” Lord if it be your will for Ben to go I will follow you all of my days but tonight I pray for a miracle. In the quiet of the trauma room ” The Lord spoke to me and said ” He will be fine”. Three days later Ben was discharged at 100 percent. There is a moment where you can’t find the words to say thank you for grace that carried you through. For a voice that spoke in a moment when you needed him the most. That is God. So as I sit here and reflect I promise to cherish the little things. The moments that we etch our hearts. Jennifer..jenni@frasure.net

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    Beautiful post. Great reminders. Just what I needed to read.

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    I share # 1 with all my overwhelmed mommy friends! I love this post.

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    Jacquline says:

    As a mom I had to learn that the childhood of our offspring is a gift from God. I have 3 children. My oldest will be 21 in January and my youngest just turned 11,I have really learned to injoy The time I have left with my youngest child. The oldest 2 are out of the home so Iv really gotten to understand what a blessing my time with my youngest is. Enjoy there childhood everyone cause befor you know it they grow up and go on there own.