Bible Quilt your selected verse: Choose any block where you’d like to start. Keep in mind that some of your longer verses might not fit completely. Pare down to key phrases and include the reference so you can go back to the full verse and read it in a larger context later.
Pray.Lord guide us this day, using this verse in some unique way. Let us grow together this month, aligning our hearts to draw closer to You as we lean on each other for accountability and encouragement. We trust You in this journey as we delight in Your Word and tuck it into our hearts.
When we do a physical workout, we do reps to build muscle and gradually become stronger. The same principle applies to our spiritual workout. The more reps we do, the stronger we become in our faith..
Repetition is a way we learn many life skills…riding a bike, driving a car, sewing, or playing an instrument. The same is true for memorizing prayers or scripture.
As we enter each new month, we have the opportunity to make a fresh start or to renew those dusty New Year’s resolutions. It takes some daily discipline to create some consistent Quiet Time habits.
Do you have a monthly devotional that you’ve been intending to do?
Maybe you have a trusted one that you’ve read over and over?
We’ve created a special 2-page template to consolidate key verses from any devotional or topic you’re diving into a little deeper.
I’ll be walking you through a personal search on Quiet that I did a couple years ago as an example. This is another rep technique: do a previous workout series again and rekindle those muscle memories!
You can follow along with us on #31daysofquiet or select your own topic.
Kickoff is October 1st!
Download template pages from our shop and print on card stock. Cut to fit your 7 x 10 #biblequiltjournal page. Use adhesive to attach it to the page and reinforce the edges with washi tape if you’d like.
If you don’t have a Bible Quilt journal yet, you can still do the loose pages.
Choose your topic and embellish the title as you’d like. I use this time to slow down and focus on this singleconcept, praying that the Lord will show me a way to adopt this into my daily rhythm.
You have the option of numbering the spaces on the template as you go or prep in advance.
Basic Format of #31daysof_____
Read your devotional for the day. Allow it to soak in. If you get to the end and realize you were too distracted, read it again.
Bible Quilt your selected verse: Choose any block where you’d like to start. Keep in mind that some of your longer verses might not fit completely. Pare them down to key phrases and include the reference so you can go back to the whole verse and read it in a fuller context later.Pray. I try to pray that the Lord guide me this day, using this verse in some way..
If you’d like to make a flip-card set to carry in your purse or keep in your car, write today’s verse on an index card and add another one to your set each day. This rep of writing it again will help it settle into your spirit.
Enjoy this journey, friend. Allow yourself grace if your designated Quiet Time gets sidetracked. Team up with a friend to keep up the momentum!
“Big Transitions” has been the name of the game around here the past few weeks…
launching our oldest son to college
welcoming our Chinese exchange student back, tossing him into our busy family life, then sending him off to college too
preparing our other two sons for their return to middle school and high school
Throw in ongoing AC problems for a sweltering month, persistent internet malfunctions and a significant health diagnosis for a parent, and it has been a downright whirlwind.
As we’ve celebrated the Lasts of the Summer and stepped into the First inklings of Fall, I’ve been trying to hunker down and just breathe.
I’ve journaled and I’ve taken some fervently brisk walks around the neighborhood in an effort to soothe the restless yammerings inside my head.
Here’s a few things I’ve sifted out:
~ ~ Acknowledge all the shifting feelings. Edit later.
I told a friend recently I felt like a human pinball machine, ricocheting off one thing after another, alarms and dings constantly beeping around me.
Although I felt like I was managing pretty well with the expectedparts of multiple transitions, I realized I was “emotionally leaky” when unexpected challenges arose again and again.
I might have been the tearfully quiet woman on the phone, trying not to sob out loud when the air conditioning company informed me that they would NOT be able to work us into their schedule the night before an event at my house!
Acknowledge the wide mix of feelings and their varying intensity as you’re caught up in a time of upheaval, yet give yourself grace to sift through them later.
~ ~ Savor one moment at a time
It’s hard to have your feet in two worlds at one time.
Absorbing the current moment with both feet solidly planted in the Now helps you focus and soak in the atmosphere around you and connect with the person beside you.
Rootbeer floats on a hot afternoon with your favorite middle schooler is a double treat!
Then you take a deep breath and step forward into the next moment.
~ ~ Keep it Simple
Pray over the small details in a health crisis and identify snatches of gratitude along the way (e.g. timeliness of reports, an extra kindness of the receptionist, or the gesture of a physician providing his own cell phone number to you.)
Tackle the little things that you can accomplish during a whirlwind season of change. Match up the single socks floating around the laundry room. Clean out the refrigerator. Get your car washed. Lie back in that hammock a few minutes and allow the perspective shift to settle into your bones. Chase the Quiet in the midst of the chaos.
The long-term Big Picture can feel overwhelming. Keep focused on the tangibles of today rather than wallowing in the haze of tomorrow’s worries.
When my permit-only son drove me around on errands, I felt more grounded because my attention was on him and his experience…like watching the odometer roll 123,456 miles as he drove over the bridge to his cross country practice!
Times of crisis don’t have to steal our joy. We can lean into each other to appreciate these little moments shared in this particular season.
~ ~ Release
As parents we can’t hold too tightly to our children. We have to release them when they’re ready to spread their wings. As we celebrate each milestone, our momma’s hearts soar. Yet when we see them take flight, it’s a tender time for all of us. Embrace it all!
As we prepared for our firstborn to head off to college, I kept focusing on the simple phrase #launchwell to ground me during the flurry of sorting, packing, and loading.
As we neared the Countdown, I had a heightened awareness of Lasts with our son in our daily family life. Our last time at church together as a family. Our last meal together. Each day poignantly echoed the reality impending upon us. His spot at the dinner table would be empty. The light tread of his feet down the stairs would be absent.
I had to recognize that many of our Lasts transformed quickly into his Firsts. Our Release became his time to Shine.
Big Transitions are messy and emotional yet they transform us in remarkable ways we cannot glimpse yet. We press on, standing firm in our faith. We move forward, knowing we are not alone.
“…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Summer is all about curious explorations and fun family outings.Recently we had a joint family adventure to a local blueberry farm and dove into our first experience of picking fresh blueberries.
We each grabbed a bucket and headed down the rows of lush blueberry plants.Within a few minutes we had established a rhythm:
Reach in to a full branch, grab a few berries, do a sample taste test, and drop the remainder into the bucket.
It wasn’t long before we were confident in our picking game. The boys quickly determined that the ripest berries would release easily, leaving the rest on the vine for later.The sun warmed our backs and a light breeze kept us going when our task began to feel a bit like “work.”
Occasionally we’d switch rows and swap stories, eyeing each other’s buckets to see how much progress we were making.Conversations bounced about as our buckets slowly filled.
Sweet tidbits of summer’s glory…
With boys ranging in age from 6 to 15, we could see the difference in their maturity levels in their conversation as well as their picking styles.
Some were methodical and steady. Others experimented with centrifugal force as they hurled their buckets in large circles, challenging each other to go faster and faster.
One needed to do his taste-testing at the sno-cone truck to “preview” flavors for the rest of us. (It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!)
The Lord must see this same maturation process in our spiritual lives. Our prayers and spiritual walks strengthen as our faith ripens over time, saturating into us as we press through life’s challenges.
We are all maturing at our own unique pace – – –
… some of us are “green” yet full of potential
… others are at the “sweet spot” of maturity & ready to share
…others are past their “peak,” yet maintain a strong, distinctive flavor
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…” Hebrews 6:1
As we rallied the troops and weighed in our buckets, it didn’t matter how much each of us picked. Our efforts were gathered together in one beautiful heap.
One family outing reaped many bonuses:
the simple joy of having freshly plucked berries to add to our granola, yogurt, and salads
~~~ the red, white, and BLUEberry fun during 4th of July celebrations ~~~
How much sweeter all these experiences were because we had gathered the blueberries ourselves and shared in our collective abundance, enjoying the fruits of our labor. Sweet rewards for hot, summer days – – – infusing fond memories and new traditions – – – for the love of blueberries!
We’re all familiar with the preschool song about twinkling stars in the dark sky… “how I wonder what you are…”
As we’re careening to the end of school, the long stretch of summer prompts us all to wondera bit more than usual.
WONDER – to think or speculate curiously
My youngest peppers me with questions when we’re out together, asking how things work or pointing out advertising anomalies that don’t make common sense on the surface.
I often stumble through my responses and together we generate a lot of hypotheses, sometimes mutually agreeing to consult Syri in hopes that her lofty British accent will produce a more educated guess.
I love my son’s quirky observations and perpetual curiosity.
WoNdER – to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel
Summer road trips offer families a chance to veer off the beaten path and see some unusual things.
We didn’t necessarily have to understand WHY someone would create such oddities, but we did enjoy wandering about in awe of seeing typical objects accumulated and displayed in some extreme ways.
wonDeR – to doubt
As Moms, we frequently second-guess our day-to-day interactions with our children. We wonder if we’re doing enough. We wonder if we’re doing too much…
Whenever I’m unsettled about a particular interaction with one of my kiddos, I like to process through it on a walk. I’ll even choose a different path to stimulate my thinking.
I typically can glean some perspective that I didn’t have in the moment. I may realize I need to readjust my expectations or expand the timeframe involved.
The symmetry of nature soothes me as I explore my personal reactions and the unique personality of the child involved. When I see a flower blooming that has just reached its peak, it’s a gentle reminder that my children are blossoming at their own rates as well. Each one is in a different developmental season and I have to nurture in patient, subtle ways, mindful of timing and spacing.
WONder – a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, tinged with admiration
Sometimes a milestone highlights a child’s growth that’s been occurring all along, but is poignantly brought to our present attention in a formal rite of passage.
Our breath catches as we see our child cross the stage at graduation. As he is swept up in a week-long chain of celebratory events and inundated by sweet cards of validation from friends, family, and former teachers, something shifts between parent and child.
The child’s effort and determination emerges as the primary focus and our parenting role fades away, providing a backdrop for him to truly shine.
wonder – a miraculous deed or event; remarkable phenomenon
Each experience we’ve woven into our child’s life culminates in a unique blend of teenaged flair.
From the rainy kindergarten zoo field trips to numerous play sessions at the park, and all those family vacations, each contributes to a lifetime sense of curiosity.
It’s fun to see teens begin to seek out adventures on their own, perhaps participating in an overseas exchange program or a church mission trip.
Each new experience stirs up WONDER about other cultures and broadens their outlook a little wider.
As we teeter on the edge of summer, we have the opportunity to ponder a little longer, to question a little deeper… and to marvel at this season of our family’s life a little more intentionally.
To my graduating son, I look at YOU in Wonder.
I will always treasure our shared history fondly, tuck you into my heart tightly, and hold your future loosely.
We’ve had a lot of motherhood going on around us recently.
Our turtles have had 3 hatchlings emerge in a 10-day period that we have adopted out to some VERY happy boys.
An exciting adventure is in store for them as they observe turtle behavior and learn how to take care of these little creatures.
Our flighty friend, MamaDuck, has returned to lay her eggs at our house again in some tall feather grass. She picked a much better hiding spot than her previous location of a flowerpot out on the open patio in the midst of all the hustle & bustle of swim season.
I even had to do a little detective work to finally discover where she had nested this time…Look at how precisely she’s got the eggs tucked in!
I was admiring the symmetry of egg placement and carefully constructed nest when I heard the loud flap of wings as two male ducks arrived. I looked up just in time to see Katie revved up to greet them…
Somehow I managed to capture this sequence of their reactions: MamaDuck taking flight, her peaceful swim disrupted; the male Mallards barely dipping into the water to shoot back up into the air for safety; and our dog, charging merrily at wildlife entering her fenced-in yard. (She had already had a full morning chasing the scent of a rabbit that had been meandering all over the garden, the back and front yard. ) Her eager retriever instinct was in full gear!
During this past weekend of Mother’s Day activities, my husband joked that perhaps I was providing “too nurturing” of a home environment that prompted this explosion of nature going on in our backyard.
My hospitality dwindled when a mama squirrel built her nest IN our attic over the winter. The constant gnawing sounds that awakened us multiple nights in a 3-week period resulted in an unplanned home improvement project directed by a handy neighbor. The squirrel nuisance triggered a stream of workers traipsing through the house, cutting through a closet to get into the space to figure out where the squirrels got in and how to block their access. I’m grateful to be past the phase of activating the “alert” status which brought our neighbor to the door with a head-lamp and a pellet gun. Although he was disappointed he never “got” them, he tapped in to some creative squirrel-proofing that ended with some, um, rather unique Tree Art in our backyard!
Interesting times around here as mothers of all types are nesting, nurturing and launching their babies in different ways!
With graduation season in full swing, a lot of us mommas are in the same boat. Instincts of all kinds are kicking in and our emotions are tightly woven together like that MamaDuck’s nest. I’m not quite ready to unfold all of that yet though…
I’m still soaking in the moments of Mother’s Day weekend, family gathered around the table and my guys making special efforts to cook & clean. Beyond those intentional actions, though, were some of my favorite moments…a son showing up beside me to help plant spring flowers, or offering to make a grocery run and bringing back a smoothie for me, or vacuuming out my messy car.
Spontaneous hugs.A kind gesture.A sneaky smile. These little pauses when I get to capture a one-on-one moment are the snippets I hold onto dearly, tucking them into my heart as I watch these boys mature in their own ways.
Mama Nature has some pretty cool stuff going on this spring.
I’m grateful for the close-up view that helps put things into perspective.
Ordinary days punctuated by extraordinary moments are special gifts to a mother’s heart. I’m treasuring each one and hope you are, too!