So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

There is something about the approach of the year’s end that always finds me deep in thought. How about you? It is almost Christmas and I’m not sure how it got here so fast again. I am writing this on the 353rd day in 2014. A nifty internet search tool tells me I have been alive 23, 273 days so far which means this year of 2014 represents only about one and one half percent of my life. What? How did that happen? But it does make sense. My feeling that time goes faster and faster is now totally in perspective. Each passing year is becoming a smaller and smaller fraction of my total life. I’m not sure how I feel about that but it sort of takes my breath away.

Do you remember how endless the month of December felt when you were six or seven? It seemed like an eternity until Santa would arrive and we got to open our presents. Now an entire month slips by like a week used to and days just melt and disappear and maybe for the first time ever I am beginning to understand. Life is short, even a long one. We are so blessed by the gift of another Christmas and then another. Lucky are those of us who have had the opportunity to string together 40 or 60 or 80 Christmases.

This year I have found myself immersed again in retail. Nothing says fast forward like working in a mall at Christmas. With less than a week to go I personally have purchased gifts for just four of the twelve or so people on my list. And this year I am okay with it. I still have five days that I can shop and I’ll get it done. It doesn’t even feel like complacency, it just feels peaceful. I could get used to peaceful, couldn’t  you?

Just twelve short months ago a gift from my daughter, a simple little book entitled Jesus Calling, has been a game changer for me. With few exceptions I have given the first 10 minutes of my day to reading this little devotional and looking up the Bible verses for each short page. Ten minutes is a fraction of the 1440 minutes we are all given each day. A tiny fraction. Simply by doing this one little thing, making this time first in my daymy life has taken on a new dimension. It is amazing how a tiny decision to mentally set my mind on the right path each day has given me a greater sense of peace than I have ever known. I certainly lapse into fits of busyness but I am in recovery!

Even in the rush of this season I have had  sweet moments of total contentment and leisure. An evening here and there in front of the fire. A school music program with my favorite five year old elf, a lovely night out with a friend enjoying beautiful Christmas music, an intimate gathering with some of my dearest women friends openly sharing our devotion for one another. It takes  effort and  some relaxing of our rigidity to slow down, savor and enjoy these precious times but when we do, I can almost see God smiling.

I share this with you as much to remind myself to slow down to the speed of life, to unclench and quit being so driven every single day. I am a work in progress but I am getting better. Really,  it is okay to jump off the hamster wheel for a day. Finally, after 23,274 days I am beginning to understand the importance of allowing myself to relax and that it is not necessary to always be “on”. The thought for yesterday in Jesus calling was this; “Do not be weighed down by the clutter in your life:lots of little chores…you will discover they are endless. They can eat up as much time as you devote to them.” Don’t let them eat up your precious days.

So have yourself a merry, mellow Christmas. Be kind to yourself and know that God loves you exactly how you are. Psalm 91:12 is a good message to think about. “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom” As we end up this year of 2014, I wish you many blessings and a beautiful holiday season filled with peace and joy.

[adrotate banner=”82″]

[adrotate banner=”81″]

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

10 Tips to Banish Teenage FOMO

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen with red hair smiling

Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together. If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue....

Keep Reading

I’m So Thankful For This Little Family

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler boy and infant girl, color photo

I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, and praying for a life like I have now. Praying for a man to love me, to be loyal to me, to want a family with me, to provide for me, to show me what stability felt like and what it felt like to not ever have to worry . . . and here he is right in front of me. I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, praying for a house I could make a home and raise my family in. Here it is right in front of me. But most of...

Keep Reading

How I Like My Coffee

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter drink coffee

I like my coffee with hazelnut creamer and a dash of almond milk. I like my coffee cold and neglected on the countertop because I’m busy soothing my new baby boy, the one who has made me a mother. In my long robe and slippers, I pace the kitchen floor and hold my swaddled son close to my heart. When his fussing grows quiet, I can hear the ticking of the big clock in the den. The dawn slowly reveals itself, brightening the kitchen in increments. It’s hard to imagine keeping my eyes open until he’s ready to nap again....

Keep Reading

Compassion Holds My Heart

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Child hugging mother

I lean my head in through the window of his van. The first thing I notice is the funny smell. Like cigarettes. And maybe body odor. The second? His tired, wrinkle-lined eyes. They’re dull, lethargic even. My daughter scrunches up her nose. I give her that look and try to hide my own misgivings. But Compassion climbs in the car with me.  And as the taxi driver guides the car toward our destination, I ask him about his story. Turns out he’s been driving all night. Till 5:30 this morning. Taking people home who were too drunk to drive themselves....

Keep Reading

I Was the Girl Who Ran Away From God

In: Faith
Woman standing in grass, black-and-white photo

I was the girl. I was the girl who’d do anything to get high as a teenager. I was the girl who craved love and just wanted to be wanted. I was the girl who wasn’t afraid of anything. I was the girl who stopped believing there was a God. I was the girl who said I would never go back to church. I was the girl who was certain none of it was real anyway because I was wasting my time going places like that. I was the girl who let the heartache and disappointment of this old world...

Keep Reading

I Prayed for You Before I Knew You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

Baby, I have prayed for you—even before I knew who you would be.  I prayed I would be a mom one day when I was too little to know what I was praying for and again when I really thought my body would not be able to carry a baby. I prayed for you.  I prayed every day as you grew in my belly that you would be healthy, happy, and strong.  I prayed at every doctor’s appointment and scan that I would hear your heartbeat loud and strong.  I prayed for your arrival—for you to be safe and for...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, I Miss You

In: Faith, Grief
Grown woman and her mother, color photo

Dear Mom, Yesterday I went over to your house. I was hoping you would open the door, but Daddy greeted me with his sweet smile. Yes, he still has a mustache. The one you hate, but I did manage to trim it up for him. I cut his hair too.   We talked about you over coffee and waited for you to join us, but you never did. He’s doing his best to do this life without you in it, but his eyes are clouded with memories and mixed with pain. He misses you, Momma. RELATED: I Didn’t Just Lose...

Keep Reading

Spaghetti Sauce Faith

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Mother and little girl holding a bowl of spaghetti, color photo

It was Sunday afternoon, and I was loading my grocery cart higher than I ever had in my life. My husband and I, along with our two kids under two years old, had been living with his parents for three months. We moved from our Florida home to look for a house in Georgia, and they graciously took us in. This was the day I loaded up on groceries—filling an empty refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. My shopping list was all the things. I needed to buy the smallest of table ingredients like salt and garlic powder to the big things...

Keep Reading

Dear Introverted Mom, Take that Break

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman outside with book and food

I am alone, in a hotel room, 20 minutes from home, lying back in the crisp bed, feet propped up on billowing white pillows. A good book is in my hand. The large window beside me overlooks the Mississippi River as the sun slowly sets and people unwind for a southern Louisiana evening in downtown Baton Rouge. I’ll probably order room service for dinner. I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop across the street, sipping on a deliciously caffeinated beverage carefully made to my liking. I ate a delicate snack filled with fruits, fancy lettuce, and expensive cheese while...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime