Blog Bible Study (Quiet Time: Reposted)

    Reading through the first book of Psalms, I posted my Study Notes to our Lisses to Lebanon blog. I am in the process of moving those posts to this blog, and am going to be posting my new Study of 1 Samuel. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to refresh my original post about how the Blog Bible Study works. The original post is copied below, from June of 2014, and I will mark my current edits in this lovely blue bold text.

What I have heard from people over and over is how hard it is to find time to do Bible Study, Quiet Time, Devotionals, and/or prayer time. Well, I know how that feels. What God has been teaching me over the past few months is to seek His approval in all things. So, as I write about my commitments, know that we are all in a different season of our lives. At one point in my life (college) I was part of a prayer walk group that met 3 times a week from 8pm to midnight. That was an amazing time of maturing in prayer, building fellowship with that group, and was only for a year of my life (in school years). At another point in my life I took the 40 days of Lent to commit to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening for time with God. This was possible because Davy was napping a lot, and nursing, so I would read the Bible while nursing. That was an amazing time of giving everything to God, and each of these seasons has helped me learn about myself and God.

Let me tell you about the season I am in currently. Some of you are reading this to figure out how I will be doing this whole Blog Bible Study thing, and some because you are a part of our prayer team for Lebanon. Either way, I hope this will encourage you and help you connect with me better.

    I am in yet another season of transition.

  • Pregnancy: Transitioning from having one child to two, from being pregnant, to nursing, etc.
  • Culture & Life Style: I am still adjusting to life in America and in May will be going back to Lebanon for yet another transition.
  • Language: Now we are immersed in English and with pregnancy brain it is so hard to practice Arabic anyway, but it is a transition for Davy and I to keep attempting to practice and in May to be thrown back into immersion of Arabic.
  • Blogging: I really do enjoy having a blog where I can basically post what I want, which is why I am moving so much content from Lisses to Lebanon to my Mommy Book Blog. This is also a transition in learning computer skills I don’t have mastery of yet.
  • Marriage & Family: Louis will return to us on February 13! This has been so hard, being apart from my husband, Davy being apart from his Daddy, and to feel basically homeless during it because Daddy is in our home in Lebanon without us.

In other words, there is constant flux around me, and I am clinging to God to keep from being knocked over by the waves of change. Therefore, since returning to America in November, I have been working at maintaining consistency for Davy and I. We function very well on routines. My routine has changed for quiet time as well, so I suggest hopping over to that original post to see what I was doing the last time around, and to use these two as a way to pray through your own quiet time. One of the encouraging blogs that has truly helped motivate me to spend quiet time every day with God is Our Out-of-Sync Life. When you subscribe to her blog you receive a free ebook called A Quiet Time, Worth the Time.

 

The way I typically do my quiet time:

  1. Time of Day:
    1. I feel that morning quiet time is important, but with pregnancy our schedule has not allowed for it, so I am currently consistently doing evening quiet time.
  2. Pray.
    1. Talk to God, sometimes I type up a Word Document prayer to God.
    2. I pray with Davy before each meal, nap, and bedtime.
  3. Study: For 1 Samuel I am going through the actual Study about once a week.
    1. Open up my Study document on my computer (Which makes it mobile for my international needs). All you need to make your own notebook page or word document are these headings:
      1. Scripture:
      2. Date:
      3. Overview
      4. Main Characters
      5. Key Verse
      6. Cross References
      7. Conclusion
    2. Read the section/chapter 3 times.
      1. Yes, read it three times through completely.
      2. My favorite part is seeing verses that I have heard so many times and being able to put them in context of the chapter. Reading the chapter three times helps with this process because the first time through those verses stand out completely. By the third time through I am able to read them easily within the chapter and see how they connect to the chapter and book.
    3. Begin filling out the sheet with an overview of the chapter after you’ve read it 3 times.
    4. List the main characters.
      1. I list ever character which will let me search by words like blind man, unrighteous, etc. later.
    5. Choose one key verse.
      1. This is not a verse that is the most popular. As I said about reading through the text 3 times, verses that have been used over and over around us are not necessarily the verses that capture the chapter best.
  4. Bible Reading Plan: Every Day
    1. Since it is hard for me to do a study at night, I only get about 1 chapter a week done. Therefore, I made myself a Bible Reading Plan, which I read from every night.
    2. If I don’t get to everything on my reading plan it is okay, because I am reading Scripture every night.
    3. Finally, every night Davy and I read books together, and always read the Bible. Currently I am reading him a chapter from whatever I am reading that night.

One note I want to add: It has been on my heart for a long time to share with others how Jesus really is in the entire Bible. I even bought a Bible that has commentary specific to that purpose. Therefore, there is a section for these notes called Jesus in the Old Testament. In my reading Psalms in my ESV Gospel Transformation Bible I was encouraged and inspired by the introduction which shared about reading the Psalms with the words of Jesus in mind. Luke 24:44 says, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

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Weekly Goals

Last Week’s Goals:

  1. Potty Time Right Before & Right After Naps & Bed, and Before We Leave the House (He is figuring it out! We even took the potty seat when we went out for the day, and he used it twice out in “public”!)
  2. Write Love Notes to Louis and to Davy
  3. Attend Bible Study
  4. List Backlogged Blog Topics and Prioritize Them
  5. Make a Study Plan for Arabic

This Week’s Goals:

  1. Potty Time: Keep on keeping on.
  2. Write Love Notes to Louis and Kyrie
  3. Finish up 2015 Goals to Post to Blog
  4. Bind Davy’s Books from the Last Two Units
  5. List Backlogged Blog Topics and Prioritize Them

Weekly Goals

Last Week’s Goals:

  1. Potty Time Three Times a Day
    (IT’S WORKING! Not to embarrass him later, but this week he actually started to pee in the toilet! Yay! Later in the week we had more trouble, so there is still a ways to go.)
  2. School with Davy 3 Days
    (Now that we have firmly established the habit, I think I can take it off the Weekly Goals because while I will still be doing it, I won’t need to use this list to do it)
  3. File Event Information, Add People to Newsletter, List People Who Need Thank You Cards
  4. Write 5 Thank You Cards (PROGRESS MADE: Although I was able to begin the process of filing, other things came up and I realized that I had made micro goals, but just not given myself enough days. Oh well, progress was made.)
  5. List Backlogged Blog Topics and Prioritize Them (PROGRESS MADE: This was a goal I was excited about accomplishing, but there were some actual job related goals that had to come first that I had not originally given myself any time for this week. I did create the document for Blog Topics to be listed.)

This Week’s Goals:

  1. Potty Time Right Before & Right After Naps & Bed, and Before We Leave the House
  2. Write Love Notes to Louis and to Davy
  3. Attend Bible Study
    (Since I didn’t post this right away on Tuesday, I have already attended my monthly Bible Study. It was great!)
  4. List Backlogged Blog Topics and Prioritize Them
  5. Make a Study Plan for Arabic

I had some exciting times reading through my Bible Plan this week, and Davy’s success on the toilet was amazing! As I work on my Goals it has been great to focus on what God is calling me to do. I am taking full advantage of the happy hormones of pregnancy flooding through my body, and I hope that the goals that I create will provide me with hope and life because they are based on God’s will. As I read Romans I was struck by how the law which is meant to lead to life could also cause destruction. That is what happens when I beat myself up over rules I create around these goals. The point is to remain focused where God is leading me. I must seek His truth, not let myself believe the lies of Satan when one or two of my goals turn out to be too much for the week.

I am also very proud of the fact that Progress was Made on all five goals even though two weren’t fully accomplished. I decided it was important to emphasize the progress made even if I can’t actually cross out the goals.

I am continuing to work on my yearlong goals, so soon these weekly goals will expand into different categories as I go to work on big goals as well. Stay tuned, and please feel free to post/reply with your own weekly goals in the comments and how you did on them this week!

Daily Goals

As I am praying through my goals for this year, and writing down the details I know God has been telling me over the last year for what He wants me to pursue, I found many passions that I have allowed to be swept to the side. The way I think of it is the quick clean you give your house when you have company coming over. It doesn’t matter if the items are important or not, they all get swept into a closet to be out of the way. But after company leaves it can be so easy to leave that basket of supplies, that cross stitch project, and that book in the closet gathering dust because other things come in and take your time. When my Bible ends up in Davy’s room and I get into bed and don’t have it, it is all too easy to just give up for the night because it isn’t out in plain sight.

An Essential to My Day: Good Morning Hugs

    Some of these passions are Daily Goals of mine. Things that I would like to have every day. For instance, something that has brought joy and healing in a way that I never would have expected is the simple act of Good Morning Hugs. My love language is not touch, but I discovered that I needed to have a morning hug in order to feel like we were starting the day together. Since I have terrible nightmares 66% of the time, I wake up terribly, and I don’t really ever sleep enough, it is easy to just want to avoid me in the morning. I even want to avoid myself most mornings. However, there is nothing like stripping away that bad dream like my husband just wrapping his arms around me and saying, “Good Morning.” It really does spark something inside me to recognize that the night has passed and we are now in a new day.

Am I setting myself up for failure?

    As I was sharing about these Daily Goals I had discovered I wanted in my life, Louis and I were able to also talk about the reality of adding them to a list for the year. Am I going to have a checklist hanging over my head of these Daily Goals every day and have to check them off at night? And speaking of those, when we look at the similarly long list of Weekly Goals… With my guilt issues and ability to hear “You failed” in every situation, my loving and supportive husband asked me to really think about the way in which I go about this list. So, I prayed through them again and deleted some.

Taking My Husband’s Advice: Use the Delete Key

    I deleted Goals that were Duty and Work related first. If I don’t study Arabic today, or Davy doesn’t pick up his toys another day, that does not leave me with a day unaccomplished. Then I combined goals so that I was not failing just because I hadn’t accomplished a small detail. Finally, I ended up with 5 Daily Goals that all were focused on rejuvenating our family. One of our constant desires as missionaries is to live lives that move beyond merely Surviving to Thriving. After I had narrowed, and prayed, I realized that these were some of the keys to Thriving for me. So here are my 5 Daily Goals to Thrive By:

  1. Family Good Morning Hugs, Jesus Talk, Laughter, Prayer, and Cuddles

All of these things are important to me. They are also those things that I hear about being a challenge for anyone who is pregnant or has a newborn, and I want them in my life. When Davy was born we focused on these, and I want to do the same with Kyrie, and forever really.

  1. Marriage: Text/Skype Message Each Other

This is one of those things on Pinterest that has just stuck with me. With Louis in Lebanon and us here in America, those daily messages back and forth are so essential. But also, once we are back in Lebanon together, when the day gets busy and hectic and he is at work and I am at home with the kids we really don’t know how the other person’s day is going, and I think this is a habit I really want to continue to show my love and support for my husband.

  1. Kids Book Marathons

I found this on a blog and I just love it. With Davy’s homeschool we have a book of the week every week. But sitting down with a whole box of books and just reading and reading and reading is so fun, Davy loves it, I love it, and he gets so much out of it. My teacher mantra has always been, “Talk to your kids. Read to your kids.” So, this is a must for me. Also, it is so open ended. Our book marathon could be three books or it could be fifteen. At the very least we read books before bed, and that includes the Bible.

  1. Morning Quiet Time

I have been slipping on this since I got pregnant. Davy is awake before me every day, and I just am tired all the time. So, after scaling back my expectations, I know that I need to spend months working back up to my ideal Morning Routine, but I can start by just making it important. Reading something in the Bible, praying in the shower, just starting to make it a part of my life again.

  1. Personal Me Time: Read, Journal, Cross Stitch, Solitaire, or Logic Puzzles

And of course, the Me Time. So necessary to my life is some quiet time, and yet just as easy to toss aside for the more important and pressing matters at hand. But just having some cool down time lets me actually sleep better at night, and being able to have things that are solely me, my hobbies, is fun and gets me in a much better mood.

Big Goals: Why Make Them?

Why Make Big Goals?

            I have been sharing the last few posts about my process through January of making some goals for the year, a rarely done task for me. As I share this process I want to share with you some of the resources I have found to help me and encourage me to follow through with what I believe God has asked me to do. These three following blogs have encouraged me through countless links, and often just seeing them (and others) in my email boosts my mood and spirit. These three had the most specific effect on my own goal planning process.

Money Saving MomMoney Saving Mom is a blog that I follow for a multitude of ideas, coupons, and encouraging words for moms. She has been keeping track of her goals weekly the entire time that I have followed her, and while some of you might be thinking that might be boring, it has been SO ENCOURAGING! I have gotten so many ideas of things I want to do (Read books with purpose, for myself and with my kids is the biggest example), and how to think reasonably about the goals I set. I loved digging around her archives of goals as I was setting my own, and I hope that you will take a moment to check out her blog. (I highly recommend the post she links in this about bombing her 2014 goals as well.)

The Better Mom The Better Momis another blog I love reading, that has helped me follow through with my goal making. The journey of three specific posts took me to the point of beginning to work, and it might not make complete sense but these three posts have been huge influences on my goals. 1) To The Mom of Little Ones: No, You Can’t Do It All This post had me tearing up before I even opened the email. I went through the list of “Failures” with her and could add more. But if my expectations are secret even from myself until I read a post like this, maybe I need to start writing down my expectations for myself? 2) By the time I opened the second email I had already discerned that God was clearly telling me to write my goals for the year with Him, and so getting this post: Feeling Trapped? How to Find Freedom Through Choices, Goals, & Change This Year Made me sigh and pick up a pen. 3) The real kicker though, what took me from resigned obedience to some excitement was the next day’s post: 5 Ways A Mom Can Encourage Family Devotions. With my missing Louis so badly this post really did have me weeping. I realized that there are things I am passionate about, which are getting left out of my life entirely, and I must get them back onto the calendar.

Finally, Our Out-of-Sync LifeOur Out-of-Sync Life is a blog that is a constant go to site. I am currently using the 2 year old curriculum she developed on abcjesuslovesme.com for Davy. She also wrote a post which has encouraged me as she wrote about things she was going to be doing to scale back. Also, her ebook mentioned at the end of the post was very helpful to me and I was reminded again of my own desire to make Morning Quiet Time a part of my routine. Check out her post on the New Year.

Weekly Goals

My Goals For Last Week:

  1. Do School with Davy 3 Days
    (This one was very important to me and I am so glad it worked out. There were projects we didn’t do, and there was flexibility to the Plan that Mommy had made, but we did it!)
  2. Update Fundraising Information,
    Reimbursements, and Mail Checks
  3. Start Writing Thank You Cards & Follow Up from Fundraising Events (As I went through my daily To Do List this goal and the following goal became bigger tasks than could be accomplished around other things, so I moved them to smaller micro tasks in the coming weeks)
  4. Create a Blog Post Calendar of “Due Dates” & Topics
  5. Have Davy sit on the Toilet for Potty Time Twice a Day
    Almost immediately I wished I had not made this goal this week, but naptime and bedtime became times he “needed” to try to sit on the toilet, and while he was doing it for stalling I was glad that he was trying. And we had some progress!

My Goals For This Week:

  1. Potty Time Three Times a Day (Since he initiated his own Potty Time twice a day I am going to try to add one more this week.)
  2. School with Davy 3 Days
  3. File Event Information, Add People to Newsletter, List People Who Need Thank You Cards
  4. Write 5 Thank You Cards
  5. List Backlogged Blog Topics and Prioritize them

I made a calendar for Daily Goals as well, and that is what I tried to accomplish each day. As I said with the fundraising tasks and the blogging tasks, I realized that I had made my goals to vague. I couldn’t fully accomplish the task, so I had to break them down into much smaller pieces to really have them on the Daily Goals calendar. I was able to begin with each goal that I had the previous week, but it was more of figuring out how I want to organize the two blogs, researching a possible change to owning our own domain name, and gathering into a pile everything I need for the Thank You project. So, those pieces were a success and a step in the right direction. It was better than being overwhelmed and walking away from the goal entirely.

I am continuing to work on my yearlong goals, so soon these weekly goals will expand into different categories as I go to work on big goals as well. Stay tuned, and please feel free to post/reply with your own weekly goals in the comments and how you did on them this week!

Goals for a Year

    I just wrote a post about how important Goal Tracking has been to me in the past. It has been a means of encouragement when my life is overwhelming and too full. This is not the case for everyone. For me, when I have a million things on the To Do List, it is good for me to have One Big Thing. If I can’t accomplish everything that is on the Big List, I can at least go to sleep knowing I did the one thing for the day. This gives me hope and motivation each day. For others, this can be more discouraging, to have a list of goals at the beginning of a week. In the past I have felt that way about New Year’s Resolutions. The mere idea of having them written down and then lost by the next year was too much for me. And this year I felt that way also, but I also heard God telling me to work on them. So, I have been working on making some goals for the year. As I worked on them, they have buoyed me out of some of my discouragement. I began writing goals and realized that they were doable. I will have to work at them, of course, I didn’t think of things like Breathe, for instance. But they are things I want to do, I want to have higher on my priority list, and yet, somehow many of them just keep falling aside.

    I know that one of the things that Louis and God have wanted me to learn is how God sees me, rather than becoming consumed with how others see me. One of my biggest struggles in Lebanon is with raising Davy. I feel stuck whenever someone gives me a “Should”. Don’t should on me, people. I really can’t handle it, I have been learning. I take each one as gospel truth, even if it goes against what God has told me. With potty training I wrote a letter to myself for whenever I want to quit, and I used it already this week twice.

“There are a lot of ways in which we are ready, and some in which we aren’t.

This will always be the case in our lives.

We will always have something big happening or a phase of not following instructions.

Davy has wanted to learn, and it is time to figure it out.”

    Even though I wrote it, and Louis and I prayed about it, it can still feel like I must be doing everything wrong with David because other parents can train their kids differently. But our method, timing, motivation, are all coming from somewhere different than the ordinary parent. Davy is a Third Culture Kid, he is going to be spending the majority of his formative years outside of his parents’ culture, and this is part of that life: To be flexible all the time, living in different places, and learning things at strange times.

    So, I took time while making new goals for Davy to reflect on all that we have accomplished, all the positives. We began Homeschooling him in September, and with a few breaks we have been successfully moving forward through the Bible curriculum and the Academics. He is able to count to 10 already and this week we are “starting” the number 5. He also began, all on his own, to play the “B b Belly” game, and to try out other letters. He is super smart, and he is learning how to sit quietly, to follow directions, and so much language! The successes are easy to pass off as just because he is smart, but I know that a lot of them took the repetition, the practicing, and the patience that I have worked on with him. It will be these same building blocks in his toilet training.

    I have gone through our lives several times in the past two years of preparing to go to Lebanon, going, and returning, to reflect and prioritize. So, as I worked on goals this time I already had my priorities ready, and realized that I wasn’t really prioritizing them because I didn’t have goals. How funny that God was telling me to write goals! It is like He knew I was struggling to act on my vague list of priorities. (Can you feel the sarcasm dripping from the page?) So, I stared at my priority of Davy, Louis/Marriage/Romance, Kyrie….and stared….and couldn’t think of much more than: Go to the Zoo a lot. So I wrote that goal down and then began praying and searching Pinterest (not simultaneously, I stopped to pray first, then kept praying as I looked through Pinterest).

    I tend to go on and on in these blog posts with little details, but as I was looking at other people’s lists it seemed as though ideas of goals just came to them, and I want to assure all of you that there are a million ways to go about this. For me, January is not putting me behind on this list because it is already well under way. January is the month that I get to reflect and look forward. A whole 31 days to think about where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. And I am excited by that buffer zone because I can take the time to think, with no impending family holidays (Although the Gem and Mineral Show is a big deal to me, and it starts January 29th) or events to plan. So, if you feel overwhelmed by whatever God is calling you to do. Take time to just stop and think about it. In my 1 Samuel study I was reminded again of how important it is to stop and pray, and wait on God. But so often we have deadlines and we can’t figure out how to accomplish everything in the perceived time, so we rush on in our lives without God’s advice to guide us. God will answer us when we pray and call out to Him. Trust Him to know about all the deadlines (He even knows more deadlines for your life than you do), and let Him speak.

    So, today, I will leave you with my Goal Topics. These are the items of my life that need to be kept on the priority list when everything else may be pressing in to get done:

  1. Bible Study
  2. Family
    1. Louis/Marriage/Romance
    2. Davy
    3. Kyrie/Preparation/Birth
    4. Me
  3. Grouping & Fellowship
  4. School
  5. Arabic
  6. Blog
    1. Lisses to Lebanon
    2. Mommy Book Blog
  7. Fundraising & Budget

This order has quite a bit of interlocking and overlapping pieces and there is quite a bit of ebb and flow to them, but as we flesh out the goals in the upcoming days I hope it inspires you, and also gives you a window into our lives.