Jan 8

Growing in Rising Early

2009 at 4:08 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

This year, with God’s help, I am going to rejoin The 5 AM Club. Yes, I confess that I let my membership lapse for a while. Two moves threw me off schedule, and even after settling into our current home, I still put it off. However my mornings were hectic instead of peaceful, and I knew that re-resolving to rise early each morning would serve me and my family. Now that I’m back in the club, I’ll be able to have a quiet quiet time, get Andrew out the door for school in a peaceful manner, make a real lunch for my husband, and be prepared for the day with my younger two.

This is not an easy resolution for me. It’s especially painful during the first groggy fifteen minutes after I wake up. But the benefits of rising early keep rolling in all day long.

If you don’t know what The 5 AM Club is, or want incentive to get up early yourself, you can revisit our posts on this from several years ago (as you can see, we’ve changed the name slightly since then), or you can read chapter three from our book, Shopping for Time.

The 5:00 Club
5:00 Club Q&A
A Wife Joins the 5:00 Club
College Girls Join the 5:00 Club

Jan 7

Growing in Reading

2009 at 4:26 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Starting the New Year with two kids has me wondering what I did with all my time when I only had one. Accomplishing anything more in a day than keeping my family fed and clothed requires some serious strategy.

As I consider the year ahead, one of my goals is to read more beyond the reading that I already do in my quiet time. Yet my nights are full of interrupted sleep (Like last night when MJ had a cold that made her sleep fitfully and we lost power for two hours during which Caly was wide awake waiting “for the workers to fix her fan.”) And the days can be long and hard. (And yes, I know what you moms with more than two kids are thinking right now!)

Given my season, I can’t imagine carving out an hour each day for more reading. Even 30 minutes seems a bit scary. I have tried this before and failed. But thanks to John Piper I’m reminded that a very small daily investment can yield a big return.

He recommends setting a goal to read for 15 minutes a day:

“Suppose you read slowly like I do—maybe about the same speed that you speak—200 words a minute. If you read fifteen minutes a day for one year (say just before supper, or just before bed), you will read 5,475 minutes in the year. Multiply that by 200 words a minute, and you get 1,095,000 words that you would read in a year. Now an average serious book might have about 360 words per page. So you would have read 3,041 pages in one year. That’s ten very substantial books. All in fifteen minutes a day.”(When I Don’t Desire God, p. 129)

I’m sure I read more slowly than Dr. Piper, but thinking about it this way helps me see that even with only fifteen minutes a day, I can accomplish something significant this year. Even with two kids, two and under, I can read ten good books!

So, my plan this year? Read 15 minutes each day during the first part of Caly’s play alone time in her room. If I miss that slot than I will try to make up for it right before I go to bed. My prayer is to make this a lifelong habit that will increase my love and passion for my Savior.

Jan 6

Growing in the Gospel

2009 at 5:10 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

One of the ways I want to grow this year is in preaching the gospel to myself every day. Milton Vincent, author of A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love (which we’ve recommended before here at girltalk) describes how this discipline has affected his life:

Over the course of time, preaching the gospel to myself every day has made more of a difference in my life than any other discipline I have ever practiced. I find myself sinning less, but just as importantly, I find myself recovering my footing more quickly after sinning, due to the immediate comfort found in the gospel. I have also found that when I am absorbed in the gospel, everything else I am supposed to be toward God and others seems to flow out of me more naturally and passionately. Doing right is not always easy, but it is never more easy than when one is breathing deeply the atmosphere of the gospel.

So I can breathe more deeply the atmosphere of the gospel, I’m taking the month of January to memorize a portion of A Gospel Primer entitled “A Gospel Narrative” (written in the prose format). It’s a list of forty-one gospel truths derived from Scripture. I’m convinced this little memorization endeavor will help me to apply the truths of the gospel to my life on a daily basis and experience the benefits Mr. Vincent describes.

Last January I only made it through number eight before I abandoned my goal. But I’m trying again. This time I decided to recruit some help. So the previous Monday when the girls and I were together, I asked them to join me. They eagerly agreed. I hope that having others memorize with me will provide fresh incentive to reach my goal.

Would you like to join us? Even if you only make it through number eight it will be well worth the effort. For this discipline of preaching the gospel to yourself every day can make “more of a difference in [your] life than any other.”

Jan 5

Growing in Prayer

2009 at 4:19 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Last Monday afternoon Kristin brought our favorite Greek salads to Mom’s house and we sat around her kitchen table for the afternoon—you guessed it—talking. At our request (or more accurately, our pathetic pleading) Mom agreed to give us girls one day each year to help us evaluate our lives and get that “older woman” wisdom we so desperately need.

Don’t misunderstand—we call Mom for advice almost every day. But this day is special. It’s when we take time to evaluate our priorities and consider how we can grow in biblical womanhood over the coming year. We always begin with our relationship with God, for nothing serves our husbands and children more than a wife and mom who is consistently seeking God through His Word and prayer.

It is prayer that has always been a weakness for me. I suspect I’m not alone in this. But I’ve been inspired by the example of my husband and my mom as I’ve watched them grow in prayer; and I’ve been aided by the verses and prayers that others use.

My collection swelled this January as I added many verses to my prayer list. I have three people to thank for that.

1. Our pastor, Mark Mullery, who preached a sermon from Ephesians 3:14-21 where he showed us two prayers we can pray for “any Christian at any time in any situation.”
2. John Piper, who posted 9 Ways to Pray for Your Soul and linked to a past post by…
3. John Bloom who presented a list of prayers for our children.

Add these verses to your collection and may many prayers for us and our loved ones reach our Heavenly Father’s throne this year.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Jan 2

Year in Review: Day 4

2009 at 1:59 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Homemaking

Janelle finished out our little series by making us laugh…

At Home with Humor

Our home was always full of laughter. My dad inherited a quick wit and hilarious sense of humor from his dad. He taught us to laugh—laugh at ourselves and laugh along with each other. To this day, whenever we get together, our conversation quickly turns humorous, and we often laugh until we can’t breathe.

While the trip down memory lane over the last few days has brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face, it has also brought that familiar laughter. I laugh when I remember the time my Mom was out of town and Nicole and I impetuously sold all of our bedroom furniture at my aunt’s yard sale. It has taken Mom ten years to laugh about that one.

I laugh when I think about my dad attempting repair jobs around the house while carrying on a running conversation with his tools. Not so funny to Dad, but hilarious for the rest of us to listen in as he blamed the leak on his faulty wrench.

We all can’t help but laugh when we recall how Mike came over to the house weekend after weekend to “hang out with Chad.” He wasn’t fooling anyone, not even Chad.

Oh, and let’s not forget the time a certain sister left the top on the hamster cage open, and four baby hamsters spent several weeks roaming the basement.

Laughter practically sent me into labor the other day while I was watching my brother mow the lawn. He ran into a few technical difficulties (which were all the fault of the lawn mower, of course) and, well, you had to be there.

Luvdadblog0071_2 We all laugh when we remember Nicole and Kristin’s poodle perms, my lime green baseball hat and Chad’s endless collection of soccer cleats.

In all this laughter, we learned humility. My dad led by example as he always laughed the loudest when the joke was on him. But whenever we did something silly (or can I say stupid?) he taught us to laugh rather than withdraw in pride. While it took the sons-in-law some time to adjust to our family culture, they now lead the way in pursuing humility through laughter.

Although I’m sad to leave this house where we have known endless hours of laughter, I’m glad that when we move, my dad will be around to teach his granddaughters the same lessons of humor and humility.

Jan 1

Year In Review: Day 3

2009 at 1:28 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking

Here are Kristin’s reflections on the home she grew up in…and the home she lives in now:

My New Old Home

Famblog005 My parents are busy packing to move out of their home. The boxes are piling up and the pictures are coming down from the walls. Actually, it’s still strange for me to think this way, but legally it is my home now and they are renting back from me.

A story is ending and a story is beginning. The door is closing on my life as a daughter in this home and opening to a new role as wife and mother in this home.

I still remember riding with my dad in the big moving truck from our old home in Silver Spring, MD to our brand new home in Gaithersburg. I was eight years old. And as I walk into each room of my new (for the second time) home, so many wonderful memories come to mind….

Mom waking us up each morning with a special song.

Dad leading in morning devotions at the breakfast table.

Birthday celebrations with the “You are Special Today” plate.

Reading and talking long after dinner was finished.

Watching the Redskins with Dad on Sunday afternoon.

Sleepovers with friends.

The surprise graduation party Mom threw for Nicole and me.

The night Brian asked my dad if he could court me.

Trying on my wedding dress in the bedroom.

Rolling my luggage down the hall on my wedding day as I prepared to leave home (for what I thought was the last time!).

And, while almost all of the memories are fond ones, I also remember arguing with my sister in the bathroom each morning over who got to use the hairdryer first! (Love ya, Nic!)

My oldest son Andrew is eight years old—the same age I was when I first rode to this home in the big truck with my dad. He’s going to share the same room with his brothers (yep, bunk beds and a trundle!) that I shared with my sisters. In fact, I’ve found myself planning to arrange our furniture much the same way it was when I first lived here twenty-two years ago. God-willing, I hope Brian and I can make as many wonderful memories for our children as my parents did with us.

Most of all, I pray God will give us grace to carry on the legacy of a loving, joyful, gospel-centered, kingdom-minded, home for His glory.