Browsing Category: Intentional Living

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way {more than a review}

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way a reivew @JessicaMWhite.com

I’ve long loved the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible: One sister sitting peacefully at the feet of Jesus, the other scurrying around trying to make everything perfect for Him. There’s something about the story that touches most, if not all, of us: We all struggle to find the balance between these two women and what Jesus calls them to be.

This is such a heart-topic for me, that a few years ago I did an entire series in October {31 Days} about How to Use Your Martha to Be a Mary {Check out my series HERE}taking the every day business that we all have to do and using that to bless those around us. So often we get caught up in life that we neglect to be a Mary, that we neglect to sit peacefully at the feet of Jesus and just listen. There’s all this Martha-Busyness around us that we really do HAVE to do. This is what Sarah Mae’s new book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is all about!

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way a reivew @JessicaMWhite.com

Sarah Mae’s book started out, just as my series did, as a 31 days series called “31 Days to Clean”, but now it’s updated and revise:

31 Days to Clean is now Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean Home and a Satisfied Soul.

And this time, the battle cry is for the heart to know it can be loved and secure and identified in the One who gives us our homes and our calling. 

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is for those of us who are still drowning a bit in housework, but who need to know that our identity is not in the work or the expectations put on us. At the heart, this book is about love, loving ourselves and others through a home that offers rest and peace and welcome. It is a move towards gentle homemaking, where we accept our limitations with grace, and offer that same grace to those who come under our roofs and into our care.

If you’ve struggled under the weight of all there is to do and be as a woman who makes a home, my hope is that you will find in this book refreshment and relief for your weary, overwhelmed soul. 

~From Sarah Mae’s email newsletter

What are my thoughts on it? I love it! The book is broken down into quick to read sections for each day of the month; a few pages of inspiration, a Mary Challenge, a journal-style page of devotions and questions, followed by a Martha challenge, with practical cleaning tasks and tips.

You can take each day as it comes, read the whole thing at once, address the Martha-housekeeping tasks, or focus on the Mary Bible-study. It’s truly fantastic and flexible, which is Sarah Mae’s entire idea. Homemaking shouldn’t be this daunting thing and it doesn’t have to be, but we also need to keep our priorities and faith in order.

The great thing about Sarah Mae’s book, and her in general, is that this is entirely a gentle approach to housekeeping. This isn’t about you need to do this, this and this, or you’re failing. This is about grace. This book is about doing the best you can and leaving the rest to God. It’s about creating a home that is filled with that grace, so that you can pour it out on those who live and visit your home.

Right now Sarah Mae is offering a special gift to anyone who purchases her book:  http://sarahmae.com/2016/03/cleaningfun/

Where can you order the book? Anywhere. You can purchase it on Amazon.com via my affiliate link {which I would so appreciate: You can read my disclosure policy here.}

*I received this book for free as part of Sarah Mae’s launch team; however, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

One More Step {a Review}

There are days, weeks when taking another step makes me want to scream into a pillow. The very thought of another sibling fight, another meal to be cooked, another life issue to be dealt with makes me want to leave my life at the kitchen table and walk out the front door, never to return.

IMG_3109

Life is hard. Sometimes, the thought of taking another step is daunting, another step in faith feels impossible. Because why did God call me to THIS mess, when someone else’s seems so much tidier?

A couple of months ago I requested to review Rachel Wojo‘s One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up, and then it sat on the shelf, because life was becoming too much and reading a book was impossible. With the new year I was determined to clean up the book reviews remaining from the old. I planned on just “getting through this” as best I could.

Sitting on a last minute flight I managed to read over half of One More Step; I sipped tentatively at it’s pages, before taking life giving gulps from it. Logically we know that other people “get it” that we’re not the only ones struggling through life, but we need that reminder so often. One More Step is that reminder.

Rachel Wojo shares about her struggles as a single mom to a terminally ill little girl and her journey to and through marriage and becoming a mom of many, while struggling through the loss of her own mother. She talks candidly about her frustrations, her anger with God, and her continual struggle to deal with life and releasing it to God over and over again.

At the end of each chapter Rachel shares a few Bible verses, Pillars of Truth, as well as a Stepping Stones…questions for you to think about and record in a prayer journal. Rachel does a fantastic job of sharing her knowledge and giving you the tools you need to discover for yourself how to take that next step.

Whether you feel like you’re lost at a dead end or just looking for how to avoid burning out, this book is book will help you unravel the rats’ nest of chaos that’s presiding in your life.

*I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.com in exchange for my honest opinion. You can find my disclosure policy here.

My One Goal for the New Year

Anyone listen to podcasts? I love them; keep wanting to try my hand at them. I don’t get to listen to them all that much, but I found one that’s really striking my fancy! A few months ago I was getting the writing itch. As you all know I’ve been really struggling with this whole blogging thing and where I fit in. Of course it doesn’t help that blogs seem to be going the way of the dinosaur.

Wanted: Writing Buddy @JessicaMWhite.comSarah Werner is my now favorite podcast….Write Now…she’s wonderful! Her voice is peaceful and melodic, she’s funny, and she’s got such words of wisdom. On her New Year podcast she was talking about her writing resolution: To write 100 words every day. I thought…I can do that! {maybe…we’ll see…honestly, it hasn’t happened yet this year.} My one goal for the new year is to become more intentional in my writing….not necessarily in my blogging, but my writing.

The next thing she said struck me: Find a writing buddy!  So that’s where I’m at…finding someone to be accountable to, to inspire and get inspired by, to do this whole writing thing with. Because, honestly, this whole being-a-writer thing is rather lonely.

So, here I am…who wants to be my writing buddy?

 

A New Year a New…

a new year a new you: When the New Year Stresses You Out @JessicaMWhite.com

Can I be honest with you? The whole “New Year” mentality is enough to give me a nervous breakdown. There’s all these hopeful posts on instagram, facebook, blogs and pinterest: Start that diet, renovate your home, revamp your systems, rethink your methods, read the bible, and everything else. Honestly, I’m over here still trying to process 2015 and the what and how of everything that happened. And I know I can’t be the only one.

a new year a new you: When the New Year Stresses You Out @JessicaMWhite.com

I know I can’t be the only one who feels completely behind the 8-ball when it comes to starting a new year. It’s the 8th of January and, other than the weather, I feel like it’s somehow already the middle of July. All the resolutions {which I don’t make} have gone out the window and we’re all fully entrenched in survival mode. {I hate survival mode}. I want to give up on 2016 and it’s just started.

The whole thing is ridiculous though and that’s what I will continue to tell myself. One, other peoples’ agendas can’t dictate to me how and what I should be doing. Two, who says that things have to change because it’s the new year or that they can’t change when it isn’t?!

As I’ve gotten older there are a few things I’ve learned: 1) if I don’t do something every day it doesn’t mean I’m a failure; 2) I can make changes whenever I want; and 3) I don’t HAVE to change anything, unless I want to. So…take a deep breath. Feel that freezing cold air right down to your toes. This is YOUR LIFE. It doesn’t have to be lived according to any specific structure, it doesn’t have to fall into the norms of the world.

You do you.

Dear New Mom….

Dear New Mom...a baby isn't the end. It's just the beginning.... @JessicaMWhite.com

Dear New Mom….

In nearing the end of this pregnancy and having had a friend who just had her first, I’ve been thinking a lot about you and how people perceive the birth of a new baby…this end of an era that brings with it dramatic changes, all with a touch of doom and gloom. People seem to have this common perception, both from experience and impending baby-dom, that a baby means things end.

That life as you knew it will cease to exist in its entirety, right down to the minutiae in life.

People who have “been there” are completely guilty of propagating this feeling of dread, telling the new parents that they better enjoy these last few weeks and days, go out to dinner, get a manicure, see a movie, all with the idea that these things will seemingly never happen again. Soon to be mamas, I am here to tell you something:

This is not the case.

Yes, your world is about to be rocked, things are obviously going to change and will never be the same again, but life doesn’t end…it’s only just beginning. This new little one is the rebirth of you: You get to relive your childhood through this precious baby; you get to experience the entire world as you did before, but just can’t remember; you get to be the one to introduce this tiny being to all of the glories God has created for us.

Dear New Mom...a baby isn't the end. It's just the beginning.... @JessicaMWhite.com

Is this new experience hard? Absolutely. I’m not going to lie. You are going to be stretched and tested and exhausted and ready to give up, you may even have minutes or days or weeks when you wonder why you even thought this whole having a kid thing was a good idea. At some point you will feel like a baby IS THE END, but it will be worth it. If not for your child, then for you, because in this journey of mommy-hood you will discover just how strong you are and just how good God is.

But there is a choice that must be made.

You must choose whether you embrace the new changes and all their messy beauty OR fight against it, clinging to the life that was. This isn’t an either or choice. This doesn’t mean it’s you or the baby, that only one of you can dictate what life is like. It doesn’t mean kiss YOU {and your interests} goodbye.

It’s a moment by moment choice.

Sometimes YOU will be the priority, when you feel your self starting to slip, when that 10 minutes of silence in the shower is not just about getting clean, but recouping yourself and wiping away the desperate tears, and sometimes that baby will be the priority, when they’re screaming because something is wrong, something is hurting, even if you don’t know what it is, but you know they just need you.

Then there are the bigger choices: Having a baby doesn’t mean you put You, your interests, your relationships, up on a shelf for the next 18 years. It doesn’t work that way, and it doesn’t have to be that way. God created you to be who you are, uniquely crafted with thoughts, ideas, and talents. Mommy is just another part of that. “Mommy” doesn’t mean you’re no longer allowed to exist beyond your child. That your child somehow now trumps your spouse. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. But it is a balance act, having to relearn who you are in this new world.

Regardless of what society expects…..you are NOT super mom.

No one is, unless they have a team of helpers, and then they are still not. You are a mom, trying to find balance in the constant changes of babyhood and motherhood. Sometimes it is glorious as you ride the waves and sometimes you’re just trying to keep your head above water.

And you know what new mama…you will get to go out to eat again, get your hair and nails done, even sit for hours quietly doing nothing but what you want to do. It will happen, and when it does, you will think back longingly on the days that used to be and how that little person is not so little anymore.

* and I write this, as I sit here, totally freaked out about what a 5th child is going to mean in our life, because whether this is your first or fifth it is a life changing experience.

**Lest anyone get too excited…that picture is of Avelyn.