Under control book find rest

GIVEAWAY and Guest Post: Get the True Rest Your Soul Needs

by Jennifer Dukes Lee

I know how this noisy world can get in the way of me hearing God’s still, small voice. So, in the past few years, I’ve been intentional about quieting the outer noise in my life.

Trying to rest as I read “It’s All Under Control” and keep the chiddlers corralled at the park

My biggest challenge is silencing the inner chatter.

 

I know the value of resting in Jesus, but it’s like my brain won’t stop moving in fifteen different directions. Corralling my thoughts is like herding a nursery full of fork-toting toddlers who just learned how to walk and are weeble-wobbling their way toward electrical outlets on opposite sides of the room.

 

Take, for instance, one of the places where I go to escape the noise: my bathtub. I’ll toss a bath bomb in the water and sink into the warmth. There’s no TV. No iPhone. Yet even here, my mind is running on high gear. I often receive some of my best writing inspiration in the bathtub, which is why my friend Cheri gave me a set of child’s bathtub crayons. (Yes, part of my latest book,

 was written on the walls of my tub.) So while it might look like I am resting, I’m actually still working.

 

God is reminding me that my brain needs rest as much as my body does. I loosen my mind by simply dwelling with him: “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).

If I have a lot of noise around me—even in the form of the silent iPhone scroll—I can’t hear God.

 

My friend Lindsay Sterchi, mom of twin toddlers, learned the hard way what happens when she doesn’t get the rest she needs. She told me, “Without rest, I’m not very fun to be around— just ask my kids and husband. I get irritable way too quickly. I lose perspective on the bigger picture of life, and the little things seem bigger than they really are. I get in this fog where I’m going through the motions of life but not really living intentionally.”

 

The answer for her: finding rest in small pockets of time each day. “Rest means that when the kids nap, or after they’ve gone to bed, I’m not going to zone out on TV or scroll through social media, which might seem restful but ends up being draining.” Instead, she does something that feels life-giving—without feeling guilty. Her escapes: reading a book, journaling, or simply being still, alone with God and her thoughts.

 

Maybe your escape is Netflix, and if that’s the case, you do you. But make sure it gives you life instead of draining your energy.

It’s All Under Control here at the splash pad (until the 8 year old careens into a stone wall at full speed)

No matter what: make rest a priority. It’s vital.

 

Resting in God serves two purposes: First, rest allows you to intentionally connect with God. God wants to meet with you, not simply to give you the day’s marching orders. He wants to be with you because he likes you.

 

Second, rest calms the noise around you so you can hear God’s clear direction.

 

Here are a few ideas to incorporate more rest into your life.

Instead of scrolling, go strolling. Everybody has time for rest. How can I be so sure? Because that’s the time we use to check social media. Put down your iPhone for the fifteen minutes you would’ve spent on Instagram and take a walk instead.

 

Don’t let your “yes” encroach on your rest. If you say yes to something new, evaluate everything else on your list to see what might have to go. Refuse to put rest on the altar of sacrifice.

 

Let your work assignments flow from soul realignments. If “everybody is looking for us,” our souls and agendas need realignment so we can hear clear directions from God.

 

Protect the freed-up time you have already created. God prunes all of us, but achievers try to immediately fill those pruned spaces. Protect the space that God created for you. Downtime is okay; in fact, it will make you more productive in the work you were designed to do.

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.

Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.

This post contains affiliate links 🙂

Farm Fresh Jessica here —>I’m so excited to be a part of a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of It’s All Under Control! Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book in celebration of its release! Enter below to win. Giveaway ends September 30. Winners will be notified by Tyndale House Publishers. Email subscribers can click here to enter.  Let me know if you win!

It’s All Under Control 50 Book Giveaway

under control book

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A Keto Journey

Six pregnancies. Nursing for at least a dozen years. Middle age. Life.

It can all play havoc on your body and your health.

I’ve experimented with several different eating styles and exercise programs over the years. From Weight Watchers to Yoli to juicing to the Whole 30, I’ve done them all. I’ve gotten back into pre-pregnancy pants sizes every time. Then last year, my beloved mother-in-law suddenly died. Between that shock and loss and grief, combined with cleaning out and selling her house, depression, a rocky relationship, and homeschooling my sixlets and just life in general, I put on more stress weight than I was comfortable with.

Instagram led me to the Keto lifestyle and I read the book, aptly names Keto. Unless you’re super interested in the science, don’t bother. I was motivated to just get started however, and I did.

The first month I was super dedicated to 20 carbs a day. I was definitely in ketosis, not hungry, feeling good. Then “vacation” (quotes intentional) happened and some home disasters and it’s been hard to be strict again. I happened to be wearing the same outfit yesterday as the day I took my starting pictures, and I was curious if there’s been any change.

I’m pleased that there has been and am motivated to buckle down again.

Keto has been easier to stick to than other plans because it’s not a lot of work. I’m not hungry or constantly thinking about food. Technically, I can eat anything I want as long as I keep it under 20 carbs a day and try to have high fat. I find I HAVE to drink a good amount of water to feel good, which is good for me. I stick to real food and Stevia. I don’t bake much now that I’m Keto, but I do feast my eyes on instagram accounts who do! 😁

I downloaded an app called Carb Manager that really helps me, because of COURSE I think I’m eating fewer carbs than I really am. If I enter my food right after I eat it, I can really tell where I am and what I should eat next. I stay on plan much better when I do that.

It’s not complicated. Juicing took hours and was really expensive. Yoli was confusing (protein day? not protein day? how much on each day?! I don’t even know!) and was really expensive. The weight watching was ridiculous with their promotion of low fat everything and points and who has time to go to meetings anyway? (Disclaimer: that was 9 years ago; they’ve probably updated to more real food.) The Whole 30 was too stringent and rule oriented for my brain and personality.

Lots of people are doing Keto these days and it’s easy to find information and recipes on Pinterest or wherever. A couple of my favorite resources are Bacon and Butter and the cookbooks by Maria Emmerich.

I don’t have a specific goal, other than to feel good and confident, and be able to zip my regular pants.

Have you tried Keto? What do you think?

under control book

My First Tattoo

I start getting it in a couple weeks. I am so excited I told my tattoo artist that I wasn’t going to be able to hold still. He didn’t think that would be such a good idea. I put it in my planner in all caps and double exclamation points!!

This is a prototype he drew on me with Sharpies. The real thing will not be as red and the insects will be bigger.

Aviana is a ladybug because she’s bright unique. She’s hard working and helpful. She’s beautiful and rare, and poems will be written about her.

Brielle is a dragonfly because she rarely is still, she’s bold and bright, she gets attention wherever she goes. She flits from thing to thing and makes things happen. I’m sure they’ll pattern a better helicopter or some other new invention based on her design.

Cadrian is a grasshopper because he is constantly on the go. He’s always outside. He moves fast and leaps and bounds into his life with all his energy-which is considerable.

Denton is a honeybee because he’s a hard worker, continually moving, intense, and creates beauty. He is as sweet and snuggly as can be, but if he feels he’s been wronged by you, he’ll kill himself to sting you.

Elivette is an orchid praying mantis because I nearly died giving birth to her. My midwives saw a praying mantis in the parking lot of the hospital once they knew I was going to recover and sent me selfies with it, telling me they recognized it as a sign all of the prayers of the hundreds of people praying for me were answered and to remember God answers prayer. On Elivette’s first birthday, I saw a praying mantis outside my kitchen window (the ONLY time I’ve ever seen one here on the farm) and knew God was reminding me how much my family needs me and how faithful He is, and to always pray. Because Elivette is my precious pink pixie, it couldn’t be an ordinary praying mantis to represent her though!

And Finnella is my firefly. She brings light to all of us. She’s the gift we didn’t know we needed. She lights up our home more than we thought possible.

All eight of us were born in June, July and August, so that is why the bugs are positioned on the rose, larkspur and gladiolus. Also, the gladiolus happens to be one of my favorite flowers and reminds me of my paternal grandma’s country garden. I had Latin Lady roses in my wedding bouquet. And larkspurs are purple, which is my favorite color.

What are your tattoos? If you don’t have any, would you get one?

under control book

School on the Farm-Summer Update

We got our The Good and The Beautiful curricula yesterday and started the handwriting portion today. I’m doing their language arts with my younger three this summer and into the year. Finnella is only three and this is totally NOT necessary; she just doesn’t want to be left out of anything and insists on doing whatever everyone else is doing.

I’ve not used a handwriting curriculum before, but I think sometimes it’s necessary. Younger son decided he wanted to keep writing until he got tired…or more likely he wanted to beat his brother by getting a few lessons ahead of him. Nevertheless I appreciated the simplicity of the lessons. Practice one perfect letter, instead of doing it over and over. My boys need extra help slowing down and paying attention, and with fine motor skills, so I think this will be a good fit for us.

My older girls are going to be in Challenge B and A this fall and that is plenty for them to focus on. They are working on math (and music) this summer just to keep them in the habit of doing something schoolish every day. Right now I’m listening to the cello and in the pauses, the ukulele. My oldest son will be starting Essentials of the English Language in our Classical Conversations community for the first time (it’s a three year wonderfully repetitive program).

The boys continue with their Barton Method Tutoring twice weekly throughout the summer. We do our Together Time Books (when I read aloud to all of the kids, from nonfiction and fictional selections) semi-regularly.

Obviously, we school all year round, but not every day. We are casual about it, while at the same time we are gently structured. Life doesn’t take an artificial summer break, so we don’t either. We find plenty of time for lazing in the hammock or going swimming, camping and all the summer fun.

under control book

The Overwhelm Of Mothering

Sunday.

I’m 💯% overwhelmed most of the time.

Waking up to a toddler loudly whinging because it’s not dark anymore and her hot cocoa is too hot and she wants to get dressed but not that one while simultaneously needing to pee and pour my first cuppa and take the dog out. Overwhelm.

Trying to read your Bible with people climbing in or near you and teasing the dog and each other and even knowing that God is close to those with young it feels like failing. Overwhelm

Going through a huge gift of clothes with the boys to decide what we will keep and what we will bless to others while the little girls are simultaneously touching everything and fighting about the fact F wants the same kind of cereal as E. Overwhelm.

Keeping this person on track of loading the dishwasher while simultaneously administering directions to five other people who keep popping into the frame like whack-a-mole. Overwhelm.

Giving Father’s Day presents while simultaneously trying to keep someone from opening the other one and noticing the spilled coffee and the random bits scattered around. Overwhelm.

Cleaning up breakfast while simultaneously assigning this person to make sure that person is clean and that person has shoes and answering questions. Overwhelm.

Thrift shopping for summer dresses for the teen while keeping the toddler from unloading shelves and making a towering stack of chairs to climb up and touch the huge inflatable hanging from the ceiling and repeatedly saying no to the millions and millions of requests from the kindergartener. Overwhelm.

Trying to make potato packets for the grill while trying to remember to find or buy more aluminum foil and delegating sunscreen and help tying shoes and thousands more “needs”. Overwhelm.

Attempting to explain your sense of scarcity and inadequacy to your partner and he responds with more and louder negativity basically berating the kids for “never doing anything!” which isn’t at all what you’re saying and now you feel like you need to rise to their defense and you want to point out all the responsibilities and things you keep track of that he doesn’t help with at all but you don’t and it’s just pointless. Overwhelm.

Sunset Mississippi River overwhelm motherhood moms mothering unseen invisible workload difficult mental health toddler with kittens

Wanting to have a Super Soaker fight with your kids and as you change into your swimsuit one kid is crying about something that is huge to him and two other kids follow you into your closet dripping wet and impatiently hurrying you along and the water fight isn’t fun at all because one kid keeps squirting people in the face and they cry and there are clothes and towels and toys all over the yard and it just is one more thing you’ll have to clean up or make them clean up. Overwhelm.

Feeling guilty because you had an overnight trip to Galena with your bestie and were gone all day three days ago and you had an overnight birthday party with your daughter and her three besties and your three besties and were gone all day yesterday, and even with these much needed respites, you still can’t manage this life you really want to love. Overwhelm.

Sunset Mississippi River overwhelm motherhood moms mothering unseen invisible workload difficult mental health >

I don’t know how to make it easier-but there are a few things I try.

Bible.

Knowing God is for me and equipping me.

Exercise.

Positive affirmations.

Laughter every day.

Reading.

Outdoor time.

Lots of kisses and rough housing, especially when I don’t feel like it.

Vodka. (Sometimes.)

Hand-lettering.

Looking at breathtaking photos on Pinterest or Instagram.

Connecting with friends.

Hiding in my room.

Motivational YouTubers.

What helps you when you’re overwhelmed?

Knowing you’re not alone!

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A Daily Goal Chart

I’ve been trying to be more conscious about setting daily goals for myself, to be a better person, to be closer to the woman God creates me to be.

A dear friend sent me this BINGO chart she saw on Instagram and it completely appealed to me!

I thought for sure I would be able to knock it out of the park…

But I was wrong. It was super hard to do these simple encouragement tasks. It was meant to be uplifting and positive and instead I ended up feeling like I failed.

I took matters into my own hands.

And I did.

I achieved every one.

What goals did you achieve today?

honest review of Hollar dollar store on line dollar tree

Hollar: An Honest Review

This is not a sponsored post, I was just impressed! I will however,  get a small kickback in credit  if you order after clicking through on any of the Hollar links in this post, and you can too, just for signing up for a free account at Hollar!

Have you heard of Hollar?  Hollar is an online dollar store. If you know me at all, you know I love a good deal. I heard about Hollar  on Youtube and decided to try it. If you order more than $25, you get free shipping, and they have sales that are always changing.

My order came in 8 days. Here’s what I thought:

Fizzy Baby helped me open everything in the appealing bright orange box.

hollar review dollar store online

I ordered a set of melamine plates for $2 each. I love them. We’ve been using them non stop and they are holding up better than our Corelle wear, and bring joy to my eyes every time I look at them.

hollar review dollar store online

I really felt like Gerta needed this squeaky dog toy  in the shape of a banana split, which was only $1. How wrong I was! The squeaker was so loud, it scared the pants off of her, and drove me nuts. I ended up binning it .

hollar review dollar store online

I hate the feel the of my feet in flats without socks, but I love the look. I’ve been wearing these “old lady” no show socks with my flats, and thought I had found the best deal at Ross, for a little over a dollar a pair. But no! I got EIGHT pairs on Hollar for $4. They are  more slippery than my other ones, but they stay on better.

hollar review dollar store online no show socks with flats

We only had one dryer ball left but I didn’t want to “invest” in another set of the reusable dryer balls, if I didn’t have to. However with only a $1 investment for two balls, I didn’t mind at all! They work great!

hollar review dollar store online reusable dryer balls

I use these scrubby pads on all the things in my kitchen and bathroom, from stuck on toothpaste and peanut butter and jelly on the counters, to burnt on crud on the stove, to congealed oatmeal in the bottom of the pan. This pack of 8 was $1. They don’t last as long as the brand name ones I usually use, but don’t scratch the surfaces and clean as well.

hollar review dollar store online scrubbing pad scouring

I use my wooden utensils to the point of death, until they are cracked and probably hazardous. Desperately in need of replacements, I scooped up all 6 for $3. I love the colorful handles too!

hollar review dollar store online wooden spoon bamboo kitchen utensils

Needing nonslip hangars for some of my dresses and kimonos, I thought I would replace some of my beautiful, matching wooden hangars for these beautiful, matching  rose ones. I LOVE them! The slim design keeps my clothes together and they aren’t as noisy as the wooden ones, and nothing falls off! I nabbed this steal in packs of 18 for $5.

hollar review dollar store online flocked hangars Both the app and the website are well designed and work in consort with each other. If you are on your phone and add some things to your cart, it stays in your cart on the computer. I add things until I get up to that $25 free shipping limit.

I’m not going to abandon The  Dollar Tree completely, but Hollar is definitely getting some of my business! If you like saving money and scoring good deals, and shopping in your pajamas after the kids are in bed, then Hollar is absolutely for you!

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Books I Read: Honest Reviews

When I read book reviews, I just want the reviewer’s opinion. I don’t need a synopsis of the book because if it looks appealing, I’ll find that out for myself. I give you what I myself prefer, which is just straight up an honest review. Pretty much, nothing I read is less than three stars because Mama ain’t got time for bad books!

Besides, I link all my books to Amazon so you can easily purchase the book if it appeals to you. (And if you do, I’ll get a little sumpin’ sumpin’ out of the deal because they are affiliate links–win, win!)

Incredible Story of Redemption 

I watched Tiffany open a Fab Fit Fun box knowing nothing about her and laugh-crying by the end of her FB live. I promptly then watched several more of her videos. When I told a friend how much I enjoyed them, she told me Tiffany was in recovery. I bought the book that night.

Her honesty and raw real-ness was breathtaking. I was awed by her story and how much she could remember! She has lived a powerful life already and I’m excited to follow along as she continues to help change lives. 

Adorable photos.

Lots of sweet and cute ideas. I love the Japanese flair. Many of the ideas were quite simple and I’ve actually done, but still, this book is worth picking up for a peaceful afternoon read.

Riveting 

I never expected a book that was half about CONSTRUCTION to be interesting, but it was! The chapters flipped between the incredible construction of the amazing World’s Fair and the destruction of human lives at the hands of a psychopath. I also enjoyed learning several tidbits of trivia about Chicago and every day items that for their start at the 1893 World’s Fair.

Wow.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose a book about such a difficult topic, but this author knocked it out of the park just like his beloved Giants. I was blown away by the love and pain and passion that came through his words. Thank you both for honoring us with your story.

Well done!

Herein you’ll find lots of novel and actually implementable ideas for a beautiful home.  I like the mix of DIY projects, thrift store finds (you KNOW I LOVE THAT!), and elements they hired done. The colors are delightful, and even though a lot of it isn’t my style, I still gleaned a lot of ideas. The writing is humble but with the sense of humor I love it an author.  Lots of inspiration!

What!? Mind blown

I am usually pretty good at figuring out twists in the plot before they’re revealed but I LOVE an author who keeps me guessing! And how!  I was puzzled by the very last couple of pages though. It was almost as if the author thought, hmm, what can I just throw in there to throw everyone for a loop. Based on the reviews on Good reads, I’m not the only confused one either. I liked all of it up until then. If you like psychological thrillers, this is a do not miss.

I can’t stop thinking about it

I loved the truth telling In the story. I loved how it was told from start to finish in the Deep South vernacular and still painted beautiful word pictures. This tale made me laugh and cry, and wanted to know more about the rest of the story. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Literally a cozy book: just what I needed.

I LOVED this book. The suggestions for crafts were adorable and easy to implement. Some of the food recipes were “highbrow” but not so much so that I felt intimidated. I loved the thoughtful suggestions for ways of interacting with your world. She even had a page with directions on how to “do nothing”. I pretty much understand how to do nothing, as I’m sure you do as well, but what was novel for me, was putting it on your calendar. I NEED to do that! The pictures drew you in and gave you peace. I want to get to know the author better and follow her blog and buy all her things. She did an outstanding job with this book. It was perfect.

What books have you loved recently? What kind of book reviews do YOU like?

easy refrigerator organization that works

Easy Refrigerator Organization (that actually works)!

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

Food. We all need it. We all buy it. Most of us have a refrigerator. Most of us end up throwing away unidentified science experiments at some point(and in my case, literal science experiments). I hate wasting food. I hate searching for the mayonnaise or garlic buried deep in the back of the fridge. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! After looking for years for the best, easy refrigerator organization system that actually works, I finally found success!

Because I have the goal of bringing up independent productive people, I try to teach them responsibility early. I attempt to put organizational systems in place which support that independence. If I want my 3 year old to be able to access her own cheese sticks and applesauce pouches, and get her own cup of water, I need to have organization techniques which support that. I have tried numerous methods of refrigerator organizations and none of them have stuck. I tried this particular one over a month ago, and with many people using the fridge hourly, it’s still in place. This easy refrigerator organization is definitely a win for our busy family, and I know it will work for you!

Here’s what I did.

LABEL THE SHELVES AND COMPARTMENTS

Labeling the wall with a dry erase marker has worked better than anything I’ve tried. I saw this hack on a Rachel Ray clip. The dry erase marker did leave residue behind in my fridge, so I put packing tape where I wanted the labels and wrote on that.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

USE A LAZY SUSAN

I used a lazy Susan in my fridge. I’ve had one for a while, but it was never clear to the other users what should be on it. Since we apparently have a kajillion open containers of pickles and relish, all of them are placed on the lazy Susan.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

INVEST IN A FEW CLEAR ORGANIZERS

I got a couple clear containers from Amazon in which to put our lunch meat and cheese.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize
Jam=mead, apparently. 🙂

As you can see, it’s not perfect, because being able to find some ingredient quickly just isn’t a priority to the rest of my family. It’s  a whole lot better than it was, and I can keep it cleaner and clearer than before because now I remember my system too. I’d love to know what works for you to keep your fridge organized.

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!