3 Ways To Create Margin in Your Overcrowded Life

I’m so excited to have my friend and fellow blogger Bobi Ann Allen guest post today.  And I love this post!  It’s so refreshing and I SO NEED MARGIN right now.  Find her work at http://bobiann.com/.   Even as you read this post, you are experiencing margin. Margin is the space on either side of the print with nothing–nothing but white. Space where you might add an occasional note or pause to absorb what you read. Margin isn’t necessary only in publishing, margin is necessary for contentment in our lives. Are you experiencing an angst for something more? Are you longing for room for your soul to rest yet nothing about your schedule is relaxing? The ache you feel isn’t there by coincidence. God is drawing you in. He placed a yearning within you for a life lived with meaning and purpose. Yet, many of us have overfilled our lives to the point we don’t have time to experience purposeful living. We need empty space, room for God to move, and time to process what we’re experiencing and learning. Those who live without margin are overwhelmed, maxed out and usually in need of therapy! Creating margin when your life seems to be running off the page doesn’t happen without intentionality and deliberate choices. Here are 3 effective ways to create margin: Prioritize Effectively Run on the treadmill, read my Bible, a night out with the girls, clean the house, feed the dog, volunteer at my child’s school, date my husband … so many choices on how to spend my time, and all of them good! But I can’t do...

Join the Hot Mama Revolution!

Do you find yourself wearing hot sweaty yoga pants ten times more often than you wear hot lingerie? Or do you spend most nights watching Dancing with the Stars on your couch rather than dancing under the starts with your man? Was the last time you flirted with your husband during your honeymoon? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you need a little Hot Mama in your life. I teamed up with my dear friend and co-author Kathi Lipp to start the Hot Mama revolution.  We want to invite all of our Hot Mama friends to join us this fall to add a little sizzle back into our marriages.  It’s going to be a lot of fun– all you have to do is get a little flirty, a little romantic and a little Hot Mama for your man.  One hot night at a time. The results? That is for you to find out.  But let us assure you that God intended our marriages to be sizzling hot.  Which means that the more Hot Mama fun you have, the more your marriage will align with the relationship that God intends for you. It’s a win-win. And all you have to do is let your inner Hot Mama shine.   Are you in? Good!  Here are just a few of the ways you can get started: 1.  Preorder the Hot Mama Book anytime before September 1, 2015 (click here) and we’ll send you an ADORABLE step-by-step plan for a super hot stay-at-home date night.  (Click here for your free Hot Mama Stay-at-Home Date Night Plan)   2.  Our Hot Mama e-Books, including 10 Ideas...

Throw Out Your Old Ratty Underwear (And Other Things You Can Do To Make Your Man Smile)

  I am the worst at underwear. I have been ever since I got married.  My friends threw me this lovely wedding shower where I received dozens of pairs of lovely underwear and bras and what did I do with them?  I put them in a drawer.  With a cute little sachet to make sure they smelled fresh.  And there they sit fifteen years later because, well, those old cotton underwear with the little mugs of hot cocoa on them and the frayed waistband are just. so. comfortable.  And, honestly, why would I wear a thong if I could wear…. the cocoa panties. My husband has never seemed to care, but when I started working on Hot Mama, my co-author Kathi Lipp had a little talk with me.  And by talk, it was a come-to-Jesus-and-get-yourself-some-new-underwear kind of lecture.  Apparently if I’m going to write a book about sex, then I need walk the walk and wear the panties, too. So I very grudgingly headed to my underwear drawer. “Throw out anything that is grungy, dingy, has holes, is frayed, or that you’ve had in your drawer since 1996,” she told me.  And so I did.  And I had three pairs left. Sad, right? Three. Pairs.  And I want to be really clear that I’m not saying the cocoa underwear weren’t functional and totally fine, but if I’m going to try to be all Hot Mama in 2016 (and I am, aren’t you?) I had to make some changes. So it was shopping time. I headed to True & Co first because they have this cool “find your perfect underwear”...

It’s 9:38 am on Mother’s Day. Here’s What I’ve Heard So Far.

1.  “Good morning mama!  We were going to wake Daddy up so you could sleep in but he was grumpy so we woke you up instead.”  — Kate 2.  “You smell like a bakery.” — Joey 3. “Daddy is taking too long in the bathroom. Can you just make breakfast for him instead? We’re tired of waiting.” — Kate 4.  Kate: “Will, you go in and distract mommy so she won’t see us making breakfast.” Will: “What should I do?” Kate: “Just act really wild and wrestle with her in bed so she doesn’t get bored reading all alone.” 5. “Mommy, does dark chocolate give you hiccups?  Cause if it does, can eat it for you.” — Will 6.  Kate: “Do you need anything mommy?” Me:  “Sure, how about some coffee.” Kate:  “You’ve got it.”  (Runs into the other room) Kate: “Daddy, what do you do to make coffee?” Cam: “Just stick a little pod in and press brew.” Kate: (Screaming!) The coffee machine is broken! On Mother’s Day! Now Mom can never have coffee again.” Cam: “You didn’t turn it on.” 7.  “You are pretty as a rose and sweet as a lollypop.”  — Kate   (Note:  We *may* need to work on descriptive writing skills.) 8. “Why do I have to clear the table off?  Mom is sitting right there!”  — Joey 9.  Will:  “Can I use your iPad?” Me:  “I’m reading a novel on it.” Will:  “You’re just reading.  Why can’t I use it for something more important?” 10.  “Do you want to go to Burgerfi for Mother’s Day lunch after church?”  — Joey   Happy Mother’s...

A Letter to All Parents Regarding 50 Shades of Grey

To:  All the Parents in America From:  A very concerned, somewhat feminist, Christian mom I heard something very disturbing yesterday.  I was sitting in a coffee shop when a group of high school students (wearing uniforms from a local private Christian school) walked in and sat at a table near me.  They were talking loudly and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation as they made plans to sneak out and go see the 50 Shades of Grey movie on Valentine’s Day.  My heart dropped when I heard this.  I have no idea who these students are, but I am terrified for them. Let me give you a little background:  About a year ago, my friend Kathi Lipp asked if I would consider co-authoring a book about sex, women and modern Christian culture.  The book idea stemmed from a blog post that Kathi wrote about 50 Shades of Grey.  Kathi felt that 50 Shades of Grey was not only demeaning towards women and demonizing towards men, but it also was greatly affecting the state of Christian marriage in our country.  She also believed that sadistic, erotic literature led to the normalization of violence in marriage. The response to Kathi’s blog post was… shocking.  Christian women defended the book, saying it was “a love story” and it was “just a way for women to start thinking about sex.”  They even went as far as accusing Kathi of being “prude” or “boring” because she felt God intended more for marriage and that women’s emotional and physical health was at risk. Fast forward a year and Kathi and I have spent hours...

It’s On 2015: The Stay-at-Home Date Night Challenge

As part of the launch of Hot Mama, Kathi and I have teamed up with our podcast producer, Eva Daniel for a little romance challenge.  Every month that we release a book, we’re challenging each other to a little romantic stand-off.  This month, we’re going to see who can plan the best romantic night in. And you guys, I WANT TO WIN. Like really bad. So will you help me?  I started looking for ideas on Pinterest today and you guys, I am so out of my league.  This girl on Pinterest made a blanket fort in her living room with twinkle lights.  TWINKLE LIGHTS.  You guys, my brain does not think that way. ALSO:  Did I mention that the winner of this little competition gets a gift card to Whole Foods?  To buy chocolate and wine. I really want to win. So I need your help! If you have a brilliant idea, share it with me in the comments.  Or, even better, volunteer to be a guest pinner on my Pinterest board and share your favorite ideas. Oh, and don’t forget to find us on Hot Mama’s Facebook page as we each reveal what we did and vote on who wins.  (Which, have I mentioned, HAS to be me?!)...

What I’m Going To Be Doing While You Stand In Line at the Ticket Office to Watch 50 Shades

A girlfriend told us last week that she’s planning a girl’s night to go watch 50 Shades of Grey with her friends in a few weeks. And another friend is planning on going to the movie with her husband for their Valentine’s Day night out. We hope they have a great time. Really, we do. But we won’t be going with them. Because we’ll be at home having sex with our husbands. We’ll just come right out and say it: We’re not feeling overly enthused with the entire 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon. It feels so wrong to be glorifying this relationship where a woman is abused and the man is sadistic. Are these the kind of romantic heroes on which we want to base our love stories? It doesn’t make sense to us. We don’t want that for ourselves, but even more, we can’t stand the thought of our daughters believing that 50 Shades of Grey is a modern fairy tale. But we’re afraid that’s exactly where our culture is headed: Christian Grey has been elevated to some sort of modern Mr. Darcy and the true romantic heroes of our time—men like our husbands who cherish us and have never demeaned us—are labeled as… boring? It really doesn’t make sense. But we don’t have to let it make sense. We can stand up and say that we don’t want Anastasia and Christian to be our romantic example. Not when we have so many better examples—examples of men and women who have chosen to love each other fully, to never demean, to never demoralize, to keep sex as a...

Hot Mama: An Excerpt

I am SO excited to announce that I am releasing a new series of books this year!  I’m even more excited about the topic:  Sex!  Yes, sex.  I have to admit that it feels like a bit of a stretch for me (oh my goodness, what will my mother-in-law think?) but I also truly believe this topic is so important.  In fact, I believe that our marriages depend on it! Now, these books aren’t just about sex:  They are about good, old-fashioned married sex that is not only wholesome and God-honoring but is also FUN.  And by fun, I mean we’re going to give you loads of flirty, between-the-sheets tips and ideas that are hot, hot, hot.  Your husband is going to thank me, isn’t he? The first e-book, ’10 Ideas to Inspire Red Hot Sex’ comes out in just a few weeks.  (In fact, you can preorder it now for $2.99!) and it will be followed by ’10 Quick Fashion Fixes to Feel Confident and Sexy’ (preorder here) and ’10 Hot Date Night Ideas for Married Couples’.  Then, next fall, our paperback entitled Hot Mama will hit bookstores.  And let me tell you… they.are.hot. Anyway, to kick off this launch, I wanted to give you a taste of what to expect in the series.  So, here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for a magazine that’s coming out next month, that includes an excerpt from the book. Also, to my friend M:  If you’re reading this, thank you.  You’re the best.  I’m sure no one will have ANY clue who you are. (An excerpt from Hot Mama:...

Failing at Life

I’m totally and completely failing at life right now. And not just a little bit. Take today, for example.  I didn’t pay close attention to my two-year-old at the park and he took off his shoes and stepped in something prickly.  When we got home, I spent 45 minutes with tweezers picking splinters out of the poor guy’s toes.  This put me behind at work, so I frantically spent the afternoon trying to catch up while Will slept and Joey and Kate played Legos.  I had promised Kate 4:15 Zumba so I woke Will up at 3:30 only to have him take one step on his foot and find more splinters.  More tweezers.  More crying.  More frantic rushing.  I left at 3:55.  I forgot my wallet. I got to the gym and they let me in (without my card) but realized that I had to go straight from Zumba to basketball and get the kids dinner in-between.  I begged $20 off of my friend Rebecca (thanks!) and headed to Chick-Fil-A, where I told my kids to eat fast in the back seat.  They did.  I brought the kids to basketball and sat Will on my lap where he promptly… threw up.  All over me and himself and the gym floor and my kind friends who happened to be sitting next to me chatting. My friend Monica saved me by running for paper towels but I was still a total disaster. I sulked out to the car and wiped us both off the best I could and proceeded to sit in the dark car with a squirmy two-year-old who suddenly...

This is the Day That I Start Being a Little Bit Amish

I confess:  I’m hardly a scholar of Amish culture. I’ve been to Pennsylvania once.  I was thirteen and my family went to Bird In Hand and ate chicken and dumplings in a tiny roadside cafe.  I petted the horses hitched to buggies in the parking lot.  I tried (and loved) Shoo Fly Pie. Aside from that, I’ve spent very little time contemplating Amish culture, the Amish lifestyle and the Amish faith. Until last week. This is going to make me sound very unscholarly, but my unlikely foray into Amish culture came in the form of a novel.  A fantastically interesting and really fun novel. My friend Olivia Newport just released her latest book, Accidentally Amish. The book, set in Colorado of all places, explores the contrast between city-dwelling, technology-loving Annie and Amish-born cabinet-maker Rufus.  The book is great– without spoiling the plot, let’s just say there’s a fantastically romantic love story, some danger, some suspense, some money, some tears, some laughter and a huge dose of hope. But aside from a great story, I also got a glimpse into Amish culture that was so different from anything I’ve ever read or heard before.  Like this:  Do you know why the Amish people avoid modern technology like cell phones and computers?  It’s not because they believe they are inherently evil but instead its because they don’t want anything to stand in the way of God, family and community.  Before allowing anything to become a part of their lives, they ask “how is  this _____ (fill in the blank with a modern contraption) helping me to become closer to God, family...

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