8 Books That Will Help You Break Free From A Too-Busy Schedule

{Special Note: This is part 3 of a 4-part series about filling our cups – read part 1 here and part 2 here.}

For nearly two years, crazy busy was my pace. I moved so quickly that it was difficult to really enjoy any moment, because my mind was always rushing ahead to the next thing on the to-do list.

But life isn’t meant to be lived frantically. While there are God-ordained seasons of busyness that we need to work through and embrace, those extremely busy days shouldn’t be the constant and continual long-term beat of our lives.

We need to trust that we’ll have enough time to do the work we were meant to complete.

During my own quest to create more peace and margin in my home, I read several books that helped me tremendously. Please note, this is not a to-do or must-read list. This is simply a list of books I personally found encouraging so I want to share them with you. Choose one or two and skip the rest. Or do what I did and read a couple now then pick up a few more later, when you need solid reminders and fresh tips.

“The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries

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I’ve been a fan of Lysa since her Unglued days, and I’m telling you, this girl knows her stuff. In The Best Yes, she not only talks about being too busy and offers inspiration for wanting to slow down, but she also gives incredible guidance for helping the reader figure out specific ways we can say no.

Lysa tells her readers, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.”

The Best Yes is especially for readers who want to slow down but feel pulled in a dozen different directions and don’t always know which option to choose.
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“Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!” by Rachel Macy Stafford

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We check our email while cooking dinner, send a text while bathing the kids, and spend more time looking into electronic screens than into the eyes of our loved ones. With our never-ending to-do lists and jam-packed schedules, it’s no wonder we’re distracted.

But this isn’t the way it has to be

Rachel removes the shame that comes from parenting guilt as she offers hope to the mama who’s struggling. This is a must-read for any mother who spends a lot of time on technology or who thinks she’s too busy to spend quality time with her kids.

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“Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better & Loving More” by Rachel Macy Stafford

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I wasn’t sure if Hands Free Life would benefit me very much since I’d already read Hands Free Mama, but I absolutely loved this book just as much as the first! The fresh content was all-new and Rachel encourages readers to live hands free in a way that is so compelling it draws even the most reluctant reader into her story.

Hands Free Life is for the person who wants to reevaluate priorities while receiving genuine hope and gentle guidance about how to be an encouragement to others.

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“Rest Assured: A Recovery Plan for Weary Souls” by Vicki Courtney

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I picked up a copy of Rest Assured during a time when I felt overwhelmed and too-busy, and I’m so glad I did! I felt great relief in my soul from the first page and immediately began implementing Vicki’s simple tips. With the author’s help, I’m learning to stop feeling guilty for allowing my soul time to breathe, and instead view rest as a vital part of my routine.

I highly recommend this for anyone who’s too busy, running on empty, or feels guilty for resting when the to-do list isn’t complete.

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“Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life” by Michele Cushatt

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Michele Cushatt has mastered the art form of weaving story telling with authenticity in a way that captivates her readers. Some of her doctrinal beliefs are not based in scripture, which is the only thing that holds me back from giving her a five-star review.

Overall, this is a motivating, inspiring read that I recommend to anyone who struggles with battling through fear or health problems.

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“Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy” by Alli Worthington

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Breaking Busy was nothing I expected it to be but everything I needed it to be. Full of relate-able stories, wise advice, and practical how-to’s, Breaking Busy is a fabulous read for the one who is thirsty for rest and longs to slow down so they can savor life.

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“The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom

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The only fiction novel to make the list, and one of my favorite fiction novels of all time, The Time Keeper is a compelling fable about the first man on Earth to count the hours – the man who became Father Time.

Told in Albom’s signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it, and how precious it truly is.

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“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom

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A book that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Tuesdays with Morrie will move you deeply in a way that makes you contemplate time, and how you’re spending yours.

Tuesdays with Morrie was birthed through one-on-one lessons with Mitch’s former college professor, Morrie, as Morrie grew weaker and weaker during his final months.

In this compelling non-fiction work, Mitch reflects on the meaning of Morrie’s life lessons and the gentle, irrevocable impact of their Tuesday sessions all those years ago.

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BONUS BOOK! “Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women: Insights for Everyday Life” by the Women at Proverbs 31 Ministries

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This is the only book on the list I haven’t personally read, but I love my Homeschool Mom’s Bible so much that I wanted to find one in a similar format for every woman.

The Real-Life Devotional Bible is currently available in Raspberry, Sea Glass, and Hardback.

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{NOTE: When you’re looking for a new Bible, please be aware of some of the pros and cons of various versions.}

Other Great Reads

More In This Series

Part 1 (Introduction): Fill Your Cup: Resting When the To-Do List Isn’t Complete
Part 2 (For the Homeschool Moms): 5 Books that Will Help You Slow Down, Savor Your Kids, and Rediscover Your Love of Homeschooling
Part 3 (Today’s Post): 8 Books that Will Help You Break Free from a Too-Busy Schedule
Part 4 (Now Live!): How to Care for Yourself Without Being Selfish

What would you add to this list? What books have helped you slow down and refresh your soul?


5 Homeschool Mom Books that Will Help You Slow Down, Savor Your Kids, and Rediscover Your Love of Homeschooling

Friends, I am currently writing a series about filling our cups. Because when we run on fumes, then our homes, our children, our relationships, our jobs… they all suffer. And today’s post is especially for helping the homeschool mamas fill their cups; I created a list of books that I personally have read and found very encouraging in my own homeschool walk.

So whether you are a homeschool mom, you know a homeschool mom, or you’re just curious about what homeschool moms like to read, take a look at this list and choose one that seems like it will meet you where you currently are.

If you’re not a homeschool mom, your turn is coming – I created a book list that will knock your socks off. It’s all about filling your cup so you can nurture your soul, and it’s coming next Monday! I am so excited to share it with you!

5 Homeschool Mom Books that Will Help You Slow Down, Savor Your Kids, and Rediscover Your Love of Homeschooling:

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

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When I was first introduced to the concept of teaching from rest, I literally laughed out loud and exclaimed, “Teaching from rest?! What does that even mean?!” The book sounded too good to be true – like one of those get rich quick schemes or a fad diet that’s guaranteed to give you abs of steel in 14 days or less. But I was intrigued, so I snagged a copy anyways, thinking it couldn’t hurt.

I am so glad I gave Sarah Mackenzie a chance to explain herself! Never before have I been so blown away and challenged by a book that isn’t pure gospel. Teaching from Rest is absolutely transforming my homeschool in huge ways.

From considering whose “well done” we’re working for, to making sure our curriculum serves us (instead of the other way around), to bringing our own skills and interests to the table, I’m so challenged by the eye-opening concepts offered in this book that I am currently hosting a Teaching from Rest summer book club on my back porch.

I wish I could get a copy into the hands of every homeschool mom out there because I believe we would all benefit from absorbing the life-giving truths that Sarah Mackenzie offers in this highly-influential must-read homeschool book of the year.

You can purchase the eBook, buy a complete bundle, or watch Sarah’s FREE online book club videos. I’ve gained so much insight from working through the companion journal so I recommend treating yourself to a bundle. {Bonus: The bundle is on sale for a limited time!}

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Go Fly a Kite: Ten Simple Strategies for Success in Your Homeschool by Karen Costello

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This book may be the best kept secret in the homeschool circuit. But it’s time to let the cat out of the bag, because this is a goodie that you’ll want to highlight and refer to over and over again on your homeschool journey. Because while there is no “one size fits all” formula to guarantee success, there are certain elements which should be included in every home education process.

Incorporating the ten simple strategies discussed in Go Fly a Kite will enable you to reach heights you can only imagine-these ten verbs will challenge you to venture into the not-so-scary unknown and propel you forward into God’s great plan so you can soar like a kite!

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Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool by Karen DeBeus

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Maybe you are just starting out, or maybe you have been doing this awhile. Either way, there is most likely some amount of fear. Fear of the major responsibility that homeschooling is, or fear that you aren’t doing it “right.”

Perhaps you are tired. Burnt out. Running on empty. Maybe you are up to your eyeballs in curriculum catalogs, reviews, planners, highlighters, label makers, and resources. Meanwhile the laundry calls, the dishes pile up, and the kids are tired. You are tired. You are trying to decide how on earth you are going to do it all. Or maybe you just are ready to throw in the towel altogether.

Well, take a deep breath. Relax. The One who created the universe in a breath, the One who called you to this journey, is in control.

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Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe by Todd Wilson

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Parts of this book are laugh-out-loud hilarious as we’re forced to notice the absurdity of our own inner crazy-talk when we see ourselves through a man’s eyes. If you want a lighter, quick read that will help you to be kind to yourself, this is definitely the book for you.

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The Homeschool Mom’s Bible with Daily Devotionals written by Janet Tatman (Available in NIV & KJV)

homeschoolmombiblePut this one on your wish list because it is the absolute perfect daily reading Bible. Here’s how it works: There are 365 Daily Devotions directly in this Bible, one every few pages. Start on whatever date you receive your copy, read that day’s devotional, then read about 1-3 Bible pages leading up to the next devotional and mark your spot with the included ribbon.

After a year, you will have read through the entire Bible! I love that you don’t have to spend your Bible time thinking about what to read next – just open and immediately delve into God’s Word.

My own copy was gifted to me by a friend (two friends actually, so I have both versions!), and I’m currently reading through the NIV Bible at a rapid pace, devouring God’s word in a way that I simply didn’t have time for when my schedule was overflowing.

There are some inaccuracies in the NIV (read about them here) so I can’t fully endorse the version, especially as a study Bible, but for now this easy-to-read NIV, paired with this new FREE Bible Reading Sheet, is exactly what my soul needs.

While I do wish this Bible came in my favorite NASB version, I am so looking forward to breaking out my KJV Homeschool Mom’s Bible in 2017 and inhaling the rich prose and language on those pages as well.

PS These Bibles normally retail for $49.99 each but I just noticed they’re on sale for $14.99 and $19.99!

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Coming up next Monday is a post about books that helped me break away from a crazy busy lifestyle. It’s the perfect book list for all women, not just moms, so you’ll definitely want to sign up so you don’t miss it! Also be sure to read part 1 about filling your cup even when the to-do list isn’t complete. And on August 8th there will be a post all about how to care for yourself without being selfish.

Homeschool Moms, I’d love to hear – what books have filled your cup?


Fill Your Cup: Resting When the To-Do List Isn’t Complete

{Special Note: This is part 1 of a 4-part series about filling our cups – sneak peeks of the upcoming topics are at the end of this article!}

I tend to go, go, go, always productive, rarely stopping long enough to take a breath. But a few months ago, I got sick. My body was ridden with flu, and miserable aches shot through every inch of me. Showering became so strenuous that I napped for hours after. Fitful sleep overtook me as my body tried to shiver the fever away. For five solid days, I was down, my mind too exhausted to read, write, or speak. Silence filled my time, causing me to live inside my mind.

Then, my fever broke. Chills slowly subsided. And I noticed. The birds chirping. The glorious orange sky as the sun sank lower and lower, bidding us goodnight. Dishes clanking in the kitchen while I lay quietly.

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As my strength renewed, my children’s faltered. They took their days on the porch, sleeping and laying.

Friends and relatives sent their love, telling us how sorry they were that we were so sick.

But I wasn’t sorry. Not one tiny bit.

I never would have given myself five days off, but those five days were the best kind of gift.

Snuggles, soup, coloring books, stillness, tea… they filled our alert moments. And our physical strength wasn’t the only thing being renewed. Our spirits were restored as well.

The sick days reminded me that, even when I’m not the one doing, life goes on. The 5 days made me realize that slow, savoring, is the way I want to go through life.

So this summer, I’ve been slowing enough to catch fireflies and chase sunsets. The neighborhood kids hop on their bikes to join my daughters and me as we ride together, determined to discover the best vantage point for witnessing the brilliance. We find a grassy spot and watch, the ants crawling onto our legs. Cold water from a public faucet drips down our faces and quenches our thirst. The wild berries we’d never noticed before stain our hands purple.

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There are still chores. The laundry doesn’t stop piling up. The business finances don’t take care of themselves. Kids bicker, the schedule overflows, I have a long way to go. We all do.

And when I became sick, my to-do list was still a mile long. But it was there – in the midst of the undone – that rest occurred.

Because if we wait until every item on the to-do list is crossed off, the kitchen sparkling clean, and every sock matched neatly in the drawer – if we wait for life to be perfect and neat before we rest and embrace the moment, we’ll spend our entire life waiting. Never embracing. Always rushing, exhausted, on fumes.

And friend, my house is not perfect. But cleaning it up doesn’t feel like such a terrible chore when I know that a good sunset-chasing bike ride is waiting as soon as I’m finished even if I’m not finished.

I’d love to hear: What fills your cup?

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Tidy Up Friends, learning to live in a state of rest has been a challenge for me. I’m very task-oriented so I’ve needed to spend time contemplating how to incorporate rest into my home. I’ve also read books that have helped me tremendously.

This topic deserves some time so I’m writing a 4-part series about filling our cups. I’ve been mulling over these ideas for months now and I can hardly wait to share with you what I’m learning! I pray you will be blessed and filled up by implementing the words you read.

Here’s a sneak peak of topics that I’ll be sharing each Monday morning for the next few weeks (I’ll add links once the posts are live, so pin this article for future reference!):

Part 1 (Today’s Post): Fill Your Cup: Resting When the To-Do List Isn’t Complete
Part 2 (For the Homeschool Moms): 5 Books that Will Help You Slow Down, Savor Your Kids, and Rediscover Your Love of Homeschooling
Part 3 (For Every Woman): 8 Books that Will Help You Break Free from a Too-Busy Schedule
Part 4 (Now Live!): How to Care for Yourself Without Being Selfish

Don’t forget to share in the comments about what fills your cup – let’s all encourage & inspire each other!


Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer GIVEAWAY

Mother’s Day is right around the corner! It’s that one day out of the year we really want to make the moms in our life feel extra special – a time to honor them, pamper them, thank them, and bless them.

So I’ve gotten together with a fantastic group of bloggers in the hopes of blessing TWO moms this Mother’s Day. We’re thrilled to be giving away TWO KitchenAid stand mixers. This seems to be one of those items that moms would love to have but hesitate to buy, so let us do the splurging for you!

Mother's Day Giveaway - Win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer - 2 Winners

I was handed down one of these mixers a few years ago and it has been a valuable tool to have in my own kitchen. I use it for everything from cookie dough and meringue pies to homemade bread and marshmallows.

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

And I’d love to hear about you – how many children do you have and what’s the first thing you would make with this mixer if you win the giveaway?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. Colors and models of prizes may vary from pictures. Giveaway ends May 7th, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.