5 Ways to Thrive When the Holidays Feel Overwhelming


She asked you to bring a dessert and you can’t forget to pick up another pack of Christmas cards. Where in the world are the extra rolls of tape and why didn’t Susie let you know she needed a shepherd’s costume before dress rehearsal day?

Celebrating the holidays is wonderful and meant to be enjoyed. But sometimes the swirl of activities and schedule demands make it anything but enjoyable. If you feel overwhelmed throughout the holiday season, today I’m sharing 5 ways to thrive when the holidays feel overwhelming.

1.       Determine to simplify what you can control.

Is baking 13 different kinds of cookies your downfall? Knock it down to 3. Do the decorations make you feel like you constantly must tidy and pick up? Cut back and leave a room undecorated. Holiday celebrations often include extended family, ministries, or co-workers and as a result, we personally don’t control the dates or times or details. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, determine to simplify what you can control.

2.       Ditch the temptation to compare.

So the shiniest house in the neighborhood looks fabulous! Cheer them on, smile at their twinkling lights, but don’t feel like you have to try to keep up. Neither should you be discouraged because you didn’t have the time or resources to decorate like you wanted. Just enjoy what you are able to do and claim victory over the trap of comparison. Comparison only robs us of joy.

3.       Discover tenacity through small moments of rest.

As mom to 7, I’ve always needed to energize myself through taking short breaks whenever I could. Holidays often involve travelling, adjusting sleep schedules or even sleeping arrangements. Whenever there is a moment to take a little time to rest, seize it. Those small moments of rest in a day’s time can be the trick to overcoming the overwhelming.

4.       Deal with problems one at a time.

The holidays do not come with an automatic exclusion from problems. Life still initiates disasters, disease, and even death. When the issues snowball, don’t look at the big picture and wonder how on earth you can deal with all the extra circumstances. Slow down and take it just one day, one hour, even one moment at a time.

              Sometimes the boldest thing you can do is take the next breath.- One More Step

5.       Do your best to keep quiet time with God a priority.

Finding a few moments of peace to pursue God through his word and prayer will strengthen your heart like nothing else can. It’s easy to let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season overtake the priority of spending time alone with God. Use a Bible reading plan as a way to focus and stay accountable. Start a new journal for the Advent season and take just 5 minutes a day to write.

When you feel tired, weak and completely overwhelmed, most of all, remember that as a Christian, you have access to the inexhaustible supply of God’s strength. He will see you through.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7

Rachel Wojo, author of One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving U

Rachel Wojo

Rachel "Wojo" Wojnarowski is a wife, mom to 7, blogger, writer and speaker. She and her husband, Matt, enjoy caring for their busy family, whose ages span 3 years to 23 years and includes a special needs daughter. Rachel leads community ladies’ Bible studies in central Ohio and serves as an event planner. In her “free time” she crochets, knits, and sews handmade clothing. Ok, not really. She enjoys running and she’s a tech geek at heart. Rachel serves in her local community and also speaks at Christian women conferences. Her book, One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up, releases October 20, 2015. Wife, mom, reader, writer, speaker and dreamer, you can find Rachel on Twitter , Facebook, and Pinterest., as well as RachelWojo.com.

Happy Thanksgiving from TheBetterMom.com!


Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been serving in local church ministry for nearly fifteen years.

Finding Hope in the Holiday Bustle

Feeling overwhelmed before the holidays even begin? Here's a gameplay for managing the overwhelm and entering into rest.

Holiday preparations are in full swing at our home, and while they have been eagerly anticipated, the work that accompanies our preparing is rocking our calendar and zapping our energy. There are lots of things that I am good at, but juggling a schedule is not one of them. When we enchant a shift in routine, or find ourselves in a season where there are countless activities and  how do we cultivate peace in our hearts and in our homes?  So, sweet mamas, I present, a  Five Ways to Find Hope in the Holiday Bustle, or any time when you are overwhelmed, because don't we all need just a bit more merry?

1. Take Time to Look at the Big Picture

Carve out a few hours when you can open your calendar and see the big picture of what is happening in the coming weeks. Mentally prepare for what lies ahead and how you will manage the logistics. Pray for God to lead you by faith in all your commitments, and maybe even to help you say no to a few things that don't fit for you in this season. Can you enlist a friend to help with pick-up or drop-off, adjust the baby or toddler's nap to ensure that your day will flow a bit more smoothly, or prep any supplies in advance for an outing or event? Even small changes can make a big difference! 

2. Prep Like a Mad Woman

Nothing makes my family crazier than to being on the go AND starving, and even though I've been a mom for over a dozen years, nothing sneaks up on me more than dinner time (or lunch...or breakfast!) I need a game plan! Somehow, as my holiday baking list is carefully laid out and ready to go, our normal meals get booted to the back seat. If you're stuck trying to meal plan, you can download the bi-weekly meal plan right here at The Better Mom- it is amazing, This month, I'm spending time grilling and freezing chicken and ground beef, slicing vegetables, and making sauces on the weekend when my husband can take a shift with the kiddos. Then on weeknights, my sous chef work is done and I'm able to put our meal together in a lot less time. Are there things you can do ahead?

3. Laugh a Little!

 A good laugh is truly the most wonderful of reset buttons, moms! If you find yourself with a huffy tone, feel tense or grumpy on the inside, take a minute to make goofy faces with your kids, twirl until you're dizzy or just google some knock-knock jokes together...I promise you will be ready to tackle what is before you afresh and your children will light up at the way you lead their hearts into a sweet connection with you!

4. Don't Be Afraid to Fail

At the end of the day, if you crawl into bed with a to-do list that isn't all crossed off, with ideas of crafting and shopping that didn't quite make it to life in your home, or with the realization that you completely forgot about basketball practice, ballet class, the PTA meeting or your mother-in-law's birthday....take heart!  Sweet mama, you can take your burdens, concerns, heartache and even your schedule to the feet of Jesus every single day. Rest in him. Remember that you are lovely and that you will never get it all right or be perfect. There is grace and so so much to be learned when we stumble. Don't be afraid that you won't keep it all together!

5. Don't Neglect Your True Nourishment

It might just be the easiest thing to skip, forget, or let slide by when you are overwhelmed, but friends, you need time every single day in God's Word. Search for treasure, seek wisdom, bring your petitions to his feet and listen for his voice. There is nothing that will sustain you more than meditating on his word and joining your heart to his in prayer. Don't miss what God has made you for, don't miss enjoying his very real presence, because your days are too full. Make time and let him carry you through the rest of this season...it is all about waiting on him, remember?

Share some of your ideas for making it through overwhelming seasons in the comments?  Wise women copy other wise women, and I'd love to copy all the wise things you do! Let's get a big list going to help each other in this community.




Kristen Kill

Kristen is a Northwest native who grew up surrounded by family, books, alpine peaks and lots of green. She never thought she’d leave. And when she did, she landed in a lot of concrete in a city that shapes the world’s culture. Now she's figuring out a life that she longs to have marked by gratitude and grace, good food and conversation; beauty, art and homeschooling all squeezed into a Manhattan apartment. She writes about living with intention as a wife and mother of four in the midst of a city that makes her heart beat just a little bit faster every time she walks outside at Hope With Feathers. She also relishes in her role as the Editor of The Better Mom and loves sharing snippets of her life on Instagram.

When Thankfulness Is Hard To Find

The difficulty of a mother's can weigh us down.In desperation, and hard moments we can ask God to help us. He knows our hearts best. He knows how much we want to enjoy our children in this season, even when the season seems too long. He makes a way to find thanksgiving, even when it's hiding.

Sometimes I have to fight for a thankful heart. When everything feels like it's working against me. When I am tempted to feel sorry for myself. When I want to complain. On the days when I see more of what I don't have than what I do have. It doesn't come natural to me to be thankful.

There are so many blessings I've been given and I really want to be thankful for them, but some days I feel like those blessings are a little harder to see. When I am constantly giving all of my time and energy to my chlidren, and in return they smear things on my walls that really shouldn't be there (chocolate or poop?). They chew up crayons and spit a colorful rainbow on my floor. They make it rain brown sugar after they find the bag of it on the counter. 

I take a deep breath while I'm standing at the top of the stairs watching sugar fly into the air like someone just won a million dollars. I pull out my phone and take a picture of it to send to my sister, because I need someone who can laugh and remind me that it's only a season. I wash out his crayon-coated mouth for the fourth time and tell him that we only put food in our mouths. I wipe the decorated walls. I wash and rewash as we master the art of going to the bathroom in the toilet and not everywhere else. 

In desperation, I ask God to help me. He knows my heart best. He knows how much I want to enjoy my children in this season, but the season seems too long. 

I beg God, as I'm trying to get my strong-willed son dressed. Through tears I beg him to help me to be thankful, because in that moment I'm not.

I notice the paint stains that brighten the patio because my son was helping his younger brother  make handprints. Drops of red, blue, and yellow slipped inbetween his fingers and onto the ground. I think about scrubbing it off, but it is a reminder that they are here with me, and they are making their own memories together. 

I hold my baby girl and her little body sinks into mine as I make myself sit down, slow down, and enjoy a moment with her. She eats her spilled popcorn off the couch, and I help her eat it up, one by one.

I want to give thanks when things aren't going my way. When thanksgiving is hard to find, I want to look for it. I want to ask God to help me lean hard into the imperfection, the frustrating moments, and the tears, and help me to see the beauty in all of it. I want to thank him for another day in this season. By his grace I can be thankful.

With Love,

Natalie nataliefalls.com


Natalie captures her journey on Instagram writes at nataliefalls.com. She is a wife to her best friend and mother to her three children. God changed Natalie's perspective on life when her son, Elias, was born with Down syndrome. She is passionate about writing, photography, and giving hope to others.

We Are Not Awesome, God Is

Do you feel insignificant and less than awesome as a mama today? Be encouraged! The wonder and greatness of God inspires our souls in difficulties and he cares for you, in all your weak places.

"If you could go back and change one thing...what would it be?"

This is a question both my husband and I have been asked several times by different people now that we're on the other side of foster care. And the truth is, if you had asked me in the midst of it, I'd have given you quite the lengthy list. I wanted to change all of it.

How many kids we took in.
Their ages.
Their pain.
The timing.
More support.
Our struggle.
My attitude.
My husbands attitude.
My kids attitudes.
The list would have gone on and on and on.

And yet looking back now, I know for certain that I wouldn't change a single thing.

Maybe hindsight really is 20/20, but all of the hard times, the times of crying and wailing and fear and exhaustion (sometimes mine, sometimes not) and just feeling like even one more hour was near impossible...
I now see how it all truly served to help us know and love and honor the Lord even more than we ever had before.

We all had such idealistic views of how we would be as a foster family and how it would go, and yet never once did the reality ever measure up to our lofty dreams.
Not even once.

In fact, in all truthfulness, it seemed we instead failed every day at being all that we had hoped we could be.
We fell short in one way or another, and even when our actions may have looked admirable, we knew a lot of times our heart maybe wasn't so much.

But where we didn't fail, was that every single day (and many many many times throughout the day!) we continually chose to give it all to the Lord. We chose to be obedient to what He had called us to do, despite many times wanting to give up and choose instead the path of least resistance.

The best picture I can share is this...
Imagine a broken bowl or glass so unusable it's no longer able to serve it's purpose, that there seems to be no other choice but to throw it away.

That was us. (still is)
We were those broken dishes.
So unusable and completely unworthy.

And yet by giving it all to God, surrendering all of it to Him, He came and filled in those massive cracks and was able to use us anyway.
In spite of us, for our good, and ultimately for His glory.

The humbling and glorious truth we came to realize over and over again?

We weren't awesome. (still aren't!)
He was. (and always is!)

And now that the girls have moved back home, we keep in touch often and the biggest blessing of all... we still get to see them each week as we excitedly pick them as well as their mother up for church. And instead of what felt like two broken families, we have become one larger whole family, all seeking even more whole-heartedly after the Lord.

And this is why we can say with absolute certainly that there isn't a single moment we would go back to change.

Even had the circumstances ended differently, even if the circumstances should change in the future, we now have this unbelievable assurance and confidence in God's sovereignty and awesomeness.

We get more than ever, that it's not about us.
It's all about Him.

We can honestly admit that our foster care experience has humbled us unlike anything else.
It has absolutely brought us to our knees in gratitude and awe and absolute worship to our God who is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine.

And he does it in all things...
In spite of us.

We aren't awesome, because ultimately the story isn't about us.
He is, because it's always been about Him.

It's not our glory story.
It's His.

So whatever you may be walking through, in all the things that may feel heavy or burdensome or too much to carry...I encourage you to give it all to Him.

Don't worry about being awesome, just trust that no matter what, He always is.

Summer Saldana


Summer Saldana

Summer is one of those women who certainly isn’t trying to hide anything — except maybe what is behind her beloved bangs. She is refreshingly open about her mommy meltdowns (she has 2 children, but one is strong willed, so it’s more like 4), her faith, and her obsession with bargain shopping and makeup/skincare hauls. But, whether it’s through writing, speaking, or the missions work her & her family do, Summer’s greatest passion is connecting with others. And she does this by being open and honest, all while trying to find the humor and lesson in it all.

Teaching Your Child Good Character

Our children will learn good character best from Jesus. This resource will help them learn beginning at a young age.

Teaching our children to learn good character and how to pray doesn’t have to be overly complicated or over-spiritualized. Most children don’t understand the supernatural until they are older, closer to middle school age. 

You see, children learn best from example and demonstration. While they can learn to pray for from us, they can also learn from other great resources that speak right to them, at their level. 

A good resource for beginners is the Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook.

This resource helps children learn and pray for the character of Jesus in a way young children understand. Not only is it a great resource for children, but it's a great starting off place for parents who just struggle with knowing what to teach or pray or where to start. 

The Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook has lessons on 40 different character traits Jesus exhibited. The best time to teach and pray for good character is when your children are young (though it's never too late to start).

Teaching Your Children to Pray for Character


Here's what the book offers:


Each lesson begins with a scripture on a page of it's own with the title of the lesson and an engaging graphic. 

Short Lesson on Jesus in the Bible

Next, in there is the lesson in fun and simple terms for young children to grab onto. It focuses on Jesus and what He did.

Short Lesson on Jesus in Me

The "Jesus in Me" section focuses on internalizing the message by making it personal and using examples on how we can be more like Jesus. 

Prayer and Character Trait

The lesson concludes with a simple prayer that leads the child to ask for the character trait they learned Jesus had demonstrated. Under the prayer is even a "call to action" to move from lesson to application. 

Bright, Engaging Photos

The photos are so bright and colorful and definitely draw in my youngest. 

Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook

My 5-year old has LOVE carrying around his "Prayer Journal" as he calls it. When the older children have their quiet Bible time in the morning, this is the book he pulls out to look at. 

This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for your young children or grandchildren (or even nieces and nephews!)

This is a sponsored post and I was given a free copy of Just Like Jesus to review. 



Christin is wife of 14 years to her high school sweetheart and mother to seven children. She looks for beauty in the simple and appreciates a good cup of coffee. She is learning to live everyday with joy, find gratitude in the mundane, and speak words of grace. You can find Christin writing through her days on her blog, christinslade.com.