As we count down the last few days of school, and the schedule begins to gape wide open calendar squares of nothing, my attitude begins to nose-dive. Chaos and whiny kids do not a happy mom make. Sure, I miss my kids when they’re at school, but I need quiet time as much as I need food. I will miss having time to run errands and write (mostly) alone, work out on a regular basis, and take showers without being interrupted fifteen times to settle arguments.

Summer is draining for me. I’m not very disciplined when it comes to schedules, so having to come up with structure and then make it happen takes a lot out of me. (Or maybe it’s the summer heat… I don’t know.) While my kids cheer “Three days left! Three days left!” I’ve been getting angst-y and irritable, even though I look forward to being free from the restrictive half-day-kindergarten schedule.

Enter Teri Lynne Underwood‘s ebook, “Parenting from the Overflow.”

While Teri wrote this book specifically for mothers of daughters, the principles apply to motherhood (and marriage, and life…) in general. She walks readers through the fruit of the Spirit and describes how each are important to cultivating healthy relationships. She gives practical suggestions for moms like me who really struggle with consistency and… let’s be honest here…. selfishness. I soaked in her real-life wisdom, built on the principles in the Bible, and so appreciated her encouragement to go before God and ask that he pour his grace into and through me into my family and friends.

My husband and I pray with our kids as part of our bedtime routine. Teaching prayer to children is awkward at times, hilarious at others, and frequently frustrating. I always ask what they are thankful for that day, but more often than not I get blank faces or a list of wishes and want-tos instead. A new Toy Story toy. A DSi XL 3D (If you know what all those letters stand for, you might be parent of 2nd grader) A Barbie. When I read about the Jesus/Junk/Joy prayer, I knew we had to try it. The kids are picking up on it quickly, and I love how they are sharing worries and problems that they want to give to Jesus to keep for them. Talking about what gives them joy seems to click better than “what are you thankful for?”

Parenting from the Overflow gave me real encouragement to walk into the summer with hope and not dread. I remembered some of her suggestions today as I sensed that angst building up again and prayed for grace. Amazing what a difference it makes to walk down the hall towards my wailing kids and praying to God, “I’m feeling really impatient right now. Please help me. Give me your patience with my children.”

Parenting from the Overflow is just $5 for the download, and is easy to read on your computer, e-reader, or printed on paper. It is just 50 pages so it’s easy to read and digest in a weekend. All proceeds from the sale of this first edition of her book go to The Mercy House, an incredible ministry to pregnant young ladies in Kenya birthed from the heart of Kristen Welch, writer of We are THAT Family.

Teri and I are excited to offer one reader a free copy of Parenting from the Overflow! Please leave a comment to enter. For extra entries, you may also tweet and/or share this giveaway on Facebook. (Please leave a comment for each.) Giveaway open until midnight on Friday, June 3.

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