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Dear Hattie,

Help! I am drowning in end of the school-year overlap! Things are ending and beginning at the same time and my head is spinning between all of the potlucks, field trips, ceremonies and info for all! Meanwhile summer stuff is starting at the same time. Any tips on how to stay sane?

Sincerely, Drowning in Double-Duty  

Dear Drowning in Double-Duty,

With an overload of information and events coming at you this time of year, it can be tempting to just go ahead and melt into a puddle on the floor rather than attempt to do all of the things. And sometimes we do. But take heart and don’t fizzle. Instead ask the Lord to be able to accomplish what is on your plate! In busy seasons, it can often help to make a list: plot out your calendar, keep the family informed, make a running grocery list, keep a few easy meals on the menu (like, hot dogs, if need be). Use your Crock Pot, which, as an aside, is not passe. It remains your quiet, understated power friend that can take the afternoon from crazy to manageable. Look for as many streamlines like that as you can. And persevere! Then once you are through it, evaluate and see if your commitments keep life at that fevered pitch, or if it really is for a short season. We all need a daily margin in our lives allowing time to regroup, be restored, and rest. Be sure to take a day for rest and worship as well. Hopefully these things will help you finish this season strong.    

Dear Hattie,

I love my mother-in-law, but honestly, she just rubs me the wrong way. How can I honor her when we are so different and the relationship is challenging?

Sincerely, Only Want To Do What’s Right in the West End  

Dear Want To Do What’s Right,

Mother-in-law relationships can be challenging. But instead of focusing on the man you both love–her son and your husband–let me draw your mind to your own son [future, if need be]. Imagine for a moment that your son is a grown man and marrying. How do you want him to treat you? How do you hope your relationship will look as he moves into this next phase of life? What kind of relationship do you hope to have with his wife? How would you like her to treat you, what kind of grace do you hope she extends? How do you hope to care for her? Now, however you hope your future daughter-in-law will treat you, be that woman and emulate that kind of behavior with your own mother-in-law, because it is how you want to be treated. The golden rule is especially golden in mother-in-law territory. We may think it doesn’t translate well because she is far removed from our point of view. But treating her as you would [someday] like to be treated may help you appreciate this woman who raised the man you love, giving her the grace you know you will someday need. Try it and see if that doesn’t soften your heart toward her. And pray about it, asking God to increase your actual love for her and to be able to honor her for the hard work she did in mothering your husband.   

Dear Hattie,

I am looking forward to summer, but it’s easy to drift in my relationship with God. I guess because there is less routine and structure. Do you have any suggestions to help keep me on track?

Sincerely, Idly Adrift  

Dear Idly Adrift,

Summer is a great time to try something new because you have broken from routine. Here are a few ideas: Ask a friend to meet for coffee once a week with the intention of accountability and prayer. Why not do a Bible Study you haven’t had time to join the rest of the year? Commit to doing daily prayer walks in your neighborhood. Become regular at the summer storytime/reading club at your local library with the intention of meeting other moms or women, and invite some to church or share your testimony as you are able. Drifting happens when we lose focus and intention. Stay anchored to the Word and fellowship and use this bit of freedom to glorify God in a new way with the extra time.