Seeking Jesus Amidst the Current Chaos + Banana Bread Oatmeal Recipe

Since coming back from our summer visit to the States, I’ve noticed some changes in our household. Before we left, the boys were missing friends who had to leave suddenly, and the young toddler was still acting baby-like with two naps a day, not really walking, and pretty chill.

Since we’ve returned, it’s like chaos wins every day. The boys have their friends back, plus a few more, and the wrestling, jumping, throwing, running, loudness is more than I can handle. Why does it have to start the moment they wake up?! The toddler has turned a corner, too. In the States, she perfected walking, and is now running from toy to toy, book to book, puzzle to puzzle, dumping, flailing, and making her own tornado alley in every room of the house. And the screaming. Oh, the screaming. She yells at everyone to communicate what she wants because the words still aren’t there yet. To get the high-pitched screams to stop, I’ve resorted to giving her an M&M way more times than I care to admit. (Third child problems?!)

I’m guessing you, too, have a busy life, whether like mine, or slightly different. We usually feel like we’re maxed-out busy…until we hit a new stage of life, adding another element to the busyness, and then we think, Ok, now I’m really busy! So yes, our lives are full. Overseas living even adds another element to that.

But I don’t like to let chaos win. I can’t stand feeling flung from one sibling argument to the next. And did I mention the noise? The noise is killing me. Our 900 square-foot, cement-walled apartment just can’t absorb the noise like I need it to.

What do I desire right now?





But I’m not guaranteed any of these, except the first one, and even then, I have to participate to receive it.

As I reflect on my current life as a stay at home, homeschooling mama, toes dipped in ministry here and there, I see a lack of several crucial things: prayer, joy, patience, and humility.

I want to pray without ceasing. I want a silent prayer to be my first reaction to my rebellious child sinning again.

I want to find joy in moments that last longer than just until the next crisis.

I want to practice patience. It’s not going to come overnight, but if I take one situation at a time, and practice calmly resolving the situation instead of “loudly speaking” (ok, probably yelling), it’ll come.

I want to make a habit of asking for forgiveness from my kids when I sin in front of them, and especially when I sin against them (see: yelling).

Obviously, from this little pep talk to myself, I have a ways to go in order to achieve the desires listed above. There are practical things like quiet time for everyone, dance parties to lighten the mood and get wiggles out (or, a new fave:, read aloud time while they play quietly, or ample playtime outside.

I’m slowly learning that if changes don’t start with me, though, I won’t see changes in my household. Right now, I’m the most-watched example in their lives. Instead of lingering on what a terrifying thought that is, my prayer is that I move forward to what a great opportunity it is to shine the light of Jesus into their lives.

What do you desire in your current day-to-day life? If you have kids, what tips do you have to keep some sense of order?


Banana Bread Oatmeal

To be honest, I’m not a huge oatmeal fan. Never have been. Maybe it’s a texture thing. But, on these cold mornings before the government turns on the heat, I need something warm in my tummy. This Banana Bread Oatmeal hits the spot, doesn’t have loads of extra sugar, and fuels me until lunch.


A few simple ingredients: milk, bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla.


Stir in the oats until the liquid is absorbed.


Top with extra bananas and a sprinkle of brown sugar. It doesn’t take much because the bananas already add a good bit of sweetness!

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Makes: 2 large servings

Cook time: 10 minutes

Slightly adapted from: Pastry Affair

1 1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup (about 1 1/2) overripe bananas, mashed (you can slice the leftover 1/2 banana and use for garnish)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup quick oats

2 teaspoons brown sugar

chopped pecans (optional)

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, mashed bananas, and spices. Heat the mixture on medium heat. Just before boiling (small bubble will pop on top), add the rolled oats and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occsionally, or until the oats are soft and the liquid has been absorbed.

Top with brown sugar, bananas, and pecans.






  1. Anita October 4, 2016

    I really resonate with this post! I want to embrace the peace and joy in the midst of the chaos, but often I fail. I should print this and read it each morning!

    1. Ashley Felder October 5, 2016

      Every day is a new chance to try again! I have to remind myself of that, too. Recently, I’ve been looking up free printable Bible verses to hang around my home and school room. They’re prettier than just writing them on a sticky note (my former tactic), and I find myself pondering on them when I remember they’re more than a decoration. 🙂

  2. Leigha October 4, 2016

    Thank you for reminding me that peace is a promise! I love that. There are other things lacking in my life right now that I tend to think I deserve, like stability, a visa, and a consistent place to live, and the reality is that those things are not a given. But – I can sure have peace in the midst of this chaos. Really what else do I need? Dwelling on that today. And bookmarking the recipe for later. 🙂

    1. Ashley Felder October 5, 2016

      I, too, fall into the trap of thinking I deserve other good things…or seemingly necessary things! But we don’t. May He meet you with fulfilling peace today, and all the days that you feel out of control…because…well, we are. 🙂

  3. M'Lynn October 5, 2016

    Grace, headphones, coffee and scheduled time AWAY each week. That’s all I’ve got for you (and me!) And…the repeated reminder to myself that the harder I try to control my children, the angrier we are all going to be! I can set limits and boundaries for them to respect, however, I cannot control their noise and the way two boys cannot co-exist without wrestling. Sometimes I tell them, “If you need to do that, go do it somewhere else!!! Like outside or in your room with the door closed!!!!” Then add in the little princess…and oh, wow! This post is hilarious to me because I feel like I could’ve written it. However….we are thankfully out of the crazy crazy toddler scream scream tear the house apart constantly phase. PTL!!!!! However, I cannot count how many times I’ve told our number three who also happens to be a girl, “If you’re gonna __________(fill in the blank with any activity like sword fight, wrestle, play soccer, run…etc) with the boys, you’re gonna get hurt. So either be okay with that or don’t play with them.” LOL.

    1. Ashley Felder October 5, 2016

      Time away–yes! Finally getting into a rhythm of that one! I come back after a few hours so refreshed and ready to tackle the arguments with more grace. Amazing how that works. 😉 Glad you’re past the tornado status…not sure I’m ready for the constantly-injured phase, though! I often send them to their room to be loud…just wish it wasn’t so close to the living room. Ha!

  4. Elizabeth October 5, 2016

    Yes! I want these things, too. And we are making big changes as a family, in order to get more of it. And in the end it actually ends up being ME who is making the changes, because I am the rudder who steers this ship! At least when it comes to daily life with the kids 🙂

    1. Ashley Felder October 5, 2016

      When and if you’re ready to share, please do share what ideas you come up with! I’d love to hear!!

      1. Elizabeth October 5, 2016

        It’s the culmination of months of wrestling, really, but a lot of it involves getting offline more. I’m taking a break from writing for other blogs online, including my own blog. Too often I say I’m going away to go write, and then I waste too much time on FB or reading other blogs or listening to podcasts. So I’m taking a writing break, and then will get back in the game with an app my husband found called “Freedom” which can make certain websites unaccessible for pre-determined amounts of time. And with all that time I’m going to “find,” I’m going to play more games with my kids 🙂

        Some of this was trying to figure out what to quit — real life ministry, or online ministry? I couldn’t do both all the time like I was trying to, and still educate and care for my children. The education was fine, the care was not! I had to come to see that real life ministry felt more “satisfying” to me and also drained me less. Don’t know why! And some of it was highly influenced by some talks I heard from Brad Huddleston, who travels the world talking about “Digital Cocaine.” All his talks really did, though, was to confirm what I already felt God speaking to my over-scheduled, overly distracted self 🙂

        That’s the nutshell, version anyway!

  5. Ruth October 6, 2016

    Yep. Right there in the chaos with you. Chaos. Noise. More noise. Very little sleep. An excellent summary of life right now. And I have not been handling it well lately. I can relate to all you said! I agree with some time away – Kevin and I work really hard to make that happen for each other every weekend, even though it’s hard. But some weeks it is really what keeps me sane.
    Also, I’m not a huge oatmeal fan, but when I eat oatmeal that’s how I like it!

    1. Ruth October 6, 2016

      Also, I’m thinking about lining my walls with cork board. All the tile and concrete is killing my ears/head/sanity.

      1. Ashley Felder October 8, 2016

        My husband has looked on Toabao many times for those big squares (I’ve only seen them in fellowships or music rooms in the States) that you put on the wall that absorb sound. He has tried to convince me to line our apartment walls with them. Maybe you could look into them!

        1. T October 9, 2016

          I know that when folks were recording audio for radio programs in this land of cement walls, they often used foam mattresses as a barrier. I made a few wood framed, fabric covered big foam squares to minimilize the echo at my husband’s english school…i think it helped…

          1. Ashley Felder October 10, 2016

            Great idea!! And to cover it in fabric–BOOM! Decor and sanity!

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