Another quote from Max Lucado's devotional journal...quoted from one of his books...
Martha's life was cluttered. She needed a break.
Max (I guess it's OK to call him by his first name) refers to the story of Mary and Martha where Mary chooses to sit at His feet and listen while Martha is scurrying around the house with busy-ness. I love the part where Jesus confronts Martha and tells her that she is worried and bothered about so many things (even good things), but only one is important (the one thing we don't usually worry about)--listening to what the Lord has to say to us. That is the type of "break" to which Max is referring.
This is a practice that I have not regularly kept up in awhile--the writing part, I mean. It really does help keep me focused and go back through the passages and ponder, rather than just read. Blogging about some of it as a sort of online journal helps as well since my handwriting is not as neat as my typing and I can type so much faster than I can write. I still write at least one paragraph in the journal though. It's encouraging to look back through old journals and read what I have written, sometimes even years later. I have kept those from my youth (20s, 30s). When I'm with the Lord, it will be a way for my children to see even more deeply into my heart than they might even do now as well as "keep" a part of me. Letters and journals have historically been a way for generations to "know" one another.
Starting each day reading certainly helps me put everything in the proper order and not get stressed about all the extras that need to be done. I'm a natural planner so organizing the day to get the most done comes easily but I can still let myself become entangled in all that needs to be done on top of my regular home life and neglect the more important things like time with the family and prayer and/or be short-tempered and irritable due to the extra stress.
I encourage you to spend 30 minutes reading, praying and journaling, even just a paragraph or two like I do, with a devotional book, a read-through-the-Bible pamphlet or one-year Bible (I use this) or some other method. A simple spiral notebook is fine. Different stages of life, young babies, illness, jobs outside the home may limit the time available, 10-20-30 minutes a day--make your own goal realistic and small and set a timer. It can always be increased. One less stress in your already busy life. Everyone has some unoccupied time, so no excuses. It is better to think through and apply one or two verses to your life each day than read 3-4 chapters and get nothing out of it due to reading too quickly (to check off that you did it) or not focusing because the amount of reading is so lengthy. It's a little bit of renewing your mind, a few minutes each day. Try it. You'll find that your heart feels more satisfied because it has poured itself out in a deeper way and what you read stays with you simply because you wrote some of your thoughts down on paper. You may even find that once you start, you want to stay with Him after the timer goes off. :)