Wednesday, January 28, 2015

hump day

Happy Wednesday to YOU!  It's been a great week, and all the sunshine makes my heart so happy!  If you were a fly on the wall of my home, you might have seen us:

~raking leaves before school every morning this week.
~peaking out the window as a truck vacuumed said leaves.
~in our pajamas.  Every single day.
~being quiet, getting our work done.
~screaming, "CRASH GOT OUT!"
~witnessed us jumping on bikes and into my car and peeling out of the driveway to find him.
~laughing hysterically.
~being mad when they just would.not.shut.up.
~laughing at me.
~cooking.  Cleaning.  Vacuuming.  Laundering.
~sorting through my bottles of nail polish to find the perfect shade of dark gray.
~standing in the middle of the street Monday night at ten thirty, looking for a meteor.
~Bible studying.  Going over my church notes from Sunday.
~scratching.  We all have ridiculously dry skin.  Like eczema dry.
~enjoying our time.  Living the moments we're given.  Learning at our own pace.

How's your week been?  We are ready for church tonight and our homeschool group tomorrow!  Love to all.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesdayish

I am reading this phenomenal book called Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman.  I have mentioned that at least forty times on here, I know, but I cannot stress enough how amazing this book is.  I thought I would be done by now, but I am forcing myself to read it slowly, one chapter at a time.

With a title like that, you would assume that it's all on the mouth and the damage it can do.  And boy, can it!

But she addresses our heart a lot in this book.  Because truly, out of the overflow of our heart, our mouth speaks.  (Luke 6:45, HCSB translation)

I know that I am always preaching this to my boys, but have I ever really thought about that statement, in terms of myself?  I don't know that I have.  I have this philosophy that goes along with this verse, and that is this: garbage in, garbage out.

What we fill our minds is also what comes out of our mouths.  So what am I filling my mind with?  Only with things that point to Jesus?  No.

But I'm learning this process, and that is that everything I do should be honoring to God.  The books I read, the movies and television shows I watch (OUCH!), the music I listen to, the way I treat my family when nobody is watching~all of these things should be pointing toward Jesus.  If that is not the case, then I should not fill my mind or my heart with them.

And then this morning happened.  I opened up my Bible study homework to Second Timothy Two.

All I can do is write it out for you to read for yourself.  I am reading from the NASB translation.

14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for [e]it will lead to further ungodliness,17 and their [f]talk will spread like [g]gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness."

20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce[h]quarrels. 24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive [i]by him to do his will."

All of these verses got to me, but especially the ones starting with fifteen and after.  I feel like the Lord Himself was reminding me to be diligent, to not be ashamed and to be extra careful of the way I speak.  For the part that talks about not being ashamed, I think that means to be careful with how I live my life~as in, I have this wonderful book that I read (the Bible) and if the job of that book is to transform me and my life, and if I read it then don't change,  that would make me a hypocrite.  And don't we all know people who don't go to church because they have been burned by hypocrites?

I do.  And I do not want to be one.

I am to pursue righteousness.  And faith and love and peace.  I should not be quarrelsome and I should be kind to all, able to teach (even if that means only living my life by example), and I should be patient when I am wronged.  If I correct, it should only be with gentleness, so that God will grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of truth.  And the last verse is still directed to Timothy and who he should be telling these things to, but the thought of being held captive by the devil sends chills down my spine.  

Who wants to be held captive by evil?  

And yet, if we are unwilling to change, that is exactly what is happening.  

Between the book I am reading and my Bible study homework today, I am wrecked.  But in a good way, because I am to lead a transformed life.  The closer I walk with God, the more He changes me.  The more I am in His word, the more His Holy Spirit nudges me.  He reminds me of verses that tell me to remember that I should consider other people more important than myself.

If that means saying I'm sorry first, then I should do that.  If that means biting my tongue to refrain from hurling angry words at someone, then so be it.  If that means praying before I answer someone who is frustrating me, then I should pray first.  And I am to constantly be examining my heart.  

A verse that I pray often is Psalm 19:14.  "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in Your sight O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."

Notice how many of these things have to do with my mouth.  If they don't have to do with my mouth, then it's my heart.  If you feel that you struggle in this area, I recommend this book.  Actually, even if you feel that you don't struggle in this, you should read it anyway.  There is something in it for everyone.  You can even be a part of an online Bible study with this book right now, with the women of Proverbs 31 Ministries.  

I have purposefully not written in my copy, should someone want to borrow it.  I have already promised it first to my friend Robin, but I am willing to share, if you don't mind waiting.

Well.  That was kinda ugly, wasn't it?  She has stepped all over my toes throughout the pages of this book and I know she's not done.  I'm currently on the chapter that deals with people pleasing.  And we all know that I have that problem.  

You might want to pray for me.  ;)

Love to all.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Monday!

Even though the weekend was great, guess how many pictures I have of Friday and Sunday?  Zero.  It's become a thing for me to stay off social media all weekend, except to post maybe one picture or two.

Saturday night found us at my in-love's house.  They have a big annual party with some family members from near and far, and it was so great to see everyone.  I have just a couple of pictures that actually turned out.



These guys.  So funny and SO crazy when they're all together.  Mike (on the right) and his wife, one of his sons along with his wife and four kids, all drove in from Jacksonville, North Carolina.  We haven't seen them in several years.

That was pretty much the whole weekend.  I am leaving out a few details, but you get my drift.

The reason I wanted to write this post today was to share with you a Go Fund Me account I set up for Graham and Drew.  It's to help them raise the funds they need to go to Guatemala this spring break.  I've had many people ask about how they could help, and this would be a huge way.  I would love for you to check out the page I set up for them, and to hear a little more about the trip.  Thank you!  I will post the link below.

http://www.gofundme.com/kukzxs

Have a wonderful day, my friends!  Love to all.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Favorites!



It's Friday again!  This week has really gone by fast because of Monday being a holiday.  It's funny how one tiny day can throw you off for the entire week.  I kept waking up in the middle of the night (last night) thinking it would be Saturday when I woke up.  When I remembered that wasn't the case, I decided I had better go ahead and get up and shower.  It's dreary here today, and that always makes it that much more difficult to get out of bed.

I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this post.

One.




Monday was at the top of my list of favorite moments from this week.  Last summer the youth at our church and some awesome leaders took a one week trip into the inner city of Memphis to love on some needy kids.  This is called Street Reach.  We had Bible clubs with them each day, in different areas near where they lived.  This is put on each summer by an organization called Brinkley Heights Urban Academy.  It's a private school for kids in one of the worst areas in Memphis.  My boys made some really sweet friendships with these kids and they ask periodically, if we can go see them.  Since Monday was a school holiday, we decided to take that afternoon to do just that.  Graham had the idea that we should take them lunch.  They devoured it and then they had fun playing games with them.

We took some extra teenagers with us.  :)

The downside to this favorite from this week was that Graham lost my credit card.  He either left it at Walgreens or it fell out of his pocket, so that's been a bit inconvenient this week.

Two.


You know my love of OPI nailpolish, right?  I have a lot of bottles in my downstairs bathroom vanity.  I have this one huge box full of polishes and in the box are clippers, cotton circles to remove the polish and nearby is the bottle of polish remover.  I don't even feel bad for my love of this~because even though I have so many bottles to choose from, I use them all!  My friend was over here one day looking through them all, and I was making her laugh because I knew all the names of them.  I seriously use all of them and I polish my nails every couple of days.  I get tired of a color quickly and am always ready for a change.  On my toes, I will let a color stay on there for two weeks at the most.  Usually it's not that long, though, until I am redoing them as well.  It's a thing I do and it's almost therapeutic to me.  And it's not expensive, since I already own all the bottles!  :)  I might go buy a couple more this weekend, though~I just found out that Target has a buy 2 get 1 free deal on their Essie polishes.  Sometimes I buy something other than OPI.

The color pictured above is what I had on my toes and fingers (but I changed my fingernails Wednesday afternoon), Jade Is The New Black.

Three.

On Tuesday, Jonah cleaned off the deck in our backyard and had the bright idea that we should eat dinner outside.


How often does one get to dine on the patio in January?  Not often!  We have loved the weather this week!  It's been sunny and warmer, so the boys have taken advantage of that by being outside every waking moment.  The warmer days have ended, though and yesterday it was back to being dreary and cold.  Not that I mind, because it IS winter.  I love dressing for cold weather, and at night, I love being in my pajama pants, hoodie sweatshirt and drinking a hot cup of coffee while I sit and watch television with Toddley.

Four.


Speaking of coffee, we are such coffee snobs.  We have gone back and forth with the thought that we would like to buy a Keurig.  But because of its price, we never can really justify spending all that money on it when we can make a full pot at one time.  We don't buy grocery store coffee, either.  About a year or two ago, we found some really great tasting coffee at Costco.  It's a brand called Don Pablo.  It comes in a two pound bag of whole beans and we grind them before we leave Costco.  It is delicious!  And the price isn't too terribly bad.  We pay about $10 a bag and it lasts a couple of weeks.

This week we've been drinking it at night, too, so it might not last as long this time around.

Five.


Last night I registered myself for an upcoming leadership conference in Dallas, Texas!  I am so excited for this~it's on a Monday and Tuesday in April, and I am going with some really fun people from my church, who also happen to be among some of my favorites of all time.  :)  I cannot wait!  It'll be a whirlwind trip, but how much fun will it be to take this quick road trip with like minded people?!

I am going to another conference next weekend with some of the same people that I'm excited about too.  Apparently this is going to be a thing with me this year, too.  There's one more that I would love to go to in Denver~the Women of Faith one~but I don't think that one's quite feasible.  Denver sounds good because I would get to see my sisters.

That just about wraps up my week!  I might have a product review for next week~I found a new line of hair stuff that I'm going to buy this weekend.  My hair is not the normal kind of hair, and because of the curls, certain products stop working eventually.  I found something organic that I am going to purchase tonight.  Tonight because I need my husband's debit card.  Hopefully I will love it.

Thanks for reading!  And for the few who have left comment love lately!  Love to all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Whatcha Readin'?

I mentioned in an earlier post this week, that on Saturday, I cleaned out my bookshelves.  I got rid of all the books that aren't by Christian authors and took them to a bookstore I've been going to for years in Germantown, called The Book Depot.  I still have a bunch to get rid of that they wouldn't take, so sometime soon, I will donate them to the library.

Currently, I am reading four books.  :/  Five, if you count my chronological Bible.  Which is the most important, so never mind, I'm reading five books right now.

I know how horrible that is, but for some reason, it's not bothering me!  Here's what I am reading.

Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman.


If you have a mouth, and you are living and breathing as you read this blog post, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.  Truly, there is something in it for everyone.  Read it.  Buy it tomorrow.  Or now.  Just read it.

The Bride Wore White, by Dannah Gresh.


I'm reading this one along with our community group girls for our Sunday nights.  It's really good, and if you have a daughter who is nearing the dating age, I would highly recommend that you read this with her!

Anne Of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery.

I never read this one when I was a young girl, so recently, I decided that I should read it as an adult.  It is REALLY, really good.  I'm only about halfway through the first book in the series.

And last, I'm reading Love Finds You in Martha's Vineyard by Melody Carlson.  It's one that I picked up on Saturday from The Book Depot money I got from trading in a lot of books.  It's really good too.


I think I have finally (FINALLY!) come out of the book funk I was in.

What are YOU reading?  Do share.

Love to all!

a stellar day

A day in the life of homeschool moms looks different for everyone.  What works for me doesn't necessarily work for anyone else.  One of the things that we do in our family is let our kids stay up later than normal.  We're not really on any time schedule, fortunately, so if they sleep in a little, it's no big deal.  We usually get started with a substantial breakfast, then they all go off in different directions.  Nowadays, most of them work upstairs until they're finished with their school work.  Sometimes Jonah and Noah join me downstairs while they do their Bible or read out of their history book.  They also come downstairs to watch their math dvd or a Netflix documentary.  (We use Netflix in our homeschool!  We watch all kinds of historical things and documentaries on all kinds of different places.)

Jonah's and Noah's work usually takes them anywhere from three to four hours a day.  It totally depends on how productive they feel each day.  :)  Graham and Drew usually have to work well into the afternoon.  Yesterday it was about three o'clock before the both of them finished.

My fastest worker is Jonah.  I have to carefully go over all his work because often times, he is very careless in his hurry to get done.  I know you cannot imagine that.  Even when he's done with the school work, I won't let him spend time on his galaxy player or play the x-box.  I make them do productive things, or read.  Usually they take this time to care for their pet leopard geckos or do their chores.  While the others were working yesterday, Jonah asked if he could wash the front windows on our house.



My Jonah is not a lazy kid.  He always prefers to be doing something.  When he finished with the front windows and door, he moved on to the back deck.  He cleaned it so well that he asked if we could eat dinner outside last night.


So we did!  And yes, I totally took this picture while we said grace.  It has been so nice here lately!  We have thoroughly enjoyed the warmer temperatures, and last night was no exception, although Toddley did say his arms got cold from leaning them against the cold metal table.


Crash enjoyed us being outside, too.  And yes, he sat in Graham's chair as soon as he got up.  ;)

It was one of those days that was just good, all around.  Not everyday is super productive, and though we got a late start yesterday, it was a great day and they got a LOT done.  I did too.  On our list of things for today is to finish two chapters of math (we got a tad behind last week) and to take a trip to The Ville courthouse.  I was pulled over on December 13 and my court date is tomorrow.  Or I could just go today and pay the fine, which I will not get out of.  After that we have a few other small errands to run, then we'll come back home to eat a light supper and head off to church.  It's that time again!

I pray your day is good and that you get to soak in some sunshine wherever you are.  Love to all!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fearless, by Eric Blehm

Several months ago, I received a free copy of the book Fearless by Eric Blehm, from Blogging For Books.  I received it with the understanding that I would read it and later, review the book. 

This book is about a Navy Seal named Adam Brown.  Adam was a man who had struggles in life~his own sometimes foolish impulses and addiction.  With the help of God, he overcame those struggles and went on to live a life full of faith.  He loved his wife and children and his family.  This is the story of a man who, even through life's struggles, lived a brave existence.  He never knew that he would die the way that he did, but his life and legacy are left on the pages of this book.  

The military theme of this book appealed to me because of my dad and his stint in the Navy.  As a mom to boys who also love all things military, I thought I could read it first, then later share it with them.  It's nice to have a "clean read" in a book like this~there have been others written that are similar that have bad language and things that are inappropriate for kids to read.  I do plan on giving them this to read sometime soon.  

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is fascinated with the military life.  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Show & Tell Tuesday


I loved today's post from my favorite mom blogger and decided to join in on the fun.  Of COURSE I did.  It's all about organization.  :)  I'm linking up with Momfessionals.

No matter the size of your humble abode and no matter the mess that awaits you to start your organization process, start with small steps.  Years ago I stumbled upon the Fly Lady.  I loved her advice~start with your kitchen sink.  Shine that sink and clean it every single day, and it will eventually inspire you to spread that to the rest of your house.  For instance, since your sink is in your kitchen, start there.  If there is clutter on your kitchen counters or table, start with cleaning those off.  If that means buying something and you are able to do that, then great!  If not, start the sorting process.  Trash some, and keep only what is important.  My advice is to get all the paper clutter off of your surfaces.  Make piles and work from there.  The point is to come up with a system that works for you.  Start small and in one area, and I promise you that it will inspire you to work on other problem areas.

I also recommend that you clean off any bookshelves or desks in your house.  We have bookshelves in three areas in our home~in our living room, in the playroom upstairs (two of them!) and in my bedroom.  I let those get messy and unorganized from time to time and it drives me bonkers.  Take the time each week to tidy them up.  Whether that's dusting them or cleaning them off completely and reloading them, take a few minutes each week and at least do that.  It'll make a huge difference.  (You would be so proud if you knew how many books I got rid of on Saturday.  I took two huge bags to be donated to my favorite trade and buy bookstore.  I still have a lot that they didn't take, so I will donate the rest to my church library and to our local library.)

I try to keep our rooms in our house picked up.  If you have small kids that still play with toys in every room, then by all means, let them play!  When mine were little, in the days when they played wherever I was, I would have them pick their toys up each night before bed.  Now that mine are older, they make the messes in their rooms.  I don't make them clean up every single night, but at least twice a week, we have a cleaning session.  Usually on Friday's and Monday's.  That's when we seem to do the most damage.  I love to start and end the weekend with a clean home.

I know at one point in the lives of my kids, their toys overtook my house for a while.  All I have to say about that is that I tried to have storage containers they could use to put their things away.  That meant that for years and years, we had an ugly toy box in our living room.  I didn't mind that it wasn't attractive, as long as it could hold the toys.  I also have storage areas in their rooms that they can use.  We've worked hard to make it easy for our boys to have a place to put everything.

Another thing I do is to dust often.  When I dust, it forces me to take the time to put things back where they belong.  I am bad about leaving all my books and journals laying everywhere.  I try to keep our surfaces cleaned off.  I sometimes light a candle to inspire me.  Because if my house smells good, it makes me want to have a clean, or at least straightened up, house.  I make my boys help.  They each have to do their own part around here, or none of this would be possible.  We put away our laundry almost as soon as it's folded.

These may seem like small steps, but this is what has worked for me.  I hope something I've suggested inspires you to get started!  Just start small, and it will spread.  I promise.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.