Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fresh Start Sale - last call!


*affiliate links are used in this post*


There are only two days left in the SchoolhouseTeachers.com fresh start sale - today and tomorrow.

Normally I would have reminded you about this sale all month long, but you're busy, and so am I. :)

So, in case you're stuck with a great dislike of your current curriculum... or maybe you're brand new to homeschooling and have no idea where to start - this is  great place! We used SchoolhouseTeachers.com for several years while our girls were homeschooling - and now it covers so much more! 

$99 for an entire year is phenomenal! February first will be here soon and the price will go up, as it does every calendar year, so don't delay. If you're not sure, try it for a month for only $12. 

$12 mama - that's less than the cost of a night to yourself at the movies with popcorn...which must be why we hardly ever go? LOL!

If you'd like to read some past reviews of schoolhouse teachers.com as it has grown, just click the little orange words at the bottom of this post and it should bring up our past reviews. Remember the codes are ONLY99 for a year or ONLY12 for a month. Go explore it now before you forget!

Happy end of January! 



Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Daily dose of nature



nature walks, contemplative time, writing


Hello!

If you've been wondering where I've been, the answer is: outside! I know, it's January, and I live in Indiana, so it is sometimes a real challenge, but I've been making an intentional effort to get outside more this winter.

I've been posting some of the pictures from my adventures on Instagram, using the hashtag #dailydoseofnature 

I've also been writing, but, obviously, not all for here on the blog, or you would have seen more posts -LOL! I'm working on a book, and keeping my other writing commitments.

AND...

We have been purging the house. It might not look like it yet, but we have a goal in mind to reach before spring arrives, so the girls and I have been working on one small area at a time around our other commitments.

There had definitely been a shift in the dynamics around here since Arlene started college last fall, and all four of us have felt it. It might be the hardest on my husband, because everyone has different schedules now. With four working adults in the home, it is taking us all a while to get used to the changes in meals, chores, and availability.

So how do we navigate changes in our lives? Because I am here to tell you that the seasons you went through while your children were growing up are vastly different from the other side once they've all graduated high school. Do you have plan yet? If not, may I suggest one?

Trust God.

Two words that should sum up our lives here on earth, and yet, how often we stray from this simple plan. It is simple to say, and harder to do. Trusting God requires us to let go of our perceived control on our lives and allow Him to direct our paths. 

Last week at Ladies' Bible study I commented about how God only lights our next few steps, and it is a good thing. We cannot know how He will move, prune, and refine us too far into the future or we would walk away from it. We would see that the testing will be hard and reject it, because we cannot understand the huge amounts of grace and beauty He is going to bestow upon our lives in the process. We are temporal focused, He always has an eternal focus. These hard days and nights truly are light and momentary troubles - but they sure don't feel that way when we are in the midst of them!

If our focus can be returned again and again to trusting God then we can truly rest. Not rest from living life, but rest from striving. Rest from competing, rest from worry, rest and not fear. 

Would you like to find rest for your war-weary soul? Trust God.

Would you like to find rest from financial anxieties, or marital strife? Trust God.

Would you like to be kind and loving towards others instead of bitter and cynical? Trust God.

Maturity doesn't happen at a particular age, it happens when we trust God. Each time you choose to trust God instead of striving, competing, complaining, or fighting, you will mature.

God is in the business of fresh starts. He is in the business of Love, forgiveness, and grace. He brings beauty from ashes and life from death.

When I take my daily nature walks I am looking for ways that He shows me beauty, grace, and life. I spend a lot of the time praying for friends. I want to encourage you to do the same: pray for your friends, look for beauty, grace, and life.

Even if life has knocked you down, God wants you to get back up - trust Him!

In the words of TobyMac:
You may be knocked down, but not out forever.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Reflection





It is January 2020, a time when many people will set aside time to reflect on last year, and set goals for the new one ahead.

Reflections, like the graphic above, are imperfect. 


I made the graphic in two minutes on PicMonkey. If I had wanted it to be perfect, I could have spent 25 minutes with a high-tech Adobe program that actually has mirroring as an option. I point this out because too many of us will take five or ten minutes to reflect on last year and get an imperfect report on what happened in 2019. Then we'll stop thinking and reflecting because we won't like what we see.

If you take time to reflect this January, I challenge you to actually take time: an hour, then another, maybe even a couple of afternoons to really think back on where you have been, what God has accomplished, and how you have grown.

I've been using a set of questions to help me reflect on what happened in 2019, before I set goals for 2020. It has been hard work. There was a question this afternoon that I struggled with. It said "those who love me call me____." I wasn't sure how others describe me, so I went and asked my girls. One said "mom." Ugh - that was no help at all. I appreciated that she still wants to spend time with me as her mom, but I needed something more. I asked the other girl...she was more descriptive, and that gave me something to work from. Friends call me creative. My friend's husband calls me Stupid-smart. I know he means it as a compliment. I get it. I'm not the normal mom, not a normal wife, not a normal co-worker. 

So where does this all lead me? Back to the foot of the cross. I find my acceptance and worth in what Jesus has done for me, not in what I've done for the world. You see, the world says I'm under qualified. It repeatedly tells me that I don't have a college degree, and thus, am not enough. But I have become wise to the ways the world tries to pull us down. Jesus has said that I am more than qualified, because of Him, because I'm not doing ANY of this life without HIS wisdom and strength. 

I'm going to circle back around to that first response my daughter gave "mom." For 22 years I have loved, planned, corrected, project managed, taught, refined, budgeted, written, erased, build, dug deep, refocused, travelled, stayed put, withstood storms, and filled life with joy. At the foot of the cross I am more than qualified to do WHATEVER God calls me to for 2020 and beyond. 

I bet you are too!

So now, feel free to do some reflecting of your own. Think about 2019, it's challenges and joys, and look forward to 2020, knowing that God will equip you with all you need and more. 

My goal is to reflect the light of Jesus to all those around me, whether they're expecting it or not. 

May your 2020 be filled with peace, joy, purpose, and most of all: Jesus!


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!





Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed New Year!

Thank you for all of your encouragement these past eight years. There have been less posts here recently - I am writing a book, and that takes time. That doesn't mean I've forgotten about you! Look for more regularly scheduled content to appear in 2020. 

A new year, a new decade, and the same faithful God. Our lives are filled with endless possibilities. Let's choose to make them extraordinary as we look to the Author and Finisher of our faith - Jesus!

May your new year be filled with joy, peace and purpose!



Friday, December 6, 2019

Rush...



rush, five minute friday, holiday season, Jesus, Luke 2, Christmas



Today is the 6th of December. Are you feeling a holiday rush? Are you scrambling to figure out where, when, and with who? Or are you trying to figure out the how of your holiday season?

What if we all took a step back and decided to not rush through this holy time of year? What if we took more time reading about the birth of Christ than we spent in line at the local department store?

Rush is just one letter different than push. 

Instead of pushing yourself, and your family, through the holidays, choose to enjoy this time. Reflect on what a wonderful gift we are actually celebrating. Jesus coming to earth to take our place on the cross.



Stop

Imagine



Without the gift of Jesus we would not have anything to celebrate. We would not have hope or joy, or even purpose. But, because of Jesus we can live lives filled with hope, joy, and purpose!

This year, this week, even today - you can choose to slow down and marvel at all we have to be thankful for. There is no perfect present to be found at the store - because the perfect present has already been given. Choose to accept it, and the wonder and magic of Christmas, Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection will change you forever!


'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men."' ~Luke 2:11-14



Monday, November 18, 2019

Reading





What are you reading and what are you learning from it?

Are you reading a textbook, a magazine, a novel, or your feed on facebook? How do you choose what to read? Do you take suggestions from a friend, look for recommendations from Good Reads or just wander the aisles at the bookstore or library?

I read a lot. Sometimes I don't learn much from it, other times it feels like the author was writing the book just for me. That there is a message, idea, or way of doing something that was just waiting for me to discover it.

Are you making a plan for what you are going to read in 2020? I am usually reading at least two or three different things: a non-fiction book, a fiction book and some sort of magazine or trade publication. I'm thinking I would like to make more of a plan for my reading for next year than I have in the past...so if you've read something you found particularly good this year, please leave a comment with the title and author.

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

enjoy



31 days of five minute free writes, emotional health


This is the last post from the 31 days of October five minute free writes. I know, it's a week late, but better late than never. I'm also not going to time this one...

One of the keys to better emotional health is learning to live your own life, and not someone else's life. This also means learning how to set boundaries so that you can effectively communicate with the people in your life. This leads to being able to have discussions about what should and should not be a part of your life. 

I cannot keep my integrity in my own life, if I allow others to dictate what they think my life should look like. It has been a long year of discovery, but I know I am on the right track. I've never been much of a journal writer, but one of my friends said that's sort of what my blog is like. To a point, yes. There are things I will not share here that might or might not go in a journal. Life is to be cherished, and that also means protecting those I love by not over-sharing here.


Today's word is enjoy.

Sounds safe enough. Here is a list, in no particular order, of things I enjoy.

A mug of good-quality hot chocolate on a cold day

Brisk walks through the autumn leaves.

A medium-well ribeye steak - oh yum!

Belonging in a small group of friends

writing

Photography, especially of nature

long walks on warm sand at the beach

quiet time by myself

flowers

more flowers

a spring walk through the woods looking for the first shoots of edible plants and the early rosettes of wildflowers

a baked potato with butter and sour cream

Listening to someone sing

Christmas - all of the lights, songs, snowflakes, and celebrating the birth of Jesus

creating art - especially with pastels, or flowers

The empty pages of a new calendar or notebook

walking hand in hand with my husband or our daughters

watching a football game

spending time with wool - dyeing, spinning, creating

Dinners with friends

long conversations and catching up chats

a real leather belt and a solid pair of boots

being warm, not being cold

eating fruits and vegetables

colored pens 

When God speaks to me through His Word

a good hug

watching the sunset

a good night's sleep

a warm blanket on a cold day

flannel sheets

Christmas Carols

helping other find joy

wearing my favorite pair of jeans

my new heated vest on a cold evening

the hush of snow

birdwatching with my husband

watching fish swim in an aquarium

target practice

making books - cutting pages and sewing covers

pumpkin pie with whipped cream 

watching a good movie with my girls

picking and arranging flowers

traveling

coming home again

the scent of lilacs

a bonfire, with s'mores

sitting by the shore of the lake, or on the beach, and hearing the waves break



What do you enjoy?