Getting Real

I’ll be honest, this is getting real very fast for me and I’m terrified and excited and humbled all in one!

I have a few “sisters” joining me in this journey and I am coming to the realization that this is IT, I have committed myself and am in it to finish! Wow, for a girl who chickens out sometimes at big opportunities this is a bit intimidating. Seems like it’s just what I need though! So, thank you for joining in my journey toward better health and a stronger walk with God.

My e-mail came that my workbook is on its way so in the mean time I am preparing my heart in prayer for the journey ahead.

Here’s some things I have been praying over:

  • Wisdom in my choice of words on the blog posts, that they would all glorify God, be uplifting to others and myself, and most of all always be honest even if it hurts my pride.
  • Grace to follow the path that Made to Crave will lay before me/us.
  • The ability to say no to my stomach and fill my heart instead. (after all, my stomach seems to have a contentment problem, or I suppose my brain tries to tell it so anyway.)
  • For the ladies joining me in the journey to be prepared, ready for blessings, and actively correcting my mis-steps in love.
  • Most of all for a right mindset and uplifting words to my own self. I can beat myself up verbally better than anyone and sometimes I’m downright mean.

If you are gearing up for this journey I encourage you to begin praying for the study and the outcomes now as well. Anyone is welcome,  maybe your scared to say out loud that “you’re in” too, you are welcome to read along and I pray you will feel encouraged, blessed, and maybe even inspired to step out in faith and trust.

This is meant to be a safe blog and any comments that are derogatory or just plain “not nice” will be deleted. (I haven’t had this issue, but just want to make sure all the guidelines are out there)

Can you think of anything I missed that I should be praying for as well?

Have a fabulous Wednesday! The Journey will most likely begin on Monday to enable us to get books/workbooks in hand. I’ll keep you updated.

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A final test and a lesson in one

Today we finished our end of the year CAT (California Achievement Test) for both our boys. Our 6-year-old didn’t legally need it, but I wanted to have him experience scan-tron testing and see where he was… it all was pretty silly to him and very simple. Good news for mom!

Our 10-year-old has pretty much never taken tests well, especially the TIMED ones! Yikes, his breathing becomes rapid, he stresses out and has to read everything twice to get it because he’s panicking so loudly he has no idea what he’s reading. He only legally has to test every other year in NY, we took our break last year so this was a “have to” year.  He did well on all of the tests, he’s obviously weaker in the language arts but I already knew that and it’s something we continue to work on so it’s not a concern to me. Math though, he’s a grade ahead in his math level and he still flipped out on the first math test. He got through it, and only missed one of twenty, but oye, the panic was heartbreaking to watch.

SO… we took a moment to pause and I explained to him how he is so strong in math skills and had 18 minutes to do 20 problems, some of which were 7×1 and 25×1 and 23×2, those should all take about 10 seconds to glance at and fill in the circles for so he’d have a whole minute at least for each problem that remained. He still wasn’t calm at this explanation so we took it further and I set my phone timer for a minute and asked him to look into my eyes for one minute.

We sat there staring into one another’s eyes for 60 seconds and I just kept thinking about how much I love him and how proud I am of him, how he’s growing so fast and our time is so precious. I love these learning moments together. He grinned at me and stared sweetly back for that whole 60 seconds, even asking toward the end if it was almost done. Lesson learned. A minute is a long time if we clear any panic and worry and just focus. 

He did his next test with another 20 problems and 18 minutes and finished in 12 minutes with a BIG grin on his face and he got them ALL right. Yay!

Take time for each one you love. What you have many not be much, but each minute counts.

Random me and a Sisterhood proposal

Hi,  if you don’t know this about me,  I’m not sure we’ve had a long conversation yet!… I am random,  I can be in the middle of a conversation about something and forget what I’m talking about because something else came to mind or moved that made me think of something completely different,  some may consider this trait ditzy but I assure you it takes major organization skills to not mix up everything in my head!
Today I started reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart,  the author,  Tripp,  is a speaker at the homeschool convention I’m attending in June and honestly,  I want to see if he’s worth the time and effort to go see.  😉
So far I am enjoying it.
I’ve been listening to two to three audio books lately depending on my mood,  Made to Crave,  Are you Ready,  and an Anita Renfro book.
Weight is an issue I’ve been battling since my second year of marriage.  I made it through three years of college and two years just working before marriage without gaining the freshman 15. So many times I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to hate what I had then…  while it wasn’t perfect it was 64 pounds less than it is now and so much more capable of fun and spontaneity and less painful to be in physically and mentally.
Great, now I’m tearing up.
I want so much for our children and much of that really needs me to be a better example  for them.  I’m not into “diets”,  and never have been.  I’ve always,  even before I gained all this,  followed the calories in,  calories burned mentality and moderation never extreme cut outs that aren’t sustainable. (obviously I gave up on me somewhere along my way… some things people have said to me have contributed to that (including my Dr’s) but that is no excuse)
I am going to go ahead and order the workbook for Made to Crave and work more on all of me inside and out in order to make the outside look how my brain feels.
I have to ask John to confirm my age most of the time because I just can’t believe I’m not twenty something anymore!
I’ve never seen the movie sisterhood of the traveling pants,  but thought (in the shower),  about how I often have such great intentions and then fail to complete my task,  that maybe I’m not the only one,  maybe I need to ask for support and the dreaded accountability word,  maybe you do to?
If you would like to join me in a “sisterhood of the shrinking pants” journey with the Made to Crave book as a guide to support our hearts intents for our well-being,  I’d love company!  I’ll  have to decide on how many days a week to cover each chapter and discuss but I wanted to throw it out there.
Of course its my posts and comments will always be up to each shrinking pants sister,  but why not use a Biblical approach to restore health together?
So let me know if you’re in and if you already have the book,  need the book,  would love the book but can’t afford the journey,  or are ordering asap to be a part of the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Pants!
I will never ask you to share your weight,  just your thoughts,  struggles,  victories, or heart.

I just ordered mine from christianbook.com, even though I am an affiliate with Amazon.com. Christianbook has them beat on the price by about $2.oo and I’m more about the savings than linking.

Pathways

Deep breathes, I can do this. Wait, what? NO! ummm, I mean yes, I can do this. As long as my focus remains sure on the only one consistent thing my life will ever have… look at God.

No matter what each day puts in place, and sometimes I think we feel a bit like plate spinners here at our home, God is the heartbeat that calms us, the path that we follow, the hands that reach out to encourage, give hope, heal and even push. I cannot imagine facing a day without first facing Him and making sure that my heart is pure in His eyes so that our fellowship can be sweet throughout my whole waking moments.

(This is our second born son watching dolphins, I don’t have any whale pics so these beauties will have to do)

We were recently watching a PBS documentary on the dissection of a great blue whale. It was disgusting.

PBS did not intend this show to bring glory to this great giant’s creator, or to strengthen our resolve and deepen our faith in Him, but they did… well, that magnificent beast that got taken piece by piece did. Even the lead scientist, who scoffed at the story of Jonah, and told us that that whale was once a wolf that walked on land… yeah, we had a good laugh at that one. She, through her unabashed disbelief showed us how relevant and real our God truly is.  It isn’t something I like to watch all the time… dissections that is, but we continued to watch in amazement of God’s creature creation and in curiosity of how extremely different her belief system was.  What happened was that by watching that we remembered and were able to share with the children (as they wondered how anyone could believe such things) that each person is created with a desire for a relationship with “someone or something” bigger than themselves. Some fill it with theories of science without God, some with music, some with various addictions, some with careers, and others choose their Creator.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

So why would we be surprised and amazed that so many believe the same way this scientist does? In His handbook to us, God already told us that His way is not going to be the way the masses choose.

Our moral of the disection story turned into and encouragement that we indeed are on the narrow path and it is truly a path to life. I bet PBS never thought that show would encourage our faith, but God did.

Psalm 119:105-112 (NIV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.

I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.

Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.

Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.

The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.

Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

If you feel like your going the wrong direction because everyone is saying something different… it may mean you are going in the EXACT direction you should be going.

We can’t listen to “everyone” we need to listen to God and live as this Psalm says, to not forget God’s word (His law), to follow no matter what snares are set (even if the snare is brilliantly edited and hosted by a PhD), our hearts are HIS and they are full of JOY because of Him. 🙂

Have a Joyful day! You are His beautiful creation too!

Yard Sale Prepping

Ugh, having not had a yard sale in about 3 years or so and getting ready for this one on Saturday reminds me to make a mental note… don’t let things go so long again!

My husband and I have stopped parking in the garage starting today so that things are easier to get to the lawn on Saturday morning, here is what our first loads into the garage look like:

We’re not done, still have about 6 loads from the basement to bring up and I need to finish going through more toys and then price everything! We’ve discussed the pricing on the big items and I will decide the rest.

I have enjoyed getting ready for this sale in some regards. It’s made me look at everything we have and in doing so I have been able to detach myself from things the kids have outgrown, I have found a whole new stock of clothing for our youngest for right now just entering her 2T outfits, and even got to organize clothing for her up to 4-5T! I was also able to organize a bin for our second son to grow into. I think his brother must have skipped his current and next size though because there just weren’t any there!  (wouldn’t surprise me at all since our oldest has grown another inch in the last 2 months!)

I am SO looking forward to seeing all this leave our home, it won’t come back in, what doesn’t sell will be donated.

We also got all our signage today… I’m being a bit of a cheapo and not paying for advertisement in the paper because I’m part of our village annual sale and already listed on their map so the traffic should be great anyway. I may put something on Craigslist so people know about some of our bigger items.

Are you purging any this year? It’s a daunting thing to go through all our possessions and put them out for others to pick through and haggle us for, but it is needed in every home and much more often than every three years! 🙂

Unloading baggage.

I’m having a yard sale next weekend! I think I’ve only ever had one before and that was at least 3 years ago. We’ve moved 3 times since then!

I’ve been working for months on sorting through boxes and have probably almost cut our stored boxes in half. I bet if I went through them again I could find a few more things, but I was pretty strict with myself in what could stay. Today I brought down 6 medium boxes of old kids clothes and a BIG box (like small garment size) of toys from upstairs and found a whole tub of clothes that our youngest can wear right now! Yay! She’s super excited that some of the shirts have kitties on them. 🙂

We’ll be selling two desks, lots of toys and clothing, maybe some carpet remnants, cappuccino machine, and so many more things I can’t even remember at the moment! It’s going to be a lot less to have to ever unpack again, load or unload from another moving truck, or wonder if we should keep it for that “one day” that we remember why we should have. Ha!

I gave myself a small paper ream box to keep aside any of the kids clothes I just can’t bear to part with yet, I have ideas for them, or the sentiment is still just too strong. I think it’s important to be realistic and not expect all feelings to be able to be turned off when looking through boxes.

Now, the pricing will start this weekend I guess. I was thinking about most of the clothes being $1.00, except onesies and such. Have you had a yard sale? Any tips for me?

I have read that I should have things on tables and not on the ground, I agree it makes it easier to look through, but this is a lot of stuff. Should I take my kitchen table out for putting piles on? I have a small folding table but the kids really want to try to sell lemonade or cookies and would need that if so.

Should I have each piece of clothing priced or just say it’s so much unless otherwise marked?

Oh, I guess it’s safe to say this part… this is now a moving sale for us! We have been given permission by the big wigs in this area to transfer to Florida, we don’t know the exact location or timing yet, but we are excited to see what God does.

You are WONDERFUL!

Hi there! Just wanted to make sure you know you are a wonderful mom. You are!
How do I know that when I can’t see you all the time? Because if you are a mom it is because God trusted you enough to delight your heart with a child and that means you are wonderful.
No matter what, and sometimes I need this reminder more than I think I should, as a mom you are an integral part of His purpose and plan for those little people in your life. It’s a lot of responsibility and sometimes I’d rather turn away from it, but it is always worth it to stand in the hard times and be rewarded in the end with little arms around your neck and loving snuggles too.
Yes, I can handle a tantrum (even mine), because God made me their mommy and in doing so gave me everything I need to make it. Including the wisdom to know when to have them spend some quiet time in their rooms so I can spend some quiet time on my knees talking to Him about them.
I pray you have a great mothers day this Sunday. I am giving myself the weekend off from the blog world… unless I find something special you might enjoy. 🙂
Happy Mothers Day you WONDERFUL mom you!

I leave you with a picture of my four blessings playing with a frog last summer… 🙂

 

 

My Homeschool Brain

This is the first must have purchase for me each summer, I LOVE the Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner!

Here’s why I love this planner:

1. It’s for up to four students… perfect for our family!

2. There are small boxes  inside each frame that you write your task in for that subject, I can use that for checking off that it was completed, or use it for recording the grade earned for quick reference when doing evaluations.

3. There is space at the top of each column for me to write my husband’s schedule for that day in so that I know if he’ll be available to help or what meals I’ll be providing for him. 🙂

4. It is visually appealing to me! I love the design.

5. There is a month at a glance followed by the week outlooks for the “big picture” planning like field trips, vacations, when state reports are due, and all that other family life stuff you need to know is happening in order to realistically plan their school days.

6. Perforated shopping list sheets!

7. Annual budgets, birthdays, contact information for your groups or new homeschool contacts.

8. I love that it runs from July to June of each year! Much more user-friendly than a basic wall calendar.

9. There are verses of encouragement on each page

10. There are designated spots for Bible, Math, History, Science, and English… AND there are additional rows under those for subjects that change or disciplines to work on… like art, music, handwriting practice, foreign language, etc..

There are also report cards that you can fill out for your student. I haven’t used this feature yet, but may eventually. Sometimes there are discounts or freebies for the students if they show their report card and as homeschoolers, we don’t always have that ability.

I haven’t even covered every feature that these planners have, just my favorite! The binding is durable and has never bunched on me or unravelled.

This planner is my brain, I really try to keep it open on the counter most of the time… unless I really need the room or we are done for the day! We were just doing some planning yesterday and I ran out of planner so my husband said it’s time to get next years! woohoo! Things in the north country come alive starting in May so we have at least 2 field trips a month and other activities we can’t do in our long winter months, we need to keep it all straight and in one location, and this is what has worked for us for 3 years now.

I am having major issues with banners and links with any of my sponsors, here is the website where you can further learn about this planner, they have a digital version coming soon too! eeeck!

(the links to the product I just applauded are affiliate links, in full disclosure) 🙂

Walking and Talking

So, I promise, I am going to get to my favorite homeschool resources and sharing those with you. Today was a beautiful day and the kids and I went on two walks today, one with just us, and one with their daddy when we finished dinner.

It’s the first walk that I’d like to share with you.

I love taking walks. I love the scenery, the birds, the possibility of seeing different creatures (we’ve seen deer, turkey, skunk, geese, & rabbits here) and of course just being able to stroll and chat with someone you care about.

Today the kids just didn’t get it when I said “walk” and before I knew it they were on their bikes, this does not make chatting or animal spotting easy. About 3/4 a mile into it, my oldest got off his bike and walked beside me. I told him I thought that was a wise decision. It led us to be able to see some birds together, and dancing butterflies, and to talk. You know what he asked me? He asked me if I ever regretted having or wish that I didn’t have children. WoW. I wasn’t hurt by the question, it was legitimate, we’ve had some tough moments and I haven’t been the picture of grace that I would love to be. I immediately told him the truth though, NO, I have never wished I didn’t have them in my life. I have wished for more peace, more obedience, less struggles, more ease of stages happening when they are supposed to happen, and so on, but I would not change anything about my 4 blessings in my life. They are blessings, gifts from a God that knew I would be stretched so my hands would reach for Him, and knocked down so my knees would acknowledge His presence and peace, and filled with nostalgia at many moments of their precious lives so I could be thankful for His wisdom in gifting them to me.

I told him all this, and I told him that yes, there have been moments in our lives together that I haven’t liked them very much because of behaviors or attitudes, but that I always know and so should they, that I love them no matter what. Each frustration and victory lead us closer together and help us see how much the Father loves us, despite of us.

I love moms, I think we are each unique and yet so very similar. We often struggle with our own emotions concerning our kids; how we are doing, if we have failed, should we be doing more… there are so many battles in our minds. Too many times we feel alone in a struggle or feel like we are the only one that has ever experienced these different seasons in raising our children. I try to be as transparent as others can handle. 😉 (Or that I suppose I trust them to handle)

Every mothers day all I ask for is that the children love each other, and show that they love God by their living in obedience and peace with each other, and never stop loving and cuddling on me no matter how big they get.

I love being a mom, it is hard, and I don’t recall being told it would be so hard, but it is also rewarding. Even after a rough day I love looking at their photos while their sleeping and smiling at the thought of getting to see them again in the morning.

Love on them everyday, forgive them fast, ask for forgiveness immediately, assume the best from them, listen wholly, hug and kiss often, pray for and with them,  and take time for time with God daily.

The last thing I shared with him was that he should know that if I am extra grumpy one day it is more than likely that I have not had my special time with God and His word that I needed in order to hold a right perspective on the days events.

Before the walk was over, both boys were walking with me and the stroller and loving talking together. Thank you Lord for tender hearts and beautiful walks!