Friday, January 19, 2018

What I Didn't Enjoy This Week: Freezing Weather

It didn't actually snow this week, but it was sure cold enough!

After a cool weekend, Monday was beautiful:  sunny with a high about 65.  And then Tuesday happened.  It rained off and on while the temperatures dropped from about 40 at midnight Tuesday morning to 22 Wednesday morning at sunrise.  It was miserable weather compounded by our losing power not once, but twice on Tuesday.  And John wasn't able to come home from work until 9:30 Tuesday night, but we were thankful for that because he wasn't sure he'd be able to leave work.  Oh, the cold, miserable weather!  It's supposed to finally warm up today to about 60.

On the bright side, we had an unusually quiet week due to everything being closed.  I had to cancel CC because of the potential for icy roads Tuesday afternoon, and we stayed home from piano lessons, too.

But there were still plenty of things for which to be thankful:
  • a wonderful evening of great fellowship with friends on Saturday night
  • a nice warm house -- that didn't get too cold when the power was off
  • hard-working men who repaired the power lines to restore our electricity
  • sweet children.  They could have been whiny and irritable about being cooped up inside with no power, but they weren't
  • Kroger QuickList.  We were able to stay in our nice, warm van while someone else braved the cold to bring us our groceries.
  • listening to podcasts again.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them until a friend reminded me.
  • how much my children love going to the library and how "new" books keep them occupied for so long.  ;)
  • the weather was nice enough Thursday for Bible study.  Hooray!
  • I tried a new recipe Popcorn Chicken Parmesan, and it was absolutely delicious.  Definitely a keeper!  A couple of us love chicken parmesan, and this recipe is an easy way to fix it.
John was supposed to take Sarah Beth hunting this weekend, but work responsibilities caused him to postpone it.  So we're excited to have them home with us for a quiet weekend.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Monday's Quote: How do We Deal with Hardship?


I haven't written a Monday's Quote post in quite a while, so I'm excited to have one for you today from Devotions, Advice, and Renewal for when Motherhood Feels too Hard by Kelly Crawford.
You know the hassles...car breakdowns, computer breakdowns, air conditioner breakdowns, the flu, traffic jams, bickering siblings, overflowing toilets -- they can be managed, but if we don't keep the right perspective, we can really miss out on life!

"For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake."  (Philippians 1:29) 
It is when we get into the state of thinking that life is about escaping hardship, that the hardships become unbearable.  If I don't expect hardship and hassles in life, when they inevitably come, I will have the wrong response. 
I don't know about you, but when things don't go as I want expect, I feel like God doesn't love me anymore.  Yes, I know it's not true, but it's how I feel.  But life is full of hardships, and here in the United States, we really have life pretty easy.

So when I'm sitting in traffic, waiting to get out of the parking garage after watching a musical with my daughter, I try to remember to tell myself that God is using this situation somehow to sanctify me.   Maybe it doesn't improve my attitude much, but it does make me think that there is a purpose to this irritation.

What about you?  How do you feel when things don't go as you planned?

Friday, January 12, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Getting Back into Our Busy Routine

My new blanket.

This week we went back to our regular routine which is much busier than our slow holiday routine.  We started back to CC along with my children's piano lessons.  While I didn't go to Bible study because I was too busy, we did have a couple of doctor's appointments that took up all of yesterday afternoon. That's why I didn't go to Bible study.  I was too busy to do one of the things that makes me so busy.  :)

But it was a good week for all of that.  We all enjoyed seeing our friends at CC and getting back into that part of our schoolwork.  Even though only one of my children actually enjoys piano lessons, the others weren't as negative when they got back into the van afterwards, and that's a plus!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Using my new blanket.  I finished it a couple of weeks ago, and it's so nice and warm for those chilly evenings.
  • Warmer weather this week although it's colder today and is supposed to remain cold through the weekend.  But it's been warm enough to send the kids outside!
  • With CC starting back, it means that I've gotten all of the supplies gathered that we need for art and science projects.  And that means that I've got one less burden on my mind.  :)
  • New boots.  They're not the most comfortable shoes I have, but they dress up a pair of jeans nicely.  And I'm excited to have them!
We have friends coming over for supper tomorrow evening, and we haven't seen them in a while.  So we're looking forward to some good fellowship.  Other than that, it looks to be a quiet weekend, and I'm enjoying these quiet weekends while they last.  Sarah Beth and Rachel are both playing soccer this spring, so when their games start, we will have busy weekends!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, January 5, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Another Slow Week


We had another quiet week at home which I really enjoyed.  John was home Monday for New Year's Day, and that was lovely.  But it was cold all week; highs were in the 30s a couple of days with lows in the 20s.  Cold!  Especially for south Texas where we live.  So we stayed home, watched some movies, and started back to school.  Yes, yes, we did!

If you're counting, we only took one week off for the holidays, but we take off lots of time during the year.  So it all works out.  Any my children don't know any differently, so please don't tell them.  ;)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed:
  • no piano lesson and no Bible study.  That's why we had such a quiet week.
  • getting some errands run despite the cold.  My kids were troopers.
  • heavy, winter jackets.  I bought my children some half-price last week for when they go camping.  I didn't realize we would need them this week!
My children started getting stir-crazy yesterday afternoon, so I'm glad we're heading to Houston this morning to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  We need to get out of the house!

We don't have much planned this weekend; another quiet weekend at home.  But we start back to CC next week, so I need to spend some time getting ready for that!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Five Best Books I Read in 2017


I read many great books in 2017 and some that weren't so great.  But I wanted to take a look and see if I could narrow my list down to the top five books.  So I went back through all of my monthly lists to see what I had read throughout the year, and here are my results:
  1. Mother and Son:  The Respect Effect by Emerson Eggerichs.  A wonderful book about how mothers can build their sons up to become grounded, mature men.
  2. A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose.  The amazing story of how one community in France saved thousands of people from the Nazis.
  3. 8 Great Smarts by Kathy Koch.  Everyone is smart in his own way, and there are eight ways in which we can be smart.  This book demonstrates these different types of "smarts" and how we can strengthen our own and our children's.
  4. The American Miracle:  Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved.  This book does what its title announces, and it's a great way to learn how God worked things out for our republic.
  5. (un)Natural Mom by Hettie Brittz.  Different mothers raise their children in different ways, and God uses those differences to bring about His plans. 
Did you notice that all of my top five books are nonfiction?  I don't know if I just didn't read as much fiction this year or if the fiction books just weren't that good.  But here are two excellent fiction books that I read this year, surprisingly (or not) by the same author.

  • Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette.  A wonderful retelling of the fall of Jericho told through one of the Canaanites' point of view.
  • Where We Belong by Lynn Austin.  Two sisters travel the world in the late 1800s learning about themselves and how archaeology proves the truth of the Bible.
What were your favorite books this year?

Friday, December 29, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Christmas!

My Yule Log isn't the prettiest thing, but it sure was delicious!

Christmas!  What a wonderful time of the year, that is, if it's not so busy that you can't contemplate the reason for celebration.  It's an amazing thing, isn't it, when you stop to think about it:  the Creator became the created, God limited Himself to being a human.  It's crazy, but so wonderful!

We had a quiet Christmas at home this year.  John couldn't even find any co-workers who needed some place to have Christmas dinner.  So we enjoyed each other and had a great time!  It was nice to be low-key and not have to worry about the mess being cleaned up for company.  Or trying to figure out how to get the dining room table cleared off because it's become the repository for Christmas gifts that need to be kept out of Hannah's hands.  :)

This week has been a nice mix of busy, i.e. doing things, and resting.  We took the week off from school, and we have all been enjoying the break.  The girls (but not Hannah) participated in a soccer clinic Wednesday through today which they enjoyed.  I appreciated the time with Daniel; it's not often that he's the only child -- not including the ever-present Hannah.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:

  • John being home Tuesday and, of course, Monday
  • how excited the children were as they opened their gifts.  It's like they forgot that John and I bought the presents so we knew exactly what they're getting.  They still show us like we may not know.  :)  It's fun!
  • being correct at how much my children enjoy some of their gifts.  When I saw these certain items in a catalog, I just knew they would love them.  
  • how much fun the girls had at their soccer clinic and how much they learned
  • that they moved the clinic indoors for two days because it was cold and rainy
  • getting the house mostly back in order after the storm of unwrapping presents hit.  Am I the only one who has trouble figuring out where the new gifts should go?  
  • no school!!
I think we're going to take down the tree this weekend.  It's supposed to stay cold, so we may as well stay inside and take care of that chore.  Other than that, we don't have any plans.

What did you enjoy this week?  Do you have trouble figuring out where some of your children's gifts should go?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December Reading

Yes, Hannah is reading a book about pharmacy!

We were busier this month than I had hoped, so I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked.  But two of the books were excellent, one was pretty good, and one was entertaining, so I can't complain!
  • A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose.  This book tells the amazing story of how one French community rescued, hid, and took to safety thousands of people during World War II.  Honestly, I didn't think much of the French people because of their government's actions during the war, but this book changed my perspective.  I cannot recommend this book more highly, and Sarah Beth (11) loved it, too!
  • Come, Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp.  This book contains wonderful Advent devotionals for the month of December.  No, I haven't quite finished it since December isn't over yet, but I can't imagine it won't continue to be just as good for the last few days.  Put this one on your list for Advent readings next year.  
  • Patriot Pirates:  The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution by Robert H.  Patton.  The title of this book intrigued me, and it does contain many interesting facts.  But it's a little dry in places.  I did enjoy learning about how important privateers -- basically, pirates commissioned by the government -- were to securing our independence from Britain because I had no idea!
  • The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King.  When Kalinda is chosen to be the rajah's one hundredth queen, she becomes immersed in a political world where the high stakes could cost her her life.  She also has to fight in an arena against some of the rajah's courtesans who also want to become his queen.  This book was a good one for my running on the treadmill:  not too deep with lots of action.  :)
What have you read lately?