Friday, July 21, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Friends, CC Training, and Date Night

We visited Antarctica this week!

Saturday evening John took me on a date to a restaurant that he had been wanting to try for a long time.  It was a nice place which was a lovely change from the casual restaurants that we usually patronize.  An evening out is always fun!

On Monday, we drove up to Houston to the Museum of Natural Science to spend some time with friends.  We hadn't seen them in a while, so it was wonderful to see them again.  And the museum had some new exhibits that we enjoyed.  I especially enjoyed the Hall of Curiosities; apparently, the museum had a bunch of stuff in the basement, and they decided to display it.  We were allowed to touch almost all of it, and the museum didn't even know what some of it was.  :)  There was another exhibit of pictures someone had taken in Antarctica which is where I took the picture above.

That evening, my book club met.  But we didn't discuss the book.  There were several reasons why, but we enjoyed good fellowship.  So we had a good time.

I had training on Tuesday for my being the director of our local Classical Conversations campus.  It was all day long, so my wonderful husband took the day off to keep our children.  Shortly after I arrived at the training, he called to say that Hannah was running a fever.  So he had to deal with a fussy, sick toddler, too.  What a man!

I was glad to stay home Wednesday to get caught up on my household chores!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Sarah Beth had a swimming lesson on Thursday, working on her flip turns.  While she learned, I took advantage of the nursery for Hannah and went swimming with my other children.
  • I finished a short course from Adore Your Wardrobe and found it interesting.  I feel like I've been wearing too many t-shirts and jean shorts, so I want to start dressing a little bit nicer when I'm headed out of the house.  This course gave me a nice beginning!
  • We're starting CC in just a few weeks, and I've enjoyed starting to set things up and get things ready.  
I have several errands to take care of this morning.  Then we have a quiet weekend at home planned which will be useful because I have a lot to do to get ready for another CC training course next week.  

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

How Many Emails Do You Have in Your Inbox? Four Ways to Decrease that Number

Sometimes my email feels as cluttered as this bed!

A couple of years ago, I read that having a bunch of emails in your inbox can make it feel cluttered.  Since I was in the middle of decluttering my house, I thought that was significant.  A little later, I read that Crystal Paine tries to keep only five emails in her inbox at a time.  I thought, Wow!  What a concept!

At the time, I probably had about a hundred emails in my inbox which really isn't very many.  But I immediately started whittling down that number.  It took a month or two, but I finally got it down to less than ten.  And I was amazed at how clean and clear my inbox looked, how un-stressful it was to check my email.  I determined then to keep my inbox fairly empty.

How do I do that?
  1. Unsubscribe.  I saw that I was receiving a lot of email that I wasn't even opening before I deleted them.  So I opened one up and unsubscribed.  It was so freeing not to get those emails anymore!  Five seconds well spent!
  2. Delete.  I delete any and every email that I can as soon as I can.  While I enjoy getting notices from Redbox about their new releases, I don't want to keep those emails.  I look at them, make a mental or written note, and delete them.  
  3. Respond.  I deal with every other email as soon as I can.  If I need to reply to an email, I try to write it as soon as possible -- and then delete it.  If I get a coupon, I either use it as soon as I can or delete it if I don't think I'm going to use it.
  4. File.  I move emails into files.  I don't know about you, but I order a lot online.  It's just easier than taking all five of my children with me.  But I had to figure out what to do with those emails.  I made a file "orders en route."  Whenever I order something, I put that email (and subsequent ones) in that file.  I have one for my CC emails, along with those that deal with soccer and swimming.  I need them, but I don't need to look at them everyday.  
Typically, I have about ten emails in my inbox every night when I go to bed.  It takes me all day to deal with some of them, and honestly, it stresses me out some when I see them and can't take care of them yet.  But it's a lovely feeling to have a cleaned out inbox.

How many emails do you regularly have in your inbox?  Is that too many or just right?  

Friday, July 14, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Practicum

This week I had my first of two Classical Conversations practicums.  I need these to get my training for being director of our local campus.  They were three long days, but we enjoyed them.  Yes, we.  While I was being trained, my children went to CC camp which they love.  But we were exhausted every evening when we arrived home.  And it's hard for this homeschooling family to get out of the house three days in a row before 8:00 -- but we did it!  I utilized this strategy that I learned last year, and it was so helpful!

We spend Thursday catching up on household chores like the laundry.  And resting up!

Some other things I enjoyed:
  • sleeping late on Thursday.  Yes, I did!
  • talking with fellow CC mothers.
  • receiving necessary information to make this year a great one!
  • how well Hannah did; she was a trooper being in a nursery all day without a good nap.
  • being able to stay home all day Thursday.
  • Kroger's QuickList.  It was wonderful picking up my order last week without having to do the grocery shopping myself.  We're heading out this morning to pick up this week's order.  
I'm taking our oldest four children to see the play Mary Poppins this evening.  John wasn't very interested, and he was willing to stay home with Hannah, so he should have a quiet evening.  We have a date night planned for tomorrow night, and we look forward to that.  Other than those two things, we have a slow weekend planned.  I don't even have to go grocery shopping!  ;)

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

June Reading

Without school last month, I had more time to read although I have to admit that two of these books were fairly short, so they didn't take long to read.  I've enjoyed having more time to read -- and being able to tackle some of the books that I just haven't had time to read until now.
  • Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty.  On the Atlanta tour in May, we learned about the Roswell, Ga., mill workers.  Sherman captured the mill because they made cloth and rope for the Confederacy, and then he burned it -- which is understandable.  What I find horrendous, though, is that he sent all of the millworkers, mostly women and children, up North.  And most of them were never heard from again.  Can you imagine a man coming back from the war only to discover that his wife and children had been shipped up North?  How awful!  Anyway, this book tells a fictionalized story of two children who worked in the Roswell mill and how they made their way back home.  The author includes some interesting historic notes at the end of the book which I found fascinating.  It was written for children, and it's appropriate for children, and I highly recommend it, especially because it shows what life was like for most Southerners before the War:  they were poor and did not own slaves unlike what most history books would have us believe.
  • In the Labyrinth of the Drakes by Marie Brennan.  I've read the previous books in this series and enjoyed them all.  Imagine dragon hunting (for research) during the Renaissance, and you get the gist.  In this book, Lady Trent braves the desert to research the dragons there, and she finds an amazingly preserved building from an ancient civilization.  I can't wait to read the next one!
  • A Hearth in Candlewood by Delia Parr.  This book gave me something to read while jogging on the treadmill.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't too bad.  Emma runs a boarding house along a canal in Pennsylvania during the mid 1800s.  She gets caught up in everyone else's problems, trying to solve them herself.  Finally, at the end of the book, she realizes that she can't do it alone:  she finally prays about these difficult problems and asks her friends for help.
  • North by Night:  A Story of the Underground Railroad by Katherine Ayres.  Sixteen year old Lucy Spencer has been helping her family in Ohio on the Underground Railroad, assisting escaped slaves to their freedom in Canada.  I bought this book for my children to read so they could understand this period in our country's history a little better, but they won't be reading it anytime soon.  The story itself is interesting and informative, but Lucy is caught between the affections of two men.  In their letters and Lucy's journal entries, it seems like all they can talk about is kissing, kissing, and more kissing.  On the other hand, this book would be a great example of how some "harmless" kissing can change one's heart toward the one being kissed.  Maybe I'll have them read it for that perspective -- when they're older.  :)
  • High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin.  You can read my full review of this wonderful book about World War I here.
  • Alive in Him by Gloria Furman.  This book goes through Ephesians slowly and carefully, looking at everything that we have been given by God through Jesus and how that knowledge should change our lives.  As with other books by this author, there is so much deep, wonderful knowledge here that I feel like I need to read it more than once to get all I can.  By the way, this book is not a commentary; it's just a book about Ephesians.
What have you read lately?

Friday, July 7, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Trip and a Long Weekend

Saturday morning we packed up and left to visit John's mother in Louisiana.  We enjoyed spending time with her and her husband, and while we were there, we also got to see John's brother and his wife.  It was a good trip.

Monday was John's birthday, and he took our three oldest children to a water park to celebrate.  I stayed home with Mary and Hannah, and I worked on getting laundry and some other household chores done.  John grilled steak for supper, and we followed that up with a caramel cake, that, yes, I bought.  It was still good.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • the Homeschool Chess Club.  Sarah Beth and Daniel are both participating in this online club and having great fun!  They even had a tournament Wednesday which Daniel won!  
  • a long weekend with John!  He didn't have to work Friday, he took Monday off, and then he had Tuesday off -- a five day weekend.
  • getting ahead on my laundry.  Okay, I didn't enjoy that so much, but it was nice taking a couple of days off from laundry afterwards.  :)
  • slow days.  We didn't have much to do Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, so it was nice to have that downtime.
  • a new recipe:  Crescent-Wrapped Chicken Parmesan.  A couple of my children weren't sure they would like this meal, but they tried it.  And they all loved it!  A new recipe that everyone likes?  That's a winner in my book!
  • Kroger's new QuickList.  I ordered my groceries online this morning and will pick them up this afternoon.  Having someone else do my grocery shopping for me sounds absolutely wonderful!  But I guess I'll find out how well they did this afternoon when I pick them up.  ;)
Sarah Beth has her last swim meet of the season tomorrow, and I'm going to be busy getting ready for my CC training next week.  But that's about it for our weekend.

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Book Review: High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Eve and Simon married just before World War I started; then he was apparently killed in the fighting soon after.  Three years later, Eve discovers that Simon is still alive when she finds him at a plane crash where she is living in German-occupied Belgium.  He has actually been a POW in German prisons, and now he wants to rescue Eve and take her to England with him where they can start their married life over again.  Meanwhile, Eve has been working with La Dame Blanche, a spy network, and she has secrets she feels like she needs to keep from Simon.  Both have changed a great deal due to what they have endured during the war, and they wonder if they can make their marriage work.

I loved this book!  The characters were well-developed, and the struggles they faced within themselves and their circumstances were believable.  I especially enjoyed watching as Eve dealt with her inner demons and the barriers she had erected to protect herself, in order to love Simon again and to trust the Lord with her future.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction because it is so well written.  I will definitely look for other books by this author!

I want to thank Bethany House Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, June 30, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: More Swimming Lessons

My middle three children had swimming lessons again this week, and once again it disrupted my thoughts of how our week should go.  :)  We're only gone from home for a little more than an hour, but it just throws me off.  I have a hard time settling down later in the day to get things done, so I must admit that I'm glad we're done with the lessons now.  ;)

Sarah Beth had her first swim meet last Saturday, and she did great!  I'm so proud of her!  I wasn't able to watch her swim because I was home with our other children, but John was there.  He said that she beamed when her races were over because she had so much fun.  She hadn't been enjoying her swim team practice lately, but I think the meet reenergized her!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • watching my children work on their swimming skills.
  • the rain.  We've needed it.
  • being indoor for the swimming lessons.  The threat of thunderstorms moved the lessons to the indoor pool which made it much nicer for me, being out of the hot sun.
  • seeing how much Rachel enjoyed diving.  Since they were at the deeper, indoor pool, Rachel and Daniel were able to start learning how to dive, and Rachel loved it.  And she did fairly well.
  • receiving a letter.  That's always fun!
We're looking forward to a long weekend with Independence Day next week.  

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Review: Kids' Visual NIV Study Bible

This Bible contains all kinds of notes and explanations to help children understand the Bible better:  the culture, the language, the traditions, etc.  There are many pictures and diagrams also to help explain things.  As a matter of fact, I'm sure this Bible could help a lot of adults, too.  :)

I have to admit that I did not read the entire thing, every single note.  But I looked through it, and one of my children read a good bit.  We liked most of what we saw.  My biggest problem was the note in Genesis 1 that the word day could "have been 24 hours, just like we understand a day to be -- or the word day could have represented a very long period of time."   It's not helpful at all as it implies that evolution might be true.  Despite this flaw, I think this Bible could be a great help to a child who is starting to study the Bible on his own for the first time.  However, it could also be a distraction if he takes it with him to church; it might be more fun to look at the pictures than listen to the sermon.  With those two caveats, I do appreciate and recommend this Bible.

I want to thank Handlebar Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Do You Like What You Wear? You Should!

Maybe not the outfit you would choose!  :)

The other day I tried on a pair of shorts I had ordered, and it was a marvelous experience!  Why?  Because they fit!  When I pulled them on, I didn't have to tug them into place, and they were comfortable while looking nice.  It was wonderful!  They cost a little more than I wanted to pay, but this pair of shorts is worth it because I plan to wear them for years -- and enjoy wearing them that long!

Another fun thing happened last week, too.  As I looked into my drawer, I couldn't decide which shirt to wear -- because there were so many good ones to choose!  A great feeling!

After reading Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a couple of years ago, I sorted through my clothes and gave away the ones that didn't fit or that I didn't enjoy wearing.  And I started only buying clothes that fit me well and that I want to wear.

I'm no fashionista, but I do think it's important to have clothes that you enjoy wearing and that fit you well.  It's better to have fewer items that you love to wear rather than more that you don't like.

Do you have a hard time deciding what to wear?  Is that because you have so many that you love to wear -- or so few?

If you have too many clothes that you don't like to wear, let me challenge you to do something about it.
  • Clean out your closet.  There's no reason to take up valuable room with clothes that you never wear.
  • Only buy clothes that you really enjoy.  Don't waste money on items that you may or may not wear.
  • Be willing to spend a little more on them.  I understand being on a budget.  That's why I only bought one pair of those wonderfully fitting shorts.  Meanwhile I can make do with ones that I don't enjoy so much, and maybe next year I can get another pair.  As I said before, it's better to have fewer clothes that you enjoy wearing rather than tons that you don't.
  • Take care of them so they last longer.   My mother dries her shirts for just a few minutes then hangs them up to finish drying so they last longer.  If you get something on your shirt, go ahead and treat it so hopefully it won't stain.  Wear an apron.  :)
I will admit that I do still have some clothes that I don't enjoy wearing, but I'm working on replacing them with things that I do.  I will also admit that I wear a lot of jeans and t-shirts, but there's no reason my jeans and shirts can't fit me well and look nice.

How do you like your wardrobe?  Is there anything you'd like to change?

Friday, June 23, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Book Club

When I made my plans this week, I marveled that I didn't have too many chores to do and that I should be able to get them done relatively easily.  Boy, was I wrong!  We had swimming lessons all week, and I guess that threw my routine off just enough that I hardly got any of my chores done all week.  Ugh!  Maybe next week will be better -- except swimming lessons continue.  :)

Here are some things that I did enjoy this week:
  • Hannah's new shoes.  She wasn't too sure about them at first, but they're growing on her.  I don't put shoes on my children until they're walking and actually need them.  :)
  • how much my children enjoyed their swimming lessons
  • two cloudy days at the pool so it wasn't quite so HOT
  • Strawberry Lemonade Bars.  I made these for our church potluck on Sunday, and they were pretty good.  Well, let me say that people who LOVE lemon-y things LOVED this dessert, while those who don't, not so much
  • that we weren't deluged by the tropical storm this week, although we could have used some rain.
The best part of this week was Tuesday evening.  I watched a CC webinar about making your own summer learning plan, and the speaker encouraged us to read something good and maybe even start a book club.  So I did!  And we met for the first time Tuesday evening.  It was wonderful to spend time with a couple of other ladies, discussing our children's education.  We plan to meet again in a couple of weeks, and I look forward to it!  In case you're wondering, we're reading The Core by Leigh Bortins who is the founder of Classical Conversations.

Sarah Beth has a swim meet tomorrow, and there are some adult classes as well, so John is going to compete, too.  I'll probably stay home most of the morning with our other children.  That's the extent of our plans this weekend.

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Do You Plan Your Free Time? Why You Probably Should

Awards for things I did during my free time.  :)

First of all, do you even know what I mean by "free time?"  It's those times when you don't have children underfoot and you can get some things done without interruption.  Specifically, I can think of four times when I have free time for me:  nap time/ play time, when I send my children outside to play, after their bedtime, and when my wonderful husband takes them out for a while.  The bonus is when they dis appear upstairs, and the baby is occupied happily (and out of trouble).

There have been so many times when I think, "When I get a few minutes, I want to read this or do that."  Then the few minutes arrive, and I figure I'll get to it after I finish a few things like changing the laundry over, doing the dishes, etc.  The next thing I know, the kids are back underfoot, and I've lost the time I wanted.

I realized that I needed to start planning my free time, making sure that I do the important things in that time, things that I can't get done any other time.

Before I go any further, I want to encourage you to take some time for yourself every day when you can.  I have found that when I do and do and do all day long, I wear myself out and get irritated with everyone and everything.  However, when I stop for a few minutes, as few as ten or fifteen, and do something that I enjoy, I get refreshed, and I'm ready to tackle the rest of my day with a pleasant attitude.  Please don't think that taking a little time for yourself is selfish.  If it keeps you from yelling at your children and resenting your husband, they will be glad for you to take some time.  :)

On the other hand, I am talking about a few minutes.  I don't know how much you have to do or how much time it takes, but if you're taking so much time for yourself that nothing else gets done, well, you're taking too much.  :)

With all of that said, these days when I have a few minutes to myself, I think, "What's the best thing I can do right now?"  And the best thing for the moment is usually something that I can't do -- or have a hard time doing -- with children underfoot.  For example, I'm reading Alive in Him by Gloria Furman, and it's so good and deep that I absolutely cannot keep my mind on it and comprehend it with any kind of interruptions.  So when I send my children outside, the first thing I do is sit down and read.  These quiet times are excellent for reading books that help me be a better wife, mother, or Christian.

Do you plan your free time?  If you don't, let me encourage you to start!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review: The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff

In The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric Bargerhuff, the author goes through several popular Bible stories and shows how their meanings have been distorted to promote man's message instead of God's.  For example, the story of Jonah and the big fish is not about Jonah; it is actually the story of God and His redeeming love.  David and Goliath is not about overcoming fear but how we can do great things when we rely on God's strength.  Several other stories he deals with are Zacchaeus, Judas Iscariot, Gideon and his fleece, and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Reading this book was enlightening.  I appreciated how the author went through each story showing how it has been misinterpreted and then showing the proper way to view it.  I enjoyed his clear, concise way of looking at things and how he communicates it.  I recommend this book, even if you feel you have an accurate understanding of these stories in the Bible because you may still learn something.

I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, June 16, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Spending Time with Friends and My Van!

What a cute photo opportunity!

We started our week off with a fun outing; we visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Sugar Land campus on Monday.  It was the first time we had been there, so it was great fun walking around and playing with the various hands-on activities.  We met some friends which made the time even better.  There was a special exhibit on the history of candy which we really enjoyed.  If only there had been some samples....  :)  They also had some different stations set up; in one we learned which rocks give us some common household items.

Learning where some of our common household items come from.

Since summer started, I feel like my days have been full but not productive -- if that makes sense.  Without school, I thought I would have more time:  time to read more, time to get some projects done.  But no.  I've been so busy running my children hither and yon that I get to the end of the day, wondering why my to-do list is still full.  I think we're busier now than we were during school time!  :)

Here are some other things I enjoyed this week:
  • my new van!  They delivered it Friday afternoon.  It still needs the running boards, so it's more difficult getting in and out, but it's nice to have it!
  • having supper with friends Saturday night.  We enjoyed wonderful fellowship without children.  :)
  • getting laundry folded -- finally.   Wednesday I finally got around to folding towels I had washed on Saturday.  That's just how my week has been.
  • staying home on Wednesday.  I think it's the first day since we finished with school that we haven't had to leave the house before 9:00.  It was nice!  (You may laugh, if you like, but remember that we homeschool.  :)  
  • swimming.  I took the kids yesterday, and it was much better.  At the very least, I didn't have to hold Hannah the whole time because I was able to put her in the nursery.  But the kids had a great time, and I wasn't too bored.  :)
  • a good book!
  • my little walker.  Hannah is adorable as she toddles around the house -- when she remembers.  Sometimes she forgets and does her knee-walking.
We're planning to see an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz put on by a local teen group tonight.  We don't have any plans tomorrow so we should be able to get some things done -- hopefully.  :)

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

What I've Enjoyed This Week: A Hunting Trip for the Boys and Spending Time with my Girls

John and Daniel also drove to visit Uncle Ray who lives in New Mexico, too!

I told you last week that John was spending time with Daniel, so I was having some quality time with my daughters.  Actually, John took Daniel prairie dog hunting in New Mexico which is apparently like whack-a-mole with a gun.  :)  They left last Wednesday and got back on Monday.  So it was just we girls for almost a week.  Daniel took some great pictures; as a matter of fact, he took all of them on this post today except for the one above -- obviously.  :)  While they were out there, they also spent a day with Uncle Ray and enjoyed seeing more of that part of the country.

Snow on the mountains!

While John and Daniel were driving and hunting -- and driving some more, the girls and I spent a lot of time at home.  We played many games, watched a few movies, and ate out too much.  :)

I love this picture of the different strata which were laid down after the Flood.

We had some friends over Friday afternoon.  She has three girls who are just about my oldest three girls' ages, so that was a lot of fun, especially without Daniel at home.  Poor boy!  He would have been the only boy among all of those girls!

They saw several rainbows on the way home because it kept raining on them!

Here are a few more things I've enjoyed this week:
  • our first real week of "normal" summer.  I don't count last week because it wasn't normal with John and Daniel gone.
  • Rachel had art camp all week and absolutely loved it!
  • reading a good book.
  • watching Hannah walk.  Beginning walkers are so cute!
  • the rental van.
This afternoon, they're bringing our new van.  The running boards haven't come in yet, but we'll make do until they do.  We're having supper with friends tomorrow night, and that's all of the plans that we have.  Hooray for a quiet weekend.  (I'm sure we'll still be busy, though.)  

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review: Love Letters from God -- Bible Stories for a Girl's Heart by Glenys Nellist, Illustrated by Rachel Clowes

This book retells several stories about women from the Bible, using each as an illustration of a specific character trait.  For example, Rahab is the "brave girl," Deborah is the "strong girl," and Hannah is the "hopeful girl."  After each story, there is a brief letter supposedly from God to the girl reading the book (or having it read to them) extolling her to exhibit this trait as the girl in the story did.

The idea for this book is excellent, and I had high hopes for it.  But I was disappointed.  First of all, the "love letters" are strange, as if they were written by God, but they come across as forced and fake -- and patronizing.  Some of the traits don't seem to fit well with the stories chosen to illustrate them, like Miriam being the "trusting girl."  I think it was more her parents who trusted God to take care of Moses when they put him into the Nile River.  In the picture of Deborah, she is holding a sword as if she fought in the battle, too, but the Bible is clear that she did not.  In the story of the woman caught in adultery, it talks about the "law of love" as if Jesus brought love so we don't need to worry about sin anymore.  Almost every story had something I needed to correct for my children.  One of my biggest problems with this book was classifying every person as a "girl."  Most of these were women, and it diminishes them and what they accomplished by calling them girls.

Like I said, I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't.

I want to thank Handlebar Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Do You Bullet Journal?

Some people use a fancy book, but I just use a cheap one.  :)

Last month I mentioned that I had started "bullet journaling" and was really enjoying it. Because I find it so helpful, I thought that maybe you would, too.  :)  Has it transformed my life?  No, but I would say that it has simplified my life, specifically, I have a place to write random things so that I don't lose them or forget them.

It all started one Sunday when one of my children was sick, and I stayed home from church with her. I didn't want to watch what she wanted to watch on tv, and she got to choose since she was sick.  So I picked a webinar from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle I had just purchased:  Bullet Journaling for Book Lovers.  I had no idea what bullet journaling was, but I am a book lover, so I figured I would enjoy it.

Basically, when you bullet journal, you take a blank book, number the pages, create a table of contents, and start making lists.  And checking things off after you do them.  That's the best part!

Here's my table of contents:

After I purchased the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, I wanted to keep track of the sessions I wanted to watch and the courses I wanted to take.  As you can see, that was the first thing in my table of contents.  I knew I was going to attend the Teach Them Diligently Conference in Atlanta, and I wanted to write down the sessions I wanted to watch there, too.  Usually, I try to keep track of these things in my head, or I write them down on a scrap piece of paper -- which inevitably gets lost.  With my bullet journal, they're kept together in the same book so I won't lose them, I can find each list easily because of the numbered pages, and it's written down so I don't have to waste precious brain space trying to remember.

I now have lists of movies that I want to watch, books to reads, etc.  What I really enjoy is that when I watch one of these webinars and want to take notes, I write them down in my bullet journal.  My notes are bound together with my lists, so nothing gets lost, and it's all easily referenced.

Honestly, I don't know how much I will use some of the notes that I've taken.  I may never look at  them again, but I know where they are if I should want to.  But the lists, well, I keep adding to them.  And when I have some time to watch a webinar, I have an easily accessible list to help me decide which one to watch instead of having to scroll through the whole list every time.

Do you bullet journal?  What kinds of things do you keep track of in yours?

Friday, June 2, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Walker, a Van, and a Finished Blanket

The loaner van. 

We've decided to buy a new van.  All seven of us fit in my Toyota Sienna, but Sarah Beth is squashed in between two booster seats which isn't very comfortable for her.  We've been thinking about new vehicles for two years, ever since we discovered I was pregnant with Hannah.  Since my minivan is now ten years old -- and our children are getting bigger, it was time to seriously think about a replacement vehicle.

In all honesty, I dragged my heels about making this decision.  I loved my minivan.  Loved it!  And these ten-passenger vans are so very big!  But John did the research, and God kept using people to show me how much nicer life would be with a full-size van.  So we bit the bullet, so to speak, and bought one.

Oops!  I'm getting ahead of myself.  Before we bought one, I wanted to test drive one in our town.  But the nearest dealer was an hour away in Houston, and we weren't sure they would let us borrow one that far away.  But they did!  They let us have one to try Memorial Day weekend, and John went back on that Monday to buy one.  We wanted blue, but the one they lent us is black.  Unfortunately, our blue van won't be ready for another week or two because we requested running boards which won't come in for that long.  So they're letting us keep the loaner van for that long.  Can you believe it?!

So I've spent the last week driving this huge vehicle around town, figuring things out.  Parking is the hardest thing, but we live in Texas.  Lots of people here drive trucks, so parking spaces tend to be bigger which helps a lot.  :)

The other big thing that happened this week is that Hannah decided to walk.  She's been taking a few steps at a time, and we knew she could do more.  She just didn't want to.  But she decided Wednesday evening that she could, and she walked around and around and around, making sure I was watching.  I wish you could see the proud expression on her face!

I also finished this blanket which isn't nearly as big a deal as the first two things, but I'm glad I'm done.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • No school.  We finished last week, and we're getting used to our no-school routine.  
  • Swim team practice.  Sarah Beth has that most mornings, or she can do it in the evenings.  They don't care, so we do what's best for us.  :)
  • Getting dentist appointments out of the way.  I'm so glad I can schedule the kids all at the same time.
  • Rain.  We had some the other night, but not too much.
  • Time with my girls.  John and Daniel have been spending some quality time with each other this week, leaving us girls together.  :)
We don't have much planned this weekend.  Hopefully, some friends will be able to come over this afternoon; it depends on what time their repairman comes over.  Other than that, it should be a quiet weekend.

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

Thursday, June 1, 2017

May Reading

I didn't get much read this month, and I'm okay with that considering that we spent almost two weeks traveling to Georgia, learning about the Civil War and spending time with family.  Books can wait; those other things can't.

Here's what I did get read:
  • Vet in the Vestry by Alexander Cameron.  This book combines more adventures by this vet-turned-pastor.  In humorous and serious stories, he shows that the life of a vet is not that different from life as a pastor.  I really enjoyed reading about his adventures in both of his roles.
  • 8 Great Smarts:  Discover and Nurture Your Child's Intelligences by Kathy Koch, Ph.D.  God has given everyone eight different "smarts," but nature and nurture determine which ones are stronger in each person.  For example, we all have music smarts, but some of us have more than others.  I love how this author showed how everybody is smart in his own way, even if it doesn't show up in places like school.  She also gives practical ways that we parents can increase our children's smarts in order to help them become the people God wants them to be.
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  I didn't read much of this book, less than a hundred pages, because I just couldn't get into it.  But I wanted to give it a try since I enjoyed her other book To the Bright Edge of the World so much.
  • Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette.  I loved this book about the Israelites beginning the conquest of Canaan.  You can read my full review here.
Hopefully with summer here -- and no school! -- I will have a little more time to read.  :)

What have you read lately?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Review: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Everything has been taken from Alanah by the Hebrews, so she decides to join the battle against them in order to kill as many as possible before she is killed, too.  Unfortunately for her, she is not killed on the battlefield; rather one of the hated Hebrews notices that she is a woman and rescues her.  Not only that, but he even marries her!  What is she to do now that she is married to a Hebrew on the cusp of their invading her homeland of Canaan?

The romance between Tobiah and Alanah was sweet as he honors the law of the Torah and tries to win her heart.  Alanah changes from hating the Hebrews to appreciating their way of life and their God, and then He becomes her God as well.  The adventures that Alanah goes through in the second part of the book seem a little farfetched, but we serve a God who can use "coincidences" and arrange things to happen that seem unlikely.  So it was a neat way to bring Rahab into the story.

I loved this book!  When authors are able to tell about things that happened in the Bible and help their readers feel what it may have been like, well, that's a gift!  I especially enjoyed how the author contrasted the order and morality of the Hebrews with the chaos, filth, and immorality of the Canaanites.  But my favorite scene in the book was when Alanah tasted manna for the first time, and asks, "What is it?"  Because that was what the Hebrews called it!

I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy Eleventh Birthday, Sarah Beth!

Eleven.  How did that happen?  When did that happen?

Sarah Beth enjoys all kinds of crafts, especially the needle arts.

She also appreciates spending time outdoors, camping or fishing with her daddy.

This year was Sarah Beth's first to play soccer, and she LOVED it!

I've started teaching her how to bake which she enjoys and I find helpful.  :)

Not quite "two peas in a pod," but they do enjoy spending time together.

Don't forget that she is also a voracious reader!  She wants to go to Half Price Books for her special day!

It's crazy to think that I have an eleven year old, but it's true, and it's wonderful!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What I've Enjoyed This Week: Being Home!

Hannah loved playing with Sparky at my parents' house -- once she got used to her!

After being gone for almost two weeks to visit family and learn more about the Atlanta campaign during the Civil War, it was lovely to have a quiet week at home.  I checked my to-do list everyday and was surprised to see so little on it.  We didn't have to prepare for CC or go to soccer practice.  Sarah Beth does have swim team practice, but it's so late in the evening that John is able to take her and stay with her until she finishes which leaves me free to stay home.  :)

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:
  • a rainy Monday.  We've needed the rain badly.
  • finishing school.  I didn't expect to finish this week and certainly not yesterday, but it's just the way it happened.  I'm not going to complain about being done with school for the summer!
  • an invitation for Sarah Beth to go to the beach with a friend today.  I hope they're having fun!
  • webinars.  Tracey asked me to let her know which ones I've enjoyed from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle:  the Temper Toolkit -- which had some great information about keeping one's temper -- and Raising Siblings to Be Best Friends from the Mom Conference which had some useful information but wasn't from a Christian point of view.  
  • I've also enjoyed several sessions from the Homeschool Curriculum Online Summit.  If you'd like to know which ones specifically, let me know.
One thing that I did not enjoy this week was dropping a set of children's books on my foot Tuesday.  Ouch!  Although it's very bruised and swollen, it's not broken, and I can walk, so I'm not complaining -- too much.  ;)  Actually, I was amazed at how much better it was yesterday morning.

Today we plan to get half-price milkshakes from Sonic.  Yum!  Tomorrow we're going to look at vans because my vehicle is getting old, and we have a quiet weekend scheduled.  Yea!  Maybe I can get caught up on my blog reading; I'm so behind!

What have you enjoyed this week?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Where We've Been: Two Weeks with Family and Learning about the Civil War in Atlanta

Doesn't Mary look fierce with her upside-down musket?  :)  What about Daniel right behind her?

Two weeks ago, I left with my children to visit my family in Georgia.  On the way, we stopped in Atlanta to participate in the Civil War tour with Landmark Events.  I was amazed at how much I learned, even though I grew up in Georgia and had taken a Georgia history class in school.  Of course, much of what I learned on this tour were things that you won't read in history books.  For example, Confederate General Lowery called a temporary ceasefire to save wounded Union soldiers who were being burned alive because they were unable to move themselves from the woods which had been set on fire by the cannons.  A Confederate general concerned with the lives of Union soldiers?  Yes, he was a Christian.  :)

A memorial to the unknown Confederate dead in the Oakland Cemetery.

The tour ended on Thursday, and my parents took my children home with them while I stayed in Atlanta for the Teach Them Diligently Conference.  I was able to attend Thursday evening and Friday morning, and I enjoyed the meetings I attended.  Boy, the convention hall was jam-packed!  I was glad that I had already decided on most of our curricula for next year because it was a little overwhelming!

 Three of my children at the base of John B. Gordon memorial at the Georgia Capitol.

Over the weekend, we spent some time with my brothers and, of course, my parents.  My younger brother, his wife, and children dropped by a couple of times to see us.  And my older brother came over Saturday night.  Then we had supper with my sister the next Wednesday, and I finally got to meet her fiancee!  

 The John B. Gordon Memorial.

As much as I could, I rested up over the weekend because I had a busy week planned, spending time with friends.  I met one friend for breakfast; we've been friends for more than thirty years!  My children and I went to visit other friends for lunch, and there were four women and twenty-two children!  So much fun!  Lastly but definitely not unimportantly, I met Tracey from Girls to Grow in person!  She is no longer a blogging friend, but she is now a real live friend!

 The only picture I have of Sarah Beth.  :(

We had such a good time spending time with friends and family and learning new things that we almost didn't want to come back home.  Almost.  :)  But we missed our husband and daddy, so we got back in the car for the drive home.  And he was waiting outside when we arrived.  :)

It was a whirlwind two weeks, but it sure was an amazing time!

Friday, May 5, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A New Camera and Bullet Journaling

We had a nice quiet week scheduled for which I am so very glad because several of us were "under the weather."  It started Saturday with Rachel, then I caught it on Sunday.  Finally, on Wednesday when we started feeling better, it was Mary's turn.  Ugh!

On Sunday when I had to stay home from church, I watched a webinar about bullet journaling, and my attention was immediately piqued.  Apparently, you can use bullet journaling for all kinds of things, even as a daily planner, but I'm using it as a place to keep collections of ideas.  For example, I now have a running list of movies to watch, fun books to read, and things to do with my children.  And it's all contained in one journal, so it's all together; I know where it is when I need an idea or when I want to add something else.  I'm very excited about this.  Knowing me, however, I hope I keep up with it because I really think it could help declutter my mind.  :)

Also, Daniel earned some money, and since he's a spender, I tried to help him come up with a good way to spend it instead of on a bunch of junk.  I remembered that he loves taking pictures.  He used to always ask to take pictures with our camera, but I guess he stopped because we always told him "no."  I suggested a camera to him, and I wish you could have seen how his face lit up.  When we mentioned it to John, he remembered that we have an old camera that just need a charger.  So Daniel now has a new-to-him camera for the cost of a charger.  And he has been taking pictures up a storm!  He's taken some good ones, too, and I plan to share some with you soon.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:

  • feeling well enough to do school.  I was afraid we might have to cancel some school, and I really didn't want to do that because we're so close to finishing for the year.
  • watching my children put puzzles together.  For some reason, puzzles have been popular this week, and I think it's wonderful when they work on them.
  • the Homeschool Online Curriculum Summit.  An online homeschool conference?  That's free?  Yes, please!  I've only watched a couple of webinars so far, but I've enjoyed them.  
  • finishing up school.  We only have nine more days!
Tomorrow is Sarah Beth's last soccer game.  Sadly, soccer will be over for our family until the fall.  Other than that, we have a relatively free weekend which will be nice.  Maybe I can get some errands run since we've been stuck at home all week.  :)

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

We are going to be very, very busy for the next couple of weeks, so I may not be online much.  I just wanted to let you know ahead of time.  :)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

April Reading and Goals Review

Mary was thrilled with her soccer trophy!

April was full of Memory Masters.  It seemed to be all I could think about, and I'm sure you noticed that here on my blog.  :)  I'm so glad that Sarah Beth and Daniel decided to take on that project, but I'm also very glad that it's over.

I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I did not get much read in April.  Of the four books I have listed here, I didn't even finish one of them.  :)  Here's  what I read:
  • To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey.  While this book is fiction, it reads like non-fiction.  As Colonel Allen Forrester explores the interior of Alaska for the army during the 1880s, he has to leave his new wife behind in Vancouver.  His journal entries are interspersed with hers, showing what each went through during their separation.   He survived dangers and hardships while exploring, and she had to navigate the social scene of the fort while learning a new hobby:  photography.  I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would.
  • Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray.  This book was recommended when I attended the Winter Summit, and I thought I might learn a few things.  But I had to stop reading it halfway through because I felt like the author was trying to say that we women have to accept our men just as they are.  We can never ask them to change, certainly not expect them to.  Basically, we have to walk on eggshells all the time.  I'm sure there is some truth in that, but it made me mad every time I read it.  The author is not a Christian so there was no hope that God might change one's husband, that as Christians we should expect our husbands to become more Christ-like -- as we wives also work to become more Christ-like.  This message would have been much better with that influence and truth.
  • The Harbingers Cycle One:  Invitation.  You can read read my review here.
  • The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan.  You can read my review here.
Here's how I did with my yearly goals:
  • I want to run two 5Ks.  I ran the first one in March, so one down, one to go!  I jog on the treadmill four times a week almost every week, so I'll be ready for the next one.
  • Fun School Days.  I planned to celebrate Jelly Bean Day (the 22nd), but it just didn't happen.
  • Hospitality:  having other mothers and children over for games and such.  We were so busy with Memory Masters that I couldn't even think about it. 
  • Hospitality:  we also used to have families over for supper one night each month, and we need to get back into doing this again, too.  We were too busy this month -- and probably will be again next month.
  • Date night.  It didn't happen.
  • Get comfortable enough with my handgun to go shoot by myself.  Getting there.
    My goals are:
    • Review and test for Memory Masters.  Done and done!  Sarah Beth and Daniel did great and achieved Memory Masters for CC!
    • Increase my speed on the treadmill to work toward running my next 5K a little more quickly.  I did speed up a little bit.  It's hard!
    • Get as much school as possible done, so our summer break can get here faster!  :)  Yes!
    May looks to be very busy, so I'm not going to make any goals other than working hard to finish up our school year -- when we can.  We actually have about twelve more days, but I'm not exactly sure when that last day will happen.

    What have you read lately?  How are you doing with your goals?

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Book Review: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

    During World War II, most of the men in Britain left to fight, leaving the women behind to run things as well as they could.  This book tells the fictional stories of several women in the town of Chilbury who band together to form a women's choir.  Told through journal entries and letters, the reader gets an inside look at why these women do what they do, how they feel, and their justifications.  Teenage sisters Kitty and Venetia go through their own love stories, but they mature as they learn to appreciate each other.  Timid Mrs. Tilling develops a backbone as she deals with an unwanted boarder and other problems in the village.

    This book was an interesting look into the home front during the War.  I'm sure women had to deal with experiences similar to those portrayed in this book.  Newcomers to the village who aren't quite what they seem:  are they spies or just black marketeers?  What happens when the local lord loses his only son in battle, and he needs another son to inherit the estate?  How do women cope with overbearing men living with them as part of the war effort?

    Yes, I enjoyed this book, and I recommend it.  While it dealt with some hard issues, it was also encouraging to read about how women banded together to deal with the harsh realities of war.

    I want to thank Blogging for Books for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    What I Enjoyed This Week: Two "Problems:" Extra Days and Hannah

    With CC ending and Memory Masters being completed, this week felt wide open.  We are usually gone all day on Wednesday, and a good bit of Tuesday is taken with getting ready for CC. When I was planning my week last weekend, I wasn't sure what to do with those two days since they were basically empty from my usual tasks!  A very nice "problem"!

    Another "problem" I've had this week is Hannah.  She's at that stage where she is quite mobile, though not walking, and she can open cabinets to play with what is inside them.  That's not a good combination when considering what kinds of things are usually kept in cabinets.  I was complaining to discussing with my mother about this, and she offered a solution.  (My mother seems to get wiser as I get older; how does that happen?)  She suggested I give Hannah one cabinet to play in, so that hopefully she will leave the rest alone.  So I pulled all of our school books out of a cabinet, the cabinet where I also keep the plastic plates and cups for my children so that she can play in there.  But where was I to put the school books?  In the laundry room!  But you saw what a mess it was in there, so I had to clean it out first.  That's how I've spent my extra time this week!  Cleaning out the laundry room.  But I'm pleased with the results, and I hope it will last -- for more than a week.  :)

    Here are a few other things I've enjoyed this week:
    • A shorter school day.  With no CC, school takes less time which is lovely since we're counting down the days until summer break!
    • Discovering that Sarah Beth and Daniel are on lesson 96 instead of 86 in math which means that we'll be done with school a little bit sooner than I expected.  Hooray!
    • A baby gate!  Hannah is determined to climb the stairs, and my jerry-rigged attempts to keep her off of them haven't been working.  We finally invested in a baby gate, and so far it's working great!  (Knock on wood and cross my fingers.)
    • Daniel and John feeling better.  They had to cut short their camping trip to Big Bend last weekend because they were sick.  :(
    • Running a few errands yesterday afternoon by myself, getting some things done that are hard to do with five children in tow.  :)
    Tonight we have our end of the year program for CC, and tomorrow we have the last soccer games for Daniel and Mary.  After that is John's annual family work party which is great fun for the kids; they look forward to it all year long!

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

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Book Review: Harbingers Cycle One: Invitation

    Four people with special powers, not really super powers, are brought together by fate to help defend others against supernatural evil.  The Professor relies entirely on logic to make decisions and deductions.  Andi, his assistant, can see patterns that others miss.  Brenda, a tattoo artist, occasionally sees pictures of events before they happen.  And Tank, a college football player, has the ability sometimes to heal others; he is also the only Christian on this "team."  Using their combined gifts, they are able to keep evil forces from hurting some defenseless people.

    I wasn't sure what to expect from this book since I've never read anything by these authors, and actually I've only heard of Frank Peretti.  In the introduction, they tell the rules of this book:  each author would write one short story in this book (as opposed to all of them writing together), and he would write it from the point of view of one of the characters.  It's supposed to work like a tv series, and it does.  Each novella is a different episode that builds on the ones before it.

    I enjoyed each of the stories, even though they were a little crazy and strange.  Obviously, occult supernatural forces are at work in the stories -- as they are in real life.  But only Tank can see the obvious, that what they experience is the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan.  I was disappointed that none of the other characters became Christians in the book, but maybe they will in a future one.  Given the opportunity, I would probably read more in this series and will probably check out some other books by these authors.

    I want to thank Bethany House Publishers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Book Review: Berenstain Bears Friendship Blessings Collection

    We enjoy the Berenstain Bears in our family, and I appreciate having five stories combined into one volume, a hardback book which should last longer.  Since we did not enjoy the stories equally, I thought I would treat each one separately.
    1. The Perfect Fishing Spot.  I did not like this story.  After Mama Bear tells Papa Bear that he should just buy some fish for their supper, he goes on a bumbling trip around the countryside trying to find somewhere to catch some fish.  He keeps getting into troubles and scrapes until he finally follows Mama's advice and just buys some fish.  The moral of the story seems to be that husbands should just do what their wives tell them to.  In our world where man are made fun of and treated like idiots in movies and on tv, we don't need to add to this disrespect by reading such stories to our children.
    2. Reap the Harvest.  Brother and Sister don't know what to do with their summer until they see Farmer Ben's "Help Wanted" sign.  He agrees to hire them but will only pay them at the end of the summer via his cash crop.  He won't know how much he earns, and therefore how much he can pay them, until the corn is harvested.  The cubs work hard all summer and earn a nice paycheck at the end.  They learn about hard work and how rewards often don't come until it's all over.
    3. Faithful Friends.  Sister has a disagreement with one of her friends because she's been spending a lot of time with a different friend.  Brother shows Sister how maybe her friend is jealous because she thinks Sister has forgotten her, and he encourages her to do things with all of her friends.  The girls make up and appreciate their friendship even more.
    4. Kindness Counts.  Brother Bear loves putting together model airplanes, and a younger cub would like to help him.  Brother remembers how Papa let him help when he didn't know how, so he lets this other cub help.  Brother learns that what goes around often comes around, especially with kindness.
    5. God Made You Special.  This story is my favorite.  The Bear family has friends come visit, and they bring a cub who doesn't act like the other cubs.  It seems like he has Down's syndrome or something similar.  Mama Bear explains to Sister that God made everyone special, even people who are different.  The other mother bear adds that maybe God uses these people to teach us something.
    As you can see, we enjoyed four of the five tales in this book.  I plan to keep it and read them often, just omitting the first one.

    I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    What I've Enjoyed This Week: Memory Masters! and Two Finished Blankets

    Sarah Beth and Daniel did it!  They passed all four of their testings for Memory Masters!  I'm so proud of them!  I just wish I had taken a picture of them.  :(

    I also finished these two blankets.  The purple one I actually finished last month except for weaving in the ends.  I enjoyed working on the blue one:  it was a new pattern which I found intriguing.  It started in one corner and each row increased stitches until it was time to start decreasing stitches, ending up in the opposite corner.  It also did not require too much mental energy which was good because I don't have much of that right now with all of the prep work for Memory Masters.  :)  The color didn't show up very well, but it's a very light blue:  not baby blue, more of a sky blue.

    Here are a few other things I enjoyed:
    • My birthday was last Friday, and we had a nice, quiet day at home.  Then we went out for supper which was lovely since I didn't have to prepare or clean up after a meal.  :)  And I had a delicious store-bought cake!
    • Sarah Beth made the swim team!  Daniel decided he wasn't interested.
    • A few days off school.  Several of the children have been sick with colds, but they're getting better.  And we've all enjoyed a break!
    • Getting caught up on some neglected chores since we didn't have school.  Well, doing the chores wasn't much fun, but knowing that they're done feels pretty good!
    I'm not sure why, but we don't have soccer games this weekend.  We don't really have anything planned, so we should have a nice, quiet weekend.  

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

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Why You are the Perfect Mother for Your Children, Part 2

    Last week, I wrote a post about how you are the perfect mother for your children.  How can I be so sure about this?  God gave my children to me and  your children to you, and He does not make mistakes.

    Of course, this fact is all well and good as long as you and your child are similar, when you both love to read or when neither of you enjoys going to parties.  But what happens when you are different?

    What if your child craves being around people and you crave time alone?  What if your child doesn't want to nurse as long you had planned?  What if you would just prefer to do all the chores yourself because it's easier than taking the time and effort to teach your children?  What if you are just different?  Did God make a mistake then?  Of course not!  God doesn't make mistakes.  Should we continue in our own personalities and temperaments and let things end up however they will?  No!

    God can use our differences to help us grow.  And these examples come straight from my relationships with my children, so I can speak to them directly.  I hope that you can extrapolate from my experiences to you and your children.

    I have a child who loves to be around people.  Her love language is quality time, and she needs attention from me.  However, I crave time alone.  As a matter of fact, that's what I asked for for Christmas.  :)  What are we to do?  Well, I look for ways to spend time with her that I enjoy as well, so we end up reading lots of books.  I also make a point to listen to her and speak with her when she's trying to carry on a conversation with me.  I've had to change and to give up some of what I want in order to nurture her.  I'm learning to make sacrifices, and that's a good thing.  Didn't God the Father give the ultimate sacrifice when He sent Jesus to die on the cross?  Isn't it a good thing for me to emulate the Son?  So I work on it.  :)

    As for the baby weaning herself before I was ready, well, I had to learn to be flexible.  I had things all planned out for how long I would nurse her, when I would wean her, and how long I would take.  But my child decided one morning that she was done with me; she just wanted a bottle.  I had to learn to roll with the punches, so to speak, and that's also an excellent thing to know.

    I have to be honest.  Most of the time, I prefer to do the household chores myself.  It's a little bit of selfishness, a little bit of efficiency, and a little bit of laziness.  I can do things better and quicker than my children can, so it's just easier for me to do it all.  But if I don't teach them how to do things themselves, they will have a harder time when they move out and have their own places.  I need to teach them now how to do things, how to work hard, so they will be better prepared for life when they leave my house.

    Am I a perfect mother?  Of course not!  But I am a work in progress, and I pray that God will continue to use me to teach my children more about Him -- as He uses them to teach me more about Him.

    How are you different from your child(ren)?  How have you handled it?