Friday, November 17, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Typical Week

Checking out groceries at the Children's Museum.

We had our typical, busy week which I'm getting used to.  With CC, piano lessons, and Bible study, we're out of the house three days a week.  I don't find that ideal, but it's life right now.  I have a feeling that our lives will only get busier and busier as my children get older.  :)

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • Bible study.  The study is convicting, and the fellowship is wonderful!
  • getting a nagging errand done.
  • yesterday afternoon I received an invitation to an Usborne book party drop-in.  I texted John to see if he could come home early, so I could go.  And he was able to!  I enjoyed looking at some books and getting some suggestions for Christmas presents for my children.  
  • how much the children in my CC Essentials class enjoy it.  The material can get dry, but they all love to learn.  
I've been looking forward to this weekend all week; we have no plans on Saturday!  It's the first time in almost a month we haven't had at least one soccer game, a race, a work party, etc., enough to fill our day.  Finally, I can get some of my normal Saturday chores done on Saturday!  (The little things that make me happy.  ;)

On Sunday I'm meeting the mothers of the children in my afternoon Essentials class to watch a DVD on what we're teaching next.  I have to admit that I'm a little bit of a nerd, and I actually enjoy watching Andrew Pudewa teach, but mostly I enjoy the time with these ladies.

Then next week is Thanksgiving!  My parents are coming into town, and friends are coming over for Thanksgiving dinner, too.  It should be a fun week!  

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Running a Race with John

Hannah loves to be read to, and I love that some of her older siblings are willing to do it.

Running has become a bigger part of my life the past couple of weeks because of the two races I participated in, but even more so because John and I ran one of them together.  Well, we didn't actually run together because he's so much faster than I am, but we did run the same course at the same time.  :)  I forgot to mention last week that I came in third in my division in the race, and then I won my division last weekend.  (Honesty and humility require me to tell you that there were only seven women in my age division two weeks ago, and I was the only one in it last Saturday.  But I figure that you should take what you can get, right?)  John, however, came in third in his age division on Saturday, and I'm so proud of him, especially since he hasn't run a 5K in almost twenty years!  And no, we don't have a picture of our sweaty selves to put on my blog.  ;)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • the cooler weather.  It's been in the 60s a couple of days!
  • Bible study yesterday.  We didn't meet for a few weeks because so many ladies couldn't make it, so yesterday was especially nice.
  • Hannah said her first word this morning!  "Baby."  We were looking for her baby doll.  
  • John made it home in time last night to have supper with us!  It was lovely having him home with us all evening.
We're hosting our church's Bible study tonight.  Tomorrow Sarah Beth has a soccer tournament, so she will play three games.  Isn't that crazy?!  And we'll be there for all three of them!  Don't tell her, but I'm looking forward to the end of the season:  more time at home!

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review: Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Sisters Rebecca and Flora are traveling through the Egyptian desert, on their way to a remote monastery to find ancient Biblical manuscripts they hope are there.  On the way, they have problems with the sheik who is taking them there.  The journey also reminds them of previous trips they have taken where they were younger, and how they learned more about themselves and the Lord on them.  Their reminiscences are woven into their present adventure to create a poignant read.

I have loved every book by Lynn Austin that I have read, and this book was no exception.  The description of the middle to late 1800s Chicago was wonderful, including the flight from the Great Chicago Fire the sisters took.  I also really appreciated how the author wove in the historical finds from that time period along with some apologetics as the sisters converse with themselves and others.  Historical fiction at its best, I cannot recommend this book more highly.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Learning Something New

Loving on one of my dolls from when I was Hannah's age!

I learned something this week:  not to run errands on Monday.  We took Monday off from school to run a bunch of errands, and it was not a good idea.  We got most of our errands done, but we arrived home exhausted.  I still had a bunch of things I needed to do to get ready for CC on Tuesday, and I just didn't have the energy.  Somehow I got everything done.  Phew!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • I took the kids to a science show yesterday.  I think they learned some things, and I know they enjoyed it.
  • Getting most of my errands done on Monday, so nothing is hanging over my head.
  • Moms' Night Out last night.  It was women from my new Bible study, and I really enjoyed getting to know them better.
  • the Astros winning the World Series!  We stayed up much too late some nights to watch the games.
John convinced me to run another 5K tomorrow, this time with him.  Date night?  And Sarah Beth has a double-header tomorrow, too.  It's going to be a busy day! 

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A "Normal" Week

Rachel and I at The Secret Garden two weeks ago.

Our new normal week is just busy, well, busier than I would like.  I'm coming to terms with that.  ;)  My ideal week would have us staying home for three days, having CC on another, and running various other errands (including Bible study and piano lessons) on the last.  But it just doesn't work that way.  Now I feel fortunate when we're home for a whole day without leaving the house.  :)  Yes, I'm a homebody!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • a new family is joining our CC campus!
  • while I did not enjoy not having Bible study this week, it was nice to be home that morning.
  • we're a little bit ahead in school, so we're going to take Monday off to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation along with running a few errands.
  • some time with Sarah Beth and Rachel.  They had a doctor's appointment yesterday, so I took them out for that and a few other errands.  (I left the other three home with a babysitter.)
  • getting some needed errands done!
Tomorrow I'm running my second race of the year.  It's supposed to be cold, so I hope I don't freeze!  Afterwards, John's work is throwing a party for the families of its employees.  My children are looking forward to that!

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Review: The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

from the back cover:  Jesus spent more time talking about money and possessions than about heaven and hell combined.  But too often we've overlooked or misunderstood His most profound teaching on this topic from His words in Matthew 6.  

Far from discouraging His followers from pursuing treasure, Jesus offers us life-changing investment advice.  He actually wants us to store up treasure for ourselves -- just not here on earth.  Instead He urges us to store our treasure in heaven, where they will await us, and last forever.  We can't take it with us -- but we can send it on ahead!

When I saw this book was available for review, I snatched it up!  I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author, and this book was no exception.  Jam-packed with Scripture backing up his claims, Alcorn lays out the case for not hoarding our wealth here on earth.  Rather we should use the resources God has blessed us with, and in so doing, send treasures ahead to heaven where we can enjoy them forever.  The author does not have any problems with wealth; he just wants to encourage his readers to use their wealth to further God's kingdom.  This short, little book will help you think about your possessions in a new way -- if you let it.

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Time with my Children

This week has been crazy!  At least, it has felt that way to me although I have a feeling that when I type it all out, it won't sound so bad.  :)  It actually started on Saturday when John left.  He's been gone all week, and that always throws a wrench into things.  Then I was gone almost all day, first to Sarah Beth's soccer game and then taking Rachel to see The Secret Garden.  We really enjoyed spending time together, but, well, the musical wasn't as good as I had hoped.  

Monday, I was again gone for a long time, most of the afternoon and evening.  One of my children had an appointment north of Houston, so I enjoyed spending that time with her, but it was a long drive!

I was able to schedule my week around these things, but we had plans Thursday and Friday that would keep us from doing school.  Thursday is my new Bible study.  Just as I had things figured out, friends gave us five tickets to the Houston Children's Museum.  How nice!  The only problem was that they expired on Friday, today!  So I had to rework my schedule -- again.  But this kind of opportunity doesn't come up very often, so I wanted to take advantage of it.

But then I was able to move things around on Friday so we could do school in the morning.  And Bible study was cancelled because no one else could go.  So my week ended up not as crazy as I had thought.  :)

Oh, and I made dermatologist appointments for two of my children that I had to cancel, and I had to schedule a meeting with some of the CC parents.  Two more things to deal with.  :)

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • the time with Rachel at The Secret Garden.
  • Sunday rest.  I needed it!
  • being home most of Tuesday.
  • Kroger's QuickPick because I certainly did not have time to grocery shop this week.
  • the wonderful time we had at the Children's Museum.  My children were old enough to enjoy it and to stay with me.  Except Hannah, of course, but chasing down one child is easy.  :)
  • being home Thursday to do school even though I missed Bible study.
  • the Homeschool Summit.  An online homeschool conference with wonderful speakers?  Yes, please!!  I listened to an excellent talk by Andrew Pudewa yesterday.
  • spending time with the CC mothers even though it was watching videos about CC.
  • the cooler weather.  We actually had to wear jeans a couple of days this week!  It is fall!
Sarah Beth has another soccer game tomorrow morning, and I look forward to cheering her on.  Other than that, I think it's going to be a quiet week.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A New Bible Study and Running Errands with Hannah

It occurred to me last week that most of my friends don't stay with their children at their music lessons.  I thought, "I can do that, too."  So I checked with my children's piano teacher, and she said it was fine for me not to stay.  Hooray!  Now I've got an hour every week when I can run a few errands with Hannah alone.  Dealing with one toddler is easy compared with four children and a toddler.  :)

I also started a new Bible study this week and really enjoyed it.  Most of the other ladies homeschool their children and bring them to the study, too.  I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to work school around the study since we meet in the morning.  I will probably have to experiment with several different options before I figure out the best way to get both done.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • fall.  It feels like fall, although the weather hasn't cooled down much.  I think I feel it more in the wind blowing and the way the sunlight shines on our yard.  It's hard to explain; do you know what I mean?  But I like it!  Even though we're still wearing shorts.  :)
  • The American Miracle:  Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved.  I appreciate the way the author goes through the history of the United States starting with the Pilgrims, showing how God worked throughout it.
Tomorrow I'm taking Rachel to see The Secret Garden, a musical up in Houston.  She has been looking forward to this ever since I bought the tickets.  I look forward to spending time with her, too! But first, we'll watch Sarah Beth in her soccer game.  It's going to be a busy day, so I'll really appreciate resting on Sunday!

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: How to Listen so People Will Talk by Becky Harling

Who doesn't want to connect with others by going deeper in conversation?  Who doesn't want others to confide more in them, growing the relationship?  But most of us don't know the best ways to accomplish these things.  The key, according to Becky Harling, is listening in such a way that others are encouraged to talk.  What a revolutionary idea that makes perfect sense!

Harling includes many helpful tips and loads of advice on how best to listen to others so that they feel heard.  By keeping our mouths shut, our advice to ourselves, and concentrating on what our family and friends are saying, our relationships can really grow.  There are even a couple of pages at the end of each chapter that give practical ways to implement her strategies.

I can't recommend this book enough!  As a matter of fact, I think this book would be an excellent one to read every year!

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

Friday, October 6, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Being Home!

At the World War II Memorial.

It has been a crazy six weeks for us!  First, we spent two weeks with my parents after evacuating our home because of Harvey.  Exactly two weeks after we returned, we drove to D.C. for a wonderful history tour and were gone more than a week.  Now I'm so glad to be home!  And I'm so glad that we don't have any trips planned for quite a while.  I'm ready to stay home!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • the wisdom to take Monday off from school.  I was busy all day unpacking, putting things away, and getting ready for the rest of the week.  
  • having done laundry at the hotel in D.C. so I didn't have to get it all done on Monday.
  • that my jogging is going well since I have a race at the end of the month.
Mostly, this week I enjoyed being home and getting back into our routine.  Since that was my goal, it was a great week!  :)

We look forward to cheering Sarah Beth on in her soccer game tomorrow.  Other than that, it should be a quiet weekend at home, thank goodness!

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Our Truly Terrific Trip to Washington, DC

Mr. Potter with Mary and Rachel.  Not only is he extremely knowledgeable, but he is also very personable.

Do you remember that Civil War history tour we took in Atlanta back in May?  We spent all last week in Washington, DC, on another history tour with Landmark Events.  We had such a wonderful time that I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it was.  I'm already looking forward to our next one -- although it's not going to be any time soon.  It's good to be home!

At Sharpsburg, we had a relay race with flags used in the battle.

On Tuesday, we visited Mount Vernon and learned a lot about George Washington.  Then we made a quick stop at the Washington Monument and then the Jefferson Monument.  These men were extraordinary, and it was great to learn more about them.

Yes, there were Irish who fought in the America War for Independence!  
(That's an interesting story, too.)

On Wednesday, we took the Metro into Washington, DC, which was quite an experience for our children.  We toured the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives.  Each state is allowed to send two statues to the Capitol, and it was interesting to see what or whom the states chose.  Of course, the National Archives house the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights.  It was amazing to see those important documents in real life.

Sarah Beth listened intently to Mr. Potter and enjoyed every minute.

On Thursday, we drove out to the Antietam Battlefield.  Our historian/lecturer Bill Potter has a seemingly inexhaustible amount of knowledge about the Civil War.  He brought to life the battle as it progressed.  Standing on the battlefield, we could almost see the different companies as they charged each other -- and retreated.

Mary at the National Air and Space Museum; she's learning how propellers work to make planes fly.

On Friday, we again rode the Metro into the city, and this time we visited the Spy Museum.  That place is intriguing as you learn about what spies have done in the past and things that are being developed for future use.  After lunch, we met at the World War II Memorial which was impressive!  Then we went on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which can really touch your heart as you walk past all of the names of men who died in that war.  After that, we walked to the Korean War Veterans Memorial which was also sobering.  As we walked, Mr. Potter related much information about the wars that isn't common knowledge.  

The girls made friends!

These tours are truly amazing!  Mr. Potter relates how God worked in and through American history to accomplish His purposes.  You won't get that from most history books!  And the information is geared toward children because he wants them to get a feel for history and its importance.  But we adults sure learned a lot, too!  John and I brought home four books, and we plan to get a few more to increase our knowledge.  Sarah Beth and Daniel have already decided about whom they want to write their Essentials papers in the spring:  John B. Gordon and George Mason.  Yes!  We learned about important, but not well-known, men in history.  My children's imaginations were piqued, and I am thrilled about that!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

August and September Reading

I didn't get to post my reading for August since we weren't home, having evacuated due to Harvey.  So here is what I read the last two months:
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt.  Jethro is nine years old when the Civil War starts, so he is too young to fight.  But his older brothers and cousin decide to join the armies:  some for the North and one for the South.  This book does a wonderful job summarizing the War, why each battle was important, and how both sides felt about slavery and states' rights.  Every child should read this book while studying this period of American history because it doesn't give any easy answers and deals with the issues well.  We'll be reading it this year.
  • To Love, Honor, and Vacuum by Sheila Wray Gregoire.  This book contains wonderfully useful information for women "when you feel like your life is out of balance; everyone takes you for granted, and things aren't quite right."  It's a great book, and I highly recommend it!
  • The Assault by various authors.  You can read my review of this strange, Christian science fiction book here.
  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.  I really enjoyed learning more about Orville and Wilbur Wright and how their creative ingenuity along with their drive helped them build the first, successful airplane.  While many others had financial backers, the Wright brothers used their own money and built most of parts of their planes themselves.  What they didn't know, they learned.  
  • Tightropes and Teeter-Totters by Lisa Pennington.  Finding balance as a woman, mother, and wife can be difficult.  First you stray to one extreme, and then overcorrect to the other one.  Pennington does an excellent job giving a method for finding the elusive balance.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming.  Did you know that this is the only children's book that Fleming wrote?  Did you know that he wrote the James Bond books?  I started to read this story about a versatile, adventure-loving car to my children, but they just couldn't get into it.  But I loved it as a child, so I finished it myself!
  • Triss by Brian Jaques.  On our way home from Georgia, we listened to this book about mice, badgers, and other assorted rodents defending their home of Redwall from invading rats and ferrets.  It was interesting and kept our attention, but there were times when it was hard to follow because of the change in settings and too many characters.  
  • The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter.  You can read my review of this sequel to The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells here.
  • God's Promise of Happiness by Randy Alcorn.  Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I love almost everything by this author.  Since joy is my word for the year, I thought it would be appropriate to read this book.  All about happiness!  What more can I say?  In case you're wondering, this is the short version, not the long one.  :)
What have you read lately?

Friday, September 22, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Quiet Week at Home

Playing nicely in her playpen during school!

This week was another relatively quiet week for us which we really appreciated after being gone for so long recently.  We didn't have any plans over the weekend, and while we've been out of the house every day this week, most of it was for short errands.  Home!  What a wonderful place!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • How much Daniel enjoys piano lessons
  • White Bean & Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe which Tracey recommended.  All of my children and John liked it which makes it a favorite recipe at our house.  Oh, and it's pretty easy to make which I appreciate.  :)  But I didn't think the tortilla chips added much to it, although my children enjoyed them.  
  • How to Listen so People Will Talk by Becky Harling.  This book is wonderfully convicting about how little I really listen when people talk even though that's exactly what I want from them when I speak.  
  • Whenever Hannah plays nicely and quietly while I do school with my other children.  Toddlers can really make school hard!  But they're worth it!!
Sarah Beth has her first soccer game tomorrow, and we look forward to cheering her on!  I don't think her team is as competitive as the one she was on last year which is not a bad thing.  Maybe she'll get to start, and maybe she'll get more playing time.  :)

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

Over a hundred years since H.G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds, Stephen Baxter was chosen to write a sequel.  Thirteen years after the Martians invade Earth and are defeated, they invade again.  This time they are ready for any resistance mankind might have, and they are no longer susceptible to our bacteria.  Again starting in England, the Martians eventually send armed forces all over the world.  The way the story is told is interesting, as the narrator recounts her own experiences along with the experiences of others as they have told them to her several years later.  It gives the book the perspective of one who saw the events personally but with the perspective of a few years difference.

Yes, I enjoyed this book.  I was expecting something similar to Wells' original work, but that's not quite what this book is.  Whereas Wells used a little over a hundred pages for his classic, Baxter uses more than 450.  But as I reflected on it, I don't think this is a negative thing.  The reader gains from several characters' points of view, and the extra detail adds nicely to the story.  The language and settings are in keeping with the original work.

If you are a science fiction enthusiast, especially if you enjoy the classic works of Wells and Jules Verne, you will probably appreciate this book, too.

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

What I Enjoyed The Past Few Weeks: A Safe Refuge and Being Home

I was able to spend some time with a dear friend!

Being home this week after being gone for more than two weeks has been wonderful as has getting back into a routine.  Maybe the children haven't enjoyed getting back to school as much as they could, but, well, isn't that normal?  :)

We enjoyed the 31st at Baskin Robbins; there were sixteen children between my friend and me.  :)

I enjoyed staying home all day Monday, putting the house back into order.  I don't know how houses that haven't been lived in can get so messy.  :)  My oldest four children had their first piano lessons this week, also; two enjoyed them, and two didn't.

Doing school at my parents' house.

Here are a few more things I've enjoyed from the last few weeks:
  • Spending time with friends and family while staying with my family.
  • Borrowing school books.  Hee hee!  My kids didn't enjoy that so much, but I was glad to be able get some school done so we're not quite so behind after two weeks away from home.
  • Seeing our CC community again, knowing that everyone is okay.  
  • Sarah Beth being able to attend soccer practice.
  • Getting back on the treadmill after three weeks off.  Yes, I enjoyed a vacation from jogging, but there's a race coming up at the end of October that I want to run in.  I need to get in shape for that.
  • A grace period from our library.  They extended everyone's due dates by a week or two because so many people were affected.
We have a quiet weekend planned although John may take Sarah Beth and Daniel out to help people clean out their houses.

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Our Harvey Adventure

On the left is our pond; on the right is our driveway.  

I haven't been around much the past couple of weeks because we weren't home.  Two weeks ago, we noticed that Hurricane Harvey was headed our way.  John was worried and wanted me to evacuate with our children.  It couldn't be that bad, I figured, so I put him off.   On Thursday of that week, John called me twice to urge me to leave.  I wanted to wait until things got bad; then we could leave.

But the Holy Spirit nudged me, and I felt like He was telling me to submit to my husband.  My mother also called, urging me to evacuate.  So I told my children to pack three changes of clothing because we were leaving.  Thankfully, Hannah was napping, so she wasn't discombobulated by our frantic activity.  After everything else was ready, I woke her up, put her in the van, and we left.  There was about an hour between the time I decided to leave and when we actually left.  It was quick!

We drove up to Huntsville, Tx., that first afternoon because I didn't know what else to do.  I still didn't think it was going to be that bad.  But as we saw the first pictures on tv that evening, I realized that I was wrong.  It was going to be worse, much worse, than I had thought.  So we started our drive to Georgia to spend some time with my parents.

We arrived at my parents' house late Saturday afternoon, and we stayed with them until Friday morning two weeks later.  Meanwhile, John had stayed home because he had to work; keeping plants safe is important!

We were worried that our house would flood.  It didn't, but many houses in our neighborhood did.  As a matter of fact, the water came within two feet of our house.  It was close!  I tried to keep in contact with friends in our area who were worried about flooding, too.

The first week at my parents' house felt like vacation, but as it drew to an end, I realized that we were all getting antsy.  Since I didn't know how much longer we were going to be there, I borrowed math books from a friend who uses the same curriculum we do.  Her children weren't using the actual books I needed, so it wasn't an inconvenience to her.  We may have only done math while we were gone, but we got something done.  :)

Finally, the water receded enough in our neighborhood for John to move back home from the hotel where he had been staying.  And we started on our two day trip back.

Most of the water had gone down by the time we returned, so we didn't see the flooding.  It's surreal knowing that it happened, that some of our friends were affected, but my children and I didn't see it at all.

It's easy to say that God is gracious for sparing our home, but isn't He gracious always?  Wouldn't He still be gracious if He had flooded our home?  Why did He spare us when He didn't spare so many?  I don't have the answer to that last question, but I do know that God is good.  Always.  Even when things we think are bad happen.  But in my small, human thinking, I must admit that I'm glad He did spare our home.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Don't Apologize" is Good Advice

I ate a piece of Dove chocolate the other day (who doesn't need one of those occasionally!), and the advice inside the wrapper said, "Don't apologize."  I immediately thought that was horrible advice; do we really want to go through life not caring about how we treat others?

Then I thought about it a little more, and realized that it's actually pretty good advice.  Let me give you a purely hypothetical situation.  Let's say that I say something hurtful to John.  Later, I feel guilty, so I apologize.  "I'm sorry."  What exactly am I sorry for?

Am I sorry that I feel bad for hurting his feelings?  Then my apology only makes me feel better.

Am I sorry that I hurt his feelings?  Bah!  Apologizing because you hurt someone's feelings is worthless.

Or am I sorry that I got caught?  My negative thoughts spilled over into words which revealed the evil intent of my heart.

None of these get to the root of the problem, do they?

What does the Bible have to say about apologies?  Absolutely nothing.  But the Bible has much  to say about repentance and forgiveness.

Continuing the purely hypothetical scenario, I go to John and repent and ask for forgiveness.  How does that look?  I say, "I'm sorry that I said hurtful things to you; it was wrong (a sin).  Will you forgive me?"  I'm not perfect, so I'm sure that I will say ugly things to him again, but my repentance means that I know I was wrong and that I will try not to do it again.

And his forgiveness means that neither one of us will bring this situation up again to each other, another person, or to God.

How different is forgiveness than an apology!  I have to agree with Dove:  Don't apologize!

What do you think?

Friday, August 18, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Trip to HMNS for the Butterfly Release

I was hoping that things would quiet down a little bit once we started back to school, that we would be home more.  Maybe not.  :)  We were out of the house a good bit more than I wanted this week, but I guess the good thing is that we were still able to get school done.

We were supposed to start CC on Tuesday, but I didn't have the insurance forms the church where we're meeting requested, so we had to postpone a week.  Instead, I took my children to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for their butterfly release which happens on Tuesdays in the summer.  That was fun, and we enjoyed spending some time in the museum as well.

We had to run several more errands during the week which took us out of the house more than I wanted, but here are a few other things I enjoyed:
  • Daniel's glasses' warranty.  They broke Tuesday night, but they were still under warranty so we were able to get them replaced for FREE!  
  • Making plans with my mother for her to visit.
  • Picking up my groceries at Kroger.  I mention this again because we weren't there ten minutes altogether.  It was so quick this time that I couldn't believe it!
  • Spending time with friends at the museum.
  • Finding toys that actually occupy Hannah (18 months) during school.  
  • The free Bible study about friendship by Lifeway We Saved You a Seat.  I've enjoyed doing this study even though I'm doing it by myself.  I'm on week two, and it has some great tips for being a better friend.
John is taking our oldest four children to see an Astros game tonight, thanks to Mary winning the tickets during summer reading.  I'm glad they're not playing the Atlanta Braves because that could cause a problem since I grew up rooting for the Braves!  I think the rest of the weekend should be relatively quiet.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Review: The Assault by Various Authors

The Assault continues the story from The Invitation where four very different people have come together to form a team.  The Professor is highly intelligent; Andi sees patterns; Brenda draws pictures that tell the future; and Tank has healing power -- sometimes.  Together, this team works to stop evil forces which are trying to destroy our world.  First they tackle alternate universes, then they battle a mind-controlling fungus.  When they have a little time to research what they've been fighting, the team has to deal with misplaced trust.  Finally, there's a fog which contains man-eating monsters.

Written by four different authors, these stories flow together nicely.  But they are strange!  The writing is interesting and lively and definitely keeps the reader's interest, but sometimes it's hard to follow exactly what's going on.

If you like the strange and weird, you might like this.  If not, well, you probably won't.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Back to School and Preparing for CC

Mary (5) lost three teeth in a week.  After the third one came out, she told me, "Pretty soon, I won't have any left!"

I've had another busy week, preparing for our Classical Conversations campus to start back next week.  As director, it's a lot of work, but once we start back, it will mostly be done.  Hooray for that!

But I'm also tutoring the afternoon Essentials class which includes parsing sentences and IEW for writing.  I will have to prepare lesson plans each week which will keep me busy.  I look forward to it, however.

Things I enjoyed this week:
  • whenever I was able to cross something off my to-do list.  :)
  • a pool party for our CC campus on Monday.  One of the families graciously opened up their home and pool to us.  
  • the first Essentials parent/tutor meeting on Tuesday evening.  Despite problems with the DVD player, we got things figured out (with some help!) and were able to watch the required and very helpful DVDs.  We also enjoyed each other's company during the downtime.  
  • starting school back.  Okay, I wasn't really ready for this and maybe didn't enjoy it so much, but I do enjoy knowing that the first week is DONE!
  • picking up my groceries via Kroger's QuickPick.  Last week, it was a disaster, but I learned not to try to pick my groceries up on Friday evening.  A very, very bad time.
We have a quiet weekend planned which I look forward to.  I should have some time to finish up the last minute things for CC.

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

What I've Enjoyed This Week: Help in the Kitchen

I have felt discombobulated all week.  I seemed never to know if were coming or going; I knew there was lots I needed to do on the computer, but when I sat down, I forgot what it all was.  Meanwhile, my daily chores were neglected, too.  And this blog post is late.  :)

What's kept me so busy?  In short, getting ready for school.  We start back next week, and I needed to spend some time this week preparing.  But the main thing that has me flustered is CC.  Oh, it's not CC itself, but my preparations for our campus to start back up in less than two weeks.  There are supplies I need to purchase, money to collect, information to put into the computer, emails to send, facilities to check, etc.  And it's kept me busy.  But once we start back, it will be worth it!

I started something new this week, too, which in retrospect may not have been the best time.  I read somewhere recently about a mother who has one of her children help her in the kitchen for two months at a time, and then she switches children.  I thought that sounded like a great idea, so I implemented it.  Sarah Beth was first, and she wasn't thrilled, but she was a big help as we prepared Taco Ring.  I'm just going to have each child help for a week, and to sweeten the deal, they get to help with the menu planning.

Here are a few things I've enjoyed this week:
  • The Great British Baking Show.  My mother introduced me to this show, and I like that I can watch it with my children.  They certainly do a much more intricate kind of baking in Britain than we do here in the States, and I think I'd like to take a class on British baking at some point -- if I can find one.  :)
  • a relatively quiet week at home.  Well, we could have spent a good bit of time at home if I hadn't had so many errands to run!  :)
  • a couple of rainy afternoons.
  • summer reading.  Mary won a prize this year:  box tickets to an Astros game!  Their coordinator graciously is going to give us one more ticket (we were supposed to get four) so that John can take our four oldest children.  I thought about asking for one more -- for me! -- but I didn't want to push it.
  • my children's help with chores.  Sarah Beth vacuuming and Daniel mopping are a big help, along with everybody folding laundry.
  • an afternoon out to run errands.  It's so much easier for those quick in-an-out errands when I'm by myself.
I didn't enjoy this course much, but I wanted to include it since Tracey asked me to post what courses I've taken from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle:  The SAHM Wardrobe Basics Builder.  I didn't find this wardrobe course helpful at all for several reasons.  First, I'm not interested in a capsule wardrobe.  Second, there's too much denim in it; where's the color?  Third, I don't have most of the clothes she recommends, and I don't want to go buy a whole new wardrobe.  Fourth, it's too hot here to wear jeans, cardigans, jackets, etc., and I don't think I could adapt the wardrobe to our heat here.  With all of that said, other people might find this course helpful; I just didn't.  It's not a bad course; it's just not helpful to me.

Tomorrow we have plans to visit some friends for swimming and supper.  Our children are really looking forward to it!  John and I are, too, but more for the fellowship.  :)

What have you enjoyed this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Reading

I love these old pictures!

I'm pleased with the books I read in July.  I enjoyed all of them and learned some things from a few of them.  As a matter of fact, I would recommend any one of them, but especially the first one -- if you have a son.  :)

Here's what I read in July:
  • Mother and Son:  The Respect Effect by Emerson Eggerichs.  If I could give this book to every mother I know who has a son, I would.  It's that good!  Like our husbands, our sons need our respect just as our daughters need love.  Of course, we don't respect their bad choices and sins, but we should always show them respect because of their inherent worth as created in God's image.  If mothers let it, this book could be a game-changer in their relationships with their sons.  I plan to let it!
  • Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder.  Right after the Civil War ends, Will is sent to live with his uncle's family because all of his family has died.  His uncle did not fight in the war while Will's father did, so Will cannot respect his uncle because he thinks he is a coward.  As the book goes on, Will comes to understand that not fighting sometimes takes more courage.  And he also realizes that both his father and his uncle did what each thought was right, regardless of what others thought.  I picked this book up on our Atlanta Civil War tour, and I'm so glad I did.  It's a great coming of age story, and it shows how you need to understand another person before you can judge him.
  • Marooned:  The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the Real Robinson Crusoe by Robert Kraske.  You can find amazing books in the children's nonfiction section at the library which is where I saw this one.  Having read Robinson Crusoe, I was intrigued to read about the "real" one.  Since this book was written for children, it was fairly short and a quick read which was nice, too.  :)  Selkirk tried to start a mutiny because he didn't agree with the captain that the ship was seaworthy.  None of the other men joined him, so the captain left him behind on an island.  Four years later, he was rescued.  I found this book to be very interesting, especially since it's a true story -- unlike Robinson Crusoe.
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.  Along the same storyline (although unintentionally), we listened to this book while driving to our first practicum.  This story about a girl who is left behind when her village leaves their island is wonderful!  I was so glad to find it on CD so my children could listen to it.  Did you know that it's based on a true story?  The woman it really happened to, was left alone for eighteen years.  Can you imagine that?  How do you keep from going crazy with no one to talk to?
  • Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan.  I'm so sad that this book is the last one in the Lady Trent series.  :(  But it is sufficiently exciting to make it a worthy finale, and I recommend it -- for those readers who enjoy this type of book.  :)
What have you read lately?  Anything especially interesting?

Friday, July 28, 2017

What I Enjoyed this Week: Learning that I'm not As Necessary As I Think I Am

First day of practicum wore these girls out!

Two weeks ago, my children and I attended our first Classical Conversations practicum of the summer, and I went through my first required training:  training to tutor the afternoon Essentials class.  This week we attended the second required practicum; at least, we were supposed to.  Until my children got sick.

For my first practicum, I didn't really know anyone, and that was okay.  CC is a community of like-minded parents, mostly mothers, and I enjoyed spending time with them, even if I didn't catch their names.  :)

But I was really looking forward to this week because a couple of my tutors were coming, and I wanted to introduce them to each other and be involved as they got to know each other.  God had other plans.

When my children first started showing symptoms, I went into denial.  They're not really sick, I thought.  They'll get better when we get home.  But they didn't.  Then I thought, These ladies need me there to help them get along.  They can't do it without me.  But of course, they could, and they did.

It was an eye-opening experience, one that I honestly should have figured out a long time ago.  I'm not needed nearly as much as I think I am.  The world will continue to turn if I'm stuck at home taking care of my children.  It was a humbling experience, but it was a good one.

The best thing was that I got to see part of God's plan in this.  We don't always usually get to see how He's working, so it's nice when we do.  I had felt pressed for time this week, and the Lord graciously gave me an extra two days to get some things done I hadn't felt I had time for.

Then Thursday, I got sick.  Ugh!  My children are old enough to take care of themselves for the most part, and Sarah Beth was a tremendous help with Hannah.  It wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been!

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:

  • Spending time with  my friends at practicum on Monday.
  • Staying home and getting things done on Tuesday and Wednesday so that...
  • I wasn't distressed and anxious about how much I needed to get done on Thursday when I could hardly get off the couch.
  • Meeting two other women who want to do CC with their children.
We don't have much planned this weekend which actually seems really nice!  

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: Night Night, Train by Amy Parker

In this appealing book, a child boards a train with his family before bedtime.  As he gets ready for bed, he wishes good night to the things around him.  The story is told in sweet rhymes which are a little forced at times, but they are perfectly fine for this book.  The illustrations are nicely done with vivid colors and clear pictures.  There is a mention of praying before bedtime, normalizing it for our Christian children.

I enjoy reading this delightful book to my toddler, and I'm glad that I've added it to our library.  If you have children who are the right ages for board books, I think you'll like it, too!

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Cut Up a Watermelon Without Making (Too Much of) a Mess

John and I really enjoy watermelon, but I have to admit that I dreaded buying one for years because of how much of a mess I made when I cut it up.  One day, I learned a neat trick that helped keep the mess to a minimum, and I've expounded on that idea since then.

First of all, I put a cutting board inside a rimmed cookie sheet, as you can see in the picture above.  That way the juice is corralled inside the cookie sheet -- and I don't leave marks on the pan with my knife.  A good knife is always helpful, too!

Then I like to slice off the bottom off the watermelon so that it doesn't wobble as I cut it up.  Then I continue cutting the watermelon into bite-sized pieces.

My next problem was how to get all of the pieces into my bowl.  I didn't want to have to pick up each and every piece.  A spatula!  I can pick up many pieces of the watermelon without using my hands and getting them messy.

How do you cut up a watermelon?  Do you avoid certain foods because of the mess they make while you prepare them -- like I do?  :)

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?