Monday, January 30, 2017


As you know, Hannah has learned to climb a couple of stairs.  (We haven't let her get any farther than that!)  As you can imagine, we don't want her to climb stairs yet because we are afraid she will fall.  So we've started putting an ottoman in front of the stairs to keep her off them.

The other day, Hannah started fussing at me when I moved the ottoman to barricade the stairs as she headed for them.  I saw Daniel watching and told him that I'm a "mean, old mommy, aren't I?"  He started to say "yes," but then he thought about it for a moment.

Then he said that no, I'm not because I just want to keep Hannah from getting hurt.


So I explained that there are things his daddy and I won't let him or his sisters do for the same reason -- we don't want them getting hurt.  But to them, we look like mean, old parents.  He pondered that for a minute, too.

Then it hit me.  God does the same thing!  He keeps me from situations where I might get hurt, but to me it looks like He's keeping me from something good.


The more I learn about raising children, the more I learn about my loving Father!

Friday, January 27, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Rachel's Birthday and Flowers

Yesterday was Rachel's birthday, and that girl loves to plan her birthday.  She starts thinking about it the day after her birthday, so she's good and ready when it rolls around again.  :)  Since we don't celebrate with parties, we let our children plan their day -- within reason.  Rachel requested homemade doughnuts for breakfast, followed by Chick-fil-A for lunch.  Daniel's soccer team had an end-of-the-season party at Chuck E. Cheese, and he told glowing stories about his experience, so that's where Rachel wanted supper even though she's never actually been.  To top it all off, she asked for an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.  Oh, boy!  It's a good thing that calories consumed on your child's birthday don't count.  :)  She may have gone just a bit overboard this year which we have already addressed.  John usually takes off for our children's birthdays, but he was unable to this year.  But he's taking today off, and Rachel looks forward to spending the day with him, including a trip to the Lego Store to pick out one of her presents.

Here are a few other things that I enjoyed this week:

  • I bought flowers last week to help with my word for the year:  joy, and they're still very pretty.  They make me happy when I see them and when I smell them.  Delightful!
  • John and I had supper with friends last Saturday night -- without the kids!  We always enjoy seeing them, and our children enjoy their children, so we do try to get together often.  But there's something nice about having time with friends without the interruptions of children, don't you think?
  • My children made up a game "Catch Me if You Can" which they love to play outside.  Instead of sending them outside because they don't want to go, now I have to call them inside to finish up their schoolwork.  I don't know how long this will last, but I love all of the time they're spending outside.
  • No school on Rachel's birthday.  Am I the only one who thought it wasn't fair to have to go to school on my birthday?  That's one of the perks of homeschooling -- no school on your birthday.  :)
  • Doughnuts.  I mean, who doesn't love doughnuts for breakfast?  :)
John and I are attending our local pregnancy center's banquet this evening, and we should enjoy that. Date night!  We don't have much planned for Saturday which is also nice!

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

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy Seventh Birthday, Rachel!

Today is Rachel's seventh birthday!

It's wonderful to see her run and play outside!

She loves her little sister and always wants to play with her.

You should see her put together puzzles!

She's got just a bit of a crazy streak!

But she's not afraid to try new things -- most of the time.

John and I are frequently amazed at how caring she is toward others, especially her brother and sisters.

This girl has had her birthday planned almost since her birthday last year!  But I'll tell you more about that tomorrow!  :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada

This little book contains a daily devotional which starts with a verse or two, moves though some of Joni's thoughts, and finishes with a short prayer.

I have to admit that I'm not usually a fan of devotionals like this one since they tend to be simplistic and shallow.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by this one, although I shouldn't have been because of who the author is.  :)  Many of the devotions that I've read have made me ponder Biblical truths, and I've earnestly prayed several of the prayers.

If you're short on time, this little book may be a great way for you to connect with God every day.  It also makes a nice add-on to a daily Scripture study.

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

Friday, January 20, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Finished Blanket

The finished blanket.

We're getting back into our routine with the holidays over and CC starting back.  It's been cloudy lately, so that combined with our routine made things a little, well, not so much fun.  But we've worked hard this year, and I know that if we continue to work hard, we will enjoy a sense of a job well done -- at least, I will.  :)

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • John being back home.  He was gone Tuesday night for work.
  • the Book It program from Pizza Hut.  With three children eligible, we had a fairly inexpensive meal while he was gone.  Next year, we'll have four!
  • a long talk with my mother.  It's been too long (more than a week) since we had such a long phone call.
  • rain.  We've had so many cloudy days lately; finally, it rained!  Don't give me clouds unless there's rain in them!  :)
  • a finished blanket.  I've been knitting this blanket for, it seems like, forever.  And I'm finally done!  Now I need to schedule a trip to the pregnancy center to drop it off along with a bunch of other stuff Hannah has outgrown.
  • starting a new blanket!  That's always fun!
We plan to watch some of Trump's inauguration this morning since an inauguration only happens once every four years -- we hope.  And honestly, I've never watched one before.  We also have plans to have supper with friends this weekend, and we're looking forward to it!  Other than that, it looks like a quiet weekend at home.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Word of the Year: Joy

Isn't that a happy face!

I chose a word for this year.  I've never done that before, but I want to work on becoming more happy.  I picked the word "joy" since joy and happiness are interchangeable in the Bible according to Randy Alcorn.

Why have I decided to pursue joy?  Because, after thinking about it, I think that God wants us to be happy.

Yes, really.

I want my children to be happy; don't you?  Of course, I want their happiness to be healthy which means that they have to eat their vegetables, and I don't just feed them cookies and ice cream.  I also make them learn things in school, hard things that they don't want to deal with.  God is the same way; He wants us to be happy.  But that doesn't mean that He only gives us what we want.  He also gives us what we need, and sometimes we need some vegetables and school (suffering and hardship) in order to grow as we should.

What am I going to do about this word?  I plan to do things intentionally that make me happy.  For instance, I'm getting some music -- hymns, specifically -- to listen to because it makes me happy to listen to hymns and sing along when I know the words.  Daniel and Mary gave me candles for Christmas, and it would make me happy to light them frequently.

This weekend a couple of times I felt, um, not happy after working hard.  Maybe unappreciated.  So I thought to myself, "I'm going to do something now that will make me happy.  What can I do that will make me happy?"  I read a few pages of a good book or played a game, and it worked!  I was happier, and I was able to recharge so I could deal with my family more pleasantly.  Very nice!

Just in case you're wondering, I do not plan to use my word of the year to focus just on me and my happiness.  As a homeschooling mother, so much of my time is used to serve my family which is a wonderful thing, but I want to be more intentional about doing things for me, small things that will bring me joy.

Have you ever chosen a word for your year?  Do you have one for this year?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Cold Weekend

We had some really cold weather (for here) last weekend.  With highs in the 40s, we almost didn't know what to do.  :)  But John built a fire in our fireplace to keep us warm, and we were so appreciative.  That was Friday and Saturday, and then it warmed up to 70 on Monday.  Our crazy Texas weather!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • The cold weather.  Yes, really.  I enjoy a touch of cold weather occasionally; I just don't want an actual whole winter of it.  :)
  • We started back to CC this week.  We had a nice break, but it was great to reconnect with our friends.
  • Being able to send the kids outside again.
  • Hannah is learning to get down after standing up!
  • Manicotti!  I usually order this dish when we go out to our favorite Italian place, and I figured I'd see if I could make it at home.  I won't link to the recipe I used since I didn't follow it exactly, and it wasn't great.  But I plan to look for another recipe and try again since most of us enjoyed it!  (Two of my children asked for seconds which is HUGE!)
What did you enjoy this week?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig

From the back cover:  Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole "Tox" Russell has been disavowed by the United States.  And that's fine -- he just wants to be left alone.  But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.  Tox and his former Special Forces team regroup to work with FBI deception expert Kasey Cortes and fiery archaeologist Tzivia Khalon to search the globe for answers -- and a cure.  As the mission leads from one continent to another, it becomes clear they're not just fighting a plague but battling an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.  With time running out and the threat of a global pandemic rising, Tox and his team realize their sole chance might be to reach back through centuries of silence to find the only answer that can save them all.

I enjoyed reading this fast-paced book which kept me wondering what was going to happen next.  The story is exciting and interesting -- as long as you don't read too closely.  There were several instances where things just didn't make sense, like when Tox kicks a van door closed from the inside -- which isn't possible.  Or when Kasey gets a cup of lukewarm coffee and inhales the steam.  How does lukewarm coffee give off steam?  And I'm not comfortable with the way the author treats artifacts from Biblical history, like Aaron's censer, as if they are talismans and have inherent power in themselves.

Yes, I recommend this book, again, as long as you don't read too carefully and if you don't mind some liberty taken with Biblical history and God's part in it.

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

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Goals for 2016

You've got to get them started early with loving to read!

I didn't make many goals last year -- other than having a baby.  :)  Being pregnant and having a new baby kept me so busy mentally that I couldn't do too much planning.  But I don't have that excuse anymore; besides, I enjoy making goals.  And the first of the year is a good time for goal-making.

In the past, I made goals for my year, and last year I made some monthly goals.  I'm going to try a hybrid:  making goals for my year along with some goals for specific months.  I'll see how it works!

Here are my goals for this year:
  • I want to run two 5Ks.  I really enjoyed running a 5K in October, so I thought I'd run two this year.  Both take place here in town about ten minutes from where we live, so they are easy to get to.  
  • Fun School Days.  I used to try to celebrate fun school days, but I've gotten out of the habit.  I want to bring them back.  They give a nice excuse to learn something a little different, and they bring a bit more fun to school.
  • Hospitality:  having other mothers and children over for games and such.  I'm not sure why I stopped doing this except maybe that I had a baby.  :)  I want to get back to it, and I'm using you to keep my accountable.  
  • 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.
  • Date night.  One more thing we need to get back to doing every month.  
  • Get comfortable enough with my handgun to go shoot by myself although I may not actually go by myself.  :)  
Here are my goals for this month:
  • Increase my running from fifteen minutes to twenty.  Yes, I measure my running in minutes not miles.  
  • Go through Crystal's Make Over Your Evenings Course.  I did her morning course this past summer, and I need to go through this one since I already paid for it.  :)
I also read the article "10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year" and journaled my answers.  I thought the questions were thought-provoking and helpful as I thought about how I wanted to grow spiritually this year.  

Do you make yearly and/or monthly goals?  

Friday, January 6, 2017

What I've Enjoyed the Past Three Weeks

My little mess-maker!  

I've thought about writing an enjoyment post the past couple of weeks, but I was having too much fun enjoying my family!  So this will have to do.  :) Here are just a few of the things that I enjoyed these past three weeks:
  • having John home a lot more than usual for the weeks around Christmas
  • seeing how excited our children were opening their gifts
  • the Christmas Eve service at church
  • going to church on Christmas Day.  It feels right to celebrate Jesus' birth by going to church.
  • spending time with friends:  we had two invitations, one for swimming (yes, it was warm enough for that!) and one to play
  • a week off school.  We only took a week off because I thought we were behind, and I wanted to catch up.
  • When I refigured, I realized that we're a little bit ahead.  Hooray!
  • playing games with my children.  They were given Ticket to Ride, and I've enjoyed playing that with Sarah Beth, Daniel, and Rachel.
  • making dryer balls from wool yarn.  I had never felted anything before, so I found it fascinating to see how the wool felted when I washed it.  
  • staying home and going to bed early on New Year's Eve.  :)
What have you enjoyed recently?  How was your Christmas and New Year's?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Eleven Months!

It's hard to believe that Hannah is eleven months old -- almost a year!  She has learned a couple of new tricks in the past month.

She learned to pull up and stand, but she's still learning how to sit back down.  :)

She has also learned to climb the first two stairs.  I'm thankful for her four older siblings who can help watch out for that so we can get her down before she hurts herself.

She is still a major source of entertainment to Rachel and Mary.  In this picture, you can see how fascinated Mary is with Hannah exploring her new Christmas presents.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review: Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

In this book, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles tells her story of how she came to live with her grandparents who became her adopted parents and also how she became the talented gymnast that she is.  Her enthusiasm for life comes through very well, and the reader can almost "hear" Simone's voice through the words on the page.  Having read about this beginning of her life, I can't help but wonder what lies in store for Simone in her future.

I enjoyed this book very much, but it needed some better editing.  There were many instances of slang and poor grammar that should have been cleaned up for better reading.  With that said, however, I recommend this book, especially for young people, because of Simone's hard work ethic -- and just because it was fun to read.  My ten year old daughter also enjoyed this book.

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