Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January Reading

I read a diverse group of books this month, but I enjoyed all of them and would recommend any of them.  As a new thing, I thought I would start listing them in order of importance, that is, how important or entertaining each book was to me.  Here's a list of what I read:
  • The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance:  Nurturing Your Marriage Through the Homeschool Years by Heidi St. John.  I listened to a podcast by the author, and it intrigued me, so I found a copy of this book.  What a wonderful reminder of how important marriage is, even when a family is homeschooling.  As wives, we must remember that our husbands are more important than our children, and the author gives practical ways to help busy homeschooling mothers do this.
  • Destination Moon by James Irwin.  This engaging book was written by the eighth man to walk on the moon.  While it is written for children, I found it fascinating, and I learned a lot while reading it.  Irwin gives a quick summary of the previous space missions, then concentrates on his personal trip to the moon and how it changed his perspective.  After visiting the moon, his new mission was to tell the world about Jesus Christ who created the moon and saved his soul.
  • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The narrator is transported to Mars from the "Wild West" in the late 1800s, and he doesn't know how.  While there, John Carter makes friends in a savage, warring tribe and falls in love with, you guessed it, a princess of Mars.  This book is jam-packed full of action and adventure, and it's still a wonderful read even though it's over a hundred years old.
  • The Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart.  When World War II ends, Fran receives a letter from her fiancee that he has found someone else.  In order to start a new life and to continue her nursing training, she moves to the Kentucky Applachians to learn midwifery.  She has many adventures as she finds her way in the mountains and learns new skills.  I really enjoyed this book, especially when I learned that it's based on the work of a real person.
  • Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas.  This book was recommended in World Magazine, and I'm glad I read it.  When Perla moves into town with her daughter and no husband, almost the whole town judges her.  As she becomes an important part of keeping the town going through a severe drought, they come to appreciate her more.  The author reminds us not to judge others for their repented, forgiven sin because we have our own sin, too.  
What did you read this month?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Happy Eighth Birthday, Rachel!

It's hard to believe that today is Rachel's eighth birthday!  It feels like she was just a little baby.

She enjoys having fun and being a little silly sometimes.

She makes friends wherever she goes!

Mostly, though, she loves spending time with her daddy and me.

I am constantly amazed at how much she thinks of others.

Rachel is a wonderful big sister.

Happy birthday to our sweet Rachel!

Friday, January 19, 2018

What I Didn't Enjoy This Week: Freezing Weather

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

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

My new blanket.

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 5, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Another Slow Week

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Five Best Books I Read in 2017

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

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