Friday, August 31, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Getting the Roses Clipped


Clipping the roses went well last Saturday, I'm pleased to say.  It took us about an hour, and most of my children were agreeable most of the time.  ;)  After I asked him, Daniel even said that he felt pretty good after his hard work.  (He was in charge of emptying the wheelbarrow onto the burn pile.) Honestly, I felt proud of my work, too, afterwards, and I looked around the yard to see what else could be done.  But it's fall, so it's not the time to plant a garden or even just a few flowers.  Maybe I should reread this chapter in early spring!  A huge limb did fall in our yard Wednesday, so I imagine we will clean it up this weekend -- or at least John and our children will!  ;)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Saturday evening, John took our oldest four children to a Houston Dash game.  That team is Houston's professional women's soccer team, and they had a great time.  I enjoyed having a quiet house.  :)
  • Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas.  A man at the end of his rope becomes the assistant to an enigmatic detective in Victorian London.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially the characters.  While I don't know if the author is a Christian or not, he does treat the faith with respect.
  • I was able to get out by myself for a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon.  I got my hair cut and ran a few other errands that are difficult to do with children in tow, like running into Hobby Lobby for one skein of yarn.
  • Glory in the Ordinary:  Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God by Courtney Reissig.  This short little book gave me a new perspective on the household chores I do everyday.  Honestly, I found Reissig's ideas to be revolutionary for me, as I explained in this post.
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham.  What a wonderful book!  It is required reading for Sarah Beth's Challenge A class, but if it weren't, I would require all of my children to read it.  Nat Bowditch is an amazing example of someone who is self-taught.  Despite less-than-ideal circumstances, he takes the initiative to learn new things during the time of the founding of our country.  Yes, it is based on a true story.
  • This morning, I took my children to a Not Back to School Party for homeschoolers.  They had a great time playing with new and old friends while I enjoyed socializing with adults.  :)
We have our girls' soccer game schedules, and they start next Saturday.  I think we are going to enjoy a quiet weekend at home.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Imaging God by Bringing Order out of Chaos


While I have never thought the work in my home was unimportant, I have often thought that it was tedious and, at times, almost meaningless (why mop a floor when a child is just going to spill milk on it again anyway?).  But then I read this quote in Glory in the Ordinary:  Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God by Courtney Reissig, and the way I view housework was transformed.
So in light of God being part of the work that we do, being hidden in the work that we do, how do we as image bearers image Him in such ordinary tasks as housework?...  A task that does this clearly is when you bring order out of chaos....  You take a room that is cluttered and in disarray and organize it and declutter.  Order out of chaos.  You clean and disinfect a refrigerator that is growing things that are hardly edible.  Order out of chaos.  You sort, pretreat, wash, fold, and put away piles of laundry.  Order out of chaos. 
With every ordinary task you do, you are bringing order into this chaotic world that we live in.  While it might feel hardly God-like, I assure you that it is. 
God, staring at the vastness of time and space, spoke creation into existence out of nothing (Gen. 1:1-3).  God quiets storms to a whisper (Ps. 107:29).  And most of all, God in the flesh brings order to our chaotic souls by dying on the cross and giving us His righteousness.  (pages 51-51)
I had not thought that I could be imaging God by the simple, tedious, almost meaningless chores that I do daily around my home.  What a revolutionary idea!  "Bringing order out of chaos" has become my new mantra.  When I pick up toys after my children's bedtime, I think, "Bringing order out of chaos."  When I load the dishwasher with dirty dishes for the umpteenth time that day, when I fold clothes out of the seemingly never-ending laundry basket, I think, "Bringing order out of chaos."

My new mantra has brought new purpose to my daily chores.  And I love it!

How do you feel about your housework?  Does this quote help to bring additional meaning to it?

Friday, August 24, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Ballet


Since last week was our first week of school, we are adjusting to our new routine of doing school every day.  Last week was hard since my children were tired from other activities, but this week has been much better.  Thankfully!

Mary started ballet classes yesterday, and she loved it!  She has been wanting to learn to dance for years, but it has been hard to figure out how to make it happen.  Finally this year, things came together in the right way for her to be able to take classes.  She grinned the whole way through her lesson.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Rachel loves her new math curriculum!  She now looks forward to math, and one night she even asked if she could do extra lessons.  But, of course!
  • our second week of CC went well, as did my tutoring.  We changed the layout of the classroom, bringing the parents and students closer to the front (and me!), and it was so much better!
  • some friends drove down from Houston to visit a local aquarium with us.  We had not seen them in a while, so it was wonderful to catch up with them.
  • Rachel is turning into a voracious reader.  Well, voracious may not be quite the right word, but she does enjoy it.
As I mentioned earlier this week, tomorrow we are going to trim our rose bushes.  I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it, but it will be nice to have it done.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Using Household Chores to Build My Children's Self-Esteem


I started rereading Kay Wills Wyma's book Cleaning House this summer with the goal of reading one chapter and implementing her suggestions every week.  That did not happen.  My goal was too lofty to achieve on that timetable, so I changed it to reading one chapter every month and striving to work on each chapter's goals that month.  I think I am still behind, but I wanted to let you know what we have been doing.

While I love the idea of having my children do more around the house (so I can do less), that is not the ultimate goal.  What I really want to do is to build their self-esteem.  You know the pride you feel when you have done a job well?  That is the feeling I want them to have, so they learn to do hard things, getting that wonderful pride that comes when they finish.

The first chapter/month deals with teaching children to clean their rooms.  Pretty simple, right?  That is exactly where I needed to start.  :)  Wyma decided to pay her children $1 every day to make their beds, pick up any toys and/or clothes that are on the floor.  Well, I have three children who need an incentive to clean their rooms, so I can't (and won't) afford that.  But they are happy (most of the time) to do this chore for a quarter.  That I can afford.  It also gives them a little extra spending money.  We're doing well with this chore, so we've moved on.

The second chapter/month involves getting children to cook supper once a week.  I tailored it to my family, and I decided to have one child help me in the kitchen for a week, and they would rotate weekly.  The end goal is that each one would cook supper by himself, I'm not sure yet how often.  They don't get any incentive for this help except that they get to help make the menu for the week.

To be honest with you, this goal is hard for me.  When it's time to prepare supper, I'm tired.  I just want to do it myself and be done with it.  So we're still working on this goal.  For the most part, however, my children are glad to help, even asking whether it is their week.  And when they have helped prepare supper, it is worth it all to see the pride on their face as they brag to their father.  :)

Even though we are still working on the second goal, I decided to move on to the third:  yard work.  This one will be difficult for me, too, since I am not much of an outside person.  And I do not like yard work.  So this month will be stretching for all of us, hopefully in a good way.  I have already informed my children (and my husband to keep us accountable) that we start Saturday by trimming our roses.  While they are not thrilled with this information, they have not complained about it too much -- yet.

(What is it about roses here?  They seem to be the ubiquitous yard decoration, kind of like the azalea bushes in my hometown in Georgia.  Every house has some.)

I will let you know how this weekend goes.  I dare not look ahead to the next chore because I am a little afraid of what it might be.  :)

How do you get your children to help around the house?  Or do you just do it all yourself?

Friday, August 17, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: My Mother and Learning to Ride a Bike


No, my mother did not learn to ride a bike this week, and neither did I.  :)  We already know how!

But my did mother come for a visit last week.  As always, we had a great time visiting with her although I wish I had taken some pictures while she was here.  She spent a lot of time playing games with and reading books to my children.  We all enjoyed her visit.

This week we started school, here at home and with our CC campus.  I must admit that my children did not have the best attitude about their schoolwork.  Probably they were still a little tired from my mother's visit and their trip to a water park with John on Wednesday.  Being tired will make anyone a little crabby, won't it?

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • we saw the Incredibles 2 movie two weeks ago, and we all loved it.  Even Hannah sat spellbound on my lap through the whole movie.  What made it so memorable was that it was all of our children's first time to see a movie except for Sarah Beth whom I took to see Frozen several years ago.
  • I had my first parent meeting with our CC Essentials class last Monday.  It was nice spending time with the ladies whose children I will tutor.
  • after picking up my mother at the airport in Houston, we went to Half Price Books.  What a neat store!
  • on Saturday, I attended a workshop on The Lost Tools of Writing which is Sarah Beth's new writing curriculum.  I had no idea what it was all about until the workshop, so it was very helpful.  What was so impressive was that it was taught by a high school junior!  She's completed several years of CC, and I'm always impressed by these Challenge students.
  • John taught Rachel and Mary how to ride their bikes without training wheels last weekend.  They're so excited!  And I'm so proud of all of them!
  • soccer started this week.  Sarah Beth and Rachel are both playing, and it looks like they have excellent coaches this season.
  • Tuesday was our first day of CC, and we enjoyed that.  I especially enjoyed not being director! :)  There are several new families which is always fun.
  • as I mentioned before, John took our oldest four children to a waterpark on Wednesday.  They all had a great time!  They've been looking forward to it since last year.  School had started in our area, so there weren't many people there which made it that much more fun.
  • meanwhile, I was home with Hannah, and I enjoyed that!  We ran a few errands, then I got some things done at home.  It was fun only having one child for a day, and Hannah loved being an only child -- for a day.  :)
  • The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.  A few teenagers solve a robbery mystery that occurs in an early 1900's department store.  Although this book is written for children, I found the character development to be fairly good, and the twists and turns of the plot kept the book interesting.  I plan to read some more in this series.
  • Why My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park.  This book tells the story of a young girl and her older brother during the decade when Korea was occupied by Japan before it was liberated after World War II.  It was an informative yet sad book to read.
We have a quiet weekend planned, and we play to savor it since soccer games start soon and with them busy weekends.

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Review: I Am: The Names of God for Little Ones


I was thrilled when this book (I Am:  The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Diane Le Feyer) arrived for me to review.  When I read it to  my toddler, she loved it and started calling it her "Jesus book."  You can probably tell from the title of this book that it tells a little about several names of God:  God the Father and God the Son.  It has a nice distribution of names from throughout the Bible.

However, I did find a few problems with this book:
  • Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide.  In the Bible, God reveals this name to Abraham when he almost sacrifices his son Isaac but does not because God provides a ram as a substitute.  However, in this book, the author implies that all this name means is that God will provide us with food and take care of us.  This name means so much more!  God doesn't just give us food, but He supplied us with a sacrifice to take our place so we will not be punished for our sin.  
  • Jehovah Rophe, the Lord Who heals.  The story with this one is when Naaman is healed in the Jordan River.  But the Lord revealed this name to the Israelites when He made bitter water sweet at Marah (Exodus 15).  Although the author used a different story to illustrate the name of God, I don't think it dilutes the meaning at all.
  • Rabbi, Teacher.  This pages tells about how Jesus taught about God, but Jesus is God!  It makes it seem like He isn't.  The author should have made a distinction that Jesus taught about God the Father.  
Don't get me wrong about this book, please!  I enjoyed this book, and I'm glad to have added it to our library.  The criticisms I found are fairly small, some may say nitpicky.  But I like and expect accuracy in my books about the Bible for me and for my children.  

All of the negatives about this book, which aren't many, are completely taken care of by the pages about Jesus as Savior and King of Kings.  This book clearly relates that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead.  And my favorite page of all was the last one when Jesus will return and make Heaven and Earth new.  What hope this page gives to us and our children!

I will continue to read my daughter her "Jesus book" because it is just that good.

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Quiet Week and a Finished Blanket

Another finished blanket for our local pregnancy center.

We had a quiet week at home, almost too quiet, as we didn't always know what to do with our time.  But my mother is coming next week, and the week after that we start school again.  So I decided to appreciate our downtime this week.  :)

Here are a few specific things I enjoyed this week:
  • We met some friends at the pool and had a great time with them.  I really appreciated having someone to talk to.  :)
  • Both Sarah Beth and Rachel won their prizes for summer reading!  In our county, it's done like a raffle, and you get more tickets by reading more.  My oldest three children earned the maximum amount of tickets for their reading.
  • I always love it when I finish a blanket because I get to start something new!
  • I really appreciate our new CC director.  She is doing a great job getting things together this summer, and I have to admit that I have been enjoying not being director this year!  ;)
This morning, we have orientation for our Classical Conversations campus, and we look forward to meeting new families as our campus has grown over the summer!

We plan to see the new Incredibles movie tomorrow, but other than that, we hope to have a quiet weekend.

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