Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Every Good Thing

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

James 1:17 

The boys doing their impression of a fictitious character named "Mrs. Kramer"--think grumpy librarian.  It actually might be a representation of my personality lately.  I'm experiencing some major grumpiness lately.  Mixture of spring fever and ready for school to be over, when we have SEVERAL weeks left.  

I have several ideas I'm getting ready to start.  With last week's busy-ness, frankly, I've been overwhelmed and discouraged. JP and I had a long conversation last night.  He always talks me through my "stuff" and I went to bed feeling better than I have in at least a week.  I get so wrapped up in all the things that aren't going the way I think they should.  Forgetting that God has plans that go way beyond my little thinking. 

I'm trying to "go with the flow" especially with school.  We started some projects for the fair in September.  

Michael's painting entry

In addition to our Resurrection Eggs, I'm doing this Holy Week activity with Michael.  I've wanted to do it for a couple of years, but this year he's just the right age for it.

I need to plan more art, music and field trips as we finish up this year....and count my blessings.  Definitely that last one!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Keep Walkin'

I've been putting in the miles in the last few weeks.  

I don't know about you, but I can always find reasons not to exercise.

"I'm tired"
"I don't have anywhere to walk or anyone to walk with"
"I don't have the right clothes"
"It's hard..."


Yes, I have been a bit of a whiner in the past.  But hopefully that is just in the past.  

I have decided I'm getting out there and if I can't do anything else...I CAN walk! 

We live in a very rural area where only the main street has sidewalks.  Before I made excuses about our town not being walker friendly.  No more. 

I put on my shoes and I walk up and down those sidewalks until I hit the two mile mark on my pedometer.  Sometimes I go back out for a shorter one mile walk later.  I have made it a point to walk in any "safe" weather.  Windy...light rain...whatever.  If I don't give myself an out, I just do it!  Six days a week!

I may look crazy and people will most likely start identifying me "as the lady that walks up and down the street", but it's better than being racked with health issues from the lack of activity.  
We are a "fast" society.  I want to see results fast and if I don't, it's obviously not working.  That's why we see such a market for "lose weight fast" supplements and diet plans.  These may work for some people, but in the long run I'm sure it's creating much of the same yo-yo dieting we've seen through the years.  

I'm not dropping weight like crazy or anything like that.  But I am maintaining good health.  I'm seeing so many people my age and a bit older with so many health problems.  Some things I can't control, but I should do what I can with what I do have control over. 

So, I walk and I plan to keep walkin'!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up


Has it been a week since I last posted? 

The week was full of activity---lots of physical activity!  The boys are in the middle of swim lessons.  Michael is trying to get over his fear of going under the water.  He is doing a whole lot better!

One night, Tera made these adorable and healthy desserts for us in our new push pop set. 

I've been trying to retrain my brain to think of health in regards to activity level vs. the number on a scale.  So, everyday this week we've taken advantage of the weather and went for walks--long walks.  Any day we are out in town, we go by the library and walk on the trail there.  It is so beautiful and there is always tons of wildlife.  We've been averaging between 2 and 3 mile walks.  On the days we do not make it into town, we walk around our little neighborhood.  Sometimes I walk by myself and sometimes we use it as PE.  I'm shooting for over 10,000 steps in a day (roughly 4 miles).  I even bought myself a couple of pairs of workout shorts.  I'm not one of those people who can pull off wearing yoga pants. 

Our beautiful view:

I've never seen these birds before starting our walks on the library trail.  They are called American Coot.  Their feet are some of the freakiest things I've ever seen.  

According to my children, no week is complete without Chess Club! 

We started meeting with some other home schoolers this week for a time of sharing the kids' creative writing.  We'll be learning and sharing once every couple of weeks.  

Lots of other exciting things are starting to come about, hopefully I'll talk about some of those before next Friday!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: The one with no pictures and lots of walking


Monday:  Swim lessons and taco night.  Oh, how we love tacos.   After taco night, I took a walk up and down the hill (up and down, up and down, etc.) the next block over.  I may do that more often!

Tuesday:  Well, we were supposed to have some rock delivered and spread onto our driveway.  So, we tried to be gone during the window of delivery.  The kids and I got up and tried to hurry out to the library.  Our library has a walking trail that is really nice.  After a mile walk, we went in and finished our schoolwork.  Before we left, we went on another mile walk around the trail.  Then, we did something we never do...we went out to lunch.  Taco Bell pleases everyone and is right near the library.  Fortunately, we made it before the lunch rush.  Back home to find no new rock on our driveway....bummer.  

Tuesday night:  Tera attended her first ever TEEN homeschool event.  We have a rather large homeschool support group that has activities throughout the year.  Most of the time the events are not things she would enjoy-dances, trampoline parks, etc.  Game night is something she REALLY likes.  She tried to recruit at least one friend to go, because most likely we would not know anyone.  The age range is rather broad 13-19.  One of her close friends was planning to attend.  I kinda watched from the sidelines as teens do what teens do.  Some talked to her at the beginning during the mingling, but mostly she was kinda alone. At least one parent, sent their kid over to talk to her.  

I saw her start helping an adult set up chairs or reading the directions to a game.  Not once did I feel the need to go in and rescue her.  That awkwardness in a room where you don't know a soul is a right of passage in some way.  She reacted the same way I would in a situation like that.  Not pushing myself into an established group and then looking for a way to help someone.  She wasn't distressed or traumatized.   

Her friend arrived and I might have seen relief come over her face.  She played a game with other girls her age...laughing and talking.  She enjoyed herself immensely!  I talked with my friend in a corner somewhere while we waited.  I was only sorry that I didn't get to join in on any of the cool games.  But that's for another night, I guess.  It was also a bit on the late side for my early bird! 

Wednesday:  Up bright and early, I had my devotions and prayer time before getting out of bed.  Then, I slid down the last few steps of the stairs coming down.  One leg went back wrenching my foot and bruising my leg.  I carpet-burned my arm and bruised it, too.  It was not a great start to the day.  I'm not any worse for wear, still bruised and my big toe has a kink in it. 

Tera had her last piano lesson.  She has loved her teacher, who has been a friend and mentor for her.  She loved her so much that I know that is the reason she has stayed with piano this long.  She just doesn't LOVE piano, it's not her PASSION.  So, for now we're signing her up for a choir in the fall.  We'll look for other ways/instruments for her.  It was bittersweet, but a necessary move for her and us.  

After piano and flute, we swung by the library for a walk.  Even after my fall, I knew I needed to "walk it off" to avoid being "stove up" as my grandmother used to say.  We walked 2 miles.  

Since I was up so early, I started to lay down for a few minutes after a hot bath.  Then, I hear beeping outside.  The guy was finally there to dump rock while I was laying down for the first time in forever.  I wish I could say I rolled with it.  But my attitude left something to be desired.  I won't go all into the rest of the afternoon, but by bedtime that night...I was one cranky chick!

Thursday:  Yesterday, I woke up late and still cranky.  Didn't do my devotions and could really feel it the entire day.  I was in a blue mood.  Things were crazy, there seemed to be messes everywhere.  So, I started to clean up before we left for the library for chess club.  I wanted all my chores done before we left. We left dinner in the crockpot and the house in pretty good shape.

We did another 2 mile walk/jog.  Then, headed in for chess club.  I read to Michael while Tera and Daniel played.  Michael wanted to go on another walk, so we logged in another 1/2 mile.  

Today:  We are home ALL DAY!!!!  Ahh...it feels so good!  The kids and I have decided we are going to train for a walk/run 5K somewhere in the distant future.  We want to be well-trained before we attempt that.  

I am so glad today is Friday--it's pizza and movie night.  It's a relaxing day at home and I'm already feeling the load of the week falling off my shoulders. 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Say Amen

It's been a hard week. Sometimes it's the little things that can drag you down.

"This life is a journey we walk by faith 
And there will always be the mountains in our way 
But right here in this moment, may our strength be renewed 
As we recall what God has done and how we've seen Him move" 

Little things that don't go the way you planned.
Messes that never seem to end.
People saying one thing and doing another.
Having somewhere to go EVERY DAY!
Laundry that seems to double for no apparent reason.
Piles of things that need to find a new home.

It's easy to dwell on these things and let it color our world an unnatural grey. Easy to dwell on the darkness.

"Sometimes through the darkness, it's hard to see 
So just be brave and follow where He leads." 

I have found Him faithful
I know He's able
I have seen His power
I have been brought through the fire time and time again!
I have found joy in the middle of sorrow
Peace in the storm, hope for tomorrow
And seen time and time again.

So, I'll just say, "Amen!"

Monday, March 24, 2014

Not Settling

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you 
great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

I'm not even sure how to begin...

As many of you know, my husband and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.  My husband wanted to do something really nice for me and get bedroom furniture for us.  Decorating is really not my thing and I say I'm content with a hodge podge style.  I just don't have time to think about things like that.  I'd LIKE something nicer, but I don't want to spend the money or the time to accomplish it.  

So, when he brought up the idea, I thought how nice and thoughtful!  He knows I would like to have a decorated bedroom with coordinating things.  He wants to spend the money he makes from working so hard for a luxury for his wife.  I'm overwhelmed with the thought!

Immediately,  I began looking for ways to be frugal, to settle for less than what my husband wants for me.  He wants something really nice and I'm checking out thrift stores.  (There is nothing wrong with thrift stores, but it wasn't exactly what he has in mind for this occasion!)

I have been thinking a lot about how this compares to my relationship with God.  God wants so much for me, for you.  He wants us to have freedom in Him, wants to show us forgiveness, wants us to know how much He loves us.  

How often we look at God and all the blessings He has for us; blessings that only happen as we draw into a deeper relationship with Him.  We say,

 "Oh no, Lord...thanks, but this little bit is enough.  I'll settle for this gift that is less than You really want for me.  I'm good!  This little bit of You and Your blessings is quite enough! Really!"  

Yet, something in our spirit feels that we somehow have passed over something better had we only waited.  And in our waiting...drawn close to Him!  

So, here I am today after struggling over the whole thing for days.  I want to get the lesson here....I want to have a receiving spirit.  As my husband leads our family, may I honor him and his love for me. It might take a little longer to get it done, but it will be so much more joyous of a gift.  

May I honor my heavenly Father, even more and wait for the spiritual blessings He alone can give! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Things Thursday: Exercise

Three Things Thursday

Okay, okay...it's really Friday!  We've had such a nice, relaxing spring break that I would like to pretend it's Thursday today.  

I have this love/hate relationship with exercise.  I believe I'm one of those people who do not lose weight when they exercise.  That part is kinda depressing, I know.  So, I start exercising and then see "no results"  (aka number on the scale going down) and I give up. 

This is a pep talk for myself as much as I hope to inspire others to get past their "number" and get moving!

Three Benefits of Exercise (at least for me):

#1  While the scale tells me I still weigh the same,  I still feel and look smaller.  Exercise tones all...well, some of the not-so-tone parts of my body. I move easier AND faster.  The more I get up and move, the more I want to get up and move!  It's a win-win!

#2  It's good for other important numbers.  My family (men and women) has a history of heart disease.  My dad died before he turned 50.  So, I keep up on my cholesterol numbers.  Last year, I had actually gained a couple of pounds from the year before, BUT I raised my HDL (good cholesterol)  12 POINTS!!!  That is really hard to do, but I was exercising more than I am now.  Exercise keeps my heart healthy!

#3  Exercise-It does the emotions good!  Not only do I feel better physically when I have consistent exercise, but my emotions are more on an even keel.  All those good brain chemicals that exercise releases make you feel good.  I have more confidence in my body.  I feel better about myself.  

A friend (a very physically fit friend) told me recently "Get rid of your scale!"  I didn't want to listen to her.  I'm kinda compulsive about getting on that thing.  But it is not my friend.  It really is a sabotage agent from the realms of darkness.  Well, that's a bit extreme, but you get the point.  So, (for now) I will put away the scale and just keep on moving!  

To clarify, here are my exercises of choice:  Most days, walking and keeping track of steps with a pedometer (shooting for 10,000).  I will throw in 30 mins of Tai Bo workout video and sometimes Tai Chi.  With my IC, I have to be careful about what kinds of exercises I do.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lent Prayer Calendar

I saw this idea online and decided to go for it!  

Two sheets from a Dora calendar and friends and family to pray for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.  

When we pray before every meal and in our nightly devotions, we remember to pray for those on our calendar for the day.  

I think this is an idea we might have to adopt for use throughout the rest of the year. 

What are some unique ways you remember to pray for others?

Hip Homeschool Moms

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Break--Freedom in the Somethings

Structure-my kids need it; they actually thrive in it!  Structure is necessary.  Without enough, it leads quickly down a path of boredom, moodiness and possibly laziness.  Too much structure is stifling and prevents creativity.  Finding a happy medium is the key.  

Spring break can have structure and still be FUN!!!

My two older kids have their own interests and hobbies.  Most of the time they entertain themselves very successfully.  Other times they need a little help.  I wanted to leave nothing up to chance this week.  I have some fun things lined up, but wanted them to have some freedom to pursue their own desires this week.  

Here's what they woke up to on the dry erase board this morning:

Write something
Read something
Play something
Clean something
Do something
Create something
Make something
Practice something


They pick whatever somethings they want to do.  Nothing is set in stone, yet they have somethings to look forward to...to enjoy!

Structure,  yet freedom in the somethings of life!

There has been music played, desks cleaned, floral arrangements made all with a lightness of spirit and emotions!  Structure...yeah, it's a good thing in this house!  

Even on spring breaks...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Pi Day and a Spontaneous Field Trip


We started celebrating Pi Day during school this morning.  Tera started this Pi Day announcement on the dry erase board before I was even up.

The kids found three different items and had to measure diameters to find area and circumferences.

We watched a couple of youtube videos:

Tonight, we will eat PIE!!!  Pizza Pi, Blueberry Cream Pie and Pecan (because my family seemed so disappointed I would not make a pecan pie--store bought to the rescue).

The kids and I took a trip to the Blount County Historical Museum for a sneak peek of the their new exhibit featuring women's wear from the 1830s-1930s.  They will  change out the dresses every few weeks.  We will be frequent visitors, I'm sure!

This has been one of those weeks---productive, yet long and tiring.

I was so glad when I looked at the calendar of school days and realized we had enough days to actually take SPRING BREAK next week.  Almost all our activities are off, so it's PERFECT!!!!

I have some low key things planned for the kids and ice cream!  I bought ice cream!  It's going to be a great week!  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Memories 1994-2014

A beautiful present of memories made by our daughter for our anniversary!  (Help with ideas came from her brother, Daniel) 

I will love and cherish it forever!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Anniversary in Numbers


20 years

2 college degrees

3 kids

4 cars (We still own 2 of those!)

3 dogs and 2 cats

10 residences

4 states

6 pictures (taken at our wedding)

I was 19

He was 23

The 2 became 1!


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