Thursday, April 30, 2009
This went on for quite awhile. I somehow got dependent on my stats. Until one day I discovered that my statcounter was full. No more reports of who visited and from where. No idea of how many people were coming. At first I had withdrawal. I kept going back to the site to see whether it had somehow righted itself.
Day after day went by and I had no idea as to what my numbers were. And I realized that there is freedom in that. I didn't need to be tied to the numbers. Obsessing about who and how many people were popping in here made no sense. And tying my mood to those numbers made even less. I have ended up being really happy to live a life without numbers. It took some wrenching away and some time to move past my habits... but now that I have made the jump I don't want to know anymore. I just want to write here. And if you come, you come. I love that you're here-- but I also love not knowing if you're not! There is such freedom in a life without numbers... but of course as an English major, I already knew that.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
What do you like to serve in warmer weather?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Opening presents is always fun.
Want to throw your own "What Will You Celebrate!" In-Home Celebration? You can get free resources to help you plan your party by visiting www.momselect.com/mickeymomsclub
Monday, April 27, 2009
I am thinking... about going upstairs to do the treadmill... soon. Yesterday we took a long walk in the beautiful weather and that served as my exercise for the day. Curt informed me that it doesn't qualify as a workout unless you really sweat. So, soon I will need to exert myself in a way that passes as a real workout. I really am always glad I did it after I do it... so it's worth the time and effort it takes.
From the learning rooms... reading about Abe Lincoln and George Washington. Why no, it's not President's Day but I stumbled upon some great books about these men and decided, why not? Other than that, we are continuing to work diligently in our school books-- one book will be finished next week. My son was delighted to learn that this morning! (And so was I-- the end is in sight!)
I am thankful for... my husband, my children, my church, my home. All God's gifts to me.
From the kitchen... eggs and bacon and cinnamon rolls for dinner-- twas supposed to be our dinner last night, but we opted for the Wendy's drive through instead as we were too tired after all the birthday party hoopla for our seven year old. He had a great birthday and pictures are forthcoming.
I am wearing... grey sweats and an old navy blue Elevation tee shirt-- will be working out after I finish writing this.
I am reading... hopefully a new book called The Fire In Fiction that I ordered from Amazon. I've got that and a new book on journaling due to arrive any day-- can't wait to dig into those treasures! Also reading the newest edition of The Old Schoolhouse-- my favorite magazine!
I am hoping... to plant sunflowers this week. I found out our friends at the co-op garden are not having it this year... I am sad about that so am consoling myself with plans to plant the sunflowers. We will miss our weekly trips to the garden that were an integral part of our spring and summer last year.
I am creating... the final edits on the speaker book and the beginnings of another fiction story. (It's a compulsion.)
I am praying... for our radio interview this afternoon and for friends who are going through difficult times in their marriages.
Around the house... feeling really good about getting some old clothes to the consignment store and some homeschool books to the used homeschool store! I love to purge!
One of my favorite things... talking to my three year old-- she is quite the conversationalist and cracks me up with what is going on inside her head. A three year old who is raised around teens is not the same as a three year old who isn't... trust me on that!
A few plans for the rest of the week... a physical therapy appointment for my daughter, our last CBS of the year, a radio interview about the book, the Chris Botti concert!!!, and leaving for what sounds like an awesome weekend in Charleston to lead a retreat there for First Baptist Simpsonville next weekend.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Friday, April 24, 2009
For those of you who feel led, my friend Amy could use our prayers for her little boy who is fighting his own battle right now. Ryan was born this week in the 28th week of pregnancy. He's just a little thing at 2 lbs. 12 ounces. She came home today and I talked to her briefly. She is keeping a good attitude and trying to see God's hand in this ordeal. But I also know her mother's heart just breaks watching her little guy fight for his life.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
- The books I have on my nightstand all revolve around making a home: Keeping House: The Litany Of Everyday Life (Margaret Kim Peterson), Living A Beautiful Life (Alexandra Stoddard), and The Hidden Art Of Homemaking (Edith Schaeffer). These are great books to be reading when spring cleaning time rolls around! I actually found joy in cleaning bathrooms and ironing clothes yesterday! It is amazing how the feminist agenda has soured us towards this most important work-- caring for those we love and giving them a place that is beautiful and pleasing to live in. Being encouraged in this area through books or blogs is good. We need to be encouraged to make home a priority.
- A concert that I have been looking forward to for months is this Saturday night... every time I hear one of their songs on the radio, I get so giddy. Who is it? The legendary Fleetwood Mac. I was raised on them and love their music. I can't wait to see Lindsey and Stevie on stage together. My wonderful husband got us great seats!! We are so looking forward to our date night. I love having something to look forward to, together.
- I had a complete brain blip when I totally forgot about the concert and invited two couples from church over for dinner on Saturday night. This morning I had to write them an apology and ask to reschedule. Remember yesterday's post about me dropping balls? Well, this was a big one to drop!
- We made it to our small group last night, which was huge for us. We have had one thing after the other keeping us from getting there on a regular basis. Some new folks have joined and it was a good group last night. We need to make getting to small group a bigger priority.
- We only have two more times of Community Bible Study for this year. I can't believe another year has come and gone. I am sad to see this year end, but I am looking forward to next year when we will be studying Luke. I have loved my study this year-- as always-- especially our study of Nehemiah and Esther. You can go to the link to see if there is a group meeting near you. If you are interested in participating in a regular Bible study, I highly recommend this one. Depending on the program in each area, your kids can go to classes of their own (even homeschoolers!) while you get to meet with other ladies and discuss your lesson. I learn a lot, my school-aged kids have learned so much about the Bible, and their preschool program is phenomenal! But if you're interested, I would get registered now, because the kids' spots go quickly!
- I was ecstatic to learn this past weekend that I had been accepted into Susan Meissner's Contemporary Women's Fiction Clinic at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference, coming up in mid May. I have less than a month to wait! If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I love Susan's writing and was especially pleased to see she had won the ECPA Book of The Year award for her newest book The Strength Of Mercy (which I just read and highly recommend). I can't believe I get to learn from her about fiction writing!! I have been getting my submission ready to send to her and the other clinic members. You know I will tell you all about my experience when I get back!
- I am in the second round of edits for the newest Proverbs 31 Ministries book, The Reason We Speak. We are working hard to have the book out in time for She Speaks this year. I am very excited about the amount of wisdom that is packed between the covers of this book. Look for the cover to appear in my sidebar very soon. Winepress did an excellent job with the cover and I love working with them!
- Our end of the year testing is on May 20th. That means it's crunch time. Time to get serious about getting a good amount of homeschooling done every day, without fail. No spring fever allowed around here! We have been hitting the books diligently and it has been so good. My nearly 7 year old told me yesterday, "You know what mom? I am good at reading." It was good to see him feel good about something he used to be very hesitant about at the beginning of the year. No matter what the test says, that's progress in my book.
- That same boy has his birthday party on Sunday. We are having a "Mickey Mouse In A Box" party, thanks to my friends at Disney. I will be blogging about it, complete with pictures, next week so be on the lookout for this riveting reading experience. "It's my blog and I can post if I want to, post if I want to, post if I want to. You would post too if Mickey came to you. "
As you can see, I have a lot on my mind... just like all women do. God gave us a wonderful ability to think about lots of things and multi-task. The temptation, I think, is to go off in a million different directions and not stay true to His direction for you. For me it's about hearing from Him as to what I need to keep and what I need to let go of. Sometimes He directs me to let go of something entirely, sometimes He tells me that I just need to lay it down for a day, or a week, or a season. I don't always get it right, but I keep pressing into Him, listening for His still small voice in the midst of the noise; hoping that I am getting this right, and grateful for His grace when I don't.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
But I did promise an update on my weekend in Illinois...
It was great! Melissa (who drove four hours to meet up with me so she could help, bless her) and I had a great time together hanging out-- laughing, swapping stories, etc. The event at Judson Memorial went so great! I was so pleased with the way things turned out. Since this was my first time giving this message (The Three Questions Jesus Asks Us), I was wondering how it would come across. I knew the content was powerful and I just wanted to do it justice and deliver it well. I am happy to report that it seemed to hit home and the ladies really were so sweet to me, making me feel welcomed and loved on. I love Judson Memorial and was so blessed to spend a second time with these special ladies! I feel like they are "my girls."
ETA! I just received a link to this sweet video Jodi (the conference director) made! Thanks Jodi! It looks great!
This week has been a week of checking off to-do lists and trying to carve out time to accomplish things that need to get done. We are heading into the homestretch with our schooling and the end of the year testing date looms closer with each passing day. With that in mind, we are being very diligent about getting our school done-- no excuses! That takes a big part of my day and limits my time on the computer or pursuing personal interests.
Last night I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, confessing to Curt that I often feel like there are too many balls in the air, plates spinning, irons in the fire, etc. That inevitably with the six children and their unique individual needs, something gets overlooked. Last night I let my 16 yo use my car to run an errand and totally forgot I needed the car for my evening Bible study, making me very late. I felt like such a ditz! And there was no one to blame but me!
This morning I read this verse:
Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
I am in touch with that right now! I have been given much in the way of these people who need me... and so much more will be required of me. The trick is to keep relying on God to supply all my needs-- and forgiving myself when I fall short, as I most certainly will.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Macy’s and Disney Parks Celebrate Mickey Moms!
Disney Parks will team up with Macy’s to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Macy’s will conduct a magical Mother’s Day promotion April 20-May 10. Fifty-one winners (one from each state and the District of Columbia) will win a six-day coast-to-coast vacation for the winner and three guests.
From start to finish, these winners will enjoy the royal treatment that will begin with a sunrise breakfast on Main Street, U.S.A.® at Disneyland® Resort in California and end with a sunset dinner and a private IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth reserved seating location at the Walt Disney World® Resort.
In addition, their trip will be complete with Disney resort accommodations at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel® and Disney's Yacht Club Resort, round-trip air travel, and lots of Theme Park fun at all six Disney theme parks in the United States.
To enter for a chance to win this amazing celebration at Disney Parks and for contest rules, visit www.macys.com/mom.
Friday, April 17, 2009
This was a long, strange week for our family. I can't go into details here on the blog, but just suffice it to say that raising teenagers is hard. We experienced that ourselves, plus saw it played out in the lives of some people around us. I have been sort of quiet this week here on the blog as I processed and prayed. I also looked for God at work in the midst of the struggles... and saw Him many times, still weaving his tapestry-- just using some colors I didn't exactly love-- contrasting colors that bring the subject into focus, necessary colors that I know are part of the beautiful masterpiece of humanity that He is weaving together from all of our lives.
I would appreciate your prayers for my trip this weekend. I am giving three new messages, so knowing I am being prayed for is always a comfort. I love the ladies of Judson and I have no doubt I will be blessed by my time with them just as I was before. My prayer is that my words are His words, because His words are what their hearts need to hear.
PS. I made this for my family to have tonight for dinner. Thanks to the marvelous crockpot, my family can have my cooking even when I am not home! They are having this with Stove Top Stuffing and lima beans (something dad can make easily), but it could be paired with lots of things. Trust me when I say that this is suitable for company.
I made two in hopes that there will be enough left over to shred, pour barbecue sauce over, and serve on buns for a nice Sunday lunch. I just love it when that works out. I also left out a bag of white chocolate chips in hopes that my 14 yo daughter will be inspired to make some chocolate white chocolate chip cookies. That is a dinner I am sorry to miss!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My 9yo made a batch of Salt Dough this weekend all by herself. She did a good job and I only had to make one correction (she didn't fill the 1 cup measure to the top). On Easter Sunday afternoon, she made a scene of Jesus on the cross. I love when they get creative instead of zoning out on electronics!
We got the Salt Dough recipe from the book The Rainy Day Book by Jane Bull. Here it is for those of you who would like to make your own!
3 cups flour
1 cup water
1 cup salt
2 tsp. oil
Mix all ingredients together into a ball. Distribute portions to children and pass out cookie cutters. Voila! Instant fun! (Keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge in a ziploc.)
(To bake, heat oven to 350 and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before removing. The smaller and chunkier the shapes, the better they bake up. Paint when completely cooled.)
Our next big plan is to make some things with the salt dough, bake them and paint them with the new paints my 9yo found in her Easter basket!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Congratulations to Carrie! I hope the book will give you "a new heart" towards your family finances!
Ours was wonderful! Such a great, relaxing day... and I didn't have to cook! We woke up to Easter baskets stuffed to the brim with candy and junky toys. Then I went back to bed. Daddy won Father of the Year by reading the Easter story to the younger ones while I was sleeping, or so I am told. After I got up, it was time to get showered and dressed in our Easter finest (for pictures, you know.) We went to my in-law's for lunch, which was so great. After an Easter egg hunt in their backyard, complete with filled eggs (some with dollar bills-- the prize of all prizes!), we came home and rested, then went to church at 6pm. After church the kids wanted to use some of their dollar bill prizes to buy Wendy's kids meals for dinner so we ate a late dinner and turned in. It was my idea of a perfect holiday-- no stress and not a lot of running around, with plenty of time left for rest.
Remember my life management notebook? (Thanks to CCEeyore for helping me find this link!) Well, I thought I would add this great FREE resource to my list of things you could put in it. And she also has a menu planner to download for free. Whoopee! (Only if you are a planning nerd will you get the sincere excitement in that statement...)
And here's another menu planning template that I just love. Thanks to Organizing Junkie for creating this-- love that it includes a blank for the recipe source!
(HT to Karin at Mommy Matters for the link to the planners!)
And finally, on this Monday morning after Easter, be sure to head over to Andrea's and read her "Mama Monday" today. I loved Tonia's thoughts on motherhood and especially think that all moms need to read her thoughts on accepting how God made them. Rich reading--
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Here are some more links for those of you want to learn more about living math:
Here's a great activity that's perfect for this time of year-- we might just try this today! (And for you non-homeschoolers, you can still give this a try-- it's a great way to keep them busy over spring break!)
And finally, this is a great post with a list of living math picture books:
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Today on her blog, Lysa TerKeurst is featuring a fun quiz to help you determine if you are a financially focused couple. Head on over to take the quiz, then come back here to determine the results!
How to score your quiz:
Tally up your score and use the guide below to see what category you fall into:
0-2 points: Don't get discouraged. There's nowhere to go from here except up!
3-5 points: You are taking steps towards being a financially focused couple. Keep working together and you will get there.
6-8 points: You are almost 100% financially focused. Keep up the good work and get intentional about those trouble spots.
9-10 points: You are a financially focused couple and could show us all a thing or two! Consider sharing your wisdom with other couples who are struggling in today's uncertain times.
Be sure to check out the blog that my husband and I have started to go with the book. It's a great resource for learning more about managing your money, and working together to do so. Go to www.marybethandcurt.blogspot.com to check it out!
YOU HAVE TWO CHANCES TO WIN A COPY OF LEARNING TO LIVE FINANCIALLY FREE!!
Just leave a comment here and at Lysa's-- we're each giving a copy away! I will announce the winner next Monday!
If you're really brave... you can share your score! Hey, we're all in this together!
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Be sure to check back tomorrow when I will be featuring a fun quiz to determine if you and your spouse are a financially focused couple!
Monday, April 06, 2009
From the learning rooms... no spring break for my homeschooling students, though my school students are out for the week. (We'll take Friday off.) Reading aloud from our library books, painting with the new watercolors I bought this weekend, maybe making some Easter/springtime crafts. I love this tutorial on drawing flowers and I know my nine year old will be into it. I am hoping each day this week to go through a holy week unit to help prepare us for Easter Sunday. (I will only use parts of this.)
I am thankful for... not being on crutches like I was this time last year! And still thankful for the way my P31 sisters jumped in and helped make my kids' Easter baskets happen.
From the kitchen... nothing! Tonight is "Kids Eat Free" night at our local Chick fil a!
I am wearing... old, old, old pajamas that my family makes fun of but I love.
I am reading... the new Writer's Digest issue, which came in the mail this weekend. Am hoping to get a copy of Self-Editing For Fiction Writers this week from the library.
I am hoping... for a good week with the kids off school. It will be a challenge to keep the younger ones doing school with the older ones home!
I am creating... a novel, am in the editing stage now and it is tedious-- hence the book I am hoping to read.
I am hearing... Toot and Puddle on Noggin, the clatter of children eating in the kitchen, Pandora radio on my computer... the sounds of life at my house. (I love Pandora more and more with each passing week. By voting out songs you don't like and adding artists to your existing station, it figures out what kind of music you like and now I have a station custom designed for me. So. Cool. I keep it going almost all day.)
Around the house... laundry, dishes, and organizing... oh my!
One of my favorite things... my new journal I bought while in Roanoke VA last weekend. It's so pretty and exactly what I had hoped to find! Now to just make myself get in the habit of writing in it regularly... Looking for a gift? I think this would make a great one!
A few plans for the rest of the week... Speaking at the A Woman Inspired conference, talking to my publicist about spreading the word about Learning To Live Financially Free, getting the novel ready to send it to my agent for his verdict, my mother in law taking two of the kids to the beach for a few days, hopefully blogging more consistently, preparing for Easter, including a Seder dinner on Friday night.
For more daybook entries, go to A Simple Woman's Daybook. I find these are so peaceful to read and really turn my heart towards home.
Friday, April 03, 2009
"I really believe that a curious mother and a library card
can offer a stellar education." Ann Voskamp
I copied this quote directly from this wonderful post by my friend Ann. If you are considering homeschooling, read this post. If you are already homeschooling, definitely read this post. She has included some great information.
Just this afternoon, my 9 yo daughter and I sat together and requested books that she wanted from our library's website. She has really taken off with reading and will read a book in one day a lot of times. I recently purchased her a clip-on reading light and she happily reads long after her younger sister (with whom she shares a room) has drifted off to sleep. We are also persevering in severely limiting the amount of tv they watch, and this has definitely coincided with her increased interest in reading. As I type this, she is up in her room reading my favorite book from my childhood, Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards.
Just for fun, I thought I would type up a list of the books we have requested from the library or already have checked out. Ann, I totally agree with your thought... libraries are wonderful places filled with information there for the taking. I am certainly grateful for ours!
Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport
Big George: How A Shy Boy Became President Washington by Anne Rockwell
A Child's Day: An Alphabet of Play by Ida Pearle (great way to learn verbs!)
Day By Day A Week Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields
Month By Month A Year Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson
Nature In The Neighborhood by Gordon Morrison
Nature In Your Backyard by Susan Lang
A Packet Of Seeds by Deborah Hopkinson
Pond Year by Kathryn Lasky
The entire Cobble Street Cousins series by Cynthia Rylant
(HT: Painted Rainbows and Chamomile Tea for excellent picture book suggestions, as always!)
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Here's a link to Debby's beauty page:
Thanks for sharing with us Debby!