Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of School

I got this idea for a First Day of School Interview from Carissa at  You can see her interviews with her kids here.

I copied her format exactly, right down to the questions she asked. You can click on their blog names below to see the answers my children gave.


Little Man


Here are some other pictures I got of them together.

The start to our school year has gone much better than I expected. We have already had a meltdown or two, but they were over quickly. And they are enjoying their curriculum changes, which makes the outlook for this year very bright!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Boy

I love this little boy more than words can say…but I really wish he had not stepped on my foot the other day!
It has been a bit of a joke in our family that ever since he started to walk, Little Man had a talent for inflicting pain on others with his feet.  He never meant it, just stepped at just the right spot to make it REALLY hurt.
Well, he is much bigger now, and I found out a few days ago that he has not lost this talent.  He stepped on my foot one night, and when I went to bed I thought, “Man, my foot is cramping up.  I wonder what I did.”  Three days later, it was painful to even walk.  And after dropping a laundry basket on my other foot, I was pretty much not walking anywhere.  It’s a good thing I kept busy this summer and got a lot done!  All told, I was somewhat "out of commission" for a week.  After staying off my foot completely for a week, I think I am almost recovered. I took that as my chance to finally sit around and blog about some of the work we have done.  I will try to share those posts in the next few days.  Maybe I will get a chance to sit some more and blog about all the kids activities next!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hello Mornings

I have still been involved with the accountability group for the Hello Mornings challenge, but the summer has looked much different than the rest of the year.  I have failed in almost every aspect of doing this challenge that you could.  When I struggled through sickness last winter, I lost my momentum and never really got it back.  My normal reaction to such failure is to quit.  I mean, if it isn’t working, why keep trying?  So why am I planning to keep going in the Fall?  Because it has still had a positive affect on my life.
I Read My Bible More
One “success” that I have definitely had through the encouragement of this group is time reading the Bible.  When I am in a routine, I find time to read the Bible easily.  I love to have those quiet times of reading and reflection.  I enjoy the mental stimulation of pulling apart each section of the reading to learn from it and I gain a sense of peace that seems to carry me throughout the day. There have been so many times in my life, though, that I just got overwhelmed with my day to day activities.  When that happens, I find myself putting out fires that I had not anticipated and important things like reading the Bible get left out…especially if I happen to be reading through the genealogies in the Old Testament.  Directly as a result of the other women posting their study thoughts each day, I was constantly reminded while on Facebook (a great time sucker!) to get back to what was important.  I got back into my Chronological Reading plan, stealing little moments of reading throughout the day.  I was actually reading more than the plan calls for each day.  At first, I was a little discouraged that I wasn’t getting any really cool insights.  Then one night I realized that since I had started reading the Bible consistently again I was thinking more clearly.  I was remembering teaching moments, prayers and song lyrics that had spoken to me over the previous months right when I needed to remember them.  I was choosing more wisely how to spend my time and I was more willing and able to take action on the unpleasant things that needed to be done without having to give myself a pep talk.  (Been there?)  As with the Bible in 90 Days challenge, when I read my Bible I was more open and receptive to hearing God’s voice. 
I Learn From the Group
I have been so encouraged by the others in the group as we all stumble through this together. It is very encouraging to know that everyone else has rough spots, too. We all fail. We all fall short of our goals for ourselves. But we are all learning things as we go. We are encouraging one another as we go. One person posted a song called “Holy Captivating” that was particularly touching for her one day, and I had never really heard anything by the artist – Nicole C. Mullen. Not only have I played that song countless times since hearing it that day, but my daughter has decided another of Mullen’s songs is her favorite, too.  It is really encouraging to hear your 7 year old singing, “When I call on Jesus all things are possible!” at the top of her lungs.

God’s Voice is More Clear

Even when I don’t get up on time, exercise or have a long quiet time in the morning, I have still had a focus on reading the Bible and praying throughout the day. One of the times I was praying at the end of the last session, a line from the song above ran through my head.
“I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself.  I could choose not to move, but I refuse.” 
The song is actually referring to reaching out to lost and hurting people, but that day it convicted me about my life at home. I can’t tell you how many times I have refused to do something at home because I thought it was someone else’s job. I don’t think it was always a conscious decision, but as a direct result of hearing this song I was convicted that I was sitting around and waiting for someone else to do the hard jobs.  I got motivated and cleaned out a cooler in June that had been sitting around for months! It is amazing the freedom that comes when you just get done that thing that has been bugging you. It also is amazing the kind of momentum that gets going when you refuse to “just sit around and wait for someone else.”  Not only did I get moving, but Ryan did, too.  We have had an amazingly productive summer – getting things done that have been on our “to do” list for years.

The other example of how reading the Bible has made me more “in tune” with God was a time when God brought to my memory a quote from a seminar.  I had attended a Homeschool Convention in May that included some classes by Kirk Martin of Calm Christian Parenting.  He had some really good insights.  One morning, as the children decided to all have meltdowns while I was in the shower and could not “control” them, I was reminded of a quote from Martin.  “You can only control one person and that is yourself.”  What perfect timing!  I could have gotten upset, and gone in there with an angry outburst of my own, but God was giving me time to step back and be the peacemaker instead of escalating the situation with my own anger.  (This is something we have been working on with the kids.  I will ask them, “Are you being a peacemaker, or are you escalating the situation and making it worse?”)  I am so grateful that He helped me to see a time that I was about to make things worse!

As for my “failure,” I think another line from a Josh Wilson song sums it up quite nicely.  “How can I come to the end of me and somehow still have all I need.”  God is everything I need for life.  If I focus on Him, everything else always falls into place.

So, I am excited to start the Fall session of Hello Mornings.  Not because I have grand visions of being "successful" in meeting all my goals this time, or of conquering all my shortcomings from the past, but because I know I will be changed through the focus on prayer and Bible reading and the mutual encouragement that comes from being accountable to others.  If I am able to accomplish my goals, I will take that, too!