Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Friday!!

Today is apparently Black Friday, well this girl does not do Black Friday, yes I like a good deal, but not at the extent of losing my sanity or causing me stress. So today, instead we will enjoy a day of preparing for Advent, putting up our Christmas tree, baking, and relaxing with my kiddo's. Unfortunately the hubby had to go to work yesterday, yes the railroad does not shut down on holidays. But we celebrated our Thanksgiving together early in the week. I made some our favorites: chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, creamy corn, cranberries, and pumpkin cheesecake! Yum, yum!!! I use to struggle with holidays, not being close to family and my husbands work schedule tends to leave us home alone. However over the years, I have learned instead to focus on my blessings, make new traditions and memories. We are thankful for friends who include us in with their family to celebrate. I still miss my family though. I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with family and/or friends!

This week was full of blessings, blessed with an abundant amount of food, friends and beautiful fall weather! For the last couple years I take time to look back each day and count my blessings, it really is the best way to focus on the positives and live joyfully! God provides us with blessings all the time, so look for them and thank HIM! Oh how HE loves us! Our neighbors invited us over and the kids enjoyed riding horses this week and playing with new friends. I enjoyed seeing some beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and wildlife. Our new home has been perfect for this! Oh and the moon on Wednesday night was so beautiful, my phone camera didn't capture the lovely glow (so I think it's time for a real camera). I probably would have missed the moon, had we not been driving back from the doctors office. The kids crashed on their bikes, thank goodness for bike helmets, however in that process Abigail's pinky nail was pulled off, yes ouch and oh so traumatic, but it will be OK. It could have been much worse.

We had a great week in school, it was a short week, but we were able to knock out a full week, loving the new way we have been doing things and it appears the kids do too! I so enjoyed listening to Julie from Brave Writer talk about putting people first in homeschooling or as she calls it home educating. My type A personality sometimes gets in the way of doing what really matters, it really is a struggle y'all. I know some peole would love to be super organized and be able to plan, but it causes me sometimes to lack the fun-factor. Being married to a railroader as helped me a lot in learning that you can't always plan. I loved what she said about using our personalities we were born with and not fighting them, and gave some tips to help bring in some of what we type A people lack. Oh what a relief it was to hear I am not the only one who struggles with a type A personality. She also talked about those who don't like to plan or schedule, I guess you call them type B.
What I am learning from this, is God has created us all with different strengths and weaknesses, we just need to use them for His glory! No one's journey with God will look the same, nor will our homeschools. Just like our kids are each different. So let's encourage and help one another in our journey's! It is why God placed us here, He made us for relationships. Just remember your first relationship should be with our Lord, get to know Him. It makes the journey so much easier and full of joy!
Anyhow, take a listen to helpful information to being a great "home-educator", anyone will benefit from it, not just homeschoolers:

Pics of the week:
My awesome hubby put up our Christmas lights!!

My hubby training up our children right, a little target practice!
Little man working hard!

Horse riding fun, with a new friend!
New neighbors, birds moving in our bird house!
The beautiful moon this week!

A beautiful sunset at our home this week!

Encouraging reads of the week: 

“Advent is one of the hardest seasons of the church year to celebrate in today’s culture. As soon as Thanksgiving arrives, we are bombarded by Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas everything. We are so saturated by Christmas that we often skip over one of the most important parts: the preparation. You wouldn’t throw a party without preparing the food and drinks; you wouldn’t visit a friend without getting ready. We are about to remember the most awe-inspiring thing that happened in the whole of history: God becoming man in the glory and mystery of the incarnation. We need to set aside time to prepare ourselves for this — internally and externally.” 
Advent=Haley Stewart says: “It is the opportunity to set your life by a different watch, by holy time.”
Call me a traditionalist or blame it on my catholic-roots, but I just love the season of Advent (and yes also Lent)… Why The Ancient Practice of Advent Matter, More Than Ever

Yes, parenting is hard. Especially when we’re doing it right.
Godly homemaking is the intermingling of craft and work for the purpose of cultivating a space to nurture our families and ourselves for God’s glory.

Her story, so relatable, love this and yes, don’t want to miss this…But today there is gratitude and joy, and there are these people who I hoped for so hard that I thought I might come apart if I never met them. I have all I need right now, and I don’t want to miss it.

So enjoyed this book….When a changing season knocks you off balance, go ahead and sit down and catch your breath. When you’re able to stand again, perhaps these 3 things will help keep you steady as you bravely welcome the change rather than resist it.

Yes, this is the number one reason I hear from parents who say they can’t homeschool. Really I was not born with patience; it is a work in progress. So, how do we qualify to homeschool? If it’s not patience, then what is it…? Are you ready? Here’s the million dollar answer. You qualify by being your child’s parent.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Adventures and God Lessons This Week

This week my husband redid our fireplace, using some old wood from a tobacco barn and bead-board, along with stone. He is quite the handy-man, he never fails to amaze me! Though I sometimes have my doubts in the beginning when he starts telling me these ideas and I get a little nervous, cause it gets a little chaotic, but it turned out fantastic!! Always beauty in the mess!
We had a big wind and rain storm this week, the kids swing set blew over. So it looks like the husband will have a new project! Hey isn't that how it goes. Finish one thing and then boom, there is something else to do or attend to. Just thankful that was all that was damaged, I felt like we living in Corpus Christi again and were experiencing a tropical storm. Anyhow, we had a great week in our homeschool with doing some things a little different. I would encourage all homeschooling mama's take some time and watch some home-educating encouragement videos from Brave Writer or Amongst Lovely Things (you can see my links here for them), we all need encouragement and to know that we are doing things right, or if not, that we have not failed! Consider taking a "teacher in-service" day! Oh and I am having a mini celebration here, we are a little over a 1/3 way done with our school year!!!

This week I had a great talk with a friend, oh how I love her and oh how she blesses me!! We talked a lot about scripture this week, usually we talk more about life challenges. Let me tell you I just love digging deep with someone in the Bible. You know in the end, we are not going to figure it all out. Our God is not an in the box God! He can't be put in a box! We are just not going to understand it all till we get to the other side, in heaven and then, I am guessing we won't care much. All we need to do is keep seeking Him, so keep digging! When you get it wrong, it is OK! We all mess up, and we are not perfect, so those of you who are trying to be perfect, just stop it's not going to happen, I know I use to be one. God gave us a great gift, one that over-comes all and it is JESUS. So no matter the troubles you are facing or the evil that is in the world, it is going to be OK! Sure I worry, who doesn't and I know we shouldn't, but it is freeing to know that we have a God that loves us, HE is working it all out and we shouldn't worry about it. At least I don't worry as much as I use to before I knew Jesus! He is a life changer I tell you!!
 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus, John 16:33

Trying out a new pencil grip, it is helping!
Pics of the week:
Our tea-time story time, yes brownies!
This is an everyday occurrence at our home, how many deer will we see today! Just love it!
Encouraging Reads:
What may seem small can make a big difference. One cup of living water can refresh a heart. One cup can save a life. One cup can even change the world.

This journey isn't about self-effort or self at all.

Studying the Bible we can learn a lot and really it is all applicable, just loved this study…Keep On Going

He must be the engine that is running us, not the world.. Todd Friel: Knowing that the Bible is the word of God and not man should give someone great confidence when they read about who God is and, in this particular context, what He says about anxiety and worry. These are not just helpful thoughts based upon man’s ideas, but are God’s divine revelation to us. Because of that, everything God says is completely reliable. It is absolute truth. This should bring great encouragement to the anxious heart and peace to the worrier.

Be who you are...Teaching from rest

55 things I didn't do as a homeschooler

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A book review for Brave Enough

Are you brave enough in all areas of your life? I think most of us if we were honest would say no, this book I just finished reading, Brave Enough by Nicole Unice writes how you can be brave. The cover of the book is what drew me to the book, plus I wanted to read what she had to say about living bold and free. This book is wrote for women and I loved the stories she shared of real people 
and the ways they over came their fears, flaws and/or failures so they could live freely! Which I so love and am a big believer in, something that has taken me years to learn and at time is a struggle. She uses scripture and lessons from Jesus while he was on earth. Y'all know I am a Jesus girl and I can't share enough how life changing it is once you know Him!

The first few chapters she talks about grace and yes, we all need it and should give it. At end of each chapter is a section to how to be brave for the day, thought provoking questions and a prayer. This book is not meant to be sat and read. It is meat to be read, dig through the questions and apply it. If you have a certain area you struggle in, you could go skip to that chapter.
This book goes into grace, the importance of friendships and encouragement, forgiveness, how to love and give grace, not fear and know your limits. All these areas require being brave!

I don't have a book to give away this time, but I encourage you to check it out

About the book and yes a companion book to do it as a study!
Bravery doesn’t have to mean cliff diving out of your comfort zone. Life is about being brave enough—for yourself, for God, for your tasks, and for your calling—right where He’s placed you. A brave-enough life is one lived fully and confidently, with your shoulders relaxed and free from the weight of responsibility and the burden of trying too hard.
Nicole Unice, author of She’s Got Issues, wants that life to become a reality for you. She challenges you to get real about where you are right now—the places where you feel too scared to change, too tired to endure, or too worried to let go. Through personal stories and practical application, Nicole will lead you on a journey to harness all of your misspent doubts, concerns, and fears—and discover what God is saying about who you can be. Don’t miss the companion Brave Enough DVD Group Experience

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Some changes in our homeschooling, with helpful links...

Because I have not had enough change yet (we recently relocated to another state), I decided to change up some things in our homeschool too. What I am learning is, change is good! This comes because we have been having some frustrating moments in our schooling and that is not what I want, certainly not my goal, and I have been facing a little burnout. Homeschooling two kids takes a little more work, which makes me appreciate my friends with larger families so much more, you all are rock-stars!! Last week I finished reading Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, it brought such refreshment to my heart and could not have come at a better time!! At that same time I noticed my dear friend Audria over at  has been doing pottery tea times, so I had to ask her. She of course shared, because that is what friends do!! So I started reading articles at Brave Writer and watching replays of her periscopes. It made me realize I am going about some of our schooling wrong and worrying too much if I am doing enough or the right way. Which is naturally what us mama's are good at. So if this is you, stop what you are doing right now and take some time to watch some of the replays over at   and get your hands on Teaching From Rest and start reading! "Teaching from Rest means we don't panic when things don't go according to plan - in fact, we plan for plans not always to work well. When I take on the challenge of this day with both hands and trust that we are right where He wants us, that's when I experience unshakable peace. Not when the work is all done, the lessons all checked off, the SAT aced, and my child sent successfully to college, proving that I did my job well." Also another book I recommend is Educating The WholeHearted Child from Clay and Sally Clarkson and her blog, especially this most recent one, which includes a podcast about cultivating artistry in your home at

New poetry book!
So with that, I made some changes this week, and you know what our schooling is going so much more peaceful and lots of fun, which is how we started out at. I have incorporated some of Brave Writer's language arts techniques into our current curriculum, which we do like. It just now works better. You see I am not one type or another. I am a mix between a classical homeschooler and Charlotte Mason type and a little bit of our own uniqueness into it. Because we all know, the every child is unique and we homeschool to focus on each child's uniqueness and bring out the gifts God has given them. I feel that is where the public school system fails, they have to use one method.

What we have done so far this week, well we always start out with scripture and a Bible lesson, reading literature books and asking questions, sometimes doing copy-work, and sometimes draw a picture about the story we are reading. We continue to explore world history and animals of the world. Of course always math and spelling, but those spelling words are incorporated with books we use. This week instead of reading our read-aloud books at our table we are reading them on the couch or around the table enjoying a snack or coloring a picture related to the story. In near future, we will do some tea parties, but first a tea set is needed. We are doing weekly art projects and used some of our math skills while cooking. Yesterday, we had a family afternoon date to go see The Peanut's Movie, what better way to start the week!! Today, we are baking up brownies and will have story time with them!

Our goal is to make learning a part of our life, to make it fun, so it is life long. My goal is not to make scholars, though if that happens great, but the goal is to raise my children who God has made them to be, they are not my projects, they are little human beings. I believe if I am doing my best and letting God lead, He will bless our homeschooling. So if we don't get something checked off our to do list, or something doesn't go according to plan, or they are just not getting what they are suppose to be learning, well that is OK! There is tomorrow to try again or relook at it and go about it in a different way. That is how we keep peace in our homeschooling. Our homeschool, will not look like yours and vice-versa, that is what makes homeschooling so great! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Season, scheduling and what I am learning!

This week I have noticed, most of the leaves from the trees have dropped, makes me kind of sad to see the trees go bare, especially after seeing such vivid beautiful colors the last few weeks. However it reminds me of seasons of life, how there is beauty in the mess or beauty in the ugly or the bare trees! There is always beauty to be found, sometimes just harder to see, but it is there, so we must open our hearts, even though that is hard sometimes, especially when we feel uncertain about things or alone. However, if we just open them up, you will start to see the beauty and then you will feel the JOY in it! So in this season of fall turning to winter, let's look for the beauty in the season and let's share that with each other! Which brings me to this encouraging post and hymn:

No matter the season of life, this truth remains: The world can never extinguish the Light.
by Ruth Haley Barton For everything there is a season…
Sometimes on the Sabbath
all you can do is
settle into the soft body of yourself
and listen to what it says.
Listen to
the exhaustion that is deeper than tiredness
the hunger that is for more than food
the thirst that is for more than drink
the longing for comfort that is more than physical.
On the Sabbath
body and soul reach out for time of a different sort
time that is full of space rather than activity:
time to watch the burning bush in your own back yard…
the movement of the wind among bare branches…
the last leaf that clings to the branch before its final letting go.
Letting go is hard,
letting go of that which no longer works
that which no longer brings joy and meaning
that which is no longer full of life.
It seems cruel
That something that used to be so beautiful
should fall to the ground
sinking into the earthy mud along with everything else that is dying,
no longer recognizable for what it used to be.
It seems cruel but it is the way of things.
One generation gives its life for the next.
One season slips away so another can come.
One crop of fruit falls from the tree so that more can be borne.
One wave recedes while another gathers strength
to crash upon the shore.
It seems cruel
but it is the rhythm of things
And rhythm has its own beauty.

What have I learned this week, sometimes you have to chuck the schedule, though I didn't learn that till after the fact this week. It probably would have saved some tears early in the week. I have to remember God has given me these kids and that HE knows their future and is in control of it, so it is OK sometimes to just let go of the homeschool schedule and trust Jesus's schedule! Now this will be hard for me, because I love organization, planning and scheduling. It is going to be a process, but I know this will be so beneficial for not only me, but my children, and family. Also what else have I learned, that smaller sometimes is better and is what we need in life! It makes for deeper connection and greater learning!

We had visitors this week, we always enjoy visitors, and the kids love spending time with their grandparents. We had fun time catching up, enjoying the beautiful weather, and mama enjoyed a few extra hands with the kids :) In addition today we will complete another week of school, will be finishing up Henry Huggins and learning about animals in Asia. We worked on manners, as those were our latin words we studied this week. Yesterday was our last co-op day for the semester, I can't believe how fast that went buy. We had lots of fun this semester and enjoyed meeting new people and learning new things.

A few snapshots this week and favorite quotes/verses this week:
Operation Christmas Shoeboxes, one of our favorite missions to do.
My sweet in-laws sharing the couch with our tired out dog!
This dog, my reading buddy at night. A dog's life! It's hard work taking care of a mini farm!
Finished up most my Christmas shopping this week and the cards I made arrived, I am super impressed with myself!
Count your blessings, Thanksgiving 2015!
Inspiring reads of the week:

“Poetry and prayer are closest kin. In poetry, we say it; in prayer, we become what we say.” {Eugene Peterson}

I wake up cranky. Sometimes all of us wake up cranky. Or tired. Or out of sorts for one reason or another. So when to filibuster?

Oh I just love this from my friend, need to incorporate this into our week, I think it save us some days…Poetry Tea Time

Loving this book and her weekly show, great for all teachers…

Poetry & Pie songs, in Scripture, in television commercial jingles, in the narrative of some of our favorite children's books (Cat in the Hat, anyone?), in nursery rhymes, and on and on...