Friday, December 30, 2016

Year wrap-up, snapshots and encouragement!

I hope all my readers had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the last days of 2016! I am so thankful for so many things this year! Yes, there were a few not so wonderful moments in 2016, but in the end, so many blessings, so many things that make me look back and smile. I do believe some of that has to do with perspective, but a majority of it is my faith, it is what keeps me grounded!

This year my parents spent Christmas with us! It was a blessing to all go to church together and spend time together! We also had our wonderful neighbor over to enjoy a Christmas meal with us. He has become part of our family. We have been blessed with wonderful neighbors in most of the places we have lived! That is due to the good Lord looking out for us! HE knows my needs due to my husband's job. Tonight my husband and I will celebrate 12 yeas of marriage a day early, as he will probably more than likely be working, but I am so looking forward to our meal together!! Thanks to our awesome neighbor for the filet mignon and lobster tail! The kiddo's have movie plans in the other room! That is how we do it, with no family near!

We already booked our first little trip away, headed to the Monster Jam. I am excited to watch the kids faces see this. I remember going as a child. Plus I get to go eat at Cheesecake Factory! It is the little things in life people. This year, we are planning a few mini trips. Not sure yet if we are going to take vacation somewhere else yet or do a stay-at-home vaca! We have done those in the past and they are wonderful too!

It seems to be the time of year people start making resolutions, reflecting on the past year, etc... So yes, I am also reflecting on my year and the year ahead, last year I incorporated some new habits, which I am still working on and will continue with making good habits, for me that is the way to go. But most important, it needs to be about what matters to God and what our life should reflect. This scripture is where to start for me:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?  Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.  Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.  - Deuteronomy 10:12-15

I came across this quote this morning and what a great reminder for me:
"Give Me your attention and get control of your spirit. Be quiet. Be still. Recognize My sovereignty and transcendence. Remember what Jesus said, “Our Father who art in heaven, holy is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus modeled His understanding that My will is what you need to rest in. I am in heaven and I see all things—the future, the past, your children, your relationships, –all your clutter. Give them to Me. Quiet your soul and rest in My strength and power."~Sally Clarkson


Encouraging reads: 
My scars are significant and precious. I shouldn’t keep hiding them. I am recognizable by them; they make me unique. http://annvoskamp.com/2016/12/how-the-years-scars-can-shape-not-shatter-hopes/ 
No resolutions this year for me, instead this!...So I must pray http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/my-prayer-for-next-year 
I won’t be making resolutions, but this is great list to reflect upon 2016! 10 Questions to Reflect on the Year http://holleygerth.com/10-questions/ 
Our culture is so obsessed with not wanting anyone to feel the sting of failure. But failure helps us! We will learn from it if we’re brave enough to admit it. http://www.karipatterson.com/key-question-ask-2016-ends/ 
These daily prompts have been helpful for me to get in the Bible daily and write scripture. Happy January and Happy New Year! http://www.swtblessings.com/2016/12/january-scripture-writing-plan-courage.html#.WGQ--FyCpJI 
 

Snapshots:
Something about a sunrise like this, to remind us of how great the Father's love is for us. Peaceful, beautiful, magnificent, glorious, a reason to rejoice!
We started opening presents Christmas eve-eve, since we didn't know what my husband's work schedule would be (they like to keep us in the dark, so to say). It ended up he was home for Christmas!! However, it worked out great! Opened out of state family eve-eve night and enjoyed seeing wrapping paper everywhere for 3 days! Since the next day we did our personal Christmas celebration! Then my with parents Christmas day!
Excited for movie night, Christmas movies are the best!
Awesome gift from our neighbor for the kids, perfect for movie night!
My handsome hubby, love him!
The kids received a few Lego gifts and had fun completing them!
Happy Birthday Jesus cake! Tradition!
My little knight in shining armor!
Concentrating on a sewing project!
Completed project!
My pets were spoiled by my parents, aka Mrs. Claus! Zeke's toy lasted only an hour or so before he destroyed it, but was fun while it lasted!
My parents aka grandpa and grandma, kids so adore them!
Merry Christmas from my little family!
Wednesday was my dad's birthday! This was him and little man the other day! 😎 We celebrated over breakfast that morning before their long drive home back to MN.
70s and a windy day, was perfect day to head to Memphis to the top of the pyramid aka Bass Pro Shop! Little man always has the perfect expression, picture taking is always fun with him!
Definitely like his father, dreaming and shooting!
Somebody found herself an after Christmas deal! Pink Christmas tree!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Weekly Encouragement, Snapshots, Books, and a Very Merry Christmas to ALL!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.~Luke 2:11

Sunday, night we watched the children's Christmas program put on by our church. Oh it was such a blessing to watch these children, sing and have fun being lights of Jesus. What a great way to start the week off! This week, we had a nice relaxing week, no school, kids had lots of play time, and well mama a little extra rest and having my husband home an extra day this week was an awesome bonus! Now let's hope it works for Christmas day off too! I did however, start looking at homeschool curriculum for 2017-2018, I know I might be ahead of myself, but homeschooling is sort of my life and I do love it! I also ordered some books with my Christmas money. I know some people go shopping with their Christmas money, nope not me, malls are not my favorite place, I really dislike shopping, so much I still have jeans from 10 years ago! Really, I do! But books, is my addiction! So now I have a small stack ready for the new year, a couple of these I did win! Now trying to figure out which one to start with first! I also have a stack from last year I didn't get too, some due to reviews I was doing and also had the blessing of being a part of a couple wonderful book launch teams. I don't feel guilty those were books I got from library sales for a dollar or so. Right now I am finishing up reading Rhythms of Rest~Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller. This book is changing my view on sabbath/rest, so needed this message. I will probably share more later after I have finished it and ponder over it more. I am also half way through God's Smuggler (thanks to a friend borrowing the book to me), everyone should read this book, this will be required school reading in Raising Arrows! Soooo, I guess this week I need to make some type of book reading plan. 
2017 book reading pile, plus waiting on a few to arrive via Amazon.
Last years that I didn't get too and hopefully will this year.
The children and I are enjoying reading through Ann Voskamp's, The Greatest Gift and doing our Jesse Tree. For anyone interested in doing a family Advent/Jesse Tree, I recommend Ann's book. I love how she includes the Bible passage and then how she brings it into a poetic story for all ages to relate to. Also the illustrations are so beautiful to look at. This week I had some extra time to journal and spend in my advent study, Come Lord Jesus. Another book I also recommend for you mama's, as we all need personal study time with the Lord. This week God has been showing me wonder vs. worry, reminding me of Jesus's light that has overcome darkness and His return will be glorious for those that believe, the way of holiness leads to everlasting JOY, that we have no end to peace when we are in a true relationship with Jesus, that we can rejoice in all things, yes even the hard things, I sometimes just need that reminder to ask for a song from God. So wonder over worry, rejoice over stress, trust and obey for there is not other way! May you feel peace and blessings this Christmas season and remember where true peace and hope comes from.

So this week, extra special treat for family and friends. My husband was able to get a few good video clips of their program, here they are for your viewing pleasure:







Encouraging reads this week:
If you’re not willing to look goofy in the eyes of others at some point, you will never make it to your God-sized dream. http://www.godsizeddreams.com/the-gifts-of-failure-and-looking-foolish/ 
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” This Advent, we can join the praise party with Paul and the shepherds by shouting out God’s glory to the watching world because http://lovegodgreatly.com/gloria-excelsis-deo/
He is our source of hope, hospitality, and love. But we first must sit, as He reminds us we never need to strive in his presence.  http://gracetable.org/stop-striving-start-sitting/
Home is the place where we pour our hearts into so much work. https://simplycharlottemason.com/blog/take-joy-home/

To all my readers, you are so loved!! (Thank you Dayspring for the free e-cards!)
Snapshots of our week:
Love watching these two read books together!
Making home-made pizzas!!
Peter-cat only loves this girl, always sneaking him in and vice-versa!
Advent candle-LOVE, This is love...For God so loved the world that HE gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life~John 3:16 The light from the candle reminds us of His light, Jesus said "I am the light of the world~John 8:12
Sunday night the kids participated in our church children's Christmas program! They were so excited and had so much fun being little lights of Jesus!
Little man had fun with the bells at our church Christmas program!
Smiling is the best, singing is too!
There's Peter-cat again. He enjoyed some extra love, while Socks-cat was at the vet.
Amazing sunset one cold night this week! God's creation!
You know it's cold when you see ice on the pond, brrr! However, it's beautiful! The south is cold too, sometimes!
Abigail's hair salon is now open! 😉
This happened yesterday...I asked the children to clean out their rooms and get rid of anything they do not need or play with, and my baby girl brings me her lovey and blanket she's had since she was born. Oh my mama heart, she is growing up! However, I will put this in her treasure box for when she does moves out on her own. She will someday want it, right! ;) 
Lovey and blanket!



Friday, December 16, 2016

The Beginner's Bible review with give-away!

Who doesn't like children's books!? Better yet, children's books that teach about our Savior! My children love books and they love to hear and read stories from the Bible. Mine snatched it up right away! This beginner's Bible is perfect for your little one's, with all the great illustrated pictures to go with the stories and easy to read format for those beginning readers to read on their own or for your babies to listen to as you read-aloud to them. This Bible includes stories from the old and new testament, along with a dictionary for your children to look up when they don't understand a word.



Now some of you may already  have seen this Bible or have one, well this is a an updated version, more vibrant illustrations! This will make a great gift for those little one's in your life!



I have one Beginner's Bible to give-away, to enter leave a comment or like the post no later than Friday, December 23 2016. Sorry this is for US residents only.



About the Bible:
            The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold. Now it’s redesigned with fresh new art that will excite children for many more years to come. Full of faith and fun, The Beginner’s Bible is a wonderful gift for any child. The easy-to-read text and bright, full-color illustrations on every page make it a perfect way to introduce young children to the stories and characters of the Bible. With new vibrant three-dimensional art and compelling text, more than 90 Bible stories come to life. Kids ages 6 and under will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner's Bible just like millions of children before. The Beginner's Bible was named the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children's Nonfiction.

Social Corner
            Official website:  www.TheBeginnersBible.com
Trailer / book trailer (if applicable): http://bit.ly/2aZoqnN
Link to Amazon (reviews appreciated): 

Hashtag: #TheBeginnersBible #FlyBy

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant  per mailing address, per  giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”



Christmas season, encouragement, and snapshots!


Yesterday we finished our 1st semester of school for the 2016-2017 school year at Raising Arrows homeschool!! We are looking forward to our mini break and enjoying the rest of the year! We have a busy week coming up with appointments, some more baking, and getting ready for family arrival. I am thankful we have the time to be able to set aside our school work and focus on the Christmas season! I am hoping to squeeze in time to do some deep cleaning and organizing. The house gets a little out of sorts when we are schooling, but something has to give. I anticipate the kids will receive some new things for Christmas, so we need to do a little purging too! I can't handle too much stuff, unless it is books! 😉

I don't know about you, but this has been a less stressful Christmas this year. This Christmas season, I am actually doing more things. I can only say it has to be because of Jesus and the assurance He gives me and the time I have spent in rest with Him and reading God's Word. I just love this verse, it speaks much this season to my heart, Romans 15:13~May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
We all long for something, and that something can only be filled by Jesus. I feel only knowing God can you know the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate it in its fullness! So don't miss the importance, it's never too late to believe. It is the greatest gift you will ever receive, true forgiveness and eternal life in beautiful heaven!

Encouraging Reads: 
This got my attention because, yoga! Which I like and do! Sometimes the best I can do at Yoga is to just keep breathing.  Sometimes in the Christmas season it seems that way also.  You too? http://www.lauracrosby.me/breathe-2/
Decades later, I remain a distracted and forgetful student of balance. Gratitude and sorrow aren't, as I once believed, mutually exclusive. They actually pair quite well together, one in each hand. http://www.shannanmartinwrites.com/2016/11/two-kinds-of-buckets.html
Perfect presence is being intentional in our interactions with others and letting God use us to be His gift for others daily. Perfect presence is saying “yes” and allowing others needs to take precedence over ours. Perfect presence is a present that will bless all. The best part is it is free. http://passagethroughgrace.com/holiday-hustle-meets-holiday-slow-down
We can trust God, in His faithfulness, to accomplish what concerns us. He delights in working through every day people like us who desire to trust him to do "above and beyond what we can ask or think http://sallyclarkson.com/blog/2016/11/15/now-more-than-ever-motherhood-matters
 
Snapshots of the week:
We observed the Canadian Geese one morning from the house.
This was from our last Lego Challenge, candle! A reminder to be a light!
Fridays we do Art and Bible lesson. We learned about animals Jacob took with him. Aidan finished his Christmas tree and Abigail made a book about Jesus's love!
Having fun with stamps! This was a class Abigail took at co-op, continuing the fun at home!
Cozy blankets and Christmas movies, is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Oh Zeke! He too likes relaxing by the light of the Christmas tree!
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit~Romans 15:13 Joy, advent candle!
Making Swedish Spritz Cookies!
Having some fun making cookies, love her laugh!
Having fun, mom daughter Christmas cookie making!
Finished cookie, so cute, so little, sooo yummy!
Little cookie monster!
Husband and little man went fishing while we baked. Little man caught a good sized fish!
He thinks he is hunting! Bless! Boys!
Whoohoo we are excited, some more than others, for completing 1st semester of our 2016-2017 school year! We are done till next year!! Time for school break!!!
My favorite new to me Christmas book~Christmas Spirit~So many great quotes, inspiration, hymns, art, literature, recipes...
Some of my fav quotes from the book!