Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anticipating Routines

As I trudged through the mound of dirty clothes in my laundry room I realized new routines will need to be established after the move!  For one thing, we will not be taking ALL of our clothes with.  Not enough room where we will be staying.  The purge on wardrobes will be good practice for future (possible) trips.  Only we won't be living out of a suit case where we are going next month.  Each of us get 3 dresser drawers (I felt generous!  lol)  And there is no hide-away laundry room to conceal how far behind I am on the wash!

It piles up so quick with 6 of us and a busy schedule!

All of us will need to form new routines.  Washing machine will be more accessible... perhaps I can keep up more easily with the clothes aspect.  Kids will need to change how they wear their gear (and where they put it when they are done... the floor just won't work with so many of us in such a small space!).

Brooke looking at the world from the floor's point of view!  '05
 Some other routines we will need to re-establish....

Helping when cooking will be appreciated.  
Ashley and Brenden ready to help!  '02

My mother-in-law's kitchen is bigger but has much less counter space.  We have been used to spreading out here.

Brooke helping make bread :)  '06

Dish duty will need careful attention in a small space.  Dishes undone pile up quick on small counters.  We currently have assigned dish nights for everyone in the house.  No one will be allowed to forget in the new place!

Brooke "helping" Zach with dishes in '06?
Happy cleaning helpers is always a blessing too.  Both inside and out!
Zach and Ashley helping their grandpa clean his truck when he visited in '00
Putting things away when you are done with them will make light work later on.

Brenden tuckered out after shopping all day!  '02
It helps if everything is organized and in its place.
My craft area back when I had a business creating :-)  '03
Other routines will need adjusting as well.  Some days we like to blast music to get everyone moving.  Living with mom-in-law will require some respect to her schedule and peace as well.  Headphones may help in that process!
Ashley at Christmas '06
Homeschooling in tighter quarters will require some creative planning.  Uninterrupted reading time every day will be a challenge but I am confident we can accomplish a routine that pleases everyone.

Ashley reading to Zach in '02

Winter will be fun with couch space.  We have grown accustomed to two couches since we are such a big family.  Only one will work in the confines of the new place.  Squeezing everyone on at once won't be quite as possible or as much fun as it once was... but at least we will keep warm!
Anthony, Ashley, baby Brooke, and Brenden in '03

The funny thing... I am actually looking forward to developing these new routines.  I'm also looking forward to being somewhere survival is not our primary focus but instead God, family and missions.  Our routines, like a new year, will have a chance at a fresh start and (hopefully) better results than the current!
Brenden and Brooke doing their chores tonight (10 hours later than asked)!

In the mean time I trudge and I pack and I anticipate wonderful opportunities ahead.  I pray you find opportunity in the drudgery today :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Emotions of Anticipation

I just finished posting an article on our KOG Missions website about the importance of keeping Christ in Christmas.  (Click here to read... it is a shorty but goodie!)  So I won't be redundant and repeat it here.  I do recommend it (not because I wrote it) but because it has a link to some great ideas for a Christ centered Christmas for all ages.

Now we begin our countdown to move-out.  49 days, though our goal is within 42 or less.  The Turkey is tucked away (mostly in my stomach) and the Christmas tree goes up tomorrow.  In order to prepare the space for O Tannenbaum, I packed up most of my living room.  I didn't expect the wave of tears that snuck up when I tugged at the greenery wrapped around the wood beam that has always given such character to our small living room.  I take that greenery down every year to make room for garland and Christmas lights.... but this year the greenery will not go back up in January.  Whats more, the garland and Christmas lights will not be up this year either.  (Trying to simplify undecorating for the big push out the week after Christmas)

O Christmas Tree 2008, you can see the wrapped beam in the background

I knew it would be emotional, but I didn't expect this much emotion.  I even got choked up while sharing a prayer of Thanksgiving on Turkey day.  Anthony reassured me that my tenderness reflected my sincerity.  It also gave me an opportunity to share testimony with my sister-in-law who is not a believer and offered condolences to our upcoming move.  I was excited to share with her how blessed we feel and that sorrow filled condolences were not required.  Yes, this move is a tear-jerker.  But in responding to God's calling in our lives, we take these steps with anticipation and peace knowing God is with us.  I pray my words could touch her heart and spark a curiosity for the love of Christ who could cover over all our sorrows.

For now I look at each room of my house with new perspective.  Seeing all that has been and wondering at all that will become of my momentoes... and of us... in a future, some day, far off, new home.  May you feel blessed in your past/present/future today :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reminiscings Begin

Contemplating and reminiscing are to become the theme in our home for December.  We are officially packing and moving.  Mostly a good thing, but sometimes a prospect that pulls at the heart strings!  So many memories within these walls :-)  As I work on our KOG Mmissions articles, taking the biblical reflections and sharing them.... here I take the sentimental thoughts and share things a bit more deep and personal. 
Real personal would be my youngest's attachment to my oldest in '03!

 Like crying for half the day on Thursday.  Overwhelmed by the finality, I think.  I am thankful for the way this has come about.  We have to move, it isn't a choice and it isn't the result of anything we did/or did not do.  It is because our home is falling apart and repairs are desperately needed that we would be in the way of.  (I expect, and rather hope, they will ask for more rent after the house has been spiffed up!  They can get it... and they deserve it for all their generosity towards us!)

Talk about "moving" how about these movers back in '04!
The change, while hard, is a good one.  Our ministry opportunities will expand and we do feel God will bless us greatly where we are going.  Yet it will be a personal challenge... I have lived without parents for almost 19 years now!  To suddenly be under a parent's roof will be humbling!

Playing house growing up is one thing ('04??)... doing it for real with your parents....
I will also be sharing a computer, unless God sees fit to bless us with a laptop!  As if my blogging posts aren't slim enough... my time at the keyboard will be even less!!  :-(    I may need to lay off of Facebook to get more done ;-)
My kids have such great senses of humor!  These were their paper plate skeletons in '07 (?)

I am working on ideas for our December family newsletter.  This will be fun but time consuming... like I said, contemplating and reminiscing.  I have a lot of pictures to go through ;-)  I am thinking, "The Jones Family Through the years [at our current address!]". 

My cuties in '04... I think!! 
The family even voted on our last Christmas; to stay or to spend it elsewhere.  The stays won!  Though the walls will be mostly bare.  We will have our tree, our beds, and our beautiful view of the mountains and lake for one more December.
Christmas '04/'05ish... missing my oldest in this snapshot

We may not know where all the path ahead will take us.  But that is ok.  I am reminded of a quote by Henry David Thoreau,
"What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us."

May your path, your contemplations, and your reminiscings lead you to beautiful places today, with the love of the Lord dwelling deep within!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Un-traditional Learning

I don't know what to say except my kids are unique!  I love and admire their creativity and imaginations.  I would say I don't know where they get it... but that is not true!  Growing up, I was an only child most of the time.  The complicated process of explaining the dynamics of my family can be summed up to say; my parents divorced when I was a baby, I have a half brother that, after the age of 4, I only saw on the weekends and then we made up for lost time!

From entertaining myself during my only child weeks to having loads of self-created fun with my little brother... I never ran out of ideas for entertainment and the words, "I'm bored" rarely issued from my lips.  Tents, grand balls, wagoneering, and jet setting across the globe were common occurrences in my bedroom!  Outside I was often seen chasing robbers, giving music concerts singing Beach Boys hits at the top of my lungs to neighborhood kids , and even hunting witches and trolls in the woods behind my house!  It wasn't uncommon to go searching for fairies either :)

So, no... I don't ask "Where do my kids get it?"  Instead I sit, I marvel, I remember and I envy their youthful adventures.  And when I am on my toes... I even snap pictures of it to enjoy!

The adventures the last two weeks have been unusual places to do homework!  After all... the dining room (or living room) table gets boring after a while! 

When that happens.....

... they build a tent around the kitchen counter and stools!
... complete with under-stool lighting to work by!

My sweeties posing for a picture before getting back to work!
 When tents get old it is time for something new...
... like converting the couch into 'desks' that face each other!
Notice the 'stuffed' turkey guarding the pencil cups!

I know I will miss these moments when they grow up and move on from tents, tables, and castles by the sea to more 'serious' grown-up stuff.  For now, I plan to savor every moment of it!  I hope you are savoring little moments today as well!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stretching Time

I am committed.  Though sometimes that means I should be committed!!  But seriously, I am committed to this Blog yet I never seem to have enough hours in a day.  Most days I keep my whits about me, but some days lately try to steal my whits away!

We feel God may be calling us into a new place for ministry.  Out of our home of 11 years and into a VERY condensed space (1-room for 6 people!).  We are excited to respond to this calling but I must confess that the excitement can sometimes be daunting when I consider all the purging, packing, and cleaning.

On top of this prospect and the gradual process we have begun (in the purging department) is our other blog at KOGmissions.org  As a ministry outreach I spend a lot of time there as well. 

Yet, as we work through each homeschool day, my brain ticks away at fun things I would like to post.  Articles of interest and antics that come from 3 homeschooled sweeties!  One of these days I will be more prompt with these nuggets of fun!

For today, I am still thinking of my teaser about planning and scheduling our days.  Speaking of which, lesson plans for next week are calling me and I am still longing for ample time to prepare a semester's worth of them for Language Arts (my math plans are about to run out in December!)

So please pray for me... and I will pray for you!  That God stretches the time in each day so that all wonderful things that might glorify Him can fit!

Monday, November 1, 2010

On a ... umm... pyramid hunt?

I am on a turkey hunt!  After all, it is November 1st!!! 

Actually, I am looking for some pictures I know we have taken over the years of the local turkey flock that (I kid-you-not) struts through our yard almost every year around this time!!  There was a BIG Tom last year!  We got a good snap shot of him and his buddies... but I don't know where my husband hid it!  The trouble with digital photos (even though they are more blessing then trouble!)

I did, however, find these goodies from November 2008:

Oh how they have grown in two years!  Brooke was in kindergarten, Ashley in 5th and Brenden in 3rd.  Time does fly :-)
I thought these pictures were perfect for this month.  As you can see, we were studying the food pyramid.  MyPyramid.gov has some great resources for kids.  We rounded up grocery ads to do these two projects.  

We started with the pyramid so they could get a feel for what good foods looked like.  We did some of the printables from the MyPyramid website.  We also made our own menus for breakfast and lunch.  I even used them on alternating weeks!  (the kids got a big kick out of that). 

We culminated this November activity with a 'Cornucopia of good food' project (as you can see above!).  I used brown packing paper and poster board to make this.  The kids cut and pasted the rest.

This study was so much fun!  I have thought of doing it again... but that would be redundant!  I may, however, try a more advanced version here in another year or two.  Brooke will be old enough to feel like it is the first time and both her and Brenden will be able to calculate calories and read the labels they could only gleam last time.

I have printable menus for breakfast, lunch, and all day posted in my yahoo groups database.  (Email me at TheFaithfulHomeschool-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to subscribe and gain access... it is FREE)  

Happy November everyone!  May this month be filled with blessings!