Friday, November 16, 2018

HMJ: Schedule Down-grades, Thanksgiving Miscellany and a tad Teen Talk

It's been a quiet week in our household.  Not even very many pictures, I had to steal most of these from Brooke!  We did decide to scale back even more of our schoolwork until after Christmas.  The funny thing is, when I was planning our school year this past summer, I asked Brooke if she would like to have December off and she said NO!  I bet she is regretting that now!

For this week, we only did Geography, Driver's Ed and one of her online classes!!  I'm actually a bit relieved because it has given me more time to work on some notes for a meeting I am hoping to have with the pastor soon.  I've also been able to start on some house and holiday prep. 

When we get back from Thanksgiving break we will bring her maths back in and some writing but we are actually putting regular Grammar off until the new year along with the Astronomy and French book-work I mentioned last week.

I told her my only concern with the curriculum change was whether or not it would be realistic to college life.  I want her to be prepared for the rigors of higher education. Then I have to remember she currently has about twice as many classes as she will in college and she aptly pointed out how, in college, she will have friends she enjoys studying with which will drive her more on her work.  I know this to be true with her and felt I could take peace.

With the lighter load for the next few weeks we are both planning some extra crafts and cooking together as well as some easy reading days.  If the mountain pass stays clear I may try to take her over for a college visit.  We have yet to actually tour the campus of the school she is considering.

I'm excited with the re-arranged plans and think I will have to plan next Christmas season much the same.

But, back to this week.... 

We baked a TON of sweet bread.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures.  She did Chocolate Zucchini Bread while I did regular.  We also made Cranberry Bread.  I freeze most of them and we have them as part of a breakfast platter Thanksgiving morning.  I will also send an assortment platter to work with the guys on Wednesday and we can munch on it throughout December for quick low-mess breakfasts!  I love that Brooke enjoys helping out.


We did a MASSIVE amount of raking/leaf-blowing and still have more to do!  That's what happens when you have 6 7 large tress (mostly elm and ash and one giant apple) in a .33 acre yard lined with mature lilac bushes!!  I'm not complaining though.  I love the autumn leaves.


Brooke has been playing a lot of board games this week with her big sister who just found out she has to switch jobs so has had extra time on her hands.  I've been helping her with a resume and other job hunt miscellany.


I don't think they know how to play with normal pieces!  And, yes, they were playing pre-school games as well!!!

Random Fact:
I discovered that all Walmarts are not equal!  Not a big fan of the super-store and their ethics.  But they are a necessity in modern budget-crunching society.  I remember when they only existed in rural communities.  Now, in our state's biggest "city", we have TWO.  One houses irritable zombie-like employees and equally irritable shoppers inside it's seemingly dark and bustling interior.  The other, which I ran into this week after Brooke had an eye appointment on that side of town, is light, open and even friendly {gasp}. When an employee saw me looking around, she thought I was a bit lost and offered to help me find my needs.  She was very gracious and, I'm ashamed to admit, my first thought was an abrupt 'What do you want?! Just leave me alone!'... then I had to inwardly correct myself and remember this is what friendly associates look like!  Big city life is ruining me!!!  Oh, and I think I need to switch which Walmart I shop at!

Another mark that all Walmarts are not equal was this bathroom reading taped to the door:

Our other Walmart doesn't have this.  I felt smarter just for using the toilet!! Ha!

Selfie time for Brooke as we get ready to take her for an eye check-up.  New glasses are on their way and will hopefully make their appearance to this lovely face by December!

As for next week, I hope to take a pre-Thanksgiving-prep road trip for a day to a scenic lodge in our area.  Then Brooke is helping with a Christian Youth in Action outreach party in our old neighborhood.  Tuesday through Thursday will be all about food and family fun.  Friday I look forward to the BIG decor switch as autumn comes down and Christmas goes up!  I won't have a Homeschool Journal Post next Friday as I am sure most of us will be busy with holiday miscellany anyway!  But I will see you the week after.


A little Teen Talk side-note:  

Make them a part of holiday meal prep.  It is easy for teens to get wrapped up in their own world.  But remember, these are the last years you have to instill tradition and how-tos.  Both guys and gals can lend a hand with Thanksgiving prep.

A few years ago I started having each of my kids pick at least one dish they wanted to either help with or do all on their own.  I am there for assistance but then they have the opportunity to learn, hands-on, how to cook some of their favorite festive food.  I also enlist them to help with platter and table setting so they can get a feel for formal hospitality.

Everyone is always proud to take part and share, at meal time, how they cooked a particular dish.  It also blesses me by alleviating some of the work load and allowing me to enjoy the day more.

I hope and pray you have a spectacular Thanksgiving!  Do you have any special plans or traditions you are looking forward to?

Blessings,









By the way.....


*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

Also, with your new subscription, I will send you November's newsletter which includes a FREE printable Bible Study and bonus PDFs to help with Thanksgiving planning!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Gratitude For the Impossible


First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, 
and thanksgivings be made for all people,  
for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful 
and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, 
and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,  
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (emphasis added)

Gratitude is one of those things... it is easy to walk out when times are great or something thoughtful has been done for us or we are pleased with the results of a situation.  But walking out gratitude in difficulty... that is another story.

How do we do that?  How do we walk out gratitude when all we are thrown is curve balls?  How do we walk out gratitude when people are difficult?  Sure, I can be thankful for the discount I enjoyed at the grocery store the other day... but certainly I don't have to be thankful for the person who cut me off driving home or the lady I learned has been talking bad about me behind my back.

This past week, we, as Americans, had the awesome opportunity to VOTE.  To cast our voice out there for whomever we felt would be the best fit for our ideals and our states/country.  Maybe 'your guy' got in, maybe he/she didn't.  I know many are frustrated with how things are being ran... have been being ran for a long time.  Anger sparks.  Debates happen.  I know of friendships which have suffered over mere political differences.  Sparks fly and the news is wrought with headlines reflecting the toxicity bubbling over.

As I read 1 Timothy this morning it struck me: God, through Paul, to Timothy says here to make supplications, prayers, even intercessions AND THANKSGIVING for all people.  If we stop there we can say: well, I guess I should pray this way for the person who cut me off in traffic or that gossip spreading lies.  And, yes, that is exactly what this says.  But wait, there is more.

This passage goes on to say these same prayers and these same "all people" also includes kings and ALL who are in high positions.  Yes, even the guy/gal in charge at work as well as in local/state/federal government.  ALLLLLLLL of them.  Seem hard? 

Consider this: when these words were penned the people in charge were....?  Do you know?  Yup, the ROMANS.  I'm not simply talking just toga wearing, road building, chariot driving Romans... no, think in more detail; I'm talking persecution carrying, godS worshiping, 'only Caesar is great' believing Romans... the same guys who would feed the early Christians to wild beasts for sport, burn their bodies to light their dinner parties and persecute to the point that many had to take to living in the sewers and grave 'yards' under the cities. 

These guys are the ones God, through Paul, to Timothy said to Pray for, supplicate, intercede, and THANK God for. 

Does that turn your world upside down?

I know it turned mine upside down.  We want to complain about legislation or walls to be/not to be built, or a boss who won't give us off the time we want or a spouse who is being difficult... or that gossip or rude driver.  But the original hearer of this text would have been grateful for the simplicity of our modern problems.  And what grabs me, just as much as the command and style of prayer here, is why we are to pray.  For this we need to rewind to chapter 1:

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with 
the prophecies previously made about you, that by them 
you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. 
By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
1 Timothy 1:18-19 (emphasis added)

From here Paul says, in 2:1, First of all, then, I urge that....  why?  Because prayer in this way is how we wage the GOOD warfare and hold the faith in good conscience.  BUT, if we reject God's call for us to lay aside our finite opinions and perceptions and reject the path God has for us to pursue peace, well, in chapter 1, Paul says it will make a shipwreck of our faith. 

BUT, IF we pray in this way, for ALL, God has commanded here, 1 Timothy 2 says we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.  It continues in saying this is not just "good", but that it is "pleasing in the sight of God..."  You could even read more into this passage by noticing how it says He desires that ALL people be saved and come to the knowledge of truth... is this to say our prayers, supplications, intercessions and thanksgiving help people come to that place... especially people in high positions?  

I believe it does.

As prayer warriors, even for those whom we want to spout venomously about, we are fighting a battle on their behalf.  We are hoping for them and trusting for them in a way they are not capable of at the moment.  We are realizing how lost we were without others' intercessions.  How undeserving we were of forgiveness... and in gratitude for our own salvation, we can and should and ought to pray for others'.

So here I confess, I have felt bogged down by all of the political garbage lately.  I see it in the church hierarchy, I see it in the government at every level... it is unavoidable.  My attitude has grown more dower daily.  The pivoting point came when I realized how my frustrations and occasional negativity weren't staying in those realms... it was beginning to leak over into family life and perspective friendships.  I was not living a quiet, peaceful life.  My life was becoming anything but quiet and peaceful.  

I have begun making incremental changes.  I'm reconsidering my inner dialogues and adjusting my focus.  When frustrating situations arise, I'm remembering to pray better.  When someone does something I don't understand or agree with, I'm considering the alternate positive dialogue of possibilities to their drive and thinking.  Most of all, I'm learning to pray much like 1 Timothy 2:1 suggests... interceding, supplicating, and even thanking.  

If there is one thing I have learned over the years it is how even the out-of-my-control trying situations (and people) have been used by God to grow me and make me more into His image.  He gives me countless opportunities to practice grace and agape love.  Yet, when I fight it, complain about it, neglect to pray over it... the trial feels endless and, at times, I put myself into a peaceless, noisy existence which takes twice as long get out of!

I pray, this Thanksgiving season, if you hear my heart in all of this, that you would join me in supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings for all the difficult people, at every level, and situations in our lives which only God can pave the way through and help us to find peace and quiet.

Blessings,




Are you looking for a Gratitude Bible Study?  Look no further!  If you sign up for my monthly newsletter I will send you November's issue which also includes a FREE printable Gratitude Study (and other great FREE printables as well!)  Scroll down to see how.






*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

Monday, November 12, 2018

Managing Holidays: Action Plans

Hey everyone.  I missed "seeing" you last Monday.  My whole blogging schedule has been pretty off since November swung into motion.  Life sort of hi-jacked my time to write.  Holiday season is in swing now and I suppose there are bound to be more impromptu time swallowings!

This month I thought I would swap out my usual "Keepers at Home" heading for a cozy evening snap-shot of my holiday mantel all lit up.  You might have noticed it in the back ground of many of my pictures this past month.  I'm slowly adding turkeys to the autumn decor as a nod to Thanksgiving in a TWO short weeks.

Managing holidays is an exuberant affair for me.  For as long as I can remember I have always loved to transition seasons and wrap myself up with gusto in each celebration as it came.  I'm certain it was my  mother's influence!  She made every season sparkle.  I feel like I honor her memory as decor dons every nook and cranny of my home and holiday place settings to accompany meals are plotted and planned from as early as I am able to start putting pen to paper!

It was in this process recently that I decided to work up some new printables based on my handwritten versions I have developed over the years.  Something I could share with all of you. One already appeared in my monthly newsletter, which, by the way, if you sign up for NOW, I will send you a link to November's issue with not just a dinner organizational print-out but also a Thanksgiving Bible study!  (Details are at the bottom of this article.)


I tend to cook and prepare all month long in order to make the day-of a little less chaotic.  However, I don't just barrel into my need-tos.  Nope, I make a list and get an action plan in motion. 
I keep a binder for the autumn season in order to track all of fall's festivities.  In my November section I tab off different segments for Dinner Plans, Recipes, Arts and Crafts, General To-Dos and so on.  Can you believe I have been tracking for over 18 years?!?!  I know I can't.  I kind of wish I had thought to track back when I first became a housewife over 26 years ago, I can only imagine what the even younger me would have recorded!!


(We disguise turkeys every year as a quirky craft/decoration.  Above is my template I duplicated back when my oldest was in elementary school.  With almost everyone adult age now, they STILL love the annual turkey disguise!)





 As I prep to make my dinner menu and monthly need-tos, I skim notes-to-self from previous years which I leave to myself throughout the month and as a wrap up after the Big Day.  This past week, as I began this annual process, I was inspired to make my next set of printables when realizing how I have a pattern of drawing out my menu and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  It is a simple method, really, and I thought it would be fun to replicate in a PDF so you could use it if you are needing the assistance in organizing your Thanksgiving plans!

click on image for FREE download
I use the large boxes on the lower half to plan dish prep steps, remind myself to iron linens and even to recall my need to sort out place settings and serving dishes during the more critical days leading up to Thanksgiving and then an hour-by-hour draft to field a basic overview of what needs to be happening and when (like, 9am "Turkey In") on the actual day.

The top half with the partial November calendar is used to pencil in general ideas of what pre-prep items can be done those weeks and any major events which I don't want to forget to accommodate as I am working and planning.

I also have a menu line-up and grocery planning list I lead-out with so I know what I am cooking and prepping for all month!!  A PDF of which is available in this month's November newsletter along with printable recipe cards which I will email to all new sign-ups until Thanksgiving Eve!

I believe a good plan in hand helps to save a lot of potential holiday chaos.  Delegating and doing various tasks ahead of time can also help defray the frazzles!

The other pages in my binder were done by hand with colored pens and thanksgiving stickers.  Once I achieved the design I liked I photo-copied with a color printer, keeping the original tucked at the back of it's corresponding section in my binder should I need additional sets down the road.  If you are interested in making your own, here is what you would need:
  • 1" 3-ring binder
  • Tabbed dividers
  • 3-hole punch
  • Fall or Thanksgiving themed scrapbook paper to insert in binder cover
  • Colored pens/markers of choice
  • Fall or Thanksgiving stickers (scrapbook isle at craft store or card isle in other stores)

You may need scissors and/or a paper cutter if you need to cut your scrapbook paper down to fit the cover.

I label my tabs:
Calendar/To-do lists
Decorations/Crafts
Menus/Recipes
Memories

I use the "Memories" tab to record everyone's favorites from the year: old traditions, new traditions, craft/decorations, food, and favorite book (we had a TON of children's Thanksgiving picture books when my kids were growing up). 

Under the Menus/Recipes tab I will keep the Menu Worksheet (FREE printable in my newsletter). At the end of the season I tuck each completed one along with any notes on recipes and magazine or internet recipes (printed off) we tried and/or might like to do again. 

I keep all my old to-do lists under the Calendar/To-do list tab.  It may seem irrelevant when the holiday is over, however, they help me remember what worked and what didn't.  I also keep the printable in this article in this section.

My "notes to self" I actually store at the very front of all of this.  Seeing them when I first open my binder for the year helps me recall to sit and read.  (I can be seriously that forgetful!)

If you want to do a section for each month between September and November, the process is the same.  I use sheet protectors with relevant scrapbook paper inserted at the beginning of each monthly section so the divides are clear.  You could just make this for Thanksgiving though, which is what I have considered down-sizing my binder to since my kids are almost all grown and September/October hold much less planning need as a result.


I pray, however you choose to organize and celebrate Thanksgiving, that it is a blessed one and, regardless of your season of life, this season produces a multitude of gratitudes, even if only in the small things!

Blessings,









*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

HMJ: The Week That Almost Wasn't

Thanksgiving Break is ALMOST HERE!!  That is what I reassured Brooke as she begged to have Monday off.  It was just an off day.  And as the week progressed, she pleaded, just one week off wouldn't hurt... would it?  It was tough being the persistent mom.  Knowing we would be enjoying 9 straight days off beginning after next Friday, helped me stay the course.  Thankfully there were no tantrums or pouting fits... just simple attempts to request some slack.

I can't blame her.

Not at all... I confessed, in return, how I LOVE love love the start of the school year but, as the days wear on, I just sort of want to be done with the whole thing!  I love teaching.  I love spending my days with my kids (now ONE 'kid').  But sometimes even a mom just wants to do anything but educational stuff!  So.... even after a Sunday afternoon hanging out at Michael's all chill like this:
 
 ... and our Monday starting like this...
... it ended up like this...
We called it a "Consumer Math field trip" and it sort of was.  My teacher mom hat went on as we discussed budget and reasonable spending, reviewing our family budget before we left the house. Our first stop was Brooke's idea of decompression where she dreamt of a some-day job from which she could use 10-20% of her paycheck to boost her shoe collection.... while I suggested some of that potential budget be used on a shoe storage solution as well!

After frivolities we headed to the grocery store where I put her in charge of the list and budget we had discussed before we headed out.  Thankfully she likes math so she found this fun, even if the grocery budget couldn't buy her new shoes!!

After our Monday excursions and my projected plans to make up the difference in the coming weeks, I did keep my foot down on finishing the rest of our week strong.  Instead of taking our usual Wednesday off this week we pushed through and took Friday off instead... which she spent trying a new P.E./potential hobby..

You can tell she's nervous, she was playing with her hair!!  She climbed for about 30 minutes and then decided it wasn't her 'thing'... sadly.  I thought it was pretty neat but it does require a lot of upper body strength and fearlessness... which I forgot, when I authorized the excursion, she is afraid of heights!!!! ha.  Onto other prospects.

Halfway through the week we enjoyed a beautiful dusting of snow...
... and here I confess that most of my writing is being done to soft piano music tinkling out Christmas tunes!

At this point in the week we also made the judgment call to pause Astronomy and French videos/bookwork until January.  This will give her time to focus on finishing her one-semester course of Consumer Math so her daily schedule isn't as overwhelming.  Even though we won't be doing the videos and book work, she will keep at her self-paced French studies with Duolingo and Mango.  

All-in-all, I am pleased with how our week turned out, even if it almost wasn't a school week!  I hope the drive through till this coming Friday is fruitful knowing our break is almost here!!

How has your week been?  Do you take off a full week for Thanksgiving?


Blessings,









By the way.....


*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

Also, with your new subscription, I will send you November's newsletter which includes a FREE printable Bible Study and bonus PDFs to help with Thanksgiving planning!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Pausing for Seasons of Thanksgiving

We live in a cynical age.  Plain and simple.  An often me-centric, bottom-line-driven, you get what you give kind of age.  It is easy to become wrapped up in this mad rush.  We stop seeing the small things which used to make us smile.  We forget how God's mighty hand can still touch and move the tiniest and simplest parts of our lives.

In the midst of this kind of chaos and disconnection in life, I'm grateful we live in a country where pausing for gratitude is a national observance.  This time of year is an opportunity to get out of the mad rush, stop, and ponder true thankfulness.  Laying the cynic aside, putting off self, and just reflecting.

We can reflect big or small or anywhere in-between but, truth be told, if we don't include the magnificence of God within this pause then we will become hung up all the insignificant trappings which are temporal and vanishing.

Gratitude is about something much more eternal.  The constantly changing seasons of our life might assign eternal value to varied points:  A butterfly kiss from a curly haired girl, the sweet salvation of a long prayed for loved one, keeping a home we thought we would loose, having enough just for today.... Transformation gratitude is seeing beyond the basic to the deeper, more moving and empowering parts of all we might take for granted.

But how?

It's simple.  Open God's Word, search the scripture for words like "Grateful", "Thanksgiving", Praise", "Thanks" and others.  Don't buzz through, nodding your head at familiarity.  No.  Terry, read before and after verses, pray, and consider the deeper messages in play.  SEE the words on the page, realize their significance, and allow them to work in your heart as you realize that deeper, more eternal and sustainable gratitude we were all meant to walk in light and celebration of, not just in November, but all year round.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, 
but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns 
and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 
 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father 
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another 
out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-21 (emphasis added)

Gratitude in the big, the small, the tangible, the intangible and everywhere in-between.  Why?  Because we, as believers, are filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in wisdom, seeking and following the will of the Lord.  We can and should celebrate His power to help us do this, and so much more.  We can and should praise and sing and be unified (making melody) to the Lord with all our being (with your heart).

Times tough?  Look to God and thank Him for being there and know, the simple fact that you are getting through another day is by His Grace and Strength. 

Times great? Don't forget to pause and thank Him.  Got a raise? Kids doing well? Great test results from the doctor? Look to God and thank Him for His continued provision/blessing/care.

Give thanks, always and for everything

I pray your Thanksgiving season doesn't pass without some good, deep-heart-rendering pauses to consider His magnificence and blessings in all corners of your heart and life.

Blessings,




Are you looking for a Gratitude Bible Study?  Look no further!  If you sign up for my monthly newsletter I will send you November's issue which also includes a FREE printable Gratitude Study (and other great FREE printables as well!)  Scroll down to see how.






*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

HMJ: REAL Busy Begins & Freindship Dilemmas

This article's title was going to be, "The Week Where Busy Meant I Was Posting HMJ on Sunday"!  Um, no, that was too long!  Realistically, we haven't been too awfully busy, just filled up with needed family time on top of seasonal prep time. 

For instance, instead of trying to have my post up by yesterday, I spent the day in heart talks with Brooke and then baking a stash of Pumpkin Bread on top of fielding pictures for both our Christmas Newsletter AND a special gift for the grandparents!  By the time all of those lovely things were complete, Brooke and I decided to escape to the shoe section at Shopko while we waited for her brother to get off work just down the road.  Trying on shoes is her "therapy"! 

Heart matters:  well, simply put, trouble in Friendsville where Brooke feels like it is population 1.  She is such a sweet and generous girl, it is hard to believe friendships are so hard for her.  Reading "Missionaries are REAL People" by Ellen Rosenberger has helped us both. (by the way, it is on sale right now for only $6 and can be helpful for NONmissionaries as well if you want to learn how to be more empathetic to missionaries you know)  Ellen points out how missionary kids often make friends fast and hard because they move so much, they know they don't have the time for the long process of "getting to know" people.  The downside:  a lot of people like the slow easy process and often have a core friend-group they have known for years. While missionary kids are new and, with girls anyway, it can be hard to break into that core and since the only way missionary kids know is fast and all in, it's often intimidating to other kids AND their parents!  Missionary kids have a hard time reconciling why others keep holding them at arms length... I imagine the "wierd unsocialized homeshooler" bit only adds to the frustration at times.  (Though, being in public school wouldn't mitigate the friendship dilemma either.)

In the same thread, while I see her fight is real; friends have cancelled study hang-outs at the last minute and left her hanging on other extra plans; she is also a teenage girl and, at her age, she has two things working against her:
  1. perspective friends have their parent/family schedule to contend with so planning hang-outs are often subject to this (the biggest reason for recent cancellations).  
  2. girl emotions.  Even one day without hearing from a favorite friend wreaks havoc on a young girl's mind and esteem.
I've been trying to remind her to focus on Jesus first and His guiding second... to plug forward in Trust and knowing He has a good plan and time for everything.  She is deep in some scripture on the issue at hand, and I am proud of her for that.  She is making progress. 

In the same discussion, one friend who is subject to the parent dilemma was finally able to come for dinner on Wednesday.  Afterward her and Brooke dressed up for their youth group party.  One of the girls in their small-group is moving this weekend so everyone came wearing moving boxes!  Knowing they wouldn't want to wear boxes all night, the girls also wore more comfortable secondary costumes.  It was a crazy evening so I wasn't able to get a good picture of her friend's costume (she went as a pirate).
Brooke went as a Chinese Panda!  She did her make-up so that when her mask was off she would still look Panda-ish!
Brooke's friend borrowed her bunny head from last year.  The girls had a good time doing make-up, cutting and labeling boxes, and chattering away!

Ashley dressed up too... 
She wanted to put on a good presentation for the kids who would come to the door for candy.  We started an annual tradition a few years ago on the premise that our front doorstep becomes a mission field on Halloween.  We hand out candy with glow in the dark bracelets we special-order which read, "Jesus is the Light" on one side and a root Bible verse, "John12:46" on the other.


It's always a big hit with the kiddos who come to the door!

We stayed on task this week, even amidst the friendship drama.  We FINALLY got past all the intro material in Geography and started on our first continent: Europe.  Had I not gotten married and began collecting kids, I probably would have wanted to get a job writing for a travel magazine and gallivanting all over the globe!  So, it is no stretch to put gusto into this class.  I think it catches on with Brooke! 

Also this week, we finally jumped back into Pre-Calc.  After assessing her Geometry book and talking with my oldest last week, I felt absolutely comfortable trimming all the fat off of Proofs.  This opens up time AND brain space for the other maths she is doing.  We will continue reading through Geometry to acquaint her with the info, do some exercises in Constructions and Equations but, otherwise, I will let her SAT prep guide her through the rest this summer.

Friday, Brooke arranged to have coffee with her small group leader from Church.  I'm not keen on dropping her places alone so I hung out with her while she waited.

She is working on writing a Bible Study on relationships (which I think is a big reason why she is being challenged in them right now!!!) and this meet-up was part of collecting insight and guidance from varied sources.  It was also a good time to unload some of her heart renderings to a trusted peer as well.  I'm grateful God puts people like this in her life ♥️

So that is our week wrap-up, a day or two late.  I expect "busy" to be the main-stay in life from now and January.  Between holidays, company coming and a Sweet 16 to plan for the beginning of January, there will be no shortage of to-dos and distractions!  I don't mind though... I get bored when life isn't bustling!!

How has your school week been?  Do you find authentic friendships to be a dilemma as a homeschooler?  Is holiday life ramping up for you yet?  (I'll be posting this week on some ways I am managing mine holiday 'busy'). I pray your homeschool days will be recognizably wrapped in God's presence this week!

Blessings,









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