Monday, January 28, 2019

Small Steps are Better Than No Steps

Can you believe the end of this week signals a whole new month?!?!  The "New Year" won't feel quite so crisp anymore.  Ground hogs will be stalked, Valentines plotted and, before we know it, we will be looking to spring. 

As this year rolls into full-motion I wonder... how many of us have kept up momentum with New Year's declarations and ambitions?  Has anyone given up yet?  Is anyone wearing down so far?  Me... well, I struggled right out of the gate!!  Every ambition I felt Led to set seemed to shake even before the Christmas Tree was tucked away!

Then I remembered...

Last year I was driven to really do things differently.  Change was desperately needed in my heart and life, so, I prayed fervently and diligently pursued each path God lay before me.  I didn't just learn and grow in 2018, but I developed skills and persistence I never knew I was capable of.  This memory is what is keeping me from giving up already in this new year. 

As I think on this stumble-bumble direction I am attempting to go with 2019 hopes and dreams, I thought of YOU, my sweet friend and reader.  I thought of all the Instagram and blog posts lamenting and lagging this month.  It is as if a funk has enveloped the planet (or at least the northern hemisphere?) and women everywhere are fighting not just to stay the course, but, in some cases, to keep their wits in the process!

So, here is my advice, tried and true, a mantra I am constantly still repeating to myself with regularity:

Even small steps are better than no steps.

I believe we get so focused on those BIG steps to meet the end of an idea or pursuit that we forget how monumental the little ones really are in the process....

Hope: I want to stay on top of housework more this year so I will clean one room every day....
Reality: I straightened a pile of magazines and cleaned spilled cereal off the floor

Hope: I want to eat healthier....
Reality: I switched out my morning cereal for yogurt but botched the rest of the day.

Hope: I want to yell at my kids less...
Reality: I didn't yell this morning, kinda lost it this afternoon though

Hope: I want to stay on-task in our homeschool day...
Reality: We kept up with math for most of the week but kind of fell off on the rest

We often get caught up on all the ways we missed the mark (or didn't even start).  We forget how even a small step in the right direction is part of the process of getting where we are going.

... so you aren't on top of housework yet, you got something done.  Try challenging yourself with one added little thing each day!

... so you didn't get all the right healthy choices in today, you made ONE... and even if you made none, that is OK... there is always tomorrow!  Try gradually switching out healthy for unhealthy in your meal plans.

... so you only managed to keep your cool in one situation in the day, it is a START.  Pray through the frustration, take 10 when necessary and trust... as you continue to choose new reactions you will gradually progress to where you want to be.

...so not all the curriculum was covered as hoped, but some was, which is better than NONE!  (and even on those none days, just like healthy eating, tomorrow is a new day to try again!) Try staying on task one subject at a time, one day at a time.  You are going to have hiccups in progress but you are going to get where you need to be.


Life is an accumulation of the little choices you make.  Whether with goals or interpersonal relations, it tends to be those oft over-looked moments which collect to create the greatest impact.  As we step, one foot in front of the other, taking each.next.thing as it comes, we are building stamina to keep going onto the next... and the next... and the next!  Don't begrudge small beginnings!

 I am pushing forward.  I am refusing the funk.  I am hoping for better and progress and momentum... even one step at a time!  How about you?

I pray you find the Divine push you need and the encouragement to keep making, even incremental, change whenever you can!

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.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Five Minute Friday: Convenient


Convenient... something this week contained very little of.  It wasn't convenient to notice the bubbling paint in my kitchen and wonder at the cause.  Nor was it convenient when hubby cut a hole in the adjacent living room wall in preparation for mounting speakers only to find it was soaked nearly through from a mystery leak.  Convenient is NOT what prospective repairs conjure.

It is easy to become overwhelmed in these moments... to place blame, find worry and churn.  We could be irritable or snippy at this wonderful lack of convenience... but then I remember: often times anger and irritability are the result of self-focused motives.  We consider how a situation is inconveniencing our groove but we don't stop to see how God is a God over it all.

How I handle a situation could be the very difference between an opportunity to reflect Christ and a moment of missed possibility.

In truth, it is more convenient to step back and simply Trust.  To believe God's good plans and timing and, even when walls are crying for cracks in the roof, hearts can be believing these moments have their point and purpose!

Blessings,







This has been a Five Minute Friday Post where writers tap away for 5 minutes, un-edited, on a predetermined topic.  Check out other great posts by visiting:
http://fiveminutefriday.com/



HMJ: Digging Out and Moving Forward

It has been the week of two snowstorms and continued disruptions to our regularly scheduled programs!  However, we kept stepping and moving forward and I am pleased with how we wrapped our week up strong.

Sunday we learned that our furnace chimney is leaking and water is spreading through the walls between the living room and kitchen!  We shot out of the gate hoping and praying insurance will take care of it since it may-or-may-not be an issue for the contractor who replaced our roof a few years ago.  None-the-less, I started the week having to remember: God has got this!  The stress could have been overwhelming without that mantra as we stepped forward!


Monday, snowstorm #1 hit.  Hubby's car was having problems with the weather this past Friday so we decided I would drive him to work in mine on yucky days since I needed a vehicle to drive Brenden to and from work (yes, he is 18 and still working on getting a license...and a car!)  This wouldn't be too big of a deal except hubby's new job is an hour round-trip drive!  Late starts were kind of our thing at the beginning of this week!  So much for well-laid plans!!

Brooke and I got a wild hair to go for a winter walk after our studies were done.  Mid-snowstorm we ventured out and chose a conservation area we had never visited.  Snowy adventures are a fave to both of us and we were reminded how a person can burn more calories going for walks in un-shoveled terrain then regular pavement wandering...at least when there has been a considerable amount of snow!


 If you look closely at her boots in the last picture, you can see how deep the snow was in spots!


Tuesday, after schoolwork was complete, Ashley and her pup joined Brooke and me for another winter walk, this one in the sunshiny calm between the two days of storms.  We took to the cliffs around our city this time and all three of us decided to try for some photographic artistry.




Wednesday, storm #2 hit and it was worse than the first one, making for messy travel. 
 
We hunkered down and got some schoolwork done.  Brooke was super bummed when youth group got cancelled on account of the roads.  I was equally disappointed when I still had to drive in it to get hubby from work!!  He works down the end of a remote road I thought should be re-labeled as an "ice rink" after this week!  I'm grateful for all the ways God spared me in close calls as I ventured out each day.

Thursday we dug out.  Brooke completed her coursework and then helped us make the driveway navigable.  Hubby is talking snow blower in the near future and, as much as I enjoy the "work out" of shoveling... I wouldn't complain to have some mechanical help!

Friday Brooke typed up her first resume!  She has been applying to jobs since her birthday and one of the positions she is hoping for required a resume.  We jumped online and searched, "Resumes for High Schoolers", and found some great models which she adapted to her own needs.  Some tips for those who may be interested:
  • GPA above 3.5 can be listed with high school (homeschool) and graduating year in first line of resume info
  • Volunteer work scores big points on non-work-experienced resumes
  • Sports and club activities can fill some space and show that your teen isn't sedentary
Saturday we wrapped up our week by attending a pastoral meeting to sort of meet and greet and get our name 'out there' for women's ministry work in our regional association of churches.  I shared Brooke as my lovely assistant and she truly enjoyed the time and fellowship.  It was especially exciting for one pastor's kiddos who were there when they recognized Brooke as their Bible teacher from backyard Bible club this summer when Brooke served as a Christian Youth in Action Missionary!

All-in-all, it was a sturdy week!  Our shaved-down curriculum plans and daily schedule is a welcome reprieve and provides ample opportunity to multi-task and adventure!  We do end up gabbing more than we should, but even on particularly talkative days, Brooke is typically done with ALL of her schoolwork no later than 3pm (a huge improvement from her 5:30+ finish time before Christmas break). 

This coming week may have its hair-raising moments with insurance company juggling, Newsletter deadline (info below if you are interested in signing up to receive a FREE copy), and hubby's work going on lock-down if the laborers decide to strike (he is in I.T. and they retain the office workers when strikes happen!).  At least life won't be dull!!  Brooke will probably be happy for clearer roads... her ONLY complaint about all the snow (she LOVES snow) was that she couldn't get any driving practice in!

How was your week? Any big plans for the new one ahead?

Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see our latest escapades when blog posts become irregular!  Follow the link in-text.



*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.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

HMJ: #homeschoollife

Wow!  Has it really been over a month since I last logged an entry for the Homeschool Mother's Journal!!??  I suppose it is a sign of my life for the last 30+ days and, from what I have seen out in the blog sphere, I am not alone!  So many families had grandiose intentions of homeschooling focus TO the week of Christmas and jumping right in after New Years and then, many, like myself, saw those good plans just sort of slip to the way-side. 

#homeschoollife

Every December I kick myself for not intentionally scheduling next to ZERO for the curriculum.  And ever January I think we will jump right back in.  After so many years, about the only thing I have learned AND walked out, is to give myself grace in this process.

So, this December, we crammed in the necessities to be done before the second week of the month was out.  And January... well, instead of starting the first week as planned, we started on the 7th with a partial schedule which just switched to full schedule this week.  Brooke had her Sweet 16 in the middle of it all!  More on that in a moment.


The BIG reveal I meant to post last Friday was in the epiphany I had concerning her THREE math classes she had insisted on and my non-math functioning mind!  Over our break I took a lot of time to pray and reconsider our schedule.  Most days this fall she was happy to be done BY 5pm and many of these days I was equally and exhaustively needed until 3 or later.  As my ONLY student now and a Junior in High School, I didn't feel this was acceptable.  I also had to come to terms with the fact that I am just not good at teaching Pre-calculus. 

Thank you Captain Obvious!

I managed Algebra 1 and 2 just fine.  I would read ahead, maybe grab some how-to vids and all-in-all, we managed.  I feel she could have done better than me as a high school teacher, but we fared reasonably well.  Geometry this year would be a cinch except she HATES the tedious work of Proofs, so that has been a challenge, otherwise I could manage that as well. 

But then Pre-calc. 

Concepts I barely grasped in Trig are now, even more so, alluding me in Pre-calc.  I watch the videos and I think I am ready to teach and then.... I'm not.  I've managed to get a problem right by chance... or by momentary understanding... but I can't seem to teach it to her learning ability and we both end up frustrated.  Not to mention all the TIME spent on prepping and teaching which feels wasted inside an endless cycle of mis-understanding.

She doesn't like to learn by videos.
She prefers one-on-one.
She did NOT want to take classes at the college until she is ready to start working on her degree (she insisted she wanted ONE college and ONE college alone... not a bunch of random experiences)

BUT

I made the judgment call to stick an ultimatum to her:  either she wait and take Pre-calc with the college next fall in order to get "all her maths in before graduation" OR she follow an online video.  (I considered teaching textbooks but I couldn't afford the fee OR the calculator right now.)  I also found a great Geometry program through Math Is Fun which I also recommended for this year so she could finish Geometry.  I appealed to her heart in letting her know how much I wanted to be able to teach these things but that I didn't feel it was fair to her to not really be 'learning' anything because of my methods.

She pondered, we discussed, and ultimately it was decided to try the college classes in the fall for Pre-Calc and beyond and she is going to look over Math Is Fun for the remainder of Geometry this year!  I could have heard the 'Hallelujah' chorus playing in the background!! 

Technically she can be done with math if she wants.  According to our state requirements, she had to take Algebra and Consumer Math.  She's almost done with CM and Algebra was knocked out freshman year.  According to college entry, 2 years math minimum and 3+ preferred.  She has hit that minimum as well and, if she finishes Geometry, preferred will be managed.  However, she is still convinced she wants to take ALL High School math possible before she collects her Diploma next year!

We also switched Literature curriculum.  I had her reading Charlotte Mason style: REAL living books.  But she has fought me all year on it... missing deadlines, complaining about difficulty, lamenting how she has no time for leisure reading, etc.  Tired of the fight, I spent the tail end of our break using an Abeka World Literature Book I happened to have and integrating it with her existing Grammar Comp program (also Abeka).  I hated to switch gears since I LOVE the living books style and she wasn't a fan of the idea of Literature Textbook.  However, after trucking through our first, and now second, weeks of school.... I am absolutely LOVING our new schedule... and so is she!

We have 3-4 lessons together on any given day and often finish before lunch when we don't get distracted with girl gabbing!  Then, she goes to do her assignments for those lessons along with some other OYO (On Your Own) work.  So far, except for 2 instances where she wasn't making the best use of her time, she has finished BY 3pm every day!!!  Perfect since she very badly wants to get a job ASAP.  Early finish = greater work availability. She is also loving the freedom to read leisure material again.

I felt all of these changes were realistic and appropriate.  As I begin to prepare for new ministry work as well, I am grateful for freed-up afternoons to get some work done!

The break was loooong, and we are just now finding routine again, but some seasons are like that.  The important thing we found: just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually, momentum will build and you are back on top!


Oh, and the Sweet 16?
My mom started a tradition with me of 16 roses for the Sweet 16.  I have carried it on with my girls.  My mother-in-law also wanted her to have Daisies (Brooke and my MIL fave) so I kinda got those (I think they are actually Poms or something like that)

She wanted to start the day by testing for her Permit.  In our state you cannot test without Driver's Ed until 16.  So, she scheduled 9am on the 9th!  She studied like crazy and sailed right through.  Out of all of my kids, she did it the fastest and almost tied her big sister for best score!  She's already making plans for July 9th's official driving test and full-fledged license (per the required 6 month wait)!!


Brooke felt compelled to One Word this year: Perspective.  She asked for a cake of seasons to reflect the constant changing in life and the Perspective necessary to manage each well.
winter/spring
summer/fall
We celebrated with just us on her big day, since weekdays aren't very conducive to big gatherings.  Her brother took her shoe shopping (absolute treat!)


Then, Saturday the 12th, we had her BASH.  She wanted an intimate gathering so didn't invite too many.  She was excited to share "The Resurrection of Gaven Stone" with her friends so we went with a Movie Night theme and, to top it off, she loves Paris.  As a result, the entirety was "Outdoor Movie Night in a Paris Park".  How do you think we did?









She is a phenomenal teen and I am so proud of her.  I can't believe we are finally HERE, at this stage, the rest is going to roll by so fast.  I pray to soak in as much as I can in the process.

Also, I couldn't help but include fave moments (other than the Sweet 16) since I last logged an HMJ entry :

Singing in the Christmas Program with Rush of Fools... such a great bunch of guys!




ALL my kiddos under one roof for Christmas. Highlights were games, Christmas Light walks and doing something fun for others on Christmas Eve.

How has your back-to-school after the holidays been?

Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see the latest things we are up to when blog posts become irregular!  Follow the link in-text.



*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.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Day In The Life Of...


Hello World!  It feels like ages, even though it has only been a month.  The newsletter headed off without a hitch at the end of December (are you subscribed? If not, scroll down to bottom for details) but otherwise, my head has been filled with Christmas, visitors, New Years, Goal Setting, Sweet 16, getting back to school routines in motion (with a re-write on some of our curriculum), new ministry work, and ambitions for articles... among a plethora of other mundane details!  Scanning the blog-sphere, I learned I wasn't alone.  

Even closer to HOME today, hit the ball of the hard work of a housewife.  Studying Consumer Math with Brooke this morning, we were wrapping up our latest unit with a study on burning calories. Feast your eyes:
That's right, the only job/activity which ranks higher than a housewife for calorie adjustment is a CONSTRUCTION WORKER!!  Although, I wonder if that percentage changes (higher) when a woman is pregnant (with youngers under foot)!

What I do know is, a day in the life of a hard working housewife isn't anything to sneeze at.  Even if/when some of it is sedentary, the brain is ALWAYS on... {did I remember to start the dishwasher, I've still got to fold that load of towels... oh, and put them away, is Suzie getting enough sleep, where did Fred put the keys, what time should I start dinner, how should I coordinate carpool, it's time to pay the electric, (and if you homeschool...) how can I get Sally to study her spelling words without complaining, I just can't figure out how to teach this math assignment, I need to catch-up my record keeping....}

I think you get the idea.

I'm not saying a wife is better than a husband or a stay-at-home is better than a working-outside-the-house woman... what I AM saying is that your job IS important, valuable, viable and worthwhile.  The errands run, the housework completed, the meals cooked, the tears dried and so on... each and every task draws from our energy.  Each and every one is worth every ounce of exertion.

As many of my regular readers know, I have a personal mission to dispell the "Just a Housewife" myth.... to revive a realized value of stay-at-homes who have found themselves in a society unappreciative of their valuable contributions.  Some women have chosen outside work... some have chosen inside.  ALL have value.

If little ole me with just a 16 year old and all adult children can get lost in the din and to-do, why not everyone else.  Sure, some of us juggle better (or worse) than others... but we all juggle.  In the day of the life of, we push through.  But, Ms. Housewife, may I suggest one little thing?  NEVER think you do to little when you do all you can for those you love.  NEVER get lost in the rat-race feeling like you have to prove to the world you're 70% has been earned.  When in doubt, think on this:
God sees me.
Have I sought Him today?
Have I sought to honor Him today?
When I fell short, did I surrender it to Him today?
When I fell short, did I consider a way God calls me to rise up next time?
Did I forgive myself, as God forgives me, when I needed it?
Did I surrender ALL to Him today?
This isn't a perfect recipe, but sweet Ms. Housewife, it is the ONLY standard you need to consider each and every day.  HIS approval is all we seek, not that of a disapproving wandering world.  It is HIS assurance we count on, not the fads of a wayward age.  And when we don't hit the mark on any given day in our life, it is HIS forgiveness and restoration we can seek in order to get up and try again the next.  

You won't get it right every day.  
You will get it right as often as you can.
You won't exert 70% every day (some more, some less)
But, if each day you exert 100% of hope and faith and trust in God, you will honor Him in all you DO get done on any given day in the the life of...
It's still the beginning of a whole new year, my sweet friends.  A call to arms to re-focus on Truth and push forward into the place God has called you to without distraction from the fog of war outside.  

Take courage in your identity as God's and, with eyes on Him, commit your Work to Him, lock out the din of worldly condescension, love on your spouse, care for those who God gives you to care for, be a Keeper at Home and treasure each moment, small and large, 0-100%, because it is all part of the marvelous tapestry of each day in the life of...YOU♥️


Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose...
- Proverbs 16:3-4a 

(...and He has made YOU for this purpose)

Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see the latest things we are cooking and doing when blog posts become irregular!  Follow the link in-text.



*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.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!