Monday, September 16, 2013

I ran 10 miles yesterday.

That is the craziest thing for me to say/type.  It's still a little surreal for me, I think...even though my legs are quick to remind me today that it, in fact, did happen.

When I started this 1/2 marathon training program back in July, ten miles seemed super far away and an impossible task. 

I remember running our usual route one Saturday.  It was my 1st day of 1/2 training.  I was suppose to run five miles that day.  I just remember thinking how impossible that five miles felt and wondering how in the world I was ever going to accomplish 13.1 if five was so hard.

Before my 1st 10 miler.

I know I've mentioned this before in previous running running time is my Jesus time.  It's the time when I can have alone time with Jesus.  My day is filled {exactly as I wished} with my kids' needs and wants.  My night is interrupted by a baby who doesn't sleep through the night yet.  Trying to find alone time is nearly impossible.  Thankfully running covers my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual is my alone time and as my training continues, my alone time with Jesus grows.

So this particular day, I decided to just let God take control of my training.  I determined that anything over my usual 5K would not be my own doing.  I could easily run a 5K, but I had tried so many times before to run more than that and train for a 1/2...only to injure myself or just give up.  I've never been able to do it on my own.

I told God that if he would just help me get through this training and this race that I've committed to doing, I would give all the glory of my success to Him.  I need Him to run with me and push me to accomplish my goal. Otherwise...I'll just give up.

That first five miles was amazing....and all the conviction I needed to know that I needed to invite Jesus to run with me every time I hit the pavement.

Yesterday, two months after that 5 mile run, I did something I never thought I would ever do.  I ran 10 miles.  That's double digits, y'all.  That's just over two hours {for slowpoke me}.

What?! Two hours! Ten miles! I went from one small town, through another, to the city limits of yet another town, and back again in one big TEN MILE loop! I ran in three different towns yesterday! I *went to town* on my feet!


Running is such an emotional experience for me. I cry about it all the time...before, during, after. Just thinking about how *far* emotionally running has brought me.  I cried at mile 7 when I realized I only had a 5K left to finish.  I cried at 9.75 miles when I realized that I was actually going to make it...and when I finished, I was only just 5K away from running a 1/2. I cried on the way home, thinking about how far I've made it so far.

This time, last fall, I was a hot mess.  I've shared this story before...Joshua was just a few months old, I was getting very little sleep, the hubs was working out of town, I had lost a couple of things that were super important to me, I was depressed, angry, bitter...and I couldn't run to save my life.  I lost everything I had built up before my pregnancy.  I could barely go a half mile down the road before I gave up and cried my way home. 

I wanted to bad to run but I just couldn't.  I had all these anger issues welling up inside of me.  And I started to hate running.

Thankfully, the Run for God program was put in front of me.  And thankfully I was put in charge of leading the group...because I can tell you, had I not been one of the group leaders, responsible for showing up and leading these other people on their own running journey, I would have quit within the first couple of weeks.

As it was, I withdrew and basically turned the group over to the hubs who was the other leader.  I wanted nothing to do with it. I fought it for weeks.  I wanted to stay angry and wallow in my self-pity and depression, but this program just wouldn't allow it. 

Having to stick with this program drug me out of anger, bitterness, depression.  All of it.  I had to face it and deal with it so I could continue running.

As the weight of this junk I was holding on to began to fall off, my love of running started to come back.  I was able to go those short distances without physical and emotional pain.

Yesterday was exactly one year and one week since that first day of Run for God.  Bo and I are leading two Run for God groups this fall, and I'm all in this time.  I believe in this program so much now. 

....and yesterday.  I ran 10 miles.  I went from hating life and running and everything in general to running and believing again.

Jesus runs with me every time I go out.  He is my running partner.  He never disappoints...always shows up and always encourages. This is all HIM.  He has gotten me this far and I know He will continue to push me toward my 1st 1/2 marathon in less than two months.

This half marathon training has reminded me that we only need to be willing to do the possible, and leave the impossible to God.  For me, running a half is an impossible task.  Turning my training over to Him makes it possible. 

I'm so thankful.  I just can't even begin to express how thankful I am to my Jesus who cares so much about me that He would make my small dream of running a reality. 

It's a wonderful lesson that ALL things...big or small, important or not-so-important...are possible through Jesus Christ.  If it's a big deal to us, it's a big deal to Him. 

And if He is so interested in making our little dreams come true, how much more interested is he in the BIG dreams of our world?   If all it took to make big changes in our world was to step out in faith and say "God, I'm going to do what I can and I know you'll show up to use that in a HUGE way."

After my 10 mile run.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Easy peasy painted jars {Pinned It, Made It}

We LOVE mason jars at our house!  We drink from them, stored things in them, and {hopefully soon} will be canning with them.  We also have a super cool light fixture idea planned for my dining room...thanks to the hubs, my very own super amazing electrician.
Also....we just have a lot of mason jars!  Our fave salsa comes in a mason jar.  My mother-in-law picked up several boxes for us at a yard sale a few years ago {when we first started making noises about canning...we'll get there eventually!}
I have seen several pins on Pinterest involving painted mason jars....and always wanted to give it a try.  My sister-in-law posted the CUTEST painted jars on my Facebook page one day. 
 And that was all it took....I just sat down and started painting! 
I decided to paint on the inside so the outside stayed shiny.  The words on the jars really stand out this way too!
I found this website tutorial, and dug out my paints.  My FAVORITE color in the whole wide world is turquoise...any shade.  So pretty.  And I have a lot of it around my house...especially in my office and kitchen. 
It was super easy.  I just kind of read through the directions on the website and then did my own thing.  I dumped a small amount of acrylic paint into a jar with just a little bit of water so it would coat faster. {I'm a tad impatient}
Swirled it around and around.  Added more paint as needed. {You'll get the hang of it as you keep working.  By the 3rd one...I had the amount figured out for my jars}
Swirled and swirled. Swirled and Swirled.  You get the idea.....
Then I turned the jars upside down on a paper plate to dry.  I left the first two for a couple of hours and then picked them up.  They weren't dry and so the paint ran back down into the jar which kind of streaked the jar in places.
Don't do that!!  You don't want streaky jars!!
Leave them overnight....or some kind of a long, long time.  Let them completely dry.  Have more patience than I managed.  You'll thank yourself for it later when you look at your amazing streak-free painted jars.
So that's it then!  I did have to clean around the edges with a baby wipe.  Probably wouldn't have it I had just left them alone for a long, long time. {Learn from my impatient mistakes and you probably won't have to do that}
I added some burlap ribbon and a flower to cute!  Another holds my dried flowers from our vow renewal!  The twine around the jar was wrapped around the flowers.  For now the small white jar {oh yeah...I did a white one too...obviously} just holds the extra flowers. The little {non-mason} jar used to be a pumpkin jar.  One of my kiddos broke the lid so it became my penny jar.  Now I use it for pens or pencils...or just a pretty on my desk.  The two with yellow flowers sit on a shelf in my kitchen and the other two are on my desk in my office. 

And since we're talking Pinterest, here are a couple other Pinterest-inspired posts!

Some cutie printables I found for my kindie boy.

And my pretty pink desk chair.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Some seriously cutie kindie printables

My little cutie kindergartener fully believes he should be working as long and hard as his brothers at his own schoolwork.  He totally doesn't get why he should be finished so early. 

I added a few games. 

I added more work. 

I made the work harder. 

Still....he finishes before his brothers. {As he should since they are in 2nd, 4th, and 10th grades.}

So in an effort to appease him AND give myself the time needed with the older boys, I went on a search for cutie kindie printable games and activities that he can do himself....all day long...until he's completely worn out...and ready for a break.
Of course I took my search to Pinterest....because that's where all the super cool games and activities hang out.
Here are a few that I found:
The CUTEST and FREE Monsters Pack from A Mommy Talks.
This ADORABLE and FREE Fall Odd and Even sorting game from The First Grade Parade.
And this {$}  SWEET Fall math and literacy printable set from Mrs. McGinnis' Little Sizzlers.
I'm looking for a few more so if you have {or know where to find} a fun free or almost free printable activity set, let me know!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 2 and 3

See? Not even a month in and I'm already failing on the weekly updates. Ha!
We had some awesome moments and some not-so-awesome moments. You relate?
And I have to admit the MOST awesome happened today....the start of co-op.
New (huge) host church.  A lot of new faces. New classes. New teachers. New challenges. New excitement.
It was exhausting and incredible at the same time....and of course I have no pics because I literally ran circles around the (much bigger) campus all three hours. So you'll just have to imagine the smiling, happy faces this week. :)
And no pictures of the teenager who hides out in his room most of the day doing his schoolwork.
A super busy fall is ahead with two playing football on different teams, one playing basketball, and our co-op activities.  Looking forward to it and dreading it all at the same time. :)
Happy weekend!!
PJs and couch school.
Joshua school
Teacher of the day
Look Mom...I'm cleaning the shelves!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our learning area and my new desk space.

Welcome to our learning area aka part of the kitchen. :) Ignore the ugly soon as I have a spare minute, that color will be gone. 

So this is where we do all of our groupwork and the littles do their *sit down* work {math, spelling, handwriting etc}. 

A close up of part of our school storage. The brown storage bins contain craft supplies, puzzles, calendar pieces, small education games, etc. Notebooks, journals, empty {YAY!} storage space on the 2nd row, and the 3rd row holds all of our school supplies {pencils, crayons, glue, scissors, etc} in labeled storage tubs.
All group work printables and Drake's work for the year are stored here.  I love having all of those papers just waiting for me to pull them out for the kiddos.  Saves a LOT of time!

Right through the white doors
in top picture is old pantry turned library/school storage/office entryway.  One side contains most of our home library, some math and language arts workbooks and file folder games {blue and green magazine holders}. Then a corner of things that still a home. :)  This is definitely a work in progress.  Someday soon I'd like to take everything out of this area and repaint the shelves, finish off the sheet rock where we tore down the back wall {entrance into my desk area}, and then paint the walls to match the future color of the kitchen.
This is the other side of the old pantry. From top to bottom: paints, flashcards, and items I don't want in the hands of my littlest littles {gorilla glue!! armor etch glue!! etc}. Some of my teacher manuals, some small storage tubs {more things I don't want the littlest littles to have....glitter, stamps, bingo markers, magnets}, and all of our math manipulatives.  Blue storage tub full of various math games, binders of curriculum, and some of our group work books.  Our Ikea paper roll that I LOVE and a couple of storage tubs with office supplies. Below that are some of our workboxes.  We don't really use the workbox system like it's intended.  I like the idea of the workbox system but I think a couple of the boys are just too young yet.  Really they don't have much *independent* work anyway.  I pretty much have to work one-on-one with them on the majority of their work.  I'm not sure how we're going to use these in the future but for now we just have individual work and some group work books stored in them.
These last two pictures show my new desk area.  I was standing in the middle of the old pantry {with the library on one side and school storage on the other}, looking at what used to be the back wall of the pantry.  We knocked it out to expose a small storage area that previously was only accessible from the garage and back yard {yes, there are TWO doors in my desk}.  I love this space SO much and try to only allow pretty girly things in know, since I'm the boy mama of FIVE, there isn't a whole lot of room in the house for pink and sparkles. The desk is actually a 10 ft countertop.  I have space to plan for school, run our business, AND do some paper scrapbooking!   It's still a work in progress too. I need to find some kind of flooring. The cabinets need to be painted.  I need to find a home for a few more things. And to the far right of the bottom picture is a hidden space around the corner that needs a lot of work. There is a set of shelves that hide all of the things I don't want out in the open yet, a couple rolling storage carts that I haven't put to use yet....and one of our water heaters. :)  That's why I didn't take a picture of that's ugly still. BUT nobody can see it unless they walk around there so for now it stays hidden. Ha!
 So that's it! Our learning area and my desk space!!  For now anyway....  We have plans of turning our garage into a family room so that ugly red wall with our calendar stuff on it may end up being a huge pass-thru/bar soon.
Until then, it's where we do school!!
Oh the joys of remodeling an older house!! :)
Thanks for taking a tour of our learning area!  Hope you enjoyed it!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Friday, August 23, 2013

Week 1: 2013-2014 school year

As usual, the first week back was CrAzY!!!  We had a lot of fun though and it felt great to get back to at least a bit of our routine.

Of course, Monday was our Not-Back-to-School party day. We started the morning with some fun school photos.

And the boys opened their gift bags. Since we don't have the expense of public school needs, I like to get them a few fun things to kick off the year. Helps make the day feel special.

Then we went to McDs for our annual Not-Back-to-School breakfast. 

Monday means women's bible study meeting....which is held in the party room of a fun building packed full of those blow up bouncy slides and mazes. The littles LOVE going there! BONUS Not-Back-to-School fun!!!!

After bible study, we ran home for a quick lunch before heading out to a local bowling alley for our homeschool group's Not-Back-to-School party!!!

Nathan, my 10th grader who came back home this year after a year in public school, met up with all of his old homeschool friends and had a blast catching up, talking basketball, making new friends, and {of course} bowling.  However, he avoided my camera like the plague.
Came home exhausted but managed to get everyone seated for a little math.

Our 1st official day was Tuesday.  Reminded myself {over and over} that it's going to take more than one day {Week. Month?} to get back into a good solid routine.  We were big ole lazies this summer....and the boys would like to continue that trend.
It's just going to take some time and patience and chocolate and Jesus....but we'll get there.
After a morning of trying really hard, we took a break to meet Daddy for lunch. :)
We did better Wednesday morning, and packed in as much as we could before taking off for the 1sts student council meeting of the school year. This is Nathan's 1st year to participate....and he was excited!!! Elections were held and Nathan is the new student council chaplain!! :)
Decided to take it easy on Thursday....and don't you know, we accomplished more than I had planned. 

Drake is READY to learn to read. We're working on some letter review and sounds right now. He can't wait to read his first word!

Friday is our grocery shopping day, and Nathan has plans with friends. Not much being done in the way of school work but I consider getting anything besides the grocery shopping accomplished a bonus.  Feels wonderful to have the first {crazy) week behind us. Looking forward to a more settled, less crazy week 2 {hopefully}.

Here's to an awesome and blessed 2013-2014 school year!!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My NEW super awesome desk chair!!

So this summer Bo and I worked on creating a new desk space for me. I LOVE it and will have to share pics of it soon.  First, however, I am super excited to share my yard sale find!
I needed a new bar height chair for my desk. I had been using a bar stool without a back. Not very comfy!!
I found this beauty at a yard sale for.......$1. Yep, a whole buck. I had to ask what was wrong with it, and she just said it was a little unstable.
So I tightened the screws in the legs. Ha!
Seriously that was it!! 
I broke a piece of it when I got it home. :-/  But easily fixed it with some gorilla glue.
Picked up some 1/2 price HOT PINK mistinted paint at the store along with a can of glittery sealer. I already had the fabric at home.

It took a couple of coats and forever to dry, thanks to the humidity. You can't really tell in the picture but it was pouring rain that evening. I finally had to put the chair in the garage just so it would dry. I gave it an extra coat once it dried and then two coats of glitter sealer.
The glitter is more of a fine powdery look. Not overpowering but not as glittery as I hoped. 

Please excuse my messy garage. We're in the middle of moving everything out to convert it into a family room.
My finished chair! Isn't she pretty?! I love her!! 
Total cost: $15 after supplies but I still have a TON of hot pink paint left, a little bit of fabric for a couple of frames, and glitter sealer.  The cheapest (and I mean cheeeeeeep) brand new bar height chair with a back I found was $38....and it was an ugly brown/black color.  Makes me love her even more!!

In my world of BOYS, I need some girly every now and then. :) 

Can't wait to show off my new girly office space!!

Not-Back-to-School pictures 2013

So excited for this new school year! The biggest change from last year is the {re}addition of my oldest who decided public school wasn't all he thought it would be. :) 




I like his shirt....

And the shirtless BABY Joshua!!

Opening their Not-Back-to-School gifts!

If the overgrown 4th grader and super young sophomore's sense of
humor is any indication....I think we're going to have a
fun year!

Monday, July 22, 2013

God pushes...The Valley of Death.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4 NIV

The darkest valley. Called the valley of the shadow of death in the KJV version.

Reminds me of our own "valley of death" where Bo and I run. There is no breeze. It's always hot. And coming up out of the valley on one side is a steep hill. The other side is a gradual 1/2 mile climb.

Hard work on both sides. 

There was a time in my life when I just couldn't do it. I'd give up and walk instead of run the climbs. Beat myself up along the way because I couldn't do it on my own.

Last fall, Bo and I led a small group study called Run for God. One of my first realizations was that I could run with God as I ran for Him. Realized if I asked for help and gave my run to Him, He would push me out of that valley.

So many times I have asked God to push me out. Push me up the hill. And every time He has shown up. He was with me.

My legs burning. My breath laboring. Gravity slowing me down. Feels like everything is working against me to keep me from coming out of the valley of death.

I want to stop. Give up. Like so many times before.

I just ask God..."push me up this hill. I can't do this on my own." And every time I ask, He does. I know I can conquer those hills and come up out of that valley with His help.

Just like Bo, who has gently put his hand on my back to encourage me and literally, physically give me a push...I can feel God's hand on my back, gently pushing and encouraging. 

Just like Bo who has spoken words of encouragement to me as we run together...I can hear God's words of encouragement.

Only when I don't rely on Him do I fail. Stop. Walk. Give up.

Of course  I can eventually come out of the valley on my own but there is no celebration or feelings of accomplishment. I feel worn instead of rejuvenated. Defeated.

I need that push! I need that encouragement.

I've made a habit of asking Him to join me on my run. Mostly because I know I will need His push out of the valley. I know I can't run out of that valley without help. On my own, I beat myself up. I tell myself I can't do it. On my own, I fail over and over. I know I need Him in that valley.

And just like I need His help to run out of that valley, we all need His help as we go through low points in our lives.  Times when we feel like giving up. Times of fear.  Failure.  Disappointment.  Trouble. Despair.

If God is SO willing to help me run up this valley of death in my neighborhood, He for sure is willing to help us through our other valleys. We just have to remember to ask him to join us.

I've learned that if I ask him to join me on my run before I reach that valley, I have peace and comfort, knowing He is with me....before I ever even reach the first sign of struggle. I'm ready. Prepared.

If I stay with Him on the easy flats and the downhill slopes, I know He's there. I know I'm not in it on my own. And I can trust him and know He will push me out of those valleys and up the big hills.

Oh the celebration of hitting the top of the valley!

The air is moving...wind hits my face. My muscles that worked so hard feel lighter, stronger.  And my heart swells, knowing that I conquered that valley.

All because of Him.

And let me tell you....we celebrate! Thankfully it's a not a populated area or I might be a pest with my whooping and hollering.

He tells me every time "see? I told you. Stick with me. I'll get you out of there." 

Every time. He never fails me.

I can't do it without Him. Whether it's on a run or in my daily life.

I know that in any valley, He is right there with me. Encouraging me. Pushing me. Getting back up on those easy flats. Celebrating success with me. Staying with me.

There will always be valleys of death. Times of need. Struggle. Pain.

With Him, those valleys aren't as scary. I don't have to fear because He is with me.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Long time, no see..and some good stuff.

Hi y'all! Been a while, huh? :) 

You know, I was just remembering how I told the hubs this past spring that I couldn't wait for summer....because things would slow down and we could relax. I could blog again about how fabulous our school year went (it really was pretty cool) and then blog about all the cool things I have in my head for the new school year (really cool too).  I'd have time to research materials for the high schooler who is coming back home from this last year of public school (YAY!!).

That memory flooded my mind this morning right after I thought to myself how I couldn't wait for school to start so we could get a break from the busy-ness of our summer. Ha!

It's been CRAZY! Not only haven't I blogged about the past, I haven't even started to plan for the future.

It's already July!!! What?!

It will all come together. This I know. Not sure how....but I have faith. :)

So in the middle of our already busy summer, I decided to join our church's women's group this month. I haven't really had the time for it before but I just felt nudged to MAKE time. Kind of like taking care of your body: exercising, resting properly, eating have to make the time because you'll never ever find it!

This past weekend I realized that I had a major conflict with the day and time of women's group. Two of my middles were already signed up and paid for (and most importantly they were aware and patiently waiting for) an art day camp this the the same time as the women's group.  Then I realized I had scheduled a meeting with our homeschool co-op committee on the 3rd Monday of this the same time as the women's group!! I felt {more than} a little dejected at that point...especially after feeling the nudge to join. 

I'm like, "God, you want me to do this but you know I have these other commitments, right?....what's up?" 

Last night I felt nudged to quickly double checked the times, and I realized that the women's group plus travel time back and forth would fit just perfectly in the time frame of the art camp for today.

So what about that 3rd Monday? Well that is a topic for future post but let me just say that God worked that out too.

{I totally just giggled and rolled my eyes at I thought "see there? He has a way of working these things out." ...Just as I know we'll be prepared for the new school year. Have faith, little sheep. If He wants it to happen for you, He'll make it happen. Not like He can't see (and prevent) obstacles that stand in the way. Duh.}

{The little sheep part is a joke that will make sense to you later on.}

So a lot of good stuff right there and plenty of a lesson for me today. However, I was overwhelmed with much more than the "oh ye of little faith" lesson this morning.

O-ver-whelmed, I tell you.

We're doing a study called Knowing the Shepherd by Nancy Leigh DeMoss based on Psalm 23. Day one...I can tell you it's going to be awesome!!  We're learning how we really are sheep in need of a Shepherd to take care of our every need. :)

Three HUGE things this morning.
1. God understands.
2. God provides.
3. God pushes.

I can't blog today about all three, and I'm afraid it would just get too long and confusing anyway. I'll post 2 and 3 at a later time, and just link back.

So... 1. God understands.

This little bitty bit came to me while driving to get my art camp boys after just listening to other moms talk about their children stresses.  It was SO straight out of a book that I'm reading right now called Unglued. Ha! So good...and funny...and true! I can relate.

One of the women in our group was talking about spending morning time with God, and another mom asked how she made that happen. How do we find time to spend with God without having kids running all over us?

This has been a struggle of mine for a while. I have five kids from ages 1 to 15. Until this summer, the hubs had been working out of town Monday-Friday....leaving me to fend for myself with the boys. {Thank you, Lord....he's home now!! :) Some sanity is starting to creep back into my mind.} Some days I'm completely worn out but haven't accomplished much of anything. Ok, a LOT of days I feel that way.

On the way to pick up my boys, I remembered a Proverbs 31 study from Good Morning Girls that I partially did last summer. Partially because like so many other things I've started in the past couple of years....I didn't finish it. You know, life gets in the way. The baby isn't sleeping like he should {clearly missing the memo about giving this mama some sound sleep}. Kids need something or to be somewhere...all the time. Blah, blah,

Oh my gosh....but that Proverbs 31 woman has it together, doesn't she? So accomplished, calm, cool, and collected. The complete opposite of me.

One night last summer, I was thinking how impossible it was for me to be like her. There was NO way!! I had a newborn who kept me awake at night, and four boys who kept me awake during the day.  The hubs was out of town. School was about to start, and my teen was begging to go to public school. I was failing at EVERYTHING. Ok, well it felt like I was anyway. Nothing seemed to be working out for me at all. Plus....just as a reminder, there was a NEWBORN baby in the house. Hello.

I kind of grew to hate that woman, and wanted to give up the study.

Then I watched a video from one of the GMG ladies. Just so you know...I'm pretty sure she recorded and posted that video just for me. :)

She talked about all the different seasons in our lives.....and how because of those seasons, we might not be able to live *just like* the Proverbs 31 woman. The biggest arrow straight to my heart? When a newborn sleeps longer in the morning, the worn out mom should most definitely take advantage and sleep in with her baby. This is not her season to rise early. 

Oh thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.  I totally did the ugly cry as I kept watching. Relief washed over me.  Brings tears to my eyes now just thinking about it.

Really I needed to hear that because it was my biggest struggle. How do I make myself get up early when I'm SO exhausted that I daydream about long, undisturbed naps?  How can I have alone time with God when the baby just wants to be held/cuddled/fed all day? How do I do this when I have four others vying for my attention every second that the baby is sleeping? I. Just. Want. To. Sleep.

It's simple. I don't. It wasn't my season to rise early. It was my season to take care of a newborn who required so much of my time. It was my season just to be a mother. The release of guilt was amazing. The release of expectation was amazing. The release of judgment on myself was amazing. 

Without all that junk weighing on my shoulders, I began to think about what I COULD do.

I remembered YouVersion right there on my phone. I picked one short devotional and committed to just finding 10 minutes in the morning to read it. Then I let my thoughts wander back to the devotion throughout the day as I fed the baby, changed a diaper, fixed a meal, folded laundry, or fell asleep at night. I didn't feel obligated to set aside a particular amount of time or pick a particular time of day.

I had those Aha! moments and learned valuable lessons...throughout the day.

I learned that praying doesn't have to happen with eyes closed, head bowed, and hands folded neatly together.

I learned that singing along with Air1 while rocking the baby or driving to an activity is *REAL* worship and prayer time.

I learned that if I was just honest with myself and God...and admitted that I couldn't do it myself, He would meet me right where I the car, in the rocking chair, snuggled up with the baby, on my runs, in the middle of the night, sitting outside while the boys played...wherever I was.

And I learned that if I didn't get to my devotion that day, it and God would be there tomorrow. Waiting on me. Patiently and understandingly and forgivingly waiting.

All that time I spent in little bits throughout the day {and night} added up to a LOT of time with Him.  I did what I could, and He met me where I was. Every time.

During this crazy busy summer, it was just the reminder I needed. Just the reminder that there are so many different seasons in our lives that require different things from us.  We need to embrace those tough seasons. Do what we can to work through them.  And remember that just around the corner is a season of rest.

And God doesn't want us to feel chained to a certain expectation of how time with Him should be.  It should be freeing, not suffocating.

And when we fail, we don't have to give up. We simply remember He's patiently waiting and understanding and forgiving....and then we start again.

Thankful for a women's group that unknowingly brought this reminder to me today.

Thankful for a God who loves unconditionally.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weekly Review: Mar-4-8

We are WELL!!  Ok, mostly. Drake still have a little something hanging on but overall we are doing much, much better. The weekend was insane. Thank God for Daddy being home to help. I pretty much just took care of the sick baby and Daddy did everything else, including taking care of two sicklies and two sort of sicklies.

Great week!  I spent a good amount of time Sunday night getting everything ready for the week. I think KNOW this has been key to such a productive week. :)

  • ES-finished up week 7 and began week 8.
    • We watched a few YouTube vids on tides HERE, HERE (super cool time laspe video!!), and this kind of silly one HERE.
    • We then watched some deep sea videos HERE (this one is just a picture and explanation of it but I loved comparing the sizes!) and this amazing video HERE.
  • Took a much needed trip to the library. :)
  • Tackled individual work. Kaleb is adding and subtracting large numbers in columns (not a favorite of his) and Gabriel is working on number charts and comparing numbers....a lot of alligator *chomp, chomping* going on. :) 
  • Read about the War of the Roses in history and made rose banners.

  • Spent a large amount of time watching the county road crew work on our road. They are paving the dirt road in front of our house. (YES!!)  This means a lot of dump trucks, heavy equipment, and noises that boys LOVE. It's hard to stay away from the windows!
  • FINALLY started the famous artist study from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We are starting with Picasso.  I found a book about his childhood at the library. We enjoyed reading it, and learned quite a bit about his early life. Kaleb was in awe of his 8 and 9 year old drawings. :) We looked at some of his work as an adult, talked about the different periods, and learned that Daddy was born just a few years before Picasso passed away! 

Tuesday-Woke up super early to tackle my chores and then woke the boys a little earlier than usual.  The plan was to get all of our group work done before the grandson arrived to hang out. Worked perfectly.  We actually accomplished more than I thought we would. Now my husband can say "I told you so." He's a morning person....I am NOT. :)
  • Scripture Adventures is moving into the book of Judges. This isn't a book that I have read so I'm looking forward to it.  Today we just talked about heros and heroines, and defined the word prophet.
  • We're working our way through nine ways to honor God in Who Is God, tackling one example a day. I love the conversations we're having! (Although today as we talked about honoring God with our bodies with one example being fasting, my smarty pants 8 year old suggested fasting from veggies as a way to honor God. Hmmm...don't think it works that way, son!!:)
  • Read more about William III who was the king killed in the War of the Roses and his two nephews who *disappeared*.  One of the boys suggested fingerprinting or DNA testing as a means of finding the murderer. :) 
  • Kaleb and Gabriel are both working in WWE 1 right now. I also have WWE 3 but, because we've never done any formal writing, I want Kaleb to understand better about what is required of him before moving to his grade level. They love copywork...who knew? :)
The 2nd is his work. He added the A+...haha!

  • Read and journaled on deserts from ES. Checked out the quick links. They LOVE those quick links.  I think most of them are kind of cheesy but I guess if they like them....
  • Ran to the windows each time we heard the dump trucks and heavy equipment rolling by. :)
  • Read from another book about Picasso. We discussed some of his early paintings. I'm impressed with their attention to detail! This is going to be a fun subject for us. They are all working on coloring their own Three Musicians coloring page. Gabriel was inspired by one of Picasso's paintings and drew this weird face guy. :)

  • The boys worked hard to get all of their individual work done so we could have dinner at a favorite pizza place with Grandma, Grandpa, and Nana.
  • More WWE copywork. This is one of Gabriel's pages. We have a handwriting program that we use as well but he tries harder to form the letter properly with WWE. If he keeps this up, I may ditch the handwriting program and just require a little more writing across other subjects.

  • Tried a new math journal idea. Months ago, I printed some CSMP and MEP math pages for some group work. My idea was to work the problems together and then have them journal about it. I love the idea of them working together and teaching each other. Obviously Kaleb has an advantage but as we continue to work on this, I'll throw out some super challenging ones and see what happens.

  • The boys each made their own Tower of London as a quick history project.

Friday-A light day. We did most of our individual work and some group work before heading to town to do some errands. Don't you love when your child's bible lesson teaches you a thing or two? In Who Is God, we finished up the section about the nine ways we can glorify God.  Love that What Should I Do section!

Co-op starts next Friday, and I have a fun surprise for them on Thursday. :) It's going to be a good one! Hope you all have a great weekend!!