Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Schedules and Routines

I have schedules and routines that my family and I follow.  The kids and I thrive off this routine.  We wake up at the same time every day.  We go to sleep at the same time and we eat at the same times every day.  Yes there are days we may get up a bit later or go to bed later.  It all works out.  I have a "no later than" bedtime for them on the weekend.  It depends on our activities as to what time they go to bed.  I am not one that just lets them stay up until they go to bed on their own.  I'm not one that will let them sleep in until they get up.  Some say I'm crazy.  Some say that THEY want to sleep so they let the kids sleep.  I say 8 hours of sleep is enough for me.  I go to bed at 10 every night and have recently changed my wake up time from 5 to 5:45.  5:45 to 6 I get up and woke up.  I get "dressed to shoes".  This is a flylady thing.  I make my bed and either sit on my bed or go out on the front porch for my devotion.  It just depends on my mood.  This morning I sat on my bed.  By 6, I am equipped for the day spiritually.  I take care of doggy duty and then by that time it's 6:30 and I go in the kids' rooms and turn their lights on.  This signals them to wake slowly and they have their clothes laid out and they get dressed and come join me outside on the porch for a time of prayer and devotion.  This one particular thing just makes the day go so much smoother.  I've tried it both ways.  The days with starting out my day at the feet of Jesus and then encouraging my children in the Lord turn out to be a lot more filled with joy,

The kids must do their morning chores.  They are assigned by age appropriate items.  All three of them are supposed to make their bed, gather dirty laundry and take to laundry room, and keep their rooms picked up.  Noah unloads the dishwasher, responsible for doing two loads of laundry per week, and he feeds our outside dog Ginger.  Sarah wipes down the bathroom daily, changes trash, and keeps the living room tidied up.  She also hand washes any dishes that may need washing at any particular time.  Caleb feeds our outside dog Rocky, makes sure they have water, gathers dirty laundry, and makes sure the trash cans in bedrooms are always emptied out.  They do all of this and eat breakfast before 8AM when they start school.  While they are doing their chores, I am doing my morning routine and prepping for school that particular day.

8AM Sarah does workboxes, Noah does his math teaching textbooks(on computer and self led), and Caleb and I do his phonics and math.

Caleb does workboxes, Noah does LA and workboxes, and Sarah and I do her LA and math.

We take a break and have a small snack.

Noah and I review his LA and Math that he has done and we correct anything he got wrong and take spelling tests then if there is one


12: Lunch and piano/guitar practie


Free time on Mondays, Tuesday free time, Wednesday baths for church and then free time, Thursday is music, Friday free time.  Free time includes outside playing, movie(if weather doesn't permit outside play), board games playing the wii, playing the kindle, playing on Time4Learning,, ABCMouse(Caleb), extra practice on anything they may need

Chore time/Fly Kids task and I work on zone work on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays-Thursdays we're at piano/guitar and karate

Bath/shower time for kids while I cook dinner

Dinner, eat, and dinner clean up

7:30PM: Devotion, read to Caleb, teeth brushed, tuck kids into bed and pray with them

8PM: Lights out, no exceptions

8-10PM: This is the time that I take for myself.  I read, watch TV, put in a routine for the next day if it's different from the usual, and look over the agenda for the next day, and take care of the usual bedtime routine....I take my shower at night so I don't have to wake up earlier in the mornings.

10PM: In bed no later than this time!!!

Monday: Karate at 4:30

Tuesday: First Tues of every month CCCHE mtg at 3, Karate at 4:30, and Girl Scouts at 6

Wednesday: Church at 7PM

Thursday: Guitar/Piano at 2:30 and Karate at 4:30

Friday no extracirriculars!!!  Yay!  Hubby is home so we spend LOTS of time with him Friday and Saturday!!!

Now I know what you're thinking!  I could NEVER do that!  Well are your kids always cranky?  Are they always hungry?  Do they stress you out? Are your kids' behavior bad?  Are you unfocused?  Find yourself drowning in housework?  How's that working for you?  You should give this a try.  Now with that said I tried to do what others have told me they do and it's obvious it's not working for them but they seem to not want to change it.  I tried sleeping a little later and just waking when I fully wake up.  Then I tried staying up until I was sleepy and go to bed.  Yeah that totally did not work for me.  Plus doctors tell you that a good 8 hours of sleep is healthy.  Eating your meals at the same time every day and eating a full meal or eating 6 small meals a day which I have to do because of sugar level drops for me.  Maybe you need a routine.  I'm not saying this is the solution for everyone but I do know that this has worked for me for years.  It's taken a while for me to get on it just because I had 3 kids under 5 years old.  I've at least tried and when it became something within reach I was able to do this.

I get the "I don't know how you do it" comment all the time.  Wanna know something?  I don't do it.  It's not me.  I completely rely on the Lord to help me through every single day.  I am daily dying to myself and letting Jesus shine through me.  Dying to self is a hard thing to do because we humans are SELFISH.  As Joyce Meyer said on the program I was watching this morning, "God doesn't ask you to do something that you can't do."  He equips the called.  He doesn't call the equipped.  I never had any goals when I was younger.  I just wasn't taught to have goals.  I never dreamed of being a bride.  I never dreamed of being a mommy.  It wasn't that I didn't want children.  It's just that I was never taught to dream and make goals for myself.  When the time came to be a wife, it was a great experience and God has blessed me with the most amazing man.  When it came time to be a mommy I just took it and ran with it.  I had no guidance.  I had no clue.  One thing I knew though is that God provided everything that I needed to be a wife and to be a mother.  We have to follow that path though.  He makes the path for us.  It's our choice whether we choose the world's way or God's way.  What you may think is God's way may not always be but it will look like it.  You see I don't do this alone.  Some would comment and say that I have an amazing and supportive husband.  I would say that even though I do have that for sure I don't totally depend on him to make me happy.  I look to the good Lord for guidance and then if it needs to be presented to him, then that's when I will ask him what he thinks or even his permission if that's what the situation needs.  I do put him before myself a lot but that's what we're supposed to do.  We are selfish beings.  We have to be INTENTIONAL about putting others before ourselves.  This is what God commands us to do.  I live to be an intentional wife and mother.  For me it's working.  It may not be the solution to everyone's problems.  We can be for certain if we were a little less selfish and a bit more compassionate towards others, we would all be in a better place spiritually, mentally, and even physically.

We must die to self for God to use us in the way He intends for us to be used.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gifts Week 2 Part 1

As said before I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I really highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to appreciate the small things in life and I mean really appreciate them and get the fullest affect from them.  It's really sad we can't do this on our own but I think the human minds we have just won't allow naturally for us to do this.  We have to be intentional about it.

Week 2 Gift #1: My vehicle affords me to go places that my not so long ago ancestors weren't able to go.  I think back to us going to the mountains and to the beach.  Not so long ago it was a big thing just to go to the river for even my grandparents and parents and we lived almost on the river.  So I am thankful for the vehicle I have so that I can take my family and I on adventures to enrich their education and help them to learn by seeing and not just reading about it in a textbook.  All three of my kids are visual learners so going and doing is their thing and this is the best way that they learn.

Week 2 Gift #2:  Sitting on my front porch in the early morning I am able to watch the sky light up blue and then pink and orange.  I am thankful for the eyesight God has given me so that I can enjoy his gift He gives us each morning and evening as the sun rises and sets.  Thankful for my good vision as well.  I see almost 20/20.  I don't think we realize what a gift good vision is until we know and love someone who has almost no vision.  My son is almost legally blind.  One eye is very weak and the nerves to it are shutting down.   We do  daily therapy on the other one to keep it from going that way.  And.....we pray for a miracle of healing.  We receive it.  Now we look for it to manifest.  In the meantime he(my son) goes on about his life being thankful for the vision he has.

His mercies are new every morning!  Praise God!

It's not so bad......

Sitting here out on my front porch on this breezy August afternoon makes me so thankful for the summer that we have had this year.  Yes it was an unusually wet one.  Some days I wanted to just sing the song "Rain Rain Go Away".  Then I was reminded of the years that we begged and prayed and begged and begged for rain.  Local churches even had services just for prayer for rain.  I didn't sing the song.  I want my kids to be thankful for what we get.  Yes we can pray for the rain.  I just don't feel like we need to pray for the rain or sing for the rain to go away unless we are literally floating away.  The thing is though even through all this rain, we are still making it.  We are dealing.  We didn't die through it.  LOL!  The Lord promised to us through a rainbow that He would never flood the earth again.

With that said this is kind of how life is.  Going through the moment of hard times we think it's the most horrible thing.  Then when it's all over and done with and we look back we see that what we were going through wasn't so bad after all.  There's always someone who is going through something that is a little more severe than our problems that we are dealing with.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Small and insignificant but still gifts......

Today the kids and I talked about who Helen Keller was.  I used her life and how determined she was to encourage my children. It seems that when the older two are challenged at any level whether it be a little or a lot they just stop trying.  I've prayed for the Lord to show me a way to encourage them and to let them know that giving up is not the answer.  I did not realize that Helen Keller went on to get a college degree, learned to talk, and actually gave lectures as well as became an author.  Wow!!!  We watched The Miracle Worker which is a movie about Ms. Keller and Ann Sullivan.  Those two women were very strong and I can only hope that I can be half as strong as them when I face obstacles and trials in my life.  They are two amazing women!!  After we got done learning about Helen Keller we read about the people of Egypt.  That was interesting.  The kids were then tired of sitting and listening so we took a break, ate lunch, and they went outside to get on the slip and slide.  I was sitting on the porch.  The kids were out in the yard in front of me and I was just enjoying watching them have so much fun.  Sarah came up to the porch first and showed me her feetprint.  Then Noah came up and was showing me his.  And then followed my little Caleb.  I am so thankful for all three of them.  Realizing the small things that are really insignificant has really made me more thankful for my children.  I did not realize I could be any more thankful.  It's really possible to be more thankful.  Just try it.

#3 gift: Inspirational people: The story behind Helen Keller and the woman who helped get her there Ann Sullivan is truly inspiring.  Really and truly I am thankful for all inspirational stories of people past and present.  They encourage myself and my kids.  I think it has helped both of them to see the challenges that they went through but still made the best of what God had given them.

#4: Wet feetprint on the cement of healthy and happy children...MY children!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My gifts

On Monday I started my One Thousand Gifts devotional.  I have read through most of the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and decided it was time for me to get the devotion book.  Yesterdays devotion talked about the thin wafer blessings and the bread blessings.  Throughout the day even though I had a lot going on I was reminded of what I had read and decided whether the blessings I saw through the day were thin wafer blessings or bread.  I noticed a lot of them were small things which are the thin wafer blessings of course.  Many were the bread as well.  It's an amazing transformation process to find the small blessings in life and call them gifts.

Gift #1

My front porch

This doesn't seem like much but recently I have found myself out there a lot.  I am house training a puppy and she is having a hard time so when we go out I make it a point to sit down.  I have moved chairs to the front and even bought a small fold up table and put a tabletop tiki torch there so I could light it and the mosquitos stay away.  Those things are bad this year with all the rain.  With all the rain I hear the rain frogs constantly especially at night when I go out there right before going to bed.

Gift #2

Rain frogs

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Homeschool Curriculum choices

There are lots of choices for curriculum.  It is just overwhelming to say the VERY least.  Thankfully I think I've found my groove(for now) with my 4th and 2nd grader.  As for my little Kindergartner, we are already ordering something else.  All About Reading program isn't working for him.  It worked GREAT for my daughter who is now 2nd grade but he is ready for phonics and the activities are just too easy for him in what I'm doing.  I just ordered Explode the Code Books A, B, C and 1 and 1 1/2. I have a feeling that we will be done with all of these by Christmas.  This will be fine with me.  The only thing is this is the baby of the family I am teaching and I have reservations about hurrying him up to read.  It would do me if he didn't quite "get it" until the middle to end of first grade like my daughter did.  I don't think this is going to be the case with this boy.  He had such great Pre-K teachers last year and they have taught him so well.  They drilled those letters and letter sounds in him and he has retained this information very well.  I'm not complaining.  It's more like a long drawn out whine because I know when he can read, that's it. He's a big boy then.  It hurts my mommy heart but it also excites me that he is doing so well at retaining information.  He's like a little sponge so I know anything I teach him right now will stick.  I can't wait to start the Explode the Code books with him.  Even though I "whine" I am proud of him and I am going to try and take this next stage in life for him as just that, a stage.  There will be many more I know and I must get used to it.  I long for another child but it's just not the right time.  I hope in the future we will be able to have another baby.  Now is just not the time unless the good Lord has other plans.  We will take that with open arms but it most certainly won't be planned.  For now I will enjoy my three blessings straight from Heaven above.  I am so thankful for them.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hand of protection

Never doubt the power of God or the hand of protection that He has over His children.  On Sunday night we were headed to church and was running a bit behind.  We enjoyed an afternoon nap and got up late.  As we passed by Holt's Bakery right before downtown a small blue car come speeding at us going the wrong way.  It shocked me!  Immediately chills went up my spine as I realized how close we had just come to a fatal accident.  A high speed car chase is not something you see every day in the little town of Douglas, GA.  But low and behold there is was right in front of us.  They were probably going about 100MPH.  As I pulled over I started to pray for the people that this car would go by.  I prayed that God put a hedge of protection around everyone traveling that road.  About the time I was finished three police cars came by with their lights on but no sirens.  They were going probably 50MPH and probably due to it being in the middle of town.  Had I not pulled over, that car would have hit me head on.  I know God had His hand of protection on us.  This was a close call.  As far as I know nobody was hurt but I have no idea how far they had to chase this car before they stopped them.  When they rode by us, you could smell burnt oil so the motor was about to go out I'm sure.  

Tonight I want to praise God for protecting us from such a careless person.  This could have turned out very bad but praise be to God that we are safe and sound at home tonight.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

No Facebook August

One of my good friends have been instructed by me(actually I asked her) to log in to my Facebook account and change my password and DO NOT give me the new password until September 1st.  Yes I did it!  I actually did this on Monday I think.  I can't even remember now.  I want to show myself that I can do without social networking for a month.  My prayer in doing this is I am hoping that I will go back September 1st and be able to use it as a tool and not a hinderance to my being a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher, friend, daughter, sister, grandaughter, etc.  There have been several groups that have been a blessing to me on Facebook.  The Good Morning Girls Bible study groups have been a Godsend.  Being a homeschooling mom, there are really no Bible studies available for moms who have children with them during the public school year.  I prayed for about a year and come upon Good Morning Girls by being connected with some ladies from being on the CafeMom website.  We have since mostly dissolved from that website and moved over to Facebook.  We found ourselves spending too much time on Facebook.  I have been convicted about this quite a few times.  I have attempted to fast from FB but never gave anyone my log in information and told them to change my password.  That was a huge step for me but it has been a blessing.  Nothing but a blessing.  I've been able to be more productive than usual.  I was able to control getting on FB and spend endless hours on there however I was on it through the day every time I got a notification on my phone I had a tendency to put whoever is in front of me (and most of the time it's my kid)s on hold.  I am working on not even answering text messaging or the phone if we are schooling.  Yes I at least answered text messaging but I'm trying to prioritize and this is something God has laid on my heart.  It's all about mindset and it's about what our hearts are really focused on.  I want my heart to be focused on the things of God and the people who need Him.  I want to be so caught up in those things that I don't have to say anything to prove that I am HIS.

I am so excited about what God is doing in my life.  I am also excited about what God is doing in my children and in my husband.  I've been a Christian since I was 6 so it's not like I am a newly saved on fire NEW Christian.  I have a renewed desire for reading the Bible and not just reading it but studying it and getting to know God through His word better.  I care more about winning souls into the kingdom than the latest fashion style or the latest gossip about the couple who is divorcing because the spouse cheated on the other and got pregnant or got them pregnant.  I have no desire for glamorous Disney World vacations and neither do my children.  We don't glamorize Christmas either.  It's a holiday that we take to celebrate Jesus' birthday.  It is a sacred time for our family.  It saddens me and I know that it saddens God's heart for the way Christians have treated His son's birthday that He sent to die for us.  It's completely commercialized and all the focus goes on getting things.  Christians play a big part in supporting the commercialization too.  Yes Jesus may be mentioned but everything else is so magnified.  He is the King of all Kings. He should be honored and reverenced.  I have no desire for a vacation every 3 to 6 months a year either.  I don't know about you but I don't remember where I went on vacation or what I got for Christmas when I was little.  What I do remember is helping my mom on Christmas day bake and cook and we went out to my Grandparents and spend the rest of the day out there.  We played softball games and had a good time!  That is what I remember.  I remember the time spent with family.   I have no desire whatsoever to be "in the loop" to know all the juicy gossip about everyone.  When I hear of a genuine need I pray but I don't ever discuss that with anyone else.  If the person who requested prayer wanted everyone to know, then they would post it all over facebook.  LOL!  Now that is how to get things started.  For most situations this is not the case.  People usually stay quiet about their personal needs.  The way it gets spread is that people gossip.  There are so many wholesome and good things that I could think to talk about and when I walk into most conversations it's about the above mentioned or something similar.  I usually don't stay in that conversation because I just don't want to be a part.

My desire is to be less of me and more of Jesus.  I want to be an encourager with my words.  I want to be a breath of fresh air for those hurting or those that are having issues.  I've been through quite a bit.  I am hesitant to share but I believe that this is the month for me and that God has led me to a No Facebook August because He says it is time.  There are some parts of my life that I am still not ready to share.  There are others that I have just recently shared with my immediate family.  I believe that it will be a blessing to someone so stay tuned. :)

Peace, Mercy, and......*gasp* contentment

Lately I have noticed that if it's raining outside we complain that we can't go out to play.  If it's not raining then it's too hot.  I'm trying to be better about not complaining and saying anything negative about the weather or anything else for that matter.  It seems that our human minds tend to focus on the negative.  It's been an unseasonably cool and wet summer and I've heard this comment often.  When it starts to come out of my mouth I bite my tongue.  I don't want my children picking up on my discontentment for everything.  I want them to focus on what good is in the day.  I would like for them to have the creative minds to figure out what to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon.  They are old enough to entertain themselves and by the way I'm not talking about watching a movie.  I mean serious productive ways to pass the time.  Go through a drawer in their room and organize it, play a board game; you know things like that.  I wrote in my thankfulness journal every day of the month in July.  I've been drawing closer to the Lord as I find things to be thankful for and do less complaining.  Besides, the things and people I complain about are not really my business and there's nothing I can do about the situations.  When faced with that type of situation we should ask  the Lord to reveal who we need to encourage or who we need to serve.  I've found that serving should be something that Christians make a point of doing.  It's an amazing feeling.  But we must do it with the right heart.  I've often times noticed that we as humans may do something for someone else expecting something in return.  Jesus wants us to serve expecting a harvest and nothing more.  I am reminded of the saying "We reap what we sew."  Give someone your time and God will bless you with more time.  Serve at your church and you will find your church serving you.

I am so thankful for the peace that God gives me through these lifte lessons.  I have so many more that He has taught me but I just don't have the time today to name them all.  I thought I would just post one a day.   I hope that this little tidbit has been encouraging for the readers.  If ever my posts seem condemning to any of you, just know that I was preached to first and I was taught the lesson first.  I have had some major spiritual growing pains lately.  I have did some Good Morning Girl online studies in Proverbs 31, Colossians, Advent Study, and we just did a book study on the book Anything by Jennie Allen.  They have all been amazing but this last one with the book study has really changed how I look at myself.  Without Jesus I am nothing.  It's Him being in me that gives me the ability to do what I do.  I allow Him to guide me in each step in my life.  No I'm not perfect.  Not even close but I strive to live Christ like as I can get.  I love everyone and I hope that in the next few weeks my posts are an encouragement to all who reads.

In His Grip,