February 19, 2013

When My Heart Is Overwhelmed...

I love to be an encouragement with this blog, but I also feel the need to be real as well.  There is nothing perfect about my life, and I never have it all together.  Truthfully, my heart is overwhelmed in so many different ways today.  My kiddos seem to be taking 5 steps backward and absolutely no steps forward in things that they know to do.  I have friends who are hurting and facing some serious decisions that will affect their entire life and for some their children's lives.  And then, there are just the everyday things as more school assignment that needs to be checked, one more phone call that needs to be answered, one more note I really feel I need to write and send out, even just the fact that one more prayer needs to be sent up.  Life becomes tiring, and I find myself continually asking the question, "Why should I keep trying when everything I am doing goes backward instead of forward?"  As I have been mulling many different thoughts over in my mind particularly during these last two days, God, in His wonderfully gracious and faithful way, has been reminding me of some things I have forgotten.

I have realized, first of all, that I have much to be thankful for.  It is only because of God's grace that I am not facing some of the things that others are.  I am thankful that God is sovereign and that even though there are some heartbreaking circumstances happening, God knows and has planned every detail of each situation and nothing has taken Him by surprise. I have also been reminded to pray that God prepares my heart now for whatever future plans He may have for my life.

God has also reminded me that He is God, and I am not.  I am finite; He is incomprehensible.  I can only see right in front of me; He sees it all - every choice, every consequence, every detail that leads to the next detail.  He sees it all.  So, as I am looking at the road directly in front of me, He is seeing all around me, ahead of me and behind me, and He has it all mapped out.  He is gently guiding, leading, directing, orchestrating life that it might bring glory to Him and give this world a better glimpse of His beauty and holiness.

I am also thankful that God is working in me.  The need that I feel to fix my world and everyone else's is a God-given compassion, and it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit's working in me.  Not that I have by any means achieved any great accomplishment.  It has only been because of what God has done in my heart.  This thought has made me realize that God has given me this compassion so that I can show His love to others in a more real way than before.

Gently, God has reminded me that even though this compassion was given to me by Him, it is not my job to fix everything.  I cannot.  I am only a human - full of sin and selfishness - who must rely on the Holy Spirit for even the smallest decision I make if I am to be assured it is the right decision.  There is nothing I can do in my own strength and the harder I try, the more I will fail.  

And so, today, the prayer of my heart has been Ephesians 1:17-19.  
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you (me) a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of your (my) heart may be enlightened, so that you (I) will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us (me) who believe(s).
Because, after all, when life gets overwhelming, the only place to go for true comfort and reassurance is to our Heavenly Father who so delights in showing Himself to us and spending time with us.  I pray that you have taken the time today to quietly sit in the presence of the One who loves you so.

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

Counting God's Little Blessing - 3 Every Day:

31.  The comfort of God's love and sovereignty.
32.  This song that I've been teaching to our kiddos.  The timing is truly a God-thing! (This version isn't my
       favorite, but I couldn't find the one that we have on CD, and it is definitely worth listening to!)
33.  God is every thing I need. 
       Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee? My flesh and        my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. ~Psalm 73:25-26

February 18, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Just Have Fun!

Counting God's Little Blessings

Happy Monday, All!  I hope it's off to a wonderful start!  Today, I thought I'd share a few fun ideas that you might enjoy doing with your kiddos.  I am a "project" mom.  I enjoy sitting down and doing a craft or playing a specific game, but I am not much of a "get down in the floor and hang out together" kind of mom.  I used to feel guilty about that, but I have reassured myself that that is part of the reason I went to the trouble of having 5 children! (Just kidding! Well, slightly!)  At any rate, I have found that the best thing that works for me is to schedule play time with my kids.  I admire you moms out there who are thinking, "What in the world?  Schedule play time?"  But that is truly me!  Since I have begun doing this, though, I have found myself enjoying being a mom even more. My kids enjoy time with me, and I enjoy making them happy and having fun with them.  Here are a few things we do at our house, and by all means, please share your fun ideas as well!  

*We love tea parties!  As a matter of fact, we have one almost every week.  I make a special treat, and we get out the special dishes.  We even have these cutesie little sugar cubes that are reserved just for tea time.  We usually read out loud while we drink our tea, and we also use this time to plan future fun things or discuss the things we did or did not like about our school week.

*Game afternoons are popular here - especially during the winter.  This is the first year that most of the kiddos are big enough to play games I actually enjoy, and for this, I must admit, I am deeply grateful!  We enjoy UNO, Trouble, Mexican Train, Scavenger Hunt, Kid's Clue, Monopoly and several others.

*We act out plays that are usually written by our drama-loving nine year old!  This takes a little while and some prodding by mom before the boys join in, but in the end, we all enjoy the performance and have a ton of laughs.  I am on the hunt for a few small, well-written, one-scene plays that the kids would enjoy practicing and performing.

*Crafts and painting are always a big hit!  I keep a couple of shelves full of miscellaneous craft supplies and am usually able to find a new creation from  My drama lover is also a craft lover and enjoys coming up with her own ideas then coercing her siblings and myself into joining in the fun!

*The kids and I also enjoy taking walks together.  Something we do to add to the fun is to give everyone a paper bag and tell them to fill it up with "treasures."  It's amazing what can fit into a paper bag, and it is a wonderful learning experience as well!  This month, we have begun keeping nature journals and are attempting to draw things that we see.  This has been a somewhat humorous attempt for our family because we (very) apparently did not inherit any drawing genes.

Those are some things we do for fun here in our home.  Again, I would love to hear your ideas because we are always looking for more things to do.  And if your style of having fun with your kiddos is different, please share because I am always eager to try new things as well!  I hope you have a wonderful week planned for you and your family - a week full of purpose, fun and laughter!

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

Counting God's Little Blessings - 3 Every Day:
28.  A wonderfully clean car and the satisfaction of a job completed!
29.  A fresh start to a new week
30.  Having fun with my family

February 15, 2013

Homeschooling Journal - 2/15

Oh my! Is it really Friday already?  I have been such a slacker in blogging this week!  I have found I cannot keep all the balls rolling at once.  Sometimes, one (or two or ten) of them has to fall! :)  This week, it was the blogging ball's turn!  However, today I am linking up with....


In my life this week...
I've been busy celebrating with my family!  You see, in our family, the day BEFORE Valentine's Day is even bigger than Valentine's Day because that is the day our family was given the gift of Garrett Taylor - our fun, witty and energetic six year old!  We celebrated his sixth birthday in Garrett style!  Does SIX bother any other mom quite so much?  I mean, I realize I have only gone to birthday number 9 with my oldest, but with every child SIX has just killed my poor mommy heart.  I am not even bothered so much by Evvie's number 10 coming up this summer...yet!  Turning six, though, is like taking the baby away!  I can't imagine what 13 might do to me!!!  

We did also celebrate Valentine's Day...well, we tried anyway.  I must admit on holidays, I get a little jealous of people who have family and babysitters galore... However, the Mr. gave me a beautiful bouquet of roses, and I gave him a card full of mushy words! ;)  We tried to have a romantic, candle lit dinner with the five kids in the back bedroom, but I probably don't need to explain how that turned out! :)  It was a nice evening, though, and the kids enjoyed spying on Mom and Dad.  I am glad my kids have no doubt that their Mom and Dad are still "in love!"

In our homeschool this week...
We have been chugging right along.  Now, that we are in our second semester, I finally feel like I am settling into our Charlotte Mason teaching.  I have tweaked a few more things after finding a wonderful website!  Because I personally do not know anyone who is teaching with this method, I am relying heavily on guidance through websites like these and am so thankful for them!
The kiddos enjoyed World History and American History as usual.  My 9 and 7 year old love doing the mapwork from Story of the World, and I love that they are learning their geography in a fun and interesting way.  My  6 and 4 year olds have completely amazed me with their drawings of the history stories!  They are adorable...even though I am probably a tad bit biased!

Andrew has almost completed all of his phonics, although I will probably continue steady review with him until the end of this school year.  He is reading Billy and Blaze and thoroughly enjoying it.  Evvie has begun reading National Velvet and is eager to find out all she can about the horse!  Garrett and Madelyn are becoming faster each day with blends.  In March, we will probably begin to work more with words.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
This week was M&M's week!  This is our church's mommy group that meets once a month and encourages each other through Bible study and fellowship.  I truly would not be the mommy I am without this group!  We also took Mr. Garrett to Chick-Fil-A for his birthday!  The kids played in the play place for over an hour! 

My favorite thing this week was...
Hearing Evvie and Andrew talk about how much fun school was this week!  I am so thankful for this change in attitude...especially since so much of our family life centers around learning!

Things I'm working on...
Our morning routine is driving me CRAZY!!!  I would love to get a few morning chores completed before we begin school, but we cannot seem to get into a routine and keep it!  This week, we have been starting school at 8:45 whether we have finished the morning chores or not.  I do not like this, but the boys (who are the main culprits in dashing our nicely planned routine) do not like finishing the chores during their play time.  I am hoping I may have accidentally found a solution! :)
I'm grateful for...
The internet's ability to provide me with a plethora of knowledge and ideas (although sometimes it can be a little bit overstimulating!); that my Mr. and I have been able to celebrate 16 Valentine's Days together;  that God has given me a love for being with my kids! It's not always a perfect day around here, but I do love my family!

A photo to share...
A picture of a boat and a Colombus - by Garrett  (Those are his exact words!) :)

Two Egyptians and their carving stones - by Madelyn (I questioned the possible third face and was informed that was NOT another Egyptian.  The source never said exactly what it was!) :)
I hope you all have an amazing weekend!   We are hoping to enjoy some of this nice warm weather and possibly show up at church on Sunday with a clean car.  Hey, don't judge!  We live on a dirt road....and have 5 hoodlums!  :)  Have a great weekend!

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

February 11, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Thoughts from a Scatterbrain

Counting God's Little Blessings

It is a Monday, nonetheless, and it is time for a Joyful Mom Monday post.  I am not going to provide a link-up for now, but I would love to hear your ideas, and you are welcome to post your blog link up in the comments as long as it pertains to the Joyful Mom Monday post!

I have been going through several weeks of scatterbrained thoughts...nothing concrete, lots of little things.  So, I thought today I would share a few practical tips that have helped me become a more joyful mom - things that if I do not do regularly, I find myself becoming the Mom Grouch!

*Have a routine and try to stick to it.  I know people's definitions of routine vary, but it is true that when kiddos know what to expect, they behave better.  Our kiddos were horrible about complaining when we hollered, "Bed time."  To curb that, we began a routine:  brush teeth, color while Mom reads a story, prayer time, bedtime.  Our kids rarely ever complain about bedtime now because they know what to expect, and we've thrown in some fun as well!  Anybody who knows me well knows that I'm pretty much a fly by the seat of your pants person.  Some people look at my routine and are probably thinking, "You call that a routine?"  :)  It's not perfect, but my kiddos usually know what to expect at the important times of day, and it has helped me become more joyful because I do not have so much complaining to listen to.

*Take a little time to do something you enjoy.  I enjoy writing, and I try to sit down every few days and write a little here.  I also enjoy being out and about by myself.  Most Sunday afternoons, my sweet Mr. gives me at least an hour to run errands or even grab a coffee with a friend because he knows I won't be quite such a bear the next week! :)  We moms do need to take a little time each week to enjoy life so that we can continue to be life-givers in our homes.

*Allow yourself to be imperfect.  We cannot and will not be the perfect mom.  We should have high ideals and expectations, but we also need to be willing to forgive ourselves and move one.  We cannot continue to beat ourselves up for our failures.  It hinders us from being fully available and used by God.  When we live under a constant feeling of guilt, we are not showing our children the love and grace of God, and we also tend to impose that guilt on others...usually our children because we are around them most.  Admit you have failed, come up with a battle plan and move on.  I also have learned to ask myself if my unreachable expectations were given to me by myself (or others) or by God?  Many times, I find that the thing I am feeling most guilty about plays a very small role when looking at the big picture.  Maybe I need to lower my expectation in one area so that I can put more energy towards a more important area.

I hope this has made a little sense.  I have so many thoughts swirling through my mind, and I have five hoodlums (I say that with nothing but love!) running around!  My prayer is to encourage you.  This mommy thing is harder than I thought, and it really is a never-ending forever job!  We need to encourage one another and take time to rest and enjoy the little things in life so that we can finish our lives strong and fulfilled....and JOYFUL! Besides,  I certainly don't want to be a grumpy Grandma! :)  

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

Counting God's Little Blessings - 3 Every Day! (A few extra today because it's been a while!)

19.  Beautiful sunsets and their Creative Maker
20.  Books that provoke thought and imagination
21.  A week of no sickness!
22.  The fellowship of other moms (which I am looking forward to tomorrow!)
23.  The love of my Mr. (We've been hanging out for 16 years now!)
24.  My salvation and the great cost of it...

February 2, 2013

Homeschooling Journal - 2/1


In my life this week...
I have been so energized, and I love it!!!  I have been taking some different vitamins, and I think I may become an addict!  I feel like I have accomplished more this week WITHOUT being a grouch (which is always a plus)! :)
In our homeschool this week...
We have settled into our new routine of year around homeschooling, and everyone seems to be enjoying it.  The kids have loved being completely finished with school by 12:30 each day, and we have had time for a few extra projects too.  On Monday, we worked for quite a while on our timeline.  It had been sorely neglected.  We record everything in our timeline - missionaries whose biographies we are reading, dates from our Bible lessons, dates from our history lessons - we have even added dates of our favorite novel characters! :)  Later in the week, we made our own cave paintings after studying about how people lived before all of our modern conveniences were invented.  We also enjoyed much discussion on whether or not a color is a color even when you are not looking at it. (It's a long story but quite fascinating!)  I was  thankful for Daddy's help with that one though! :)

Places we're going...
In celebration of sunshine and warmer weather, we made a quick trip to the park!
My favorite thing this week was...
Completing all of our school work each day!!!
My kiddos favorite thing this week was...
Making their cave paintings after we watched this -

Things I'm working on...
I feel like I have found a new rhythm for our school day.  Now, I would like to work on meal time - planning meals with more variety, coming up with a better way to serve 7 people at a table that only comfortably sits 4, and training our kiddos with better mealtime manners and conversations.  Wish me luck because I would rather do lesson plans than menu plans! :)  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I rewarded my kids this week by...
Preparing scones - which they love - for our weekly tea party!  Because, you see, I do not enjoy preparing meals, but I love baking! :)  We also celebrated the end of our school week with nachos and a movie!

Overall, a nicely done week here at our place!  It isn't always this way, but I am thankful for the times that are! :)

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

Counting God's Little Blessings - 3 Every Day:
13. The sunshine and warmer weather
14. More energy
15. The encouragement from Psalms

16.  Conversations with my Mr.
17.  Days of rest
18.   Valentine decorations that make me smile!