Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pilgrim's Progress - Final Product

See Pilgrim's Progress - part a for more information on how we got to this final product :)
It may not be the flow chart I planned, but it works well.  Rebekah helped me paste the pix to the pages.  See the last pic for some of our insights to this story :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Our Father's Eyes

As a child, we obey our parents and then sometimes don't.  We think, "It's our lives.  Why are they getting so bent out of shape?"  

Then we become parents.  We aren't perfect, but we do our best raising our children.  Now we say, "Why won't they listen?  Don't they understand how much we love them, wouldn't steer them wrong, want what's best for them?" 

Recently, I have been seeing things from a new perspective.  Not only do I see my children's behavior and how my heart breaks for them but I see God's heart breaking for us.  We aren't perfect but God is.  He know's what is best for us.  If we'd only listen to him, we'd find peace.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

God's Alphabet for Life

Here is yet another treasure I found while at the AFHE conventionGod's Alphabet for Life - devotions for young children written by Joel R. Beeke and Heidi Boorsma.  This is our main daily devotion for each day.  It's an ABC book with a scripture that starts with the Letter the week.  One to two pages of a story/lesson follows each verse.

My children love memorizing the verses and reciting them each morning or throughout the day :)  They usually take turns so they can show how well they know them.  Even my two year old recites them.  I give her the first word and she says the rest along with most of the reference.
Ex. Ask and it shall be given you.  Matthew 7:7a
We memorize them in a sing-songy voice to help recollection.  Songs are an excellent tool for memorizing.

The first day, the children recite the past verses followed by practice of the new verse.  Then, I read the story/lesson that goes along with the scripture.  We discuss the lesson as I read.  Following days will not always include a reading of the lesson.

Within the lesson, is a prayer.  I highlight the prayer.  This prayer is added to our morning prayers for the rest of the week.  Sometimes we include past prayers in our morning prayer time also.

Along with our morning prayers is a prayer we pray often throughout the day:
"Jesus, put smiles on our faces, love in our hearts, and joy on our lips.
In Jesus precious name, Amen."
We also each decided on two things for which we need prayer.  I wrote those prayers on a construction paper for us to refer to each morning or more often if needed.  The children like praying for themselves when we get to their prayers.  This helps show the children that mommy and daddy have things they need to work on also.  We are never too old to learn or too 'good' to stop growing in Christ.

The following is our morning devotion order:

Prayer - 'smile', two things each, devotion book prayer
Recite scriptures - taking turns, help when needed
Devotional book - reading/discussion
The Person I Marry: Things I'll Think About Long Before Saying "I Do" by Gary Bower            (We just read the first page during devotions.)                                                                     Reading - review main ideas so far, read a few pages with discussion and using the dictionary, drawing pictures of what was read today, explaining pictures

I try to keep each devotional time to within 30 minutes.  On the first day, I may do the Reading later in the day as to keep the children's interest and keep them from becoming fidgety.


As I sit here so late in the evening and type, I realize that my goal of one blog per day may cause too much stress and lack of sleep of which is not good.  However, I will still strive to type each day, but it may take me a few days to complete one blog.  Blessings :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pilgrim's Progess - part a

As a child, my mother read Little Pilgrim's Progress to my brother and me.  That was the best book I had heard as a child.  There was so much truth in it, and it also helped me understand my Christian walk more deeply.

My mother later gave me the book of which I looked forward to reading to my children.  When my oldest was about three years old, he went through a destructive stage and that book got in his way :(  I did buy another one wanting to read it to him and his sisters.  However, the level was still too difficult for such small children to understand.  But, alas, when at the AFHE convention, I found another treasure the Pictorial Pilgrim's Progress.  This I could read to my children at this young age :)

One of the things I like so much about the book is that the people and places are named after their attitudes/behaviors.  Examples:  Christian, the pilgrim, comes from the City of Destruction and is on a journey to the Celestial City.  He meets men/women by the names of Obstinence, Pliable, Faithful, Talkative, Hopeful, Evangelist, Talkative, Charity, Prudence, etc.   There were some names I did not know how to define in words, so we broke out the dictionary.  Now we keep the dictionary with the book.

I have been reading this book during devotions for five or less weeks now.  We should finish it up a week from today.  It has been a great read for my kids and myself.  While reading, I let my children draw what I'm reading.  Once I find a stopping point, I draw pictures about the main parts just read.  We also revisit the pictorial timeline before each reading to help jog our memories as to what has happened.  The timeline refresher became quite long after 40 or so pages into the book.  So I started putting a yellow 'circle' around the story changer pictures.  From that point on, we just refreshed the main points before each read. 

When we are all done, I will cut the scenes apart and with my children helping reformat this so it looks more like a Flow Map.  The final version will be 'part b'.  It should be ready within two weeks time.

While looking for the links to Pilgrim's Progress, I came across a movie about the book.  I know movies are rarely as good as the book, but I still plan on seeing it :) :) :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Person I Marry

For the second year in a row, I went to the AFHE (Arizona Families for Home Education) convention.  Each year, I find treasures.  I'll probably be posting on these treasures for a while.  I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited about each of these treasures and how they are impacting our family.

The first treasure is a book, The Person I Marry, by Gary Bower.  I stumbled on it by accident, just waiting to meet up with my mom who so graciously joined me :)  As I was standing, I noticed a venue of books.  Well, I have a hard time passing by books without at least browsing them.  This was up front with a beautiful picture on the cover.  "A children's book about marriage," I thought.  I honestly didn't think I'd be too impressed.  Well, I was quickly surprised.

The Person I Marry is now part of our daily devotions, that is the first page is all we read during devotions due to time constraints.  My children get excited every time I pull it out.  They are quick to help me read it too :)  The part I like the most is what the mother whispers into her daughter's ear, "It's 'who', not 'what', that makes a great wedding.  The clothing you wear and the flowers you carry don't matter as much as the person you marry."  That is so true.

Growing up, you hear stories about how couples became engaged and how romantic it was.  But you never hear about the time before they meet.  "How many frogs am I to have to kiss until I find my prince charming?" every girl wonders.

I did not want my daughters or my sons to go through the dating scene wondering, "Is this the one?"  Actually, I do not want my children to have to date any frog much less kiss them.  This book discusses what is important in a spouse, what to look for.  Make a list of what REALLY matters.

A couple other books I found helpful while I was looking and/or waiting for my husband to come along were:  I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris


Below is a short synopsis of how my prince and I finally found each other:

First off, I NEVER wanted to date.  I thought it was stupid, but I knew no other way to find my future husband.  So off I went into the dating arena.  After kissing seven guys, three of whom were boyfriends, I decided to stop dating all together; God was going to have to throw the guy in front of me because I kept picking all the wrong guys.

After five and half or so years of "not" dating, I had enough and went to a beautiful woman of God that I trusted and loved and who also let God show her who her husband was.  I asked her what to do.  She responded with a simple question, "Have you asked God who your husband is?"  Ask the Almighty God who my husband is?!  No.  She instructed me to do so.

Now that is where my love story begins...  A few short weeks later, I was leaving church not thinking of men at all, which was not common for me.  A picture of my husband was shown to me clear as day and the words spoken were, "This is your husband."  Wow!  True story.

My husband and I had our first kiss shortly after that revelation.  (I hadn't kissed anyone in six years and he hadn't kissed anyone since high school.)  I would like to say it was bliss from then on but that would be a lie.  Actually, almost everyone in my life told me to break up with him; he was not good for me; I deserved better.  And almost everyone in his life said the same about me.  We almost broke up with each other I don't know how many times but thankfully we didn't let them sway our choice.  Actually, the sole reason I did not break up with him was because God told me he was my husband.

We married just shy of a year later.  Still, it was ROUGH!  By then, it didn't matter; we were married.  We made a commitment to each other and that was final.  But I tell you what, God knew what he was doing when he put us together.  The hard crazy pain and struggles were jam packed into those first two years of marriage and the year of dating/engagement.  Every year with him is better than the last.  I couldn't have picked a better man for me.  He is truly a blessing.  What a man!


My list of what I wanted in a man...

1.  He had to love God first and foremost.
2.  He had to love me second ONLY to God.
3.  He had to desire to be a family man.
4.  He had to be a man I wanted to walk beside.
5.  He had to adore me and I him.

As a little girl, I had a LONG list.  Tall, dark, and handsome definitely made the list.  But in college, I narrowed it down to the MUST HAVES which you see above.  It just so happens that I also got tall, dark, and handsome :)


One other thing.  When I was off to college, my mother told me to pray for my husband even though I didn't know who he was.  Well, I did.  You know what?  It turns out the year I started praying for him was the year he decided to stop dating.  Go figure!

Prayer is powerful!  Start praying for your spouse to be.  Teach your children to pray for their spouses to be.  You start praying for your children's spouses to be.  It works :)


Really, this is the last thing...

Throughout my twenties, I talked to God a LOT about my husband or lack there of.  Every time I did, I always said one thing:  You said you'd give us the desires of our heart.  I desire to be married and have children.  If this is not what you have planned for me, take this desire away from me.  I would rather be single the rest of my life than married to the wrong man.  (And I meant every word of it.)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Best Cookies EVER!!!

I have three children.  My oldest will eat anything sweet except frosting.  My youngest is quite a bit pickier but will eat frosting.  My middle child is the pickiest when it comes to baked goods.  She is probably best compared to most children's desire to eat brussel sprouts or my dad's willingness to eat celery.  Then I have the rest of my extended family who aren't too fond of my gluten free baking.

Well, I have found the BEST cookie recipe ever!!!  Everyone likes them :)   I came across it while looking on Pinterest for gluten free desserts.  Averie Sunshine calls them The Best Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies Ever.  I took that recipe and tweeked it a little bit to fit my needs.  See substitutions below:

almond butter instead of peanut butter
coconut sugar (not packed) instead of brown sugar
xylitol instead of sugar

I tried the recipe because I had almond butter that I needed to use up before it went bad.  Best choice ever :)  But BEWARE...  they are VERY addicting!  I made a few batches and put one in the freezer.  If I remember, I'll let you all know how they turned out too.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Swim Wear

I know I haven't posted much at all in the past few years, but I plan on posting much more.

This first post is all about swim wear.  I don't know about you, but I haven't felt comfortable in a swimsuit since the day I went from a girl to a woman.  I've always been self conscious about the way I looked in a swimsuit, how manageable the swimsuit was while swimming, and the amount of skin exposed to the sun.

As I got older, I finally found board shorts that I could wear over my swimsuits and tankinis that would fit well enough.  I even started wearing shirts in the past few years to help protect my shoulders and chest from burning while out all day in the sun.  This was nice, but I would have to keep pulling the board shorts down to prevent them from riding into the great unknown and the sun would penetrate my shirts once wet.

Then I had another issue.  I had babies and all three of my babies were c-sections.  For those that don't know about having c-sections in your mid 30s, the stomach doesn't go back to the way it once was unless you are one of the lucky few.

That said, I've been looking for a swimsuit in which I felt comfortable walking, swimming, and being in the sun.  This year, I finally found one!!!

HydroChic makes some amazing swimsuits!  I bought the

Amphi Spirit Athletic Skirted Capris (15 " long skirt )

I had a great time with my kids all summer long.  And many women asked me where I got my swimsuit.  

Not only did my swimsuit meet everything I wanted, I also found I stayed cooler in it after it was wet.  While everyone else was so hot in the AZ heat, I was nice and cool :)  Due to that fact, my mother chose to buy herself a swimsuit.  I actually think she's looking forward to camping this year.  (My family will understand that one.)

If you have any questions, let me know :)