Summer Work Force

It has begun! Summer vacation. What we’ve been looking forward to for the past few months. That delightful time when school schedules disappear and we can spend time together working here at home.

I’ve got four girls, which means lots of help. The trick is in getting it managed properly to utilize that girlpower! (anyone else have frustrations dealing with this?)

I’m hoping to have the girls help more with gardening this year. I want them to learn how to be responsible for laundry, and maybe even take turns with making supper for us. And of course there’s the cleaning, decluttering, and more!

What are your tips/tricks to keep your home running smoothly all summer?

Do you make a list for each day’s tasks?

Do you assign certain jobs to certain people for the week (or the entire summer)?

Do you give ‘days off’?

Do you offer benefits (rewards/treats)?

How do you manage? I’d love to hear some tips for keeping up with all our household work this summer and still have time for relaxing!

 

Book Review: Wings of the Wind

I’ve had the privilege of being on a launch team for the newest book in the Out of Egypt Series, by Connilyn Cossette. This book is “Wings of the Wind.” (I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, with the agreement that I post my honest review online. This is entirely my own opinion)

Here’s the short version of my review that I posted on goodreads & amazon:

Another entrancing book bringing to life the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness.
Meet Alanah, a Canaanite woman who becomes a warrior to save her life. She is dying on the battlefield and is rescued by Tobiah, an Israelite. To save her and abide by the Mosaic Law, he marries her.
Abandoned by her mother, she has never known real love. Now she is forced to live with her enemy. Through Tobiah, she comes to know that love can be real, and not only from her husband, but also from the living, true God of his people.
She comes to know mercy and grace.

In reading this book, I really felt as though I got to experience just a bit of what the Israelites’ life was like as they headed for Canaan. I got to experience manna firsthand.

This book is a delightful look at Biblical history!

 

A few more things that I’d like to add here….

This book challenged me in different ways.

Manna. Alanah, the main character, is a Canaanite, and has had no experience with manna. She grew up in a family of tillers of the soil. She knew what it was like to have to work the land with everything that was in you, just to get enough food to survive. Now she is in the middle of the Israelite camp where God has miraculously given them manna to eat. Every single day (except Sabbath) for 40 years!! The Israelites can only see the monotony of this manna, and many have come to loathe it. How they long to be able to have their own land, in the Promised Land, and work the soil, and raise whatever they long to eat! Manna, the wonderful, miracle food, straight from God, is no longer seen for what it truly is.

How am I like this?! What things in my everyday life do I not see as blessings, but take for granted? I pray that God would help me to truly see the many ways He has blessed me!

 

Mercy. And Grace. Alanah hated the Israelites. She did not want to live among them. The longer she stayed, the more she realized that their God and the grace He extended was what she really needed. She learned the true meaning of Grace. and Mercy. May I learn to know & recognize more of God’s grace and mercy in my own life!

 

If you like to learn about other times, I encourage you to read this book. It opened my eyes to see what it really might have been like to be a member of the Israelites back in those long wilderness years.

Why I Love to read

Do you love to read? Raise your hand, high! πŸ™‚

That’s me! I can’t remember when this love of reading first took hold of me, I honestly can’t remember not being able to read, or not loving it. Yes, you read that right–I’ve loved reading as long as I can remember!

I think I must have inherited it. Maybe even from both sides of my family. My one Grandma always had books to read, every time I went to her house, I’d borrow one or two. She got me started on reading Janette Oke books, and it went from there! πŸ™‚ My other Grandma would give me a book for my birthday. I still have most of those, and consider them treasures. The first one she gave me was Eloise Wilkins’ “Poems to Read to the Very Young”, for my 5th birthday. (To this day, I can recite many of those poems)

Some of my earliest memories of going to the library include getting a huge stack of whatever series I was in the middle of then. One of the first sets I remember reading was The Bobbsey Twins. I think that must have been First or Second Grade.

Why do I love reading? So many reasons! πŸ™‚ I ‘d also love to hear from you, tell me why you like to read!

Reading gives me an adventure. I am able to experience other countries, time periods, and so much more, without leaving the comforts of my own home. It’s an escape. If life is busy, or difficult, or whatever, it gives you a chance to forget about all of that for just a bit.

I love learning, and I think reading is such a fun way to do this! You can learn history (American, Bible, or whatever) in a way that makes it easier to remember.

Reading challenges me. Most of the books I read are Christian fiction, and reading a book in this genre helps me to get lessons and examples in a way that I might not really think of otherwise. Character and just life in general is displayed in such a way that I can’t help but want to improve things in my own life.

Of course, as with anything in life, there are also downsides of reading. Like I said earlier, reading is an escape. This doesn’t mean you should use it to escape what you know you need to do. Or to try and just forget about your own life completely! I’ve had to set myself some firm guidelines as to when is the right time to read! πŸ˜‰ One thing that I’ve found is helpful for me is to make my Bible reading & time with God first priority. I do much better at getting my work done if I don’t even pick up a fiction read until I sit down for lunch.

I’d also like to share with you about some good books I read recently. (I’m not doing this as often as I’d hoped to, just because life goes on, and it remains crazy busy!!)

If you like Christian fiction, suspense in particular, than I ask you, have you read any of Dani Pettrey’s books? Her first book Submerged, came out only about 5 years ago. There are a total of five in that set, and now she has two more books in another series. I am a huge fan of her books! She has realistic characters, suspense, a bit of danger, and more! Here’s an exciting thing–right now, you can get the ebook version of Submerged on Amazon for FREE!

This brings me to another question–do you like reading books on kindle (or other readers)? I have a kindle app on my phone. I have many books on it that I’ve gotten for free (yes, you read that right–many authors do this, have a short time period where you can get them on Amazon for free!). It’s a way to read something you might not get a chance to otherwise. BUT….yes, this is it. I don’t like reading books on my phone. 😦 It’s just not the same as a real book! I think it could be more convenient, in certain times and places, say on an airplane, or any other road trip. But the pages! They’re so small, you have to be turning the page, or flipping, rather, all. the. time. I really do like reading an actual book, holding it in my hand, much better! So I find myself neglecting the books on my kindle app.

Good book I read recently:

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron.

I’ve read three other books by this same author in the past month. I really like this author’s style of writing. It’s intriguing and captivating. I’d been waiting to read this book, and finally got it from the library. Maybe my expectations were too high. I didn’t immediately like this book, as I did her others. It tookΒ  a bit for me to get into the story. But once I finally “got it”, I couldn’t put it down! πŸ™‚ The main character, entirely fictional, is an illusionist who trained under Harry Houdini. Because of her early life, and then her chosen career, she doesn’t trust anyone. She can’t let anyone into her heart because they might uncover her deepest secrets, But when the FBI ask her to help them solve a case, she has to let down her guard. This book has mystery, and although parts of the ending are a little predictable, there are twists in getting there that were entirely unexpected. I appreciated the insight it gave into that time period, and the tiny bits and pieces about that whole (mysterious) career of being an illusionist. This is definitely a good read!

 

Can I also tell you about a book that I don’t recommend? Yes, I read one recently that I really didn’t like. I think that it should be ok to give both kinds of reviews, although, usually (at least in book reviews), only the positive ones are given.

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner. I should have read more about this one before I started. And after I started, I kind of wanted to see where the author was going with the story, so I kept reading it. But I didn’t really care for it.

(Now, if you’re at all like me, this might intrigue you just enough to want to read it anyway! πŸ˜‰ Yes, I’m contrary like that. Unless you tell me a specific thing about a book, so I know without a shadow of a doubt that I won’t like it, I’ll probably still have to go and try it for myself…)

But about this book. It’s written from the premise that the main character has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts? Cuz I don’t! I just don’t think that our God allows our spirits to linger here after death! I don’t mind reading books that I know couldn’t possibly be true, but this, well this was a stretch, even for me. What the main storyline is about is when she (main character) goes to visit an old historic ship and encounters a ghost that she believes is telling her to uncover a long-hidden mystery. The story goes back and forth between the modern day character, and some other people escaping from the Nazis in World War II.

I’ve been trying to find good books for my oldest daughter to read, and this was one that I definitely recommended her not to read (I don’t think it would’ve even grabbed her interest at all). (There are also some details from WW II that I think are too graphic for young readers.)

Now, I’d like to hear from you! πŸ™‚

Good book you’ve read recently? Favorite author?

I’m always on the lookout for new books to read! πŸ™‚

 

Looking for Peace & Quiet

Do you know how to have a peaceful, relaxing day? Or maybe you’re like me and you wonder when the last time you saw one, or even worse, you can’t even think of what it looks like!

Don’t get me wrong–I hate being bored. It’s good to have stuff to do! But what about, when life feels so chaotic and you find yourself running in circles so fast you can’t think?! What then?

You sit down to have quiet time with God, and there are so many thoughts going through your brain….

Ever have one of those days?

I have!

I’d like to tell you about a book that I read recently. It was a great encouragement to me. I won’t say that I’ve reached my goal of peace and quiet, like I’m hoping to. But I have received some excellent advice from this book! Life is a journey, right?! πŸ™‚

 

Bonnie Gray shares her heart in this book. As an adult, she was suffering from panic attacks, and it was only in going back to long-forgotten issues she experienced as a child that she was able to move on and find a deep heart rest.

It’s hard for me to put into words exactly why this book so deeply resonated with me. Maybe because there’s something deep within me, (and you?) that is searching and reaching out to fill a void, one that can only truly be filled with God’s Love. And only through discovering how to rest in God can we truly find that quietness & peace.

This book contains many soul-searching exercises and ideas to help you find your way to true spiritual rest, or whitespace, if you will.

How do you find rest in your soul?

Hi! Welcome back, book review, & more…

Well, I’m back. For a few years, I just didn’t have the time or energy (mental & other) to even think about doing a blog. But I’ve wanted to. Part of my dilemma was that I didn’t know what to write about.

It feels like there’s not enough of interest going on in my life to generate much of a blog post. But I do so love reading others’ blogs. I finally reached a decision this morning. πŸ™‚ To just go for it, and see what happens!

Maybe I’ll use this as a place to share things that I’m learning in my walk with Jesus. I’m so grateful to Him. I can look back and see growth, and yet, there is still SO Many things I need to grow in. It feels like a slow process.

Maybe I’ll use this as a place to process Mom things. We’ve kind of moved into a new stage in life. Teen/preteen years. It’s so much fun, and such a challenge, all at once! I can see more clearly now than ever that I canNOT do this on my own, I need God’s help every step of the way.

After my family, a lifelong hobby/passion of mine has been reading! (if you know me at all, you probably already know this! πŸ˜‰ ) Lately, I’ve been trying to do more book reviews, as I’ve become aware of the fact that some authors are very willing to give out free books in exchange for a review. (and what reader doesn’t love a free book?!) Most of my books that I read I can get through our library system. I think the library system here in central Ohio is almost unparalleled. I grew up in Indiana, where you had to live in a town or city to get a free library card, otherwise you had to pay a yearly fee. Moving to Ohio and discovering an interlibrary loaning system, one that includes almost every book you could even think of, (and if not, there’s always the option of requesting it), and it’s all for FREE!! We love our library!! πŸ™‚

Saying all this, I just realized that a blog would also be a nice place to post book reviews. I don’t know if I have enough readers currently, that this will be a real influence, but it’s still nice to be able to say, see my blog. πŸ˜‰ At least it sounds good.

Another lifelong dream of mine, which goes along with reading, is writing a book. Christian fiction is my favorite genre, so that’s where I’d like to be. I realize there is much to choose from, even in that particular field. I think the possibilities of actually getting a book published are much greater now than it used to be, because it is easier to do it Independently. Along with that, however, it also means that the competition is that much increased, because of the flooding of books on the market.

I’ve never been sure enough of my talent in the area of writing, though, to know if I’m actually going to be able to accomplish this or not. πŸ™‚ I read books, and I think wow! Now that’s the kind of book I’d love to write! Some authors have such a wonderful way of drawing you in with their words! πŸ™‚

I like to post book reviews on Amazon, goodreads, and Christianbook, so I’ll probably just copy them over here. One thing with a book review, that I’ve found can be a challenge, is the balance of saying enough of a story to get someone intrigued enough to read it, without giving any spoilers. πŸ™‚

The last, best book that I read was “The Ringmaster’s Wife“, by Kristy Cambron. This is a story about the Ringling circus family. I love reading historical fiction because you can learn so much about an interesting era in such a fun way. This book has so much depth and detail that you feel as though you are right there in the story. (I am in awe when I think of how much research must have been done to write this book!) The main character, Rose (fictional), is an English lady who was expected by her parents to marry well. But she had a horse she loved, who meant the world to her. When he was sold to the Ringlings, she ran away to go with him. Her years of practice as a trick rider landed her a contract with the Ringlings, and she had unforgettable experiences. This book gives you a look at the behind the scenes of a circus. It gives the privilege of peeking into the life of Mable Ringling, and really helps to bring this period in history to life.

sidenote here: I’ve always been intrigued by the circus, but was never able to go. Last year, we had hoped to visit the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL, but didn’t. This year, when we were thinking of another trip to Sarasota, I googled Ringling Brothers just for the fun of it. Imagine my shock when I began to read that the Ringling Circus is in it’s last year of performing, EVER! 😦 They had to take their elephants out of their show, and since then have lost so many attendees that felt it no longer worthwhile to continue. I also discovered that the Ringling Circus was scheduled to be in Cincinnati in March!! Hmm… πŸ™‚ And so we went to see THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.

It was packed. I’ve never been anywhere that I was a part of such a large audience. It was loud. And it was FUN! πŸ™‚ We were kinda saddened that they didn’t have more animals doing parts in the show. We saw two-humped camels. We saw a tiger/lion show. And we saw dogs. The rest of the Two Hour Show consisted of people doing amazingly astounding tricks. (I warned the girls before we went that I didn’t want them to get any ideas about trying things at home πŸ˜‰ ) It really was incredible. It was a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, but we won’t soon forget the fun time we had.

After just having seen the actual circus, The Ringmaster’s Wife was that much better to read! πŸ™‚

Happy Monday!

Summer, again?!

I quickly pulled up this blog only to discover that it has been….wait a minute, can it BE?! Over a year since my last post! Impossible. Time is flying faster every year.
One more school year came and went, and now I am almost ready to begin another. I am feeling excited about the coming year. More changes, which will be for the better.
I think it is time to get back to the school schedule, the girls have started being a bit boooorrrreed around the house.
We need to work on having good attitudes here. And sometimes that does mean more work. Which, in turn, means more time spent by Mom organizing and keeping it going.
They have done really well this summer, we started it off by doing lots of spring cleaning. And they’ve all been buried in books, reading for two reading programs this summer-the local library, and also BJU. I love to see them with a thirst for reading, as long as that is not the primary goal in life.
How do I get them to learn to balance that?!
My goal is to update this on a regular basis, and keep a diary of sorts, of our life with school, etc.

Rainy Tuesday

It’s Tuesday.

It’s rainy. But wait…it’s been that way almost every day recently.

I love the green grass the rain brings. So unusual for here, in July, I mean.

This morning was a bean-pickin’ day. Picking beans doesn’t rank very highly on my list of favorite things to do. Picking beans in the mud, well that’s a whole different ball game. Step, plant foot, pick beans, trrrry to lift foot, step to new spot. And you get the picture.

I’m trying to get summer things done, and also start thinking ahead a month to school. I am excited about some new things we will be incorporating this year. Since last year was the first year of homeschooling, I am hoping this year we will have a much smoother transition into schooling.

In the meantime, we still have a few places to go and people to see. The next month and a half will go by very quickly, I do believe.

Β 

Monday

It’s Monday.

Cloudy, rainy.

kind of how I feel after a weekend of family vacation.

the past almost two weeks have been fun, but full & crazy.

my sis-in-law, along with 3 of her kids, from out of state were here, so we spent lots of time with family. I love seeing the girls have so much fun playing with their cousins, all 15 of them. πŸ˜‰

Now, today feels like….um, can’t quite think of the word I want, that slowing down after times of craziness. like coasting into a valley from the trek up & down a mountain. the excitement is gone. but it’s good to feel a bit lazy.

trying to keep the girls from being bored, after non-stop fun. and they’d much rather be playing with cousins than doing ANYthing at home. πŸ˜‰ Although, I greatly enjoyed seeing the four of them having a good time playing together this morning.

happy monday!

new blog

Hi. I may or may not attempt to do better at blogging about our life.

About homeschooling frustrations, the drama of four daughters, learning to be a better wife & Mom, learning to be who God wants me to be.

Not necessarily in that order.

It may or may not happen…. πŸ˜‰ We shall see….