Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our summer plans

I am enjoying summer with the girls so much.  We have have no schedule and I am loving it!  The girls have been playing so well with each other.  Every time I turn around they are playing school or house or barbies.  But there are some fun things  I have started or am hoping to start with them this summer too!   They are growing so quickly and I really want to enjoy them and teach and guide them as much as I can!  So here's what is happening this summer in this all girl household:

1.  Fabric paper dolls.  This has been the biggest hit for all ages (3,6,9).   I have a huge bag of old clothes that they can cut up into fabric scraps.  I then print off black and white copies of free printable paper dolls (available all over the internet).  The girls spend at least an hour cutting up fabrics and creating different outfits for there girls.  When they create that perfect outfit (and accessories) they glue it on and we hang them up.     When friends come over, this has been very popular too!

2.  Read alouds.   There are many benefits to reading aloud to your children and not just when they are young.  My 2 oldest daughters can read, but when I grab a classic and we all huddle together and I read aloud to them, there is something magical as well as educational.    Currently our read aloud is, The little house in the big woods.  I love the this time!

3.  Summer Binders.  I opted to cretate my own summer program this summer than to choose a workbook to keep the girls current with their math, writing and reading.  Each girl has a binder.  In that binder is a pencil and dry erase marker.  I then filled each binder with plastic page covers.  In the plastic page covers I put specific skill worksheets for each child.  For example, my 6 year old daughter's binder has worksheets on addition and subtraction facts, handwriting practice, phonics worksheets, bible verses, some fun mazes and printouts.  Everything can be filled in using the dry erase marker and then wiped off and used again.  I also have a blank page for tic tac toe or hangman!   They do these everyday, usually they do them when they are bored and I don't have to remind them!   They can easily be taken in the car and on vacation as well!

4. Our own library.   We have reading time, where the big girls read on their own and I read to my 3 year old.  I make sure we have tons of books constantly available to them.  We have bookshelves filled with approriate reading levels all around the house and compfy chairs that invite you to sit and read and enjoy books.  I love to create our own library and Goodwill has been amazing at helping grow our library. 

5.  Creating plays.  The girls have been creating plays and then performing them for me.  I remember doing this when I was young.   I just love sitting on the couch and watching them perform.  Sometimes we record them on the i pod or someone will be the director and record.

6.  For my oldest.  My oldest is 9 and I can see that this year she needs more planned activities than previous years.  I make sure we play with friends about 3 times a week and we have found some special things that she enjoys.  She has a journal that she keeps with her throughout the day and writes about things she does, feels, sees, thinks, etc. She is really enjoying this right now.  And she really likes making her own friendship bracelets with embroidering floss.  This is a fantastic boredom buster and creative outlet.   And she is thinking of others and making them for others.  

7.  Family serving project.   I am really trying to think how we can serve Chirst as a family and teach my kids now that showing love to anyone in need is a mission trip.  I would love to go over seas and help and serve, but a mission trip can happen anywhere we show Christ's love to someone in need and I know there are people in need all around us. 

8.  Playdates.   Playing with our friends and spending time enjoying our days with friends is what makes summer special for my girls so I plan playdates a few times a week.  Usually, the parks, the beaches, summer movies, skating, or just playing at each other houses.  Since I have all girls, sleepovers are a big request here!  

Between all of the above fun and excitement we will also have a 2 week vacation to New York and a couple of VBS.  Summer sure does go fast, but it so sweet! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Count your Blessings

How different the world looks when you look through grateful eyes.  Eyes that see all the beauty that is around us at any given  time.   With well trained, grateful eyes, I bet one could find beauty and blessings  anywhere and everywhere.   I am training my eyes everyday as I try and name all the beauty and blessings around me that I normally don't see.  The amazing blessing that comes with seeing the beauty around us is that you can't help BUT see beauty everywhere.  The more you do it the more you can't help yourself. 

Every Monday, Ann at  counts her blessings.  I continue to follow her and find joy in this world by finding and naming the beauty around me.  As a mom of three girls, 3,6,9, I am teaching them  how to find the beauty everyday, everywhere and count their blessings.  I love to sing my girls to sleep by singing them the song, Count Your Blessings.  My favorite version is from Bing Crosby in White Christmas.  Enjoy and I hope you fall asleep tonight, counting your blessings!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Enjoy the gifts in your life

A long weekend with my favorite people in the world, my family. Just being together, laughing, playing, snuggling, loving, enjoying. This is what I call enjoying life. Turn the tv off and enjoy each other. We were given such gifts in each other and we need to discover and enjoy our families. As a mother, I pray to guide this family to be close and encouraging, to be a place of safety and hopefullness, a place to learn to enjoy and live abundantly. May you have wonderful weekend with the gifts in your life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

My wonderful  husband found this huge mirror at a garage sale.  He was able to get it for only $5!  I was so impressed with this find that I have actually had it hanging on my wall before I pained it.   However, it has been begging to be pained and here it is!

I love paint! It's amazing what you can do with a little work and a little paint.  My three girls have been watching me paint and transform old furniture and frames into new (to us) and beautiful pieces to our home!  I love that they are learning that they can transform anything and have fun creating something new , while saving money!  Here's the finished product!

I love it!
linking up with
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wait out the storm

My daughter needed seashells for a project at school and we had waited until the last minute to get to the beach.   Unfortunately, the Florida summer storms decided to start that day.  Storms usually don't last all day here, I was certain they  would move on later in the day, but as later in the day came, the storms were still there.  Finally, the five us got in the car (still raining), drove to the beach (still raining), parked at the beach and watched the waves crash on the shore (still raining), ran in the rain to the beach ice cream shop (still raining), sat in the ice cream shop and giggled at our soaking selves and at ice cream (rain got lighter).

We decided we could handle the light rain that now fell and we walked down to the shore.   The sand was packed tightly from the rain and no one was on the beach.  We started collecting our shells with our bare feet digging into the wet sand and before we knew it, the early evening sunset was beautifully brilliant right in front of us.  The clouds had slowly and slyly moved on and been replaced with the most amazing sunset God could of painted.  I looked up and infront of me was the surprise from the storm, a rainbow.    A reminder that the storms don't last forever.   The rain will pour down and turn into the biggest storm, but eventually, the storm stops, the rain lets up, and the surpise rainbow appears before you.  Wait out your storms and look for the rainbows.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easy Peasy Chicka Chicka Felt Board

I just love this project. I made this for my preschool class when we introduced the alphabet in the beginning of the year.  Hands on learning is not only fun but effective so this easy, peasy craft will have your preschooler wanting to read along with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom , practice letter recoognition and other fun phonemic awareness games that you can think of with this fun, felt board! 

Here's all you and need and what to do!
1.  Buy or recyle a canvas or thick cardboard piece at least the size of a sheet of paper or larger.

2.  Cover the canvas with coordinating or similiar fabric as the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom cover.

3. Using free hand I drew the tree trunk on brown felt and drew each palm branch and extra grass on the green felt.  I then cut the pieces out and hot glued them on to the canvas.

4.  Lastly, I found letter stickers I already had in my crafting kit and covered them in contact paper and cut them out.  Stick a piece of velcro on to the back of each one so they can stick to the coconut tree.

5.  Let your child stick on the letters as you read!  You could also lay the letters out flat and work on phonemic awareness skills with your preschooler.  Phonemic awareness skills are the most important skill we can give to our preschooler before they enter school and need to be in place for before reading can occur.   As the letters are infront of your preschooler, make a letter sound and have your preschooler add the correct letter to the tree.     Another variation as your preschooler becomes more proficient is to say, "add the letter that makes the sound that begins the word cat" or " what letter makes the sound that ends the word man".   There are so many hands on learning activities to do with this easy, peasy Chicka Chicka Felt Board!  Enjoy!

linking up with
A Crafty Soiree

Monday, April 25, 2011

humble pie

  Your life is someones dream.  Thats right, the life you have now, the boring, mundane life that you struggle to keep up with is someone elses dream.  Perspective is so important and I find that I often need a refresher about the amazing life I have here on earth.  Instead of constantly giving thanks for everything, I can if I let it, grow tiresome and feel burdesome with all the demands of my blessed life.  I feel quite guilty and ashamed of my poor perspctive when it grows this way, but often it leads to repetance, humility, grace and thankfulness and a fresh perspective.

To live fully and beautifully in my current life and situations I have to know and trust that I am right where I need to be and that I am blessed to be going through and doing whatever it is I am doing at this season of my life.   It is when I feel to important, to big for the role that I am currently in that the storms of ungratefullness surface.   Humility  grows continual thanfulness and sometimes a slice of humble pie is exactly what I need.  Lord, may I grow and learn and be thankful always and when I loose perspective in this world, may I know where to find grace and grow in humility and thankfulness.

As part of my continual gratitude, I continue to count my blessings:
-amazing family to share Easter with
-beautiful mom who shines with joy and hope
-a run with my 6 year old
-watching my dad be a role model to the men in our family
-creative thoughts that keep me excited to create
-spring break with my girls
-tennis with my husband
-finding joy in the everyday
-seeing grace in shattered lives
-keeping track of blessings to remind me of the beauty of the everyday and every life

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kid Dates

Giving your kids the gift of your undivided attention is something they will never get spoiled on.  If you have mulitiple children , date nights with each child alone is essential.   Below are some ideas to get you on a date with your child! 
1.       Barnes and Noble- share a cookie and tea and then go into the kids section and grab all the books you can and read to them and have them read to you
2.       Go to the park and play WITH them, don’t just watch
3.       Pack a picnic and grab a blanket and find a special spot to have a picnic
4.       Lock yourselves in their room and play a game with them
5.       Go for a walk or bike ride
6.       Create and Keep a date book of ideas you create and want to do together and try to cross them off through the year
7.       Volunteer together.  Pick up trash, visit an elderly community, or call and set up some time to volunteer by calling a local organization
8.       Play miniature golf
9.       Go to a movie in your car and pop some pop corn
10.   Turn on some music and create a dance together
11.   Write  a book together and publish it on the computer, take your time creating the characters and using your imaginations
12.   Get a joke book from the library and tell jokes and LAUGH

Make sure your unplugged from your cell phone, your iphone, your computer and every other distraction.  This is their time with you, a chance for you to show them they are special and deserve your attention, unshared with anything else!  Anyone have any ideas to add and share, I would love to keep a growing list…..

Monday, April 11, 2011

Counting my blessings on Mondays

I am watching her feel crushed in spirit and defeated.   I am watching her feel judged, unloved, unworthy, and unsure.  I am watching her as she trembles with regret and uncertainy.  I am watching her fall apart and unravel   I don't know how to answer her, how to help her, but I do know how to hold on to her and hug her and love her.   All I have to offer is love.

Love is the answer.  Love is the way.  Love is God showing through us.  All I can do is love her and pray she sees Him through my love.

As I continue to count my blessings on Mondays....

little kids laughing and giggling
watching preschool class learning to sound out words
the right words, when I need them
running and time alone to listen
warm touch of my husband
a warm home with lots of life (and noise )
a journal waitning to be written in
watching my oldest daughter read to her youngest sisters
more good than bad

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guiding my girls

Last night I watched the Secret Millionaire on television with my 9 year old daughter.  It was really quite a good show to watch together.   It takes millionaires and puts them into areas of peverty in the country and without anyone knowing who they are, they volunteer and live in the destitute area. After meeting the people, seeing the faces, seeing those trying to make changes in the area, the millionaires reveal who they are and write checks to people and agencies that they learned about.

  It gave my daughter a great understanding of poverty in America and also it showed different non profit agencies in that city that are trying to help these areas.   The programs they showed were non profits that had no federal funding and were started and maintained by people who were truly doing what they loved, helping those who need it.   This reality tv show was truly reality tv.

As I watched this with my daughter I got an idea.  Why not do a monthly, family,  research project about a local community agency.  Find out what their mission is, who they help, who created it, how it is funded and any other important or interesting information.  After we research it together as a family, we go to the agency and present them with a check from our family.  Each month we will pick a different agency and give.  My goal is to teach my daughters how to meet the needs of others, how to do the research , how to give, how to love, how to solve problems, and share the information with others around us.

I am hoping this turns into something we can continually do together as a family.   What about you, how do you teach your kids about helping others and showing them how to serve?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


As I sit and listen to this song I wonder, when did I stop dreaming?  As a little girl I had such amazing hopes and dreams.  The smallest of details would be thought of.  I could daydream for hours about what I wanted my life to be like and look like.  Everything around me was beautiful, at least thats how I perceived it.  I kind of thought of myself like Peter Pan, and I would never grow up, always have the lovely, sweet thoughts.    But I did grow up and somewhere between some unexected deaths, some dissapointments and too much responsibility, I stopped dreaming.  I don't remember where or when it happened , but it did happen.   So as I listen, I have an ache to recapture my dreams. The things and thoughts that make me smile inside, I want to think of these things.  I want to see the beauty in things around me through the eyes of the little girl I once was, who trusted God so easily.  

We are expected to grow up, but I am not convinced that letting those beautiful dreams and desires that God created with in me I was young, are way of growing up, that is a way to loose yourself.  Thats what I feel, like I have lost myself.   I grew up like the world told me to, I don't like it, I am returning to dreaming little girl and I will teach my three little girls to hold on to the lovely thoughts, make them a secret garden in their hearts, and don't stop dreaming.

I have struggled during the last three months to find my voice on this blog.  I have so much to say and write, but creating the voice that sets the tone for the blog, well, has been a journey.  Dream, by Pricilla Ahn, inspired and sparked and has really helped me to see where this voice needs to be going. Where I want it to be going.   I would love to attend the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina.  The conference encourages and teaches woman who want to speak/teach and write to serve HIM.  A Holy Experience(, the original blog I started following years ago, that inspired my own daily walk, is giving away a scholorship,  If I could have encouragment and the abundant knowledge of this group of writers to guide me, I feel that I could not only find my voice, but my voice could help someone else grow deeper or even begin on their daily walk with Him.
She Speaks Conference

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I am taking a Pricilla Shirer bible study, Jonah.  Being a Beth Moore follower for many years, I saw Pricilla Shirer with Beth Moore during a Deeper Still event.  I was quite captivated by Pricilla's style and grace on stage and her ability to capture her audience with personal story.  I was able to relate to so much of what she said because we are in the same season of life, trying to raise children.

So as I began my homework for the course , the first few pages completely stopped me in my tracks.  God has a way of doing that to me.   As a writer and lover of books, the printed word has always been the way God has talked to me and gotten my full attention and he had done it again through Priscilla Shrirer's penmanship.  The words read, "Interruptions only become positive when we consider the person or the circumstance interrupting to be more significant than that which currently occupies our attention", (Jonah, pg 13). 

Interruptions.  Sometimes I feel that if I wrote a memoir of my life that would be a perfect title.  Interruptions.  I am interrupted a hundred times a day.  Interrupted by little ones who have made a mess as I try to teach my oldest daughter, interrupted by little girls when I try to read in my morning time, interrupted by the telephone when I need to finish this laundry pile, interrupted by the hours of the day ending and my to do list still not checked off.  I am continually interrupted.   Or that is what I would of allowed my self to believe until those words gave me a fresh perspective.

I would not consider any of the above interruptions if I "considered the person or the circumstance interrupting to be more significant than that which currently occupies my attention".    This is not the life and legacy I want to leave behind.  My children's littlest needs, the friend who calls mid day, God calling me to sleep and rest, the growing chores, they are not interruptions, I am just not considering them significant tasks at the moment and thinking of them as interruptions. What would happen to my day if I considered the interruptions to be opportunities to serve God?  

I am excited to continue this bible study and share a fresh perspective on interruptions.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Make a communication journal for you and your girl

I am in continually trying  to guide my 9 year old daughter.   We have created a very close relationship and are able to talk about anything and everything.   At 9, she is at a very piviotal developmental stage.  She is forming many of the thoughts and ideals that she will hold for a very long time.    As she continually brings to me questions on friends, love, hurts, dreams, prayers, fears, sex, I try to answer her honestly with the information she needs at this age, with understanding and love, and with a bible verse.  

I have a found that she is constantly in thought about the world around her and sometimes she waits to ask me a question because she doesn't know how to bring it up to me.  In my own life I have found that writing to someone is easier than saying it to them (the writer in me).  So I came up with an idea to create a communication journal between me and my oldest girl blessing!

The journal is a special place for my daughter and I to write back and fourth to each other about topics that might be to hard to discuss face to face, at first.   Its a conversation starter and then find time to be alone and talk longer and more in depth.  These could include her thoughts about her body, her self image, sex, fears, a new poem she wrote, anything.   The point is to tell her this is a place for us to communicate about anything back and fourth.  This journal is in no way suppose to take the place of face to face talking time but just another creative way to keep encouraging a strong relationship.

You could have a secret place to put the journal, so if she wants to initiate a conversation about something a friend said to her that made her sad, she can write that in her journal and leave it under your pillow.   You could then write back with what you want to share with her and return it under her pillow.  Get creatvie and make it personal to your unique child and your unique relationship.  This is your opportunity to guide your girl through her struggles and thoughts in this world, not anyone else.

1. Use any notebook, I love the black and white composition notebooks
2. Sit down and introduce the concept of the communication journal and "alter" you journal together with special papers, stickers, etc.
3. Use paperclip to divide the journal into 6 sections or so and add paper tabs to label each section accordingly (ex. friends, family, fears, body, prayers, helpful scriptures, whatever is relevant to your daughter)
4. Cut a piece of pretty ribbon and use it to place as a page holder

Enjoy leading and guiding your daughter through this exceptional age and growing closer to each other during this time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

HE speaks, she speaks

As HE speaks to me and I write, the SHE SPEAKS Conference is coming up July 22-24! This conference helps women who want to speak and write and lead for HIM, learn the tools of the trade. I heard about this conferecne a year ago and thought what an ideal, to be encouraged by others pursuing the same goal of speaking and writing about The One Who Created Us All. I truly just chalked it up to a dream and kept the desire in the back of my heart. But the dream is now within reach! Proverbs 31 Ministry has a contest and the winner recieves a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference. The scholarship is possible because of Cecil Murphy. I am participating in the contest and praying that this is part of Gods plan for me and my writing!

I shared in a previous post my desire to write deep within me when I was young and finally pursuing it the past few years. I feel pulled to write about what I am passionate about and that is living a joyful life! For me, my joy comes from my hope in the Lord and sharing a bit of the joy I see in the world. I believe I should reflect God's goodness and grace and contagious joy! I want The Inspired Page to be a little bit of sunshine in this often dark world!

She Speaks Conference

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

spit out the grumpies!

My little girl is in a foul mood. She just is. She has decided that she wants to stay in a bad mood, but we are about to embark on a trip to the grocery store with her other sisters and this mood must go or it will be an awful trip. I am tired and frustrated from a long day too, but not adressing this grumpy mood before going into the store will lead to meltdowns and poor behavior in the store resulting not just in a grumpy girl but a grumpy mommy!

I take a deep breath, open my door to get out and slide open the van door. There, face to face with a determined, six year old. Her little lip is pounted out, her eyes small , her face frowning. We have a stare down for a moment, she doesn't give, still stone cold and grumpy. Finally, unexpectedly I say, "spit out the grumpies", and I cup my hand under her mouth as to catch the grumpies. She stares at me, but she is now biting her lip from smiling. "Come on, spit them out, give them to me", I tease and tickle until she laughs and pretends to spit them out. I take the handful of grumpies and throw them across the grocery parking lot. "I hope some other kid doesn't find those grumpies. Lets go get some dinner", I extend my hand and get her down and grab my other children and she skips inside!

Through my 9 years and 3 chirldren of experience I have learned that this trick almost always works when attitudes are poor. As moms, it is so important to know some tricks that will adjust thier /our grumpy attitudes and go about our day instead of staying in those poor attitudes all day! So whats your trick to beat a bad attitude?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Counting my blessings

Counting More Blessings....

Baby brother married

Dressed up and feeling the stares of my husband

Watching my little girls walk down the aisle and throw flowers

Seeing my parents dance the night away, still so very much in love

Feeling God through the love a family

My family singing the night away

Knowing how Amazing my mother is

Watching my husband be humbled by his giggly girls

Dancing through the night with my little girls

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guiding my girl

Whatever is pure , whatever is lovely ,whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, think of such things -Phillipians 4:8

My daughter is 9 and she beginning to start ask some really big questions. In all of these questions, what I am noticing that the "world" is having a strong impact on her thoughts. She comes to me and usually starts off with, "I don't know why I thought this but,...". I too am usually left to wonder why she thought such a thing, but glad she trusted me with her thoughts because I am now able to guide her. Just because we have unwholesome thoughts doesn't mean we are stuck with them and it doesn't mean we can't fight back. I wrote out a scripture to help my daughter fight back when her mind seems worldly. She is repeating in her head Phillipians 4:8 everytime she has unwholesome thoughts. It seems to be working for her, helping her refocus on what is appropriate to think of. What she also enjoyed was when I explained that this verse it telling us to think of things that are noble, right, lovely, pure and excellent because we probably won't. We must guide our minds and hearts , not follow them and who or what better to guide us than God's word? God's word doesn't change over time, we do, but it doesn't and the answers to our problems are still there in those pages and I want her to see where I got the answer from, to see how God knew what we would struggle with here on earth, but he gave answers, always anwers if you look. Parenting three girls is tough in todays world but I feel like I win against the world when I am able to guide my girl in God's word with practical ways that help her.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

what makes you happy?

I sit here this afternoon feeling rather joyfull. I have just had a day with my husband and three giggly girls playing outside in this amazing weather. I have a moment to myself to take a deep breath and write and I just feel content and happy for no particular reason, I am joyful. So it made me wonder what makes me happy?
One of the things I notice is that when I am able to be myself and not care about the role I should be playing is when I am most fufilled and happy. The activities that when I am doing them make me feel more like my true self than any other time are not particulary special events or the things I thought they would be. When I am just being the me God wants me to be, I feel unstopable. When I am playing a role I feel others think I should be fufilling, I am left empty and not particularly joyful.
Being a "good girl" , a girl who pleases everyone else's expectations definitely is not a role that I should ever try to fill or even want to fill. , but it has happened over the years. So what activities are there that make me feel more like my true self? Honestly, it is taking time to experiment and allow myself to leave these roles that I have created and find where God is truly leading me. It's kind of funny, these roles have made it difficult to recognize my self, yet I created them.
These days I just want to see my own soul shining through and to know the smile on myself is there because I am truly seeking things that make me a little more like me and today I found that in just playing and laughing and relaxing with the most amazing family God could share with me! What makes you a little more like the real you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hybrid School

I was reading over women Living Well and she has been doing a series on homeschooling. I have to say that the online homeschooling community has really been an encouragement to me since I have started homeschooling 4 years ago. Without the honesty and suggestions of other moms sharing their day and ideas, I would of felt isolated. What I love most about homeschooling is the freedom to choose what works best for educating our children. In the past few years what works for us has changed and evolved into being part of a hybrid school.

What is a hybrid School? A hybrid school is a bricks and mortar school that my girls attend on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then on Tuesday and Thursday they are homeschooled by me using the lesson plan their teacher has created. There are many benefits for me to this model and it has worked beautifully for our family. Some of the benefits include:
  • Complete Curriculum and lesson plans, no planning
  • Grade level friends and participation in social events with like minded families
  • Families that share the same values
  • small class size
  • Classical and christian education with a high value on moral training
  • Still being the main teacher/guidance in my child's life
  • electives including violin/art/choir/latin/PE/archery/golf/guitar/keyboard
  • Even though they homeschooled 2 times a week they are considered by the stat to be in a fulltime, private school.
  • Being accountable to finish the work on time ( I need this, LOL)
  • More time to play with siblings rather than just friends, promoting their sibling relationship
It has just been amazing for me and our family. I had a my third little girl the same time we started homeschooling and I struggled alot with creating lessons and being able to keep my girls on task and keeping a baby entertained. For this season of my life, I feel my girls are getting the benefits of homeschooling as well as amazing socialization of like minded families. The one challenge is it is private so there is tuition. I am actually a teacher by trade and was given the opportunity to start the preschool program at their school, so I am able to bring my youngest and work as the preschool teacher at the school on Monday and Wednesday. This covers the cost of the tuition for my other two girls.
What I love about this school is that it is just another amazing option to school our children. We do not have to accept the options that are offered to us as parents. We can choose the training of our children and grow our families the way we wish and feel lead. Right now this hybrid shcool is working so well for our family and our children are blooming. At each season of my life I will reevaluate what will work best for my family and make the best decision I can at that time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

love letter from my husband

This is my command: Love Each Other -John15:17

My love language is not gifts, it is time and words of affirmation. To me the best valentine gifts from my husband are not things but a handwritten love letter. My husband and I have been together since we were 12 and our love has grown so much over the years. Perhaps the most noticable change has been in my husband, who did not know the Lord when we first met. Infact, my husband has just begun to grow in his relationship with Christ in the last 5 years. It is truly amazing what God can do to a man. As strong as he is, his gentleness is stronger. Here is the love letter he wrote me for valentines day today:

To my Precious Love,
When I am with you the world seems miles away,
I get lost in your smile, those sweet shimmering lips,
When I gaze into your eyes, I see a soul full of light,
When we embrace, I feel your love pouring into my heart,
We have a bond that I could never find with anyone but you,
There is no corner, no dark place in me that your love cannot fill,
Your tenderness encourages me to be a better man,
I feel unworthy of a love so pure, a woman as stunning and incredible as you,
I thank God for you everyday, and pray to be the husband my beauty deserves,
When I am with you forever is where I want to stay.
Forever your lover,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What do you desire?

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambiton when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far to easily pleased. -C.S. Lewis

I remember being about 8 or 9 years old and my aunt, a teacher, would come and visit and bring with her the most amazing gifts. Not dolls and silly toys but paper. Yes I said paper. Before every home had a printer and reams of paper at their fingertips, my aunt would come through the door with an abundance of paper from her school. I remember the joy that I felt as she lay all the papers infront of me on the table. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and see what I could create. I didn't know what would become on those blank pages, but the idea that my creations and ideas would become real on those pages before me overwhelmed me. The opportunities in a blank piece of paper excited me.

I knew early on that God had planted a desire for words and paper and writing in my soul. I could see that not every girl my age was so passionate about such things, infact I didn't have any friends who shared that passion. So as I grew, I swept the passion for writing under the rug and only brought it back out when no one was around. Adults would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up and for a long time I told them it was to be an author and write, but overtime I discovered that many people had the same dream and began to think my passion was just a silly dream.

I began to "reshape" my desire to write and create on paper into a more responsible career choice, teaching. I loved kids, I was able to still be around paper and creativity and it seemed a more acceptable answer to those around me when they asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn't understand at the time that I was begining to create my story here on this earth by finding acceptance of my desires from others. That is how we loose our joy. Thankfully, God would help me see this mistake and help me follow the desires he placed within me.

26 years later, that 8 year old girl who got excited about paper and the blank page before her is still there and she wants to come out and play. God placed a desire in my heart and I tried to squish it and make it more acceptable and useful to this world. As I grow to know God more, he makes this desire stronger and reminds me that this desire is one of the things that makes me uniquely me. I am blessed to now not care if anyone finds my passion for writing silly or without practical purpose. The joy I have recieved from personal journaling alone has made this desire worth its weight in gold. God wants us to have follow our desires, he does not wish for us to be passionless and uncreative. Our God is creative and passionful and he placed those same things in us to explore.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be the encourager

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love
God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and I am trying to learn that. I am often to quick to speak completely forgetting what God has called me to do ,"quick to listen and slow to speak". As I grow in maturity along this walk with God, I am convicted of my quick tongue that I once was so proud of.

I am well spoken and have always been able to win almost any 'spritited debate' that I have been in. In college this seemed like a gift, as a married woman trying to show God's love it is the source of much regret. My lips are almost raw on the inside as I have been biting them so inorder to tame my tongue. I am not mean or sharp with my tongue, but how much fun must it be for my husband to be married to someone who is "always right". Doesn't really matter if I'm right if I am not being encouraging and loving.

Being an encourager to my husband takes more than biting my tongue, it takes prayer to be more gentle and less selfish. To care more about him than myself. To care more about him walking away from me encouraged than me walking away a winner. As I show more encouragement and love from my mouth rather than champion debating skills, I see my husband respond back to me with more tendernous. I will write more about this in my series of posts - "I am learning to Submit"- Part 2!
I am also linked up here:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I want to be BRAVE

I want to be brave. Brave enough to find out who exactly God wants me to be. Brave enough to sift through all the layers that this world has piled on me and find the core layer that God wants to shine. But it takes bravery to peel off those layers and find what has been whispering to me all these years.

I want to be brave enought to not care what I look like , what someone else thinks, what someone else wants me to do. I want to be brave enough to not care about the car I drive, the house I live in, the hair dresser I use. I want to be brave enough to say, "these things don't matter". I want to be brave to live the life I was meant to have, brave enough to follow my soul when it calls to me with the things it craves.

I want to be brave and show my three girls how to be humble. Humility is where I realize how lucky I am to be so blessed but question how I am able to do nothing of the two thirds of the world that has none of the luxuries I take for granted. I want to be brave enough to challenge my comfort, my friends comfort, my families comfort. I want to be brave enough to write in the pages of this blog these things that were planted in my heart.

Brave enough to follow God, no matter what. I want to be brave enough to give to anyone who needs it and not get a callused heart and decide who I believe deserves help. I want to be brave enough to not judge those around me by my own standards. I want to be brave enough to remind my church friends that Jesus came for the sick. I want to be brave enough that when my pride in my children, home, education, blog post, raise, begin to swell, that I am umong the sick that need Jesus.

I want to be brave, what do you want to be brave enough to do?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My decision to homeschool

I began homeschooling 4 years ago. The homeschooling adventure has changed my family to the core and I love it. When we made the decision to homeschool non of my friends were homeschooling, I wasn't sure what to do, where to go for help, but I knew I needed to do it. I felt such a tug in my soul to keep them home to educate that I didn't care what anyone thought.
As a good girl, who USE to enjoy pleasing the people around me, deciding to homeschool even though those around me thought it was strange was the best thing I ever did, for a few reasons.
First, homeschooling has allowed me to be the guide in my children's moral training and incourage the enjoyment of school.
But another unexpected blessing of deciding to homeschool was the power it gave me to stop caring about what anyone else was thinking. I felt convicted that I was making the best decision for my family and the fact that I had no support but still wanted it so badly, only made me more certain.
Over the years I have made many other decisions to help support and encourage our family and not let my decisions be swayed by what anyone else is doing. Homeschooling is a blessing and joy in our family! Today our homeschooling looks a little different as we belong to a hybrid school which has actual school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and homeschool on Tuesday and Thursday. The structure and moral training of the school helps this creative, non structured mom stay on task but also the extra days of staying home to school and being blessed to have more time with these amazing giggly girls.
What made you begin your homeschooling adventure?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I am learning to submit

Wives submit to your husband; husbands ought to love their wives-Eph 5:22,28

I have to admit that for a long time in my marriage and while I dated my husband, I thought the word submit was an offensive word. The word, at the time, meant weak, less than, not in control of my life, giving up my dreams. I had a very negative connotation associated with that word. So when I chose to live my life for Christ and start living more biblically, one of the hardest areas for me to deal with was this idea of "submission".

Today, as I am enjoying my marriage more than ever, I have to admit, that it is because I have learned, no, I am learning to submit to my husband. However, the word no longer has the negative connotation that it use to carry with me. Now the word connotates trust, love, encouragement, and being part of the awesomeness that God had intended for marriages.

As old fashion as it sounds,submission is the biblical call for our marriages and it is the key to our marriages happiness and growth. Submission is a beautiful word if you understand that the outcome is more trust, more love, more encouragement, more respect, and more joy. There is so much joy extended to us in our obedience. It is what we are all looking for, as a women, I just want to be loved, really loved. And, as a husband (my husband tell me), they just want us to be submissive, or respected. I often wonder why it took me so long to accept.

I will write more on this topic and what submission looks like in my marriage today why I am always smiling....

I am linked up with , but couldn't get the button to share, so please click on the link to go there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the blank page before me

The blank page before me is one of the most exciting journey's that I take each day. The honesty of the words I will write in the space before me gives me an anticipation that I can't explain. It is here I will write my prayers for myself and children and husband, it is here I will write the ugliness that I have felt in my heart that I repent of , it is here that God will whisper to me and create feelings of joy that I can't explain. It is here I will leave notes on my journey with God and know someday my three giggly blessings will read these very real , daily , living journals and see how God lead me through this life and why mommy was always smiling! Yes, the most exciting part of my day is the blank page before me and the worship that I find with my pen against the paper! My soul finding rest in God within those written pages each morning.

Do you soul journal?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finding joy in our problems

I want to find joy in everything, is it possible? Is it possible to take my problems and find joy in them? According to the bible I can. The bible promises problems in this life, and it was right, but the bible also promises joy in those problems too-"but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perserverance character; and character hope"-Romans 5:3

I don't remember the last time that I thanked God for my problems and sufferings, infact I have never, at least not during the the time, maybe after when I saw beauty in the outcome, but never during. But I do know that it is during those problem times that I call out to God with more honesty and talk with Him more. It is these problems that lead me to Him, that create my relationship with Him. I wouild never ask for more problems in this life, but when they are upon me, I can find joy in the fact that they are leading me closer to God and deeper in my faith- if I allow it to.

Another reason to find joy in our problems - "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" Romans 8:18. Isn't that beautiful? The idea that as much as you hurt in your problems, is nothing compared to the joy and glory that will be seen, the idea brings joy to my soul, peace to my soul. So no matter what you find yourself going through, try to find the joy in the problems before you, He has promised you joy! Don't let your problems steal your joy, but let them create more joy in your relationship to Him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are you a joy?

One simple question that can change the way you live your life- Are you a joy to be around? And if you want to know the honest answer, close your eyes and answer this question through the eyes of your husband. Thats right, what do you think your husband would say when asked if you are a joy to be around?

My husband is my best friend. We were high school sweathearts at the age of 12 and have been together ever since. We have grown together in every way and it has been an amazing journey of love and faith-BUT-this is the man I do everyday life with and busy schedules, the demands of work, bills, school, dissapointments, expectations, health, all those issues we have to deal with together sometimes take over my love feelings toward my husband and I will admit I am not as joyful towards him as I want to be.

I say want to be, because in my heart I wish I was more expressively joyful, I love and care for this man more than I could express, but yet, my expressions that come out are often frustration from a day and not joy from an overflowing heart of love. Why is that? Why of all people around me, does he not get the most joyful reactions from me? I want to be more gentle with my words and make sure my husband could easily reply, "Yes, my wife is a joy".

Over at the woman Living Well blog, there is a marriage challenge I am excited to begin about loving and encouraging our husbands. I pray that my mouth may encourage my husband and be gentle in its response to him no matter how crazy my day. He is not my dumping ground after a hard day but a safe place to enjoy and fall into.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stop fighting God and surrender

I tie my shoes in the dark and try and be as quiet as I can as I sneak out of the house at 6:30 in the morning. My three giggly girl blessings and my husband still fast asleep as I open the door to the garage and take a breath. Morning is my time. I either use it as my quiet time to journal or I run, both activities bring me closer with my creator.

I started running almost 2 years ago after my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was heading back up to NY and I was unable to be with him and my mom. I felt helpless and my body was unable to sit still and I got up and went to the gym, got on the treadmill and started to run. At the time I was about 50 pounds overweight, but I NEEDED to move, I was actually trying to run away from all the mess in my head and heart, but God, in his amazing ways, turned it into me running right towards Him.

2 years later, I am still running and meeting with my creator every time my feet meet the pavement. I walk outside to start to run and it still isn't easy even though I run 4 days a week. Everytime I begin it still seems impossible until I have finished. One of the lessons God has taught me through running is to just surrender to him. We hear this all the time, to surrender to God, but what does it mean, what does it look like? As I run, I figure this statement out. I am unable to keep up the run until I settle into the run and stop fighting myself. I have to tell myself that I can breathe and stop fighting for breath, I have to tell myself that my legs are fine, keep moving. My body needs to stop fighting against itself and settle in or I would stop every few minutes for breath.

This is the same thing with God. We need to surrender to him, stop fighting him to make the long run, if not we are going to stop during every change of circumstance, not sure if we can make it. But when I just surrender to him, settle into the run and know I can do this, believe God is strong enough , my body can do this, then I can finish the race before me. Infact, when I do settle in and stop fighting it, I can feel as though I can run longer,its amazing. Same in life, when I stop fighting God because I don't understand, because I don't want to, because its uncompfortable, when I just surrender, I have strength to keep going! Surrendering sounds passive, but I am given so much strength in this vulneralbility, more strength than I could of ever had on my own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I have been reading A Holy Experience For Years. She has helped me on my own Joy Pilgrimage over the years, helping me understand that true, simple joy starts with gratitude. She numbers her gifts in a day and I have also done the same. Here is my start at The Inspired Page at counting and sharing my blessings:

  • a three year old little girl that still lets me hold her on my hip-not ready to be without a child on my hip
  • an almost 9 year old blessing that made eggs for her sisters
  • a blank page in my journal , ready to be filled
  • Blooms new book club choice
  • begining my writings of joy at The Inspired Page-fear will not stop me
  • Amazing Daily Grace
  • French Vanilla cream and the first cup of coffee in the morning

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whose eyes is God watching you through?

The question jumped off the page at me from the book, Same Kind of Different As Me. Whose eyes is God watching you through? What if He seees me throught the eyes of my children, not when I am blessed with patience and joy but when I am crippled with fear and anxiety. What if He sees me through the eyes of my husband, not when I am touching him gently but speaking harshly. What if He sees me with the eyes of my sister, not when I am laughing and loving her but when I am judging. What if He sees me with the eyes of the stranger I encountered, not when I give without hesitancy but when I turn my head with ignorance. What if he sees me not using all the opportunities He has given me to show His Love?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How does God call you?

I often wonder how God talks to other people? For a long time I didn't understand how He talked to me. Actually, God had to slow me down and stop me for me to hear Him. My life was to busy, my thoughts to concerned with my own plan. My thoughts are naturally unfocused, unorganized and messy. There are times when I begin to pray but can't because I can't focus on God with all the mess in my head, in my heart. But a few years ago, the mess turned into anxiety and physical symptoms like panic attacks and heart papatations and depression began to plague me. But my amazing God had a plan for this along. Using this problem to draw me towards him with all my heart-he was calling me!

Part of the process to heal me was to just focus on God and trust that He was strong enough to take all of my worry. I HAD to give God the messes in my head that I was trying to control. This mess was worry and control and I was worshiping it. One of the many ways I learned to truly give it to God, was to journal. I have always been a writer and journaled, but I began to write in a way that I never had before. The blank pages before me were hopeful and inspiring. It was on the inspired page where I would talk to God and he would talk to me.

I began to anticipate my time with God and sometimes I was awed at what I would write. I was awed at the honesty of what I would write The joy of being honest with my fears, my desires on paper perpetuated my growth and controlled my anxiety. My prayer was on paper and the journal was one of the ways I worshiped Him. Through journaling I found peace and trust and a real relationship with my maker. Through journaling I found JOY and understand how God calls me.

How does God call you?

Friday, January 14, 2011

How to create Joy

As I got my three giggly blessings ready for school this morning, I grabbed their socks from the dryer and told them to put them on and they would make them warm. After putting them on, my oldest blessing dissapointedly said, "they only stay warm for a minute and then you have to warm them up again". Isn't it funny that our joy works the same way. We might have real joy for a minute, but unless you keep warming it up, it will cool off. We need to choose joy everyday, every hour, every minute to keep our joy bubbling over into our soul, spilling over into our bodies and forcing our lips to smile!

I have personally struggled with depression and anxiety and know what it feel like to loose your joy, and on the other side of that, I know what it looks like to choose joy and keep it warm! The bible really does tell us how to do this, its not a secret saved for saints or biblical scholars, its their for all of us to read and apply anytime we choose.
  1. Simply think joyful thoughts. "Whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things" -Philippians 4:8 . Every moment control what you think about and what you let yourself meditate on.
  2. Believe that God is strong enough. True joy springs up from the faith we have in Him, knowing He can handle anything we have, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, wheter well fed or hungry, whether living with plenty or in want. I can do everthing through him who gives me strength" -Philippians 4: 12
  3. Get some grattitude. Reshape the way you think. Find thanksgiving in everymoment. Seeing God alive in your everyday and seeking the grattitude of simple momements will create joy in your daily living. "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstance" -1 Thessalonians 5:16
  4. Journal it. Journal your your worries, your desires, your hopes, the things you are grateful for, favorite scriptures, favorite quotes, just journal it and watch how joy grows in your life as your reread the pages.
This is how I reclaimed my joy from anxiety and how I keep it warm everyday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I crave JOY

Joy. Soul. Peace. Hope. Rest. The words jump off the pages and run to my heart creating a whirlwind of thought and excitement. I don't know what the excitement and anticipation is even for, but the words bring a renewal to body , no , a renewal to my soul that I crave. I have to return to these pages and reread them over and over because they give me a high that I have never felt before. No coffee is strong enough, no morning jog is invigorating enough, nothing has created for me the exuberance that I feel as rereading these words.

I crave joy. Simple, real joy. I don't want joy that is wordly, created by circumstance and sure to pass, but joy that bubbles up from inside my heart and spills over into my body forcing my mouth to smile. Thats the joy I crave. Each day, I go seeking these words from the worn and beautiful bible that sits beside my end table. I find them highlighted and shouting out to me, the scriptures saying something new to me, even though I have read them numerous times. How is that possible?

The bible says to delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. I have recently felt the change in my heart of not just obeying the bible but delighting myself in Him. And just as the bible promises, this shift in delighting in Him has led me to the desires of my heart.

Joy. Soul. Peace. Hope . Rest. The words jump of the pages and run to my heart creating a whilwind of thought and excitement.