Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Inspiration

Summer time is always the time I like to organize cupboards, bookcases, etc. Don’t we all? I also like to involve the kids as much as I can to break up the “lazies” of whole days spent at home.

Today, I gave Molly and Annie the job of sorting through our game bookshelf and game chest. I gave them vision on how to organize and told them to weed out those things they thought we could get rid of.

As I listen to them talk while working, I also am realizing that by having them involved in this process, they are “finding” things that they “can do this summer”. They are remembering some games they have forgotten about. Yay!

Also, while sorting through our “non-fiction bookcase last night, I found myself saying some familiar words, “Oh, we haven’t ever read this book. But it would be so good! But they never see it here.” It’s so hard to get rid of good books, but it’s also hard to get the kids to read them sometimes. Well, the Lord gave me some inspiration and Earl agreed it would be a good thing to try. I grabbed a box and started putting in it books from the shelf that I thought the younger kids might enjoy reading. My plan is to have a period of “alone reading time” on the days we’re home, just like we used to do, but got away from. The kids will be asked to choose from the “non-fiction” box until they have read all of them. Then we’ll switch them out for new ones.  I’ll let you know how it goes . . . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Birthday Preparations

Jonathan turned 7 this past April. When you’re 7, you get a party. It’s usually the first party our kids remember since their last one was when they were 4. (We do “parties” every 3 years . . .4, 7, 10, 13, 16, etc.)
Jonathan decided he wanted a knight-themed party. Boy, did we come up with a bunch of ideas! And the whole family got in on the preparations – for weeks. Our house was a mess. I counted it as “home economics” training for the kids’ schooling.
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We cut out tons of red initials.
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We traced and cut out red crosses for the front of the tunics for the boys.
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Jonathan helped David create “boulders” from rolled up newspaper and masking tape.
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David then spray-painted them gray.
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Emily and Molly helped with formatting and wording the certificates of “knighthood” to be presented to the boys during the party.
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Molly and Annie painted our “jousting rings”.
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Emily and Annie helped make the pennants that we used to decorate with.
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David helped make a very cool shield out of foam board. We then spray-painted it gray and put a red cross on the front.
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Molly sewed little red draw-stringed bags for the boys to keep their gold coins in which they earned throughout the party.
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Here’s Jonathan modeling the finished no-sew flannel tunics I made for each of the boys attending.
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Christie Sanders came over one night and lended her hand. She and Molly created some beautiful “ribbon halos” for the little girls attending the party.
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The night before the party, the kids had fun trying out the jousting game.
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The “contestant” sat on a stick horse, in the wagon, which was pulled quickly down the yard. They had to put their stick through the yellow ring while “on the go”!
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Emily, David and Earl helped cut and assemble the “snack” boxes the night before. By this time we are ready to be done. (We even had Grandma working hard whenever she came over, but I just realized we don’t have any photos of her and the girls working hard together. Rats!)
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Coming next . . .
photos of the festivities!

A Sigh of Relief . . .

Did you hear that big sigh of relief last Friday?

We finished our school year! And now we are off for 7 weeks. Whoo hoo!

Well, the kids are off. I still have to close out the year, and then plan for all of next year for all 5 kids. But at least I have all the assignments graded and recorded. That is a day-to-day huge task, on top of teaching and trying to keep our home in a livable condition.

And then there are the summer projects I hope to accomplish. And the people I want to spend time with that I’m not able to when school is occupying so much of my day. And of course that is all in addition to the kids’ schedules that seem more busy this year than EVER before (swim lessons, sewing camp, home school convention, library volunteering, get-togethers, beach days, etc. etc.).

So, my sigh of relief . . . quickly evolved, into an almost panicked hyper-ventilating.

But, then God . . . (my favorite 3 word phrase in Scripture!)

Friday, after putting away the school books and hurriedly  munching down lunch, I drove David over to a wood-working lesson he had with an older gentleman from our church.

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Then I went to the park to finish up some grading. After I finished (yay!), my back was sore, so I decided I needed to walk and do some serious talking with the Lord over my lack of resting in Him. I had been listening to music as I graded and as always is the case, I was convicted and I just needed to spend some time talking things over with my Father. I was scared of not getting it all done. I was concerned that I couldn’t discern what really needed to get done. I was worried about having too many responsibilities or too many things I felt responsible for. My health was suffering. I knew I needed to make some changes.

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The walk was good. It is one of my favorite parks. It was a time I was able to take a few deep breaths, and get some perspective. I just poured my heart out. And I knew He heard me.

Then yesterday (Monday), Emily and I met with another mother and daughter at this  same park. We talked about managing our time from a biblical perspective. We got some of our material from Shopping For Time by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters as well as Managers of their Homes by Steve and Terri Maxwell. We talked about what our priorities should be as Christian women. You know, the big categories. The morning was spent mainly in discussing the theoretical side of setting priorities and scheduling. It was a good time of fellowship and encouragement.

Emily and I got home earlier than we had anticipated. So, Earl being the amazing man that he is, sent the two of us off to Starbucks to get a coffee and sit and plan as much as we could. It was really an enjoyable time for the two of us. We talked through a lot of logistics and got a lot on paper. I think we need to make this an annual “kick-off-the-summer” activity.

So, I still have a lot of planning to do just personally, let alone school-wise. But my times in the morning studying the Word and taking all my “worries” and cares to my Father are helping me to continue to breathe more peacefully. I’ve also started to memorize some Scripture this summer . . .John 14.

So, if you didn’t hear the sigh of relief on Friday, perhaps you may hear it now, as I continue to learn to walk each minute of my busy, wonderful life, under the yoke of a Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.

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