Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

My prayer for you today is that you would really take the time to reflect on all you have to be thankful for.  The food before you, the friends and family in your life, and continual dawn of new days to grow and learn.  Make the most of it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A to Z Guide to Gratitude

Think you have nothing to be thankful for?  Struggling to find the good in your day?  Think again.  We have so much to be thankful for.  It's all about perspective and changing our focus.

Apples (or peaches, or watermelon)--Or whatever your favorite fruit is.  There's a huge variety out there and we're living in a time when so much is available.

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Best Friends--We all need someone to lean on.  Our best friends answer our phone calls when we're blubbering and ask where they can meet for coffee.  They are our support system that can get us through anything.

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Creativity--There's nothing like doing something creative.  What a bland world we would live in if no one was creative!  Books, music, art, theater... Creativity colors our world.

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Dinner--Having the ability to put dinner on the table is quite a thing to be thankful for.  How many people around the world are thankful for one meal.  Whether it's a steak or top ramen, having dinner is quite a blessing.

Encouragement--Encouragement from friends and family keeps us going.  Receiving encouragement is like a breath of fresh air.  It breaths life into our days and allows us to keep on the road of this crazy life.

Fresh starts--Every day is a fresh start, a new beginning for reinvention.  Fresh starts are around every corner.  They allow us learn, grow, reinvent, change...

Generations--Whether next door or far away, the generations of family are a blessing to our days.  We live in a society that values independence, but staying connected through the generations is a great support and wealth of information.

Hugs--There's nothing like a hug from my kids.   It's great for the heart, great for the body and great for the spirit.  And it feels good for both the giver and the receiver.

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Ice Cream-- Is there anything like ice cream to sweeten up your attitude?  And with more than 31 flavors, there's something every mood.

Jobs-- Yeah, we don't always love our jobs.  Sometimes we work with some difficult people.  But we have jobs; we have the means to pay the bills.  Having a job and taking pride in what we do is definitely something to be thankful for.

Kisses-- There's something so intimate about a kiss.  Whether shared with a spouse or loved one, it has an incredible way of connecting two individuals.

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Learning-- We have the capacity to learn and grow and experience new things.  Every moment is a learning experience and we have the mental capacity to take full advantage of it.

Memories--Even in the frustrating down times, we have memories to sustain us.  Most of us can think back to some point in our lives when we were happy or something was going right.  What a wonderful way to keep us going when things get tough.

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Nonesense-- All life needs a little nonsense.  A moments to let go and just be crazy... so stop taking life so seriously and fill it some nonsense.

Outdoors-- Just getting outside changes so much about our attitude.  Multiply that by taking a walk in the park, camping for the weekend, or kayaking on the lake.  We have a multitude of opportunities for getting outdoors and exploring creation.

Parents-- Some of us have great parents; some not so much.  But one thing is true, they gave us life.  And for those of us with better parents, we can be thankful for so many things they've taught us and how they continue to support us in our day to day lives.

Quiet--  Quiet can be lonely, but it can also be refreshing.  Our lives need some quiet and rest to refresh, recharge.  Quiet is a gift for stilling our bodies and reconnecting with ourselves and the Lord.

Reading-- The ability to read opens up worlds of opportunity for all of us.  If you can read, you can explore, grow, learn, discover.  Reading helps us grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.  It's a way to use our imaginations and creates a dialogue between the author and the reader.

Sunrises/Sunsets-- They come every day with complete consistency.  The sun rises and the sun sets. Some are soft and others are flashy and spectacular.  They are the bookmarks to our day, reminding us to be quiet and soak in something special.

Time--  Time is a gift.  We have this moment to connect, to reach out, to make a difference.  We can't go back and redeem the time from yesterday.  But we can use this moment.  Time is something that doesn't cost us, but can create a world of difference.

Uniqueness-- Can you imagine how boring the world would be if we were all the the same?  Our uniqueness, creativity, personality, way of thinking, is something to be celebrated.  We all have something to bring to the table and it greats this incredible, colorful world.

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Vegetables-- I am very thankful for a world with such a variety of vegetables.  Cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, bell pepper... I can't imagine a whole without the color and variety we have been blessed with.  And each one is a blessing to our bodies and health.

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Water-- Speaking of blessings, water is right up there on the top of my list.  Living through this drought and realizing just how precious what is, has heightened our awareness of how much we need to value it.

Xylophone-- Why?  'Cause there's not a whole lot that starts with X.  But even when there doesn't seem to be much to be thankful for, there's always something.  Like Xylophones.

You-- You are uniquely you and you should be celebrated.  There is no one else in the world like you.  You have your own thoughts, experiences, ideas and visions that make you a gift to the world and you are truly something to be thankful for.

Zoo-- We love zoos.  There are so many animals in one place to discover and learn about.  Where else can you go to see a polar bear and then a lion?  Zoos offer to much in the way of experiences for all of us and a good one is quite a treasure.

So what about you?
What do you have to be thankful for?

10 Goals This Week

Here's how I did last week:

  • Order Adoption Announcements
  • Publish Regions Brochure
  • Record 2 vlogs
  • Finish a review book, review

  • Order Christmas cards
  • Plan 2 birthday games, start piñata
  • Host family for adoption
  • ???

  • Workout 3 days (2)
  • Sleep 8.5 hrs/ night
These are My 10 Goals for the Week:

  • Do grades
  • Try to get to snow?
  • Make some cookies with kids

  • Record 2 vlogs
  • Get 1/2 through review book

  • Start piñata
  • Work on "pin game"
  • Order a couple of presents

  • Spend holiday with family
  • Workout 3 days

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: We had company last weekend, so I did lots of cooking: pasta e fagoili, chili and cornbread, pumpkin bars, and eclair cake.  And a huge BBQ on Monday.

What I'm Reading:  I'm just finishing up Missional Mom (bookmarks book) and starting an Amish trilogy.

What I'm Doing:  We're gonna try to take the kids on dates this weekend.  We missed Sept and Oct so we really need a date in Nov.

What I'm Watching: I am Once Upon a Time obsessed.  I'm not sure what to make of this Frozen twist.  I'm still waiting for Elsa's character to unravel.

What I'm Enjoying: Rain, rain, rain... We need this rain and so I'm happy to take it.  Little hard to have the kids in the house all the time, but we are determined to enjoy it.

What are you up to?

Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 November Bookmarks

*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for November was The Missional Mom by Helen Lee.

 These are the books I read this month:

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould-- See my review here.

Forever Mom by Mary Ostyn-- See my review here.

The Magic Bed-knob by Mary Norton--  We loved this one.  These three kids stumbled upon Miss Price's secret; she's a witch.  In order to keep the kids quiet, she gives them a magic bed-knob that will transport them anywhere they want to go.  Eventually they talk Miss Price into going on an adventure with them and what an adventure it is.  Great book for introducing new vocabulary and ideas in a fun adventure!

Cruise of the Arctic Star by Scott O'Dell--  We read this for history and it's a tough one to review.  I like that each chapter shares a bit of California history by introducing us to some historical character. However, it was interspersed with the author talking about traveling up the coast in a boat, and all the nautical language.  It just got very confusing with different characters all the time and throwing in the boat references.

Our suggested reading for November was The Missional Mom by Helen Lee--  I didn't get my copy till Saturday so I'm about 2/3 of the way through.  This book really wasn't at all what I was expecting.  From the title, I thought it would focus more on motherhood, but rather it seems to focus on missional womanhood.  And rather than feeling encouraged, I just felt overwhelmed reading this book.  Like I'm just not good enough, doing enough.  The author has said a couple of times that it's not about doing more, but her examples and overall tone of the book suggests otherwise.

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on The Missional Mom by Helen Lee.

And join us for our next bookmarks post coming December 19th as we discuss Small Town, Big Miracle by W. C. Martin (note the day change; post will be up one week early to account for Christmas).

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forever Mom {Review}

Mary Ostyn's latest book takes a look at adoption and many of the twists and turns that adoptive parents face.  Some of the topics included: 
  • building heart connections
  • preparing other children for siblings
  • addressing attachment issues
  • special issues with adopting older children
  • nurturing your marriage in the season of life
There's a variety of topics covered in this book that range from sibling adoptions, older child adoptions, foster care and international adoptions.  Woven throughout this book is Ostyn's personal story of adoption.  From the high and lows, the author speaks from her heart, sharing how hard adoption is when you're in the middle of the mess.  But it's hope that keeps us going to the end.

For someone just looking into adoption, the beginning of this book would be great.  It addresses a lot of the emotional issues that parents walk through.  The second half of the book is more geared toward special issues such as reactive attachment and adopting older children.  So it really does offer a lot for a variety of adoptions.  I'm in a weird place in my adoption journey where a lot of this book didn't apply.  We're certainly not at the beginning, nor are we dealing with any specialized issues.  But it would be a great reference for the future.  

Ultimately my biggest takeaway from this book was the emotional journey we moms walk through in adoption.  There's nothing like having another mom to tell you that what you're going through is normal.  And Ostyn isn't afraid to share the ups and downs of this crazy journey.

*Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Peek Into Our Homeschool Week: Nov 10-14, 2014

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Little Man painting some jungle animals

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Noah working on analogies

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Studying acids and bases

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Experiments about weather

Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Goals for the Week

Here's how I did last week:

  • Baseball sign ups
  • Design adoption announcement

  • Review 2 books (1)
  • Record 2 vlogs
  • Finish a review book
  • Design Christmas card
  • Make birthday invites, plan 2 games
  • Clean/get ready for weekend company
  • Workout 3 days (1)
  • Get 8.5 hrs/sleep (3)
These are My 10 Goals for the Week:

  • Order Adoption Announcements
  • Publish Regions Brochure
  • Record 2 vlogs
  • Finish a review book, review

  • Order Christmas cards
  • Plan 2 birthday games, start piñata
  • Host family for adoption
  • ???


  • Workout 3 days
  • Sleep 8.5 hrs/ night

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  Birthday party invitations... my daughter wants a Pocahontas party and I'm tapped out of ideas... looking for some inspiration!

What I'm Reading: I'm reading a book about adopting and what to expect.  It's certainly a book I wish I would have had three years ago.

What I'm Doing: Hosting family for the weekend... we're finalizing our adoption on Monday!

What I'm Watching:  We're breaking out the Christmas movies around here.  Last night we watched SNOW... I like that one.

What I'm Enjoying:  Apple cider... pumpkin bars... cooler evenings... fun science lessons...

What are you up to?

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Things I'm Thankful For

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Books (of course)

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Pedicures (with my mom)

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My husband (and what a great father he is)

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My kiddos
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