Monday, February 28, 2011

transitioning...things I should have said...

One of the hardest parts of putting Eric into public school... at least for me... was knowing what I should choose to tell him about school and recognizing what didn't matter.  For the weeks before he started, my mind raced with...


I should tell him this...

Does this matter? Should I tell him about this...

Oh, I can't forget to mention this...

Well, now that we are 8 weeks into this journey, I can confidently say... I didn't choose my words well.  There were things I definitely should have said and there were things (such as the importance of #2 pencils) that weren't worth mentioning.  So, here's my...

Top 10 Things I Should Have Told Him

1) Remember Whose you are....  I started saying this to him periodically in the last few weeks.  I wish I would have started each of his days at school off with this reminder... You belong to Jesus!

2) Know now that there are "unwritten rules" that you are just going to have to learn as you go... such as... 

3) You can't take a test out of the room... funny now, not very funny to him then.  Poor kid comes home one day in a rotten mood.  After much cajoling, we got the root of the issue... he had an algebra test and at the end of the class time the teacher said "those of you who aren't finished can finish during study hall."  So, Eric filed out of the room with the rest of the students.  Several hours later, he showed back up to finish the test and the teacher met him at the door... "where IS your test?" she demanded.  "Right here" as he pulled it out of his book.  Oops... blessedly, his teacher had a moment of grace and allowed him to finish the test.  Though he felt badly about disappointing his teacher... it was a good lesson learned. 

4) It's cool to be homeschooled.  This is one I didn't know but apparently the second day of school a kid said to Eric, "You really were homeschooled?  You must be REALLY smart!"

5) Don't worry about deadlines, they don't mean anything.... this is one I've really struggled with because I'm wondering what the school system is teaching this generation.  Every single teacher not only accepts late assignments.. they also ask for them... repeatedly.  

6) If you return permission slips, you get an A+.... see #5... blows my mind that he got an A+  for doing what he was assigned to do.

7) It may be a legitimate burn on your neck, but no one will believe you when they ask you where you got that hickey... and yes, you can ask me the definition of any word you hear at school.

8) With only one vehicle in our family, make sure you don't forget anything... such as your swimsuit on a pool day for PE.  The bigger lesson... as long as you didn't have to swim naked or borrow a Speedo, it really isn't a big deal and doesn't make for a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad day.  Be thankful for "loaner" shorts!

9) It's okay to talk to your teachers... that is why they are there.  Be bold.  Be willing to communicate and for heaven's sake, if you are called into a test you are not signed up for, feel free to speak up rather than endure the test!

10) most importantly... above all else... in all that you do, all that you face, all that you hear, all that you see, all that you say, all that you learn... REMEMBER WHOSE YOU ARE!!

on counting and finding joy...

"This is Heidi, please leave a message."

NO!

...swish...swish...swish...swish...

ARRRGGGHHHHH!!!


True life story... this weekend the 7-year old and I were home while the Dad and the big kids went for an overnight road trip on Friday.  What I anticipated to be a calm, relaxing 27 hours was more like "Mom, can I...?"  "Mom, will you play with me?"  "Mom, can I sleep with you?"  "Mom, will you read to me?"  "Mom, do you want to play a game?" "Mom, can I read to you?" and on and on... apparently, my 7 year old is quite used to having siblings around...


So, having slept with said 7 year old, I was a bit sleep deprived and sluggish on Saturday.  It seemed like the normally easy tasks were taking me longer to do... for example, vacuuming.  We still have an ancient vacuum that requires vacuum bags.  In this home there is apparently an unwritten rule that Mom is the only one who changes the bag.  Honestly, Mom vacuums rarely anymore... she tends to delegate that responsibility.  However, she forgot to delegate the changing of the bag.  Hence... a huge mess as soon as the zipper went down... dust and dog hair EVERY.where... especially all over the mom.


After getting the bag replaced, the mess cleaned up and myself changed, I threw all of my clothes in the washer and started lunch for the two of us.  


"I wonder where I left my phone?"

What does this Mom do when she can't remember where she left her phone?  She calls it, of course!  Using the house phone, I dialed my cell phone and heard...

"This is Heidi, please leave a message."

Voice mail?!?  My phone isn't off.... OH. NO!   I opened the washer and looked down into a full washer of water.... swish...swish...swish...swish....

Just for the record, a cell phone really doesn't need a bath.

...I tell you this true to life story because on Saturday it was all I could do to give thanks.  I guess I really didn't want to give thanks when things, like my phone, kept going wrong.  I really wanted to just be mad and to stay in a bad mood.  I wanted to stomp my feet and throw a fit but when most of the issues on that day were my fault, who was I going to be mad at?

So, I kept counting and in the counting found joy in a bad day...

... a surprise trip for Emme to see her lifelong friend, Taylor
... safe traveling
... great hospitality from super friends
... a fun road trip
... a Dad who wants to be with his kids

... creating and concocting cookies, bagels and play dough
... snuggle time
... a hand that reached out to hold mine in the dark
... knowing she's only 7 once
... PBS kids

... finding an old phone that will work
... forcing myself to be thankful for said old phone
... great Sprint service people who switched my line over
... realizing a phone is not a necessity of life
... recognizing to give thanks in all circumstances

... a man who brings me a pot of red tulips not quite opened yet
... and candles to put around my bathtub
... and does my shopping for me on the way home 
... who missed me
... and who puts up with the absent-minded wife he has

...... no phone = no camera right now... so no pictures : (

Joining in for another Multitude Monday with Ann at www.aholyexperience.com.




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

transitioning from homeschool to public school...a blog series

It's been 7 weeks since my now 14 year old son first went to public school.  I had 8 1/2 years of home schooling invested in him when we made the decision to send him to our local middle school for athletics.  


It's been a transition... to say the least.  Three months ago, I was searching the internet, blogs, etc. trying to find some advice on how to smoothly make such a transition.  I had hoped that someone who had gone before me would share from their storehouse of knowledge on how to do this transition effectively, smoothly and easily.


Unfortunately, I didn't find any such advice.  Though, I did find that NBA rookie, Blake Griffin, was homeschooled until 8th grade... and I briefly considered trying to contact his mom to ask her how she raised such an incredible young man but I figured I would get sidetracked and forget to ask about their transition.  Mrs. Tebow would be another wise woman to ask but unfortunately you can't find contact info on the web for homeschool mothers of pro ball players.  


In the end, it came down to me on my knees.  I have prayed more for that child of mine in the past 2 months than I think I ever have.  We've had some good days in this transition... some not so good days and some very humorous ones.  As a mom I've been stretched in ways that I didn't know a mother's heart could go.  


It's been a journey, to say the least and I'm not very far down this path.  I don't have any great wisdom to share but I feel compelled to at least share some of our journey for someone else who may be searching like I was.


Our transition hasn't been smooth or easy but he's still there... so I guess that means it has been effective and this mother's heart has been transitioned the most....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{virtual} hot chocolate

It's virtual coffee day over at Amy's and on this snowy late February day, I can think of nothing better to do than to meet virtually over coffee... or in my case... hot chocolate.


Isn't it amazing how conversations usually start with the weather?
this was the view out my kitchen window yesterday morning and what started out as ice and freezing rain quickly changed to this...
and then to this...
and then to this...
and the end result... about 6 inches of new snow on top of a little ice.  I have to be honest... I like it!  I like the snow and I like having my boy home with me for a snow day today.  While I did enjoy the beautiful spring temps last week, I really wasn't quite ready for winter to be over in the middle of February.  So, I'm thankful for another beautiful snowfall!


The last time I joined in for Virtual Coffee, I was drinking a HUGE hot chai with LOTS of whipped cream.  Here's a refresher picture...
Look at that!!  That is a CRAZY amount of sugar!!  The day after my last virtual coffee, I dumped my chai down the drain after one sip and committed to consuming drastically less amounts of sugar.  My sugars today include anything God made to be sweet... I use honey, maple syrup, stevia and raw sugar instead of the ultra cheap white sugar. In fact, my new fave drink is hot cocoa made with unsweetened cocoa powder and stevia with a little milk.  Yummmm!  I haven't lost a ton of weight going without refined sugar but I am finding that I feel better.


I would also have to tell you that I think I'm a little too attached to my macbook.  This morning my trackpad wasn't exactly working well and I almost FREAKED out!  Well, not quite that bad but I still managed to brave the snow this morning to take it to my local mac Pro named David (remember my extremely amazing photographer, Marah?  Well, it's her man, David, that is equally amazing with all things Apple related) for some assistance.  I probably need a new trackpad... yikes!  But, for now, he's got it working again and I am abundantly thankful!!  


If we were really sitting together over our hot drinks, I would ask your opinion on a blog post series that I'm considering.  I've been mulling words over in my mind for a couple of months and can't seem to find cohesiveness just yet.  Sometimes I just need to think things out loud before they come together....


Well, I probably better wrap up this coffee visit... it's almost lunch time and I need to feed the 3 Es before I go to see the nurse practitioner.  Remember this post?  Well, I've decided it's about time to do something about it... not really looking forward to the visit but hoping for some resolution.


until next time....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Encouraging Moments... a Gabby Mom review

I am an avid reader.  And, for me, reading is sensory.  I use more than just my sense of sight when I read... I love the feel of a book, especially one that is printed on thick, quality paper and is bound well... I love the smell of the ink and paper of a new book and the smell of the years gone by of an old book... and, I love the sound of the pages turning.  I love reading books, magazines, newsletters, articles... even cereal boxes early in the morning.

In this day and age, it's hard to be a sensory reader because more and more publications are electronic.  As much as I love my macbook, there just isn't the same enjoyment in reading ebooks, ezines, enewsletters or any other epublication on it... it's hard to feel the book or magazine, smell the ink and hear the pages turn....

So, here's my great confession... I really dislike epublications.  

I keep thinking I will grow up and grow to like them but it's just not happening for me yet.  So, when I found out that my February assignment for Gabby Moms was to review Encouraging Moments, the enewsletter for Eternal Encouragement (formerly TEACH magazine), I was less than excited... no crisp newsletter feel... no inky smell... no swish of turning pages... in a word, boring.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong.

index.php.jpg

Encouraging Moments, a free enewsletter for moms... wives... homemakers, is not boring.  Mrs. Lorrie Flem, founder of Eternal Encouragement, does a wonderful job of publishing an organized and informative newsletter that is encouraging, God-honoring and easy to navigate.  


The publishers even include short video clips called Chick Flicks for Mom. These short video clips of Lorrie Flem offer some quick and easy tips for parenting, marriage and godly living.

My favorite part?  Encouraging Moments is one of the few enewsletters that I've read that doesn't have a hundred and one distracting links to it.  Instead, it is crisp and clean and easy to read.

I'm not sure I'm willing to cross over to epublications just yet.  I'll take my hard copies any day but for a quick encouraging word, I'll definitely be enjoying Encouraging Moments enewsletter.

Check it out for yourself at www.homemakingwithteach.com and sign up for their FREE enewsletter along the left side bar.

**disclaimer... I was given Encouraging Moments enewsletter for my honest review of this product.  I received no other compensation.

Gray Matter... a Tyndale review


Often, as Christians, we say that we want God to be a part of every aspect of our lives. But, do we really mean it?  What would happen if we were to go so far as allowing God to be part of our daily routine in our careers by publicly praying with others and sharing our faith openly and willingly?  Neurosurgeon Dr. David Levy did just that.


Gray Matter, written by Dr. David Levy and Joel Kilpatrick, chronicles Dr. Levy's journey as he began asking patients "May I pray with you?"  Some patients were receptive, some were put off and some were skeptical.  With compassion and kindness, Dr. Levy began making a spiritual difference in his patient's lives sharing prayer, forgiveness and Jesus Christ with them.  


In his book, Gray Matter, Dr. Levy takes his readers into surgery with him.  While respecting his patients' privacy, he gives fascinating glimpses into the world of neurosurgery.  He also gives raw and sometimes painful glances into his own heart as a surgeon striving to do his best for his patients.  Interwoven throughout his book is the common thread of the power of prayer and healing through forgiveness.


Typically, I am not a medical person.  I usually leave the reading of anything remotely medical to my man or my sister... both of whom are nurses.  However, I found Dr. Levy's book to be incredibly fascinating and easy to read.  The descriptions of his surgical procedures were neither dry nor gory but rather captivating and gripping.  I also appreciated Dr. Levy's honesty in his own spiritual journey as he came to the place where he could say with utmost certainty "God is good."


What would happen if we all invited God to be part of our daily routine?  We could all make a difference the way Dr. David Levy has as he asks each of his patients, "May I pray with you?"


Gray Matter will be released in March 2011 through Tyndale Publishing.  


**disclaimer... I was given a copy of Gray Matter through my affiliation with the Tyndale Blog Network for my honest review.  I received no other compensation. 

breakfast...

Last night's headache led to a short night of sleep... and so when Ellen came in at 7:30 this morning, I gave in to PBSKids for a little more sleep.  Little did I  know that more was going on than just PBSKids.... 
When I came out at 9 a.m., my two girls were hard at work making me breakfast in bed... complete with a homemade card by Ellen and cold caffeine! 
I opted to enjoy it in the living room with them.  We all enjoyed apple pie spice French toast that Emme created and when we were done, the girls did all the dishes and wiped down the kitchen.  


I think I have the world's most amazing 11 year old and 7 year old!!


continuing my list of gifts on this Multitude Monday....


#1125 ~ #1140


... breakfast!
... a sweet card
... a new recipe
... Emme's kitchen abilities
... Emme's patience with Ellen
... Ellen's art abilities
... girls willing and able to work together
... a clean kitchen
... spending my days with such incredible young ladies


... fresh fruit in February
... the way an act of love heals life's pains
... a spontaneous pj day
... just missing a major ice storm
... a warm dog sleeping on my feet
... having a 1 hour "breakfast delay" to our school day
... the privilege of training my girls at home



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

messy art...

I've been following Emily for a while and I love her recent posts on art... living and creating art in our daily lives.


Sometimes life is messy.  Sometimes my life art looks more like finger painting with a 2 year old than it does a Monet.  Sometimes the picture resembles a 1970s Polaroid than it does an Ansel Adams print.  Sometimes all I can see is a Picasso when He sees a masterpiece.  


Lately, life has been messy.  I've taken to facing the mess here on this blog.  Not sure why... hindsight says it may have been better to maintain decorum (wait... I'm not sure I've ever had enough decorum to maintain) here in bloggyland.  I'm sorry for alarming some with the mess.  


I'm working through two powerful Bible studies that have me digging deep in His Word and allowing Him to uproot some yuck in my heart and in my life.  


When one is weeding a garden, it's usually messy... not very pretty and downright dirty.... but it is still art...


For we are God’s handiwork, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 2:10

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

it's time...

it's time...
for taps and buckets!
Sunny winter days
and cold nights
make the sap run...

yum!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I {heart} these words...

...perhaps I'm finally getting it.  I've mentioned before that I'm not the brightest bulb in the blogging box... and this may just prove that theory.  


If you have somehow missed my raving review about Ann's book...
let me just say again... I {heart} these words!  I devoured it cover to cover when I first received it a month ago.  Since then I keep giving away my own copy... so I have reread parts of it two or three times before I feel the Spirit's tug to hand Ann's words over to another woman... just this weekend during a wedding reception, I inscribed the inside page to a bride leaving for a new life in Spain.  I was at the wedding as a lifelong friend of the groom's family.  I had met the bride, for the first time, the night before while helping at the rehearsal dinner. The bride and groom are taking only 4 pieces of luggage with them to Spain and packing is at a premium and yet I felt the Spirit saying "give her your book."  So, with a hug and an apology for "one more thing to take with you" I handed her words that have strengthened my faith, renewed my trust and opened my eyes to grace.


Have no fear... copies 12 and 13 are in route via shipping to me soon.  Three times I have thought "I am going to hold on to this copy for me" and three times, I have known it was right to pass it on.  So, I no longer anticipate that I will have my own copy for any length of time, and that is okay.  He keeps replacing it and giving me more to pass on.


All of this to say, I have read Ann's words... I've counted gifts of grace... and I've passed her words along to others and I think it was finally on Friday that I began to get it... began to see the wisdom in "a dare to LIVE FULLY right where you are".  


The battle I've been in is one that I've fought for over 25 years.  It's the battle that I've never been comfortable in the skin I'm in.  I'm always trying to fix it... always wanting someone else's skin... always thinking "if I could just change this.... I would be happy."  


What if the key to joy is daring to LIVE FULLY in the skin I'm in?  Literally in this skin that covers my 5' 9" large frame?  What if I stopped trying to be thinner... prettier... smoother and started being thankful for this body that He saw fit to assign to me?  What would happen if my list of 1000 Gifts included...


#889- #899


...this body that I've wasted too many years hating
...these legs that are strong
...this stretched skin that 3 beautiful, healthy babies left behind
...these lines on my face caused by laughter
...this heart that beats and bleeds
...breasts that haven't been ravished by cancer
...these shoulders that carry much
...two arms that have spent many days wrapped around my children
...this body that my man has come home to for almost 17 years
...learning to give thanks for all things in all circumstances for this is the will of Him


I dared to try it... I dared to write these things down in my gratitude journal... I dared to write them here, now on this post... I'm daring to learn to live fully in the skin I'm in.


...and I think I may finally be getting it... I can't dare to live fully right where I'm at until I dare to LIVE FULLY in the skin I'm in.


I {heart} these words.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

of wrestling and warfare...

... so very much spinning through my head these days.  As is typical, it's the times I am most outwardly busy that the most inward struggles happen.  


There is much I want to write.  Much I want to work out with words and a keyboard.  Much I want to share.  My fingers have been itching for a chance at the keyboard and the noise in my head has reached record volume... so, between events, here I am... and, here is one of many thoughts....


perhaps what I viewed as wrestling may have been warfare

I've been working a lot of heart wrestling out in my last few posts (with the exception of the reviews).  It's been about 10 days of hard heart struggles... of seeking with all my might and coming up empty handed... of wrestling to make sense of it all.  

I'm thinking perhaps it wasn't a wrestling match against God, as I had first thought, but instead, a match against the enemy.  And, I think there was a while where he might have thought he was winning.  

I'm not sure of all I know.  I know it is possible to wrestle with God for my Bible tells me so.  The book of Genesis recounts Jacobs struggle with God before he was reunited with his brother, Esau.  This same Bible also warns me against the spiritual warfare that Satan and his minions wage against me.  I'm not sure which is which sometimes... and, I'm just sinful enough... just schizophrenic enough... that it could be both.

All of this is to say that what I blamed God for last week in calling it a wrestling match with Him, may have, instead, been my sinful self in a spiritual battle with someone who never plays fair.  It took me a while to stop spinning long enough to not-so-gently remind him that he can't win because I've been sealed with the blood of Jesus.  


...and after that, an amazing thing happened.  A group of community children's ministry workers got together and brainstormed a community-wide summer children's event that would cross the boundaries of churches and denominations to get our kid's excited and equipped to go back to school ready to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with their friends.... and, I was in that meeting!


...perhaps what I viewed as wresting was warfare...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Curiosity Files... TOS Crew Review

What do you do on a snowy January day when the local schools have cancelled classes and your brother is now home on a snow day but Mom expects you to do school nevertheless?
You open Professor Ana Lyze's Curiosity File and learn about MRSA (that is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) , of course! 


Professor Ana Lyze is The Old Schoolhouse Magazine resident expert on anything that needs to be discovered, explored or analyzed (hence her name... Ana Lyze).  Through great illustrations, simple experiments and easy-to-understand text, the fictitious Professor has written NINE Curiosity Files that teach elementary through high school students in a digital unit study format...
...Blue Diamond
...Dung Beetle
...MRSA
...Puffer Fish
...Red Tide
...Zombie Fire Ants
...Blue-footed Booby
...Cicada Killing Wasp
...Quicksand


These are available in a 9-pack bundle CD for $49.00 or in a 9-back bundle eBook for $46.00.  The Old Schoolhouse Store also sells them individually as eBooks for varying prices.


As a member of the TOS Review Crew, we had the opportunity to review the Curiosity Files on MRSA.  We got so engrossed in everything we never wanted to know about MRSA that we forgot to take pictures of all four of us (7 year old Ellen, 11 year old Emily, 13 year old Eric and Mom) all oohing and ahhing over the photos of the grape-like clusters of MRSA and reading about how MRSA is spread by contact.  We had a blast learning some new vocab words, doing some age appropriate word puzzles (because the unit study had puzzles for Ellen's age and for Eric's age) and taking a quiz.  Mom especially enjoyed the Bible part of the unit study and was thrilled to see it there!


Do you know what the best part of spending the day with Professor Ana Lyze was? ...


... Mom made Eric do school with us even though he had a snow day!


**Disclaimer... I was sent this eBook for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the ways He heals...

Often the healing of a bruised and pummeled heart comes after the surrender... after the waving of the white flag... after the laying of it all down. 


In my experience, there can be no healing until the surrender because too much of myself is in the way.  In fact, it is my own doing that leads to a heart that aches and bleeds.  If it were not for my own flailing... floundering... thrashing, my heart would not be bruised and battered.  In fact, further investigation would reveal that the bruises, the scratches, the abrasions are on the inside of my heart... in the part of my heart where I fight against the One who created this very heart of mine.  


It's after the surrender... after I lay it down... stop thrashing and splashing and get out of the way, that His gentle Spirit can move in and heal.  He applies warmth and light.  He soothes with words and actions of His deep love for me.  He uses all of His creation to reflect the very essence of Himself to me.


...and on the coldest morning of the season, I bask in warmth of His presence and the reflections of His light and He heals my wounded heart.
again.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

better...thank you!

After spending parts of today with three different friends who spoke words of truth seasoned with love and spiced with humor into my bruised and bleeding heart, I am better than I was earlier today.  To those who have prayed... thank you!


My friend, Ginger, said today, "I often don't know how to pray for you because you seem to have it all together."  So, lest she think I have it all together, she saw a very raw glimpse into my heart today.  A heart that was angry with God.  A soul much like a spoiled child stomping her foot... shaking a closed fist at her Creator.


It comes down to this... again... He is God, I am not.  I have no authority.  I have no vote.  I only have faith.  Faith to believe Him when He says He has a plan for my life... a plan for good not for harm... a plan to glorify Himself.


I don't know why He has seen fit to not heal me.  Perhaps this is what Paul spoke of when he spoke of his thorn in the flesh.  I do not know.  I only know that for whatever reason I am in this season and He is still God and He is still good.  


And instead of clenching my fist, I've decided to open my hands to receive His blessings rather than insist on my own.


... and "thank you" doesn't seem like enough gratitude for your prayers.

I'd like a little faith with that, please...

...been feeling a bit like Jacob lately... feel like my heart has been wrestling with its Creator... and while I haven't had my hip socket wrenched, I do feel as if my heart has been pummeled.  


On this very cold morning, my heart hurts.  I would ask you to pray for me.  There are 2 areas of my life that I've asked healing of the LORD for 5 years and He still sees fit to not only not heal but to continue to stretch me.  


Honestly, I'm lacking in faith... I know James 1 says if anyone lacks faith let him ask of God who gives generously but right now I don't want more faith... I want complete healing. 


Thus, I am being much like a child who is not given what she wants....


I won't win this wrestling battle and in the end there will be more tears than I care to remember and I will have a very bruised and beaten up heart... this I know because I have been here before.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

nope, not yet...

Lots of people have asked me...
if I've had enough yet?
and my answer remains...
nope, not yet!
because it's just so beautiful!

Monday, February 07, 2011

so I am counting it all...

...so I had this GREAT Christmas idea for 2010... after participating in Ann's Multitude Monday and Brenda's Gratitude Challenge throughout the month of November... I decided to give my family a gratitude challenge....

2011 things for which to be grateful in the year 2011

...so I wrapped 5 composition books like these and put them under the tree...
and on Christmas morning I shared my brilliant idea and gave my family the challenge of finding 2011 things for which to be grateful in the year 2011... much to the thrill of some and the chagrin of others.

...soon after Christmas, Ann's book was released...
and I couldn't stop reading it.  I devoured it cover to cover... and started over.  I've given away my copy several times and ordered more.  In the process, I'm learning more about gifts... grace... gratitude.   And, I've embraced Ann's challenge... discover 1000 gifts... dare to live fully right where you are discovering that all is grace and it's all grace... and that joy comes in the recognizing of gifts and in the giving thanks.
... I've also learned that you can't mandate thanksgiving.  Gratitude comes from a heart that gives thanks not one that is required to say "thank you".   The girls embraced my idea... the boys... not so much.
...so on a day with a very snowy forecast, we crafted.... gluing, decorating, ribboning our journals to make them our own... to make the special... to make them more appealing.

and I began to write it all down...
...so now my gratitude journal exceeds my blog count of 1000 Gifts... because ALL of it... all the stuff of life... the good, the bad, the ugly... are all gifts.... because of One who gives me the very gift of breath.  It's all gifts... it's all grace... and I'll I can do is be grateful.... and keep counting! 

...so I'm counting it all... and skipping ahead here to catch my blog up with my gratitude journal... 

and the family count as of Saturday night was 1172 and I, personally, am counting to ONE MILLION... one million gifts and beyond because I am counting it all.

...catching up to #767...

... spiritual struggles
... friends who speak truth
... seeing the hand of God in my struggles

... the journey of marriage
... the journey of motherhood
... the journey of homeschooling

... the smell of clean sheets
... snow clinging to trees
... conquering Mt. Washmore, yet again!

VocabAhead...TOS Crew Review

ABASE ... verb... to embarrass or shame someone else; it also means to lower yourself physically or in rank.


ZOOPHAGOUS... adjective... meat eating or carnivorous.


From A to Z...and 998 other SAT vocabulary words.

VocabAhead offers 1000 SAT Vocabulary Videos & MP3s.  Often in my home school journey, I have looked at a product and thought "If only..."... if only I had a resource like this 28 years ago when I first took the PSAT.  And then again a few years later when I actually took the ACT.


Thinking back to the 15 year old me... I would have loved to go into the PSAT and later the ACT much better equipped with knowledge of the potential vocabulary words that would appear on the examination.  Perhaps it would have quieted the butterflies a bit and settled the mind and allowed me the confidence to concentrate just a bit harder.


1000 SAT Vocabulary Videos & MP3s is exactly what it advertises to be.  There really are 1000 words with definitions.  Each DVD-ROM has both MP3 format and DVD format.  In less than 60 seconds, each word is defined with a fun comic illustration and an easy to understand voice over narration.


VocabAhead offers 1000 SAT Vocabulary Videos & MP3s through Amazon. com for $24.99.  


My opinion... this DVD-ROM is definitely worth it!  I'll be loading it on to my kids' own MP3s as they begin preparing for the SAT.


**disclosure... I received this product free of charge through The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review Crew for my honest review.  I have received no other compensation.