Hope In God

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At the beginning of this year I asked on Facebook if anyone would be interested in doing a Bible study with me. I didn’t exactly have anything in mind I was just kind of throwing it out there and thinking maybe it could be evangelistic.

My friends Amber, Joy and Lauren responded. They are all sweet sisters in Christ and Joy and Lauren are a part of the home church we attend.

Lauren had already gone through this work book Hope In God A Biblical Perspective For Understanding, Overcoming and Preventing Depression by Kristie Gant. She said it was really encouraging and suggested we use it for the Bible study when I asked for suggestions.

I’m so glad we did!

The work book is broken up into 7 lessons. Each lesson contains a foundation study, a name of God to study and a topic on hope.
The title is based off of Psalm 42:11
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Kristie Gant emphasis through the study the difference between hoping in God and hoping for changed circumstances in the here and now. It’s also an encouragement to wait patiently for the day when Christ will return and our circumstances ultimately will be changed.

I was uplifted by the exhortations to tell myself truths about God found in the Bible rather than listening to my own feelings of despair.

The study gives an understanding of biblical hope through studying the word hope through out the scripture. I gained a better understanding of hope being a gift from God while at the same time being reminded of my responsibility to keep enemies of hope out of my life.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

I’s a study on the character of God, His timeline and His eternal plan. It also covers biblical characters such as Asaph and Jeremiah and how their hearts were turned towards God in their sorrow.

One of my favorite parts of the study is the topic study in lesson 4. “A sacrifice of praise.” In my own life, praise towards God is what brings healing in my suffering while at the same time being one of the most difficult things for me to do while I am suffering. The charts she includes throughout the work book are really helpful as well such as one where she writes one column titled, “thoughts which deepen depression” next to another column titled, “truth to know” and next to that “how to know it” (where to find it in the Bible.) In the midst of depression it can be easy to forget these truths so seeing them laid out in front of me like that is a really powerful reminder.

I recommend it if you are depressed, want to have tools to prevent depression in your life or want to learn what the Bible says about depression so you can edify others. It was especially uplifting to do it as a group study so I suggest doing it that way if you can.

Hope in God today my friends!

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

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A Quick Book Review: Loving The Little Years

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Earlier this year my friend Lauren recommended that I read the book Loving The Little Years Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. She said I could borrow it but at the time I think I was working through a few other books. Several weeks ago we went and visited with my sister in law who lives out of state and she told me what a great book Loving The Little Years was and asked if I had read it. When we got back from our trip I asked Lauren if I could borrow it.

It’s short with the chapters being around 3 pages each so it’s a book that a mom can get quick encouragement from without the burden of a huge parenting book in front of her.

I had several favorite take aways from the book. She has a great suggestion for how to talk to little girls about their emotions. She compares emotions to horses (pink, glitter rainbow horses..) and shares the talks she has had with her daughters about how to keep those horses on the path we want them on and to keep those horses out of the muck. This was really timely since I have a 3 year old little girl and I am going to copy her illustration word for word when I talk to E about emotions!

I thought what she had to say about body image was worded really well. I’ve never been one of those to get behind the body positive messages that say, “Your stretch marks are your tiger stripes! Be proud!” it’s always just fallen kind of short and sounds empty to me. I appreciated her take though. She takes the eternal perspective and reminds moms that our bodies are tools and every tool that has been well used is going to show signs of wear. She encourages moms to remember that at the end of our lives we will be much happier having used our bodies to give life, live life and care for little lives that if we had lived to preserve our tools (our bodies).

The chapter “in the rock tumbler” where she compares motherhood to a rock tumbler of sanctification she writes some pretty convicting stuff about the state of our hearts but I won’t give any more away! What she writes about being “pastorally minded” towards our children is really good too.

I laughed quite a bit while reading it, stopping to read portions to my husband because as she tells some of the crazy stuff her kids have done our daughter has done some of the exact same crazy stuff!

I finished the book in less than a week but it would be worth reading agin more slowly.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Grandma’s Tea Party Baby Shower

Last night I had over all my beautiful nieces and their mama’s and their Grandma for a tea party. My sister in law Jessica is expecting Aysling Grace any day now! Isn’t she the most stunning pregnant lady!?

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My mother in law started a really fun tradition of the girls in the family getting together for tea parties. We dress up, eat and play games. In the past she has picked some pretty fun themes including an 80’s tea party, a 70’s tea party and a pioneer/ indian tea party. IMG_6303

I decided to combine both a tea party and a little celebration of the newest girl in the family on the way! I made the theme, “A baby is brewing” and sent out invitations addressed to the ladies of each household.

Grandma with all her granddaughters!

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I set the table with what I had even using just a blanket for one of the table cloths. I bought some paper dollies to dress it up and pulled it together with pink carnations. Nothing pinterest worthy but to the little girls I’m sure it looked fancy.

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The menu was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches served on soft white bread cut into triangles to make them look fancy. I set out tea bags, sugar, lemon and cream on the tables. For sides I served crackers and dip, turkey and cheese rolls on tortillas, fruit parfaits with strawberry yogurt for some extra pink and white powdered donuts.

 

 

I wanted to take the opportunity to teach E a few table manners so under several of the plates I placed a strip of paper that I had written a different table manner on. I told the guests that if they found a manner under their plate it was their job to teach the girls at their table about it.

I googled “women of the Bible trivia” and came up with a list of 20 “who am I?” questions that I asked. I just went around the tables and asked each guest the next question changing it if it was a younger girl and it needed to be more age appropriate. The guest could either answer the question or say “reference” and I told them where in the Bible to find the answer. I had put a Bible on each table for that purpose.

The only baby shower activity I did was to have everyone write something either funny or encouraging on an itty bitty newborn diaper for the mama to be. We’ve had so many baby showers over the years it’s hard to come up with an activity that hasn’t already been done!

We took pictures of each of the mom’s with their daughters.

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E had so much fun getting ready and I felt bad for her that she had to wait all the way to 6:00 in the evening! I tried to make the whole day special by announcing “happy tea party day!” when she woke up and then doing little things with her to keep her involved in the getting ready process through out the day. I surprised her with new nail polish, she helped set the name cards out and she put the flowers in the jars after I cut them. I had bought her granola bars that had sesame street characters on the box and called it a special tea party day breakfast. She loved it!

Hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures. How do you celebrate new babies or make special memories with the children in your family?

 

 

We are the Lord’s

I was thinking this week how thankful I am that T.J’s heart was healed and he did not need surgery! I can remember all the emotions of this time last year as we prepared for a possible heart surgery.

When I shared the good news on Facebook that the echocardiogram taken shortly before his birth revealed a sufficiently wide aorta, I shared this verse in praise to God:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

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Wednesday morning we had an appointment for a fetal echocardiogram at the high risk doctor’s office. There was no reason to think there was a problem with baby Tanner’s heart but it is routine to take an extra close look at the heart of the baby if the mother has diabetes. The part of baby Tanner’s heart that could be affected by me having diabetes was perfectly healthy but the heart doctor did catch something else. Baby Tanner was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta. In overly simplistic terms, his aorta valve has formed with a portion of it that is to thin. Three things could happen.

1. As his heart continues to develop in the womb his heart could change shape and correct itself.

2. During the changes that occur to the heart in the 24 hours after birth the heart could heal itself.

Number three we are told…

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Summer Fun Bucket List 2016

I’m looking over this list that I made for my kids this past spring and reliving so many fun memories we made this summer. E got to do almost everything on this list. The only things we didn’t get to that I’ll have to make some time for is the T-shirt decorating, make your own pizza night, a pillow fight, sidewalk chalk, camping, and star gazing. Maybe we can fit the camping and star gazing in this fall when it is cooler and will be more enjoyable. My husband really hates camping though because the kids keep us up all night so I don’t know. 🙂

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I made one of these lists last year for E and now I have two kiddos to have fun with this summer. I’m brainstorming things I want to do with them this season.

  1. Splash pad playdate at city park
  2. Water park day
  3. go camping
  4. get a sandbox for our back yard
  5. visit a park we’ve never been to
  6. summer reading program
  7. go to a fair
  8. plant potted flowers
  9. plant some vegetables and herbs
  10. watch fireworks
  11. visit the zoo
  12. berry picking
  13. Go to our favorite swimming spots and play on the ‘beach’
  14. go on a road trip to visit cousins
  15. go for a nature walk
  16. find some where to do sidewalk chalk (we don’t have a paved driveway)
  17. face paint
  18. go see a kids movie at the theatre
  19. make your own pizza night
  20. pillow fight
  21. star gazing
  22. read stories outside
  23. host a bbq for friends
  24. make cool aid play dough
  25. learn…

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T.J is 10 months old!

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T.J turned 10 months the other day. How did that happen?! He is growing up so fast!

He now says 3 words. Dada, hi and Mama. (learned in that order.) He waves now and is becoming more and more social. He is crawling for real now most of the time and has mostly given up his belly army crawl. He is pulling up on stuff and climbing on everything in his path. Still no teeth but he gums just about every sort of food.

Oh I love this bald headed little guy!!

 

 

Marriage Is Forever

I’ve been talking about wanting my husband and I to get wedding ring tattoos for a while now. I kept hesitating though because I didn’t really know how to go about finding a reputable tattoo place and I didn’t want to you know get a disease. (Yep, total germaphobe here!)

Yesterday we went out to visit my sister in law (or so I thought!). When we got there she asked me if T.J needed anything to eat. I told her he shouldn’t be hungry because I feed him right before we left. “What about while you’re gone? Will he need anything then?” she asked. “Huh? where am I going?” realizing my husband must have planned for us to go on a date.

He didn’t tell me where we were going until we got in the car. He said he would tell me so I could have some time to decide what I wanted. We were headed to go get our tattoo rings! I already knew exactly what I wanted, a thin simple line across my ring finger. He wanted the same thing just thicker which is what I had thought would look good as well. He had done some research and found a place that had good reviews of being clean and the artists had good reviews for their work.

The funny thing is, as we drove out to his sister’s house I had been thinking about getting the tattoos because I saw a tattoo parlor on the way.

For me it kind of felt like we were renewing our vows with the act of putting something permanent and visible on our hands as a symbol of our commitment to each other. While it was a fun experience to do something like that, I felt like it was a sober moment as well. It was a moment where I felt like we were willing to demonstrate in a tangible way, “yep, after 6 years, after good times and bad, after 3 kids, I still mean it. Till death do us part.”

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IMG_6282       Yes, we felt as out of place as we looked lol!

 

 

 

This Year’s Preschool at Home Plans

This week school started around here which has me making some updated preschool at home plans for E.

Last year I bought the printable e book from teaching mama.org that I used for her curriculum and blogged about some. I didn’t finish it for 2 reasons. One, I had a baby last year and the teaching mama curriculum takes a lot of prep work and requires a parent to be involved for 100% of the activities. I just didn’t have that much time to put into it with a new born. If you look under “preschool” on my list of categories you can see some of the stuff we did. It was a lot of fun but not feasible with multiple children IMO.

The second reason was she was only 2 last year and I feel most of the activities she just didn’t have the coordination, interest or attention span for. I feel it is better suited for a 3 or 4 year old. The teaching mama stuff also called for a lot of sensory bins which she would think was interesting for maybe 10 minutes but then would require ALOT of clean up.

Last year I also had turned our loft into a home school room. It was cute and cozy but totally impractical. Most the stuff we did was very messy and I needed to be near a sink to clean it up. Being 8 months pregnant climbing up and down the stairs 15 times to clean up paint was just not worth it. It was also so much better to just be at the kitchen table so I could unload the dishwasher while she did a sensory box etc. Now that I have a 9 month old I prefer to be at the kitchen table working with her so I can be feeding him at his high chair at the same time.

I still have our maps and ABC’s and felt boards and stuff upstairs but it’s more of a play room now. This year I’m doing more of a home school spot.

I moved a book case out of the master bedroom and put it on the dining room are. I purchased several preschool work books at the dollar store and stocked up on craft stuff and flash cards.

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My lesson planning is super simple and I’m only going to be planning one week in advance instead of trying to predict what life will look like for the next school year and trying to predict a 3 year old’s changing needs. Also, my husband works rotating shift work and every week is different and it’s hard for me to know in advance what our family schedule is going to look like.

Another thing I’m doing with my planning notebook is marking when the activity is completed and adding any activities we did in addition to the ones I had planned. That way at the end of the year I’ll have a record of what we did each week.

I wrote out my preschool goals for E and taped them up on the book case. I based my list off of different teacher requirements and suggestions floating around the internet. I am basing her lessons off these goals. Each day we’ll aim to do-

  1. some form of name practice each day- there are so many hands on and creative ways for a child to earn to spell their name!
  2. Reading and discussing a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible
  3. 1 page of each of her work books each day (shapes, letters, numbers)
  4. a math activity each day. Learning numbers and patterns, etc. Usually in a game or some hands on activity.
  5. plenty of crafts and just for fun reading which is part of our every day life anyways

I’m really into seasonal stuff so I’m sure we’ll be including plenty of field trips and science and history type stuff into our days based on the season. For preschool my main focus though is the 3 R’s. (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.)

How has your homeschool evolved over time? What things have you changed and what things have really worked for you?

 

 

My Saturday To Do List

To Do list are how my mind works. If I do’t have a to do list I feel like my mind can’t concentrate on anything all day. Here’s what I’ll be up to today.

Try scrambled eggs with T.J again

measure out water for the day, take vitamins, do a workout video

30 minute tidy up

show Ella how to use new paint markers

ready bill to send out

fill out and send invitations to baby shower I’m putting on

wrap baby shower gift

hang up new frame in T.J’s nursery

bake a double bath of cookies with E one for potluck tomorrow and one for family tonight

prepare soup for potluck tomorrow

do ironing for church tomorrow

pack newborn baby stuff up to send out to T monday

lunch: hotdogs, veges and pasta

clean up

bathe children

read to children

1:00 nap time

write and send out Bible study email to Bible study friends

ready children to go to Tom E Tiger with dad before he goes to work, pack snacks for afterwards

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pick up needed food to bring to friend with new baby tonight

visit with friend

dinner

clean kitchen

pack diaper bag for church tomorrow, lay out everyone’s clothes

Do some Bible time and prayers with children

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I better get busy! Have a happy Saturday everyone!

 

Editing to update:

I didn’t get any cookies made because I was out of sugar and I didn’t do as much prep work for Sunday as I had wanted to but beside that my list helped me get just about everything else done. It was a good day but I always tend to be a bit of an overachiever with my to do list and pack to much into my day sometimes.

 

 

My (funny) getting up early technique

When my husband is on night shift I have no choice but to wake up what feels like waay to early after being up with a screaming teether during the night. I’ve come up with a way to get my tired self out of bed and also not wake up the children. If my children woke up at 5 the day would be pretty much ruined. They would be in tired winy mode all day and I would have gotten up early for nothing as they would be clinging to me crying while I got nothing done. Getting up without waking them was at first a challenge since I NEED caffeine to get up at 5 but the quiet trickle of the coffee brewing would wake them up almost every time.

So out of desperation was born my morning wake up routine. The night before I put my coffee pot, coffee cup, spoon and sweetener in the master bathroom. Yep, on the bathroom counter. It’s the farthest room from the kids side of the house and there are two doors to block noise.

I put my cellphone with the alarm set in the bathroom as well. If I put it on the night stand next to me I know I will keep hitting the snooze button. I have to jump up and run to turn it off before it gets louder and might wake the kids so that gets me out of bed! I immediately start the coffee and then sit on the floor to drink it and do my morning devotions. Sitting on the bed or a couch would make me fall back asleep but the floor is hard and uncomfortable to so I wake up.

Before my husband goes to sleep for the day I put the coffee pot back in the kitchen so I can have a post lunch cup to keep me upright and parenting ha ha.

So now the internet knows my desperate mom brewing coffee in the bathroom wake up strategy. Don’t judge me lol! Tell me how you start your day before the kids without waking them up.