Snow in Totality!

This week we packed up our mini van and became one of “those people” to drive hours to be in the center line of totality to view the eclipse. Sunday morning we carpooled with our friends from church who have two boys to a campsite in MO.

Here’s us stopping for some Mexican food on the way up. “Say eclipse!”

 

 This was our first time camping together as a family. My cousin and his family who live nearby the campsite came and visited with us which made our weekend! We hadn’t seen them since my wedding 7 years ago and we had a blast catching up!

 

The next morning we packed every thing up and headed to a spot on the map that my husband had been looking at and thought would be a good viewing spot. After some dirt road driving we got to the spot on the map and it was actually a really pretty park on a lake. Other people there told us that they had found the spot because it was on a list of the 500 best places in the country to view the eclipse. I was very impressed that T had just found it by looking at a map and deciding it looked like a good spot!

We picnicked and entertained ourselves by talking to other people who were there and asking to see their telescopes and viewing boxes that they had brought. Every one was really friendly. We were offered glasses by multiple people and it did my heart good to see how giving and friendly people were. In front of us was a 13 year old boy named Tyler from Chicago who was going to be homeschooling this year. He was interested in astronomy and I’d say he was well on his way to becoming an astronomer! He made our time educational and fun and kept everyone informed about the time and what was happening and what we should be looking for when.

 

There was a group of tie dye wearing hippies probably in their 70’s who had brought sunflowers to make crowns with. They made E a crown and made her a little flower child. Isn’t she beautiful!?

In these photos below you can see the phenomenon where the shadows from the tree we were under became crescent moon shaped. Tyler was explaining to us what it would look like before it happened but it was hard to believe until we actually saw it! Neat huh!?

E handled the glasses great and showed more interest and understanding in the event than I thought she would.

Somewhere around 80-90 percent totality strange events began to occur but I won’t try to explain them LOL-

 

You could feel the excitement and energy of everyone around us as the sky began to darken and the bugs grew quiet. “Bailey’s beads!” shouted Tyler and we saw them. Next, “Diamond Ring! Diamond Ring!” It was breathtaking. “Glasses off!” people shouted followed by the groups excited whoops and hollers. We experienced somewhere around 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality. People sat transfixed, and later T and I discuss what it felt like to loose all self consciousness as we experienced the moment. “Glasses on!” and then just as fast as it got dark it got light again and we sat there blinking commenting on how strange the light looked.

T and I decided we better get on the road and try and beat some of the traffic instead of waiting for another couple hours to view C4. Our kids were pretty tired at that point as well. Thinking we could beat the traffic was a laughable idea- it was just as bad as was predicted. It took around 3-4 hours longer to get home than it took to get up there the day before. It was so worth it though. It’s something we got to experience as a family with friends that we’ll be talking about for years.

 

Here’s some photos we took on the way home while on highway 7. People who live back in CT (where I am from) often comment that they imagine Arkansas as flat and dry and they are so wrong! Aren’t the Ozark’s breathtaking? My photos can’t do this view justice…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While at this look out point we meet some people who told us about the eclipse coming up on April 8, 2024. The center of totality is supposed to be in Hot Springs AR! Looking forward to it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wheels For The World

I first heard about this ministry I think a couple years back when I watched an episode of Joni and Friends that featured it. Since then I’ve learned more about the ministry and have really come to admire and love what these people are doing. This week my husband and I decided to start supporting them financially.

The day after signing up to support them I got an out of state phone call that I at first thought was a telemarketer. When I answered it was a woman from Joni and Friends. I assumed she was about to ask a question about our donation or something when she totally surprised me by saying, “At Joni and Friends we meet every morning for prayer and I was calling to ask how we could pray for you.” It was so kind and so unexpected it took me a moment to think of anything to say! She told me, “If you ever need prayer call anytime and we will pray for you.”

If you’re looking for a ministry that does good in Jesus name for the glory of God, from everything I’ve seen, this is it!

They are also looking for people to help collect no longer used wheel chairs and crutches. If you can’t support them financially they have a whole list of things they need help with on their website. Check it out!

 

http://www.joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/

So what is going on?

That last few weeks I’ve been leading up to sharing on here some big news that is going on in our lives. Here it is- we were going to move to Abu Dhabi, UAE. Yes, I said ‘we were’ going to move. Here’s what happened… about 3 years ago my husband applied for a job at a new nuclear power plant being built over there. This past spring they contacted him and wanted us to resend his resume. He did and they interviewed him over the phone. Next step was getting and sending passports for our whole family. He was offered a job position and after lots of questions and emails back and forth and negotiations he accepted. He signed their conditional contract, they did a security clearance and then sent their final contract. Except between the signing of the two contracts several things changed about the situation that made the job no longer appealing or beneficial for our family and family values. I really don’t want to go into more detail than that, it just wasn’t going to work anymore. It’s been a crazy emotional roller coaster and why I have been writing about stress! There where several weeks where from one day to the next I didn’t know if we were moving to the other side of the world or not. There were several times that it changed from yes to no to yes to no. I’m so emotionally exhausted I physically feel like I have travel around the world and back!

It’s been really hard to have to go through the painful process of telling our family and friends we might be leaving and then at one point that we were not and then that we were leaving and then to have to go through the lengthy and emotional process of telling everyone we are not.

I’m ready to put this all behind us and go back to our normal life but honestly it’s been hard to focus and figure out where to start. My mind is still spinning trying to grasp how quickly things have changed and I scrambling to try and catch up on things that I put on hold for this year because we thought we were leaving. School started this week so I filled out the application form this morning for a local homeschool co-op.

We are going to continue and try and sell our house. We actually have someone looking at it tonight. We aren’t leaving the country but we still have a few reasons that it would be nice to relocate in the same area. We have 11 acres of a wooded hill side and we’d like to downsize on the amount of land we have to care for. We’d like a more manageable amount of land maybe 2-5 acres. My husband works odd hours and outages that last 100 days at a time so it would be really nice to be some where that I could manage taking care of the outside stuff by myself. We’d also like a yard that’s flat enough to have a swing set or trampoline for the kids. Unless we spent a lot of time and money terracing our land there really is no where to put in a garden which is something I’d like to do with the kids as they get older.

Next spring we will have had it on the market for a combined two years so if it’s not sold by then we may have to review if we’ll stay here. We typically have a couple showings a week and over time it gets draining to have to sometimes last minute get the house show ready and pack up the kids and go somewhere for a couple hours. That’s several months from now though so I better stop stressing myself out with things that haven’t happened yet!

Anyways, that’s my news! Lots of hype leading up to a big nothing! At least we’ve had a crash course in geography and the cultures of the middle east and international travel. Gotta look on the positives right?!

A peak inside our homeschool and a really great podcast

Some people don’t really count preschool at home as homeschooling but in my world it totally counts. I’ve been calling our family a homeschool family since my children were born. Homeschooling is so much more than the time spent on book work. If you’re a homeschooler you’ll understand that homeschooling is both a mind set and a way of life.

Yesterday was the first day of school in our area. Over the summer I never really stopped doing preschool activities with E, I just kind of worked them around other summer fun and family time.

I recently was super excited to be able to purchase quite a bit of Mother Goose Time curriculum from a friend who was selling several months worth at a tiny fraction of the cost. Instead of telling you all about it I’ll invite you into our day through pictures and let you see for yourself.

This month’s theme is Alphabet Island. It was actually the Mother Goose time June theme but since I bought it from someone who didn’t use it, we’re using it in August. It doesn’t matter at all what order the months are used. Today we are focusing on the letter’s R and Q and the theme of the day was all about crabs.

 

After dancing around to our circle time song (which I don’t use every day or else I would go crazy from it being stuck in my head!), E put up the number 15 on our calendar and we reviewed the month and day of the week. We had a huge storm roll through this morning that left flooding in some areas so E appropriately moved the dark clouds and the rain to the empty spot on the board. Without being too lengthy I introduced her to the letter Q and the letter R discussing the sounds they make. E looked at the crab photo and noticed that the crab’s eyes are black.

Each month of the curriculum comes with a CD of music that matches the theme of the month. This month’s CD is Dancing on Alphabet Island. It’s reggae inspired music, a very danceable beat. The ribbons above come one for each month but since E already knows her colors I just gave them to her and T.J to dance with. 

 

 

Today’s craft was a crab made out of a soufflé cup filled with red sand so it makes noise when it’s shaken. It came with a sheet of different eyeball stickers and E decided to make a monster crab with using 3 sets of eyeballs. The little lego things came with the curriculum and they have all sorts of uses. Today’s suggested activity was to float them in water and let the kids pretend to be crabs and use salad tongs as their “claws”. We did that one outside!

The curriculum comes with a square that can be tossed and new photos can be put in the sleeves each day but I had gotten rid of the one I had before I was offered a good deal on more of the curriculum. Since I didn’t have the square to use for today’s game, T (my husband) made a cardboard one for the kids last night. For the game we used a towel to toss it into the air and every time it landed on the crab the kids would do the crab walk. If you haven’t done that in a while- it’s a good work out! The curriculum provided word cards as well for kids who are reading but we stuck with the photos.

While T.J napped E and I worked on her alphabet island workbook. I was explaining to her the difference between the words aquarium and aquatic and I used the example of an aquatic center. She asked, “Can we go to an aquatic center?” When I surprised her by saying yes she gave me the honor of being told that I was “sometimes nice.”

We really did pack up and leave! I had been wanting to check out the new aquatic center built here in town and it was raining so it seemed like a perfect time. We spent about 2 hours there and then got home right before their daddy did.

I think E’s favorite part of the day was when we watched youtube videos about crabs. There was one video where an octopus was eating crabs inside a crab trap and then escaped. It must have left an impression on her because she kept talking about it and she insisted daddy watch it when he got home.

On another note, this morning I listened to this podcast by Amy at Raising Arrows. It resonated so much with me that I really felt emotional while listening to it. Do you feel burdened by homeschooling? Listen to these words of grace and wisdom that are so freeing!

https://www.raisingarrows.net/2017/08/homeschooling-purpose-rap-podcast-019/

The antidote to stress- kindness

I went to bed last night feeling stressed, I woke up stressed. Same as the day before and the night before. At the moment we have a major life decision we are trying to make and we need some answers about a few things before we move forward but the answers we need are slow coming. I was super irritated and kind of depressed last night because I have absolutely no control over the speed of this situation. All I can do is wait and I don’t like it because as you can probably agree, waiting is hard. I don’t like it. After my alarm clock went off I asked my husband who had been up already, “any e-mail?” When the answer was no I just sat down defeated. I just wanted wanted to pull the covers over my head and go to sleep and ignore the situation.

You know the poem I shared the other day, “do the next thing?” I’m really being put to the test because more so than at anytime in my life that I can recall I just having to focus on today because I’m justing waiting for some information before I can make plans for tomorrow.

I opened up Facebook and saw an update by Rachel May Stafford on Hands Free Revolution. She had posted about her experience of carrying around a bag full of cold drinks and looking for people who looked thirsty to surprise with the kindness of some unexpected refreshment. “This is how I’m going to beat this stress I feel about this situation,” I thought. “I really am thinking to much about me and if I can change my focus to others I can beat this stress.”

 

Racking my brain to think of ways to bless others took away my stress because it took my thoughts off myself. I sent a message to someone I know going through a hard time and told her I was praying for her. I baked peanut butter cookies and had the joy of seeing the librarians surprised when I told them I had made them for them. I put down my book today and instead listened to someone who needed to talk. I reached out to a foster family about bringing them dinner later this week.

Reflecting back on my day what started off with me feeling blah has ended on a really positive note because I feel like I made every effort to make the day in front of me count.

Proverbs 11:25 “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

challenge: next time you feel the weight of stress pressing down on you or you find yourself feeling anxious over a situation you can’t control, look for another person who you can share some love with. Find a way to bless them. A kind word, an encouragement, a hug.. Let me know how you get creative in sharing God’s love with others!

 

 

Happiness By Randy Alcorn

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now. I was going to request it at the library and see if they would order it for me the next time they ordered books but my husband surprised me and it was in the mailbox the other day! I’ve read on epm.org about the book and the subject and have listened to Randy Alcorn talk about it on youtube but the book itself has been really encouraging!

I read this quote yesterday that I wanted to pass along to you, “The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought-of, untold, and endless blessedness- with such aGod, such a Saviour, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man?” Baptist Pastor Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

Be happy in Jesus today!

Here’s a hint… and “World Schooling”

This morning before the kids woke up while I got dressed and tidied up my bedroom and bathroom I listened to this power of moms podcast. I listened to it a long time ago and I’ve been thinking about it and wanting to listen to it again.

So here’s your hint… We’re going to be traveling internationally. That’s kind of an understatement about the situation but it’s your hint for now!

Like most areas of my life I’ve spent so much mental energy thinking about how to make this trip productive I’ve forgotten about the fact that this trip is going to be fun and adventurous and educational and an amazing bonding time for our family! We are going to a place in the world that will allow us to interact with people from all over the world all at once!

 

Anyways, this podcast is so inspiring and so much fun to listen to! Listen in on a conversation with a mom with 5 kids who took them on a trip around the world. It includes how they afforded it, comical stories from their trip, tips for traveling for young children and more. She also makes a case for why experiencing radically different things as a family is really positive for a family. I also really now love the word “Worldschooling”. Yeah, that’s my hint, we’re going to become a World school family!

https://powerofmoms.com/encore-make-family-travel-dream-reality-episode-177/

Family fun from this weekend and Monday goals

My husband has been on a different work assignment at work the last couple weeks and he’s been working 4 days a week (day shift) and has had 2, 3 day weekends in a row. It has been AWESOME! This past weekend we crammed so much fun stuff in.

Saturday morning was cooler than usual so T wanted to bring the kids to the zoo. Once we got to the city though it had already gotten above 90 degrees. I remembered someone telling me about this indoor kids place called the Wonder Place so we brought the kids there instead. They had an indoor climbing area and a dress up station and a pretend market and restaurant, lots of imaginative play stuff. They had a craft room and a water table and a sand area. The kids had a blast!

http://www.thewonderplace.com

We ate lunch at the Root Cafe which is a place that uses locally sourced ingredients. It was neat to show E the map on the wall that showed the location of the different farms that grew the food we were eating and also the scrapbook that had photos of the farms. http://www.therootcafe.com/menu/

That same day we went to their grandma and grandpa’s and visited with two of my husbands siblings and their kids. Doesn’t T.J look so cute on Grandpa’s tractor?!  I can’t remember but this may have been his first time on the tractor.

Today it’s Monday and I have goals for today! I’ll share my goals and then you drop your goals in the comments below! We’ll help each other get stuff done!

  1. do mother goose preschool time with the kids (which includes sand and tin foil boats today-they are going to have so much fun!)
  2. do my Monday chore- 1 hour of mopping and vacuuming and picking up the floor area
  3. remember to read the kids today’s chapter from the book of Proverbs
  4. get done my daily morning chores
  5. since T figured out how to get the jets to turn on in our jacuzzi tub, give the kids a super bubbly bath with the jets on!
  6. I realized that it’s been over month since I’ve painted my toenails and they look um, bad. lol! Give myself a pedicure!

What does your Monday look like? Enjoy your day!

Will you keep me accountable?

I’ve listened to this sermon by Randy Alcorn twice recently and it is both extremely encouraging and convicting. I listened to it one afternoon on my own and then yesterday while driving my husband and I listened to it and then spent a long time discussing it.

As a woman whose job description is “homemaker” when I see a need it’s difficult for me to raise money to meet it. The best way for me to be able to meet the needs of others is to find ways to save money and then pass along what I save to meet those needs.

I’ve been thinking about one area of my life that I want to change and that I have been trying to change and thinking about changing for months. The problem is I haven’t changed. Here’s what I want to do- I’m boycotting Starbucks. No, it has nothing to do with homosexuality or guns or lack of christmas trees on cups.

You see, I’ve received a few different letters from our sponsor child S who lives in Ghana. In each letter he has asked for pray that his dad will be able to get the funds to help start up his own business so that he can have consistent work. Each time I read that I hear in my head James 2:16 “And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

For several months now I’ve been thinking that if I stopped buying my medium, iced coffee, with heavy whipping cream and sugar free vanilla syrup- no classic, every week, it would add up to quite a bit of money by the end of the year and I could use that money to go towards being the answer to S’s prayer. It’s quite convicting when I look at it that way.

The problem is when I’ve been out doing errands with the kids and it’s hot and I have more to do when I get home I become focused on how sweet and cold that drink is and I conveniently forget about the needs of S. I am a steward of God’s money, it does not belong to me and yet in this area I have not been a faithful steward. I’m confessing this fault to you my friends and readers and reaching out for public accountability. Will you please be my accountability and help me to give up this one petty thing to help provide for S’s need? I’ve tried to change without talking to others about it but my efforts have failed. I realize though that when we shed light on something hidden, even if it’s something like a poor purchasing decision, the lure of that temptation goes away.

I’ll be able to see in the future that I wrote this post on August 6, 2017 and next year I’ll be able to come back and tell you if I was faithful and if I was able to give to the needs of S’s family.

I highly recommend the above video. I’ve never read the book The Treasure Principle but I feel that this hour covers the topic of christian giving and christian finances pretty well.

Challenge: Think about how you spend your money and ask yourself if you are being the best steward of God’s money that you can be.

Switching gears… this morning I read these words by the prophet Isaiah and I encourage you to meditate on them while you worship the Lord this Sunday morning.

 

Isaiah 12King James Version (KJV)

12 And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Those are some awesome truths to meditate on. God is my comfort, God is not angry towards me, God is my salvation, I can trust God, God is my strength and song and I need not be afraid. With JOY, joy my brothers and sisters, drink deeply of The Living Water. Exalt the name of God, tell others about Him! Sing and cry and shout for all He has done and because He is near!

stay tuned! ….

I have some big big news but I can’t share it on here quite yet! I know, that totally leaves you hanging but stay tuned, there are major changes happening in the Snow household!! I’m actually in the process of writing the post about our news but I have to wait a couple more weeks until I can share..

In the mean time.. Have you ever read this poem? The very first time I ever posted on this blog I posted this poem.

Do The Next Thing

Quoted by Elizabeth Elliot

“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.”

Author Unknown

I have in the past turned to this poem in times of grief as a “motto” or a guide of what it looks like to keep going when life gets hard. Just “do the next thing.” Just place one foot in front of the other, not looking behind and not looking ahead, just take a another step.

Right now in life we have been presented with a wonderful opportunity and it is not a time of grief although it is a very big change. With a change this big it could be easy for me to get overwhelmed and the small griefs that come with change (even a happy change!) could easily be too much for me. I have recently been thinking about this poem again and Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: 34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Whatever you are going through in life right now whether it is a time of sorrow or you have joyous plans laid out in front of you remember that this moment is all we have. When I fixate on the past I become full of regret and get depressed. I can do nothing to change the past and I end up missing what’s right in front of my face. If I look towards the future and I fixate on all the unknowns and everything I don’t have control over and everything I think I have to do then I can get easily overwhelmed and stressed and miss today as well.

Whatever is in front of you or behind you my friend I encourage you to take one step at a time, looking to Jesus and do just the next thing. Don’t miss the beauty of today. Don’t rush through this precious gift you’ll never get back.

Here’s my challenge to you- what is one way you can cherish what is in front of you today?

For me, even though the changes we are going through are happy ones (don’t worry I’m not going to come back with bad news!) I feel like so much information is coming at me so fast that I have to slow it down or my mind will explode! (figuratively of course lol!) That means for the next week I’m going to put down my phone and step away from the internet to try and calm the amount of information that is coming at me so fast! Except for this blog because sharing with you helps organize my thoughts and definitely makes me calmer!

Stay tuned… 🙂

I’m editing to add my next steps for today. Here’s a little peak inside my day and my mind..

  1. spend 45 minutes cleaning the house so it will be ready incase someone wants to look at it today (we had an open house Tuesday so I’m hoping this will be the case!)
  2. get every one dressed and ready, finish making my grocery list and go grocery shopping
  3. make the 2 phone calls I need to make.
  4. take the kids outside to play

See, that’s easy! When I think in terms of what’s the next step right in front of me it’s not that much and it’s totally doable!