Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Organized Homeschool

By nature I am not an organized person. Generally I am ok with things out of place and as a Mom of many this has helped preserve my sanity more than a few times. Having said that though, I think our homeschooling runs more smoothly and efficiently when I take the time to get organized and stay organized. Because I am not a natural organizer it has taken me some time to discover an organization method that works best for our family. I have found that organizing each area so that it flows smoothly with another area is easiest for my personality and family.

Here is what I do in our school area:

1. Start with a bookshelf. The top is for the books my boys are currently using or will use in the near future. The bottom I use for my teacher manuals, workbooks the boys aren't using currently, and the various binders I use to organize paperwork (more about that below). Ideally all of my binders should have labeled spines, that is something still on my to-do list. On top of the book shelf is a 3 drawer mini Sterilite in which I store the colored pencils, crayons, and glue sticks. Also on top is our automatic pencil sharpener, 3-hole punch, tape dispenser, and a mini paper cuter. All of the books and supplies in the book shelf feed our workboxes.

2. Binders for every subject. I have binders for all of our subjects as well as a binder for Holiday activities.  Over time I have accumulated various e-books from well known curriculum companies. The e-books are great if they get used. My problem is that I would download them but never print them and file them so that we could use them and enjoy them at the appropriate time of the year. Now, I have a convenient place to file all the wonderful downloads I get for subjects such as Bible, science, and all the fun Holidays.

3. 6-drawer system and hanging folders for storage and filing. Next to the book shelf are two 3-drawer sterilite systems stacked on top of each other and a 2 drawer filing system. The sterilite drawers hold flash cards and various other school supplies. The filing cart on the bottom I use for storing printer ink cartridges and other supplies that generally only I use and need. The hanging file part of the cart is used to organize my kindergarten curriculum by letter of the alphabet. I also store cardstock and overflow paper supplies in that large drawer.

4.Workboxes, Workboxes, Workboxes!! I am so thankful that I discovered this system of organizing daily school work early in our homeschool journey. Sue Patrick details her method of organization in her book Sue Patrick's Workbox System A User's Guide. I have not read her book but have taken the general idea of the system and made it our own. Not only have the workboxes forced me to be organized and prepared for each school day but it has also added an element of responsibility and self-motivation for my boys. They can choose any box to work on so long as they don't take too long choosing. If they take too long staring at the boxes trying to decide then they know that I might make them do their work in numerical box order. They don't want this so dodling in front of the boxes has not been a problem. My Sterilite 5 drawer system fits nicely under an old computer desk we no longer used.

 5. A completed work basket is a must! When my boys are done they know exactly where to put their completed assignments. This helps keep loose papers from disappearing and gives the boys a distinct place to put their work as they finish. No longer do I hear "What do you want me to do with this when I am finished", now they know it ALL goes in the basket. The basket also serves as a reminder to me of the grading and checking I need to complete.  

6. Kindergarten work box. This year I am using My Father's World (MFW) Kindergarten with my young 5 year old son (aka Wee Man).  MFW has a few accessories that are required on a weekly basis to teach the lessons. For instance, I had a tub of flour that Wee Man enjoys writing his letters in once or twice a week. I also keep the picture sort cards in an old recipe box I painted and decorated. I also have another tub with capital and lower case letter cards and another tub with beans and number cards for more practice with adding and subtracting. If you add all that together along with the books for each week that relate to our letter of the week and my "Master" planning folder it equals a lot of stuff. To keep it all together and orderly I hold it all in a small storage bin.

 Old recipe box decorated for MFW picture cards

7. Lastly, "Moms Resource Binder". My binder is grand central station for our homeschool. In it I keep my weekly/yearly lesson planner and all the worksheets/copies/paperwork that I need on a regular basis. I use tabs to divide the binder into sections according to subject. For instance, I have Wee Man MFW worksheets behind one tab, history worksheets and tests behind another tab, spelling word lists in another section, etc. This has helped tremendously because now I know where everything is at and I am not scurrying around last minute to find a copy or worksheet I printed for that day's lesson.

Of course your homeschool and organizational preferences will look different than mine. However, hopefully this will give you an idea or two that you can incorporate into your own homeschool to help it run more efficiently. As a side note, I do not keep overflow or completed workbooks or topic reading books in our school area. To reduce clutter I keep those elsewhere in the house in a special cabinet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Homeschool resource website

If you are looking for cute calendar numbers or other fun resources for your homeschool check out Teacher View. I know this is a dry time of the year when many of us are questioning our decision to homeschool or the daily routine of school is a bit boring for all involved. Teacher View is a great site to add some color to your classroom walls.

Have a blessed day!

Today Only: Free $5 Gift Card from Babies 'R' Us

If you join Babies 'R' Us fan page on Facebook today then you will receive a FREE $5 gift card via e-mail. I signed up this morning but have not received my e-mail yet. In this economy, every free dollar is a blessing. $5 off diapers sounds like a deal to me!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Free Hullabaloo "Best Of" CD - Childrens Music

A local group called Hullabaloo is celebrating their 6th anniversary. Hullabaloo is a wonderful 2 man group here in San Diego that performs children's songs and puts on a fun show at local parks and other kid friendly venues. As a gift to all of their fans they are offering their "Best Of" CD for free for a limited time. I have all of their CDs and my kids love listening to them in the car when we aren't listening to Veggie Tales.

I am enjoying my free download, I hope you enjoy it also. Best of Hullabaloo CD FREE

Everlasting Life

The topic of everlasting life has been on my heart a lot since this weekend. On our way to visit my Mom, my 5 year old asked a lot of questions about good and bad people and even surprised me by remembering the gist of a verse we learned a few weeks ago about Godly people having two lives and wicked people only having one life. This morning I was led to verses on this subject.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him  from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

And that is what God has testified; He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life. 1John 5:11-12

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth anoyone who believes has eternal life" John 6:47

Today I would like to encourage you to believe on the Lord as your Savior. He died for our sins and so that we can have eternal life with our Holy Father, God Almighty. Simply believing is not enough however, scripture tells us that we must also walk in the way of the Lord.

In prayer:
Our Lord in heaven I give you praise on this blessed day you have given me. Thank you Heavenly Father for sending your only Son to die for my sins and wash me clean of all my insecurities. Blessed Lord you gave your life to save mine, through you I have been given eternal life in heaven with my Heavenly Father. Please grant me the strength and wisdom to find my way here on Earth and walk the path you have set before me before I was even born. In your name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seek Him with all your heart

 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

What did you do this week to seek God? Have you spent time in the Word praying and giving thanks? I urge you to give up your struggles to Him. Give Him praise for all of the wonderful blessings in your life. Seek Him everyday day with all of your heart, with all of your words, and with all of your actions. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Family Friendly Friday #2

So sorry that I didn't post a tip last Friday, the week got away from me before I knew it. This week's family friendly tip is inspired by our weather this past week. We have been stuck inside because of rain, rain, and more rain. Oh and don't forget hail, lightning, wind, and brutally cold temperatures. All the time inside has forced me to confront the piles I have laying around the house. I really only have 2 areas that needed serious help; an area just off our kitchen and my desk.

My piles are something I have battled for quite some time and have never found a solution that works for me and my family. So this week instead of the usual "clean up" I decided to wipe the slates clean and start fresh.

My solution to clutter that contains stuff you really need:
Grab a large box
Transfer all of your clutter into the box
Clean/dust the area
Take the box to a trash can. Quickly throw away everything that is trash in the box.
Sort the items left in the box into "zone" piles (i.e. garage, kitchen, bedroom, kids, etc)
Now that you have your piles, take each of your piles to their appropriate homes. Now don't just set them down somewhere in their new home. Put them where they belong so you aren't creating more clutter elsewhere in your house.

I cleaned my desk off using this method 2 weeks ago and as I write this it is still clean and clutter free. It is so refreshing to have neatness surround me rather than the ever frustrating clutter. I always stressed about my piles and the messiness they portrayed to my guests. Now I don't have to worry, my house is clutter free.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Free Charolotte Mason e-book

If you use Charlotte Mason's methods and philosophy for your homeschool or home you will enjoy this free e-book. Charlotte will help you achieve "smooth and easy days".


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (a day late)

2010 is my year to get organized and run my home more efficiently. To that end, I have started planning my menu a month at a time; sometimes though I can only get to 2 weeks at a shot. To make my planning easier I have created a meal planner customizable for each month which I have linked at the end of this post.

The concept of meal planning is simple; plan your meals to save money as well as time. When time allows I plan meals around weekly sales at my local grocery stores. Also, I was famous for walking in the kitchen at 3 or 4pm and staring blankly at the pantry and refrigerator wondering what I was going cook for my family that night. Not only did that waste my time and cause me frustration every afternoon, our meals were boring and lacked creativity. Now that I plan ahead I ensure that I have everything we need ahead of time and our meals are more interesting than before. Tuesday is our long standing taco night and in a pinch I can substitute one or two evenings of planning for leftovers.

Save money, save time, and save frustration. Plan your meals!

Here is our menu for the week:

Sunday: Chicken fajitas with grilled red peppers

Monday: Eggplant Lasagna

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Crockpot chicken

Thursday: Beef & Broccoli

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Fish tacos

Monthly dinner menu planner

If you use my planner, all I ask is that you do not link or repost elsewhere claiming it as your own.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Our Workbox Set-Up

After daily frustrations with assignments and missing supplies, a few months ago I decided to implement Sue Patrick's Workbox System. The concept is simple, I prepare the boxes the night before and my boys know that all of their assignments for the day are in their boxes. Not only has this system helped (forced) me to be more organized and prepared but it has cut down dramatically on the complaining, frustrations, and missing materials. Sue recommends 12 boxes but at this time I am only using 10 for my 3rd grader and 5 for my Kindergartner. This is the perfect amount of boxes for us at this time. I do not add "work with Mom" or group assignment items in their boxes. I strictly use the workbox system for independent assignments which is helping them tremendously with their independent work habits. Recently, I have started preparing my 3rd grader's boxes once per week. To accomplish this I write his assignments on sticky notes and put them in the appropriate drawers. Math, phonics, journal, spanish, and other subjects that generally require the same supplies each day are easiest for this method. This cuts down on my nightly prep work. Instead of 10 boxes each night, now I prepare most of them Sunday night and during the week only change the drawers that vary from day to day.

An added and unanticipated beauty to this system is that my Kindergartner can do "extra" work whenever his little heart pleases. Such a blessing!

For our workboxes I am using Sterilite 5 drawer systems. I love them because they are plenty wide and deep for books, folders, and any other items needed for an assignment. The front of the drawer is plenty big for the Velcro drawer numbers and subject cards. This drawer system can be stacked on top of each other if the need exists. I store our drawers under a desk which allows me more useable surface area in our small schoolroom area. On top of the desk is a simple basket for complete assignments, a container or construction paper, and our writing center. Thank you to Robyn at Heart of Wisdom for her free workbox tags. I also added a few of my own tags such as journal, spanish, and math.

New batch of laundry soap

I liked my homemade powdered laundry soap so well I decided to make a big batch today to last us a while. I had 12 bars of soap so I used everything I had and by the grace of God just had enough of the dry ingredients to make it complete. After bar #5 my arm was getting tired of shredding so I cleared the cob webs from my mind and tried to think of something that could shred for me. My solution: my food processor. It worked like a charm!! The shred was larger than my hand shredder but it will still do the job in my washer just the same. What a time saver!! I am interested to see how long this batch lasts.

The blue bucket is what I am using to store my large batch of laundry soap. I have a smaller container I use on a daily basis and add to it as needed from the larger bucket.

Edited to add: homemade laundry soap can be used in HE washers. Instead of 1T-2T use half of a tablespoon per load. Here is the link to the recipe I use, she specifically states that this recipe can be used in HE washers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why do you homeschool?

Why do you homeschool?

Don't you just LOVE getting asked that question by otherwise well meaning friends, neighbors, and family. The answer to this question is complicated and different for every homeschool family. A complete answer to this question is rarely attainable, there just aren't enough hours in the day to fully answer this type of question. Generally, when I am asked about my reasons why, I only state one or two of the biggest reasons. However, in reality there are probably ten reasons why homeschooling is the best choice for my family.

Reasons why we homeschool:
#1 Academics; hands down I always knew I could give my children a better education than the one they received in public school. Our now 3rd grader was doing "fine" in public school though so year after year we just kept him there. Concerns arose after time though which I know was God planting the seed of homeschool in our hearts. Once my Kinder started preschool I knew that homeschool was going to be the only option for him. He had an immense love for learning but was bored at preschool because it was "too easy" and "too boring" for him. Our state has had extensive budget cuts which has caused class sizes to increase beyond beneficial capacity and the smart kids are falling through the cracks because the "academically challenged" children consume so much of the overworked teacher's time. My Kinder would have been a frustrated, disruptive, and a bored mess in public school. In 3 short months he is well beyond where he would have ever been in an entire year of public school kindergarten.

#2 Moral/Religious; I have spent countless hours volunteering in public school classrooms. Sadly, I was appalled at the way elementary students acted, talked to each other, and treated their teachers. As a result, we had to deal with many behavioral issues that our older son learned from other kids at school. At home we are able to shape their behavior, speech, and impressions of what is acceptable in our family. We are raising morally sound and ethically right children according to His will and His word.

#3 Socialization; much like reason #2 socialization is a key reason we choose to homeschool. Are my children socialized? Absolutely, YES! However, unlike public school kids my children socialize with more than just their peer group. My children are socially comfortable with everyone from young babies to elderly adults and everyone in between. They can comfortably and confidently talk to the grocery store clerk, ask for help from the librarian, play at the park with a wide range of children, and enjoy ministering to the elderly. My children have not learned to be judgmental of others and are accepting of everyone no matter their skin color, handicap, or age. Can the same be said for public school children?

#4 Family; homeschooling allows for an immense amount of family time. Our children grow-up way too quickly. Rather than send my children away for 7 hours a day and then battle every evening over homework I have chosen to keep them at home in a relaxed loving environment and we avoid the nightly homework arguments. I get to cuddle with my son on the couch while we do our reading lesson, we get to take hikes together during the day when they would otherwise be stuck in a classroom, and I get to teach them life skills throughout the day rather than in the few hours during the week and the 2 days on the weekend.

#5 Use of time; Have you ever stopped to think how much instruction and learning really happens in the 7 hours of public school each day? A long-time friend and 30 year veteran public school teacher confirms that 80-90% of each day is spent on discipline and not teaching. What a shame!! I prefer to make the most of my children's time and keep them at home. Childhood is too short to waste it in a classroom not learning to their potential. In just a few short hours at home I can accomplish more with my children than they would otherwise learn in an entire day in public school. I am doing my kids a service and making the most of their childhood by homeschooling.

#6 Self identity; homeschooling allows my children to develop into whomever they want to be. No longer are they influenced by their peers. No longer do they hear from their friends what they "should do" or "shouldn't do". No longer do they are they influenced by their friends about who they should and shouldn't play with. And no longer are they influenced about what things they should and shouldn't like to do. My children are free to be whoever they want to be without the fear or persecution or belittlement. If my oldest wants to play dolls with his younger sister he is free to do so without fearing his friends at school will make fun of him if they find out. For this very reason alone I would have loved to be homeschooled as a child. Self-identity is difficult for children to create when so many outside influences conflict. Here at home there are no outside influences telling my children what they should do, how they should act, how they should dress, what they should say, or what they should believe in.

My list could go on and on. . . .

So the next time you are asked this question and you don't quite know how to answer, please know that you are not alone. There are many other homeschool parents out there struggling with this question just like you are. I could explain all of my reasons to the next person that asks but I know they really don't want to hear all of it. So, I am rest assured that my choice to homeschool is the best for our family and when all is said and done that is all that matters. My husband, my children, and God; those are the only ones I really need to answer to (and not necessarily in that order).


Thursday, January 14, 2010


"But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In his way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives." Jude 20-23

Can you get through one day without complaining? I will be praying for you!!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Should Have Stayed Home Today

I had one of those days today to say the very least. Through it all though I am proud of myself for keeping a positive attitude and rolling with the challenges set before me.

So what happened today?

First it started with my 5 year old that had a sour attitude about school this morning. Worse than normal unfortunately, but we rolled with it and made it safely to lunch. After lunch I thought it would be nice to get the boys out of the house to take the dogs for a walk and enjoy our wonderful weather. 10 minutes into the walk my oldest son falls off of his scooter and scrapes up his arm pretty badly. Unable to ride his scooter we headed back home to clean up his scrape. Out again I go to take my youngest to the park. He wanted to race to the playground but on par for the day he falls right before getting there. Time to console and kiss more owies. After a nice hour at the park I took him to the grocery store to pick up a few things. What could possibly go wrong in a store right? Wrong. Tantrum time. I took it in stride though. We safely made it home then my husband asked if I wanted to go for a walk. Sure, why not? Just him, the dogs, and myself. What could go wrong? Nothing, that is until we were on the back side of the canyon open area that borders our house. When we walk this route we let our dogs off of their leash to run and play. We've never had an issue the hundreds of times we have taken them on this walk. I should have known though. Not only does my lab capture a squirrel (which I felt horrible for) but came close to dying for the second time in her life. Yes I said dying. My lovely lab put the icing on the cake by stumbling upon a rattlesnake in a bush just off to the side of the trail. As soon as she jumped in that bush I heard the distinctive rattle and immediately yelled at my dog as well as my husband to do something, anything. Keep in mind I was only 2 feet from her when she surprised this deadly snake. My husband thought it was a sprinkler but eventually my screaming and jumping up and down convinced him otherwise. Praise the Lord our dog is voice trained and after a few moments gave up on the pursuit of her hunt.

Tonight I will be thanking the Lord for keeping my family and my dogs safe and I will be praying for a better day tomorrow.


Monday, January 11, 2010

7 ways to connect with others

Being a loving friend or good neighbor is not always easy. Often times we let our pride, ego, self-centeredness, or lack of caring get in the way of true and meaningful relationships. Fortunately, God teaches us throughout the Bible how to be better friends and connect with our neighbors.

There are 7 characteristics that can help us connect with others;

1. Be thankful. Who are you thankful for? I would like to encourage you to be thankful for not only your friends but also your enemies. When is the last time you prayed for someone you do not particularly care for? Perhaps being truly thankful for that person will also help to strengthen your relationship together. Thankless people often spend their days alone. Tell Jesus you are thankful for Him. It is because of Him that we have a relationship with God.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1Thess. 5:18

2. Be affirming. Catch someone doing something good then praise them. People love to be around positive people. Positive personalities are uplifting, refreshing, and encouraging. On the other hand,  negative people are often times avoided. Praise is particularly important to implement in your own house with your children and your spouse. A positive maternal figure in a home is a beacon of light.

Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:18

3. Be sincere. To have genuine friends we have to be a genuine friend. Do not pretend to be something you are not. When you are talking to someone genuinely be engaged in the conversation, actively and intently listen to your friend. When your friendship encounters struggles or there are tough times in the lives of your friends, stick around do not run away when times get tough. Stay in the kitchen and help put out the fire, it will make your friendship stronger.

A friend is always loyal and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17

4. Be happy. Just as you should be genuinely engaged in your friendship or casual conversation be genuinely happy to be around that person. It is more enjoyable to be around someone that is happy and excited to see us then someone who seems to careless about us. Make a concerted effort to find a redeeming quality about everyone you meet, it will make being happy to be with them much easier.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength. Proverbs 17:22

5. Be sharing. Givers strengthen and takers drain. If you want to make God happy then share with others. Give freely and from your heart. Next time a neighbor asks for milk or eggs, give freely and do not expect repayment.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

6. Be encouraging. Encourage others each and every chance you get. Let your friends know that you are praying for them and lifting them up in their time of need. Ask how you can help your friends and happily follow through with anything they need that you are able to provide. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Do not boast or brag but rather lift up those in need.

You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today", so that non of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. Hebrews 3:13

7. Be spiritual. Share the Gospel with others. A significant connection with others comes from a common commitment to walk with God and share His good news with others.

For I am not ashamed of this Good news about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes - the Jew first and also the Gentile. Romans 1:16

If you are looking for ways to connect with others consider a prayer ministry, missions trip, a greater involvement at your church, or volunteer work in your community. Your options are limitless. Seek your answer in prayer then act upon what God lays upon your heart.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Family Friendly Friday Tip #1

As mothers I think we always want to do better for our families. Be it keep a cleaner home, become more organized, stretch the family budget, or even just be a more Godly parent. To that end each Friday I will be posting a family friendly tip on a variety of topics. And if there is something you would like help with please do not hesitate to contact me because if you need help with something I can guarantee so do a lot of other women.

Family Friendly Friday Tip #1: Make your own laundry detergent. 

Help the environment and save a ton of money!! I have started making my own powdered laundry soap and I love it. Originally I had planned on making the liquid detergent but I found a very easy and quick powder recipe so I gave it a try. The liquid recipe will still save you a ton of money over store bought versions but the powder is quicker and easier which not only saves you money but also a TON of time (something we can all use more of in the day).
Just to give you an example of my cost savings, store bought detergent costs me anywhere from 0.15 to 0.20 cents per load. The powder homemade detergent costs me just over 0.1 cent per load. Praise the LORD!!

Here is the recipe for powder and liquid homemade laundry detergent.

I pray that you all have a blessed weekend!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Silencing Homeschool Critics

The decision to homeschool is often times met with criticism, skepticism, and doubt from otherwise well meaning friends and family. Unfortunately, homeschool families rarely hear words of praise from people outside of the homeschool community. What do you do when someone questions you about your decision to homeschool? How do you answer the academic performance question? And the forbidden S-word question? (socialization)

Staying informed and educated about current homeschool information is important when talking to persistent skeptics. While I do not believe that as homeschoolers we should defend our decision to anyone but ourselves it is sometimes helpful to have factoid snipets to silence critics.

Rather than cite all the facts, reasonings, and rationale please read this article from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine about effectively dealing with pubic-school indoctrinated critics.

Personally, when someone asks me how homeschooling is "going" I reply with an honest answer of "It is going great. Some days are rough but we are all learning together. Homeschooling has become a wonderful blessing for my family. We are more relaxed than when we were in public school. No more rushing out the door in the morning or rushing home to get the kids. We are free to start our day whenever we want and do school wherever we want. God willing I won't ever have to deal with public school again." And yes, of course my kids get plenty of socialization. And guess what, they socialize with more than just their peer group everyday. Everyone from infants up to elderly people in our community and everything in between are in my kids socialization group now and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Doing God Right

Before going to bed last night I prayed for inspiration regarding this blog. I asked God to send me the topic he wanted me to post about because this blog was started from His request. Early this morning I woke from a dream with this title in my head along with a rough outline and a few sentences. After I awoke I made a simple request that He help me wake up early so I could do his work before my family woke up; just before 6am my eyes popped open. God is good!

Doing God right. What does that mean to you? It can be taken in one of two ways. 1.) Being the Christian that our Savior wants us to be, following the Bible and doing our best each day. Or 2.) In addition to all of that you also listen prayerfully with your heart and mind to what God is calling you to do. What do you do when that voice in your head speaks? What do you do when you feel called or experience a sign of what He wants you to do? It is my hearts prayer that you listen each and every time. So often we want to do our own thing, our own will. But friends if you feel called towards something you need to listen. No matter how big or small. It is His will and not our own that matters.

Through Christ, God has given us the privilege* and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. Romans 1:5-6 (NLT) *or grace

Just as I could not ignore this calling or many others in my life I pray that you too follow your own calling. We are here to do His will and not our own. Without Jesus life here on earth would be bleak and hopeless. But thanks to God he sent his only Son to free us of our sins. He offered it all for us so that we would be free of sin and able to do His will and not our own.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power or the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power or sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) 

So dear friends, what are you feeling called to do? What is His will for you?


Saturday, January 2, 2010

I do not do baby books

My cat doesn't do baby books either. :)
I have tried my hand at scrapbooking and at best I think I have made it through the first year for my 6 year old. Obviously, not a very good way to record your child's life. I have always enjoyed writing so a few months after my first biological child was born I bought a very nice leather journal to begin recording and journaling his life.

I plan on giving each of my children their respective journals on their 18th birthday. Until then though, I am writing about each of their lives from a Mother's perspective. I include all the same events that a baby book or scrapbook would include but because I've chosen to journal I am able to include so much more than just the basics. Some days I only write the basics but other times I pour my heart out to them telling them how much they mean to me and how proud of them I am. I also include major events that happen to our family which obviously play a role in who they are and what experiences they might remember from their childhood. I do not journal for them every day or even every week. I write as I feel led. Some entries are multiple pages while others are just a few sentences. Each little tid bit adds to the joy and memories that fill their pages.

The 3 journals that I am currently writing in for my children are pictured on the left. While the 2 that I recently purchased for the twins are on the right; I am eager to begin writing in them. For my boys I chose the traditional open book style. While for my girls I purchased magnetic closure books with decorative covers and inside pages.

Over the years I have grown to love the flexibility that journaling my children's lives allows. Not only can I write from my heart leaving them lasting memories but I can also include an unlimited amount of detail and emotion when I feel inclined which scrapbooks and baby books do not allow. I also include pictures from time to time which help to add more personality and sentimental value to the journals. I have also found that I love reading back through the entries. It helps this scattered brained Mom to better recall events in my children's younger years, something that I can never put a price on.

If you enjoy writing as much as I do, then perhaps this is an option you might want to consider for your own children. It is never too late to start a journal for them, they will appreciate it when they are older. A priceless gift!

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