“N” is for Nathan, Nature, Noise, NaNoWriMo, NaBloPoMo

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So I somehow missed getting this actually posted the other day.  But here is my “N” post for the Blogging A to Z challenge.  I am really enjoying this challenge.  Some letters are definitely easier than others.

The first thing that comes to mind when I see the letter “N” is Nathan.  He is my 3rd son and is going to turn 15 this year.  He is my very active, always looking for something to do son.  He keeps me on my toes.  He loves to talk and to draw and build Legos.  I love my son.

“N” is also for Nature.  Taking nature walks, especially when my children were younger was a great way to spend time learning and being outside as well.  Art can also be incorporated into Nature walks by keeping a Nature journal.

“N” is also for noise.  With us homeschooling, our family frequently has quite a bit of noise.  I know my children will be out of my house all to soon and the noise level will be gone.

“N” is also for NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo as well.  I have learned about these two challenges in the past year and have really enjoyed participating in them.  I have learned so much from these experiences.

So what does “N” bring to mind for you?

“B” is for Babies, Boys, Bibles and Books and Blogging

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So today is Day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for April along with the Blogging A to Z challenge.  The letter of the day is “B”, which for me is for babies, Bibles and books.  We have four children who are 18, 16, 14 and 12 respectively right now.  While I miss them being babies to a certain extent, I enjoy seeing the people they are becoming.  Three of our children are boys and they truly are a handful.  Our youngest is our only girl and she is quite the princess.  My boys keep life interesting and one never knows what might be discussed when we sit down to meals or what they will attempt to do.

Bibles play a critical role in our family.  My husband became an ordained minister the same year we were married.  So we have worked to bring up our children in the word of God.  As we search for homeschooling materials, Biblical companies are the main one we use.  It is important to us to have a Biblical worldview and for our children to back up what they believe with Scripture references.  So we have quite the collection of Bibles, concordances, Biblical commentaries and dictionaries around our home.

The other thing our home is full of is books.  I grew up believing that books were my best friend.  I was never bored or lacked things to do because I always had books to read.  I have tried to instill the same love of reading in my children.  They have not all grabbed hold of the idea as I would wish, but we are still working on it.  It is fun when we prepare for a move to see all the books loaded into boxes.  We have Biblical books, Language Arts and Literature books, books on writing, books for Math, books for Science, books for History and books for the Arts.  On top of those books, we have books on homeschooling,  books to read for pleasure and various other books.  Each member of the family has at least one bookcase in their room.  Plus we have other bookcases scattered around the house.  Books make homeschooling much easier.  Even if I never bought any more curriculum for our children, I could homeschool from the books we have.  With seven people living in our home the books really add up.

“B” is also for blogging and Bible Journaling.   I started blogging as a way of keeping our extended family aware of what was going on in our lives along with providing a record for our children.  Writing makes things more real somehow and easier to remember.  Utilizing photographs helps keep those memories as well.

Bible Journaling has become a new pastime for me.  I especially love getting on Pinterest and Facebook to see what others are creating. Here is a sample of one of works.

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So what does the letter “B” represent or bring to mind for you and your family?  I welcome comments!

Another Round of the Ultimate Blog Challenge

Well the first quarter of 2015 has flown by quickly.  We have spent the time working on school, beginning to hold church services at our home and making a relatively quick trip to North Carolina to see my husband’s side of the family.

With the start of the second quarter of 2015 beginning, I am pleased to be participating in the next round of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  My plan for this blog for 2015 is to increase traffic to the blog and begin offering some freebies as well.  I am also going to learn how to use Photoshop and work more with PicMonkey to create my own graphics.

In April, the next Proverbs 31 Ministries Bible Study for Lysa Terkeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith” will begin.  Once again I will be serving as one of the Facebook Small Group leaders.

I am also participating in a Bible Study for Kay Arthur’s book “How to Study Your Bible” in order to learn more about the Inductive Bible Study method.  I am also going through the book, “Writing in the Margins”.  One of my goals for 2015 is to grow in Bible Journaling activities.  My one word for 2015 is “Create” and that is my focus for the year.

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In the realm of homeschooling, we are preparing for our oldest son’s graduation.  With that we will enter a new realm of parenting.  We are planning on him walking across the stage at the CHAP convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania the weekend of Mother’s Day.  Our next graduation will possibly take place as early as the next school year.

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So what is going on where you are

Missed the weekend

So I missed posting this past weekend.  We  had a lot going on here.  On Saturday I spent part of the day recuperating from preparations for our Army Reserve Christmas party.  Then Sunday we actually had our Army Reserve Christmas party.  I feel like the party was a great success.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Yesterday (Monday) I did not do a lot.  I am glad this week is a lot calmer.  The biggest thing we have to do is go to the reserve unit on Friday so we can put away all the leftover toys.  Everything is labeled so it will be fairly easy to do.  My second and third sons were a tremendous help getting the boxes organized.

Joy in Words

Words can bring joy.  Words have amazing power to life our hearts and spirits.  The words “I love you!” spoken from the heart of the one you know God has handpicked for your spouse brings incredible happiness.  Hearing, “I love you, Mommy!” or “I love you Daddy!” spoken from your child’s mouth can bring joy.  Listening to people you love, respect or admire can bring joy.

That is why I am so thankful for my family.  They bring joy and laughter into our home.  I can’t imagine our home without all 4 of our children, at least not at this moment.  I know one day I will find joy in an empty home because it will mean my husband and I have done our jobs well.  We will have raised all four of our children to love and serve the Lord with gladness.  We will have sent them out into the world to do the work that God intended for them to do.

I pray that God will give them words to speak that will bring joy to others.

Do you find joy in words?  I would love to hear from you.

Joy In the Known

Sometimes joy can be found in the known.  It can be found in routine.  For example, every year for the past 17 years our family has participated in an Army Reserve Christmas party.  The location may change (as duty stations change).  People may change as people come into or leave the unit.  But the basic idea remains the same.  It is a time to come together and celebrate the season.  For our family, it is all about the birth of a baby in a manger.  I find joy in singing the same Christmas carols year after year.

Our family usually rides around to look at Christmas lights.  There is good food and fellowship.  We participate in various activities at church.  But we know where our focus should be.  I know we will do our shopping very close to Christmas Eve (usually we even end up out on Christmas Eve).  I will donate as much as I can to the bell ringers for the Salvation Army (many times I hand the money to our children to put in the shiny red kettles).  Joy comes through out the season.  Oh sure there will be surprises and unexpected things that come around to bring joy.  But there is something to be said for the known as well.

What brings you joy at this time of year?  Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?  I would love to hear from you.

Balancing My Time

I am a mother and more specifically I am a homeschooling mother.  This means that more often than not my needs and wishes go by the wayside.  Even if I am sick, the children still need to do school.  Food still needs to be prepared and so forth.  I think you get the picture.  But every once in a while, this mom needs a break.  I need a chance to do something just for me.  I need to make sure I am balancing my time and doing somethings I enjoy doing.

I am blessed to have a husband who loves to cook and doesn’t mind cleaning the kitchen.  I also have three teenage sons and one almost teenage daughter to help around the house as well.  Our children are getting old enough now to do most of their schoolwork with minimal supervision on my part.  So when Dennis has the opportunity to travel for the army, I often go with him.  Cell phones, computers, texting and emails all make this much easier.  Plus having an 18 year old in the house also helps.  I know my daughter will listen to him and his 16 year old brother.  My third son works well when allowed to do schoolwork with his grandmother.  So all in all this allows me a break.

I enjoy crocheting and am working to learn how to quilt.  Plus I have recently discovered something else I am interested in, which is Bible Journaling.  This allows me to spend time developing some of the talents God gave me.  I love seeing what others are creating.

Another way I take time for just me is by reading.  There is nothing like a good book to help get away from the world.

So how do you balance making your time?  I would love to hear from you.

NaBloPoMo Day 9 – My Favorite Movies

I will admit it, I can’t pick just one movie that I love.  Instead I have to pick a group of movies.  My favorite movies include:  “Facing the Giants”, “Flywheel”, “Fireproof” and “Courageous”.

Each movies has points about it that I love.  For “Facing the Giants” is how faith collides with real life and has a tremendous impact on a whole community.  For “Flywheel”, I love how when the main character decides to look at God as more than someone to occasionally meet when it is convenient.  For “Fireproof”, I love how Kirk Cameron’s character finally stops just going through the motions of the Love Dare and finds a real faith that has a real impact on his life and that of his wife.

Finally in “Courageous”, I love how men are called on to be truly involved in their families’ lives.  It is easy to speak words, but it is much harder to put those words into actions.

So what is or what are your favorite movies?  I would love to hear from you.

NaBloPoMo Day 8 – What Recipe I Am Known For

Today is Monday and it is day 8 of the NaBloPoMo challenge.  I love to cook.  I have several things I love to make that my family loves to eat.  One of these meals is my homemade chili.  I begin with ground meat that I brown with fresh garlic cloves.  Then I add in onions.  From there I add fresh tomatoes that we canned over the summer.  Then I add various seasonings (that shall remain nameless to preserve the fact that I don’t really follow a recipe.  Then I add the beans and bell peppers.  From there I let it cook a couple of hours.

I usually serve it with homemade guacamole, shredded cheese and sour cream along with tortilla scoops.  Everyone picks what items they want to add to their own bowl.  For me I like it all.

So what recipe are you known for?

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GLANCE AT OUR WEEK – NaBloPoMo Day 7

So it is Sunday and rather than doing a week in review post, I thought I would do a post giving a glimpse into our upcoming week.  Monday and Tuesday will be normal days of homeschool, housework and chores.

Wednesday, Dennis, Joseph and I will be making a trip over near Allentown, PA to pick up gifts from Operation Homefront for our Army Reserve Unit Christmas Party.  This will basically be an all day affair.

Thursday we will spend the day at the unit getting the gifts organized for the Christmas party.  Also on Thursday we will be going to our local Walmart to pick up additional presents that are coming in on a truck for our reserve unit.  Friday will be spent working on the gifts more and getting things ready for the party.

Saturday will either be spent at the unit finishing things up for the Christmas party or catching up on things at the house.

Then next Sunday we will have our Army Reserve Family Day Christmas party.  After that, we will be kicking things into high gear to get things ready around our home for Christmas.

So how is your week shaping up?