Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

I expected this past weekend to be long, but I had no idea it would be like a piece of taffy being stretched, and stretched and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.  It just wore me out.

We had 2 weddings to attend, each in different towns.  “OK,” I told myself, “You can do this, you just have to be prepared.”  I got the clothes ready in advance and made sure the car was gassed up and cleaned out.  Meals ready – check.  Plans for the kids that need rides – check.  Hard working husband taken care of – check. (he couldn’t go to any weddings because he’s a CPA and it was tax season weekend)

My 5 youngest kids and I headed early Saturday morning to Austin (2.5 hours away) for the wedding of one of my son Jacob’s best friends.  This is a precious family and I was looking forward to what I knew would be a Christ-centered ceremony.  It was absolutely lovely and I was glad we went.  But as an introvert, I find those things hard, mainly the reception.  I didn’t really know anyone and wasn’t likely to start up a new relationship, so I sat there at my table being mostly anti-social.  I did chat with a few people here and there, but overall I kind of felt out of place.  I wondered as I looked around the room if that happens to everyone or if I am the only person who often feels like a bird in the wrong cage.  What do you do in those situations?  Do you just walk up and talk to people?  Do you pretend to be busy feeding your kids?  Do you sit like a wallflower not talking?  I don’t expect answers to these questions.  I’m just pondering out loud.  Introvert problems.

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We left the reception and headed to have dinner with my daughter who lives in the same town.  We had a nice time with her and just as we were wrapping up and getting ready to drive the 2.5 hours home I got a call.  My oldest son Jacob (who had taken his own car to the wedding and stayed after to hang out with his friends) had been in an accident.  He wasn’t hurt and the woman in the other car was fine, but his vehicle was not drivable.

Now, this kind of thing shakes a mama to the core.  I had that angry/terrified/panic/relief feeling that sends adrenaline through your system and turns you into a mother bear.  “Get in the car kids…drop the burger and let’s go!! Jacob needs us!”  We left the restaurant, dropped my daughter off at her apartment and headed back to the area where the accident had taken place (near the wedding venue).

When I saw my son I may have hugged him a little too hard and hung on too long.

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Once I saw that he was OK I felt a little better.  We said our goodbyes (again) to the wedding party and made the long drive home in the dark, trying to forget the traumatic end to what was otherwise a lovely day.  We made it home and I was so tired, but still pretty wired from the excitement, so it took me a couple of hours to fall asleep.  If not for my oils I probably would have been awake all night.

Then it was Sunday and another wedding.  This time it was the son of one my MY best friends and in the opposite direction of the Saturday wedding.  We all decided earlier in the week that only two of us would go, the younger kids really don’t know this family well and we knew we would be wiped out from the day before.  My daughter and I would attend alone and enjoy some togetherness.  We ran a few errands in the city then headed to the wedding venue in the late afternoon, which was a bit out in the country.  We got about 6 miles away when it started to rain.  Hard.  Like, I can’t see the road at all kind of rain.

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I slowed to about 20 mph and inched my way to the location.  Each time we contemplated just pulling over and waiting it out the rain would let up enough that we could see a little better.  Finally, after a few scary low water crossings we made it.  Whew!  Next problem: we had to park about 50 yards from the building and we had no umbrella.  We sat in the car trying to decide what to do.  Do we sit and hope it lets up or do we make a run for it?  We ran.

And I am not kidding you, we may as well have jumped in the river.  We were soaked down to our panties, hair was stuck to our heads, my makeup was smearing all down my face.  Have you ever been to a wedding with no eyebrows?  ‘Cuz I have and it’s not pretty.

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I want to say here that earlier in the day when it was time to get ready to go I started to blow my hair dry and had a sense not to, so I left it curly and more natural.  I am taking this as a sign that I really do hear God’s voice…..I just wish I’d been listening when He was telling me to make sure we had an umbrella in the car.

Wedding #2 was gorgeous, even the rain pounding on the roof as they said their vows made it seem a little magical.  What wasn’t magical was the sound of my dress dripping on the floor beneath my seat.  I was still soaking wet 3 hours later when we got back to our house.  The drive home was no picnic either….hail and storms pounding on my car in the dark.  My knuckles are still white.

Even though it was sweet and scary and sometimes humiliating, nothing that happened this weekend was really about me.  I was simply an observer in all of it, which was nice.  I got to just smile and sit and drip quietly.  Everyone else that attended these weddings also has their own story and this is only mine.  I like to remind myself of that when I lose perspective and feel like complaining about not knowing anyone or looking like a drowned cat.

This next week it’s predicted to keep raining and I think I will just stay inside and recover from my harrowing wedding weekend.  And maybe hug all my kids a little extra hard, just to be on the safe side.

Have a good one!

Some Easy Reads for Your Spring Weekend

Some Easy Reads for Your Spring Weekend

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As you head into your spring weekend, I have a few things you might want to peruse for some light reading.  Books are amazing, books are my favorite thing, I’d spend a weekend with a book as often as possible.  But sometimes I don’t have a whole weekend to spend in a hammock with a whole book, so these will serve as a momentary substitute until you have more time.  Some of these are articles I wrote and most are treasures written by people I follow and I want to share them with you…

  1. 8 Mother-Daughter Tips from an Older Mom – This list of 8 things I would share with moms of young girls is one you may want to bookmark.  Read it again when you’re struggling.  After 26 years of experience with raising daughters, many victories and many failures, I am happy to share this sweet list with you.
  2. No Screen-Time Until… – My friend Becky at Your Modern Family shares how her family handles screen time in her home and she has a cute printable for the kids to reference.  It’s super cute!  We are very tight about how much screen time the kids get, only at night after dinner with their ipods and the wii is once a week for 2 hours, one movie a week on Friday night.  But occasionally they will ask on a quiet Saturday if they can do something electronic and I can see this list being a great source for when to let them.
  3. When Motherhood Reveals Your Blemishes – This from The Better Mom isn’t about skin care, like I first suspected, but about having your weaknesses and fear exposed.  It’s a quick, easy read of encouragement and hope.
  4. When They Say ‘Be Yourself” They Don’t Mean Me – This is an older post of mine that I shared on Facebook last week to give people a laugh.  Sometimes we just need a time of getting outside our head and laughing at what could have so easily have happened to us.  Enjoy!
  5. Momma Are You Listening? – Be careful about this one…it’s ouchie!  Wendy over at Hip Homeschool Moms shares the sad truth about how we pay more attention to our phones than we do our kids.  I have a rule not to be on my phone at all when I am out with my family.  It is really hard (sad, but true) but I know it’s the right thing to do.
  6. Lastly, if you are looking for a whole book to spend the weekend with, all curled up on a lawn chair, be sure to pick up my book, “Mama Needs a D0-Over“.  Get it on Kindle and don’t wait to get started!

I hope you have a glorious weekend of refreshing and relaxing.  Be blessed!

6 Easy Natural Cleaning Tips

6 Easy Natural Cleaning Tips

This post contains affiliate links.

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Do you do spring cleaning?!  I always get a bug in me around this time of year to get my house all shiny.  What causes that?  Maybe the change in weather, the flowers blooming and trees turning green again.  I feel all happy and I want my home to sparkle!

But what I don’t want is chemicals being spread around as I clean.  Did you know that even the fragrances added to cleaners can interfere with respiratory health and cause toxic reactions?  A few years ago we began eliminating chemical cleaners and now that I am used to being without them, I can’t even walk down the cleaner aisle in the grocery store.  I get immediately really sick.  I read that when we are repeatedly exposed to these chemicals we get used to them, but they are still potentially doing damage to our bodies.  So when we think, “Oh, that doesn’t bother me,” it’s likely that you are just used to it even though it could still be causing harm.

But the transition to natural wasn’t always easy.  The chemical cleaners do a good job and they’re often easier to use than natural alternatives.  I don’t WANT to make my own (fill in the blank) when I can just buy it at the grocery store.  I love it now but I want to be honest, it took some time.  I say that to encourage you to hang on and keep at it if you’re still making the switch.  You’ll find your groove!  And then one day after you’ve been off chemical cleaners you’ll smell a chemical additive that you used to have in your home all the time and it will gross you out.  Then you’ll know and think to yourself, “Lisa was right, this stuff is bad and now I should send her some flowers or something.”

In fact, I taught a class this week about cleaning with natural products and thought I’d share some of my favorite tips with you! I covered so much that I can’t give it all here so this is just my top 6.

  1. Baking soda!  I buy it at the dollar store for 50¢ and put a few scoops into a mason jar.  Then I add my essential oil of choice: lemon for the kitchen, lavender for the bedroom, it depends on what you’re doing with it.  Then I shake it all up (the measurements are not exact, maybe 1/2 C soda with 15 drops of oil) and punch holes in the top of the jar.  Now you have a shaker with many uses!  And when I am not using it I put a whole lid on the jar WITH the holed one (so there are 2 lids) and it won’t spill.  You can use this to clean your sink or tub, sprinkle over your mattress and leave it for an hour, then vacuum for a fresh mattress.  You can sprinkle it over your carpet and vacuum after half an hour.  So many ideas!  Think of it for anywhere you need to deodorize or as a gentle abrasive.
  2. White vinegar.  I get vinegar in a gallon jug and it usually lasts me about a year.  I add it to my laundry, pour it in a stinky potty, run it diluted through the coffee pot or your iron.  There are great books written about how to use vinegar for cleaning, so go find your favorites!
  3. Thieves Cleaner!  This stuff is amazing.  I keep a spray bottle of it in the kitchen and all bathrooms.  I spray it on the kitchen counters every night when I close down the kitchen (then toss all rags and towels in the washing machine to be washed every day), I clean the sinks with it, wipe down areas of high touch traffic (light switches, door knobs, piano keys, computer keyboards, faucets, etc).  Clean out the fridge, the trash cans, I even put a capful into the laundry when it’s extra stinky.  Clean the baby toys with it.  AND did you know it does a great job on glass?!  SAY WHAT?!  I am just going to admit here that even though Young Living recommends different ratios of water-cleaner for different uses, I use the same ratio for everything.  I don’t want 4 different bottles with Thieves cleaner in them.  I like to spray, wipe and go.
  4. The sun….Remember the Raffi song, “Mr, Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!”?  Well look it up, it’s so cheerful!  Anyway, the sun is a great cleaner.  Hang your clothes on the line for a fresh, crisp clean.  If you have whites, the sun will brighten them up for you.  Rinse out a stinky trash can and leave it in the sun to dry and deodorize.  I always hung my cloth diapers in the sun after washing.  And if you want a SUPER clean mattress…about once a year do the baking soda trick then drag it outside on a sunny day.  Oh my will it be nice and fresh after that!
  5. Dryer balls.  This is for those of us who don’t want stiff towels.  I like my sheets dried on the line, I like my towels and underwear not to scratch my skin when I use them.  So I dry them and most of our clothing in the machine.  BUT, if you add these wool dryer balls it can shorter then drying time up to 40% and the clothes come out softer!  Yes, no synthetic softening agents, just good old wool.  Then, to make it EVEN BETTER, add 5-6 drops of an essential oil to one of them and it makes your laundry smell divine.  Lavender is my fave for this!  I’ve found that the oil lasts for about 5 loads.  But you need THESE and not the rubber kind.  Those are noisy and you can’t add oils to them.
  6. Use your diffuser!  You can use the diffuser for several reasons.  It is wonderful for getting oils into the air and to the entire family when you need support for staying or getting healthy.  But it’s also a great way to freshen up the air in winter or a kids’ bathroom or after cooking fish.  Put some lemon or Purification or Joy in the diffuser and clear the air!  I also love to use it when I want to relax….I put some lavender and cedarwood in it and just chill…..

Friends, I am not joking that getting rid of chemical cleaners can make a huge difference in your life.  We have kids, pets, people we want to offer the very best to!  Please think about changing the way you clean your home.  I’m not trying to sell you something here, this is from the heart.

If you have a great natural cleaning tip, hop over to Facebook and tell us about it!

Extra!  Extra! Read All About It!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

It’s official!  For the first time in Pennington history we found every. single. Easter egg.

Not that it was easy.  No, we spent 1.75 hours finding most of them until we got down to 2 that were still missing.  Now, normally we might let it go and just not look for them.  That fact can be proved by the eggs we found that were from last year, all full of rotten candy…..gross.  I heard one of my boys daring another to eat it when I jumped in to stop the madness.  But the 2 eggs that were missing didn’t have candy in them….no.  They had money.

And no one was inclined to give up looking.

I bought some character shaped eggs that I put $5 bills in and there was one for each child (I use the term “child” loosely because 3 of my egg hunters are over 18, which basically means they wanted the money most of all).  I gave them pre-hunting instructions, “When you find your character egg, you can’t get any more, so if you find another leave it for someone who doesn’t have theirs yet.”  But after nearly 2 hours we were all on a desperate search and it was every man for himself.

Earlier in the day while we were hiding the eggs James suggested I take a picture of where I hid the money eggs.  But did I listen? Nooooo (a fact he reminded me of at least 7 times during the last hour of the hunt).  In fact, the last time he said it I replied, “You are completely right honey, I should have listened to you and next year I will definitely do whatever you say.”

“You know,” he said with a smirk, “You could just start doing whatever I say tomorrow.”

Don’t push your luck buddy.  Next year will be just fine.

When we finally found the last money eggs the kids and I sat outside while they emptied their eggs into baskets.  James went back to his normal March activities of doing people’s taxes (he’s a CPA, in case that didn’t make any sense at all) because, as he said as he walked away, “3 hours is more than enough time to spend on Easter eggs hunts for 7 people.”  Since I bought pre-filled eggs this year (except for the money eggs) there was mostly bubble gum or Now & Later in their candy piles.  I know it’s not as exciting as previous years when I’ve picked candies that each child loves most, but I was just too tired to spend 4 hours filling eggs like I did in years past.

Why so tired?  Because I am barely recovering from washing sheets last week after our house full of guests.  It took me 3 days to get it all washed and put back.  And I have a washing machine!  Can you even imagine washing everything by hand?!  I would still be out in the river beating those sheets on rocks and wouldn’t have even had time to hide any plastic eggs. 😉

After the egg hunt and cleanup from our traditional ham and scalloped potatoes meal, I crashed in my recliner and didn’t get up until bed time.  I have no shame in admitting that I went to bed at 8:30 on Easter Sunday.  Celebrations wear me out….especially when they involve crawling under bushes searching for plastic eggs that I hid in the first place and everyone is being passive aggressive saying things like, “Maybe SOMEONE ELSE should hide the eggs next year.”

The good news is that since Easter was so early this year we have a whole month with no holidays so I can get rested up before the next celebration.  And since the next “holiday” is Mother’s Day, I should get some rest with that, at least in theory.

Have a great week!

6 Must Have New Books

6 Must Have New Books

This post contains affiliate links.

Are you a reader?  I love a crisp afternoon in my hammock with a good book!  Crisp is my favorite temperature.  If you like warm, then you can put your hammock closer to the equator.  Either way, it’s really about the book!

I have 2 book piles in my bedroom right next to each other.  One is for books I am waiting to read and the other is books I recently finished reading.  I like to keep the recently finished books nearby so I can refer back to them or loan them out.  Books are meant to be loved and shared!

Rabbit trail: That’s one thing I don’t like about the Kindle or digital audiobooks.  They’re super convenient, especially with all of the traveling I do, but they are not very sharable.  But if I didn’t have audiobooks I would not get nearly as much “reading” done, so it’s a tradeoff.

Most of the books in my waiting-to-read pile are either something that came highly recommended or books my friends wrote.  I have a lot of brilliant friends who write incredible books.  So I thought I’d share some of them as a recommendation from me to you to add to your own waiting-to-read pile!  I have read all of the books on this list and loved them, plus I do actually know fer realz these authors (well, a few of them have 2 authors and I only know one author from each of those books).  Like, I have met these gals in person and most I’ve talked with on the phone like teenagers do.  This isn’t like my relationship with Lysa Terkeurst where I think she’s my friend but she doesn’t know I exist.  These are my peeps.

Another cool thing is these are all recently released, so they’re fresh off the printing press.  You could be the first in your circles to read them and share.  Your friends will think you’re so cool to know the latest and greatest.  They would make wonderful gift ideas too!  Baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, any old day you want to bless someone!

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  1. Planted with Hope  by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore.  This sweet book is second in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series and it’s a darling story of friendship and community.  Get the first book too….reading them is like a nice, little vacation.
  2. Pressing Pause by Ruth Schwenk and Karen Ehman.  I just got this book and flipped through it and love the simplicity of it.  If you’re thinking you don’t have time to read a whole book, pick this up and just do a chapter at a time.  Each chapter is just 2-3 pages and very encouraging!
  3. The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson.  This short, simple read will be just the reminder you need to keep going.  Even if you’re not a homeschooler you can get a boost of strength from the book.  It’s like having coffee with a trusted friend.
  4. Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  I’ve mentioned this book to you before, and it’s worth adding to your list….especially if you struggle with angry responses.  I read this before it came out and was absolutely inspired by how many women this book was going to help!
  5. Raising Uncommon Kids by Sami Cone.  This is a great book focusing on how we model behavior for our kids….grounded in Scripture and very practical.  I loved it!
  6. Mama Needs a Do-Over by ME!  OK, so I don’t have this one in any of my piles, but I want to remind you that it’s available at most booksellers.  We all need a way to hit the reset button every once in a while.  I know you’ll enjoy it!

And because I truly believe all of these books are amazing and worth adding to your library….I asked each of these friends to give me one of their books to add to a bundle so I can give them to YOU!   And they’re all so kind and generous they agreed without hesitation.  I’ll even toss in my favorite essential oil starter guide for fun.  That makes this bundle valued at over $70!!!

Enter below to win over $70 worth of great reading material!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you win!

I Was Cleaning, but then I Got Sleepy

I Was Cleaning, but then I Got Sleepy

Spring.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…..

I can’t help it, I get poetic about the amazing weather and flowers popping out everywhere.  It’s such a nice change from brown grass and chilly rain.  It doesn’t get super cold here, but it’s still enough to make your bones feel frozen.

We’ve been spring cleaning around here.  Every afternoon I work on one spot in the house, cleaning and organizing it.  I am doing it slowly in an attempt to trick myself into thinking I’m not really working.  It’s just one drawer or a bookshelf or cabinet, right?  No biggie.  And so far the illusion seems to be successful.  I am getting things done and not feeling overwhelmed.

Since we have a houseful of company this week the cleaning is going to slow down, but that’s OK.  We can pick it back up next week.  It’s not like the mess is going anywhere.

My oldest daughter is home from Dallas with her favorite guy.  All of our older kids will be attending the Christian Worldview Film Festival together this week.  It’s something they look forward to every year.  Another daughter made a short film that’s playing in the festival, so we are all excited to see it on the big screen.  I may cry during the showing, ‘cuz that’s what my mother heart does when I see one of my kids reaching for their dreams.  When she goes to the Academy Awards in a few years to accept her award for Best New Screenplay, she should probably not ask me to be her +1.  I’ll cry the ugly cry and embarrass when she is being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest.

We also have a couple of other friends staying here this week so it’s a full house.  That means lots of extra food and toilet paper and laundry detergent.  I went to Costco and stocked up as best I could, but I am sure there were holes in my plan and I will have to make a few grocery runs during the festival.  It’s my goal to make that part of their week easy so they can just enjoy the fellowship.

Last night a few extra young adults joined us all for dinner and it was such a special time.  In our dining room there are 2 tables, a long one where our whole family eats our daily meals and a shorter table where we generally do school and it doubles as an extra when we have a lot of people over.  The 20-somethings all sat around the long table with a few of my teens.  James and I sat at the shorter table with our little boys and were supposed to be talking to eat other.  But I couldn’t focus on my table conversation because I was too busy soaking in the joy of having a table full of godly, smart, laughing, young adults next to me.

I promise I wasn’t listening in on their conversations.  I really was not paying attention to what they were saying at all.  I just absorbed the joy of it.  This is my dream…..happy kids with happy friends all helping each other find their way in the world.  Watching a toddler learn to walk is amazing, but it’s really just a shadow of watching your grown child learn to walk into their adult life.  It makes my heart explode with the sweetness.

The only negative to my whole weekend was the ridiculous annoyance of Daylight Savings Time, which has thrown my internal clock into a tizzy and I can’t wake up.  Like, all day.  I practically fell asleep last night at 8:00, which shouldn’t happen because doesn’t my body think it’s 7:00 and I should be fully awake?!  But NO!  I think I have DTS induced narcolepsy.

So I will be half sleep-walking through my week with all of these house guests and my beautiful daughter visiting and the film festival.  I hope I can wake up enough to at least get the rest of the groceries we need.

Have a great week…..I’ll be soaking in the sun, the kids, their friends a few naps and my partially clean house.

I Have a Few Suggestions for the Presidential Candidates

I Have a Few Suggestions for the Presidential Candidates


You may have noticed that we are in the middle of a presidential election.  Actually, this isn’t the election yet, it’s just the primaries which means the election is yet to come.   I don’t get into politics here at the Point, so I won’t discuss candidates or parties….y’all can hash that out for yourself on Facebook and Twitter.

What I want to talk about is behavior.  I mean doggone!

I can’t believe how these candidates are acting.  You can’t let your kids watch the debates, unless it’s to show them what immaturity and vulgarity looks like on adults.  “See kids, that’s what you will look like in the future if you don’t start being nice to your brother.”  Why is this type of behavior OK?  Have reality TV and social media bullying actually influenced our leaders?

I’m not sure how these politicians are getting away with it when an everyday Joe gets attacked and torn to shreds if he says anything close to what these guys are saying.  People lose their jobs for acting like this.  Remember the girl who Tweeted something derogatory about AIDS in Africa while she was taking off on a plane and by the time she had landed she had been fired from her job and her life was ripped apart?  I’m not defending her Tweet, but it’s no worse than the kinds of things some of these candidates are saying with confidence.

Can you tell I’m worked up?  That’s because I have children who will inherit this mess.

So what can we do about it?

First, we can stop doing it to each other.  Even if you have a serious issue with someone, you don’t need to insult them.  It’s the worst way to actually fix a problem.  Having been called some pretty awful things myself, I have never thought to myself, “You know what?  They’re right!  I should change that about myself!”  If we disagree with someone, how about let’s just tell them without being insulting or acting like we know for sure what their motives are.  If we have to tear someone down to make our point then it doesn’t need to be made.

Second, we can remember the Golden Rule.  Everyone knows it, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Even if you’re not a Christian this is applicable.  There’s “karma”, the “law of attraction”, even Disney teaches us that if we will do anything for power we end up losing (didn’t you see “The Lion King”?!).  Seriously, being nice to someone who has been rude or offensive doesn’t come naturally to anyone.  We have to tell ourselves to do it.  When I am treated poorly by someone I have to have an internal dialog to remind myself that they are hurting or that I have a goal to be above that kind of behavior.

For example, this week I shared this picture on Facebook and Instagram:

After posting it I had dozens of comments telling me it isn’t turning back, it’s springing forward.  Yeah, I know.  I just thought it was funny.  As time went on some of the messages got more…..let’s say…..passionate.  One woman called me me a moron for not knowing that time goes forward in the spring.  Another gal suggested I don’t care about people because I misled them about the time change and another wrote things I can’t repeat on my G-rated blog.  Now, really folks, is that necessary?

But then, if our world leaders are acting like that……

So you know, I don’t ever reply to those kinds of messages; I generally delete them, move along and keep enjoying my day.

Lastly, let’s remember that we are being watched by the next generation.  Little eyes are everywhere and they see what we are doing.  They may not be looking at your Facebook posts, but they see your heart and how you treat people.  It’s a constant opportunity to improve my own attitude by remembering that I am influencing theirs.  Do not underestimate the power of your example!

So my message to the presidential candidates is the same thing I tell my kids when they are saying rude things to each other…here it is…..you ready?….

BE NICE!

I’ll get off my soapbox now.  I may not change how the presidential candidates talk to each other, but I can change me.  I can be kind even if I vehemently disagree with someone.  I can remember that I don’t always have to prove that I am right.  I can love my enemies.  We don’t always see it, but there’s a ripple effect when we make a change and if we all do it then maybe it will have a big impact.

Will you join me in this challenge to make your little corner of the world a better place by treating others (even the people who are difficult) with kindness?

HOP over to Facebook to continue the conversation.

10 Things I Need to Write (hint: a pen and paper are not on the list)

10 Things I Need to Write (hint: a pen and paper are not on the list)

This post contains affiliate links.

I’m in a list kind of mood today.  I guess it’s all of the de-junking I’ve been doing lately, but I want to just get to the point.  I thought I’d make a list for you of the things that are happening WHILE I am writing.

I write every day, either for the blog or on my next book or for other publications where I am a regular contributor.  Unless I am wrapping up a book (like I am doing now) I write for 3-4 hours a day.  Here’s what it looks like.

  1. I write in my recliner in my bedroom.  I don’t have a desk.  I used to, but a kid took over that space and now all I have is a comfy leather recliner to work in.  I’m not complaining…it’s cozy and awesome.  I put a small pillow in my lap to prop my computer on and just type my little heart out.
  2. I can’t have extra noise while I work.  Some of my kids like to have music playing while they work and my husband likes Fox News quietly in the background.  But I can’t have a single sound or I can’t focus.  Silence is my friend.
  3. My kids will come to me to have their school work checked throughout the morning.  I start the day by giving them their school assignments and lessons as needed.  Then I go write while they work.  When they’re finished with each assignment they come tell me they’re finished and I will check their work.  I always stop for that no matter what kind of momentum I have going.  Sure, it slows the process, but I want these kids to be super smart so I can count on them to get good jobs so they can take care of me in my old age.
  4. I drink a lot of water.  I fill my half gallon glass jug every morning and set them on the table next to my recliner.  I sip right out of the jug all day long, just like Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies….only without the moonshine.
  5. My room has to be clean or I can’t work.  My bedroom seems to be the hardest room to keep clean because it is a dumping ground for everything we don’t know where else to put.  Books we are finished reading, papers, broken toys, etc. all get put in my room and before I write I have to clean it all up.  I’m big on making my bed first thing every morning and I will fluff the pillows and get the junk OUT before I can write.
  6. I like to be dressed, but it’s not a necessity.  I prefer to be all dressed, at least in something housey, but it doesn’t always happen.  I have been known to still have my pajamas on by dinner time….especially if I am working on a book.  Those days tend to be long and I hardly leave my bedroom.
  7. I have 3 bedroom door positions that all have purpose.
    a) All the way open which means you can come on in and ask me anything or sit and talk even if I am typing.
    b) Mostly closed with a little box propping it open just a bit.  This means I am working, but since the door is only slightly open you should only disturb me for something semi-important.  You can peek in and say something like, “We are all going outside for a while,” but not something like, “I want to tell you what I want for Christmas,” or, “Can I have some candy?”  If it’s something that can wait….it should wait until I am either not in my room working or the door is all the way open.
    c) All the way closed which means disturb only if there’s blood, fire or imminent death.
  8. My diffuser is on the table next to me and it’s always going with some kind of wake-up-my-brain essential oil in it.  I love Motivation, Envision, Peppermint, Lemon, Frankincense….really anything but lavender so I don’t fall asleep mid-sentence.
  9. I use my phone while I use my computer.  I don’t check social media or take calls while I am writing, but I will use my phone for researching or fact checking.  I use an online thesaurus and dictionary.  I do better just keeping the one window open on my computer so I use my phone for the rest of my online needs.
  10. I get up and stretch every hour.  When I am working on a book I will set an alarm to go off every hour and I will make myself stand up and either walk around the room, go outside for a few minutes or do some stretches.

It’s a pretty sweet life I have.  I’ve got my homeschoolers spending gobs of time with me, my husband around, my older kids doing their thing while I watch with awe and admiration…..and my comfy recliner to work in.  And air-conditioning, which, in case I didn’t mention, is my bestie all summer long.

The deadline for my next book is looming and I will be closing the door more than usual until it’s done.

Do NOT Miss This!

Do NOT Miss This!

The one thing I look most forward to all year is coming up in a few weeks!  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is everything I need to refill my tank, my worn out mom tank.

I am talking about hundreds of other women in the same place you are….tired, needing encouragement, many in struggling marriages and with hopelessness.  Even though I am a total introvert, I love this event and wouldn’t miss it unless God dropped a 2 ton steel beam in my driveway so I couldn’t get out.  And if it helps, there are lots of prizes all weekend.

The first time I went a few years ago in Oklahoma I was not sure what I was getting into.  I had been invited and decided to check it out.  It was a long drive, 8 hours, but I felt it was something I should do.  I can’t tell you why now….it was instinct.  And the first night I was like, “What IS this thing?!”  There were women from all walks of life, some dressed up, some dressed down, some in heels and others in denim jumpers with sneakers.  There was a sense of excitement and peace at the same time.

Then one by one onstage women in costume marched across being described by the announcer, there was Debbie Drowning and Peggy Perfect and Sara Sporty and Helen Hanging-On.  They were funny, but tapped into deep issues we all face as moms.  After that there was worship and I was hooked.  Women being real, speakers encouraging us, praise and laughter?!?!  SIGN ME UP!

It was that same year I grabbed the founder and told her I had to be a part of this.  I wanted to bring it to Texas and do whatever I could to help.  And here we are now about to host the third Summit in Texas!!!  Hallelujah, isn’t God amazing?!?!

This year we are doing a few new things, including a blogger dinner and time of fellowship.  Connie from Smockity Frocks, Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and I will all be there.  We want to meet you and spend time ministering to each other.  You can sign up for the dinner when you register. (the blogger dinner is only in Texas, but I will also be at the Oklahoma event!)

And at the Texas Summit we will also be doing a panel answering your questions.  Are you struggling with something?  Do you wonder how other moms do it all?  Have you reached the end of your rope?  Well, bring on the questions and we will do our best to answer them and let you know you’re not alone.  You can head over to my Facebook page and leave a question there.  We will answer some of your questions here too, so if you can’t come to the Summit, please go ahead and ask anything.

I hope you will consider attending the Summit.  I’d love to see you at either one, but the Texas Summit is near to my heart and I am hoping to bring a bunch of you with me!  And don’t tell me it’s too far because I drive 8 hours each year to go to the one in Oklahoma and I would fly anywhere in the USA to be there.

If you are worried because you don’t know anyone else going then I have a couple of solutions for you.  First, bring a friend (or 2 or 3)!  This is a great girlfriend trip.  Share a room and ride together and have a grand adventure!  Or, if that doesn’t work out you can consider me your friend to hang around with.  Even though I will be moving around a lot, I will make sure you meet some of the other amazing women there and help plug you in.

I have a $10 off code you can use, so be sure you plug that in when you register!  It’s PENNINGTON10

Here is my recap of the 2014 Summit.  You really don’t want to miss this.

Come join us!  January 22-23 in Oklahoma and February 5-6 in TEXAS!!!

 

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

This post contains affiliate links.

Hello!  If you’re stopping by from Thomas Nelson…welcome!  I hope you’ll hang around and if you want to know more about me THIS is a good place to start!

10 great questions to have your kids ask themselves when they are bored. #parenting

With 9 kids, I have heard many versions of “Mom, I’m bored,” and, “I don’t have anything to do.”  I usually send them outside with orders to, “Run around and have FUN!”.  But the cold weather (or here in Texas, the summer heat) can keep us inside and not sure what to do with ourselves.

I keep a list posted in the house for the kids to reference when they have nothing to do: 10 things to ask yourself before you tell Mom you’re bored.

Before you tell Mom you’re bored, answer these questions:

  1. Is your room clean?  Picking up a few things and straightening is an important thing to do every day.
  2. Have you exercised?  Use your body and get your heart rate up every day.
  3. Can you help someone?  The best way to use your free time is to give it to someone else.
  4. Have you read a book today?  Keep your mind exercised by reading every day!
  5. Have you prayed?  When you’re bored, it’s a good time to spend a few minutes talking to God.
  6. Have you read the Bible?  Find a verse and read it 3 times then say it out loud.
  7. Have you done something creative?  Draw a picture, write a story, play some music, weave a potholder.
  8. Have you played a game with someone?  NOT a video game, but a game where you sit at a table facing each other and talking to each other.
  9. Are your chores done?  Is the dog bowl clean and your laundry put away?  You are an important part of your family and when you don’t do your chores you are making life harder for everyone else.
  10. Is there something you can find to do yourself?  Look around and see what you can do without interrupting Mom or Dad to ask.  You might be surprised at what’s available to you already.

Here are a few fun books to keep around for the kids to read while they’re looking for something to do:

Read and Share 5 Minute Bible Stories (quick, easy reference to find Bible stories, you might even find art projects to go along with them!), Henry Hodges Needs a Friend (a sweet little book about feeling left out), Under the Sea  (packed with hundreds of ideas for felt creations), MindWar (for the teens, one of those thrillers about a seemingly ordinary teenager who discovers a hidden gift)
The next time your child tell you they are bored, get out the questions and let them find productive things to do on their own.  Get their creative juices flowing and teach them to make wise choices for how to spend their time.
And then send them out to play.
Come on over to Facebook for more conversation!