The Pennington Point Wed, 07 Oct 2015 01:37:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Oldies but Goodies Wed, 07 Oct 2015 01:37:35 +0000 This week I am locked away working on my next book.  It turns out that I write better when I don’t have to do 8 loads of laundry a day or have to grade a dozen math papers.  So I have gone into hiding for a few days to get the first draft finished.  I’ll be back next week, but while I am away I thought I’d remind you of a few older projects in case you’re in the mood for something fun to do.

  1. We just finished moving kids’ bedroom around and the boy’s Lego shelves are being overhauled.  I thought I’d show you these giant Legos I made a few years ago that we put on the shelves to add a bit of a break from the bright colors and plastic.

    How to make a fun extra for the kids room.  Lego decorating.

  2. Also last week I was adding some pumpkins to the front porch and I was enjoying the fun of my painted houndstooth rug and I thought I’d share it with you in case you want to paint one for yourself! 

    How to paint a houndstooth rug! -- The Pennington Point

  3. The last big thing we worked on last weekend was cleaning out the kids’ school lockers.  Several years ago I found these old lockers at a flea market and because they were bright yellow the price was low.  No one wanted yellow lockers!  But a few cans of white spray paint later and they were perfect in my living room.  My school kids actually keep their school books in there and the extra lockers hold Wii games and extra school books.

I am always up to a something around the house and I am hoping to do some new arranging over the next few weeks in the living areas.  But don’t tell James.  I like to surprise him.

Be sure to stop by your favorite bookseller and pick up my book “Mama Needs a Do-Over” if you haven’t already!
Have a great week!  Happy fall!
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The Christian Walk…or Is It a Climb? Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:23:56 +0000 I went to see the movie “Everest” yesterday.  I normally don’t go for those blockbuster, adventure thriller kind of movies because, frankly, they scare me.  I get so nervous watching them that I have to run to the ladies’ room at least twice during the movie since my bladder can’t take the tension.

But I felt like I was supposed to go see it, I can’t explain why.

The film is about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.  There were times in the movie when I stayed tightly curled up in my seat with my eyes closed.  As the climbers made their way up to the summit I was so moved by the effects of the blizzard that I kept wishing for a furry coat to wrap around me.  I could have sworn I was freezing in that theater.  I am easily influenced.

What kept striking me as the story played out was how the mountain seemed to call these people.  I mean, WHY would you risk your life for something like that?  One character explained it best when he said that he only felt real peace on the mountain despite the agonizing physical difficulty.

And right there in the middle of than torturous story it hit me.  This is the Christian experience.  God calls us and we must follow Him.  Despite having to lose everything in the answer to the call, we discover that the only real peace is on that harrowing climb.  It is filled with trials and tribulation, yet we stay the course.

The Christian walk can be more like a climb to a mountain summit.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Christianity is not easy, friends.  But the peace that accompanies it is unexplainable to those who simply can’t see it.

Sometimes I get it in my head that I am doing things wrong if I am feeling pain or discomfort.  When people call me crazy, it hurts and I don’t want to be disliked.  When I lose possessions or people that I value, it makes me want to quit.  But there is no peace in going back down the mountain and trying to rejoin the world.

Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Being a Christ follower does not mean a pain-free life, nor does it mean we won’t have troubles.  Trouble happens to all of us no matter who we are!  Being a Christian means that the trials draw us to become more like Christ and in our suffering He is glorified.  I know…. it sounds kinda crazy!  But I have experienced that kind of unexplainable peace and I tell you that the joy found there is no less than reaching the summit of Everest.  It is a-mazing!

1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange wee happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

When I am injured, I still bleed.  When people hate me, my heart breaks.  And when I am rejected for my faith, it stings like the dickens because I love those who reject me and want them to have the peace that I experience.  God doesn’t promise to save me from the pain.  He does promise to increase my character and my hope.

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts though the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Oh boy do I need some of that hope more and more each day!

I won’t be making a trip to the summit of Mt Everest, or any mountain for that matter.  I’ll just stay right here at my low altitude thankyouverymuch.  Just watching the movie was enough for me to know that I wouldn’t have even made it to the first camp.  I have my own, more personal mountain too climb.  Motherhood, marriage, work, friends, so many areas that I have to learn hard lessons from.

But amidst the loss and pain and suffering that I have experienced as I climb this mountain that calls me, the sense of peace and joy are with me, carrying me to the end.

Go see the movie for yourself and be amazed.  Oh, and take a heavy coat.

Continue the conversation on Facebook.

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The Day the House Won Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:59:04 +0000 Do you like to rearrange rooms in your house?  It’s kind of an annual thing around here.  We get an itch to move the kids into different bedrooms and clean everything while getting rid of junk.  The problem here is that my kids do this totally rude thing of growing up and developing new interests and needing space for their new equipment or work, so we have to find ways to accommodate their growth.

In this case, in addition to growing needs, a room became available.  Our oldest daughter, after spending the summer in Dallas, decided to stay there for a little longer.  So she came home for a couple of weeks and we spent time getting her room packed up.  I also got to do some fun shopping with her because the temps are significantly colder where she will be and she needed to warm up her wardrobe.

OK, that’s not completely true.  I would have taken her shopping anyway.

I would have taken her shopping even if the temps were the same.  I wanted to help her set up for success and my way of doing that is though clothing and closet organizers.  We had a great time together!

On Saturday morning she left with her packed-to-the-gills car and the other kids and I got started cleaning the room out and prepping it for the new tenants.  It’s a 2 room combo so my 2 daughters still at home decided to move into it and share the large space.  While some of the kids moved stuff from where the girls were before, 2 boys and I scrubbed and arranged and cleaned while it was emptyish.

Messy house funny

I can not express how good it feels to know that every inch of that space is super clean.  I expect it to last no more than 3 days.

By about 4:00 Saturday afternoon I was so tired you would have thought I had moved one of the pyramids in Egypt one enormous brick at a time.  I was literally falling over.  I told the kids I needed an hour to rest and I closed my bedroom door.  I may have even slammed it a little…. not out of frustration but from being too exhausted to take the one step necessary to close it gently.

I napped so hard that my face had marks in it and I had no idea where I was when I woke up.

Later that evening I did manage, with the help of the boys, to put away the junk that had exploded its way into my living room.  That’s how room rearranging goes.  You pick up something and don’t know where to put it so you dump it in the living room.  My house was a disaster area.  A friend asked for pictures to prove my house was mess, which I did not take for fear of seeing them later and having nightmares.  Just imagine an episode of hoarders and you will have a pretty good idea of what my house looked like.

messy house funny

I am going to have an intervention on myself pretty soon.  I keep WAY too much STUFF!

We did manage to get the living space of our home pretty well picked up, ordered pizza and all went to bed too tired to even think about the next day.  Thankfully I had prepped our Sunday clothes earlier in the week.  If I hadn’t, we would probably have had to go with a toga theme for church.

messy house funny

Our pastor started a new series this weekend about loving one another, which I am super excited about.  Love and forgiveness sounds so easy in theory, but in practice…. not always.  If I hadn’t been so tired I might have gone up and told him how much I am looking forward to the next few weeks of his sermons.  Maybe next weekend.  Wait, no.  We are moving the boys’ rooms next weekend.  I’ll just have to send him an ecard.

messy house funny

This week I will be starting my big October project of finishing the first draft of my next book.  I have been working on it, but I am planning a big push to finish it and get the editing process going.  That’s part of why I want to get the kids all settled into their new spaces….. they need some attention from Mom before I go into my writing cave.

messy house funny

Lastly, my daughter and I went to see a movie called “Captive” while we were out shopping.  It was pretty good for the 18 and up crowd (keep in mind we are SUPER conservative about what we let our under 18 kids see).  The content was definitely adult in nature, but never went so far as to be disturbing.  I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  And that’s just because I thought it could have used a little more of a point, but I like to be spoon fed in a movie.  I’m lazy like that.

Have a great week!

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10 Reason to Use Invisalign Thu, 24 Sep 2015 14:49:03 +0000 (I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

If you’ve been following our Invisalign journey, you know we have 2 boys in aligners now.  We are so happy with the entire process and I thought I’d share with you some of our favorite things about Invisalign.

10 great reasons to use Invisalign!

1. It’s SO easy!  Like, SUPER easy!  The boys wear them all of the time unless they’re eating, so we just keep their cases in the dining room (I made little buckets for their cases you can see here) and they just take the aligners out for meals and keep them in and the rest of the day it’s a no brainer.

2. It brings us together.  I know, this sounds weird but we really do enjoy the time spent together going to the orthodontist and finding clever ways to store the aligner trays and just working together on this very cool project of straightening their teeth and watching their smile change.

3. They learn responsibility.  There is a level of responsibility to this and the boys have really stepped up and taken charge.  They have to take care of these aligners and they understand the importance of that.  It wasn’t immediate, but over time it’s been less of a mom-job and they have shown maturity in this area.  Oh how I love watching my boys become men!

4. Less Ortho visits.  As much as we enjoy the time together, I also love that I don’t have to go as often as I did with my kids in traditional braces.

5. Easy teeth brushing.  Being able to remove them makes teeth brushing so easy.  There are no wires to work around or brackets in the way.  I have also noticed that the boys are more consistent with their teeth brushing.  They like to be clean before putting the trays back in so they are brushing several times a day.

6. Invisibility.  My boys love the fact that in our experience, you can hardly see the aligners.  It’s kinda like a super-power.

7. Eat whatever you want!  Unlike traditional braces, you can eat anything you want with Invisalign.  There is nothing to avoid, except of course what Mom says you can’t eat….. like ice cream for breakfast.  “Just because you have Invisalign, young man, doesn’t mean you can ACTUALLY eat anything you want.”  😉

8. Know your numbers.  Since the trays are numbered it’s easy to tell how much longer you have to go.  It’s inspiration to keep changing them on the assigned day to keep up with the program.  You always know exactly where you are in your treatment.

9. Being cool.  My boys are so happy to do something their friends do, it makes them feel hip.  Or is it cool?  I don’t know the right word these days.  When I was a teen it would have made me feel like totally tubular.

10. Brotherly Love.  We have the special gift of 2 boys in treatment so they share this project.  They help each other remember to change trays, they share tips, I will hear them say if we are going out, “Hey, don’t forget your retainer case!” and they seem to have developed a bond over the process.  It been an unexpected surprise.

I hope you’ll look into Invisalign when it’s time for some teeth straightening at your house.  It’s free to talk to an orthodontist and just see what you think!

Happy straightening!

If you have any questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

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It’s Fall Y’all! Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:07:07 +0000 I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


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Are You a Meddler? Fri, 18 Sep 2015 14:05:58 +0000 A few weeks ago in church our pastor was preaching from 1 Peter.  He was just reading along and sharing his message and he got to 1 Peter 5:15. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”

It stopped me cold.  Whoa!  Being a meddler is right up there with a murderer and a thief?!  That’s pretty tough.

So I decided to do some digging about meddlers (also known as busybodies) and see what else the Bible has to say about it.  I definitely wanted to know if I was doing any of that meddling stuff myself and I sure don’t want to suffer like a murderer!

In the sermon, he said that a troublesome meddler is “one that is too involved in the affairs of others.” He also said that while it is not a crime to be a meddler, it is a sin.  Ouch!

One thing I want to really make clear is that I am looking at myself here, not anyone else.  It is SO easy when I read these verses to look at others who have meddled in my life and think, “Ooooh…..she’s in TROUBLE!”, then just go about my day as if I don’t have any sin hiding in the corners of my heart.  But that really doesn’t help anyone.  So I am choosing to look at my own life and leave other people to the Holy Spirit.  I am sure there’s enough mess in me to deal with; I don’t need anyone else’s problems.  Plus, that would be pretty ironic to be calling people out for meddling when it’s really not my business.  It’s like those haters who scream at me online, “You are SO judgmental.”  Um…. do you hear the irony?

So for this discussion let’s just stop to look inside ourselves and see what planks we have in our own eyes and leave other meddlers to their suffering, shall we?

6 tips to help you know if you ae being a meddler #christian #culture #friendorfoe

How do we know if we are a meddler? 

To make it easy, let’s call our target Susie.  Poor Susie is obviously making some bad choices and she is SO impossible to deal with and frankly we just don’t like her.  Maybe she’s a relative, maybe she is a troublesome neighbor, or maybe she is simply a person we thought was a friend and then changed our mind after we found out that she is so horrible.  How can we know if we are meddling or really being helpful?  I mean, Susie has simply got to change, right?

1. If I gossip.  Yep, gossip is the number one way of meddling.  If I find myself talking to our friend Mary about how crazy Susie is when don’t talk to Susie about it….I am gossiping and ultimately meddling.  Either I am trying to be a part of helping Susie directly or I am a busybody.  There is not much in between.

Mt 12:36 “I tell you, on this day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

2. If I don’t pray for her.  Like it or not, we are called to want the best for Susie.  If we spend more time thinking about how annoying Susie is than praying for her we are possibly meddlers.

Mt 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven.”

3. If I am dipping my nose into her affairs.  There are some very clear areas of authority in Scripture and we will be wise to heed them.  Each man has authority over his own home.  It is easy to criticize others in their parenting, marriage, home-keeping skills, etc.  We all will fail in many areas, but unless there is actual illegal activity going on (and even then the are appropriate channels for helping, none of which involve social media or gossip) we need to stay out of other people’s business.  If we stuck our noses into every other family that does things differently than we do, we will leave nothing but a slew of broken lives behind us.

2 Cor 10:13 “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God has assigned to us, to reach even you.”

If you really, really think you need to get involved in helping someone through their sin (and it needs to be sin and not just “I don’t agree with you”), PRAY a lot before you jump in!  Then check with your spouse and see if they agree, then ask your pastor and see if he agrees.  Then, if that wise counsel (not all of your friends but just those 2 advisors) actually agrees that you should get involved, as hard as it will be, you are called to talk TO Susie instead of going around her.  Not talking directly to her is cowardly and never, ever actually helps anyone.  Not even you.

4. If I think I’m better than her.  If I think I am above anyone else, then I am in danger of all kinds of sin.  God loves me, God loves you, He doesn’t place any of us over any other.  If I think I am better than Susie, I am actually losing sight of how special she is to God and I can quickly slip into foolish and harmful behavior.  It is vital to keep the perspective that no matter what anyone does or what we do, it does not raise or lower us in God’s eyes.

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

5. If I can’t be corrected. Oh man, it is tough when someone corrects you.  It can really sting.  We like to be admired and thought of as flawless.  But we all need a word of correction sometimes….ALL OF US!  If you reject correction then you are likely to be a person who over-criticizes others.  It’s simple psychology: I have to lower others in order to stay on my imagined pedestal.

Be willing to be corrected.  It keeps us from getting a big head and thinking we’re all that and a bag of chips.  If we don’t get defensive when someone corrects us then we are in a better position to know if we are being a meddler.  I am so glad I have people in my life who tell me the truth or I would probably be the worst offender in all of history!

Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

6. Know God’s Word.  It is easy to say, “Susie is so WRONG!” but did we look in the Bible to actually see if it says what she is doing is wrong?  Child raising philosophies, school choices, birth choices, money, careers, so many areas where we like to think our way is the best.  And maybe you do have great ideas and maybe you can do have ideas that Susie could benefit from.  But is she WRONG?  Does the Bible actually SAY that if she doesn’t breastfeed then she is doing it wrong?  NO!  Let’s let each other live peacefully and just try to be understanding unless it is a real, honest to goodness sin.  If that is the case then it may be time to go to Susie in love and try to help her.

Your involvement should ALWAYS be for the purpose of helping Susie heal and draw closer to God.  Otherwise I need to just mind my own beeswax and be thankful to have friends who put up with my junk and I should be willing to put up with theirs.

Lastly, I am asking myself these questions to keep myself in check when it comes to meddling:

10 ways to know if you're meddling.  Great post about not being a meddler and loving others!

  • Am I really helping or just feeding my own ego?
  • Did this friend ask for my help?
  • Have I become part of the problem?
  • Do I think I know better than my friend about her life?
  • How much time have I spent praying for this situation?
  • Am I seeing my own messes and trying to fix them, or do I only “fix” others?
  • Am I being manipulative or dishonest in any way?
  • Am I honoring God in this relationship?
  • Do I ever sense the Holy Spirit telling me to stop?
  • Would I be of more service if I stepped out of the situation and minded my own business?
I watch Christians eat each other alive as they accuse and destroy and bully and attack both online and in person.  But it is absolutely, positively meddling if we are doing that.  To tear someone up, accuse them behind their back, talk about them as if we know all of the details of their situation and never do anything to actually HELP them is meddling and God says that we do not want to suffer what a meddler will suffer.  At the very least we should stop for our own sake!

I am asking God to show me any areas where I may be meddling and I will be praying for each of you who reads this.  Let’s make a change in ourselves and allow God to use us to bless others, even Susie.

Come on over to Facebook and continue the conversation!

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Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts Mon, 14 Sep 2015 17:12:23 +0000 All I can say about the past 2 weeks of my life is wow, wow, wow.

Between the book release then a trip to Orlando and a conference last weekend… is entirely possible that I am going to die of overexposure to fun and goodness.  Is that possible?  Like, I am actually craving housework and salad.

On the day the book came out, I drove around to a bunch of bookstores and left little notes in some of the books.  It was such fun to see my book in the stores.


The next day I flew to Orlando with 4 of my kids for 5 days of fun at Universal Studios.  The thing I struggle with the most when life gets so busy is sticking with my health plans.  I had such a great restart to my diet a month ago and planned to spend my entire time at Universal Studios Orlando eating healthy.  I had a suitcase full of healthy snacks and was armed for the battle.  In the parks I planned to eat bunless burgers with lots of veggies, stay away from sugar, etc.  But by the third night after days of running around and keeping up with the kids, I fell into bed at 11PM with some Oreos and half of a leftover giant pretzel.  Epic fail.

But you know what?  It’s not permanent.  I can just turn it around again.  This is my carousel ride of life.  Take good care of myself, down again, do a better job next time, fall off, eventually I will be more on the ups than the downs and that’s OK with me.  I am trying.

Last weekend our pastor preached about a time that is coming when there will be no more pain or diet problems or sin dragging us down.  We will be free of all of that and right now we can believe that to help get us through the hard times.  Oh boy I can’t wait for that day!

1 Peter 3:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

I am back to work this week with book writing and my Young Living oils team and a normal diet that consist of less Oreos and more lettuce.  I am also thrilled to be back to my little road for my morning walks instead of hotels and theme park workouts.

Speaking of theme parks, in case I didn’t say it, we had a fantastic time at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.  My kids that went with me all agreed that it will go down in our memory as one of our best vacations ever.  I really had no idea how wonderful the whole place was and will definitely go back!  Just give me a few months to recover.


After arriving home from Orlando we had one day to prepare for the Forge conference where we had a vendor booth and ladies’ luncheon happening.  The luncheon went so well (thanks to my BFF Sara) that I am going to pray about doing it again next year.  It was a lot of work, but such a sweet time of love and fellowship!


As much as I enjoyed getting all dressed up for the past couple of weeks and being out amongst the English, my wanna-be-Amish side is kicking in and I am ready for some home time.  I won’t be doing any canning or quilting, but I will be mopping some floors and hanging laundry on the line.  I am looking for simplicity and time with just my family.

We are also cleaning out bedroom for one of my great “shifts.”  It happens every year or two.  The kid’s needs change and we have to move bedrooms around.  It’s also a good time to rid ourselves of the junk that seems to accumulate.  We will attack it one room at a time until everyone is settled into new digs.

I am glad to be mostly home again and just enjoying some normalcy.  Grocery trips and Bible studies and homeschool and house cleaning are the name of the game.  I don’t travel again for a month and I plan to embrace every second of this time!

I hope you are falling into your routine of back to school.  Doesn’t it feel good to be back on schedule?!

Have a great week!

Continue the conversation on Facebook….


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Do Your Kids Love to Write?! Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:55:15 +0000 Do you want to teach your kids creative writing?

I found it difficult to really inspire my kids to write and know how to get their juices flowing.

Until I found the One Year Adventure Novel.  I have told you about it before, but in case you missed it, I want to tell you again!  AND they gave me a special discount code just for y’all.

Girl, I love me a discount!


We have used all of the One Year Adventure Novel curricula (someone give me points for using the proper form of that word!) in our home.  We started about 7 years ago with their high school program (called One Year Adventure Novel).  What I loved about it was that through the lessons and assignments, by the end of the year the student has written a book.  It’s brilliant!

It’s very in-depth without a lot of fluff.  Although, the video lessons ARE entertaining and sometimes my younger kids will sneak in and watch just for fun.

There’s a video for each lesson, then an accompanying lesson in the textbook.  After the lessons there’s an assignment that is done in a workbook.  It can be completed in one school year.  Plus there are forums that help a lot if you need it.  And the forums are also great for the kids to make friends.

The OYAN folks make it easy for the teacher too, because the lessons are done for you and they give great instruction for how to check the work.  I love that about it!

One Year Adventure Novel is primarily for homeschoolers, but honestly if I wasn’t homeschooling I still might go through it with my kids (keep in mind I do have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew).  It has inspired my kids to be writers and it tapped into their creativity (in a good way, not like “Hey let’s see what we can draw on the side of Mom’s car with an Exacto knife!” kind of way).

In fact, my oldest daughter has written 5 novels, with her last one, Implant, just released a few weeks ago!  She credits OYAN for much of her education in writing even though she was already out of high school when we started using it.


They also have a junior high version called, Cover Story.  Our son used it a couple of years ago and I plan to use it again this year with one of my other boys.  Instead of writing a whole book, it focuses through DVD lessons on shorter projects like poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, interviews, blogs & letters.  We really like it!  The lessons are more playful and if you like steampunk, you will be in for a treat.

Creative writing helps in so many areas of life!  I’ve seen my kids blossom through this class in ways that surprised me.  There is just something about the lessons…..working on the lessons makes them feel loved.

I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the only way I can describe it.

And IF you aren’t looking for writing curriculum, there’s still something you need to know about the creator of the One Year Adventure Novel, Daniel Schwabauer.  He is the author of our favorite, favorite stories that we read as a family.  I got his first 2 books, Runt the Brave & Runt the Hunted and we all flipped over them.  And his latest book, Curse of the Seer (Legends of Tira-Nor), has just been released.  We got it last week and it is already a new family favorite.  No kidding, we ripped it out of the package when it arrived and read it instantly.  It’s wonderful!

If you’re looking for a great series of books for your kids (ages 5-99) this is it.  They will not disappoint.

And now for the good stuff….the discounts.

For the One Year Adventure Novel use the code PP15oyan and get $30 off through the end of September!
For Cover Story use the code PP15story and get $20 off through the end of September!

Both of these codes must be applied at checkout.

I really hope you’ll try these with your kids.  I leaned a lot too, as I was going through it with them.  I know you will love it!

And if you love what they are doing over at OYAN keep updated with them on Facebook!

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Do You Need a Do-Over? Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:56:56 +0000 This is a great book for moms who need a boost of encouragement to find their joy again!

Well this is the week….my book, Mama Needs a Do-Over, comes out in stores and I am more than a little nervous.

Isn’t it funny how when our vision becomes reality we tend to see only the possible things that can go wrong or be negative?  Or is that just me?  Maybe when you have a dream come true you just think about how wonderful your life is.  I lean the other way….to the dark side.

Darth Vader has nothing on me when it comes to seeing the negative and being kind of a downer to the people around him.  I know why God didn’t give me a light saber.  Or a black helmet.

OK, I see that I have gotten a little off path with this post which is supposed to be a joy-filled sharing of the book release.

This book has been a year and a half of work and through the process my life did some pretty big flips and flops.  Mostly flops.  I know for a fact that God isn’t going to let me get too comfy and He keeps me on the edge of my seat most of the time.  I have never been a person with a big cushion to lean on.  We don’t have a savings account or family we can depend on or even an air-conditioner that works faithfully (you would think that those first two would be what I panic over the most, but really you don’t even want to know what kind of evil overtakes me if I get over-heated).  Every day is a walk of faith, trusting Him to see us through as we learn more and more about His character.

And this book has been no exception.  It was as if He whispered to me, “You’re not going to write this book, I am,” and He proceeded to remove every confidence and thing I really trusted.  Bit by bit He tore my life down to one thing, Him.

And so I wrote.  And I poured out my heart and cried then laughed (before we get too deep…the book is actually funny ‘cuz I can’t write any other way) then pounded my fists against the keyboard and prayed.  He kept coming through for me.  One chapter at a time.

And now it’s out of my hands and into His again.

Recently I was watching the movie Facing the Giants and in the very end a small kicker (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a faith-filled football movie) says to the coach, “I can’t do it….I can’t kick that far!” in the final seconds of the game.  And the coach tells him, “Son, it’s your job to do your best and kick as hard as you can and then let God do the rest.”

And that’s how I feel today.  I am kicking my book out there and letting God do the rest.  May it bless you!  May it speak His words to your heart.  May you buy 3 extras to give to your friends as gifts.  😉


Be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:17:22 +0000 Yesterday I somehow got the song, “76 Trombones” stuck in my head and now I am going to have to find myself a support group for people who are tortured by Broadway.  Add to it the fact that I only know the first 2 lines and after that I go into a mumbling sort of hum that makes my brain try to reach back into 4th grade when I may or may not have actually known the words.

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the way my brain works.  All day everyday.  A song pops into my head for no particular reason, I can’t stop humming it until I am singing it at the top of my lungs around the house except with the wrong words.

This will be SO.MUCH.FUN for the 65 new friends plus their families that get to spend the weekend with me over Labor Day.  Some of my kids and I are heading to Orlando next week where we get to build memories and enjoy meeting some super-cool people.

We’ll be attending the Family Forward Universal Orlando Adventure and it will be a blast!  I know we will have a great time not because of the inevitable rain leftover from Hurricane Erika or the plethora of other Broadway melodies swimming around in my head, but because it is sponsored by some companies that will bring the beauty out of any moment!

This brilliant event is intended to bring bloggers together WITH their families and focuses on not only fun, but working as a team and doing community service.  I can’t wait to see all we will learn together about the Children’s Miracle Network and how to really make the most of our families’ service to others.

Second, we will be staying at…..wait for it….the gorgeous Loews Royal Pacific Resort where I will not only be enjoying the beautiful views, but I may just make the visit complete for other fellow exercisers in the fitness center as I uncontrollably hum songs from The Music Man while on the treadmill.  You’re welcome Loews guests.

My kids will be so proud.

And ashamed.

Which is possibly going to be my favorite part of the whole trip.

We are excited about visiting Universal Studios and seeing what they’ve got going on.  I have been doing my research (aka Pinterest) and learning about Beer Butter and the need for ponchos and how to manage the ride lines.  Of course I have already planned what essential oils to have onhand and how to keep my big thighs from causing a heap o’trouble (which let’s face it, happens when you’re a big girl doing a lot of walking in a humid environment).

And with 4 of the kids going along, we have planned the whole budget for the trip and each of us knows the entire agenda from the moment we leave for the airport until we pull back in the driveway 6 days later.  Sometimes I like to surprise the kids with things when we travel, but this time I thought they would enjoy it more if they got to make most of their own decisions and have control over their spending.  For the few meals that are not provided with the event, I gave them each a budget.  They can spend it any way they want.  And they worked last weekend rebuilding our back deck to earn money for any extras or souvenirs.

My goal for this time we are spending together is to let them make their own decisions, learn, meet new people and oh yes… a few promotions for my book, Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around, which is being released the day before we go!  Be sure to order your copy!

And if you have any great Universal Studios tips head over to my Facebook page and continue the conversation.

Lastly, please accept my apology for sticking “76 Trombones” in your brain.  Hopefully the adorable Ronnie Howard image from the movie below makes up for the annoying wordless song.

Ain't he cute?!

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