Do you go to retreats?  It has been a long, long time since I attended any kind of retreat where I wasn’t speaking or working.  But this past weekend I got to go to one and let me tell ya…..I was not prepared for the deep introspection and personal conviction.

It was a good/hard kind of experience.

Good….God dug deep and pulled some weeds from my heart.

On Friday morning my daughter and I drove to Dallas, where the retreat was being held.  She rode with me so she could spend the weekend with my older daughter who lives there and visit my wonderful sister-in-law and her family.  We had a fantabulous ride up just talking and listening to podcasts and sharing ideas.  We arrived and I took my 2 girls to lunch and really just enjoyed some down time together.  Afterwards, I left them and headed to my retreat.


It was hosted by my Young Living leader and oh-my-lands she is good at making you feel cared for!  Every detail down to the light fixtures in the hotel was perfection.  We played team building games and ate amazing food and had NingXia Red at every meal. #spoiled

The real learning of the retreat was on Friday when we attended sessions about building a vision and understanding what motivates you and knowing your purpose.  It got pretty deep and for a while I felt like I had been hit by an emotional mac truck.  I have been through the ringer over this past year and it kind of just all came down around me.  I know we were supposed to be learning business ideas and being inspired in our Young Living dreams….but I had so many aha moments that were personal mixed in with all of the lightbulbs flashing over my head for my business that my brain nearly exploded.  In a good way.

I was taking notes as fast as my little hand would write.

At around 3:00 on Friday we took a break for a few hours before dinner.  Most of the ladies headed to the pool, but I just couldn’t take the extreme temps so I went to my hotel room and spent some time with my notebook and my Bible.  Me and God had a long talk.


I definitely felt refreshed and made some decisions about how I spend my time and where God wants me to focus.  I got to talk with my leader about my thoughts, which was amazing to be together in person so we could really connect and have a meeting of the minds.  And my roommate was so great too, she let me spill my thoughts out to her and helped me think through some things well into the wee hours of the night.  #blessed

On Saturday morning I went for a facial before heading to pick up my daughter and drive back home.  Have you ever had a facial?  I had never had one before and Lord-have-mercy, it was unbelievable.  If I could I would get one every week.  My skin is still thanking me.

On the Saturday afternoon drive home my daughter and I talked a lot about what we had each done while in Dallas and made plans for the next few days.  She and I are traveling together again next weekend.  We are going to the Focused Conference in Virginia.  More time together.  More learning.  More bonding over everything from gluten-free food to books we love.

When I got home it was hard to decide….to unpack or not to unpack.  Ultimately I could have just left it all on the suitcase and used it again next weekend.  The problem is that one trip was driving and the other is flying.  Flying requires a whole different kind of packing.  Little bottles, Ziploc bags, shoes that slip off easily….for my driving trip I just kept tossing things in the car like I hadn’t a care in the world until I had, in addition to my suitcase, several tote bags full of random, completely unnecessary stuff. So I decided it would be best to go ahead and put everything away (except the suitcase) and get it all back out again in 3 days.  I do feel more organized with it all put in its place instead of living out of a suitcase in my own home.

For the next few days I will be reflecting on all that God showed me last weekend and asking Him to help me keep those nasty weeds OUT of my heart and help me plant something beautiful and fruitful in its place.  I have let too many unwanted things grow in there lately and I am glad to be rid of them.  I’ll be reading my Bible and pouring God’s Word over those recently touched areas.

And I will be thanking God for His mercies….I sure am feeling His goodness these days.

How about you?  When was the last retreat you went on?

In My Mind I’m the Hare but in Reality I’m the Tortoise

In My Mind I’m the Hare but in Reality I’m the Tortoise

Will it bore you to know that I am still working on my kitchen?  I used to be fast as lightening at these kinds of projects.  But that was when I was not only younger, but my kids were younger and I could just put them in a room with a new Lego set and a box of sugar cereal and they barely noticed I wasn’t paying attention to them.

These days my kids require more effort than I can buy with toys and Fruit Loops.  They need school lessons and to be driven here and there.  They have their own agenda that often requires my assistance, which can slow down a kitchen makeover.  And myself, I move more slowly.  It’s weird isn’t it?  I feel like I am moving at a normal pace.  But I am proven wrong when I am in front of one of the kids in the hallway and it causes a traffic jam, complete with honking.

I hope the fable is true, “slow and steady wins the race.”  If so, then I am going for grand champion.

I’d say we are 2/3 finished.  The white cabinets are all painted and ready to be waxed.  I like the look of wax over chalk paint.  I have been doing that technique since before it was cool and will likely still be using doing it long after Pinterest is flooded with a new trend.  It’s durable and looks professional.  The axing does add more work, but it’s so worth it!

This weekend, in addition to painting, we hung a new cabinet and new microwave.  It sounds great until you have to figure out how you are going to add trim to all of it to hide the flaws in your hanging skills and make it look like the rest of the old kitchen.  The shininess of the new microwave is already putting my electric range to shame.  But not to worry, it will be grimy in no time and fit in with the rest of my appliances just fine.

Yesterday was my oldest child’s 25th birthday, so of course I got very little done because I was wallowing in a deep depression.  I can’t figure out how this happened.  She was born, she hopped around the house with a pacifier between her teeth telling us all what to do, she was a grown up.  1-2-3.  Where was the middle?!

We did our usual special birthday breakfast where they get to choose anything they want to eat.  Then we opened gifts and just hung around talking.  The weather here has been amazing, so the doors were open and I put peppermint in the diffuser to keep us all uplifted.  It did help my general despair over how fast she grew and I got a bit of painting and cleaning done as well.  So hooray for peppermint and 75°.

Later this week we have another birthday (I may go into a puddled mess over this one….someone send Kleenex!) and some light plans.  We try to stay close to home and uncommitted toward the end of tax season to make it easy for James, who needs to completely focus on work.  And in case you’re looking for help, he has a website.

Last week I read on Facebook about a friend who fell asleep while doing her taxes.  That would be me.  Truth be told, the fact that he does taxes and bookkeeping is the thing that I find most attractive about my man.  I mean, six pack abs are nice, but what good are they when the IRS calls?

Have a great week!


Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings

It’s been birthday week here.  The day after my birthday was one of my boys’ birthday and that means we pretty much do nothing but entertain ourselves for 4-5 days.  We can’t just stop after 2 birthdays in a row.  We’ll just roooolllll it into the weekend.

I had a nice birthday.  James and the kids really went all out to make it special for me.  What a blessing they are!  They got me some presents and made me a little book that’s filled with their thoughts about me (it’s called “What I Love About Mom” and you fill in the blanks).  I pretty much bawled while reading it.  They took turns filling in answers and really blew me away with their sweetness.  Several of them wrote that they think I’m wise……which makes me consider making a bunch of copies and framing them and hanging them around the house.  You know.  For the other 364 days when they forget they said that.

After the gifts and I read my little book, my oldest daughter handed me this gorgeous, hand painted, half-gallon sized jar.  One of my other daughters painted it and I just thought, “Oh what a cute jar…I love it!”  Then she told me it had notes of encouragement from friends inside.

She had contacted people and asked them to send me a note of encouragement.  That jar was PACKED FULL of the nicest notes a girl could even imagine.  I sat and read them, humbled by not only what each note said, but that my darling girl would go to so much trouble to tackle this project.  I couldn’t believe how crammed full that jar was.  Talk about encouraging!!!

If you’re looking for a special gift for someone, this is it….it will carry me through when I feel low.  I set it by my chair and whenever I want I can just pull a note out and feel the love.

A great idea to encourage someone for a special event or birthday!  #blessingsjar

(the little chalkboard art was a gift from one of my sweet boys and the flowers were from a friend)

You can’t really tell in the photo, but the jar is huge.  I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate and I felt like all of my friends that contributed a note or letter were right there with me.

Thank you so much if you were a part of this beautiful gift.

Now that we are past the birthdays and my husband is busy with tax season, it’s time for my annual project to begin.  I am going to paint the kitchen cabinets and do a small remodel project in there, just moving a few things around.  I have been keeping a list of what is not working for me in the kitchen and I am ready to do some repairs and sprucing up.  This will be my focus for the month of March.  It helps me forget that my husband can’t pay any attention to me and gives the boys a little money since I will pay them to help.

I’ll be spending the next week or so gathering supplies that will bring my ideas to life.  I’ll keep you updated….it’s so fun to perk up a draggy room!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a terrific weekend filled with joy and even if you don’t get a huge jar filled with notes, know that you are loved beyond measure by God and me and LOTS and LOTS of other people!

When Your Adult Kids Still Live at Home

When Your Adult Kids Still Live at Home

Tips and thoughts for ways to handle adult kids still living at home

Right now we have 4 adult kids living at home and 1 more graduated that’s just under the wire of official adulthood.

This is a whole new level of parenting.  People say toddlers and teenagers are hard….we didn’t have big struggles with those ages.  But adults, that is a topic that needs some attention!

Our kids have always had responsibility and had to learn hard lessons.  They pay for their own things and work from home (mostly) and earn their own money.  They help around the house and are generally pleasant.  But there are still some things that we are working to figure out.

1. Where does the authority of the parents end and the “child’s” begin? (I am calling them child for the sake of clarity, but I know they’re not children)
2. How much of their needs should they pay for?  Rent?  Food?  Insurance?
3. Should we let them use our car?  Our wifi?  Our phone plan?
4. How do we handle discipline?  Or do we?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of adult children living at home.  If they were someone else just moving in with us we would have set clear boundaries from the beginning, but since we eased into this for the past 18+ years it’s not so cut and dried.

The good news is that we do all believe in the Bible being the Word of God and even though not all of those things are addressed directly, is it clear how to handle disputes and so we manage to keep the peace.  That is a victory all by itself!  If you are still raising your young children keep that in mind.  Teach them now to love the Lord, do hard things and care for other people.  It will benefit them now and forever more.

I am sympathetic to my kids’ situation.  They are adults living a child’s life.  They need to break out and believe me….we want our little birdies to fly from our nest.  I am not anxious to be the head of an adult living center.

Even though I am still in the midst of this season and I do not have a full view from the rearview mirror, I have learned a few things that might help anyone headed this direction.

1. If it belongs to me I have authority.  My house, my car, my food….I can say how it gets used and if I let you paint the room you are living in your favorite color then I am doing you a favor.  And you should be grateful.  But if it’s yours…..your purse, your clothes, your car then I should leave you alone about it, even if I have a great idea that would help you undoubtedly achieve great future successes.  I close my mouth.
2. They should pay for themselves as much as possible.  We haven’t moved to having our kids pay rent, but that is because they are responsible with their money and they voluntarily hold themselves accountable to us about how they use it (accountable, not obedient).  But we do require them to pay for their phone (they are on our plan) and they buy their own special foods (so if they like a certain cereal or drink they buy their own, but they eat meals with us).  I have thought about charging my son for laundry services.  Free if you do it yourself, $2 per load if you convince a sister to do it for you. 😉
3. Easing into adult responsibilities.  Our two oldest kids are each saving to buy a car and when that happens it will be 100% their responsibility.  For now they use our cars, but there are rules.  They have to ask.  Every time.  They have to tell us where they are going and when they will be home and if that changes they have to let us know.  And they have to pay for insurance and whatever gas they use.
4. Discipline is a harder issue.  For example, if we request they get up and be dressed by 7:00 in the morning and they don’t do it….what should happen?  Basically, we give them adult sized consequences for these things.  A week without the use of our car has been a consequence we used in the past.  That wasn’t fun.  We do give them a lot of privileges that we could take away if necessary.  I mean, eating here is a privilege and so is having your own room.  If you want that privilege then you have to show respect for our needs as a family and joyfully do what we ask unless we discuss it and all agree to something else.

We expect our adult children to take care of more than just themselves.  By age 18 you should carry your own weight and help those around you.  That means they have responsibilities for kitchen, cleaning, car maintenance, helping with siblings, working for Mom or Dad in our business, etc.  Their whole day can’t be just about them.  That is not good for them and it certainly isn’t good for the parents.  We can’t carry our adult kids around and we shouldn’t have to.  Each adult in the home must be making a large contribution to the cost (financial, physical, emotional, etc.) of living in the home.  We expect them to contribute a minimum of 4 hours per day on family needs, but this can include working for us in our businesses.  If they have jobs that allow them to contribute financially then that time requirement would change.

But what happens when they just don’t agree?  They shouldn’t have to agree with us all of the time of course!   And all of our kids disagree with us on various topics.  That’s when the relationship becomes so, so important.  James and I work hard to spend time with our older kids and listen to them.  What’s important to them? How can we support their dreams?  How are their friends doing?  What are they struggling with right now?  How can we help without jumping in and rescuing them?

It is a delicate balance for all of us and one that we can all become more like Christ through the process. 

If you only have young children now or are looking at being in this situation soon, hear me when I tell you….keep the lines of communication open.  Your adult children still need you.  But you have to practice self-control like you never have before.  No more swooping in and saving the day.  No more endless streams of motherly advice.  No more being bossy (come on, it’s not just me).  They need to make mistakes….sometimes big ones… learn and be able to fly away.

Be strong mamma……we are growing and learning too even though we’re supposed to be the more mature one.  It sure ain’t easy.

And when all else fails I can remind my adult kids of what it says in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them,  then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones.”


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If You Don’t Mind…..

If You Don’t Mind…..

I may have a problem.  Like I need counseling and possibly shock therapy.  I love books.  I have shelves full of them in every room and when someone offers to send me one to review I simply can’t resist.  #bookaddiction

But I realize I have not told you much about all of the writing that’s happening right under our very roof. #mykids

Besides writing a book myself, my daughter Grace has written 4 books and the first three are available on Amazon.  #true

1. Firmament: Radialloy is about a young woman who lives on a starship.  If your teen or young adult likes sci-fi this is a fun adventure!
2. Firmament: In His Image is the second in this series (with the third coming out very soon!) and follows the same main character.
3. Never is a clean, wholesome, family friendly western with slightly more mature conflicts.

She also has a blog where she reviews books and it’s always nice to find clean books for our kids to read.


My daughter Patience also has a blog that is for budding photographers.  She’s really good at encouraging you to love your family and follow your passion.  Your photo-driven kids would love this.  #itisprecious


And, if you don’t mind me telling you, my oldest son is making an album of songs that he has written.  He has a website that tells about his vision and he is also wrapping up a fundraiser to help get it made.  #hemakesmyheartmelt


Not to be left out, my daughter Hope is writing a graphic novel (kind of like a faith-based comic book) and my other daughter Faith is starting her own jewelry line.  Those are still works in progress. #iamconstantlyamazed

I really don’t mention all of their accomplishments much because I don’t want to be braggy.  But just this once….I had to say it.

Thanks for letting me.  #proudmom

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Do You Ever Wonder What Day It Is?

Do You Ever Wonder What Day It Is?

In the spirit of gratefulness, I am going to stop myself from complaining about the 3 day holiday that always throws me off of knowing what day it is.

Since we homeschool and my husband is self-employed, working from home….it’s pretty much like any other day around here except we eat watermelon.  That is the stamp of a summer holiday for us.  Otherwise it’s business as usual.  So you would think it wouldn’t affect my internal clock, but it does.  I have spent the past week thinking it is a day behind and now it’s Friday and I feel cheated out of a day this week.  Because my brain keeps insisting it’s actually Thursday and that means I have a whole other day to pack for my trip this weekend.

Except not.

Tomorrow begins a three day whirlwind to Seattle and San Francisco to spend some time with my friends at Invisalign.  Did I tell you how excited I am to be starting my son in their fabulous treatment?  No?  Well don’t worry, you will hear a bunch about that as he gets started.  Right now we’re still in the pre-treatment phase.  I will just say that I am thoroughly enjoying working with them and this weekend will be a blast of hanging out with other bloggers talking about how much we love working together.  And the best part is that my oldest daughter Grace gets to go with me.  We are so excited to have some mother/daughter time that doesn’t include pushing a grocery cart or picking up lumber!

We will be in Seattle on Saturday night then off to San Francisco on Sunday night then blast back to Texas on Monday.  No rest for the weary around here.

Of course this makes me realize…..I will undoubtedly be off my days again next week because of it.  So please excuse me if I post some “Happy Tuesday!” pictures next Wednesday morning.

I’m also gearing up for some really amazing posts on the blog next week.  It’s the “Essentially Summer” series using essential oils with 35 recipes coming your way!  PLUS….I am doing my summer home tour with my favorite DIY/home decor peeps and y’all are gonna go crazy over these homes.

I’ll see you on the flip side.

Have a great weekend……whenever that is!

1L, 4Ds and 5K

1L, 4Ds and 5K

It’s been a girl themed week.

Last Thursday my 4 daughters and I went big city shopping.  It was a birthday shopping trip for my oldest daughter Grace since I was going to be gone over the weekend of her birthday.  We spent the whole day hitting everything from anthropologie to thrift stores.  The girls are now set for clothes for the rest of the warm weather season, which is a relief to me since shopping with them is a test in endurance.  Of me and my wallet.


For myself, I am on the search for t-shirts with sleeves.  Not long sleeves or 3/4 sleeves.  Just plain old short sleeves that are long enough to cover my arm flaps.  It’s a sad day when you nearly slap someone with your extra arm skin and I am trying to avoid that with sleeves and prayer.

Saturday and Sunday I went to Austin.  I ran my first 5K this weekend.  I did it with my sister….she gave it to me for my birthday and it was a double treat to get to spend the time with her.

I have never had any interest in doing any kind of running or, really, moving at all.  But after walking every morning since last July it was pretty easy.  And on a cool spring morning….almost heaven.

My first 5k

To keep the girl theme going I will be going on a photoshoot for my daughter’s 17th birthday this week.  Shopping is not her thing.  She asked for a photoshoot in the city and as an added bonus she wants to be there when the sun rises to get the best lighting.  Leave the house at 6AM….oh sure.  Because giving birth to you wasn’t enough of a sacrifice.

Next week I need to have a boy themed week.  Those are much easier.  Just dump some Legos in the living room and throw food into the middle every few hours.

Have a great April!

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Did you know that my older kids went through a film making phase?  My son Jacob made 2 animated movies and entered them into a Christian film festival several years ago and was a semi finalist with one of his films.  My oldest daughter also entered 2 films.  It was such a blessing to watch my kids develop skills that they both use today.  My son is still into animation and hopes to develop that into a career.

So imagine my excitement when I heard about a new festival in town!

Don't miss the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio TX!

The Christian Worldview Film Festival is coming.  Yep.  It’s right up our alley.  And if you like to see good, wholesome films made with purpose you should think about going.  If the 60 films, incredible speakers, wonderful music (our friends the 4 Proches will be playing live!) aren’t enough….then come to spend time with us!

Here’s a great list of reasons to attend this event!

The festival starts Thursday, March 13 at noon and goes through Saturday night.  There’s also a Filmmakers Guild (which we are super excited to go to!) on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can buy tickets to just the festival or the whole event.  If you have anyone in your family that is interested in making movies or being involved in the media industry you would be wise to go to the whole thing.

AND if you use the code “PENNINGTON” you will get 25% off of your ticket.  How’s that for an added blessing?

Embracing Modesty, No. 49

Embracing Modesty, No. 49

Wow!  Only 3 more modesty posts to go and the year will be over.  I can’t believe how much we have enjoying doing this series.

Which makes me wonder….what do you want to see for next year?  More modesty pictures?  Or something else like our meal plans?  Or maybe homeschool ideas?  I’d love to hear from you!!!

For this week I am going to show a few things my girls have been wearing.  They are such cutie pies that I have to share some of their looks.

This first look was on a day before it got so c-c-cold.  Faith is wearing a skirt she got at Versona and a layer of t-shirts and a vest.  She made the necklace with 3 bullet cases she found in the yard.

I’ve said before that my youngest daughter, Patience, likes a more sporty look and this picture proves it.  This outfit is her personality to a T.  Most of it we got at thrift stores.

This next picture of Hope shows her personality too….she likes a simple outfit with a teeny twist (as in the tights).  She got the sweater and skirt at JCPenney.

Grace is my classic girl.  Scarves and hats are the name of her game.  And oh my this green is her color!  Knowing what colors look good on you is a great way to know how to shop.

And oh the red hat… adorable is that?!  I am not a hat person….I mean I want to be then I try one on and realize, nope, not good.  But Grace wears them so well.

It’s such a delight to see what outfits my girls put together each day.  Winter is a fun time to play with layering and leggings. And boots….how could I forget the boots?!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the Embracing Modesty Gallery with all of the posts from this series!

And don’t forget to let me know if you have a preference for what series we should do for 2014!

Embracing Modesty, No. 42

Embracing Modesty, No. 42

This week the girls are taking over this post because I am at a conference.  I will show y’all what I wore to the conference when I get back, but for now we’ll talk scarves.

My girls love to wear scarves.  Grace wears one every day and the other girls at least once a week.  Here are just a few of their scarf styles….

Faith’s favorite way to wear them is just to loop it in the front and let the sides hang down in the front.

Here she is again.  Same way of wearing it.  Different outfit.

Grace does crazy cute things with her scarves.  She even has a YouTube video with some of her ideas.

Be sure to check out the Embracing Modesty Gallery to see the rest of this series!