Getting Ready for Summer

Getting Ready for Summer

Since I am traveling this week, I thought it would be great to share with you some posts you may have missed.  It’s the time of year when we all gear up for graduations, swimming, traveling and THE HEAT!

While I am traveling, be sure to follow my adventures over on Facebook and Instagram and even…yes I am going to say it….SnapChat.  I know, believe me I didn’t want to, but a couple of my kids are into it so there I went down that slippery slope.  You can find me there at “penningtonpoint”.  Trust me, you won’t see anything inappropriate on my feed, but I can’t speak for anyone else.

If you’re wondering what homeschoolers do for graduation, we have lots of options!  Many people I know pull together a group ceremony that’s very sweet and they often follow traditional graduations.  We have done several things.  Having graduated 5 kids, they’ve wanted different types of events.  The most recent one a couple of years ago was for two kids at once.  We had it at our house and it was a like a fun summer party.  We even built this yard game for the kids and it’s been reused and repainted several times since then, including for an outdoor wedding!  Another graduation a few ears earlier was more traditional.  We had it in a church and did a whole presentation, etc.  That was really nice too….it really depends on your style!

Now, what will we all be doing after graduations?  Getting the yard ready for summer of course!  A few years ago I built this deck beside my pool and got it all pretty for summer.  Since then I have moved stuff around, changed chairs and replaced pillows, but it’s never lost its charm!


Speaking of the pool, last summer we really struggled with our pool turning green.  It was such an ordeal getting it clear and keeping it that way.  I did a bunch of research and discovered that you can use regular old bleach for the pool, so that’s what we have done ever since and it’s been much better!  Right now we are getting it all cleaned out for swim season and I can’t wait for my first mid-morning escape!

Lastly, summer brings boredom.  Here’s a list of things to ask your kids when they say they are bored.  This list is the number one reason my kids never say that to me anymore.  wink-wink.

I hope you have a terrific week!

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.

Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils

Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils

We’re rounding the corner to the end of our 5 days series and I am really excited about today!  We’ve talked about HOW to get your oils, WHAT to do when your kit arrives, WHEN to use your oils and today is all about WHERE.

My goal this week is to walk you through the beginning with using oils so you’re not wondering what on earth you would even DO if you got some Young Living oils!  I always need a walkthrough when I am trying something new.  Sure, I figured this out mostly by myself but it took me a couple of years to really embrace the oils and discover how amazing they are (that was 10 years ago!).  I had a few bottles and used them regularly, but I didn’t realize the ways I could use them for wellness and daily blessings.  I thought they were only for crisis situations.

I still use them for times when we are less than healthy, but now I use them daily for staying way above the wellness line.  We diffuse them during school time to help the boys focus and learn, I use them when I need a boost of encouragement or bravery, when I get nasty comments online or even just when I have a lot to do that day (which is every day).  While I’m writing my books I always have oils and supplements nearby that support my mind and lift my mental clarity.

We all have different tasks everyday and our bodies are uniquely and wonderfully made, so the oils I love most may not be your faves.  But the oils in the kit are staples for most people.  Peppermint, lavender, frankincense….oh my!  I wouldn’t go through a day without them now.  I use frank every morning to uplift my mind, peppermint throughout the day for many reasons and lavender each night on my wrists for relaxation.  I probably use 10 oils daily and my kids use 4-5.

My other favorites are Valor, Peace & Calming, Abundance and Fitness.  But that’s today.  Tomorrow it may be different.  That’s the beauty of having a bunch to play with, they’re so versatile!

OK, so let’s get to the topic of WHERE:

  1. WHERE do I put the oils on my body?

You can use them anywhere, but there are some guidelines that may help you get started.  First, I am careful what I put on my face.  I always use them diluted there because when they’re neat (that’s the word for straight out of the bottle) they bother my eyes.  So be careful about using them around your eyes.  The skin on your face is more sensitive so dilute whatever you use there with V6 or coconut oil (or even unscented lotion).  The same goes for kids…always dilute them for kids.

When I do want something for my face, let’s say I want to help support my sinuses.  Just a normal day, I am not talking about healing or cures here. 😉  I will dilute an oil, maybe peppermint and lavender together, then rub it right over my sinuses.  I might also put some around my ears because it’s all connected and I want to maintain my health.  Just don’t get it too close to your eyes.

When you’re using them to support a specific area of the body, use the oil right there.  For instance, if you’re reaching for digestive wellness then rub it right on your stomach or lower abdomen.  Oils like PanAway, DiGize and RC are some that are great for this kind of use.  After that, there are some charts in your book that will help you find other topical ways to use them.  Find the Vitaflex chart and look at the areas on your feet that you can use the oils.

I always use one as a perfume each day (right now I am using Joy or Valor for this!).  I will apply it just like I would a perfume, on my wrists and my neck.  You can also apply it across your forehead if you’re using them for mind or emotional support.  Try different things and see what works best for you.

2. WHERE do I use them in my home?

The home is another incredible way to use your oils.  First, the diffuser.  #heaven  If you love candles, then you will doubly love the diffuser.  You can get beautiful smells in your home that are actually beneficial to the health of your family and not just scents.  Two birds-one stone.

When you start you’ll likely only have one diffuser (the one that came in your kit).  You can move it from room to room wherever you go.  We have one going in our dining room/school room during the day and in the bedrooms at night.  I’ll diffuse in the bathrooms as needed.  #stinky I even carry a small diffuser with me when I travel to use in our hotel room!

You can also use oils for cleaning.  Young Living has an incredible line of Thieves Cleaners that we use for everything from bathrooms to windows.  It’s been a transformation in our home.  You can try a few drops of Thieves or lemon in some water and wipe down your counters, doorknobs and light switches.

3. WHERE do I turn if I can’t figure it out?

Start with your book (or books!).  Google some things and see what you can find.  Soon you will discover that you have absorbed information and can learn more.  It doesn’t take much time at all.

Then, ask your leader or other YL member friends.  I say to do this after looking on your own because the best way to learn is to find out for yourself.  But once you’ve tried and still can’t figure it out, ask your friend that you joined with (like me!) and they should be thrilled to help either find the info for you or lead you to where to look.

Don’t be intimidated with these oils, they are just the liquid goodness from plants.  There’s no mystery.  God gave us the plants to use in this way!

Fun Fact: Did you know that our sense of smell is the only sense directly tied to the limbic area of the brain, which is considered the emotional control center? This means that when essential oils are inhaled, they go directly to the brain. Our other four senses — taste, sight, touch and hearing — are first routed through the thalamus before reaching designated areas of the brain.

Be sure to check out the rest of the series!

Day 1: HOW to Start Using Essential Oils
Day 2: The WHAT of Getting Started with Essential Oils
Day 3: The WHEN of Essential Oils
Day 5: The WHY of Essential Oils

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A MEMBER!!!

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!
Come to the Summit! (plus a note to your husband)

Come to the Summit! (plus a note to your husband)

Well?  Have you made up your mind or not?  It’s time to just jump on in and register for the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.

Look, I know it’s hard to get away and we can feel guilty spending time for ourselves and we wonder how the family will survive without us for a few days.  But this, my friend, is what you need to fill your tank.

Moms get worn out, burned out, tuned out….. we NEED a break!  And it is OK!!  You can’t just go-go-go without stopping and being refreshed with energy and enthusiasm and God’s love.

And the best part is that you will get all of that AND MORE at the Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit!  It takes place in Norman, OK January 22-23 and again in San Marcos, TX February 5-6.  The speakers, the prayer time, the worship, the laughter (OH so much laughter!) will all feed your soul and lift your heart.

The speakers will cover everything from marriage to motherhood to mere survival.  These are moms in the trenches just like us and they’ll minister you to all weekend while you hang out with your friends (and make NEW friends!).  Then we laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh.

It is my personal mission to make sure no one is there without a friend, so if you don’t know anyone come sit by ME!  I WANT to know you!  I want to spend time together.  You WILL NOT be bothering me!!!!!!

Please, don’t let doubt and fear or lack of funds keep you from this event.  If you have to travel, make it happen.  If you have to farm your kids out for a couple of days…. do it!  For the Texas event, Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers is traveling across several states to come!  And Connie from Smockity Frocks will be there too!  And many, many other amazing women…. including YOU, I hope!

Use the code: PENNINGTON10 to get $10 off your registration fee.  And hop over to Facebook to let me know you’re going!  I will be glad to answer any questions you have and do what I can to help you get there.

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I promise friends, this is WORTH it!  Ask for it for Christmas!!! If you share a hotel room with 3 other ladies (these are all suites and they’re HUGE!) it’s only $60 for both nights (not counting tax which might literally double that ‘cuz hotel tax makes me crazy and I can’t even get on that soapbox).  Let’s do a little math….

$109  (Registration)
– $10  (using my discount code: PENNINGTON10)
+$10  (to attend the blogger dinner if you’re in Texas)
+$60  (hotel)
+$25  (various food and miscellaneous)
= $194

For $200 plus the cost of getting there you get all of your food, nice hotel, time with friends, meet new amazing people, get prayed with, get loved on, hear wisdom, laugh ’til your sides hurt….GIRLFRIEND WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?!?!

(OK, now I want to talk to your husbands so just turn your computer over to him right now or screenshot this part and text it to him: Guys, my husband wants you to know how much going to the Summit refreshes me.  He makes sure I get there every year because I come home happier, more in love with him, more excited about the kids and feeling like I can handle what I have to face every day.  He wants to encourage YOU to send your wife to the Summit.)

Back to you friends….please come.  I want to help, I want to pray for you, I want to be a part of making your life better.

Summit or BUST!

Catch me on Facebook for more fun!

One Rotten Pumpkin Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

One Rotten Pumpkin Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

Where did Monday go?  I think I missed it somehow.  In fact, I somehow missed the entire weekend because when I sat down this morning to recount the past few days I can remember nothing.  Either it was so simple there’s nothing to remember or I blocked out something dramatic.  Or option number 3….I’m old and my memory is shot.

Whichever excuse, I have nothing to share about the past few days.

With the end of October looming, I am doing some holiday prep.  I don’t like these holidays that sneak up and are over before you can think, so I like to plan out some of the tasks early and get them out of the way.  I made a few Christmas lists and Thanksgiving invites and I set the pumpkins out on the porch.  Finally.

I bought 5 pumpkins about a month ago and they have been sitting in a pile at the edge of the porch ever since.  I have so many ideas for what to do with them, but in the end I just plopped them on a bale of hay with some mums and called it a day.  One of the pumpkins had already gone rotten, so I felt like it was becoming an urgent situation.  I didn’t want the rot to cross over to the other pumpkins and ruin them all, so I spent about 10 minutes setting them around on the porch.  I don’t foresee having any spare time in the next few weeks to decorate the porch more than this so I am settling for git-er-done over Pinterest-worthy.  Story of my life.

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I also got some mini pumpkins for the mantle, but it’s not looking hopeful that they will get put up there.  It will only get done if I have a burst of creative energy at the same moment I have unexpected free time.  In other words, not gonna happen.  It’s OK, I can use the mini pumpkins for the Thanksgiving table decorations if they’re still sitting on the floor by the fireplace in another month.

In case you’re also doing some holiday planning, don’t miss my Holiday Gift Guides for Men and Women.  I filled them with products that our family owns and loves!

The next few days are filled with being home and working on my next book while homeschooling the boys.  I went to Costco and picked up easy meals (in other words, expensive) and told the boys to be prepared to do their own cooking and cleaning while I am wrapping up this manuscript.  Frankly, they are thrilled since their meals consist of frozen pizza and pre-made burgers.  I recommended they add a salad to their meal at least once a day, but the chances of that are slimmer than me making a Pinterest worthy fall mantle.

At least there will plenty of lettuce and greens for me to have all the brain food I need while writing.

We have worked out a schedule for the rest of the week where I am giving them lessons while I work.  It involves them checking in with me every hour to let me know what they are doing and I can give instructions.  I am writing each boy’s check-in down on a tablet next to me so I don’t forget which boy was supposed to be doing what and when.  If I don’t write it down then 3 hours will go by and I will get up to stretch and wonder where the boys are.  I won’t remember how long it’s been since they came to talk to me or what they were supposed to be doing.  They are getting too smart to fall for that, “So…. what do YOU think you were supposed to be doing?!  I mean, I know what it is, but do you?” routine.

Motherhood ain’t for the weak.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week with your family and get at least a few pumpkins to decorate with.  Just set it in the middle of your table and enjoy!

Be sure to follow up with the conversation on Facebook!

 

Do Your Kids Love to Write?!

Do Your Kids Love to Write?!

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!

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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.

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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!

The Giving and Receiving of Wisdom

The Giving and Receiving of Wisdom

I sometimes hesitate to answer when someone asks me for advice because of all of my own failures.

It’s a trap…..the idea that only perfect people can offer advice.  Sure, we should seek out people who have succeeded in the area we need help with.  But that doesn’t have to mean perfection!

I get asked for advice all.of.the.time.  In the grocery store just yesterday a women stopped me and asked me a homeschool curriculum question.  On Sunday a friend at church asked me about getting kids to sleep at night.  Marriage, essential oils, dieting, blogging, mothering…..I am not an expert in any of these areas yet I get a ton of questions about them!

In fact, I don’t really think of myself as an expert in anything except the messiness of being ME.  I do know a lot about that.

I feel fully inadequate to be answering most of these questions.  And then God reminds me….that is exactly where He wants me. If I thought I had it all together and could answer any question then I wouldn’t really be helping anyone.  I would be giving too much Lisa (mess) and not enough God (perfect Father).

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

When I am weak, He is made strong.  So when someone asks my advice, I prayerfully answer.  If the source of my reply is not my own knowledge but from His Word, then I don’t have to be flawless to share it with you.  I am simply the messenger.

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It starts with prayer.  Put on the armor of God and spend time in His Word.  If I offer you a simple translation of what He says mixed with a few fun stories of how that worked for me then I don’t have to worry about misleading you.

Of course, God doesn’t clearly tell us which homeschool curriculum to use, that is more of an experience question.  I can just share what I know. It’s important to realize when there are many paths to the same goal….in this case that our kids will be well educated.  My way works for me, but it might not work for you.  I can’t give you an infallible answer, but I do have experience that I am happy to share and hopefully that will help.  It might even help you to see that what I did will not work for you and save you from a mistake.

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But if it’s more of a “how do you honor your husband when he is wrong?” kind of question….well that is something that God does speak about in the Bible. Pull it out.  Look up the answers then pray together.

I prayed with a woman the other night in our monthy essential oil class because of some personal issues she shared with me.  I don’t know exactly what she needs, but I know the One who does.  So we asked Him together.  I don’t have to have any expertise to pray with someone.  Then I offered her my best advice.  I also gave her encouragement that I will be her friend through her trials.  I always have my friendship to offer even if my advice is not what they need.

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If you get asked for advice a lot, here are some things I want to share with you:

1. Don’t think too highly of yourself! If you feel like you know a lot about a Biblical issue, be careful not to think so highly of your knowledge that you forget where it came from.  Our experience or knowledge never trumps the Word of God.
2. Spend a gob-ton of time reading the Bible.  That is your source of wisdom.
3. Spend plenty of time in prayer.  Let go of your ideas that you know so much and grab onto the lessons He has taught you though the Holy Spirit.
4. Understand your responsibility.  God is clear on this….leaders have extra responsibilities to be careful how they live and what they say.
5. Remember that you don’t have to be perfect (a lesson I need to learn!).  Your perfection is not what anyone needs…they need your humility and love.

Matthew 18: 6-7 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea”

And as the seeker of advice, let’s also be aware that the human being we are looking to for help is flawed.  They will mess up, be wrong, poorly communicate and an endless list of other disappointments.  That does not mean they don’t have great advice for you!

1. Like I said above….read the Bible and pray!  You have just as much access to the source of true wisdom as anyone else.
2. Don’t put people on a pedestal.  No one deserves to be thought of as higher than anyone else.  This is a surefire way for your relationship with someone to crash and burn.
3. Get more than one viewpoint.  Don’t be shy about asking someone you admire (admiring is not the same as idealizing) for their wisdom.  Ask a few people and then weigh their suggestions against what you know to be true.

Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

4. Seek wise counsel instead of just asking everyone.  The stranger in the grocery store doesn’t necessarily have wise advice for you.  Resist the temptation to ask advice from all of your friends.  It’s too confusing and it can lead to your destruction.

Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

5. Make it a goal to become wise.  So many women I meet think they have to always stay in the place of weakness.  Or they just look for tips and tricks to get through life instead of digging deep and drawing close to Christ.  Use the wisdom people share, be willing to learn and grow and change where you need to, become wise so that you can help others after you.

In a nutshell…..If you need help – ASK for wisdom!  If someone asks for your help – PRAY for wisdom!

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Have a great weekend!

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I’m a Very, Very Good Driver

I’m a Very, Very Good Driver

I never, ever got smart enough to prepare for this phase of my parenting journey.  I have apparently moved into the “always-in-the-car” season of my life, and along with it I am noticing a widening of my backside and very pale skin.  I suppose it is because I sit and eat snacks all the livelong day without actually getting any sun as I drive my children all over Timbucktoo.

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I have made 6 trips to the city in the past few days with 3 more trips before Friday, plus driving to the next small town 30 minutes away in the other direction every single day this week while I wait for 3 hours for my little guys to do a summer camp.  My car and I deserve a prize….perhaps in the form of a large cup of Sonic ice followed by a nap.

Over the past few months as these plans all came together, each child requesting to take this class or attend that camp, it seemed doable.  But I didn’t coordinate schedules while I was saying YES and before I knew it we were going so many different directions that we need a military strategist to organize it all.  The older kids and I have to have a meeting every night to figure out who will drive where in what car with which child the next day.

In the middle of all of that activity James and I had our 29th anniversary to celebrate.  We decided to kill two birds with one stone and go out to a nice dinner on Saturday night in the city since we had to pick up a couple of the kids there at 10:00pm anyway.  It’s been a long time since we went out on a Saturday night since I would rather have a root canal than stand in a crowded restaurant for an hour waiting for a table.

But we had a surprisingly good time despite our table being 8″ from the diners next to us and not being able to hear what each other was saying the whole time.

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After dinner we still had a couple of hours to kill so we took a stroll down to the bookstore and wandered around in there for a while looking at books.  Our shopping adventures go something like this (after 29 years together we have this down):
Me: Hey!  This looks like a great book!  Let’s buy it!
Him: We don’t need any more books.
Me: But this would be so good for the kids and look….here’s another one we need! {I begin to collect a large pile of books in my arms as I walk through the store}
Him: Lisa, we really don’t need those books and we are watching our budget, remember?
Me: OK, I will sit here in this chair looking through every book and choose 2 to put back.  Will that make you feel better?  If we only buy 8 books instead of 10?
Him: No.
Me: OK, how about this….I will choose 2 to put back and then I will pick a few more that I can get cheaper on Amazon and….hey look!  There’s another one that we NEED!

On and on it goes.  Me finding things we “need” (you know…for the kids!) and him telling me what we really need is to stay on budget.  In the end we bought 2 books and a game.  The game was for him.

It was always what would happen in the end.  It never changes, but we MUST go through the motions.

One super-duper cool thing that happened while we were at the bookstore is James decided to see if my book was on their computer and it was!  Right there with a description and preorder info.  I took a picture, of course!  Who cares if it’s a dork move?  My book is for sale at Barnes & Noble for goodness sake!

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But it doesn’t really change anything in my life.  I still have to drive my kids to their activities all week while figuring out when I will be able to get to the grocery store and if I don’t get some sun people will assume I have an illness.  Being a published author is cool, but I’m still just Mom.

Have a great week!