Thank God It’s Not Friday

Thank God It’s Not Friday

Oh man I LOVED having a weekend AT HOME!  It was like a vacation from my vacations.

I went into the city on Saturday with my girls for a baby shower and some shopping.  It was so nice just to be leisurely.  Then on Sunday it was literally just EASY NORMAL.  Church, lunch, naps, laying around, oh it was heaven!  Especially since I will be traveling twice again over the next 10 days.

But before all of that loveliness was last Friday {cue horror music}.  It was such a long, hard day that I thought I might need some smelling salts by the end.  (do people use those anymore?)

I got up Friday morning long before dawn because my final book edits were due and I needed some quiet time.  If I wait until after my morning walk then the house is buzzing and I can’t focus as well.  By 9:00 I felt pretty good about the progress, so I opened my bedroom door and wandered out to see what chaos I was missing.  I went around the house locating each child and said hello and talked about their day and helped with what they needed.

I did as much as I could with them, but at 10:00 on the nose I had to get online to buy a ticket to the Young Living Convention in August.  They were opening up registration at 10 and I KNEW that the session I wanted would sell out quickly (which it did…in about half an hour!).  I did get into the session (hooray!) but spent another hour making calls to try to find a hotel room.  Nada.  No such luck.  I guess 24,000 people converging on the area at once causes a bit of stress on the hotels.

OK, plan B.

I hate to do it, but I asked a family member if they would mind my staying with them.  You know, I don’t think they mind at all and it never bothers me if someone asks, but it feels kinda stinky when you’re all like, “I don’t have time to visit with you but may I use you like a bed & breakfast?”.

While that was happening I was also getting questions pouring in from people asking about essential oils and what to use for ____, or people on my team with questions about their Young Living business.  The end of the month gets pretty crazy as people try to wrap up their monthly needs.  Actually, I don’t think the word crazy describes it well enough. I need a thesaurus and twenty-seven exclamation marks to fully express it.

As I was doing all of that, I was sitting on the floor in the boys’ room helping Levi organize his “collections”. They have gotten out of hand and he had been waiting all week for me to help him.  He has piles of sticks and cans and scraps of paper and broken things and all of the little things he likes to “collect”.  I put “collect” in quotes because the only thing these items have in common is that they are all garbage (oh boy, that brings back so many memories for me!).  But he loves it, so we gathered some boxes and kind-of-sort-of organized it.

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I kept trying to get back to work on the book, but little fires kept popping up  Then there was also the matter of a baby shower we were co-hosting on Saturday and a few small projects that we needed to do for that.  (I was dreaming of a Calgon bath right about this point)

By 2:00 I had eaten a light lunch (aka crumbs from the kids’ lunch) and had a conference call with a sponsor, then tried to fill a few etsy shop orders.  At 4:00 I was hanging by a thread and feeling like I was spreading myself WAY too thin.  So, I decided to just click the button that would put the shop on vacation until I get a handle on some of this other mess….er….I mean happy work.

Really, I do love my work and it is all a dream come true for me.  I have wanted to write a book ever since I can remember and the fact that I am actually getting to do that blows my mind with the goodness of God!  And the Young Living part of my work gives me so much joy to be helping people in a way that I am so passionate about that I love every second of it.

But it’s a balance.  I am a homeschooling mamma and that, plus my marriage, is my number ONE priority.  My family and home will always be the things that drive me.  My kids and their blossoming futures are my heart and soul.  Serving my  husband, who is pretty great and never complains when I am distracted, is my honor.

And Friday….it was just about all I could do to make it from one mission to the next.  I hate that.  But it happens.

Afternoon time with the boys, more questions rolling in, some school homework help, dinner…..it wasn’t until after 8:00 at night that I finally settled back into my book edits and sent them off long after the sun went down.

I know we all have days like Friday.  I am just so glad that it isn’t like that every day!

It did, however, make the simple weekend so much sweeter.

There’s always a blessing that comes from the hard days!

The Walk

The Walk

On Saturday I was feeling run down.  Between finishing my book over the holidays (although there will still be plenty of edits!), the struggles of Christmas and gearing up for the busyness of the new year, I was needing a rest.  Plus I thought I might be coming down with something (which never happened, so thankful!).

I worked in our etsy shop in the morning, filling all of the orders and cleaning up since after the holiday rush we just closed the door and left the mess.  Once that was finished, I ate some lunch and laid down for a long winter’s nap.  You know the kind…where you wake up after two hours and can’t figure out where you are or what is happening….

I woke up feeling achy and thought about calling it a day and just going to bed.  At 4:00.

But first, I decided, it would be good if I got up and put some Thieves on and drink some hot tea.  So, and this is the part that could be considered a mistake, I went out of my room.

As soon as I stepped out of my bedroom door, Levi (age 7) came rushing up to me, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Can I go for a walk with the other kids?!?!?!”

I didn’t know what was going on so I basically just said, “Sure honey.”  (mistake #2….)

He went rushing out the front door calling out, “Hey guys!!!  Wait for me!!!!”

My brain finally caught up and realized that my little one had just gone out into the street and possibly into danger since I had no idea where the older kids were.  For all I knew they were in the guest house watching a movie and Levi would be running down the street all by himself.

I stepped after him onto the front porch just in time to see him stopping at the end of the front walkway looking down the street.  No kids.  He slumped his shoulders and turned toward me, so disappointed.  The look on his face….oh my breaking heart.

And this is where those “Mommy Instincts” wake up.  No matter how we feel or what else we have to do or what our previous plans were or if we are still wearing our pajamas at 4:00 in the afternoon (mistake #3) we say to our child, “Hang on.  I’ll go with you.”

I grabbed an old sweater and my shoes and we went out into the street, hoping to find the other kids quickly.

He hopped along and begged me to “race to the next mailbox” at every driveway (which I did once….mistake #4) and he skipped and was so excited to be out on the street.  We talked about the sun and January and his apps on his ipod.  We made plans for school and how he wants to find a way to get some money and what books we are going to read together.

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I vacillated between sinking into the feeling that I might be coming down with the flu and the joys of spending this unexpected time with him.

We did finally catch up with the other kids about a mile down the road.  They were stopping to take pictures, otherwise we would have been too slow to ever find them.  He rushed to them and was happy to be one of the kids, forgetting I was even there.  I waved to let them know I was leaving him with them, then turned and walked home by myself.  In my pajamas.  And a mess of hair.  I prayer that no neighbor would drive by and want to stop and chat.

I fell onto my bed when I got home….enjoying the empty house almost as much as I enjoyed my time with Levi.

And as I drifted back to sleep I thanked God for every “mistake” I had made that day.

The End.

(P.S. I believe I didn’t get any sicker because of not only plenty of rest, but using my essential oils!  Let me know if you would like to know more about them….they are amazing!)

This Mamma Doesn’t Do Midnight

This Mamma Doesn’t Do Midnight

On Friday night we went to dinner at a friend’s house and stayed way too late.  This mamma doesn’t do midnight anymore.  My system starts to shut down around 9…..starting with my eyelids.  But we lost track of time.  I should have realized when Levi got sleepy and laid on the couch.  He never goes to sleep before I do.

About an hour before he fell asleep I gave him my phone to play with.  I normally don’t do that, but he was really bored since all of the other kids were significantly older than he is.  After the evening was over and I looked at my phone I was shocked that he had moved all of my apps around.

If you think sleepy mamma is bad you should see sleepy mamma that can’t find her Instagram.  The next morning it took me almost an hour to figure out how to put it all back.  When I asked him why he did that he told me I was too unorganized so he made it better.  OK, he’s 7.  I almost told him he has no business telling me how to organize anything since he hasn’t been able to find his new shoes for 2 weeks.  But I refrained, being so mature and all.

On Saturday I was in Austin to visit my parents then teach an essential oils class with a friend of mine.  It was fun to meet new people and share my love for the oils.  Then I drove home and went almost straight to bed.  My eyelids were still suffering from the night before.

On Sunday after church I was really hoping for a long, hard nap.  God heard my cry because my son Jacob asked if he could take the other kids to see “God’s Not Dead” that was playing at the local Baptist church in the afternoon.  All but 2 of the kids went and those 2 decided to play together and I actually closed my bedroom door and took the best nap ever.  It had all the necessary elements….quiet, cool and nothing to do.  #perfection

Today I am taking my three little boys to a cavern to explore.  I promised them a few weeks ago that we would do it as soon as we could and they have been patiently waiting for Mom to stop her life and go.  Honestly, I don’t have time.  But then, I didn’t have time to go into labor and breastfeed on demand either.  Sometimes you just have to make it happen.

However, they don’t know it yet but we will also be stopping by Costco for a few things.  No trip with Mom is complete without a Costco run.  It’s a boy’s dream day.  But before you feel sorry for them you should know that what I lack in exciting shopping I make up for with frozen yogurt.

Oh….one thing I keep forgetting to tell you about….every Tuesday morning I am a guest on a web show called Mentor Moms with my friend at Hip Homeschool Moms.  It’s at 10CST and I’d love for you to join us!  Here’s their YouTube channel with past shows.

Have a great week!

A Sweet Bible Storybook Giveaway

A Sweet Bible Storybook Giveaway

It’s time for another sweet book review and giveaway!

Sometimes I just want to read simple Bible stories to my kids.  We look at the pictures and talk about the art and story and how it works into God’s plan for us.  Just good old Bible time.

Sweet Bible Storybook Giveaway

This book, God’s Love For You Bible Storybook, is nice and thick with stories for the kids about God’s love.  I have had it on my coffee table for the past month making it easy to pick up and read when we have just a few extra minutes.

Bible Storybook Giveaway

And now you can win one for yourself.  It would make a great Christmas gift or new mom gift if you don’t have little ones of your own!

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The Blessings Jar

The Blessings Jar

I just love reading to my kids.  We sit down nxt to each other on the couch and spend time learning something new or going to another world or being touched by someone else’s journey.  It’s a great way to be together.

Levi and I like to read a little book together each day.  At 6 years old he absorbs new ideas so easily and takes them into his little heart.  That’s why I am careful what I read to him. And this book, “The Blessings Jar: A Story About Being Thankful” by Colleen Coble is one of those books that teaches a good lesson while still being entertaining.

The little girl in the story is having a grumpy day.  He could relate to that….he has grumpy days.  She learns to be thankful for her blessings.  Levi said to me, “I could make a blessing jar!”  So sweet.

After we read it I gave him a jar and he would put little things in it to show me his blessings.  I’m looking forward to reading it to him again several times to drive the message home.  Plus I need to hear it myself.  Hey, maybe I need a blessings jar of my own.

You can win a copy of this sweet book! Just enter below….

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This post contains affiliate links.

Lots Going on Around Here!

Lots Going on Around Here!

There are so many things I haven’t caught you up on since April ended.  That was a really crazy month for us with me doing so much traveling and James wrapping up tax season.

1. Our daughter Hope is graduating this year.  She has worked really hard to finish all of her school and be done with it.  She’s not a natural student, so I think she’s looking forward to having time to do some things that are more of her own interests.  We are not having a graduation ceremony.  She didn’t care about it and we couldn’t find a good time to do it, so we’ve decided to take a little trip instead.  That fits her personality better.  But we will send out announcements.  Here’s the picture we are using….she’s a beauty!

2. Speaking of traveling, I’m planning a few simple summer trips:

*In June some of my daughters and I will head to Kansas City for the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop.  If you have a budding writer, this workshop is fabulous!  We went last year and my kids were so inspired that we can’t wait to go again.  I’d be glad to answer any questions about it if you think it’s something you might want to do.

*Most of us will be attending the Teach Them Diligently Marketplace in Houston in July.  I don’t know if my whole family will go since we have the farm animals to tend to.  But it will be nice to also visit with my parents while we are there.  If you’re going, please let me know so we can meet!

*In August I will be heading to California for a women’s retreat in Rancho Mirage, CA.  I will be the keynote speaker and I am super excited!  If you are in the area and are interested in attending let me know and I can email you more information.

3. We’ve got new products in the shop and more on the way!  I’ve added Mason Jar Straw Lids with Acrylic Straws for the kids.  We did a fun photo shoot last weekend for those and my boys clowned it up for the camera.

4. Lastly, I have a great series coming up about siblings.  I get so many questions asking how we did it….our kids get along so well.  So I am working on a 6 part series starting in June on that subject.  Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy your family!

Instagram My Way

Instagram My Way

As y’all know, I am loving me some Instagram.  It’s a quick, fun way to share pictures of little things throughout my day.  Doesn’t it make you wonder if someday there will just be a way to speak and it goes out to the great unknown?  Or think?  Oh no.  You don’t want to know my thoughts.  Let’s just stick to pictures.

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Along with Instagram comes my newfound passion for photo apps.  I have a few that I use regularly that I want to share with y’all.  I thought I’d show you the way I edit a photo before I stick it on my Instagram feed.

1. Of course, I take the picture. 

I asked Levi to stand still while I took his picture.

Come on, be serious.

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OK, think of Spiderman eating ice cream.

There we go.  Snap.

2. Snapseed

I run the image through my favorite app, Snapseed.  Here I can tweak the brightness and colors and crop.  I can even add a bit of bokeh, like I did here.  Then I saved it to my camera.

3. FX Photo Studio.

I love, love, love FX Photo Studio when I am in the mood to embellish a picture.  This app has TONS of special effects for images.  I like to just try a few….

instagram

Nah, maybe this.

Finally, I settled on this one and saved it to my camera.

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4. Phonto

Adding text is fun!  There are several apps I like for text, but for this I used Phonto.  It lets me create images without a picture.  I chose the voice bubble and played around with the colors.  At last I decided on this and, again, saved it to my camera.

5. Picframe

Picframe is another app I use a LOT.  I can put several images together to make a collage and it’s really easy to use!  For this image, I chose the frame with 2 vertical rectangles, on the left opened the text bubble I made and put the image on the right.  Then….yep….save to my camera.

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6. Post to Instagram

Did I mention that I LOVE Instagram?  But be sure you check your text before you hit send.  In this one I meant to say, “Somebody loves to ham it up for the camera,” but instead I wrote, “Somebody lives to gam it up for the camera.”  Oh well….at least it still kind of made sense.

Instagram has several good effects also, but I didn’t use any here because I had already done so much editing it didn’t need more. 

If you didn’t really read any of this post, I want to be say that my best tip is to save each edit to your camera.  That allows you to layer edits and gives your pictures that great pop!  You can go back and just delete them after you finish.

This whole thing from picture to going on Instagram took me about 3 minutes.

And if you’re looking for some other people to follow, come join me and 3 other bloggers on the last Saturday of the month for our Saturday Social.  We’ll all be linking up our Social Media accounts to make it easier to connect with other great people…..like YOU!

I hope you’ll join us!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more fun!

Have You Ever Thought About the Number 43?

Have You Ever Thought About the Number 43?

Last night I was putting Levi to bed and he asked me, “Mommy, how many seconds does it take to put me to bed?”  I didn’t feel like giving it much thought, so I just answered, “Oh, I don’t know, about 43 seconds.”  “Oh,” he replied with a serious look on his face, “43 huh?  That’s a number you don’t think about everyday.”

It’s so true.  I don’t really give the number 43 enough thought.

Yesterday afternoon I had a rare treat of going out to lunch with some of my good friends.  When we’re together we always, always laugh until we should be embarrassed by the disturbance we are causing.  But we’re not embarrassed.  The disturbance just makes us laugh even more.  That’s the best kind of friends, the ones you can laugh with, then get serious, pray together then make fun of each other.

One of these precious friends is moving away and she asked me if I would like to come by her house and see if I wanted any of the “junk” she was leaving behind.  When we pulled up to her old workshop she gestured toward a pile of wood scraps, “Do you want to rifle through this?”  I looked back at her with a puzzled expression, “Why would I want a rifle?”

I may need to get my hearing checked.

But I did take a car full of treasures home with me.

I’ve got big plans for the leaky wheelbarrow and broken chair.  And you can expect that big sheet of wood to show up somewhere in my etsy shop.  Nothing goes to waste around here.

Today I’m taking Patience to the big city for some much needed Mommy/Patience time.  We’ll stop at the craft store then have lunch and drive back home.  It’ll be a quick trip, but plenty of time for girl talk.  Maybe we’ll discuss the number 43 and decide if we need a rifle.

These are clearly subjects that I have neglected for too long.

Have a great weekend!

To keep up with the happenings around here follow me on Facebook and on Instagram @PenningtonPoint.

 

White Background

White Background

by Patience

 

I love white backgrounds, but unfortunately I don’t have a studio or a seamless white background like the pros.
 

I had Levi sit on a piece of foam core: about 24″x30″, and literally the edges of the photo are the edges of my makeshift white background.  The trick was just not showing any edges, so it looks like my resources are a lot bigger than they really are.
I used two light souces. 
 
1) The flash unit on my mom’s SLR. I just pointed it directly up at the white ceiling of the room, so it would bounce down as nice, even light. 
2) Mini blinds!  they may not be the nicest looking blinds, but they are awesome for diffusing window light, and getting just the right amount of light in your photo, at the exact angle you want it. 
 
In this photo, he’s placed, directly next to the window, and I had the blinds mostly closed, but a little bit open, letting more soft, diffused light into my photo.

Even with careful light placement, without a big professional get-up, my white background is never going to be pure white, it usually turns out as a medium-light gray.  So how do I get it to look really white?

I use a tool on my photo editing software.  I use a free program called GIMP.  I use a section called levels, and it’s used for making color, and brightness adjustments to your photo.  In this photo, I picked the white eyedropper in the lower right hand corner, and clicked on a few of the spots that were supposed to be white in my photo, and voila! A perfectly white background.  Now all you have to do is make minor color adjustments, and you have a profesional looking white backround!

 

Monday Makes Me Tired

Monday Makes Me Tired

Am I the only person that wonders where the weekend went?  Gone, just gone and now it’s Monday and I have too much to do.

On Saturday the kids and I made a mad dash to finish all of our projects from last week, clean the house and make a “Welcome Home” dinner for James and Jacob.  The plan was to finish by noon then rest before the boys arrived.  But we were still working right up until they pulled in the driveway.

It was nice though, to have the house all spic and span for my guys.  They were so tired from their trip and we all wanted to hear every little detail.  We all sat around in the bedroom and listened as Jacob recalled the highlights of his first week of law school.  He talked more than he’s talked in 19 years combined.  I was riveted to every word.

Afterward we had burgers and a family swim party.  That’s our favorite thing to do these days.  With the whole family in the pool, James and I try to find a “quiet” corner to float peacefully and talk.  It’s pretty much impossible.  Every time we settle into a serious discussion a little boy swims under our legs to surprise us or the game someone is playing splashes all over us.  There’s not much we can do about it.  It seems wrong to start yelling, “Children!!!  Will you PLEASE stop squealing with delight and playing so well together?!?!  We are trying to TALK HERE!”

My goal for Sunday was to get ready for school to start today and get some photos uploaded.  Sounds easy, right?  Small goals, no problem.  Sadly, for no reason I can explain, I didn’t get any of it done.  I kept saying to myself, “I need to get to work,” but I never really moved in that direction.  I have no idea what I did yesterday, but it wasn’t getting ready for school or uploading photos.

I did accomplish one goal which was to take pictures of the boys outside.  Some workers left their large equipment in our yard over the weekend and I was determined to let the boys climb around on it while I snapped some shots.  The boys were thrilled.  If you’re an 8 year old boy, life doesn’t get much sweeter than playing on a bulldozer.  They were filthy when we were finished, but it was totally worth it.

 

Noah: pensive.

Adam: goofy

Elijah: sweet

Levi: silly

I played with one of the pictures of Levi….

But this one is my favorite:

Why do those little fireman boots melt my heart?

All in all a good weekend.  How about you?