The Easter Bunny’s Job is Safe

The Easter Bunny’s Job is Safe

How do you sum up Easter weekend in one blog post?  There was traveling, Jesus’ resurrection, finding the boys’ lost church pants and hiding plastic eggs all over the house.  Spectacular.

On Friday I drove to Austin to visit my parents.  I took four of my kids with me, including my 22 year old son who I rarely get to spend time with.  He’s not a big conversationalist, so I brought some theology books to spark ideas.  He likes to discuss deep thoughts and God’s Word.  Me, I am more of a shallow thought girl, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  If I want him to talk with me I have to crank the doctrine dial up to 10.  It hurt my brain after about an hour, so we stopped and turned on some Mandisa.

We spent the night at my parent’s house, which is in a large retirement community.  I went for a jog early Saturday morning and was surrounded by dog walkers and golfers over age 55.  At one point there was a man on the trail behind me that had to be at least 80 years old.  He was small and a little frail looking and he was just walking along in his velour sweatsuit.  I decided to put some distance between us so I picked up the pace and jogged for a while.  When I slowed down I heard a noise behind me and there he was, right behind me still walking.  I think he had actually closed the gap.  In a minute he was passing me and I said to him, “You’re fast!”  He just kept walking as he muttered, “Nah, I’m moving kinda slow today since I’m wearing ankle weights.”

Great.  I am officially the slowest human being on the planet.

We arrived home Saturday afternoon in time for James to inform me that he wanted to do a little Easter egg hunt for the kids.  So we drove to Walmart and dug through what Easter supplies they had left.  We found some plastic eggs and got some dried fruit and candy.  I know.  Dud.

All of our kids have different tastes in snacks and some have dietary restrictions, so we always code the eggs by color.  Each child (even the adult kids) has their own color of eggs which makes it easy to be sure we know what they get and then if they find someone else’s color they just pass by and don’t say anything.

After church James filled all of the eggs and brought them to me ready to hide.  We had to do it inside since it was raining, so we sent the kids onto the porch to wait while we hid the eggs.  We had 7 eggs per child and, I am not even exaggerating here, it took us TWO HOURS.

We got so confused about the colors and where we hid them and we kept trying to go back and find the ones we had already hidden and oh my goodness it was a mess.  I asked him, “Please don’t make me do this when we have 45 grandchildren.  Let’s just hand them each $5 and leave it at that.”  James agreed.

Easter Bunnying is not our strong suit.

We actually gave up at some point and just let the chips fall where they may.  If some of the kids got less eggs than others then – oh well.  Let it be an opportunity for character development.

Then, to make it even more fun the kids could not find the eggs.  We tried to make it hard, but we may have gone a little overboard in that department.  All in all the whole egg hunt took about 4 hours and went well past dinner time.  Thankfully the kids had Reese’s Pieces and raisins to snack on.

This week begins my big round of conference travel.  I am heading to Salt Lake City this weekend to the SNAP conference.  I’m going to represent my peeps at HomeRight because I love them so.  Then next weekend I go to Chicago for the 2:1 Conference and to spread the word about my friends at Engaging Education.  Y’all know we big puffy heart their classes!

Have a good one!

5 Questions About My Weight Loss Answered

5 Questions About My Weight Loss Answered

I haven’t mentioned my health journey for a while.  I’m doing great.  I am down 81 pounds since last summer.  Believe me, no one is more surprised about that than I am.

James and I went shopping on Wednesday and since I am on a search for warm weather clothes, I tried on a few things while we were out.  He asked me, “Did you think at this point last year that you would be able to wear these sizes today?”

I surely didn’t!  In fact, I felt hopeless about it.  Then one day last summer I just stopped feeling hopeless and took charge.  Now I’m running (still a shocker to me every single time) and losing weight and not eating junk…craziness.  You can do it too; I know that for sure.

I get a lot of questions about my weight loss, so I thought I’d answer a few here.

After losing 80 pounds, I'm answering the top 5 questions I get -- The Pennington Point

1. How far do you walk/run every day?
I go between 4 and 5 miles.  I take about an hour so if I go faster I can go further.  I listen to inspirational music and pray and breathe in the outside and the time to myself.  I really look forward to it every day.  For the month of April my Facebook group is challenging each other to push ourselves for 15 minutes, so I am running for at least that long.  It’s unbelievable to me.  I share a picture every day from my morning walk on Instagram….come see!

2. What do you eat?
I eat basically protein and veggies.  I don’t eat any grains, dairy (except yogurt) or sugar (including artificial).  I wrote a post about what I eat for breakfast and lunch.

3. How do you find time for exercise with all of those kids?!Well, it can be a challenge!  In my life now I can leave my kids so it’s easy to get in some morning exercises.  But even so, I still try to get it done extra early so I can be home by the time they are up and going.  If I couldn’t leave them I would find things to do at home, like DVDs, and I would sometimes take them with me and I would just have to figure it out.  You can always try to do half an hour after the hubs gets home.

4. Can you tell me more about the Lift Caps that you take?I still am crazy about my Lift Caps!  I get a lot of questions about the caffeine in them.  I am very sensitive to caffeine and I don’t drink coffee or black tea at all.  But the Lift Caps don’t bother me.  The people that sell them explained to me that the caffeine in it is different than what’s in coffee, more purely processed.  I do have one friend that is so sensitive to caffeine that she did notice it, but she loved them so much that she makes them into half pills (by pulling them open and pouring half into an empty capsule) and takes one half pill every day with success.  I take 2 every morning and they help me so much with my energy.  But if you ever have questions the great people at Life Priority are happy to answer them for you!

5. What essential oils have you used to help you lose weight?
I have enjoyed one called Slique.  It’s for adding to your water and not only does it give great flavor, but it helps your metabolism and curbs cravings.  I also love Citrus Fresh or Lemon in my water.  They balance my acidity and taste great!  Overall though, I think the oils have helped me maintain my own emotional balance which has helped me stick to the diet and exercise routine.

I also shared a bit of my health journey HERE at Hip Homeschool Moms.  I’ll be writing there once a month about various subjects.  It’s a great site if you’re looking for some homeschool encouragement!

And if you would like to join my Facebook group for women trying to get healthy, leave me a comment here or message me on Facebook and I would love to add you!  We pray for one another, share ideas and encourage each other to stay the course.

Have a great weekend!

My Four Favorite Essential Oils and a Giveaway!

My Four Favorite Essential Oils and a Giveaway!

Four great essential oils that you must try! -- The Pennington Point

You already know that I am wild over my Young Living essential oils.  Joy and Valor are running rampant around here.  The oils have helped so much with not only the occasional runny noses and sunburn, but also with things like the kids’ concentration and my random moodiness.

I even read some info last week that said lemon, frankincense and lavender can help with wrinkles.  Oh, you can bet I am trying that.  If anyone asks me if I have had work done on my face you will be the first to know!

To get James through tax season I diffused oils in his office for the past month.  I am sure the clients that stopped by to pick up their tax return wondered what that lovely, but un-CPA-like scent was.  Not that CPAs have a specific scent, but how often do you go into an accountant’s office and immediately feel relaxed and clear headed?

The oils in the Premium Kit are fantastic and if you haven’t tried them that’s the very best place to start.  I am having a love affair with every one of them!  But there are a few others that I love too, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re looking for something new to try.

  Four great essential oils that you must try! -- The Pennington Point

1. Abundance – this oil is so rich and lovely.  I have used almost a whole bottle just sharing it with friends because I want everyone to try it.  It’s one that I use every day.  There’s just something about it.  Since using it I have noticed that I am more open to opportunities that come my way and I’m better able to decide which path to follow when faced with a conflict.  I have definitely had an increase of success lately.  I don’t think the oil does that of course, but it opens me up to the possibilities.

2. Clarity – I travel so much that I always, always take this oil with me.  I tend to get easily overwhelmed when I am running to make a flight or being patted down by the airport security.  This oil helps me keep my wits about me.  I also need it at the grocery store, in traffic and most definitely when going over my receipts with my husband.

3. Magnify Your Purpose – I bought this oil for my older kids…to help them as they find their way in life.  But then I discovered it is great for me too!  I diffused it while I was working on my book and it really helped.  My essential oil reference book says, “This blend stimulates the endocrine system for greater energy flow to the right hemisphere of the brain, activating creativity, motivation, and focus.”  Yes, please.

Four great essential oils that you must try! -- The Pennington Point

4. Into the Future – When I was at the Summit last January I met another Young Living friend who had this oil with her.  Of course I had to try it and WOW!  I really loved it.  I felt so alive!  You can imagine how much it elevated the experience of being with a group of women who were on this homeschooling journey with too.  It is supposed to help you leave the past behind and progress with vision and excitement.  I use it anytime I am feeling apprehensive or a need to look forward instead of wallowing in the past.  In other words, I use it a lot.

I have built up a wonderful collection of oils that have been a blessing to me in so many ways.  But these four are my current faves.  And I can’t stand not to give some of it to you.  So here’s what I want to do…..

I am going to randomly choose one of you to give ONE of these oils to (choose from Abundance 15ml, Clarity 15 ml, Magnify Your Purpose 5ml or Into the Future 5ml) along with an essential oil pocket reference.

Pocket reference giveaway I use my pocket reference all of the time….like several times a day.  I used to keep it in the bathroom just to read through it because I find it so fascinating.  So I have to share that too!  That’s one bottle of fabulous oils and a Pocket reference….a $55 value!!!

Just because I love you so.

And if you are interested in getting started with Young Living oils you can CLICK HERE to learn a little more about that.  I would love to have you join me on this great adventure!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By the way, I am not a doctor.  The testimonies I share here are my experience and not intended for diagnosis or cure.  It is your responsibility to educate yourself and if you are dealing with a serious situation I encourage you to seek professional help.

If Teasing Your Husband is Wrong I Don’t Wanna be Right

If Teasing Your Husband is Wrong I Don’t Wanna be Right

Today I have the burden of trying to think of ways to make a boring weekend sound interesting.  Because I doubt you really want to hear about my double nap on Saturday or the way we had to spend an hour trying to find a matching pair of shoes for Elijah before church.

I did get spend a couple of hours with Noah in his room on Friday afternoon discussing and planning the general Lego situation.  He has apparently caught the vision because on Saturday afternoon when I couldn’t locate three of the boys, I called up to their loft and they called down, “Yes ma’am, we are up here organizing Legos.”

Never underestimate the power of mom with a trash bag in her hand.

On Saturday I worked toward getting the house ready for spring/summer.  I like to change it up with the warming of the weather which means out with the piles of blankets and in with the vintage fans.  Even if the fans don’t work, it makes me feel cool just having them in the room.

James does not understand this concept.  But then, he also doesn’t understand why I like to just look around in a store where I am not planning to buy anything.  When we were first married he would panic when I would suggest that, just for fun, we would go look around in a furniture store.  He’d start to hyperventilate and say things like, “Um…we can’t buy any furniture Lisa.  We don’t have money for that!” to which I’d just keep walking toward the door and say, “I know that!  I just want to look at it.”  He never has completely adapted to this ritual.

I still like to play with him sometimes by telling him I want to pick up some vacation brochures or peruse the local car lots.  He never knows if I am serious and it keeps him on his toes.

I’ve been laying off the teasing for the past couple of weeks to be nice, since he’s in the throes of tax season.  But three more days baby, and I will be back to my normal behavior.  I can’t keep up that kind of niceness for much longer.

Now that we are days away from the end of another tax season AND the Legos are getting cleaned up, I may have to do some mock shopping to celebrate.  It’s the only reasonable thing to do.

5 Thoughts That Really Help When Marriage Gets Difficult

5 Thoughts That Really Help When Marriage Gets Difficult

No marriage is perfect.  This is by a woman with a happy marriage but still willing to admit that it's not always easy! -- The Pennington Point

As tax season rolls along I get lonely.  And sad.  It’s true….9 kids and a home business, but sometimes I feel lonely for my husband and I want him to stop working and give me some attention.

As wives we all have something that makes our marriage a challenge.  If he doesn’t work too much then maybe he doesn’t work enough, or manage the kids like you think he should or even simple things like sloppiness or picky eating can be hard on a wife.

No matter what imperfections your husband has, God gave him to you and wants you to learn and grow through your struggles.  I’m not excusing your husband’s flaws, but this is not about him.  This is about us.

From the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, “But what if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?”

For me every tax season is an opportunity to turn to God to meet my need for attention and affection.  AND I learn more and more every year better ways to sacrifice my need for my husband’s.  It ain’t easy, sister.  But the riches that go along with these lessons are immeasurable!

Maybe you’re one of those amazing wives who will say that pleasing her husband is her life’s mission and nothing satisfies her more.  I admire those women so much.  But I am not one of them.  My flesh wants to fulfill its own desires and be petted.  Sad but true.  I like getting my way.

And God knows that! I know because 2 Timothy 3:2-4 is a whole list of selfish struggles and since I can see myself in so many of them, I know God understands!  It is only through God’s grace and mercy that we are able to overcome these issues.  Being in His Word shows me clearly that God is ready to help me through my hard times in everything….even the tiny problem of wishing my husband were more available.

Here are 5 thoughts that help me find peace when marriage gets difficult:

1. We must not seek satisfaction in anything but God. 
Sometimes I wonder if I would have the deep relationship with my Lord if I had an easier life.  My trials bring me closer to Him and allow me to see the eternal joy that He wants to give me.
Psalm 16:11b you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”

2. We are responsible for our actions, not our husband’s.
I don’t have to answer for what my husband does.  But I do have to account for my own actions, so it is important to behave and respond with loving kindness even if he doesn’t deserve it.  I sure wouldn’t want him constantly trying to change me, so why would I do that to him.  And besides, only God can change hearts.
Psalm 26:2 “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.

3. There is peace even in unpeaceful conditions.
It’s so much more about where our focus is than our circumstances.  I notice that when I am doing my morning run if I think about my legs and how tired they are then I constantly want to quit.  But if I think about what is up ahead, even imagining God with His arms open waiting for me, the running is much easier.  I’m still running the same path, no circumstances have changed.  But when my focus changes the task becomes lighter and joyful.  It’s the same with marriage.  What we focus on can make or break our attitude.
Philippians 3: 14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

4. You’re not so perfect either.
It’s true.  I’m no picnic to be married to.  The things that are important to him are not my strong suits.  He likes orderly receipts and spreadsheets and our finances to be all neat and tidy.  This is not something I am good at and it probably looks to him like I don’t care about it.  I need his understanding in these areas and I should be willing to give him the same when he doesn’t seem to appreciate my desire to discuss my ideas about home decorating.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

5. It is your behavior that can win over your husband.
Seeing your grace and humility may be just what your husband needs so that he may seek righteousness for his own life.  Even though this verse refers to unsaved husbands, it cannot be denied that being forgiven has a deep impact on our husbands.  When I forgive him for hurting me or inconveniencing me, it leaves room for the Holy Spirit to touch his heart and do a good work.  That’s not even mentioning the impact your behavior has on your children….the influence you have as a woman is far reaching.
1 Peter 3:1-2 if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

This tax season I have learned to be more patient.  God has given me the husband I needed to sharpen my weak areas and as much as that hurts sometimes, I can feel myself becoming the woman I really want to be.  One who is willing to be selfless and caring even when it isn’t deserved.

Let’s build one another up and encourage each other to look to God for our support and strength.  I’m excited to see what God can do with a group of women who are willing to set their needs aside for the husband and let God fill in the gaps.

Women encouraging women

I Finally Found My Superpower

I Finally Found My Superpower

I may have accidentally discovered my superpower this weekend…..doing 12 things at once and still not having anything to show for it.  Maybe all of those colored tights I love will come in handy!

This past weekend was filled to the brim with activity, yet I can’t think of anything to talk about.  It’s a contrast to my usual riveting report of weekend adventures of house cleaning and excessive napping.

On Friday I spent the whole day celebrating love and avoiding candy.  Before I went on my early morning walk I left piles of goodies at each child’s place at the dining room table complete with teeny boxes of Nerds that were supposed to be stuck through a little card with playful Valentine’s Day saying on them.  The Nerds and cards were sold together with pictures on the package of the little box adorably slid through a pre-punched slit in the card.  Cute, right?  Um, no.  I ripped so many of those dumb cards trying to force the box of Nerds through that I ended up leaving 9 ripped cards loosely wrapped around the candy boxes.  I eventually had to walk away.  This, my friends, is not my superpower.

On Saturday I worked on Shop24 orders then in the afternoon I had a funeral to go to.  My friend Sara lost her precious mother-in-law and it was a sad day.  After I got home Adam was waiting for me at the door, “Want to go for a bike ride with me?!”  Despite being worn out, I couldn’t say no to that hopeful little face, so I hopped on my bike and we rode for a while.

He talked all about his ideas for making a bike track in our field and maybe could he go fishing sometime and he wondered if there were any family members in our genealogy that liked biking or fishing.  I just rode and listened and thought about how much I love him.  Tired-schmired.  It was fun.

Sunday was my big party at Michael’s.  Several friends stopped by and we had a blast chatting and doing chalkboard lettering.  Crafting with other women is so inspiring.  Thanks Faith, Colleen, Stacy, Jenn and Sara for being my special guests!

This week is another opportunity to use my powers of getting 12 things done at one time.  James is preparing to take the Bar Exam next week which puts my loving-wife skills to the test.  I will be sliding trays of food under his office door and diffusing essential oils in his office to help him magically absorb law facts and hold them in his brain.

Yes, now you know the whole truth.  He is the one in our family with super powers.  I just bounce around his awesomeness.

Have a great week!

Kind-of-Cleaning

Kind-of-Cleaning

Time sure is flying past….February 10….really?!

You’d think I could wrap my mind around the weekend being over since I stayed home the almost whole time and did pretty much nothing.  But no, I am still shocked that it’s Monday, February 10, 2014.  Truth be told, I am still stuck somewhere in 2003.

All day Friday and Saturday we kind of cleaned the house and filled Shop24 orders.  When I say “kind of clean” that’s what I call surface-not-really-clean-but it-will-fool-anyone-who-stops-by kind of cleaning.

At some point on Saturday I decided enough was enough with my bedroom/dumping ground so I planted myself in there and started going through everything that was sitting out.  You see, my TV died a while ago so I bought a new one last week and that turned into a major undertaking.  It was a different size than the old one, so furniture had to be moved and drawers had to be emptied and basically my bedroom looked like a nuclear explosion.

I could no longer handle the mess.  It was stuff from drawers that I hadn’t even looked at for years, but for some reason felt the need to pick through it all.  Papers and extinct cords and old notes from friends.  After a 3 hour junk drawer intervention with myself I had whittled it down to a fraction of what I started with.  Three points for me!

I predict my bedroom will stay clean for one and a half days.

This morning I am heading to a local MOPS group to talk with them about natural health and essential oils.  And of course, my beloved Lift Caps which makes me so happy I can’t tell you.  I love telling other moms about the Lift Caps since they have helped me so much in my health/weight loss journey.

The rest of this week is full.  One of the kids has a birthday, I’m getting my hair colored, grocery shopping, orthodontist, visits with friends and a funeral.  I hope to get some homeschooling done in between appointments.

I am aware that Valentine’s Day is in there too, but I’m ignoring it because my husband is taking the Bar Exam in 2 weeks and I think he forgot that he is married.  I have decided to give him some slack on this since I am afraid that if I mention it his brain might explode.

I’m just that kind of wife.  OK, actually I am not.  I am usually more high maintenance than that, but I can be a big girl just this once.

But just once.  Have a great week.

Beautiful Summit Memories

Beautiful Summit Memories

I wish I could pour the blessing of this past weekend into each of you.  Just pour it straight over your head so you could feel the love of God for you!!!

But we’ll have to settle for blog posts and Facebook conversations.  I’ll try to get the message across, but it sure is hard to really express how amazing the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is without being able to hug you while I’m talking.

The weekend was filled with laughter, tears, prayer and food for the soul!!!  Oh, and real food too!  The prizes, the skits, the worship, the speakers….oh. my. goodness.

Y’all know I go to a lot of conferences and I really do enjoy them all.  But this was different.  These are my peeps.  My Homies.  My tribe.

It was love, love and more love from the minute you walked into the event.

I got to visit and pray with many of the women there.  What a privilege!  I even snuck in a few minutes to ask for some wisdom from one of the speakers….she blessed my socks off!

I am renewed in my strength to homeschool, raise my children with truth, build my marriage and feed my spirit.

Next year’s Summit will be in Texas on January 16-17 and Oklahoma January 23-24.  Put it on your calendar friends….you do NOT want to miss this beautiful, God filled weekend.

Come read what my friends Connie and Smockity FrocksCandace at Sacred Mommyhood had to say about her weekend at the Summit!s

Courtroom Drama and Body Builders

Courtroom Drama and Body Builders

Most interesting weekend of 2014 so far.

It started on Wednesday when James and I drove to Houston for a court hearing.  This hearing ended a very long battle we have had with the IRS which I won’t say much about because I have a strict policy not to say nasty things about people and frankly that leaves nothing to say about these people from the IRS.

But I will tell you it was stressful and James was very focused so I mostly tried to be quiet and sneak him a Tic Tac every few hours.

While we were there I was determined to still get my morning workout in, so I packed my clothes and on Thursday morning I popped up at 6:00 and headed down to find the hotel’s workout room.  I was in for a bitter disappointment when the desk clerk told me they don’t have one.  BUT there is a gym a few miles away that lets hotel guests workout there for free.

I thought about that, but my husband was so tense about the hearing that I was afraid if I said, “Hey honey, I am going to drive the van to the gym and I will try real hard to be back before we have to leave for court,” he might not have responded well.  So I just dragged myself back to the room and did some stretches that I remembered from my TTapp DVD.

But on Friday morning we had extra time, so I was kind of giddy to try that free gym.  I got up at 6:00 again and went.  Only it wasn’t a family fitness/bring your kids/ladies doing aerobics in the corner type of gym.  It was the kind of place that has a boxing ring in the middle of a cement floor and the only other people there were large black men.

Who were all shaped like Mr. Universe.

My sensible side of my brain told me to back slowly out the door and hope they didn’t notice me.  But I rarely listen to that part of my brain.  So I went in and nervously asked if they had a treadmill.  They did.  I was staying.

And guess what….they were SUPER nice.  They kept checking on me and asking if I needed anything.  And if that’s not crazy enough, two of the guys that work there are now following me on Instagram.

My daughter thought this was so funny she said, “Mom, when people ask about your followers you can say, ‘I have homeschool moms, home decorating people and a bunch of black body builders.’”

Story of my life.

Have a great week!

Wrapping is Not My Gift

Wrapping is Not My Gift

Well, I did it.  I finished my Christmas shopping.

On Friday I locked my bedroom door and pulled all I had out of my closet.  I sorted through it, much like Santa does but without the elves to carry everything for me.  Then I made a list of the few things I still needed and set out Saturday morning to finish.  I know I was crazy to go out on a Saturday and believe you me I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t already driving an hour to the city to watch my nephew run in a cross country race.

I just forged ahead, waited in long lines, fought the crowds and gotter done.

10 full stockings – CHECK
10 gifts under the tree – CHECK
wrapping – NOPE

As much as I love the idea of beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree, I am so tired by the time I have everything purchased and carried home that I tend to just throw on some leftover wrapping paper from last year and call it finished.  They are so fragilly (it’s a word-kind of) wrapped that I wait until December 23 to put them under the tree.  “Don’t touch those presents kids! And I will be able to tell because touching them will rip the paper to shreds.”

It’s a landmine of paper and tape.

Sunday was a big day for our family.  My husband, who has been in law school for the past four and a half years, took his very last exam.  Yep.  He’s finished.  I am ready to have my husband back.  And I am sure he is ready to be a regular guy again.  One who isn’t in school full time AND running a business AND raising 9 children AND dealing with a somewhat spoiled wife.

This week I will be just hanging out with the family, wrapping presents and catching up on the latest Hallmark movies.  Of course, one doesn’t really have to catch up on all of them since they all have the same plot, “Boy and girl are forced together even though they can’t stand each other- boy and girl fall in love-the end.”

But I’m a sucker for a love story so I watch them anyway.

Have a great week!