This May Not Be My Best Week

This May Not Be My Best Week

I have something I need to get off my chest.

Daylight Savings Time.  Seriously.  Why must we endure this torture?

I do not adjust well to change.  So as you may imagine, Sunday was a long day for me (therefore it was a long day for my family).  I could barely crawl out of bed in the morning.  It was tempting to get that extra sleep instead of walking, but I am determined to get a workout in every morning and I knew I would really be disappointed in myself if I didn’t.  So I arose an hour earlier than I am used to and walked and did my TTapp.

As soon as we got home from church I fell into a deep sleep.  I didn’t even warn the kids.  I just dropped onto my bed and I slept for two whole hours.  It was the deepest nap I’ve had since 1997.

True story.

One day in 1997 after my fifth child was born and I had gone without sleep for two weeks, I was a walking zombie, my mom stopped by my house.  Her plan was just to say hello, see the baby and get back to her job.  But I was so sleep deprived that I handed her the baby and said, “I have to take a nap.”  I never heard her trying to tell me that she had an appointment.  I just walked away…..straight to my bedroom and closed the door and left her with a newborn, a 14 month old, 3 year old, 5 year old and 7 year old.

Even though this may not sound unusual, I seriously think I would have done the same thing to anyone who had the misfortune of knocking on my door that day.  Hello mailman, thanks for the package, here’s my baby, I’m taking a nap.

Four hours later (but it seemed like seconds) I awoke to my mom shaking me.  She had to leave, the baby needed to eat and I had no idea where I was or what was happening.  Baby?  What baby?

Sunday’s nap was like that.  But without the part where I woke up being soaked in milk.

I am hoping not to take my typical 10 days to recover from the time change.  I don’t do well with these kinds of shifts to my sleep schedule.

In other news, I got a lot of work done on my book this weekend.  It’s been a long process since I never have more than 12.5 minutes at a time to work on it.  I have tried to convince James to send me on a cruise so I can get all of my writing done on the lido deck, but he isn’t falling for it.  He’s probably right.  There is the slightest possibility that instead of writing I would spend the whole time asleep in a lounge chair holding onto a tall cup with a tiny umbrella in it.

This coming week some of us will be at the Christian Worldview Film Festival.  There’s still time to get your tickets!  Or just show up….it’s gonna be a great opportunity to be around other families who are interested in wholesome, meaningful entertainment.

If you go and want to find me, I will be the woman dragging myself along yawning.  Or if it’s later in the afternoon, I may be in the car getting a little post-daylight-savings-time shuteye.

This may not be my best week, but I’ll do my best given the difficult circumstances.

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Christian Worldview Film Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Things I Would Want for Christmas If I Didn’t Already Have Them

10 Things I Would Want for Christmas If I Didn’t Already Have Them

This post contains affiliate links.

There are so many things that I love and would love to get for Christmas if I didn’t already have them!  So I thought I’d share this list with you.  Maybe it will help you do some of your shopping or be a great thing for your husband to read for ideas to fill your stocking.  Let me know if you need me to “mysteriously” email him this list.

I am putting it in order from least to most expensive.  Whatever you want to spend, there’s something for you here.  Unless you want to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars, in which case you’re in the wrong place.  Maybe Donald Trump has a list you could look at.

10 things this blogger loves that would make a great Christmas gift!

1. Mason Jar Straw Lids — It’s such an affordable gift and I use mine every.single.day.  My kids love them, my guests use them….a set would be a great family gift!

2. Runt the Brave — Our favorite family read aloud!  After I read it to my kids they all took turns reading it again.  It’s soooo good and would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for a young person in your life.  Since it’s so hard to find a good book, I had to put this on my list!

3. Burlap Pouch — this is one of my favorite shop products.  I carry 2 of them in my purse….one with my business cards in in (I also put cards in that people give me) and the other I use as a little emergency kit (bandaids, safety pins, bacterial wipes, etc).

4. Games! — We are a game lovin’ family  One of our favorites is Mind Trap Brain Teaser Board Game.  It’s full of challenging puzzles and mysteries and fun for the whole family!  Another one we love is Wits & Wagers.  We play this one a lot when company comes over.

5. Pink Tool Set — Even though I have a workshop, I keep a small set of tools in the house.  And what I love about this set is it’s pink, so that means if someone (I have 5 boys and a husband after all) takes any of it I can tell for sure that it’s my hammer lying in the yard.  Plus it comes with 4 small screwdrivers, great or opening those teeny battery compartment screws.

6. Movie Gift Card — Going to the movie is so expensive, so it would make a great gift idea!  If you can, make it enough for a drink and popcorn too…that really makes it a fun night for the recipient of your gift.

7. Lift Caps — These supplements have made such a huge difference in my life that I wish I could send you all a bottle.  They would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for a friend.

8. Orthaheel Slippers — These are no ordinary slippers.  I have heel problems and have to wear a good arch support, so wearing slippers around the house used to be impossible.  I had to wear my shoes even walking from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Then I found these slippers and oh-my-heaven.  They have arch support!  They are expensive for slippers.  But I have fallen so in love with mine that I had to tell you about them!

9. UP Band — My UP band is another part of my recent fitness routine.  It keeps track of my steps and my sleep and holds me accountable every day to get moving.  I plug it into my iphone at night and an app keeps track of everything.  For the techie in your life, this would be a great gift!

10. Young Living Oils Premium Starter Kit — If you’ve been wanting to start using essential oils this is the best place to start!  Why not ask for this for Christmas?!

That’s it….my favorites list for the Christmas season.  I’d love to hear about some of the things you love too!

Movies, Money and Marriage.

Movies, Money and Marriage.

I’ve spent the past 2 days trying to get things done, but I keep drifting to my recliner.  Yesterday after filling a few orders and doing some school with the kids I found myself accidentally watching the entire movie “Titanic.”  I’m not sure how it happened.  I don’t usually watch a movie in the middle of the day.  At one point James walked into the room with a paper in his hand and I shouted, “Don’t talk to me!  This is the best part!”

He backed away slowly.  It’s nice to have a husband who understands my deep need to be in the moment when Rose pulls Jack Dawson’s frozen hand from hers and goes for the whistle.

You just can’t stop right there and have a conversation about money.  It’s practically cruel.

We have a lot of talks about money.  What was the $17.51 for that I spent at Target?  What did I buy on Amazon for $10.95?  Where’s the rest of the $100 he gave me yesterday?  Stuff like that.

It’s always him wanting to know what I spent and what column he should put it in.  Sometime being married to an accountant that balances our finances every.single.day can get tiring.  But then I remember that if it were left to me we wouldn’t know where any of our money was or where it went.  When it came time to pay a bill I’d just be like, “Oh, I don’t know where the money is, sorry.”

Then I realize how blessed I am and I just answer his questions.  Hopefully in my efforts to remember where/why I spent the money he will also realize how blessed he is to have a wife that, despite her natural tendency to be carefree, tries to make a small effort to keep the receipts.

Emphasis on the word small.

On our drive to Houston last weekend he pulled a Sonic receipt out of the trash in the van and said, “Why did you throw this receipt away?  I told you we need to keep all of the receipts from the trip.”  I looked puzzled, “That’s not a receipt,” I said, “That’s just the thing they stick to the side of the cup.”  He rolled his eyes as if to communicate that his life is sooo difficult and how does he manage with such an airhead wife.  Then I rolled my eyes to reply, if your life is so hard then how is it that you haven’t done laundry since 1987?

After 26 years this is how we show our love….by not actually saying what we are thinking and just moving on.  It’s all good.

Today I am heading to the big city to run a few errands, like I do almost every Wednesday.  I’ll be buying groceries, burlap and other basic things we need around here.  And yes, I will keep the receipts.  I can’t promise they will ever get into James’ hands, but I will keep them somewhere.

Have a great day!

Movie Previews for Children

Movie Previews for Children

I don’t generally like to suggest movies for other people’s children.  Everyone has different standards for entertainment and I have no desire to set the standards for your family.  But so many of y’all have asked what I thought of “War Horse” that I wanted to first tell you how we choose movies.

We believe that as parents it is our job to protect our children’s purity.  While they need to be prepared for the world, they don’t need that at a young age.  When they are young they need to use their incredible minds to soak up wisdom and godliness, goodness and fruits of the Spirit.  Then, when they are ready, this is the foundation upon which they will build their lives.  So we are careful what we put into their hearts and minds.  It is with that in mind that we preview every movie before we allow any of the children to watch it.

Also, we do not try to teach fairness or equality.  There are some movies that one child can see but their brother cannot.  Each child has different needs, strengths and weaknesses.  We make decisions about who can see a movie based on each individual child and not the group as a whole.  Also, each movie is handled differently.  Sometimes we will allow some of the kids to see it once, but we don’t buy it or bring it into our home.  Sometimes we’ll Netflix it, which means they might watch it a couple of times then out it goes.  Sometimes we’ll decide it’s OK to see once at home but not in the theater on the big screen.  It just depends on the movie.

These are some of the things we look for….

1.  Violence.  Is it necessary? Is it too intense?  Is it sending a message?

Of course, more sensitive children react differently than others and you have to know your own child.  An example would be “Prince Caspian.”  It had sword fighting and danger so we were careful which children got to see it.  Our boys react much less sensitively to war than our girls.  We are careful to respect their God given differences.  In this case, the boys and the older girls got to see it (not the little boys, just the ones over the age of 8).

2.  Witchcraft/sorcery/magic.  What is its source and what is its purpose?

We don’t mind some magic in movies as long as it has a positive message.  We like the “Narnia” movies because their source of magic is very defined and the whole story is an allegory of Christ.  Another example, we never, ever would watch nor allow our children to watch the “Harry Potter” movies.  They are, in our opinion, about evil.

3.  Sensuality and romance.  This includes flirting, intimacy (even kissing between unmarried people) and immodest dress.

If a movie has any cleavage or tight clothing on women, we will not watch it.  Even Disney characters tend to be immodestly dressed.  If there is any intimacy, we do not watch it.  Last year 2 movies came out that were centered around swimming, “Dolphin Tale” and “Soul Surfer.”  “Dolphin Tale” had no immodesty in it and the kids were generally respectful to their parents so we did let our kids see it.  “Soul Surfer” on the other hand had too many bikinis in it so we didn’t let the boys see it and the girls only saw it once.

4.  Swearing.

We do allow the older kids (as in, 17 and up) to see movies with some swearing in it.  They are grounded enough by then to keep from using foul language even though they hear it occasionally.  We will not, however, purchase a movie with swearing in it.  Seeing it once on Netflix or at the theater might be OK, but we don’t want it playing in our home over and over.  One example where swearing kept us from allowing our children to see a movie is “The King’s Speech.”  It was a great movie in every other way but the swearing was horrible so we didn’t let them see it….not even once.

5.  Drunkenness or drug use.

We want to avoid any film that makes drunkenness look appealing or fun.  I’m not talking about a single drink, but getting drunk or high.  Yuck.

6.  Family relationships.  How do the children talk to their parents?  Is the father absent or treated like the family idiot?  How do the siblings treat one another?

This is one of our BIG requirements.  A film must have either positive family relationships or be leading to that in the end.  We don’t watch a movie that shows the kinds of children that hate their brothers and sisters and slam their door with a “Keep Out” sign on it.  Parental disrespect is something we are careful to avoid.  “How to Train Your Dragon” for example, is the classic story…the parent is uncaring, selfish and dumb so the child takes matters into his own hands and saves the day.  This is not the message we want beaten into our children’s minds.  We did allow the children to see it, but not over and over.

7.  Message.  What is the overall message of the film?

Even if #1-6 are fine, we still want to be careful of the message a movie is sending.  For example, “Secretariat” seemed like it filled all of the requirements, but when you step back and look you realize that the whole movie was about a woman that left her family without the blessing of her husband and did whatever she wanted.  She spent large amounts of time with another man (even though it was a strictly business relationship) and she only served her own desires.  The overall message is not one that we could support, so we didn’t let our children see it.

With those things in mind we preview every movie before our children see it.  We never assume it is good no matter how innocent it seems on the surface.  I have previewed three movies recently.  Here’s what I thought of them.

“War Horse” was very violent.  The love of a boy and his horse, the determination and strength was uplifting, but it was way too violent, intense and upsetting for young children.  We won’t let any of our kids under 13 see it.

“The Adventures of Tin Tin” was interesting.  The animation was incredible and the story was an old fashioned Nancy Drew style adventure/mystery.  The problem I had with it was that one of the main characters was either drunk or seeking alcohol for the entire movie.  He gets so desperate at one point that he drinks rubbing alcohol from a first aid kit.  We will let the kids over the age of 10 see the movie once, but we won’t buy it.

“We Bought a Zoo” was a simple family movie.  It was nice how the family did something different, but the son is extremely disrespectful and there is a swear word that will keep me from allowing our children to see it.  There is also a kiss, which might not have stopped me from letting the older kids see it, but it adds to the negative column.  Two thumbs down for that one.

If you have any movies that you are wondering about feel free to ask me.  It can be hard to decide sometimes, but the main point to remember is that it is just entertainment and we don’t need it.  If in doubt, skip it.  A bad experience cannot be undone.

I’m like Dora Without The MAP

I’m like Dora Without The MAP

It’s been a quiet week here at the Point.  People call and say, “How are you?  What are the kids up to?”  Umm….nothing.

I could tell them how Jacob fixed the garage door or that Faith had to find a leak in the pool, but that seems awkward.  Our lives are just not that interesting.

I did make my usual trip into the big city.  Since I only had four places to go I decided to take a big risk and not make a list.  “I will remember,” I thought.  Bad idea.

As soon as I got down there I felt the pressure so I started saying it over and over in my head, “Sam’s, Target, Hobby Lobby, health food store.  Sam’s, Target, Hobby Lobby, health food store.”  I was like a larger, older, less Hispanic version of Dora the Explorer.  If only I had the map maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so off course.

But I decided to stop in Best Buy.  I needed to find a replacement for the little rubber thing on my bluetooth that goes into my ear.  It keeps falling off causing me to scrape my ear cavity every time I try to answer the phone.  See?  I told you my life isn’t interesting.  These are my big problems.

Best Buy threw me off.  It’s like when you’re in the shower and you decide to wash your face first and THEN rinse out the shampoo.  This never works out well.  I get out of the shower and wonder, “Did I rinse?  Did I condition?”  Then I have to get back in the shower and do it all again for fear of having dirty hair.  Will I never learn to just stick with the routine?!

The same principle applies to Best Buy.  Because I stopped in there I messed up my little chant and forgot to go to Hobby Lobby.  Ugh!

Now I have to go back down there.  So I’m going to make the best of it and take the kids with me this time and we’ll go see “Dolphin Tale.”  I previewed it last week and it is cute. They will be very excited!

As I write this they are all dumping out their piggy banks to get their money.  They have to pay for their own movies, so it’s pandemonium around here.

I am making a new chant…”Dolphin Tale, Hobby Lobby.  Dolphin Tale, Hobby Lobby….”

Maybe I should write it down.

Do You Preview the Movies Your Children Watch?

James and I strongly believe in preserving our children’s purity and protecting their childhood.  As parents it is our job to guard their hearts.  This means that our kids don’t watch TV, read books we haven’t read first, play violent or sensual video games and they never, EVER see a movie that we haven’t previewed.

This summer there are several movie releases that our children have expressed an interest in seeing.  It doesn’t matter how sweet the movie looks, it must have been viewed by Mom (or sometimes Dad) before any of them can watch it.  They almost always pay for their own movie tickets, so it’s just a matter of me being able to preview it.

It takes time and money to make this happen.  I have to pay for myself to go see it once, then pay for myself again if the movie gets my stamp of approval.  I have to find a free afternoon or evening to get away alone, which isn’t always easy.  Sometimes we just don’t have the time or money for me to see it twice, so we simply don’t see the movie.  It’s just a movie.  We wait for it to come out on Netflix which still means I have to find the time to watch it first, which I often do late at night after everyone has gone to bed.  Then I watch it again with the children, at least the first time they see it.

I’ve already previewed 4 movies this summer and there are several more on the horizon.  A couple of them we will let the kids see, most of them we won’t.  Our children understand completely and I know if you asked them they would tell you they appreciate being protected.  Sometimes, when asked if she minds being so sheltered, Grace will reply, “Why would I?  My parents just want what’s best for me and that movie/book/show will still be there when I am ready to see it.”

It can be a pain…using my precious alone time to see movies that I have no interest in watching.  I don’t mind.  Motherhood is filled with doing things that aren’t my first choice of how I want to spend my time.  I am happy for my children to be able to see a movie every once in a while, but not at the expense of exposing their hearts and minds to things we would normally shelter them from.

It is never worth potentially damaging your character for the sake of entertainment.  Never.

Space Walk

Our kids entered a 36-hour video contest this weekend.  They got their assignment at 9:00 on Friday morning and had to turn it in on Saturday.

Here’s the result….a three minute sci-fi spoof.

Let me be clear that there is NO redeeming value to this movie.  If you are looking for depth or a deep, moving experience you won’t find it here.

If you just want three minutes of oddball silliness, you’re in the right place.

It’s a Movie Making Weekend

I had so many plans for today.  I was going to swim with my boys, help Hope learn to make pizza and finish photographing my new summer decor to show you all.  But you know how those things go…..my children got in the way.  Why do I have so many kids anyway?

They all decided to work together on a weekend film competition.  Because of it my house looks like a bomb went off.  They have sets and costumes and furniture all re-arranged.  If you know me at all you know that I keep a very. tidy. house.  When things are a mess I can’t think, can’t finish a sentence, can’t get anything done.

I could have started yelling and fussing and complaining, but instead I did the next best thing.  I went back to bed and stayed there until 10:00 AM.  Oh yes I did.  It was hard to sleep though because the movie they are making apparently involves people falling and yelling and I kept jumping up to see what was wrong.  “Nothing Mom!  It’s just a line from our script, sorry!”  Those darn kids.  All working together and enjoying each other and cooperating….it’s WAKING ME UP!!!

So I turned on The Nate Berkus Show for a while and watched him solve other people’s decorating dilemmas.  It made me feel better.  I may have problems, but I don’t have a kitchen that hasn’t been redone since 1937.

Speaking of problems, I would like to report that Levi is officially potty trained.  I thought I was the worst potty trainer in America, but now I have a tip for you.  If you are going to potty train here is what you need…..10 people in your house to take turns sitting with him every second until he gets it.  It’s that simple.  Why didn’t I think of this 8 kids ago?  Every morning for the past 2 weeks I would have a “potty training meeting.”  I would give everyone instructions for the day and we’d take turns working with him.  Even Elijah at age 8 took his turn.  Now it’s done and I have decided that I am a genius.

We have a full weekend ahead.  Some friends are staying in the guest house and we are looking forward to that fellowship.  The kids will be working on their movie, which I will show to you as soon as it’s up.  And I’m going to get in the pool if it is the last thing I do.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day.

The Power of the Media

Birds make me nervous.

Picture this: you’re walking through the parking lot on your way to Target.  At first you’re just walking along looking at the big Target sign and thinking about the cute purple shoes you want to look for while you’re there.  And then, you realize that there are black birds all over the sign.  And it sure looks like they’re staring right at you.

Then you anxiously turn and see twelve black birds on the car next to you.  They sit, watching you as you walk by.  Then you see a few on the ground ahead — a few on the other cars — a few on the tree a couple feet in front of you — some on the ground behind you.  And a couple perched on the abandoned shopping cart on your right.  They’re everywhere.

And they’re all staring at you.

Your younger brother starts poking you in the ribs with his elbow, and whispering, “Don’t turn around.  The birds!  They’re following us!”

A cold shiver runs through your body and you start thinking about how if you run really, really fast, maybe you can get into Target before they start flying at you.

And the sad part is, this actually happened.

Now seriously, why should birds make me nervous?  They never used to.  That is, they didn’t until I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds last year.

Okay, this may be a silly example, but it does illustrate what I want to say: beware the power of the media.  It can affect us in ways much worse than simply becoming worried when it seems like a bird is taking too great an interest in us.  When we’re watching something, it’s important to be aware of how it is affecting us.

If it’s a film that’s going to encourage me to think about something that’s not conducive to a godly lifestyle, then perhaps I should consider not watching it.  Or if I do watch it, then I need to be extra careful to guard my heart and mind.

Philippians 4:8 tells us that we are to think about whatever things are true, honest, just, good, pure, lovely and of good report.  This is God’s standard for what enters our minds, and we must think about this when choosing what to watch, read, or listen to.

And by the way, I’m not scared of birds.  Not at all — they are a beautiful and amazing part of God’s creation.

They just make me a little — well, nervous.