50 is the New FABULOUS!

50 is the New FABULOUS!

Well friends, I did it.  I survived for 50 years.  I know, it comes as a shock to me too.

When I was a girl I thought being 50 looked like this picture that always hung in my grandmother’s hallway.  These were twin sisters and I don’t know much about them except that my grandmother adored them.

50-01

But it turns out that 50 looks like this….

IMG_1374-Edit-Edit

I can honestly say that I have been really looking forward to this birthday.  There are so many things about turning 50 that are wonderful that I have decided to make a list.

50-06

 

1. Contentment.  There’s just something about having this many years behind me that gives me a sense of peace and contentment.  I don’t feel like I have anything to prove anymore.  This is it.  And I like it.
2. Knowledge.  The saying, “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.”  Yep.  That.
3. Wisdom.  Wisdom is something that doesn’t automatically come with age, but it comes from God.  I have a long way to go and, hopefully, a long time to get there.  But I appreciate what little wisdom I have and ask for more every day.  I guess what I’m saying is that my appreciation for wisdom has deepened as I have aged.

Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold”

4. The loss of youth.  Truly, I look back at my youth and while it was fun to be young, I wouldn’t want to go back to that for anything.  This is where it’s at, man.
5.  Older kids.  Sure, I loved my years of having babies; it was wonderful!  But this time in my life when my kids are older and can take care of themselves is so, so sweet.
6. Health.  I have been so blessed with great health.  Even though I am less bendy than I used to be, I am loving my sense of well being.
7. Freedom from pleasing others.  This one took me longer than necessary to get to.  But I am blessed to have learned that if pleasing others is my goal in life I will never succeed.  If pleasing God and honoring the path that I believe He set me on is my goal then I can’t fail!
8. Wrinkles.  You know what?  I don’t mind my wrinkles.  They are a mark of honor and a blessing.  I think of them as well earned.  They are my beauty lines.

“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”  Audrey Hepburn

9. Being established.  It seemed like the last 3 decades of life were about establishing ourselves.  My husband built his career and I worked on homeschooling my kids and my writing.  In the past couple of years we have felt that the groundwork has been laid and now we can move forward with more strength.  Although I don’t know if it needed to take this long….I am glad to be there.
10. Confidence.  It took a lot of loss and heartbreak to learn where my confidence lies….in Christ and Christ alone.  I will fall and fail and mess up and blunder my way through life.  It’s when I am able to stop leaning on my own strength and use His strength that I find a deep sense of confidence.  The older I get, the easier that is to do.
11. More suffering behind me = More Joy.  I learned a long time ago that suffering adds great joy to your life because it draws you nearer to God and you lean more on Him and less on yourself.  After 50 years I have had my share of suffering and I can say that I am all the better for it!

“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.”  Charles Spurgeon

12. Body image.  My body went south long ago and I stopped trying to hide it.  After many pregnancies and years of gaining and losing weight, stretch marks and saggy places abound on my body.  And you know what?  I don’t care one bit.
13. Laughter.  I laugh more easily than I used to.  I have always taken myself much too seriously and that has changed as I have gotten older.  I will probably always be a bit OCD, but now I find it funny.
14. I lose things and I don’t care.  The old thinker ain’t what it used to be.  I had something in my hand a minute ago and now it’s gone….sometimes forever.  But I don’t stress it like I used to.  It’s just stuff.
15. Stories.  The more time that passes the more fun stories I have to tell.  Accidentally wetting myself little when I laugh too hard with my girlfriends has happened to me more than a few times….it just gives me more to laugh about.
16. Dancing.  I have always wanted to learn to do the jive, so I am teaching myself through YouTube videos.  I may show you someday.  I even have a few hip hop moves thrown in.  You’re never too old to learn new things!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  Walt Disney

17. Going to bed early.  As I age I find it harder and harder to stay up late and you know what?  I don’t care what I’m missing.  I’m tired.
18. Discounts.  Yep.  This came in the mail….
50-02
19. Confidence for my kids.  I love how it boosts their confidence in being adults and helping out their old mom.  It’s positively adorable when they look like they want to pat me on the head.
20.  Looking like myself.  I can color my hair if I want or wear clothes that don’t match exactly or buy myself odd shaped glasses and just embrace being me!  I used to think about others when I got dressed, but now I just think about what I want to look like for myself.
21. Helping younger women.  Like it or not, I am generally the older woman in the group and I love putting Titus 2 into action.

Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

22. Loving others.  As I age I find that I love others more.  I sympathize and care more deeply and forgive more easily.
23. Shaking off negativity.  Even though I forgive, I also more easily give myself permission to let go of toxic people.  I love them and want them to have joy-filled lives.  But I don’t let their negativity bring me down and sometimes that means letting people go.
24. No more rat race.  I am free of the idea that I have to keep up with anyone or do anything by tomorrow.  I just do what I can when I can.
25. Gluten-Free! My mid-life enzymes aren’t what they used to be.  I eat more carefully and frankly, I feel better than I have in years!
26. Loving my bones.  As long as I am eating better, I am also exercising.  My bones need it and I am loving my quiet time that naturally goes with my daily workout.
27. I know who my friends are.  I have gained and lost many friends over the past 50 years.  Some have been deeply painful losses and others came and went so quickly that I hardly noticed.  But all in all I have learned something from each person and I am better for it.  And I have learned to recognize a true friend and to trust my instincts.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Maya Angelou

28. No more oats.  I don’t feel like sowing any of those wild oats anymore.  Been there; done that.  Now I get to reap the harvest of my life.  Sure I will change things about myself in a million ways and try new things.  But I don’t have a sense of a life unexplored.
29. Cleansing.  I am ready to get rid of all of the junk sitting around that isn’t serving my life.  I don’t see any more reason to hang onto old stuff, but instead I am ready to open my world up to a clean space.
30. No more jumping  I do like jumping, but I can’t do it anymore.  (see #15).  That’s OK.  I can still jump with joy on the inside.  Some things you just have to accept.  Life’s too short to wish for things you just can’t do.
31. More to give.  The more I grow and accomplish the more I have to give to others.  I love, love, love helping others and I think my 50s are going to be my decade for giving and I can.not.wait!

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,  for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

32. Marriage strength.  After being married for nearly 29 years, I can say that it is better than ever.  We have a rhythm and understand each other.  Well, maybe not understand as much as accept.  And we’re still frisky.  Longevity in marriage is an incredible blessing!
33.  Oblivious.  I see the award shows or hear a song and I don’t recognize any of the artists or actors.  Unless it’s Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro I am lost.  And I don’t really care to find out who they are because I have other things to do that are more interesting to me.  I just let my kids load new songs on my iPhone (see #19) and leave it at that.
34. Being a real grown up.  Maybe I am the only one, but I always felt like a kid pretending to be a grown up.  Until now.  Being 50 gives me permission to say I am all adult and proud of it.  But I still act silly….don’t mistake being a grown up with never having fun.  I have the BEST kind of carefree FUN!
35. I remember the 70s.  I actually remember wearing bell bottoms and watching Sonny & Cher and the day Elvis died.  I am blessed to have lived in a time when there were no cell phones and no Internet and life was simpler.

50-03

36. Still young.  While I am not young in the sense of years, I am still able to learn to do new things and figure out how to use the Facebook.  I really have the best of both worlds!
37.  No more “lady days.”  It may be TMI, so men, if you’re reading, just skip this one, m’kay?  Ladies, I have passed through the menopause years and it is AWESOME!!!  No more cycles and I am loving this.  It wasn’t easy though….I have deep sympathies for those of you going through the change now.
38.  Travel.  I have always wanted to travel and couldn’t for various reasons.  Now that I am in this phase of my life I can do more traveling and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Waiting for so long makes me thankful even for the parts that are less enjoyable, like being frisked by an airport security officer or squeezed on a plane.  I like every little part of it after waiting for so long to be able to do it.
39.  Knowing the Word of God.  With this much time to study, I ought to know a lot about what the Bible says.  I read it every day and I have been through years of BSF.  All of that has equipped me to have a better understanding of who God is and how He wants me to view the world.  I am looking forward to another 50 years to study and learn even more about the nature and love of God!
40. The grass is green on MY side. Looking at what everyone else is doing and comparing it to your life is for the birds.  I like it on my side of the fence.  I don’t even look on the other side anymore.

“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men.  It then appears that we are among the privileged” Helen Keller

41. Finances are easier.  We aren’t loaded, but it’s been a long time since I had to count every penny at the grocery store.  I learned a lot from those days in my life, but I sure am glad they are behind me.
42. I wear any underwear that I want.  I feel no pressure to wear anything that creeps up my behind or makes me look attractive underneath.  My granny panties serve me just fine, thankyouverymuch.
43. I don’t need to win.  I used to be more competitive and I wanted to win games and push my way to the front of the line.  Now I chill.  I enjoy the time in line and I am happy if I in or lose.  I don’t care at all….that drive to win just went away as I aged.  And I am so glad.  (but don’t worry, if we are partners in a game I will still be fun to play with!)
44. I like lifting others UP!  There are very few things I enjoy more than helping another woman reach the height of her dreams.  If there is any way that a word or boost from me can help….I am all over that!  Seeing other women succeed, unlike the envy years of my 20s, brings me great joy!
45. I still love the movie “Grease”.  I know…it has a terrible message and doesn’t reflect anything I believe.  But I can’t help it.  37 years after seeing it for the first time (I’ll bet I saw it 20 times at the theater the year it came out because back then you couldn’t watch it on DVD 2 months later) I still can’t hold myself back from dancing when I hear those songs.  Hey!  Maybe I’ll do my jive (see #16)  to “We Go Together”.

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes!”  Vince Fontaine in “Grease”
46.  I know myself.  I know what I am good at and I know what I am NOT good at.  There is so much joy in building your skills in the areas that God gifted you in and letting go of trying to be good at everything.  My strengths and weaknesses make me unique, and why would I want to be like anyone else?!
47. Early mornings.  The older I get the earlier I naturally wake up in the morning.  I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but I sure do love seeing the sunrise!
48. Playing with makeup.  I have enjoyed discovering and trying new things from the makeup department.  My aging skin needs care and I like beauty products and I’m a sucker for those bright promises.  It’s a delightful indulgence that I’ve enjoyed even more as I get older.  And I have more time for my skin care at night too, since my kids can put themselves to bed (usually long AFTER I go to sleep).
49. I am calmer.  I don’t get as upset over little things and I calm down more quickly when I do get irritated.  If getting older has taught me anything, it would be that life is too short to fuss over little messes and disappointments.  I’ll probably never be completely easy-going, but I am definitely more relaxed than I used to be and I have hope of chillin’ even more in the future.
50. More life ahead!  I have so much left to live and I am acutely aware of the preciousness of every day.  I can see that the 50s are going to be fabulous.  Not because this time in life is trouble-free, but because it is a blessing to be alive and know who I am in Christ!

The little girl I was 50 years ago would never have believed that this was her future.  Nine children, homeschooling (of course, who heard of homeschooling 50 years ago?!), obsessed with natural health care and living in an old house on a little farm…it’s crazy that this is my life!

It’s better and richer than anything I would have dreamed for myself!

50-05

 

 

Someday I’m Gonna Live Underground

Someday I’m Gonna Live Underground

Well it was another travel weekend!

I went to Nashville for a conference that was put together by Young Living members to help us learn more about the company, where the oils comes from and how to use them.  It was wonderful to be around other people who love using essential oils as much as I do.

I go to a lot of conferences.  I know the traveling isn’t for everyone.  But I love to learn and grow and build my ministry.  I love to meet new people and it always inspires me in some way.

What I don’t love is being away from my family.  I missed them so much last weekend that I thought I might break my phone texting them.

Me: Hi!  What are y’all doing right now?
Them: The same thing we were doing 5 minutes ago when you asked.

Sadly, I have to travel again for a few days this week and then…..I am going to come home, dig a hole in the backyard and build a room underground where no one can find us.  I plan to put my husband and kids down there with me and a stack of board games.  Don’t worry about us, I’ll poke some straw holes up through the ground for air.

Or maybe I could just lock the doors on the house and turn off the phones.  That may be a more practical option.

This being Valentine’s Day week and all….I am also cooking up some secret love messages for these favorite people of mine.  Not having much extra time I am avoiding Pinterest like the plague.  I don’t need a bunch of crafty ideas, like making roses out of strawberries and edible gold, to make me feel inadequate.  My Valentines will be closer to pieces of red construction paper folded in half and cut into lopsided hearts.  Think Kindergarten, but messier.

I’m shooting for quantity over quality.  Lots of messy hearts with candy from the seasonal section of the grocery store is how I plan to express my abundant love.

We all like to wear red on Valentine’s Day, which of course means my red boots will make an appearance.  I wore them all weekend at the Opryland Gaylord and they seemed glad to revisit their hometown.  I bought them when I was here last fall and I have been surprised about how often I wear them!  I have never had a pair of western boots before and I don’t think I own any red clothing.  So I wasn’t sure when I got them if I would wear them.  But I wear them at least twice a week.

boots01

For today it’s about rest and hanging with the kids.  And laundry.  And maybe going through receipts for my husband, which is his love language.

Have a great week!

 

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

This post contains affiliate links.

Last November our family took a dream trip to Disneyworld.  It was just as magical as they say…except for the part where James and I had to keep up with 9 young people with varied levels of energy and interest.  He and I were like ships in the night….I knew he was in the vicinity but we rarely saw each other.

So we decided that since we never do anything for our anniversaries or take romantic trips, we would go back together…just the two of us.  And believe it or not, we have actually made plans and put down a deposit to go this spring!

I learned some things while we were there last time that will definitely help us have a great time this next trip and I thought I’d share some of my best tips with you!

Disney2

1. Camelbak – I tend to get dehydrated very easily.  And I am a little bit (OK a lot) picky about my water.  I like bottled.  No tap water.  No drinking fountains.  And I am ultimately lazy and don’t want to carry a water bottle around with me.  So I got myself a Camelbak and I LOVED it!  I would fill it with a few water bottles and some ice, then I had cold water for hours.  PLUS it held my other needs…money, lip balm, tissues, etc.

2. Pockets! – Since I only wear skirts and dresses, I don’t often have pockets.  But I found some great tops that have big pockets and MAN did I use them!  It was so great to slip my sunglasses into my pocket when I needed to take them off and hold something for my kids.  I came home with pockets full of smashed pennies.

3. Comfy shoes – according to my UP band, I walked an average of 17,000 steps a day.  We were on.the.move!  So I wore my OTZ Shoes every day and seriously, my feet never hurt at all.  Whatever shoes you are comfortable in…WEAR THEM!

4. Smart Phone – well, I never go anywhere without it anyway, and of course we took all of our photos with it, but I was doubly glad to have it with me because the app, My Disney Experience, was a lifesaver!  It kept up with our fast passes, dinner reservations, maps, wait times on rides, everything we needed!

5. Ziploc bags – speaking of phones, I kept a Ziploc Snack Bags in my pack to stick my phone in when we went on water rides.  I never worried about it getting wet!  And I carried a few extra that came in handy many times.  Someone didn’t have their retainer case (although that probably won’t happen when it’s just James and I), leftover food from dinner, a kid wanted to keep something they found…over and over it was nifty to have a few small Ziplocs with me.

6. Dining Plan – no, seriously, I will never go there again without getting the dining plan!  We had a fancy dinner reservation each day and ate places we would never have gotten into, much less been wiling to spend the money while we were there.  We got a second, quick meal each day which was amazing and then one snack, which I mostly ate frozen lemonade and plan to eat lots more of it when we go back.  It was so great for the kids because they had their meals on their Magic Bands and could just get food when they wanted without asking permission.  Brilliant Disney.  Brilliant.

7. No jewelry – Yes, I love my jewelry.  But this is not the place to wear it; I only wore my UP Band (which I don’t think of as jewelry).  I didn’t even wear a wedding ring.  You really want to be as free of extras as possible, especially anything that would be upsetting to lose!  Sure, carry a Ziploc bag, but leave the earrings at home.

8. Free time – on our last trip it was go-go-go from sunup to sundown.  James and I, being old and all, plan to slow it down significantly.  Yes, we may miss a ride or two but the slower pace will undoubtedly help us enjoy it more.  You can’t see it all anyway, believe me.  We tried.

9. Thieves Mints – I kept these in my pack and handed them out often, to whoever I was with (we were split up a lot).  It not only kept our breath fresh, but the Thieves helped keep us from getting sick (seems like I heard something recently about people getting sick at Disney?).  ;P

That’s my simple list of how I plan to make my future trip to Disney as magical (and easy) as I possibly can!

Do you have any Disney tips to share?

By the way, all of our Disney arrangements were made by my friend Amy at Polka Dots & Wishes and she was incredible!  I didn’t hesitate to ask her to plan our next trip for James and I….if you reach out to her to plan your trip, be sure to tell her I sent you!

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.

friday01

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!

Please Step Away from the Computer

Please Step Away from the Computer

Oh my aching back!

I have either been driving all day or sitting in my chair working for the past three days.

I did a short workout this morning with the hope that it would help keep my legs from going stiff.  They are “stove up” as my grandfather used to say.  My calves are used to move movement and they have protested this limited use.  I wish I could help them more, but I just have too much work to do.

I have been up early and working late to get my book edits done by Friday.  I think today I need to step away from it for the morning since when I opened the file just now to pick up where I left off last night I couldn’t see straight.  Don’t be surprised if on page 87 you read something like, “Muzzle fuzzle I need a nap.”

So I am going to sneak away all by myself for a few hours this morning right after I take my first shower in 3 days.  I am generally a big fan of showering and, in fact, enjoy the process.  But for some reason, which makes me nervous for my 80 year old future self, I just haven’t take one with all of this writing to do.  Perhaps it is because I haven’t moved enough to actually sweat and no one is looking at me anyway.  But that is going to change as soon as I step away from my computer.  My family will be so happy.

I have some returns to make in the city and I may even see a movie.  There are a few movies that came out recently that look good, so I might just let my brain go numb for a while.  But no snacks….sadly for me I have really jumped back into my diet and I am determined to stay the course.  In fact, I have challenged my Facebook group (women who are dedicated to getting healthy) to a no sugar February.  They are embracing it; I am jumping in with both feet.  It’s the only way I can do it….otherwise I will eat one m&m, telling myself one won’t hurt anything, and it causes me to dream of swimming in chocolate lakes and practically climb the walls wanting more.

Hi.  I’m Lisa.  I’m addicted to sugar.

So I have already started the challenge and today is my third day sugar free.  So far so good.  I can have some tea with stevia at the movie if I am really feeling like I need a $6 drink and if I remember to put some packets of stevia in my purse.  It’s highly unlikely that those stars will align and I will end up sipping from my stainless steel water bottle that I sneak in my purse with a few drops of essential oils in it.

OK, I have now put way too much thought into my move experience.

Wait, would it be weird if I took a heating pad with me for my back?  Is there a place to plug things in?

 

 

One Down, One to GO!

One Down, One to GO!

I am in a post-Summit stupor.

Last weekend I was in San Marcos, TX for the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit and it was incredible!  God blessed each and every person there in individual ways to encouraged us all in our mothering and in our relationship with Him.

I can’t tell you how blessed I am to be a small part of this ministry.  It gets to the core of what I feel called to do…..to minister to hurting moms and women that are running the race of wife, mom, friend and child of the one true King.  I get to spend the weekend hugging and praying and loving on these ladies and make new friends and spend precious time with old ones.

On Thursday morning my three daughters and I left the house to drive 3 hours to start setting up.  Since James was gone for the day on business, that left the 5 boys alone.  I wasn’t completely comfortable with it, but we did what we could to prepare them.  I gave them school assignments, we prepped their food and had some movies for them to watch.  Frankly, I just hoped they wouldn’t burn the place down.

Once there, the girls and I ran around for 2 days helping the team set up for the conference and it was a doozy of a job!  At the last minute some key people had a crisis and couldn’t be there.  The few that were left filled in where we could and actually pulled it off despite flying by the seat of our pants.

I ended up on stage a lot giving announcements or introducing the next speaker, so I decided to take selfies while I was at it.

txsummit03

Who doesn’t love a good selfie from the stage?!

There were many tears and lots of laughter and everywhere you went you could see women praying together and pouring into each other.  I am just so glad God allows me to be a part of it.

On Saturday night, we have my favorite part of the weekend….Girls’ Night Out.

First it’s a pajama party, which I prepared for by getting myself some footie pajamas.  In fact, just down the hall from our event was a beautiful Quinceanera going on.  So my friend Sheri convinced me to tiptoe down and get my picture taken with the belle of the ball…..her dress was like a fairy tale!  And mine too…depending on what tale you’re reading.

txsummit01

After the silliness (which I can’t reveal the details of because it’s a surprise for this next weekend’s attendees in Oklahoma) we sat down for some deep Titus 2 time.  Older women teaching younger women to love their husbands and children, be self-controlled and pure, etc.  I love, LOVE this part of the Summit

txsummit05Left to right is Lyndsay Lambert, Susan Chrisman, Shirley Quine and Roxanne Parks.  It was a powerhouse of wisdom!

And now I have had three days to recover and I am off to the Oklahoma Summit….there’s still time to get in on the goodness and come!

Also, the boys survived and the house was fully intact and even pretty clean when we got home on Sunday night.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

Come to the Summit!

Come to the Summit!

Are you thinking yet about what to do after the Christmas excitement is over?!  ‘Cuz only weeks after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the new year is the best thing this side of the Mississippi.  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.  It’s a boatload of encouragement, refreshment and renewal!

 

summit01

If you’re wondering what it is, here are some recaps of past Summits from different attendees:

And here you can see for yourself what attending The Summit looks like.

And now, for the first time ever, there is a way to attend The Summit FOR FREE! Here’s how:

  • Round up 5 friends who have never been.
  • Print off 3 of these registration forms.
  • Fill in the info for yourself and your 5 friends.
  • Collect the money and write one check to cover the registration for those 5. (YOURS IS FREE!)
  • Mail to:

Winter Summit
c/o Roxanne Parks
2612 Meadow View Road
Edmond, OK 73013

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t have 5 homeschooling friends, but I would love to meet some like minded ladies!” We would love to have you at The Summit, and to help you get there we are offering a $10 discount code. When you register, simply apply the code “Pennington10“.

Okay, who’s ready to win a $50 Amazon gift card??? Anyone can enter and there are multiple ways, so be sure to increase your chances by visiting each blogger who will be attending The Summit!

AND as a special bonus, one lucky winner will receive the cost of their registration refunded in a drawing on January 1st!

Simply, leave a comment on this post to enter. Then, hop on over to the the other participating blogs to enter there, too. You will be given one entry per blog, for a maximum of 5 entries. One winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, December 17 to receive the $50 Amazon gift card.

See you at The Summit!

The Most Magical Place on Earth

The Most Magical Place on Earth

I was quiet on the blog last week because my family went on vacation….to Disney World!

Disney11

It was a dream come true kind of trip.  We had been planning it for about 6 months and even though we didn’t know it then, the timing was amazing.  We all needed a break from the difficulties going on at home.

Disney10

It’s more proof that God knows what is ahead for us and sets His plans into motion to take care of us. 

With so many of us there, it was hard to stay together so we ended up splitting up most of the time and meeting all together for dinner each day.  We tried to stay connected, but you know how it goes.

Disney05

We did manage to ride a few rides all together.

Disney18

We would divide into groups and I ended up spending most of my time with the two youngest boys.

disney01

It was fun just to ride whatever they wanted and see the shows they were interested in.  We rode the train around Magic Kingdom and the carousel and everything the older kids had no interest in.

Disney17

But don’t think I had a slow paced time.  I love the roller coasters and occasionally I would sneak off with the fast action crew for some thrill rides.  The more loops and twists and turns the better in my opinion. (the girl on the end is a sweet friend who went with us)

Disney13

We would use our fast passes then run right back around to wait in line to ride the ride again.  Fun, Fun and more Fun.

Speaking of fast passes, I want to shout out how amazing our Disney travel agent was.  Amy, from Polka Dots N’ Wishes planned the whole thing for us and got us a great deal!  Plus she gave us tips for things we would never have discovered on our own.  I was thrilled with their service and will use them to plan another trip again for SURE!  If you’re going to Disney, contact them and let them know I sent you.

Disney07

It’s so great to be in a place where you look normal wearing costumes.  But my Minnie Mouse ears were hurting my head, so the next day I made my own.  I may start wearing my hair like that all the time.

Disney16

We met quite a few celebrities….including the biggest celebrity of all.

disney02

I even made friends with a Lego muscle man.  He’s a little angry, but he’s still cute.

Disney15

While it was an amazing trip and I would do it all again, I am hoping to go back again with just James and I.  It seems weird at first to think of going without our kids, but then we realized we were spending the entire time doing what everyone else wanted, taking people to the bathroom, looking for lost hats, finding people to trade pins with, etc.  It’s what a parent does and we were totally glad to do it.  But it also sounds nice to do whole thing at our own pace.  So we are thinking of calling Amy and having her set up a “Mommy and Daddy only” kind of trip.  (ignore the black man in the photo with me – it’s from a ride – just pretend that’s James)

Disney21

And another great thing about the trip….it was our Christmas gift to the family.  So my Christmas shopping is done except for a few friend and teacher gifts which I have already ordered.  Booyah!!!

Have a very merry week!

 

Facing My Fears

Facing My Fears

Well, I finally turned in my first draft of my book.  It’s been one of those, “Be careful what you wish for” kinds of things.

I have always dreamed of writing a book.  And when I read books it seems so easy.  It’s also easy to sit in my recliner and watch the winter Olympics.  But not so easy to actually do.

It’s been more like an act of service than a living the dream.  But still very satisfying.

Last weekend while the girls and I were at the coast we decided to walk out on the dock across from our house.  It looked so nice from the balcony.  But when I stepped up to it I froze in fear.  It was a very long plank of worn wood with nothing to hold onto.  And by hold onto I mean grip with all my might until my finger ache.

As we started to cross, the girls were chatting it up behind me just skipping and enjoying the ocean.  “No talking. please,” I said,  “I need total concentration so I don’t die.”

dock

 

I inched my way across, not letting myself look at anything but the board directly in front of me.  “Don’t look up….don’t look around….” I kept telling myself. When I was a kid I had an extreme fear of water.  A few years of swim lessons helped, but I still can’t breathe when I watch a movie about someone underwater.  I would be the only person in the world to die from holding my breath in a theater while watching “Dolphin Tale 2.”

My friend who owned the house later told me, “If it helps, the water there is only about three feet deep.”

Nope.  That doesn’t help at all.

I made it across the dock, spent time on the pier with the girls watching the birds and talking about life and God’s goodness and then {cue horror music} I had to get back across.  I let the girls go first and after they were all the way across I just did it….one step at a time.  There’s definitely a metaphor for life in there somewhere.

Speaking of dread, today when I hit the send button on my book I felt that same irrational fear of death.  Why?  You can’t die from a bad book.  Wait, can you?

Wait.  Not that my book is bad.  I hope I hope.

Fear is a funny thing.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  God knew that we all would struggle with this.  I read somewhere that fear is mentioned over 365 times in the Bible.  Wowsa!  No denying that we are to fear not by leaning on Him!

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I am learning a lot lately about what I am afraid of and how much I need to put my faith in God and God alone.  I walked all the way across that dock and back again.  I was so proud of myself and my girls clapped for me.  They knew I was petrified and it was a huge blessing to show them that I could do something that really scared me.

Although let’s not get crazy…..I still don’t know if I could have done it if anyone was talking to me.

 

Time and Texts….Oh the Mystery

Time and Texts….Oh the Mystery

I can’t believe how quickly October is flying past.  While it will be remembered as one of the worst times in my life, it is also God’s mercy that I look back and realize that weeks have slipped by without my noticing.

When that happens I always think of those newborn baby days that seem soooo long then you realize your baby is 6 weeks old and you can’t imagine how that is possible.  Time is a weird thing, huh?

This past weekend I took my three girls to the beach for a weekend of encouragement and refreshment.  We had been planning it for a couple of months and while we missed our sister, it was a wonderful time for the four of us.  We watched DVDs from the True Woman Conference and talked about what God is doing in each of our lives.  I loved hearing how each girl was being blessed by the teachings and what they were learning.

beach01

One of the conference sessions was about the history of feminism and it was so funny to hear the different perspectives from the four of us.  For my girls it was a fascinating history lesson but for me it was a flood of memories.  I remember hearing “I am Woman Hear Me Roar” over and over on the radio.  I remember Virginia Slims telling women that they deserve their own, thinner cigarette.  I used to roll up strips of paper and pretend I was smoking…..”I deserve this,” I would think as I took a long, pretend draw on my symbol of adulthood.  Oh how things have changed!

But the main focus of the conference was about putting our eyes on God and not ourselves.  Embracing who we were created to be instead of fighting for our freedoms.  It was amazing and the timing couldn’t have been better.  All four of us walked away with a sense of knowing that we are safe in the arms of a loving Father who leads us with a wisdom that we can’t fully understand.

And to watch it all with the ocean waves splashing in our view……that made it perfect.

God knew exactly what we all needed.

Of course.

My boys were at home fending for themselves (aka eating nachos and playing wii) and texting me constantly.  “Hola Mamacita” and “Where is the ketchup?” kind of texts.  One of my boys really loves to text with me, but he doesn’t really get text etiquette.  He will say something to me, “What are you doing right now?” and I won’t see it or reply right away.  After about three seconds he will text again, “Hello????!!!!”  But if I am driving or running or sleeping I still won’t see it.  So three more seconds, “???????????????!” and so it goes for 20+ more texts from him.

But in typical homeschool mom fashion it has led me to mentally develop a class on texting, phone calls and other social interaction.

Bam!

Some challenges are much easier than others.

This week I am frantically finishing up the last of my book to send it to my editor for feedback.  All of this family drama has put me behind, but God knew this was coming and He has given me this extra week to say what He wants to say in the book.  I only THINK I am writing it.

Have a great week and may God minister to your heart the way He has mine over the past few days.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more encouragement!