God’s Plan for My Day?

     I have been homeschooling for 11 years now and no 2 years have ever looked the same.  I pray and plan a new schedule / routine at the beginning of every school year, I usually have to read it a few months in.  I have also been known not to redo it and just leave it hanging on the fridge to be ignored (or make me feel guilty for not rolling it’s orders).  Can I get an amen ladies?!?  Raise you head up high, no more hiding in shame – it’s only a piece of paper – it can’t tell us what to do.  I won’t let it dictate my day to me!!!

     WAIT – that’s what I prayed and prayed and prayed and wrote and typed and tweaked it for.  I wanted someone (or something) to tell me how to order my day.  I’m fond of saying, “It’s just a piece of paper”.  But if I truly believe that then why do I pray and ask God to tell me how to order my day?!?

OUCH!

     Maybe my inability to follow that routine on a daily basis and my “routine” of just going with the flow is more about my desire to be in charge of my time than it has to do with the ages of my kids, or potty training, or the randomness of life.

Hmmmm…..

     Our days will never really be the exact same, there are way too many variables.  I know that.  God knows that.  He knew it when I was praying over our days too.  A few things have changed since I made this years daily plan (Little Miss Hugs A Lot is officially completely potty trained, music lessons have changed, some curriculums have been finished), we grade the high schoolers work differently than I originally planned to, Tall Boy has completed the classroom portion of his drivers ed course).  It’s time to go back and look at our daily plan.

Our weekly plan of doing school 4 days and being “off” 1 day is working great and we are on track.  Funnily enough, a piece of paper helps me to stay on track!  LOL  I use My Home School Grades to plan out lessons for the younger 3 and I just print it out daily.  Mr. Thoughtful can look at his paper and see what he needs to do and get started right after breakfast.  I work with the little girls at the same table Mr. Thoughtful is at.  The teens write down all work done in their day and we input it in to My Home School Grades afterwards.  I like these pieces of paper telling me what is next so much that I set myself up as a student in MHSG so I can plan activities for myself (blogging, working out, laundry, daily chores, etc.).

In my previous post I said to quit comparing and just do what works for your family.  Obviously, if my house is messier than I would like and I’m not following my daily plan then I’m still finding out what works for us.  But what worked for us a week or even a couple months ago may no longer work for us because of the changes that have been made.  We need to realize that just as our children’s needs change as they grow so do the demands on our time and their time.  Just like some days I may be kicking toys out of the doorway and other days it’s beautifully clean (I will admit though there there are always stray legos and marbles to be found!).

I’m off to look over our daily routine and see what changes, if any, need to be made and to think about my repulsion to that piece of paper telling me what to do and remember that I asked God to help make that plan in the first place!

I was going to share a pic of our schedule but decided not to just yet since we are talking about not comparing ourselves to others but seeking God’s plan for our days.  Take some time to evaluate your days and what is working in your routines / schedule, pray and seek God’s plan for your days, then talk to your husband and seek his advice.  Write it down, try it out and see how it goes and do not be afraid to tweak it every now and again.

 

Do you have a routine / schedule that works for your family?  How did you come up with it?
Does your routine / schedule need tweaked because of changes?
Are you struggling with creating or following a routine / schedule?

(Cross posted at Encouraging Home)

Rachel Sig

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The Comparison Trap

     I mentioned in my last post that I actually told one of the beautiful ladies I recently went away with, “Your home intimidates me” while sitting around one of our nightly fires.  I told her the following week that I know she’s in a different phase of her life than I am in and it’s the expectations I have for myself that really intimidate me.

     I’ve been talking to a young mom who is homeschooling her kindergartener this year while potty training her 2 year old and caring for her newborn.  I’m not calling her a first time homeschool mom because she’s been teaching her kids since birth, like all the rest of us.  It’s not even her first time with a routine or workbooks.  It is, however, her first year of “official” home education.  And it is her first time as a mom of 3.  She is loving this stage of her life but she’s feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the expectations – expectations that she is placing on herself.  And she’s starting to compare…her home, her kids education, activities, etc.  When I had my third child my older two were much older than this young moms oldest 2 are and I was overwhelmed with all I had to do and we had activities that we did but if I tried to do the activities this mom is doing, and enjoys doing, I would have been in the loony bin!

That’s part (most) of the problem with comparisons and expectations, we are all different.  Some of us are energized by going on field trips and being in church Bible study groups, others by doing art projects in the school room, science projects in the kitchen, or reading to the kids on the couch, or having a cleaning party with the family, and some people are energized by all of the above.  Some of use unit studies in our homeschool, some use text books, some use only “living” books, some don’t read or watch fairy tales, some use only the Bible.

We all are caught in the comparison trap from time to time whether we are using other women in our circle, the Proverbs 31 Woman, or even our past (or our dreams of our future self) as a comparison stick.  Comparison is not always a bad thing, it can show us areas we are lacking in or even areas we are doing pretty good in but when we use it to tell ourselves how awful we are doing in certain areas of our life it is a problem.  Right about then is when we cease to see all that God has accomplished through us and start to see all that we can not accomplish without Him, but we tend to drop the “without Him” part and focus on ourselves.

When we start to feel overwhelmed we tend to look even more at those we are intimidated by to see where we can do better – and we can’t measure up.  Where we should go is to God in prayer, even if it’s 5 minutes in the shower!  He never leaves our side – He patiently waits for us to consult Him about how and when to teach Suzy to read, the best routine / schedule for our day, which activities are best for OUR family, the best way to clean our bathroom, what meals to cook, and more.

*It may take a few showers to have all these conversations with God or it may take 1 shower where you pour your heart out to God and He gives you tidbits of information throughout the day*

     Sometimes, He will even give you the information through a friend, a blog, or Pinterest.  We have to pay attention and we have to test it against His Word.

1) Is this advice / information against the Bible?  (Yes = STOP here! – No = Keep going)
2) Does this sound like it will fit well with our family? (No = STOP here! – Yes = Keep Going)
3) Do I have the necessary resources (time, supplies, $, support)? (No = STOP here! – Yes = Keep Going)

If you can answer the above questions to your satisfaction, talk it over with your husband and try it for a month or so. If it doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to drop it.  Dropping it does not mean you failed, it means this particular thing does not work for your family right now.

 

Let’s Keep the Conversation Going:
What have you felt inadequate in?  What have you done about it?
What have you tried and decided wasn’t a good fit for your family?

(Cross Posted on Encouraging Home)

Rachel Sig

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Your Home Intimidates Me

This past weekend I went away for with 5 other ladies!  It was a weekend of God’s beauty and love!  I was blessed to have this time getting to know these other women better over delicious food, by a fire, enjoying the beauty that one lady decorated our table with and the beauty that God created for us to enjoy!  We talked about friendships, God, family, and more.  I seriously can not put into words how wonderful the weekend was but I will be trying to in future blog posts.  Today I want to touch on something I said to one of the beautiful ladies while we were sitting around the fireplace.

Your home intimidates me

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Yup – I went there!

And she looked shocked and upset.  Makes sense right?  You and I would look like that too if someone just said that to us, right?

She asked me what she could do to make it not intimidate me, I told her to dump Lego’s and Little People all over the floor. When I got home from our trip and told My Man about the conversation, he answered with my answer of making her home a mess before I even told him my reply – and he’s never seen her home.

Her home is different than mine in that it is clean and decorated in a beautiful way, a way that sometimes I feel will never happen in my home but I deeply desire.  Her children are older than my younger ones are, so they can help more and have different interests than mine do.

I emailed her the day after we got home, I apologized for saying what I did and assured her that her home is welcoming, comfortable, clean and inviting.  She replied, “I was taken aback by what you said because I had no idea but I am really glad you said it — really I am.  I  need to know about those blind spots so unless someone tells me I will not know. Thank you for that. Your next words “your home is welcoming” “and inviting” are what I am striving for. Thanks for that encouragement!”  (We ALL need encouragement, even those we look up to)

I replied back to her, “Ahhhh…but please remember that something you may feel is a blind spot for you may be (likely is) me wishing for something at least somewhat different than I have. I’m in a stage of life where clean and beautiful is not easy, lived in – very lived in – is the norm for me right now. There is something you have that I want – and that thing I want is what intimidates me because most days I never know if I will ever achieve that! We are constantly getting rid of things (toys, clothes, shoes, broken items, etc.) but it never seems to make more room or leave me with less to clean, wash, do. I dream of a bigger home and more space to have all this stuff and to live life (I’m moving closer to having that home every day). I’ve had people tell me it won’t make a difference (having a bigger home) b/c I will just be moving it all into a different wrapper but all the issues will still be there. That discourages me, and makes me feel like it’s more me than the amount of space I live in. I’ve also heard people say that what your home looks like is a reflection of your spiritual state…that’s very discouraging, disheartening, and frightening to me. And even if I don’t believe these people, I have that fear sneak up at the most inopportune times. Then I feel guilty because My Man remembers his mom being in the kitchen every morning making breakfast when he was getting ready for school and every night making dinner. I didn’t have that as much because my mom worked. He wants me in the kitchen providing those memories for our kids and I get it, I do. But then I wonder when I have time to work out (something else he really wants me to do b/c he wants me taking better care of myself for our family), read my Bible, and all the rest of it. And I want the kids in the kitchen because I want them to learn to do all the things I feel inadequate doing.

Inadequate…maybe I see myself as inadequate when I walk in your front door because I’m not tripping over Little People toys and Legos and I’m comparing myself to some figment that I think others are saying I should be…and I think I want to be….

You are not telling me I’m inadequate or that your are better than me in any way. You are showing love and hospitality in ways that God has gifted you to do and in ways that the age and interests of your children allow. I want to be able to do that, and someday I will be able to. I guess I could do that in a different way now – I just need to search for my how and my who…”

My Mom’s addition to the conversation, “while you strive to have a clean, clutter free home, enjoy the chaos, enjoy every little minute, even when it is aggravating, enjoy the time with your children, smile often, hug more than you have time for and give lots of kisses, even to the big boys!! Tall Boy still needs kisses. Kiss your husbands often, for just the simple pleasure of a kiss.”

My end note… my who right now is mostly my family and my kids friends and my friends.  My how?  Taking birthday cake to the single neighbor when one of us celebrates a birthday, making sure my kids friends know they are loved & welcome here, not shutting the door in a friends face because my home is a mess when they stop by (because even if you are expected I won’t get it spotless, I can get it clean but not spotless – we live here after all).  I’m getting rid of clutter and making sure I add or keep things that are pretty and comfortable and inviting to me and my family.  I am encouraging my kids to help neighbors and help with the home to have a weekly or monthly night where their friends are welcome no matter what.  I know that my who and my how will continue to change and my gifts will not be used like others who have the same gifts and I don’t have the same gifts that others have, so I will always be seeking out my who and my why – I just need to remember to keep doing what God lays on my heart not what others (or myself) are pushing in me…

This post is being cross posted on Encouraging Home.  Linking up with A Wise Woman Builds Her Home a-wise-woman-builds-her-home

Rachel Sig

We don’t necessarily want to share what intimidates us or why it does,

So…what is your how and who is your who? Please share with us

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Willie’s Redneck Time Machine Review & Giveaway

Willie’s Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson and Travis Thrasher was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review, and an extra copy was given to me to give to you!  Thank goodness because Mr. Thoughtful loves the book and has been bringing it to me at bedtime to make sure we read it, even though he can read it himself. He would not be very happy if I gave one of you his copy of the book!

Willie’s Redneck Time Machine is the first book in a four-book fiction series featuring the Robertson family of Duck Commander and written by John Luke Robertson and Travis Thrasher.  This series is recommended for ages 8-12, although Mr. Thoughtful is younger than that.   In this book Willie discovers an outhouse in the Duck Commander warehouse while everyone is at lunch, John Luke comes in to see if his Dad is ready to go get Korie’s birthday presents (her husband and son had waited to get her presents until her birthday) and they decide to investigate the weird looking outhouse situated in such an odd place.   At the end of each chapter you choose which path to take.  On the first night Mr. Thoughtful kept saying, “Go find your son!”, at the end of the book, he said, “Tomorrow all answers are C”, LOL.  There are no abc answers and not every chapter has more than 2 choices.  So, the second night, I asked him what choice are we choosing at this chapter and his answer? “Go find your son!”  LOL  I made him choose something different that time and he chose a completely different path, at the end of every chapter, from the night before.  Mr. Thoughtful was all ready asking for the rest of the set after the first night (…hint, hint Grandma…). The titles of the 4 books in this series are Willie’s Redneck Time Machine, Phil & the Ghost of Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, Si in Space, Jase & the Deadliest Hunt (you can buy the whole paperback set for $26.99 on Amazon).  The books are sold in paperback and on kindle.  Last night Tall Boy read it to Mr. Thoughtful while I was working on lesson plans, and he loves the book too.  Today he read through every scenario he could, LOL.   He discovered something that I had not found yet and that I have not seen in the descriptions.  One of the scenario choices actually leads you to another book in the series (p. 137 in Jase & the Deadliest Hunt), I’m not sure how I feel about that.  It’s a neat idea to tie the books together in that way but since we do not have the other books it is disappointing.  I have not seen any reviews or or even the descriptions stating that you will need the other books in order to complete some of the story paths and that bugs me.  The other books in the series are also mentioned throughout the different scenarios but you are only sent to one for a story continuation from this one, Tall Boy believes that Si in Space will lead you back to this one.  The choices being made are making Mr. Thoughtful think about what the consequences may be and then he finds out if the choices were good or bad, and he’s learning about different time periods (like the Civil War).   Over all, we we liked the book and I am sure Mr, Thoughtful will be asking his grandmas for the other books in the series… So, yes I would recommend the book but I would recommend you buy the whole series at once if you do that or just be prepared to not be able to finish the first book completely until you get the 4th book.  (None of my links in this post are affiliate links.)

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Willie’s Redneck Time Machine.

I will use Random.org to pick a winner on Sunday, October 5.   I will post the winner on the blog and will email using the email address you use to comment with.

Rachel Sig

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NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition Review

I was given a copy of the NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition organizes the New International Version Bible—the world’s most popular modern-English Bible—into 365 daily readings placed in chronological order. This softcover edition includes a daily Scripture reading followed by a short devotional thought written by the staff at the trusted ministry Walk Thru the Bible.

 

Review

I first saw a chronological Bible at my Grandma in Loves home years ago and I have wanted one ever since!  I just couldn’t figure out which one I wanted to buy.  Then I saw this gem for review.  Did I mention I have always wanted to read the Bible in a year too?  And recently Courtney at Women Living Well mentioned a few things on her blog that got me thinking – you can read the Bible through in a year if you read for just 12 minutes a day, and she has a Bible that she reads with her kids for school and dates the portions they read daily then dates the book of the Bible in the table of contents.  Oh how I LOVE the idea of reading the Bible chronologically in bite sized portions in a year with My Man and our kids!  I’ve been reading this chronological Bible myself but plan to start reading it with the family at a meal or bed time.  I love the size of the daily reading selections and the short devotional at the end of each reading selection is a nice touch.  I really look forward to reading this Bible in a year.  Tall Boy wants to read the Bible through in a week, he has read other books the size of the Bible that quickly, this one may help him be able to accomplish that…I will have to mention that to him….

 

Have you ever read the Bible through?  How long did it take you?  Have you read a chronological Bible?  Your thoughts?

Rachel Sig

 

 

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Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door Book Review

I  received  a  free  copy  of  Conrad  and  the  Cowgirl  Next  Door  By  Denette  Fretz,  illustrated  by  Gene  Barretta,  Published  by  Zondervan  from  BookLook  Bloggers  in  exchange  for  an  honest  review.

Description of book from BookLook Bloggers.

“I hear that becoming a cowboy can be dangerous. Especially if you don’t know the rules.

I don’t know the rules.”

It’s a good thing Conrad brought his Mega Ultimate Extreme First Aid Kit to Uncle Clint’s ranch because learning how to be a cowboy turns out to be a lot harder—and more painful—than he thought. Conrad has a lot to learn – including don’t squat with spurs on and never wave your red sweatshirt at a bull. But the biggest challenge of all is dealing with Imogene Louise Lathrup, the know-it-all-cowgirl next door. When Imogene shows up, she is all too happy to point out Conrad’s shortcomings. In this follow-up to their debut hit Pirates on the Farm, author Denette Fretz and illustrator Gene Barretta team up once again to tell a humorous tale about what it means to love your neighbor.

 

This is a very cute book.  My kids really enjoy reading it.  I like that the two main characters are a little boy and a little girl, that makes it relate-able for both my boy and my girls.  The book teaches kids to be kind even to those who are driving us crazy, and my kids pointed that out to me before I even asked.  The illustrations look great and really get the point of the story across. The “Vocabulary Poetical” at the end of the book was fun to read.  My kids totally recommend this book!

 

Rachel Sig

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Limitless by Nick Vujicic devotional book review

I received a free Kindle copy of Limitless by Nick Vujicic from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  From Amazon.com, “From limbless to limitless – anything is possible with God!

Nick Vujicic knows there is no greater hope than trusting in God’s plan for your life. Born without arms or legs, Nick has experienced both the peak of hope and the depth of despair. But he has overcome his circumstances and physical limitations by clinging to his faith and understanding the limitless love and power God has for every person.

Now he wants you to experience that same reassurance of hope and the power of God, everyday. In these fifty inspirational devotions, Nick shares his most compelling, hard-earned wisdom to help you face obstacles with confidence and courage and point you toward God. Whether you struggle with faith, relationships, career challenges, anger, health concerns, self-esteem, finding balance, or doubt in your dreams, Nick’s biblical encouragement and positive attitude will transform your life and show you that you can be limitless because God is limitless.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).”

First of all, I love Nick Vujicic and believe he is a very inspirational man.  All that he has accomplished with God amazes me (and so many others!).  When I got this book I was hoping to really like the devotional and I did!  I would totally recommend this book to anyone and everyone as I did enjoy what I read.

Rachel Sig

 

 

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God Shows the Way book review

I received a free copy of The Berenstain Bears God Shows the Way, 3 books in 1 in exchange for an honest review. I chose this book because I wanted something for the kids this time – its that simple ;)  The Berenstain Bears God Shows the Way , 3 books in 1 is written by Stan and Jan Berenstain with Mike Berenstain and is hardback.

This is a children’s book (like you couldn’t figure that out with it being Berenstain Bears and all but I am required to point that out).  It is a collection of 3 Berenstain Books actually:  Faith Gets Us ThroughHave No Fear, God Is NearPiggy Bank Blessings.  In the first story the Bear Cubs learn about faith in the caves.  In Have No Fear, God Is Near they learn about shadows and that God is always with them.  And in Piggy Bank Blessings they learn how to save wisely and use their money on wise purchases, Mama also learns not to doubt her kids are hearing her teachings.  The stories are written in the level 1 reading standard to provide practice for young readers.

 

My kids were so excited to receive this book in the mail!  Mr. Thoughtful (he’s 7) has been reading it to his little sisters (usually at bedtime), I love hearing and watching him do that.  It is a reading level 1 book so that makes it easier for him to read and he of course shares the pictures with them to make it more interesting for all.  There are Bible verses at the beginning of every book.  I think the intended purpose of these books is to teach young ones more about God and their daily lives, I believe it does just that.  I would totally recommend this book to any mom of young kids, maybe up to age 10 – but I cant say that my teens woudnt sit and listen to these books or read them to their younger siblings – who doesn’t love a good Berenstain Bears book?


Rachel Signature

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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EduCents Back to School Sale

EduCents is having their Back-To-School BLOW OUT Sale! They are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular curriculum bundles for just 4 days (plus they will have tons of great supplemental educational products as well)! It’s their biggest sale of the year, and with curriculum and activities at up to 90% OFF, you won’t want to miss it! The sale runs from July 30 – August 2nd!  They will have curriculum for PreK-8th grade at up to 90% OFF + many other products that will help keep the kids engaged and learning all throughout the year!

Check it out here

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Love, Skip, Jump Book review

I received the book Love, Skip, Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes by Shelene Bryan in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Shelene Bryan has a very down to earth way of writing which made it easy to read. There were times I felt like the author was asking the reader to do what she had – go to Africa, and even start a charity organization. I was also frustrated that most of her focus was outside the United States when there are so many here that could use assistance and God’s love, a fact I feel is too often ignored. Not everyone has the ability to do what she has done.  Shelene does acknowledge both points later in the book. I know many people have said this book is life changing – and I guess if you said it’s value lies in the lessons of the power of a simple “yes” to God I would absolutely agree.  This book may give some people ideas and others courage. Shelene says in the book that her first yes was to go to Uganda to meet the children she sponsors. I would argue that there were other yes’s before that – accepting Christ as her Savior and sponsoring those children are just two. Throughout the book, Shelene encourages / challenges us to say yes to God and jump.She also has a prayer at the end of every chapter.  She used many examples in her book of how one yes can lead to many other opportunities to serve God and bless others (and even to be blessed by those you are sharing God’s love with).

So often, we look at missionaries or actors or authors or pastors as the world changers. Sometimes, we feel like “all” we can do is pray, or give a homeless person a dollar (or a gift card we from our credit card rewards), or sponsor a child, or donate a few hours of our time – the truth is that all of that builds up, even if (or especially if) it’s many people doing all those actions. There’s a reason we, as Christians, are called The Body. We have to work together to share / show God’s abundant love.

Love Skip Jump Heart ROK
Over the years, we’ve done some jumping – although we’ve never been to Africa. We homeschool. My Man owns his own business. We bought land to build a home on. My Man and the older kids have volunteered to feed meals to the homeless. We have given money to the homeless and a local homeless shelter.  I don’t tell you these things to toot our own horn but to point that even though these things do not seem as “large” as going to Africa they are actions we have prayed about and said yes to God on, and every single one has handed us opportunities to share God’s love and blessings we otherwise would not have had. Remember, there is no way to serve God that is too small if He has placed that opportunity before you.

If you haven’t read the book, go read it and let me know what you think. If you have read it, let me know what you think. Where have you jumped before?  Where do you feel God leading you serve Him next?

Rachel Sig

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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