Saturday, March 30, 2013

Remember the Resurrection


I am a hopeful romantic but also a realist.  I desire great and wonderful things for my life, my family’s lives, and the world.  However, I also see and experience the dreadful, sinful things in the world, and… it.hurts.

It is so tempting to focus on the negative aspects of life that weigh us down.  They hurt.  They embed themselves in our minds and hearts.  They try to take over.

Even as I write this, I am experiencing my own Gethsemane, my own issues that call me to cry out, “Lord, Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)  Jesus, Himself, was so overwhelmed with the cross He was called to carry, that he, too, desired to be set free from it.  The cross wasn’t easy.

HOWEVER, the story doesn’t end there.  Jesus went through horrible pain and desperation.  Jesus bore the sin of mankind.  Jesus died a dreadful, disrespectful death….. and then…. HE ROSE!

Jesus, our Lord, rose from the dead.  The grave could not hold Him. 

He is risen! 

He is Lord of our lives and Lord of this world, no matter how dreary things look.

He is victorious and will be victorious for all eternity.

We have a hope.  Our hope lies in Jesus.  Our hope lies in eternity.  Our hope lies in the future God has planned for us!

Remember the resurrection!

He is risen!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Supporting Your Husband When He Travels

My husband has traveled a couple times recently for work.  I know that, just as it can be difficult for me when he travels, it isn’t always easy for him.  It’s not easy to be on his own, faring for himself, without his family, when he is used to being with us.  It’s not easy to be in a hotel room, with a television full of temptation and garbage sitting in front of him with not much else to do.  It’s not easy for him when there’s a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (grrrr…. don’t get me started!) glaring at him from the airport newsstand.

It’s nice for him to know, when he is away, that I am still thinking about him, caring for him, and praying for him.

I wrote out a note for each day he would be gone and stuck them in his suitcase.  I tried to stick them in a spot where he would not find the notes before he left, but he did find them.  I wrote encouraging and loving thoughts, along with a Scripture for each day.


For my husband’s last trip, I was not quite as organized ahead of time.  Instead of putting notes in his suitcase, I made it my goal to send him an email each morning, intended to brighten his day.

When my husband when for a road trip, I equipped him with plenty of snacks.  I ran out to the store, bought some healthy and yummy snacks, stabled them in a plastic container and secretly put them in the front of his car.  (Of course, he found those before he left too!)  One day he texted me, “It’s a good thing you gave me those snacks because I didn’t have time to grab breakfast this morning”.


I also made a fresh batch of homemade, chocolate chip cookies.  You can never go wrong with those!


Is your husband traveling soon?

Make sure you do your best to support him.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Early to Rise Challenge–Week One


My new slippers – ready for greatness!

Recently I introduced you to my latest book and challenge, Early to Rise by Andy Traub.  I had started last week but got the flu and realized that I could not continue in that condition.  Hence, I restarted this Monday, five days ago.

Certainly this is a *challenge* as Andy Traub reiterated this morning in the daily encouragement!  It is not easy!  I had high hopes and have not reached my goal as quickly as I thought I would. 

Here were my wake up times:
Monday – 6:30 a.m.
Tuesday – 6:45 a.m.
Wednesday – 6:50 a.m.
Thursday – 7:45 a.m.
Friday – 6:45 a.m.

My initial goal for the week was to wake up at 6:30 a.m., and I am hoping to inch that back to 6:00 a.m.  As you can see, I didn’t quite make that goal.  My biggest problem…. Going to bed late!  As Andy says, if you go to bed late, you are pretty much setting up yourself for failure.  Yep, it is true!  I have gotten to bed most nights around midnight or later for various reasons, and it is so hard to get up before 7:00 when I do that.

Even though I am not exactly achieving my intended goal, I feel fairly good about the week.  After all, most mornings I was up with a “6” introducing the time, and that is a great accomplishment for me!

Yesterday’s daily encouragement was perfect for me.  Andy talked about controlling what you *can* control.  I struggle with letting go of things I can not control.  They weigh on me sometimes… okay, oftentimes.  Andy’s good point about waking up early is that it is something you *can* control.  You *can* take charge of your day and be the initiator, rather than the responder.

I press on!  I like getting up earlier.  I like having some quiet time to myself, to get my Bible reading done, to spend time with the Lord, to read, to blog, and to get my daily chores started.  It’s nice.  I will continue…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Mother’s Necklace… More Than Just a Necklace

Just recently I purchased a mother’s necklace with some gift money I had received. It was a special investment.  For me, buying a mother’s necklace wasn’t just about buying a pretty piece of jewelry to accent my wardrobe.  For me, buying a mother’s necklace was like driving a stake in the ground.

My mother’s necklace is a symbol of my commitment to my children.  When I put my necklace on and wear it throughout the day, I am thinking about my children and my service to them.  It is an intentional reminder of my calling in life.

I love my mother’s necklace.  I searched for hours online, looking for the perfect one.  To me, this one is pretty perfect.


A couple of the main reasons I chose this particular necklace:

  • The opening in the middle of the washer allows the gems to lay nicely.
  • I like the disk-shaped crystals rather than the more spherical style.

If you’re looking for a nice piece of jewelry that will add more than a bit of flair to your wardrobe, consider a mother’s necklace. It will support your resolve on difficult days and remind you of your blessings.

I purchased mine from “Intentionally Me”.  Nayeli was super with communication and service and made a simply beautiful product.

Intentionally Me has a Facebook page and an Etsy shop.

*Note:  I am getting no gift or service to recommend Nayeli to you.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Homeschool Curriculum Review: Notgrass History

Homeschool conferences are just around the corner!  In fact, I am attending one in my area tomorrow. If you have not attended a homeschool conference, you should!  They are inspiring!  It’s great to be around so many other people who homeschool, evaluate your curriculum, and renew your vision.

With the conferences coming up, I wanted to share a GREAT history program with you.

Notgrass’s America the Beautiful History.

This curriculum is wonderful!

P3150001The curriculum has two large textbooks, and they are beautiful!  There are many, excellent photographs throughout the books, which make the books and subject study more alive. 

The lessons are very thorough, providing great information about each topic and various activities to enhance the learning process.  Bible study, map study, timeline usage, extra literature pieces, optional corresponding novels, creative writing, and other activities are all options for your family.  You can choose according to your family’s interest and child’s age and abilities.

The curriculum is geared towards ages 10-14, 5th thru 8th grades.  My son is 11, in the 7th grade, and he has loved it.  He really enjoys history, and I think this curriculum has encouraged his love all the more!  There are many times when he will share with the rest of the family what he is reading.

Notgrass is all about producing
quality curriculum that is God-honoring!

I highly recommend this curriculum.  You can read more about Notgrass’s products at their web site.

Check out my other homeschool reviews…
Homeschool Curriculum Review: God’s Design for Science
Homeschool Curriculum Review: First Language Lessons
Homeschool Curriculum Review: Bob Jones English
Homeschool Curriculum Review: Horizons Math
Homeschool Curriculum Review: Math in Focus
Homeschool Curriculum Review:  Spelling Power and Spelling Workout

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup


Over the weekend I made my typical homemade chicken soup.  With everyone still battling sickness, I wanted to make some more soup.  I know how good lemon, garlic, and chicken broth are for you when you are sick!

I scoured the internet, looking for a chicken and rice soup with lemon in it.  I couldn’t find anything that was “just right”, so I created my own recipe.  This one is fairly quick since you use prepared chicken broth.

Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup
printable version

1/2 of whole chicken, cooked and shredded (~1.5-2 cups of chicken)
1/2 cup of uncooked brown rice
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
8 cups (2 cartons) of chicken broth
1 T dried parsley
1 lemon, juiced

First, cook the rice most of the way.  Put 1/2 cup of brown rice in a pot with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes.  (Usually brown rice takes 45-50 minutes, so you are just cooking it partially).  NOTE:  If you like a meatier soup, you may want to add more rice, just be sure to use double its amount of water to cook it.

Sauté onion, carrot, and garlic in 2 T butter for 5-8 minutes til onion is soft. 

Add chicken broth, parsley, chicken, and rice to the saute mixture.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Add lemon juice. 

Stir, serve, and enjoy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Early to Rise–The Book and The Challenge

This week I finished reading two books!  That is always an accomplishment for me because I am oftentimes reading multiple books at a time.

Yes, I have several books on my shelf that I could start reading, but sometimes I come across new books that seem more timely and line up with what God wants to teach me.

I ran across the book Early to Rise by Andy Traub.  I saw that Money Saving Mom, Frugal Family Home, and others are doing the challenge to learn to rise early in 30 days. 

This week, especially with my husband gone on a work trip, I was reminded of my great need to get up much earlier than I have been.  When I don’t get enough quiet/productive time in the morning before my kids get up, I just feel very frazzled.

I bought the Kindle version of Early to Rise yesterday and cruised through the book.  Yep, I think I’m ready – gulp!  I’m going to shoot for Monday morning for my first day to rise early – consistently (or at least trying hard!) for 30 days!

Have you been wanting to wake up earlier?  Do you want to join me in this 30 day challenge? 

You could challenge yourself to wake up early for 30 days without reading Andy Traub’s book, but I would highly recommend reading it.  He really inspires you.  He makes you realize the tremendous value of your quiet, morning hours.  He says you will be changed and your life will be better!

Andy Traub’s book also gives you goals and thoughts for each day to keep you going!

I will do my best to do a weekly post on how my challenge is going.  If there are enough people wanting to join me (or are just interested), I will consider doing a daily Facebook status.

If you want to join me, you can leave a comment, find me on my Facebook page, send me a Tweet on Twitter, or email me.  Just use my icons at the top to navigate!