Update: Living on an Island, Paul Washer, Moving and Books.

{Eli’s next to me working through his math and I thought I’d take a minute to give a little update on life and some thoughts swarming in my head.}

It’s kind of strange living without social media. I know people do it. My dad for example doesn’t do social media. I think it’s awesome. But for someone who was  immersed (and I don’t say that as a good thing), it’s strange. It’s like living on an island. Living on an island can be great, especially for an introvert like myself. But sometimes it’s nice to know what’s going on around the rest of the world. Even introverts like to feel connected.  I depend on  my husband to tell me important stuff… and sometimes he forgets. For instance, he told me today that Paul Washer had a heart attack Monday. This is important information! Paul Washer is one of my most favorite pastors. I checked his Twitter where they are posting updates and found that he is doing well after surgery and will hopefully go home soon. If you don’t know who he is, I’ll post some links that will get you familiar. Many prayers for him as he recovers and continues to do God’s work. This is the kind of news I need to hear. So, if you come across something that you think I might be interested in (books, theology, theologians, health, food stuff, anti vax to name a few), send me a message. And if you just want to say, “Hey!”… send me a message. Social Media and I just don’t mix. I know I sound like a broken record… but it’s true. So… Anyways…

In Paul Washer’s honor, below are a few of my most favorite Paul Washer memes. I love a good meme, yall. Side note: We once named a rescue dog ‘Washer’ because of Paul Washer. The dog tried to attack Eli, so it didn’t work out. But yeah, we like the guy.

Serious ones first:

 

And if you’ve listened to his “Shocking Youth Sermon”, you’ll get this…

image4
:)))

This was a recent tweet after his heart attack:

image1(2)

Hahaha! So funny.

And this clip…. It gives me life.

Let’s see… what else?  I was sick for the better part of two weeks last month and we got behind on school. So, my sick week became our spring break. Bummer, but that’s what happens when you’re the only teacher. Along with that, we’re in the process of getting our house ready to sell and while I was sick I couldn’t do a whole lot. I was happy to keep everyone fed, alive and keep the house standing. Now that I’m better, we’ve been working more on the house. It’s our top priority right now because we can’t move until we sell. The house goes on the market in a week. So, it has to be picture ready in less than! My husband has been a rock star working all day and then coming home and working on the house until bedtime. I’ve felt like I haven’t contributed as much because, you know, child rearing.  But that’s something, right? Last night my mom and dad kept the boys for 4 hours and I painted our living room, trim and all. It took every bit of those 4 hours. Today between school, I’m going to be painting the bathroom cabinets and trim. As I work, I pray that God would bless our efforts and the new family moving in will be blessed as well. I also pray that my poor hip will survive.

Speaking of that, among all of the sickness and house stuff, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with my hip and thigh. I’ve had issues with it for years and have seen two different Dr’s. Both just kind of dismissed it and told me to take some anti inflammatory. *eyeroll* I finally decided to try another Dr and thankfully he was willing to do some tests. I had an arthrogram MRI on my hip last Monday. What that means is that I had a three part test which started with an MRI without contrast. Then I had an arthrogram, where they inject contrast into my hip joint. Last, they did a second MRI with contrast. I had no tares or anything needing surgery, but my hip abductor tendon is inflamed.  Obviously, this is a chronic issue because it has been going on for years. It looks like I may deal with it for life but there are some suggestions he gave to help it. I’ve been using essential oils and also magnesium oil with heat and that has already seemed to lessen the number of days I have that it bothers me. So, there’s that. I’m a 35 year old with hip problems!

What am I reading? Glad you asked! I just finished the book Wedded to War and I LOVED it. Historical fiction is my thing. I especially love the Civil War period. There are three other books in the series and I am looking forward to reading them. I’m waiting to see if I can catch them on sale. Looking through my Xist classics on my Kindle, I decided to start North and South, which isn’t about the Civil War, by the way. I just picked it out of the classics I’ve been collecting. It’s lengthy and I don’t have much time to read, just a few spare moments when I fall into bed. With that said, it may take me a while to read. I’m also reading Holiness by JC Ryle and if the book as a whole (which is also quite long!) is like the introduction, it’s going to be excellent. Here’s a sample: “The immense importance of “adorning the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10), and making it lovely and beautiful by our daily habits and tempers, has been far to much overlooked. Worldly people sometimes complain with reason that “religious” persons, so-called, are not so amiable and unselfish and good-natured as others who make no profession of religion. Yet sanctification, in its place and proportion is quite as important as justification. Sound Protestant and Evangelical doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless: it does positive harm. It is despised by keen-sighted and shrewd men of the world, as an unreal and hollow thing, and brings religion into contempt.”
So, so good and so, so timely. And to think it was written over a hundred years ago! I’m also studying the book of James using Jen Wilkin’s Bible study .

Ok, well, a cabinet in the bathroom is calling me to paint it, so I must go. Please tell me what you’re up to! Reading anything good? I’d really love to know! If you comment on Facebook (this post will automatically publish there), I won’t see it unless Robby shares with me!

Enjoy your weekend!

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

PS- Here are some Paul Washer Resources:

HeartCry Missionary Society
Paul Washer Sermon: Do You Truly Know the Lord?
Paul Washer Interview with Tim Challies
The Gospel’s Power and Message
The Gospel Call and True Conversion
Gospel Assurance and Warnings

The one about the food. #3

We had a busy and fun weekend visiting my sister and her family! We got to celebrate my niece’s 3rd birthday and meet my newest niece! She turned one week old Saturday! It was a quick visit but we loved it! We did have a scare early Sunday morning. We stayed overnight in a hotel and at 1:42am (yes, I remember the exact time!), Eli woke us up with the dreaded, “Mommy, my stomach hurts.” He then told me he didn’t think he was going to be sick but wanted a drink of water. I put my feet on the floor to get him a drink and he proceeded to throw up all over the hotel’s carpeted floor. It’s literally a page out of my worst nightmare. I’ll spare the rest of the details but it actually turned out great. I prayed from the moment I got him cleaned and settled that it was just a one time thing. It was hard for me to go back to sleep but I dozed off around 3am since he seemed to be sleeping good. I was so thankful to wake up at 7am without any other incidences! The only other issue I had was that Jude wanted to sleep horizontal in the bed with his feet in my back. I’d take that over the other any day though. It seems that Eli had just had too much junk food over the weekend and his body couldn’t handle it. It’s quite eye-opening when you can visibly see how it affects them. He was totally fine the next morning. Anyway, this is a lovely way to start a blog post about food, right? I apologize for those of you with weak stomachs. I’m a mom and can deal!

Moving on! So, what did we eat this week. I honestly can’t remember much more than what I took a picture of… and it was only 4 photos! I do know we had our weekly taco night, but that’s about it.

img_2750

We actually had this Poor Man’s Stew week before last, but I forgot to add it to last week’s post. It was really good and tasted a lot like beef stew. I added celery and a can of drained organic corn. We don’t have corn a lot, except during the summer when we can get it fresh. I occasionally buy a few cans of organic corn from Walmart’s organic line for soups and stews. Corn is one thing I don’t do conventional, only organic. So, we just don’t eat a lot of it.

img_2780

This salad is one of my favorite chopped salads. I’ve found it at Walmart and Publix. It has kale, broccoli slaw, cabbage and brussels. It comes with a package of cranberries and pumpkin seeds and also a package of poppy seed dressing. I chuck the dressing and make a white wine vinaigrette with olive oil, honey and salt and pepper. I also added some sunflower seeds. I had this twice for lunch this week. The second time I added wild Alaskan salmon to it. Yum!

 

img_2792

This is a terrible picture of chili. But that’s what it is. Chili. It was made with venison, three types of beans (kidney, white and black) and tomatoes. I ate it with blue tortilla chips and sour cream… sprinkled with cayenne, because I like it hot! Despite the photo it was really, really good.

img_2786

My boys don’t eat chili. They don’t really like any type of soups or stews. What is wrong with them?!? So, on the night we had chili, this was their dinner. Nachos with taco meat (I used the same venison I used in the chili, seasoned with this homemade taco seasoning) and Monterrey jack cheese… clementines and carrot sticks. I don’t like to make separate meals and rarely do. Chili night is one of my exceptions.

Well, that’s all I got photos of this past week! It’s time to get busy on tonight’s dinner. It’s a new one pot recipe and I’m super excited about it! Then, I’m going to work on the mountain of laundry in my living room!
9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

 

 

 

The one about the food #2

I feel like this past week was a boring food week but I don’t know why. We tried some new things for breakfast because I was feeling like we were in a breakfast rut and that’s not boring. They were both great so I wanted to pass them along as some cheap, healthy breakfast options… unless you’re grain free. We like grains around here! So, here are the highlights from what we ate. And if you’re wondering why I’m doing this you can check out the first post in this series.

My husband is a huge fan of tomato soup and grilled cheese. I had planned to have vegetable soup this night but he asked if I could change it and since I had everything I was happy to. It’s so easy to make homemade tomato soup. SO easy. I’ll try to share the recipe I’ve created over the past year or so that we like. The sandwich was grilled cheese on sourdough, but it was sourdough from the store which isn’t real sourdough. I have to tell you about my sourdough starter at the end of this post though. It’s tragic. I don’t normally do a meatless Monday… though I should. But this was meatless and we did have it on Monday. Normally our meatless meals are completely random.

image31

Aldi was out of our usual grassfed beef, so I had to be creative with our meat options. They carry a preservative free brand of bacon so I picked up a pack and we had loaded baked potatoes and salad. I’m not a huge fan of pork so we don’t eat it often. When we do it’s usually in the form of bacon. Because, bacon.

image13

Now to my favorite of the week: cornmeal pancakes. I used this recipe and used this gluten-free flour in place of the flour. Our family doesn’t eat gluten free, but I do vary what kinds of flours we use. I only eat long fermented wheat products, so this was a treat to me since it was gluten free.

image41

Like I said earlier, I was feeling in a rut for breakfast and decided to order a few new things when I placed my Vitacost order. They were having a sale on Bob’s Red Mill products, so I ordered some buckwheat cereal. All I did was cook it according to the package, added some coconut oil, coconut sugar and cinnamon. The boys topped theirs with some shredded apples and/or raisins. It was a hit. Jude said it was, “So nummy!”

image21

So, now my tragic sourdough story. It’s dead. D. E. A. D. How do I know? One word: mold. Yuck! It’s very, very rare for a starter to mold when taken care of but somehow it happened to me. I do admit that I have neglected it (for the most part) the past two weeks but even that shouldn’t cause mold. I do think neglect makes it more susceptible to some bacteria that may cause mold. It could have been the spoon I used to mix in my starter. Cultures for Health says it can even be caused from soap residue. I’m always very careful, so I was very surprised and very disappointed. I unfortunately didn’t have any reserved as a back up (note to self). I have a few places that I’m going to look into for a new starter because I don’t want to live without sourdough!

Speaking of traditional sourdough vs storebought sourdough, this article from Wardee at Traditional Cooking School was in my inbox this week and you might find it interesting.

Have a wonderful week!

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

Chicken Fajita Soup

One thing I want you all to be clear about is that I’m not a photographer. I love to take photos but I’m not the best at it. The pictures of our food are almost always taken on my iPhone because it’s handy. Lighting also plays a huge role in photos and dinner time lighting (and sometimes lighting in general when the sun won’t come out!!! 🙁) in the winter isn’t great. {I pause here to say I miss sunshine!! I don’t mind winter. I just need the sun!} I say all of that to say, this isn’t the best picture and I know it!! The next time I make it, I’ll attempt to take some better photos and update it. Again, don’t expect food styled photographs around here. I’m just doing the best I can and sharing for the fun of it So, please excuse my modest and humble attempts!  Here’s the recipe!

image7

Chicken Fajita Soup

2 TBS of olive oil

1-1.5 lbs of chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped

1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1- 15 oz can black beans, drained

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 TBS fajita seasoning (I use this homemade version an add a TBS of oregano to the base  mixture)

salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan to about medium heat and add chicken. Add onions and peppers and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Add fajita seasoning and stir. Next, add tomatoes, broth, beans and water. Stir well to get up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer soup for about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed before serving. I had this soup over leftover rice. It would also be great with tortilla chips, sour cream and/or cheese.

Enjoy! 🙂

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

The one about the food.

One of my favorite things about Instagram is that it’s visually appealing. I also love getting to peek into my friends lives via photos. I truly do miss Instagram for that reason but I know now is not the time to return. I always tried to limit my photos of food on Facebook because I know they get old, but it’s all fair game and totally appropriate to post food photos on Instagram. I used Instagram to share simple, real food meals to hopefully encourage others that it can be done by anyone. You can serve your family real, wholesome food, on a budget and do it simply so you’re not in the kitchen every second of the day. I haven’t gotten it perfected but it’s one of my goals! I’m no genius in the kitchen but I do work hard at planning and preparing food for my family and want to share with those who have similar goals. We can all help each other out!

In the past I’ve shared meal plans here but I think I’ll use this space as a sort of weekly (I hope) “what we ate” post to share what we eat any new tips, recipes or ideas. I know I’m not the only one who likes to see what other people eat… right?  I use to love to watch MTV Cribs and especially the glimpse in celebrities’ refrigerators! (What does that say about me..?) My goal is to show that mostly what we eat is healthy, simple and doable. I also plan to show you the not so healthy things we sometimes eat. So, you’ll see the good, the bad and the ugly. And don’t worry, I’m not showing every little thing we put in our mouths, just the highlights. Let me hush and get started.

We love biscuits around here. I make biscuits once or twice a week either for breakfast with scrambled eggs (what these were for) or to go along side our dinner. I typically use this recipe (minus the sugar and use buttermilk in place of milk). I haven’t had a biscuit in a long time because I only eat traditionally fermented wheat products. I’d prefer that my family eat that way, too, but sourdough biscuits were one thing that I just couldn’t seem to figure out. Life without a good biscuit is rather sad! The good news is, I’ve almost perfected a sourdough biscuit recipe. When I get it perfect, I’ll definitely share for my sourdough loving friends. The idea came to me as I was making sourdough cinnamon rolls, which are flaky like a biscuit… it was a light bulb moment. Considering it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a buttered biscuit, I loved every bite I had!

image3

Lunches around here consist of leftovers, sandwiches, nachos or what we like to call snack lunch. Every once in a while, I buy Ezekiel sprouted tortillas from Publix and we have a wrap. This was a turkey, cheese and lettuce wrap. We don’t do lunch meat often, but when Publix has their Greenwise turkey on sale, I pick some up. It has clean ingredients (turkey, water, salt and potato starch), so it’s a good way for us to break up the almond butter and jelly monotony.

image12

One night last week I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot for dinner. It’s something I do about 2-3 times a month. We had chicken with a baked sweet potato and green peas. After I cook a whole chicken, I always use the bones for broth and cook it overnight in the crock pot. This usually results in soup the next night and several cups of broth for the freezer. This soup started out as chicken and noodle, but I decided mid-cooking that I didn’t want noodles, so I cut up a few potatoes and then at the last-minute I threw in a couple handfuls of kale. It was really good! We had this with cornbread on the side.

image2

We also had tacos one night, which is almost a weekly thing because my boys love them so much. Robby and I usually have a taco salad. The next night, we had some leftover black beans and taco meat, but not enough for tacos. I cooked some basmati rice and we had taco bowls. That little cute guacamole container is from Aldi! It came in a pack of six. I love guac (and am the only one in the family who really eats it) but sometimes getting ripe avocados is difficult so these were perfect! Robby had another taco salad that night because he doesn’t eat rice. I think he was scarred from the sugary, gluey, ice cream scooped rice in the school lunchroom.

image7

The next night I had planned tomato soup and grilled cheese but remembered that I had a thawed out a package of chicken breast. So, instead of tomato soup, we had chicken fajita soup. It was so easy. The recipe is going to be posted this week, so look for it! I didn’t have a grilled cheese with the guys, but instead had my soup with leftover rice. I used the largest chicken breast in the package and baked the other two to use this coming week.

image8

This is from last night. My plan was pizza on sourdough. Well, this isn’t pizza but it is sourdough! Eli has been battling a cold all week and I thought we were on the downside of it. Yesterday afternoon, though, his eyes were red and puffy and his nose all stopped up. So, I cut all dairy from his diet and am pulling out all of my natural remedies. I made a new batch of elderberry syrup this morning (my sweet husband found some raw honey in January!) and picked up some saline solution today after church to go along with the essential oils I’m using on him. So, the boys had toast and jelly, scrambled eggs (cooked in coconut oil) and fruit. I had that hunk of sourdough with Kerrygold butter (Aldi had it a while back and I bought 3 blocks!) and some yogurt. I’m not afraid of butter as you can see. Robby had went to the store for me earlier for bananas and honey and picked him up some buffalo chicken fingers. I made him some homemade ranch to go with them because I love him despite his frozen food choices. (And I’m adding that mainly because I know he will read this! 😉 )

So, those are the highlights! As you can see, things don’t always go as planned but it’s possible to still eat well. Sometimes eating well is just making sure everyone is eating something. 🙂

For a little encouragement, I’ll send you to one of my favorite bloggers, Laura at Heavenly Homemakers, recent post. I love her approach to food! I also love and use many of her recipes regularly and many recipes in her new series of “simple meals” I am planning to make. I love her honesty in this post and could totally relate! Let me know what you think!

I hope you have a lovely week!

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

 

 

 

It’s me again.

Happy New Year! I was looking back at photos from the past year and was attempting to plan a year in review post. As I looked though, I found very few photos from a few months earlier in the year worth posting. So, I thought… “Ugh, forget it! I’m not looking back! I’m looking ahead.” Ok, so I didn’t audibly say those words or even those exact words in my head, but that’s what I felt. Twenty-sixteen was a wonderful year because of many reasons but it was also a really hard one. Maybe sometime I’ll talk more in depth about my personal struggles but this isn’t the post for that. I’ve decided that Facebook, well social media in general, is my enemy. I’ve known it for a while and the latter part of the year, I spent less and less time on Instagram (which I really miss and find much more appealing than FB, but it’s still a time waster) and Facebook. There are few things I enjoy about it but those few things aren’t worth the ugliness it caused in my heart and the heavy burden I felt every time I was on. I feel like a broken record but I really have yet to find a balance with it. I’m not sure there will ever be peace with Facebook and I. So, I’m thankful that my husband keeps me up to date on church prayer requests and other important information. I kept my Facebook messenger app because on occasion someone without my phone number does message me (so, you can find me there if you need to!).Why am I telling you all this? Reason one: accountability; Two: maybe some of you feel like I do and we can chat (just not on Facebook!);  Three: I still have this urge to share stuff! It’s part of who I am. I want to share things that are encouraging, biblical, helpful and important. I want to share what’s going on in my little world, even if no one ever reads it. I need an outlet! And while I don’t have much time to sit and write, I do enjoy it. So, my desire is to write all of my “stuff I want to share” here as time allows. Also, since it is more difficult and time-consuming to create a post, I’m hoping it will weed out anything that wouldn’t be wise to share. So Facebook and 2016…

image1

Moving on…

We are starting back our second semester  of the school year and I’m looking forward to getting back into our school routine. A few days ago I came across this Type B homeschool post from Sarah Mae and it was so encouraging. It’s nice to get an encouraging word mid way to help fuel you to finish out the year strong. Speaking of “Type B”,  I think personality testing can be fun but I have issues with someone telling me that I’m “this way” or “that way” because I answered a set of particular questions. I do, however, identify with the parts of Type B personality that are laid back, unstructured and  maybe a bit messy… It was nice to see how someone who identifies with similar characteristics as my own goes about their homeschool day. Their day is very much like our day. In the realm of homeschooling, much of what you find online is how to order your day, how to plan, printables for schedules and time segments for each subject and each chore… and a good bit of that doesn’t work for me at all. When I read it makes me feel like I’m failing because I can’t seem to make sure math fits in from 10-10:30a. So, reading this post from Sarah Mae encouraged my heart to keep doing things the way they work for us! If you have similar characteristics (or are just curious about how mamas like me do school) check out her post.

Along the same subject, I’m finishing up reading Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. I read Little Women in December and decided to move on to Little Men. I’m so glad I did because while I didn’t know it, it is an excellent book on homeschooling. The philosophy behind homeschooling that the Bhaers use at Plumfield is so similar to our own philosophy. I’ve not come across a fiction book with a better view on homeschool! It’s actually helped reinforce some of my goals for the boys. So, I’m loving the book for that reason and also because it’s about little boys, whom I happen to be very fond of!  Here are two of my favorite quotes from the book:

Boys at other schools probably learned more from books, but less of that better wisdom which makes good men. Latin, Greek and mathematics were all very well, but in Professor Bhaer’s opinion, self knowledge, self-help, and self-control were more important, and he tried to teach them carefully. People shook their heads sometimes at his ideas, even while they owned that the boys improved wonderfully in manners and  morals. But then, as Mrs. Jo said to Nat, “it was an odd school.”

The house stood open from morning till night, and the lads lived out of doors, except at school time. The lessons were short, and there were many holidays, for the Bhaers believed in cultivating healthy bodies by much exercise.

image11

Are you on Goodreads? Let me know if you are! I’m challenging myself to 30 books this year. This past year I read 27! I called this past year “The Year of Classics” because I’m a dork and also because I really wanted to add some classic literature to my reading. I have always loved to read but until recently I haven’t made it a priority. Also, I totally count the chapter books the boys and I read (or listen to, because we do both) together. We read lots of really good ones this past year, too! I asked the boys what their favorite read aloud was and Eli said his was James and the Giant Peach. Luke said his was Matilda. So, it seems we have some Roald Dahl fans. My favorite books from the read alouds we all read together would be The Secret Garden and The Railway ChildrenI fear I’m getting a little long-winded, as I do when I start talking about books so, I’ll leave it at that! I’ll share another time some of my favorite books I read personally (you can find a list of all of them here) and which books are on my must read list for this year. I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have!

“She has read too many books and it has addled her brain.” Louisa May Alcott

 

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

.home.school.planning.

The new school year is upon us and much like New Years, a new school year has me setting goals, examining routines and cleaning out junk. We start school this coming Monday the 8th and while I don’t feel 100% prepared, I’m so ready! It’s hard to believe I have a 5th grader and a 2nd grader.

I’ve taken some time the past week to specifically pray over our school year, ask for guidance and get some wisdom from the Lord (and not just in the areas of homeschooling). I felt a stirring in my soul for some reflection.

The only thing that we’ve changed as far as curriculum is that we are no longer using Singapore math. Luke will be using Teaching Textbooks and Eli will be using Math U See. Luke is so excited about his math being on the computer! We took a break from Heart of Dakota history last year to do Alabama History and I’m thrilled to be back with HOD’s history. We’ll be studying Creation to Christ this year! I am so looking forward to it!

In my praying and thinking over things, I landed on the idea of using clip boards for the boys to keep track of their chores and school work. I am NOT a planner type person. I love the idea of beautiful planners and everything all scheduled out but in reality, that’s not happening here. I need simple. I love simple. I do need direction and so do my kiddos and I think this clip board system might just work for us. Here is what Luke’s look like:

image1
(yes, my pages printed crooked and it’s driving me nuts but I hate to waste paper!)

So, every weekend I will get their clip board ready with their chore list (which won’t change) and school work list. Luke’s work correspond with headings in the Creation to Christ guide (seen below). We don’t do everything they suggest and sometimes we add our own things. That’s the beauty of homeschooling! Our covering requires us to write out daily plans, so this will not be something extra I’m adding to my plate. You can get these printables and more here. If I were computer savvy, I would create my own template and type in each item and maybe I’ll figure that out someday but for now, writing it in will work.

IMG_0259

There are several points that I’m hoping that we will benefit from by using this system. First, this will help Luke gain more independence in his school work. He will be responsible for completing his independent work (the yellow) in a certain time period. Some things he will have to complete daily and some (the books/audio books section) he will have freedom to work on whenever as long as it’s completed by the end of the week. (Just a side note: I don’t choose his free reading books, like The Boxcar Children. We do have a say in what he can and can’t read just like we have a say in what he can and can’t watch, but he gets to choose what he wants from books we approve.) In the future he will have more projects with deadlines that he will work on his own time because I think it’s something everyone should learn to do. These checklists will also help me in that I won’t have to be directing him constantly with what he should do next. He has it all in front of him. He’s always been very independent in his work but it was all guided by me. Now, he can guide himself for the first half of the school day while I focus on working one on one with Eli. The green sections will be times when we are together with Eli joining in. The orange boxes are when we work one on one.

Some may look at this list and see A LOT of work, but it really isn’t. There are three sections for History, but they are all a part of a whole. They are just written separately because they are under different headings in the guide. Altogether, his work should take him about 3 hours total. Our school day will run from 9:30am-1:30pm with a break for a snack, lunch and some exercise outside! Eli’s school day will be shorter, around 2 hours total. For those organizing/planning types, this system will not impress you at all. For those non-planning types (raises hand!), it may seem overwhelming. I’ve convinced myself that writing these two sheets out once a week will take me just a few minutes, since I’m following the HOD guide and the few minutes it takes will greatly help us. And you know what? If we don’t get something done for good reason, it’s okay. I’m not a stickler on that stuff because I learned long ago that whether or not my to-do list gets completed is not a good gauge of whether or not I’m choosing wisely. Sometimes the wisest and best things we can do in a day are never on a list.

No matter how you plan or not plan, no matter what types of books or programs you use, remember mamas,

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

In Pursuit of…

I’m a total weirdo. I’ll be the first to admit it and for the most part I’m more than okay with it. There are lots of things about me that make me weird. The whole anxiety thing makes me super weird and socially awkward. It totally screws with my life and I’m not okay with that. I’m a work in progress there. But there are many choices I’ve made on purpose for my life that may make me weird to others. There is no need to list them because if you know me, you can probably name few! Robby and I have also made choices for our family that may be unusual to some. We’ll probably continue to make them as life goes on. Those are the things I’m good with. We kind of like being weird. We’ll be the weird people and own it!

Going against the grain is often a good thing in the life of a believer, right? The Bible talks about the wide and narrow gate. Many enter through the wide gate and the Bible says it’s an easy gate to enter. But that wide gate, it leads destruction. That must mean that the narrow gate is where fewer enter and the journey is more difficult. Yet, the narrow gate leads to eternal life. Well, that flies in the face of the prosperity gospel, right? Most would agree with me that we need to avoid the wide path, right? The believer will because she has been made new, and therefore puts to death, “sexual immorality, impurity, evil desires, covetousness, which is idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk, lying to one another.” These things from Colossians 3 are pretty cut and dry, black and white. But what about other things that aren’t so black and white in our life? Do we only stick to the exact written word (Thou shall not…) and everything else is fair game?

I can’t give you a specific list of those types of things because I could never exhaust it. We’re talking about things that aren’t morally wrong… hobbies, friendships, ideas, charities, activities, movies, music, food, places and so on. What I can say from experience is that sanctification will cause us to also stop doing things that aren’t on the black and white list. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that sanctification is “a continuing change worked by God in us, freeing us from sinful habits and forming us in Christlike affections, dispositions and virtues.” Sanctification includes putting away things that hinder our affections for Christ, even if they aren’t morally wrong. This is all part of growing in holiness. We are called to pursue holiness.

I came across this quote in Recovering Redemption that describes this kind of sanctification work, “The only healthy sin is dead sin… Scripture can help us outline  a whole lot of things in our lives that are only good for being yanked up and being burned in our back yard. Open and shut. Cut and dry. Black and white. But you’re also likely to find, as you keep maturing in the faith and growing deeper into the sanctification process, that God’s Spirit will increasingly alert you to certain habits and hobbies, that — even though they are not morally wrong — are still personally detrimental to your own heart…. For whatever reason — for you — there’s just a noticeable drag in your zeal for Christ that slips in when you do these things or play around with these things or get into the vicinity of these things. Participating in it just always ignites some old feelings that compete with your purity and take the edge off your spiritual desire. And so there’s often wisdom in mortifying that particular distraction — whatever it is — in order to keep your heart vivacious in following hard after the Lord.”

Yes, in order to keep your heart vivacious for the Lord. Isn’t that the desire of our  hearts?

I know when God saved me 15 years ago and began working on my heart, relationships were some of the first to go. I wasn’t the same person and so I didn’t mesh with the same close friends anymore. I can remember it being hard. It was a very lonely time but it was a huge time of growth in my faith. God was growing my affections for Him. As I’ve continued in my relationship with Jesus, I’ve laid aside other things. It’s a constant in my life that won’t end until I’m with Christ.

It’s remarkable and beautiful really, that God would save me and keep me. He’s made me new and is making me new. Sanctification is hard sometimes but it’s the very work of God in our lives. And that is a glorious thing to behold! My encouragement to you (and myself) is to pursue holiness. Seek things that encourage purity and holiness. Keep a watchful eye on the various parts of your life and put away anything that lessons your affections for Christ, even if it makes you weird. Christ is always worth it.

 

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

What’s on your mind?

Taking my thoughts captive has been one of the greatest tools for fighting my anxiety. Our minds are so powerful. But this idea of taking our thoughts captive isn’t just for those of us with anxiety. Taking thoughts captive and renewing our minds should be a common, continuous practice for those of us in Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 says, For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” We have weapons that have the divine power to destroy strongholds. This is good news for me! One of those weapons is to take our thoughts captive. Before we can even try to figure out how to do this, we must understand why we should.

We are constantly bombarded with worldly things. It’s almost impossible to get away from it entirely, no matter how diligent you may be with what goes before your eyes and in your ears. Matt Chandler describes it as “.. nagging, noisy combination of sound bites, bad advice, rumors, old wives tales, trivia, others’ opinions, devilish accusations, breaking news and all the unholy influences we allow to rattle around in our brains all day, from beer commercials and movie trailers, to temporary worries and a whole carousel of covetous desires.” I honestly don’t think we have any idea how much the things we hear and see shape our mind. It’s dangerous.  Everything around us is fighting against what God’s Word says. Truth continues to be attacked, though often times it is so subtle we don’t notice. We might be aware of the vulgar commercial we just saw. But it’s the ideals and opinions we are forming about various parts of our life that come from an unholy and God-less mindset that seem to slip in unaware because they aren’t one of the seven deadly sins.

So, how can we combat this daily infiltration of truth robbers? God’s Word. ” … if God’s message is not deep inside you, where you can meditate on it, return to it, and frequently call it back to mind, you won’t be able to discern what’s really true from what may be really intriguing, really alluring, really convincing, but really false. And really defeating.”  (Chandler) This is why God’s word must be our daily bread. It must be what we feast on. It must be our life’s work.

It’s a war. It’s a battle of what is going to occupy our minds. I posted this on Facebook yesterday: The Bible changes our worldview. Sometimes I read things that come across my Facebook feed from a professing believer that makes me scratch my head. Be careful, friends, of worldly sayings and ways of thinking. Test everything according to God’s Word. John Piper says, “Saturate your mind with the wide and deep truth and wisdom of Scripture so that you are equipped at every level to encounter with knowledge and to discern how the principles of Scripture guide you in assessing what you are seeing. Keep yourself in a community of believers where other minds also, besides your own, provide guidance and ballast so that you are not alone in this process of assessment.”

When are minds are filled with Scripture and false ideas come across, we can stop them. When our minds are filled with the truth in God’s Word and we begin to fear, we can remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness in Scripture. We can remind ourselves of the promises we’ve hidden away in our heart. When we’re faced with questions that we don’t have answers to we can hold those questions up in light of the solids truths from the Bible that we have built our foundation on. But we won’t know them if we don’t continually have a steady diet of Scripture. Read His word. Every day. Surround yourselves with others who love His word and will spur you on with truth. This constant fight is not easy. Fighting against my anxiety and my sin struggles is a hard battle. “Taking every thought captive to obey Christ” won’t happen magically for you or me. It’s a lifelong process of sanctification for the believer, a partnership with the living God who brings true satisfaction. And it’s totally worth it all.

Oh God, draw us to your beautiful Word. It is glorious and I pray I fall more in love with it every time I read it.

That’s my prayer for myself and for you.

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107

(Check back next week for some resources to help you with filling your mind with truth!)

Goals for the New Year

Tags

I mentioned that I had made some New Years goals in my last post and I thought I’d share some of them this week. Honestly, for years I thought NY resolutions were kind of silly. I just read a post by someone who was shopping at a health food store earlier today. They commented to the cashier at how busy it was at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. The cashier replied back that January was their busiest month of the year but it goes right back to normal in February. People are changing their eating habits.. for one month. Anyway, I thought it was interesting and one reason why I’m not big on major resolutions. Much of the time they don’t stick. But small goals throughout the year, I can do that. Taking some time to reflect on our life is a good thing.

Today, I’m going to stick to my health (food) goals for the year and honestly, I don’t have many that I’m starting. Most of them I’m just continuing. Over the past several years our family has slowly made changes to the way we eat. We eat a mostly real food diet and keep processed foods to as little as possible. We think this is important for our family. Our bodies are a gift and we want to take care of that gift by treating it well and taking care of it.

I gave up refined sugar back in October. What that means is no white sugar (or brown sugar). I mainly use honey and maple syrup. I occasionally use coconut sugar. Besides a little dark chocolate here and there and some BBQ sauce on a BBQ pizza, I’ve stuck to this goal. This is not a short term goal for me, this is a forever goal. Last year was the first time I’ve ever went through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with no dessert. Of course, you can make dessert without refined sugar but I just didn’t make anything. I’ve never been through Halloween without at least a little candy! And I survived! I’ll admit, the cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning were hard to resist but I’m determined to make them sourdough next  year and with coconut sugar! It’s hard to find research saying refined sugar is good for you, so I plan to continue this as a lifestyle change.

FullSizeRender(2)
(Our New Years dinner was homemade pizza. This one was BBQ chicken with red onion on a sourdough crust. I used the Archer Farms spicy barbecue sauce. It is corn syrup free!)

Around the same time I gave up sugar, I decided to go gluten free. I’m not one who thinks all gluten is evil, but I do think that processed gluten products (packaged crackers, bread, pasta) are not so great for you because of the strange chemicals added. And if you are trying to heal your gut, then going off gluten in the process is a good move. Gut health is so important. This is the main reason I decided to go gluten free. I’m working on my gut health (SLOWLY). I am still eating traditionally fermented sourdough that I make at home. It is easier to digest and much (though, not always all) of the gluten proteins get broken down in the process. Traditional food preparation is always better. So, one of my goals to go along with this is to make more sourdough. I plan to slowly convert all of my baked goods (muffins, pancakes, etc), so that all of us are only eating traditional sourdough at home.

IMG_3621-1
(My most recent sourdough loaf. I made this with 1 part spelt and 2 parts white flour. Delicious!)

Before Christmas I decided to give up coffee and tea. So, I plan to continue that. Like my other goals, this one is long term, too. With my anxiety, I felt like this was a good move for me. Occasionally, caffeine will cause my heart to race and that is the last thing I need. Also, because my anxiety causes so much stress on my body… because it is stress… I know my poor adrenal glands need support and caffeine does the opposite of that! I do love decaf coffee and herbal teas! There is just something comforting about a warm mug in your hands!

FullSizeRender(1)
(One of my favorite herbal teas! I love a cup before bed!)

Lastly, I want to get back to making kombucha regularly and learn to make homemade sourkraut (and possibly other fermented foods). Again, these are beneficial for the gut and something I’d like to add to all of our diets. I’m going to work on adding these slowly, because a sure way to fail is to do too much at once! So, once I get my kombucha system down again, I’ll start on kraut. I’m just praying my SCOBY isn’t dead. It’s looking like it might be. I’ve got some brewing and so far… nothing. :/ Thank goodness  I have a friend who always has SCOBY’s going!

IMG_1600
(Back when I had my kombucha system running like a well oiled machine! I’ll get there again!)

So, as you can see these aren’t all goals that I made on Jan 1st. These are goals that I’ve made over the past few months and a few more recent ones. Nonetheless, January is a good time to talk about them! I’ll leave you with something my pastor said this morning that he had heard recently: a goal without a plan is just a wish. Of course, he was talking along the lines of disciplines for holiness in leadership but it applies here, too. It’s something to ponder for sure. I have some other areas of life that I’ve set some goals for as well! Hopefully I can find time to share them soon.

What about you? Resolutions? Goals? Or none at all?

9ce1d3a7c2beb8a4d3570bd8c8668107