Friday, January 24, 2014

Giving thanks in the sorrow

One of my favorite authors is Ann Voskamp.  In the chapters of her book, One Thousand Gifts, she talks about the goodness of God.  And if God is good and never changes, then can he be good in the bad times as well?  The "ugly beautiful", as she describes it.  The answer must be yes, but oh how hard it is to grasp that!  Her focus in this book is gratitude and how we can count the gifts God has given us and be thankful.  If we count the gifts that are abundant around us, even the "ugly beautiful" gifts, we can experience a miracle.  A miracle of joy and thanksgiving in our daily lives.

The past couple of months my grandfather, who we call "Papa", has been having some health problems.  It started with a heat stroke last year after working in the yard, something he loved to do.  He slowly recovered but never quite got back to his old self. He was experiencing more and more problems, and no one seemed to know exactly what was going on.  He had to receive some blood transfusions, went through some tests, and a couple of hospital stays.  Thankfully he was recovered enough to be home for Christmas, even though he wasn't able to do all of the things that he normally did.  We went to visit him and my Nanny during that time, and I'm so glad we did.  It was very hard for me, though, because I knew that he may not be with us much longer.  Last night, after a short hospital stay, my Papa passed from this world.  He loved the Lord, so I know that his faith has become sight...he is with his Father in Heaven.

As I look back on his physical decline, I can see God's hand in so much of the circumstances.  My Mom, Papa's only daughter, and I talked about this.  God allowed them the peace of knowing that Papa had not only heart problems but blood cancer, without having to go through the physical pain of testing and treatments.  Papa wouldn't have wanted to spend his last days poked and prodded in a hospital.  We also had lots of time to speak with him and visit him.  Many are not given this gift of time when saying goodbye.  These are just a few of the many gifts God gave us.

My Papa was a special man.  Many of you reading this will have never met him, but I had the privilege of knowing him for over 36 years.  I grew up on stories from my Mom, who told me of how he raised her and her two brothers on his own after he was divorced when my mom was 9.  He had to be mother and father to his children.  He was a hard worker and instilled that value in them. My mom has described so many nights when she was little, sitting around talking, working on cleaning the house together, and I almost feel like I was there.  From the time I was a little girl, I knew I would always have a hug and a kiss from my Papa on Sundays at church.  He would slip a peppermint in my hand when no one was looking.  When I was older he was slip a little money in my hand and say, "Don't tell anybody," with a smile.  He loved to grow things and always had a garden and for many years took special care to grow many types of roses.  When we would go visit he would always cut "his girls" mom, sister, and I...some.  I can remember coming home with roses wrapped in wet paper towels and tin foil, a big smile on my face.  My most special memory is every year at Christmas he would read the Christmas story from Luke 2.  I'm so glad that one year I video taped it. He wasn't able to read it this year, but while we were visiting him my husband got out his Bible and read it for him so he would know that the tradition would continue.  My Papa loved the Word, and he would read the Bible through every year, for at least 20 years or more.  He stood for what was right and what the Bible taught.  
I think I could count one thousand gifts in just the memories I have of this special man.  It's why I grieve at the thought of not having more memories, even though I can rejoice that he is where he needs--and wants--to be.  God has been good through this "ugly beautiful" and I can give thanks. Papa, you were loved in life and will be honored through your passing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Back to school..a great art site, letter M, and week 13 *worksheet site added*

Last week started getting back into the school routine, but this was the first week we met back with our homeschool group.  I called last week "art week" since we weren't getting into our memory work yet and I really didn't cover a lot of the fine arts material from the beginning of the year.  So we had a great time trying different art techniques.

One art site that I ran across that I really like is called Art for Kids.  They have lots of fun, easy ideas for art projects for your kids.  Very practical and doable!

I'm probably just going to hit the highlights for this week right now and may come back and add more to it as the week goes on.  I just wanted to have something prepared for tomorrow when we're ready to start school time.  Plus I did this killer circuit training workout this 6 am...and I will probably feel like I can't move in the morning.

Letter M activities:
*The blog Oopsy Daisy has a M is for Monsters packet that is very cute.  We're actually not really into monsters much, but she did have some nice tracing sheets and letter M sheets that had other things other than monsters (mouse, mitten, and moon)
*M is for:
        ~ music--musical chairs, dance to music, take turns listening to different styles of music, learn about notes/aspects of music, etc...lots you can do with this!
         ~mouse--book: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and activities that goes with that; crawl around on the floor like a mouse/eat cheese
        ~moose--book:If You Give a Moose a Muffin and activities with that
        ~moon--book: Goodnight Moon; talk about the moon phases, moon landings/astronauts
        ~monsters--Monsters, Inc. movie; Where the Wild Things Are book/movie, monster pictures/games, Monster Mash song
        ~mouth--parts of your mouth/teeth
        ~months--months of the year/different holidays during each month
Those are just a few ideas!

Week 13
History--Industrial Revolution: Watt, Cartwright, Whitney
Here are a couple of video links.  For some reason the audio on my computer is not I'm not sure exactly what's being said so you may want to review these first before showing them to you kids...
*Why the Industrial Revolution Happened Here (England)
*Industrial Revolution Overview (I believe there's a link to where you can get a worksheet also)
Gutenberg Printing Press
Info links:
*A great link for teaching the Industrial Revolution
*Children in the Industrial Revolution and another link about the Life of a child during the Industrial Revolution
*James Watt
*Eli Whitney
*cotton gin diagram

Science--states of matter
*states of matter experiment--very easy and good info
*worksheets...they are from an ESL site, but I think any children could use them

Geography--Northern European Countries
*another song video

Math--liquid equivalents
Measurement  cc all cycles math week 13

I came across a site called Super Teacher Worksheets  that has free sheets for "Gallon Bot", states of matter, parts of speech, and more.  You have to be a member to print all of them, but I just stuck to the freebies and found lots of good ones!  The kids and I did the gallon bot one together and they were really getting the concept.

Hope that helps!  I really hoped to find the "This is America, Charlie Brown" video about inventors.  Love to know if any of you have a link to it!

God bless your week~

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goodies to start off 2014!

It's 2014!  It seems hard to believe!  I wanted to pass on a few freebies and discounted "goodies" to kick off the new year!

  Our first weekend of the New Year has been spent attending a parenting conference at our church.  I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing truths from God's Word and connecting with other parents.  It has been so refreshing.  My first freebie is an excellent resource to share the Gospel with your children, family, church...whoever you can!  The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been the center of everything we've studied this weekend and it has been so freeing to be reminded of that!  Our speaker provided us with a way to see a free powerpoint presentation (over 300 slides worth!) to use and I wanted to pass it on.  Go to this site to download:

Another freebie that I'm very excited about is the Scripture Memory Project 2014 to be found on Ann Voskamp's blog.  Those of you who are facebook friends probably see me posting Ann's quotes all the time.  Well, I just can't help it.  It just seems like God just puts a post of hers my way every time I need to hear that word.  I'm not saying she's God or anything.  I'm just saying that God is using her!  There are a couple of girls from church that I've been meeting with on Sunday nights for discipleship and we've been trying to memorize Scripture.  We haven't met for a while but I think we're going to start back soon.  This "project" is so timely!  I also want my family to get in on it, too!  

Photo by Ann Voskamp

I've already printed a set of free Scripture memory cards that she put on the blog post I linked to.  Go check it out.  Consider the challenge and join us!  Most of all...consider committing God's Word to memory.  I'm terrible at this, so it's going to be tough...but I think it's definitely needed!

I also wanted to pass on some more great Kindle book deals.  Several are limited time only so get them while you can!

*This is an awesome deal! Beth Moore (Christian author and speaker) has 10 free Kindle books available right now on Amazon (and I think Nook, too)!  Get them while you can!  I've never seen her books for free. 
*The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund (LOVE her books!)
*Treasures of the North by Tracie Peterson
*Love's Stormy Gale by Lynette Sowell
*A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell
*Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

99 cents:
*A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman (this one has 5 stars!)
*Dakota Dawn by Lauraine Snelling
*Colleen Coble books (I believe more than one are 99 cents)
*Mountain Homecoming by Sandra Robbins
*Mail Order Vows by Maya Stirling
*Golden Days, Clueless Cowboy, The Bossy Bridegroom and Buffalo Gal (4 different books) by Mary Connealy
*Just Above a Whisper by Lori Wick
*Romans by Kathleen Wiseman

$1.99 Deals:
*To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander (Great book and about to go back to regular price)
*Four stories in one by 4 great authors!

*The Accidental Bride and A Cowboy's Touch (two books) by Denise Hunter
*Angel of the Cove by Sandra Robbins
* The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson
*The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman
*Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck (just finished reading it and loved it...set in St. Simon's, GA!)
*The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer
*The Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
*Moonlight on the Millpond by Lori Wick
*The Preacher's Daughter by Beverly Lewis
*Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love
*The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser
*Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith
*A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury
*The Choice by Robert Whitlow
*BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker
*The Shunning by Beverly Lewis
*Melanie Dickerson's books are all still $1.99!
*The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd
*A Dream for Tomorrow by Melody Carlson
*The Yielding by Tamara Leigh (love this series)

$2.99 (several of these are actually TRILOGIES that are for you get these books for less than $1 each!)
*Montana Marriages Trilogy (one of my absolute favorite trilogies...LOVE them!)
*Sophie's Daughter's Trilogy (read two of these and loved them! I think they connect with the Montana ones, too)
*Lassoed in Texas trilogy
all by Mary Connealy
*Charles Towne Belles trilogy by MaryLu Tyndall (love her books, too)
*Texas Boardinghouse Brides trilogy by Vickie McDonough 
*The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
*A Highlander for Christmas by Jamie Carie

My gift to you!  Hope you enjoy!  I'm sure there are more discounted books out there...but these are the ones I found. the synopsis/reviews before getting some of these books.  I haven't read them all, so I just wanted to throw out that disclaimer. Some of them I have read and loved...but you might not : ). 

God bless your new year!