Depression: Is There Joy in the Morning?

This post has been on my mind for some time now. I wanted to address the topic, but it is a topic that is tread on very lightly in Christian circles. I even find myself not wanting to speak about it for fear of condemnation from other Christians that may feel that depression is a sign of spiritual oppression. And then there is the question of qualifications? I feel so inept at offering anyone any advice about something I struggle with so often.

I am writing this to all of you out there struggling to let you know that you are not alone. I don’t have all the answers (in fact I have very few), but I do have hope in Christ alone and I know that He is enough to share with you all.

I have suffered from bouts of depression on and off for as long as I can remember. I was married when I was sixteen years old and most of my memories for that first year of marriage are filled with me crying. Over the years, I have had periods of time that I would be fine, then it would come on me again like a storm cloud rolling in.

I think the hardest thing for me is the fact that as a Christian, I know I should be joyful. I have more to be joyful about than most people. And yet, at times, I find it so hard to experience joy.

As I said before, there are many that believe depression is entirely a spiritual issue. I believe there is more to it that that. As human beings, we are created with three parts: body, mind, and spirit. I believe that depression affects all three of these areas. When I become depressed, my body shuts down and just wants to be still. There is sadness and dispare in my heart and I have a hard time praying and staying in the Word.

Over the years, I have found that I am more aware of “triggers” or situations that facilitate depression.

  • lack of rest – One of the biggest factors (for myself) that can lead to depression is being overly tired or overwhelmed. I am getting better at recognizing my need for rest and trying my best to rest when it is available. I have found that it is especially important to rest on the Lord’s day.
  • pull of the world – As a homeschooling mom with six children, I live in direct opposition to the world and it’s values. However, this doesn’t mean I am immune to the pull of the world. Sometimes, even “good” things can have a worldly pull on us. This happens when we covet what the Lord didn’t intend on us having/doing. We must make sure that the Lord’s desires becomes our desires.
  • expectations – When reality doesn’t meet our expectations, it can leave us feeling torn inside. There have been so many times that I have been disappointed, not because of the situation, but because what I expected didn’t happen. In instances like these, it is important to take a look at our expectations and replace them with God’s promises. He doesn’t promise that life will always be rosey, but He does promise never to leave me or forsake me.
  • self-pity – There are times I find myself dwelling on my circumstances or the trial I am in.  To counter self-pity, I must choose to be thankful and content.  This reminds me of the “glad game” in Pollyanna.  However, we don’t have to just pick arbitrary things to be glad about, we can rejoice and be thankful…if for nothing else, for our salvation through Christ Jesus!
  • lack of seeking – This is a big one for me.  I have given up seeking joy in the world, but I have neglected to truly seek joy in the Lord.  I must wholeheartedly delight myself in the Lord!

There are many things I have found to help combat depression before it begins.  I have found that depression creeps in when I am not being diligent at doing the things I should be doing.  (These are not scientifically proven methods, just things that have helped me.)

  • reading the Word daily – even meditating on a few verses will greatly help
  • running to the Lord – as soon as I start feeling overwhelmed, I need to bring it to the Lord
  • going outside – just sitting in the sunshine is wonderful, or walking, playing with the kids, gardening, (I have found that visiting my chickens have been so therapeutic!)
  • taking vitamins – I am still taking my prenatal vitamins and have noticed a huge boost in energy when I do.  I have chronic anemia, but as long as I continue to take my prenatals I am doing good.
  • routine – I don’t do good with schedules (they overwhelm me), but I function so much better when I follow a routine.  Sometimes it is difficult, but if I get out of my routine one day I just pick up and try again the next.
  • de-cluttering – If my house gets too cluttered and messy, I start feeling heaviness.  Each morning, as soon as we get up, the kids and I start working on picking up the house, cleaning, getting ready.  If we linger and don’t get things done, I can tell that it makes my day not as pleasant.
  • listening to my body – I had mentioned that I am learning to realize when I am getting too tired, but I also have to watch for signs of hunger or times of being overwhelmed.  As a mom, I think we are sometimes so busy serving others that we forget to take care of ourselves.  It is ok, even preferable, to stop and rest, to eat, to recharge!  When I nurse my babies, I try to lay down with them so that I get some stillness in my day.

Final Words of Encouragement

Here are some specific verses I find helpful to be reminded of, not necessarily when I am depressed, but rather to help me avoid depression.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

One last thought…I wanted to add that while I have mentioned many things that can help fight depression, there are times that the Lord still allows us to walk through the valley. Whether He has lessons we need to learn, or is just sanctifying us through our dark times, I don’t know. But I trust that He loves me beyond my comprehension and will be with my always.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you struggle with depression?

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I am looking forward to reading how the other moms have found “joy in the morning”!

Keri Mae at The Happy Home

Stacy at A Delightful Home

Brandy at The Marathon Mom

Andie at Happy Andersons

Simple Hospitality

With my husband being in the military for the last 19 years, we haven’t had the chance to live near family.  And as our own family grows, it has become more and more challenging to visit our family as often as we would like.  Thankfully, the Lord has always blessed us with friends that have become as close as family.  Our family has been through many trials over the years — births, illnesses, miscarriage, and many moves — and through it all we have had loving friends by our sides.

One of the reasons our friendships have developed so deeply is due to hospitality.  Honestly, I feel like we have been on the receiving end of most of the hospitality.  I have learned so much from so many wonderful families who have opened up their homes and their hearts to my family in times of need.  Most of what I will share with you are ways that others have shown us hospitality.  What a blessing they have been to us!

Hospitality Ideas

Hospitality doesn’t always mean having people over in your home for a meal.  Hospitality can can take on many forms.  I like to think of hospitality as “loving thy neighbor as thyself”.  If you desire to become more hospitable, pray that the Lord would open up doors for this to happen.

Some ideas for hospitality include:

~bringing a meal to a family

This has probably been the biggest blessing to our family over the years.  There have been so many times that I have not been able to cook and others have stepped in and brought meals to us.  Bringing a meal to someone can be as simple as picking up a rotisserie chicken, a bagged salad, and a loaf of French bread.  Or you can add a personal touch and make your favorite casserole (many of my recipes come from other women who brought us delicious dinners).

~watching a family’s children

We don’t leave our children with others very often (and now we have older children to help), but there have been times when it was necessary.  Several years ago my husband was hospitalized with a serious staph infection.  He needed me by his side, but my children were young and couldn’t spend long hours at the hospital.  My sweet friend took my children, watched them, fed them, and played with them like they were her own.  This can really take a burden off of someone’s shoulders, especially if they are not accustomed to leaving their children with others.

~offering your services to a family (mowing lawns, cleaning the house, helping to move)

Oh boy, do we know how hard a move can be.  There are so many things to think of and plan for.  It never fails that we are cleaning stoves and edging lawns right up until the last minute of every move.   It is a wonderful help to have others take care of some of the chores for you.  Sometimes it might mean moving heaving furniture and boxes, other times it might mean helping a family get organized.

Don’t overlook serving elderly people as well.  There are many widows and widowers who may need a handiman 0r woman to help then around the house.  Things as simple (to most of us) as changing light bulbs can be a real challenge to older people.

~lending items

I remember after one move all our things were packed up and a friend brought over sheets and towels, something I had forgot to leave out.  It is little things like this that really bless a person!

And let’s face it, most of us are not overflowing with money.  We need to be frugal and willing to share what the Lord has blessed us with.   I once had a friend (who was the epitome of hospitality) that was constantly offering anything that others needed, and I mean anything.  If she had left over party invitations and goodie bags, she was finding someone that needed them.  If she knew that a friend was attending a wedding, she was digging through closets finding dresses to lend them so that they didn’t need to go buy new ones.

And not only did she give, she gave her best.   She didn’t pull things out of a “going to the thrift store” pile.  She went to her closets and pantries and looked for the best she could offer.  That is true hospitality!

~and of course, having families over

It has been a while since we have had families over for dinner.  After being displaced for almost a year, then getting settled into our new home, I am slowly feeling the “urge” to have others over.  This is something I really need to work on, so this section is more for me than anyone.

I love having others over, especially the fellowship.  I just get this overwhelming feeling in my chest when I think about making sure the house is clean, preparing the perfect menu, and then making sure our guest are comfortable.

So here are some reminders to myself…

1. The other families aren’t going wearing white gloves and checking for a speck of dirt.  Besides, if the house is too clean, it may make them feel uncomfortable about their own homes.  Reality check:  most of don’t live day to day in a spic-n-span home.  Especially if we have children at home!

2. When it comes to meals, keep it simple.  A few weeks ago we were invited over to a family’s house for hot dogs.  We had such a relaxing time…I loved it!  The kids roasted hot dogs on the fire outside, while the adults sat around the fire chatting.  I thought to myself, “this is true hospitality, true fellowship with other believers”.

3. As far as being comfortable, others are comfortable when we are.  So relax and enjoy the fellowship!

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I am looking forward to getting some ideas from the other moms this week!

Brandy at The Marathon Mom

Keri Mae at The Happy Home

Stacy at A Delightful Home

Andie at Happy Andersons

High Five Moms Podcast: Finding Peace During the Holidays

This time of year, you often hear the word “peace” mentioned more than any other time of year. But is peace really experienced more often? Is peace during the holidays even possible?

Five moms have joined forces to discuss “Finding Peace During the Holidays”!

Right click to download this episode.

Fostering Love Between Our Children

This week my oldest daughter has been writing “thankful” post on her blog. One of the post that she wrote was about being thankful for her sisters. My oldest daughter is 17 and the younger two are 9 and 6, so there is quite a bit of age difference between them. The younger girls love spending time with Kendra. Any time she is working on a project, they are begging to help. It makes me happy to see that the younger girls want to spend time with their older sister, but it blesses me even more to see their older sister taking the time to nurture the relationships with her younger sisters.

This is one of the greatest goals I have for my children. I remind them over and over that their siblings are not the friends they have picked out for themselves, rather the friends God has picked out for them. They are to be BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (eternally!).

As our family grows and the dynamics change, we have had to adjust our training but our goal remains the same. Obviously, my 17 year old will have a different relationship with the 14 year old whom she has grown up with, than she will the new baby. However, we expect them all to love each other with a deep unconditional love.

5 Ways We Foster Love Between Our Children

1. We require them to speak kindly with each other and about each other. Our children are not allowed to call names, make fun of each other, put each other down, talk negatively about each other, or scream at each other. Some of these things may seem like harmless kids play, but they can have a lasting impact on the relationship. I am a kidder myself and find myself often making smart remarks in jest. However, a couple of children who are more sensitive to these kinds of remarks. I have had to really work on making sure that my words are edifying to those around.

2. Our children are to honor one another. This should be done both in word and deed.  Some ways we show honor are not embarrassing your siblings, choosing them to be on your team, building them up, not telling personal things about them.  In other words, edifying our siblings.

3. Our children are to put others before themselves. Just two nights ago one of my youngins had a large pixie stick she had won at the pizza palace. Another youngin had used her tickets to buy playing cards for everyone to enjoy. When it came time to eat the pixie stick, I gently reminded the owner of the pixie stick that it would be nice to share with her sister who didn’t have any. She gave her a small amount. We then had a short chat about putting others before yourself. I asked her how she would feel if she were her sister. She quickly evened out the candy and even let her sister pick which one she wanted. It made my heart sing!

4. We teach our children to stick by their siblings side.  Normally, we try to fellowship with entire families and the children have learned to play together as a group, with children of all ages.  Sometimes they do pair up with children closer to their own ages and inevitably one of the younger ones hear, ‘You can’t play with us.  Your too little!”.  I have tried to teach the kids that their siblings are their best friends first, and if someone doesn’t want to play with them, then you don’t need to play with that someone.  There are times when the older kids are wanting to do an activity that the younger kids can’t do so we gently find something to keep the smaller ones busy.  But as a general rule, we discourage exclusion.

5. We teach our children to think of their siblings as training for their own homes.  One day, Lord willing, our children will marry and have children of their own.  The loving relationships they build with their siblings today will help them build solid loving relationships with their spouses and their own children.  Learning to be patient with young children, learning to put others first, learning to honor each other–these are all things that will carry over to other relationships in their lives.

Resources for Training

This last year has been a roller coaster of a year for us. Any time there is stress in a family, it is easy to get off track and let things slide. This can quickly lead to disorder and a lack of peace and love in the home. I have been seeing this for a while and have been praying for guidance to get back on track. As we were doing our Bible time during school, I remembered 2 books that I have had since the first year I started homeschooling eleven years ago. They are written by Gregg Harris and are entitled 21 Rules of This House and Uncommon Courtesy. These two books were gems buried in our library.

We have just started reading them again (first time for the younger kids), but they fit in seamlessly with the things we already try to teach our kids (or would like to).  It is amazing how far a little courtesy can go in building healthy families.

I don’t know about you, but there are times that I want to teach my children something, but just don’t know what it is called.  I can’t pinpoint what it is that they are doing wrong and what to call what they should be doing.  This summer I purchased a copy of Proverbs for Parenting.  This is great resource because it is divided up into categories, then it has a list of verses that fit into that category.  Great little reference guide!

One last book I will mention is one that I read several years ago called Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends co-written by siblings Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Malley.

Closing Thoughts

I don’t want anyone out there thinking that my kids are perfect, never fighting, never arguing, never getting on each others nerves.  That’s just not the case.  There is plenty of sibling rivalry going on in our house.  We are a work in progress and praise God, He has extended His grace on each one of us.

We are all learning–I am learning to train my children and they are learning how to love each other.  I don’t think this learning will ever be complete this side of heaven.  But this is what we strive for.

A goal.

And my goal is for my children to love each other, forever.

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Make sure and check out the other moms as they write about fostering relationships between their children!

Andie @ Happy Andersons

Stacy @ A Delightful Home

Brandy @ The Marathon Mom

Keri Mae @ The Happy Home

Cleaning Routines

I am not what you would call a “neat freak”, but I have found that my day goes so much better when the house is clean and in order.  I try to be realistic, knowing that I have 6 kids.  But because we homeschool, we are all home most everyday.  And a house with that many people in it everyday can get very messy and very dirty very quick!

Those who know me and have been to my house know that I don’t keep things spic and span, although I would love to.  I do try to keep the house clean and things picked up.  Over the years I have come up with somewhat of a routine to help me do this.  After reading Large Family Logistics, I am planning on adding a few things to our routine to help me become better in this area of home management.

Daily Routines

When I get up in the mornings, one of the first things I do is start a load of laundry.  I try to do four loads of laundry a day, but this varies depending on whether or not I have diapers to wash.  I would like to incorporate a wash day for bedding, rugs, and other odds and ends, but right now I usually just wash as needed.  As the clothes are finished washing, I usually put them in a basket to fold later during our read aloud time.  I call this our Folding Party.  Everyone gets to fold clothes while Mama reads to them.

Once everyone else is up and running, the first thing they do is start on their chores.  Each child has assigned chores that they do everyday.  These chores include sweeping, vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, making beds, and picking up their rooms and the living room.  After chores are done, we usually eat breakfast (sometimes we do eat breakfast before chores, it just depends on the morning and what we are having for breakfast) and then have our Bible time together.

Some of the new things I would like to incorporate into our day is an afternoon chore time and assigned table chores.  We usually do a clean up in the afternoon but it usually consist of me barking orders to get things cleaned up.  I am hoping that by assigning afternoon chores it will cut down on the chaos and help train us to be more efficient.  The same goes for the table chores. 

Bathrooms and Floors

As for other cleaning routines, we usually clean bathrooms and mop on Saturdays.  I take the master bath and my older daughter does the other bathroom.  We now have a half bath in our house, so I am planning on training my 9-year-old to take that one on.  She has been a helper to my oldest daughter for a while so she should be ready for the task. 

I am going to have to work on the mopping issue.  Our entire main floor has wood flooring with tile flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms.  I am thinking about having the “sweeper” mop the wood floors once a week as they don’t get very dirty.  Then we can clean the bathroom floors when we do our bathroom cleaning.

Kitchen

I guess I will also mop the kitchen when I clean the kitchen.  I try to most of the kitchen cleaning as the need arises.  Usually after I wash dishes, I will wipe off the counters, the cabinet doors, the fridge door, the stove top, or anything else that needs attention.  I don’t do this every time, but rather rotate what I wash each time so that eventually everything gets cleaned throughout the week.  I also try to make sure to throw away and lurking leftovers.

The Most Neglected Items

Time to come “clean”.  I don’t dust or do windows nearly enough.  I will have the littles run around with a swiffer duster when I think about it.  And they love doing mirrors and windows.  I just have a hard time making time for these two.

What About You?

I would love to hear your routines or what works for you.  I have heard of the Fly Lady, but have never taken the time to check into her methods.  What about 31 Days to Clean? Anything else you find helpful???

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Make sure and check out the other moms their cleaning methods!

Andie @ Happy Andersons

Stacy @ A Delightful Home

Brandy @ The Marathon Mom

Keri Mae @ The Happy Home

Homestead Living

On Saturday we arrived here in Wichita…all of us…together!  We were hoping to buy a home here.  We even had a contract to buy a house with 5 acres, but it fell through after the inspection.  I will be honest and tell you that I was devastated.  I knew in my heart that the Lord had a plan for us and that the house wasn’t in it.  I was just overwhelmed by the fact that we it would be even longer until our family could all be together again.

It was definitely a walk through the valley. 

But then the morning came and there was joy once again.  My God is bigger and better than anything I could ever dream up.  My husband had gone to look for rentals in town.  The few that he looked at were awful.  They were dirty, too small, too pricey, and all of them were in town. The situation seemed hopeless.

It has been our dream for so long, to buy a house in the country.  My oldest daughter is a senior this year we had really hoped that she would be able to experience a bit of farm life with us before she grows up completely.  We were hopeful that this move to Kansas would allow us to see our dream come to fruition.

Then in a moment, our hopes were dashed, or so it seemed.  Crushed dreams always seem hopeless in the eyes of man.  Not with God.

For with God, nothing shall be impossible.
Luke 1:37

After explaining to the property manager our desire to live in the country, he told my husband he did have one property in the country that he had been trying to rent for over 6 months. It was close to the base where my husband works, it had 5 acres of land, the house was just the right size, and because the owner had been waiting so long to rent it, he was willing to cut the price down to meet our budget.

Thank you Lord!

AND

if we really like the house, we can buy it.

So, we are busy unpacking and enjoying our little patch of land. My kids have come in covered in dirt every day. I don’t know if you remember the episode of Little House on the Prairie where Nellie tells Laura and Mary they can’t come to her party because they are “country girls”…well we are proud to call ourselves “country”!

Several weeks ago as we were planning to buy the other house, I ordered two books on homesteading.

The Backyard Homestead
and
The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals

Having not grown up on a farm, I feel like there is sooo much to learn.  We are hoping to start off our homesteading endeavors with a handful of chickens, a few Nigerian dwarf goats, some Angora rabbits, and as I mentioned before, a garden (complete with fruit and nut trees).

The Backyard Homestead’s subtitle is “Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre”.    This book touches on raising chickens and farm animals, but mostly covers gardening, planting trees, and raising bees. 

What I have enjoyed about this book is that it covers related homesteading topics.  For instance, in the section on growing your own garden, it discusses preserving those foods (canning, freezing, storing).  You also find various directions for “other” things you can do, like make cider or vinegar.

There are many books out there that cover these topics in greater detail, but this book seems to tie it all together.  It reminds me of a brainstorming section in a book…lets think of all the ways we could “homestead”.  I enjoy this because it helps me think about things I might not have thought about before.  It sparks new interest and points me in the right direction to get started. 

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals focuses more on, well, farm animals.  It covers them in much more detail– chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, bees, goats, sheep, pigs, and cattle.

As with the other book, it is a menagerie of information that is great to get started with.  I will have to dig much deeper when we are planning to actually get the animals, but for now these books give me enough to get started and plan with.

Will keep you posted on what I am learning!  I am so excited!!!

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Check out what the other moms are reading!

Kerimae @ The Happy Home

Brandy @ The Marathon Mom

Andie @ Happy Andersons

Stacy @ A Delightful Home

 

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links.  If you click on them and purchase a product from the company, I will receive monetary compensation.

High Five Moms: Bringing in the Plants (Herbal Recipe)

One of my biggest dreams is to grow a huge garden and be able to supply our family with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. I have wanted a garden for years, but for various reasons it just hasn’t happened. It’s not that I haven’t tried. In fact, most years I have tried. I am afraid I have a “black” thumb!

Several years ago we had a backyard the size of a postage stamp. We were able to use a garden plot on the base, but the location of it made it difficult to get out there every day. The weeds were horrendous and crept up on us faster than we could pull them out. Then we had a bought of extreme heat and we just couldn’t keep up with the watering. We did get some nice produce, but nothing spectacular.

A couple of years ago we moved to Spain. We were able to rent a home with a bit of land. I was so excited, I thought I would finally get to do some real gardening. Because of the weed problems we had experienced before, we decided to try square foot gardening. My husband built some really nice 4×4 planters. We followed the prescribed method, buying the correct soil, mixing and adding everything we needed. I purchased my heirloom seeds and planted them according to each recommended depth.

I thought this might be the year for a really great garden.

I guess all the critters thought my garden was really great. Especially the Cabbage caterpillars. My garden was destroyed before it even got going. I don’t think we were able to eat anything from the garden that year.

So, I am still dreaming of having wonderful garden.

In the mean time, the only plants I deal with are the dried varieties. And since we are coming upon the cold and flu season, I thought I would share a quick herbal recipe with you. This is my go to herbal remedy, the one I always keep on hand and use on all my kids at the first sign of illness. This recipe is an old, old recipe that has probably saved countless lives.

It is a fever reduces, an infection fighter, full of antioxidants, nourishing, soothing, and it taste good too!

One last thing…it’s easy to make!

Triple Threat Cold and Flu Fighter

You will need dried:

25 grams yarrow
25 grams elderberries
25 grams peppermint
25 grams elderflowers
240 millilitres glycerin
160 millilitres distilled water

1. Mix herbs in a large jar.  Even though the picture above shows the herbs almost filling the jar, I like to leave at least half of the jar empty to make room for the water/glycerin mixture.  Also, it is best to grind the herbs to powder.  This can be done in a coffee grinder (dedicated to herbal grinding) or possibly a food processor (although I have never tried it).

2. Prepare menstruum (the liquid substance that will extract the herbal constituents from the herbs) by mixing thoroughly the glycerin and distilled water.

3.  Pour menstruum (glycerin/water mixture) over the herbs in the jar.  Stir well making sure everything is mixed up.

4. Leave the mixture in the jar for 2 weeks, shaking each day.

5. At the end of 2 weeks, strain the liquid from the herbs.  Muslin fabric works best for this.

6. Label and store liquid glycerite.

Congratulations!  You have just made a 1:4 herbal glycerite to treat your family with.

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Visit the other High Five Moms!

Brandy @ The Marathon Mom

Keri Mae @ The Happy Home

Andie @ Happy Andersons

Stacy @ A Delightful Home

High Five Moms: Hand-On Learning for Boys

I am really looking forward to reading the other moms suggestions today, especially Brandy…she is pregnant with her 8th son. I know she has to have some great hands-on learning activities for boys. Make sure to visit all the other moms and find out what kinds of projects they keep their boys busy with!

Brandy @ The Marathon Mom

Keri Mae @ The Happy Home

Andie @ Happy Andersons

Stacy @ A Delightful Home

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I am an artsy kind of person, and ever since I can remember, I have loved all kinds of arts and crafts.  My daughters have inherited my “craftiness” and are always working on some type of project.  This has all be very natural.  When I am working on something, I try to include them in what I am doing.  If they want to learn something new, I try to at least learn enough to teach them and get them going.

It has been different with my son though.  I have really struggled to find projects that would keep him busy and teach him skills at the same time.  I usually blame it on the fact that we don’t live on a farm where I can send him out to build a chicken house.  Or I blame it on the fact that my husband is in the Air Force and is away from us so much.  Whatever the cause, which is probably just my lack of thinking outside the box, I am on a mission to find projects for my boys!

Some of the projects we have done:

Rockets

We have bought model rockets for my older son to put together and launch.  The rockets that I have looked at range from almost no skill level to very detailed and challenging.  We bought ones that were somewhere in the middle, although they did require some help from me.

Hobby Lobby carries quite a large selection of rockets and other items such as engines and launchers.  If you check your newspaper, you can usually get a 40% off coupon each week.  We have also ordered from Amazon or Estes Rockets.

Although we haven’t done it yet, I think this would be a great project to get a group of boys involved in.  It would be so much fun to have a launch day contest.  You know boys always love a good contest to get them motivated.

Woodworking

This is one area I am hoping to really get my son started in.  He is 14 years old now, and I feel like he is capable to learning some basic woodworking skills.  We have let him use a few of the simpler power saws (it still makes me a bit nervous).

My oldest daughter has been good about creating projects for my son to work on.  Her latest request was a drop spindle used to spin roving into yarn.  He was able to create one with the power sander and a dremel tool.

For the younger kids (even the girls), I have been taking them to Home Depot on the first Saturday of each month.  They offer a free woodworking project.  I usually let the kids do their hammering and putting together at the store, then we come home and paint and decorate the project.  Some of the projects have been so cool that the older kids joined in.  I understand Lowes has a similar project day, but we haven’t made it to one yet.

More Ideas Needed???

I am sure we have done other cool stuff, I am just drawing a blank right now.  I need your help.

What about your little men?  I would love some more ideas to test out on my guys!

 

 

 

High Five Moms: Seasons of Change

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecclesiates 3:1

When we were in Kansas a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of trees in the area. I had always envisioned Kansas to be flat prairie land.

Ever since living in Germany many years ago, I have longed to live somewhere with four seasons. I am hoping that by the time we arrive back in Kansas, the leaves will begin to change into the bright oranges and reds that I so miss.

It makes it so much easier to accept change when it is wrapped in such beauty and splendor.

I am reminded of the changes in my own life. How much more I look forward to changing seasons when I anticipate the blessings of the new season rather than focusing on the loss of the latter season.

Since Cooper was born, I have been having pain in my lower abdomen. I have been putting off a trip to the doctor mostly because I don’t want to hear the allopathic solution to almost all women’s health issues — hysterectomy. I would rather keep as many body parts as I possibly can for as long as I possibly can.

This has caused me to realize a few things though.

One, I am not getting younger. For the most part, I am thrilled with this realization. I have no desire at all to return to my youth and the follies it entailed.

However, realizing I am getting older means I may be beginning a new season in my life.  And I just don’t know if I am ready for that yet.

For the last 10 years, my husband and I have allowed the Lord to bless us with the children He desired us to have, without intervention from us.  In making that decision, I honestly thought I would end up having children until I was well into my 40s.  I was sure I would end up with 10-12 kids.

In the last 10 years, the Lord has blessed us with 4 children on earth and one in heaven.  I am not saying that I am disappointed in any way, just surprised.

I guess we all have hopes and dreams for our lives and deep down inside we tell ourselves that “someday” they will happen.  Like living on a farm.  I have always wanted to raise my kids on a farm.  I have always known that “someday”, Lord willing, we would get a chance to own a farm.

But realizing your seasons are changing is also realizing that your hopes and dreams may not come to fruition.  They too will have to change with the season.

Second realization, my children are getting older.  We all comment on how fast they grow up, and they do.  But then it hits you, they are grown up.

My oldest daughter will be 18 in less than a year now.  And while I look forward with rejoicing to the new season in her life, I can’t help but miss the season she is leaving behind.

The season of club houses, Tamagotchis, and piano recitals is quickly fading as I look forward to a growing friendship with my adult daughter.

Final thought…there are some parts of our lives that carry over into several seasons.   Then there are other things that the Lord has ordained for specific seasons.

This has been an especially important realization for me as I sometimes lament the fact that I can’t get all the things done I would like to get done.

Right now I have several young children, including a nursing baby.  This season of young children and nursing babies is such a short season and I only have a short window of opportunity to experience it.

There will be time to quilt, and make soap, and write, and work when the kids are all grown.  But never again will I get the chance to kiss booboos, braid pigtails, and hold this baby to my breast.  This is the season that the Lord has purposed for me and I need to see the beauty in this season before it is over.

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Don’t forget to visit the other High Five Moms this week!

Andie @ Happy Andersons

Stacy @ A Delightful Home

Brandy @ The Marathon Mom

Keri Mae @ The Happy Home

High Five Moms: Teaching the Word to Our Little Ones

Last night my oldest daughter was sitting in my room talking with me before bed. She said that she couldn’t wait to get settled in Kansas, because she wanted to spend more time memorizing Scriptures. We have been busy traveling back and forth between Texas and Kansas, not to mention packing, cleaning, and the million other things that have to be done when you move. In all this “busy”ness, we have not been diligent with our daily family Bible time. I can tell that we are all missing it and hungering for more time with our Savior. There is something so sweet, so comforting when we all join together as a family before the Lord.

How We Do Family Worship

Over the years our family Bible time has gone through many changes. We have used many different curriculums and methods, but I have found that simple and flexible are what works best for our family.

Most of the time, we do our Bible time mid-morning after everyone has had breakfast and all the morning chores are finished. All the children that can read bring their Bibles along with them. Everyone finds a comfy place to sit. I keep the younger ones next to me so that I can also work on training them to sit quietly during this time. This helps them learn to sit during church without being disruptive.

Singing

Our Bible times usually starts with singing to the Lord. My older children will play the piano or the guitar and the rest of us join in to sing. We have a few hymnals that we gather around as we sing. I let the kids pick out which songs they would like to sing. We don’t have a set amount of songs we sing each day. There are some days when we are all enjoying the singing so much we spend most of our Bible time with music. Other days we cut it short, especially if the kids are playing around as we sing.

Prayer

There are some days when I say a prayer before we start. Other days we all take turns praying for whatever is on our hearts. When time allows, it helps if we talk about the prayer needs before hand so that the kids remember the things we need to pray about. I try not to pray in a general way, instead pouring my heart out to the Lord so that my children learn to lay everything before the Lord.

Reading

When we read the Word together, I have each child read aloud a portion of our reading for the day. The youngest reader might only read one verse as they are still learning to sound out the words. The older ones get to read longer passages. As they read, we also work on speaking clearly so that everyone can understand what they are saying.

In our family, we use the King James Version of the Bible. Growing up I had always heard that the KJV was so difficult to read and understand. Several years ago we decided to start using the KJV for our family. I didn’t know if it would be challenging for the children or not. I was surprised at how much each of their reading levels increased as they read aloud from the Bible. Aside from personal convictions, there are some very great reasons to have your children read from the KJV outlined in the Ambleside Online article entitled Why the KJV? By Lynn Bruce.

As we read the Bible, I stop and discuss what we are reading. This year we started using Balancing the Sword to accompany our reading. For each chapter of the Bible, Balancing the Sword has questions aimed at improving comprehension and retention. There are also maps, timelines, artwork, and quotes that add to the learning.

What I really like is the flexibility. There are some days we use the questions from the book, and other days we just talk about what we read. I don’t feel the pressure to “keep up” or make sure we do a certain amount of work from the book each day.

Memorization

A few years ago, I ran across a scripture memory method from Simply Charlotte Mason that has really worked well for our family. I have had to modify it slightly because we have so many different levels of learners in our home, but the overall concept works very well.

I usually pick verses to learn from our readings, but would really like to start working on targeting specific groups of verses. I recently bought the book Proverbs for Parenting. It has the proverbs grouped together topically. My goal would be to learn verses from one topic at a time as we work on that area of our lives.

One Last Thought

When we first started homeschooling over 10 years ago, I knew that I wanted to teach Bible as part of our curriculum. I was under the assumption that I would teach the kids the Bible as part of their studies, and I would do my own learning separate from them.

What I found to be true, is that I learn just as much as they do during our Bible times each day. When we come before the Lord as a family, the Holy Spirit teaches each one of us at our own levels and deals with each of our hearts individually. There is nothing sweeter than learning the Word right along with your children.

What about you, how to you teach your children the Word?

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href=”http://ponderthepath.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/highfivemoms.jpg”><img title=”highfivemoms” src=”http://ponderthepath.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/highfivemoms-300×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ /></a>

Make sure and check out the other moms post to get some great ideas on teaching God’s Word to your little ones!

Andie @<a href=”http://www.happyandersons.com” target=”_blank”> Happy Andersons</a>

Stacy @<a href=”http://www.adelightfulhome.com” target=”_blank”> A Delightful Home</a>

Brandy @ <a href=”http://www.themarathonmom.com” target=”_blank”>The Marathon Mom</a>

Keri Mae @ <a href=”http://www.kerimae.com” target=”_blank”>The Happy Home</a>