Spring Break Day 1: The Shirt War, Full House, Jesus, and The Vote

 

***This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, April receives advertising fees.***

As we speak, Joshua and Caleb are playing basketball in the driveway while John David and Daniel are rolling around on the trampoline together. Alan is eating supper, and I am updating my blog for the first time in a week. Slacker.

I’ve been working on photo albums through Snapfish lately. Y’all, photo books are 70% off this month (March), so I am making as many photo books as I possibly can. I have about a hundred I could make since the last time I was caught up on photo printing was 2013…

One of my newly created albums came in the mail today, of photos from 2 years ago. One of the boys was a little embarrassed to realize that in this album was an adorable photo of the 4 boys reading together in a chair, and he was in his underwear. Just his underwear. I might have jokingly threatened to share said photo album with future dates. He might have retorted back that the page will definitely be torn out long before that. Sigh. Oh well.

The photo is safe for now, and the picture is so cute. I’d show you, but well, I am at least nicer than that.

I’m trying to hold the boys to just family parties this year. Well, family parties + just 1 or 2 friends.

I took a vote this morning, asking everyone here if they’d rather go hiking today or stay home. Everyone but Daniel voted to stay home, so here we are.

I tried to go walking, but it started raining on me so I cut that short. I passed Joshua on my way inside. Apparently, rain drops don’t phase him. He came in with soaking wet hair.

Y’all don’t want to know how many squabbles I have refereed today. Ugh. This should definitely count as a special skill on my resume. I am extremely experienced at sending everyone to different rooms.

We did have an epic game of driveway birdie tonight, though…wait. No, that’s not what they called it…badminton! I had to ask them what the game was called. Ha! But it was super fun!

Remember that Mother’s Day that they bought me a Badminton set, and so we played that for Mother’s Day? Only now, the boys are actually way better at it than I am!

How seriously cute are JD and his buddy? And yes, JD is OBSESSED with Batman.

Joshua, Alan, and I were sitting in the living room today getting quite a show from a new sport taking place on our trampoline. Daniel and John David were out there together, and we watched them take their shirts off and have a shirt war.

Joshua observed, “John David sure is good at whipping Daniel with his shirt!” They had a better view than I did, and they kept saying, “Ohhhh Owww  Whoa! Ho! hahahaha! Is he okay…..yeah.”

For some reason this game made Daniel and JD quite happy, so we didn’t intervene. Perhaps we should all try it…. ha!

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I came home a couple of weeks ago with the complete DVD set of the original Full House. Why? Because I’m the world’s worst person at sticking to any sort of budget…..also because we have already watched Fuller House, so I felt like the boys had to see the first series to understand it better.

Alan took so long at Walmart this afternoon, on a trip to buy Daniel’s birthday present and Tostitos, that we watched 4 episodes of Full House while he was gone. Our family is all about it right now, so don’t be surprised if you hear the boys say “How rude!” or “Have mercy!”

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I heard 2 funny quotes this week that I wanted to share.

1.”Who is I love Lucy? Were they zombies?”

2. A leprechaun visited John David’s school. He left them Skittles and a messy classroom of confetti and such. I asked J.D. who the leprechaun was. He didn’t miss a beat, “Jesus.”

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I came across some encouraging Bible verses in my reading today:

“Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”   John 6: 15

I’ve been thinking lately about how apolitical Jesus was. He was never interested in power or rule or talking politics. He wanted to teach about God, love, and healing people. I feel like as Christians we need to persist in getting our message of love out to the world. Things of this world are temporary, but our souls are eternal. Love is eternal.

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”    John 6: 27-29

 

Believe. Faith. Hope. Love. Against such things there is no law.

And now on to the rest of Spring Break. 1 day down, 8 days to go. I’m excited. I still have a  great deal of refereeing ahead of me, but it’s worth it because I also have days of Badminton and shirt-whipping.

opening presents

I’d upload photos for you to have a peek into our adventures, but my computer is so full it won’t let me upload anything new. Issues. I can only give you pictures that I can steal from Facebook. Triple sigh. You know that’s driving me crazy. But don’t worry. I will not rest until I fix this problem!

Okay, one more hilarious quote from tonight:

“Hey, Mom, I am five, and you are thirteen. No! 14. You are 14.”

hehehe Nope. I didn’t correct him. Is that wrong? I say no.

Have a great Spring Break, y’all!

 

 

 

 

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Tom Sawyer and the Most Important Commandment

Sometimes I choose involuntary titles to read to my children. As in, I pick the book, and they have to listen. I have four boys, and with their personalities this is necessary if I ever want them to read a single classic novel. It worked well for the Little House series and Old Yeller, so why not Tom Sawyer?

 

I do have the unabridged version of Tom Sawyer, which is on an 8th grade reading level and is chock full of big words, some taboo language, and outdated ideas. I think it broadens their understanding to read things like this.

And it is a hilarious book, as you would expect, certainly funnier than their beloved Captain Underpants, in my opinion.

I’m only reading Tom Sawyer to my two oldest because the little ones don’t have the attention span for that yet.

One chapter we read recently reminded me how much America has changed for the worse, though many changes, such as America’s dark past of racism, have been for the better.

What change was for the worse? Bible knowledge. These days most people have terrible misconceptions of God and the Bible. How could we have any knowledge of a book most people no longer study?

Tom Sawyer was no goody-good church kid. That much you know, but out of requirement he did attend church every Sunday. The kids in Tom’s Sunday school class could even earn tickets by reciting Bible verses…..much like AWANA today. Tom was obviously not one to spend much time practicing his verses, so he took to trading for tickets.

This was funny to me because Caleb used to do this exact thing with SOAR cards when he was in 1st grade. SOAR cards were handed out at school for good behavior and could be exchanged for prizes. Caleb used to take Lego men to school and trade them for SOAR cards. He and many of the boys in his class had a real underground black market going with those cards.

Anyway, in the book Tom hands in enough tickets to get the grand prize, a new Bible. Not only that, but when he receives the grand prize he gets to stand up in front of the entire church and receive applause.

So they brought Tom up, and they asked him questions like, “What is the greatest commandment?”

No, Tom didn’t know.

Most people in America probably don’t know what commandment is the greatest. Sometimes the loudest so-called Christian people are the very ones who have confused everyone from knowing what God’s message even was. Ugh.

So I ask you, do you know? What is the greatest commandment? Some of you know, and some of you may not, but I don’t think we can ever be reminded too often.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”                                  –Matthew 22:36-40

Because if we love others, we will naturally not steal, lie, cheat, or use God’s name in vain. When we love others, we want to respect, help, and honor them.

None of us are perfect, and none of us ever will be on this earth, but what we should be striving for is LOVE.

“We were meant to put ourselves out there for people. An earthly cause is nothing without a people it affects.”       –Beth Moore

Love God. Love people. The most important commandments. People often split hairs about raising children. Do they have all As? Are they good at sports? Are they leaders? Do they sit quietly with their hands in their lap? Are they outgoing?

Who cares? You know what matters? Do your children love God and love people and show that through their actions? That’s what matters in my book and in God’s book too.

Of course, they have to learn that from us. We have to show our children how to do these things through our own actions. I hope we will always look for ways to show love to God and love to people. It isn’t always easy, but it’s more than worth it.

As I type these lovely, ideal thoughts out, I wonder. How will I show love today? You know, I’ve probably already failed a few times at this, and it’s only 10:39 am. But it is never too late to make the next step in a positive direction.

 

 

 

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It was not a failure, though I thought it was at the time.

It was not a failure.

*This post does contain some affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through my site, I receive a small percentage.*

I’ve been dealing with my own feelings of failure for a while now. Have you ever felt that way? I read this story this week, and I poured tears as I contemplated my own “failure.”

There was this man. He was from out-of-town. He wanted to teach people about Jesus. That landed him in prison, and not just prison. First, he was stripped and beaten, and then they put him in prison.
He got out though.
And then you know what he said about that trip? He said, “It was not a failure.”

Public humiliation. Beaten! Imprisoned!

That was not a failure?? He was basically chased out of town. He can’t go back there.

But that man was Paul, and that town was Philippi. You can read more about that story in Acts 16:16-25 and 1 Thessalonians 2, all of chapter 2.

“You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.”    1 Thessalonians 2:1-2

It was not a failure because they STILL did share the gospel, as they set out to do. When we tell people the good news, that Jesus loves ALL of us and wants to save and be a friend to ALL of us, we aren’t responsible for how people respond to that. That doesn’t mean be a jerk and don’t care. That means don’t be obnoxious. Share it, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Public disgrace does not equal failure.

Things not ending as planned does not mean we failed.

Being physically destroyed is not failure. It’s not.

You are not a failure either. Think of your most recent failure, and then consider. What did you learn? What good came out of that?


I was reading about all of these things in Children of the Day, by Beth Moore. It takes books like these to help me understand things like Acts 16 being tied to 1 Thessalonians. Believe me, I’d never figure that out on my own. Every single Beth Moore Bible study workbook I have ever read has been a massive blessing to me.

This one is no exception. She just HAD to go and ask us what our most recent failure is. She left a little blank space for us to write about it. Ha! I got out my spiral notebook and filled up a whole PAGE.

I wrote, and I thought, and I cried, and I prayed, and in the end I was reminded.

“Though a righteous man falls 7 times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.”  Proverbs 24:16

Failure stings when it’s something that means the world to you. It stings like getting stung by a HIVE OF BEES  or 50 fire ants.

I set out to home school those two years with two objectives:

  1. I wanted to give them that one-on-one boost with their academics.
  2. I wanted to improve their character. No, I can’t improve it myself, but I wanted to promote it. I wanted to provide the right environment and the right tools for the boys and God to work that out.

I was not able to accomplish what I wanted, academically, and to make it worse trying to be a teacher, homemaker, blogger, and mom all at once made me MISERABLE. It was heart-breaking. Even as I write about it again, it’s like my heart is all ripped up and bleeding. I want to pound my fists to the wall and then lay my head against it and cry until there’s no water left because no matter how hard I tried, everything felt like failure.

I love these children with such intensity, I want to fix every single problem that they have, but that’s not possible, is it? The ability to fix everything was so far beyond my control.

So I failed. Or so I thought. But you know what? I did not fail. They didn’t fail either. Nothing failed. There was nothing wasted here.

In those two years, I saw their character bloom. I saw love, humility, honesty, justice, kindness, and goodness in my boys.

Caleb was saved and baptized, of his free choosing during that time at home with me. I even heard him teaching his friends about Jesus.

There was spiritual warfare waged over the souls of my children those two years, and God won.

I grew to understand the boys’ strengths and weaknesses. I came to terms with my own limitations. We emerged a different family than when we went into this.

I failed in some ways in order to learn. Sometimes we have to fall to learn, to grow, to become.

We saw it happen with my children too. We watched them overcome the kind of adversity that would have CRUSHED me at their age. I would not have handled it with the strength, dignity, and courage that I watched my son display.

That’s not actually failure is it? But it sure feels like it when you’re laying in a wad on the ground.

So no, we have not failed. We have only fallen and gotten back up again, and we too shared the gospel in the process.

All of these thoughts led me to this song, and I can’t get it out of my head. Its “fall down and get back up” message resonated with me. Yes, we are trying EVERYTHING. It’s a fun song, and my favorite line is this one:

“Birds don’t just fly. They fall down and get up.”

You’ll have to click the link below to go to YouTube to see the lyrics and hear this song. It’s worth it.

 

Ok. Your turn to answer Beth Moore’s heart-wrenching question. Failure. When did you last feel it?

“Ask yourself: Did we do the will of God as best we perceived it? Were we authentic before God and man?”    —Children of the Day, page 41, Beth Moore

And I would add, what did you learn? Then maybe it’s not such a failure after all, and even if it is, get back up again.

 

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What’s this Bible journaling craze all about?

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

I have been taking a blog coaching class, taught by Crystal Paine. I never realized exactly how much I don’t know about the blogging business.

One of the things Crystal has taught me is that it’s important to do videos sometimes. Apparently, videos should help my audience connect with me better. So I am making my very FIRST DIY selfie video. The video skills are horrible. It’s literally like my talking head showing you some Bible journaling pictures. But hang with me, we’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

Have you heard about Bible journaling?

I want to show you my own Bible journal: (Just watch the video below. If you read this in your email, you will need to go to my website to see it.)

 

Here are a few more photos. I did NOT draw these. I got these pictures from the speaker who came to our MOPS group:

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

I gotta say. These bold images DO help me remember the scriptures better. It gives a brilliant visual.

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

Fruits of the spirit! Love this one!!

So, in my next post I will share my very first attempt at drawing in my Bible. It is extremely amateur, and it wasn’t over the top fun for me because drawing is not my thing. But it wasn’t unpleasant either.

If you are interested in trying your hand at Bible journaling, I found a few excellent resources for you:

This blogger did a how-to post on Bible journaling that was good: How to Start Bible Journaling

And here are some cool supplies you can buy from Amazon. (Yes, these are affiliate links.)
This would be a great instructional book, if you have no skills (like me).

This is a devotional book that actually has built-in room for your masterpieces.


These are colorful pens like the pros use.

And if you just want to do good ol’ alphabetized dividers like MY journal, well, that’s a lot easier. You’ll just need a large binder, paper, and a few packs of dividers! My favorites are the write-on tabs. People with arthritis don’t do folding up tiny pieces of paper and sticking them in a tiny little sleeve.

I can see why Bible journaling is so popular right now. You can express yourself, learn scriptures, and create a visual in your mind that helps you learn your Bible better, all through your own art work. It’s definitely something worth trying out.

I dare ya to try it! I’ll show you my attempts in my next post. I’ve done 1 so far, but I want to try a couple more first because my first attempt was….not that good…Be sure to share pictures with us if you do try it!! I’m on Instagram now as well as Facebook!

What's this Bible journaling craze all about?

Excellent verses

 

 

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The Weight of the Choices that We Make

the weight of the choices we make

Caleb drew it. We all colored it. This is a tradition that we enjoy.

Wow! What an election year, eh? Alan got to be in Washington, D.C. for election night, but it was not just me and the boys here. Nana came over too! We had an “election party”, which is basically where we feed the boys Oreos and let them fill out the electoral map with red and blue markers as the results come in. Of course, most of it had to wait until the morning.

I always stay up as late as I possibly can to watch the results. I only made it until midnight this year. Parenting takes it out of you. Doesn’t it?

The whole election thing got me thinking about choices.

Choices, choices, choices.

They are constant aren’t they? So many decisions all the time. Some of them harder than others. We’ve all made our presidential choice. Check. Phew! Done. But there are so many choices left to make.

Today I had several messages on my phone to answer. I had house cleaning that I’ve been neglecting (as usual, because bleh–house cleaning). I had this absurd need to watch news anchors discuss the election with the experts. Then there was John David, wanting to be taken outside. I had a blog that needed updating. And I have growing boys that need me. Every minute that I spend doing or not doing anything is a choice that I make that says something about my priorities.

I try to always start my day out with God’s Word and prayer because when you put first things first, everything else should fall into place.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”   Matthew 6:33

I loved this quote from Beth Moore:

“You may have many different things that you want to do, but they may not have anything to do with what you want your life to be about.”

I wrote it down and stuck it to my wall. I need that reminder. Am I trying to do every little good thing and ending up stressed? We can’t do ALL the things. We have to do some picking and choosing somewhere.

OR am I carefully choosing to focus on what it is I want my life to be about?

Just a little food for thought on this sleep-deprived-post-election day. What is your mission in life? That is the most important question here.

I want mine to be about serving the Lord. I want to walk in peace with Him, serving him by serving others through the ministries that He has given me. I want my boys to feel cherished and to know what is important. I want my husband to have a wife that builds him up and is a trustworthy companion. I want my blog to be a gospel-sharing ministry that brings joy. I want to live a life that is in line with God’s plan for me.

How about you? What do you want your life to be about? What things do you say ‘no’ to in order to focus on your mission?

 

 

 

P.S. Congratulations are in order to Angela, of Missouri, for winning the bamboo cutting board!!!!  Hurray!! Want your own? Go here to order one. Want a sweet deal on it? Try one of these coupon codes!

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Those codes will only work for the first 3 customers to try them, but I have more for those of you who ask! That’s a $5.00 DISCOUNT!! So try the coupon.

 

veterans

Click on this picture to read the Veteran’s Day article I wrote for Monterey Premier.

 

Happy Veteran’s Day! Hope you all get a day off!

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