Ramblings

Transforming

It is the time of year when everyone is beginning to focus on being thankful.

This year I feel rather guilty leading into this season because I hear I have been less content. I have a lot of my home and children to be a place lacking in contentment.

We got a bit of snow the other day and all of my children were so excited. In fact they had so much fun playing in the snow we missed my oldest son’s class that afternoon.

Moments like this remind me what’s the value of a thankful heart.

If only we could always grass to hold of one simple thing and be so full of gratitude and joy.

I admit that for a time I think I almost stopped praying. I did a bit more murmuring and complaining. Much like the Israelites no matter what was in front of me I wanted something else, something better, something more.

Too often I look at my children and I see an unfinished work. Instead of seeing all that God is doing in them, I see but I expect to receive. I see the fighting and the whining, I see the stack of unfinished worksheets…

I forget to see (or maybe I stubbornly refuse to see) that’s really neat car that my younger son fashioned out of cardboard for his sister’s dolls.

I I see my oldest son doodling some amazing and very inspiring artwork. I learn but he’s been practicing what are assistant pastor, the art of preaching. He is a teacher.

And and my little girl to dance and sing and play dress up. They love helping others. It is all the practice in living the fruits of the spirit.

We are blessed. It isn’t always in those big things. More often than not it isn’t in things at all. ❤

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TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Review}

As a stay at home mom, wife and home educator, there are many hats that I must wear. There are schedules to keep, plans to make, children to feed and there just are not enough hours in the day. For awhile now I have considered adding a “work” at home something but when I feel like I am barely above water most days, I wonder how it is even possible. This season with its many struggles, has encouraged me to look for another way to do things and because of that I was more than happy to have the chance to review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing.

This course was designed with busy mommas in mind and so I was very eager to explore all that was offered here. I see so many mommas who are home educators, do amazing home businesses, are community and church involved and I have no idea how they do it all. I think most of the time our house looks like a tornado blew through – only one of me and too many of “them” (that’s how I feel some days honestly!). With eight lessons, I figured this was something I could easily fit in to my day. I will admit, in the first lesson alone, I got a bit teary eyed – I have let *some* things slide myself (and not because I am writing an amazing course or anything) – the truth so clearly spoken, from the very beginning, was crystal clear. Something (I) need to change. In fact, the other day I realized myself, the joy and excitement, its been missing for some time. I cannot just sit around wondering what happened, or waiting for it to appear, I need to begin that work within myself and my home.

I admit I got sidetracked a bit. I signed up for another course of her’s, we because when the question was posed: What HAD to get done every day? I have been a mess lately and I had a tough time answering the question. Hallelujah; here is one more course for me to complete: “Balancing Life’s Vocabulary.” That was not at all a part or purpose of this review I am writing, but I thought I would mention it because, if you are having one of those seasons, like I am, it is sometimes good to scrap it all and have one big do-over!

This course gives you a lot to think about as you go along. It isn’t just simple instructions but rather advice, examples and then action steps to take. Because let’s face it, without firm direction lately, I am afraid we don’t get nearly as much done. It is so easy to read and listen to podcasts and trainings online – great ideas and inspiration – too often leaving you with no idea where to go from there. This is not that. I admit, there are some things that have been hard” for me to read. Things like the constant need to be willing to change; to be flexible and organized. To stick to the plan.

As I have worked through this course I have had to admit that my family has been allowed far too much freedom. Where we could (should) work together when it comes to chores and pet care – often this falls to momma. I spend more time cleaning messes I didn’t make and taking orders from my little “minions” who I clearly need to give more responsibility than I have. Play is important. It is how kids learn. Certainly I want to give them as much time “free” as I can? Yet if I am honest, this is just a piece of what they (and I) need for us to have a peaceful and contented home. Power and love and sound minds come from everyone being in one accord. 🙂

The action plans given make so much sense. None of it is difficult except perhaps in the way that it will stretch you; you might squirm and get uncomfortable. Who really likes change? Are – n’t we all, honestly, creatures of habit? Yet being able and willing to see things from another perspective, to consider that there could be a better way. For example, having a Plan of the Day. I usually “assume” because we have a fairly regular routine, that everyone just knows by now, what to expect from each day. Yet, when we discussed each morning what the day held, what our “plan” was, it really did make a difference most days. (My younger son loved, when things got off the rails, saying, “Stick to the plan” like Iron Man says).

My oldest son really liked the idea of meal planning. And I admit that I do as well. I am not much of a chef; I think I see food more as something that must be had, than something to enjoy and share with my family. Here’s that need for some “change” she talks about. How we see things, our perception, makes all the difference. Needless to say, we are working on meal plans now; my older son taking a day or two each week to cook a meal. Not just spaghetti or macaroni and cheese either. We even found a couple cooking shows (for kids) to work in there so that they can watch a show and then make the stuff at home. And I have learned my kids want dessert. Maybe not every day, but they really feel that this is an important part of family meal time.

When there are struggles – UPDATE THE KIDS – this is vital. Of course it is. Why did I need to take a course to learn this? ha-ha So many humbling moments for me as I went through this. By the way.I loved how much this caused me to dig down a bit deeper and to explore my self and my ways, even more. As someone with a background in psychology and social work I am a *ashamed* to admit that there are some things that are necessary, that I have just foregone through the years. Things like I am a big proponent of self improvement. 🙂

One of my favorite (and my kid’s least favorite) phrases in this house is “work/figure it out.” I think most of my day is spent trying to solve problems, break up fights and many other things that my kids, as they are getting older, need to be able to learn how to do. We have a great new program to help, as a family, learn how to be peace keepers. Because right now we are in a place where it is really important for us to focus on the relationships we have with one another. And because that requires more time, intentional and focused time, this course and all that it offered really helped me to find ways to manage all the other “stuff” that so often gets in the way of us enjoying our home and our time together.

Thanks to this course I have really taken a wrecking ball to our home and our current way of doing things. I feel encouraged and inspired. I really do. I am very slowly completing this course. And then revisiting many of the lessons as I go along (again) to get some fresh insight; gain some momentum when I feel like I am slipping back a bit. I really amazed at how thorough this is. It really does cover everything that a momma at home is responsible for and perhaps overwhelmed or weary of. This provides so many fresh ideas; it reminds me to value and include my children in all things. And to help them learn to have the right attitude about it all. I have heard it said that “if momma isn’t happy, no one is happy,” but I beg to differ. When my kids and my home are out of order, there is not enough chocolate and coffee to bring me joy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength; we are promised His peace, a peace that is only from and of Him. Yet there is so much more we can gain in this life we have been blessed with, if we are willing to consider our ways and be wise. I have learned so much from this and I am still learning (as are my children) the way that we should go. There are certainly times we grow weary; this work we are given can be tiresome. Some seasons will have more trials and tests; we need to be sensitive to our needs and the needs of those in our family, so that we will be aware of the season we are in. We can then plant, reap and sow with less weariness knowing the time we are in. Personally, I needed every one of these reminders to encourage me and help me to stay the course. 🙂

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Crew Disclaimer

Product Review

Chris Tomlin Holy Roar CD {Review}

 

Who isn’t familiar with the name Chris Tomlin? I don’t think I have ever been disappointed by his music, in all the years I have been listening.

His newest album is just as impressive and powerful as I expected!

 

 

“HOLY ROAR is the freedom, the experience, the wonder of worship. It is seeing the church come together, hands lifted to God, pouring out our praise with an eternal song in our hearts. It’s every voice together, changing the way we worship.” ~Chris Tomlin

 

 

There are so many amazing songs on this! My favorite being Goodness, Love and Mercy. My younger son (who is quite how picky when it comes to worship music) absolutely loves Holy Road as well as Resurrection Power. There have been some real challenges our family has been facing as of late. Some bad attitude; some self-centeredness. A lot of bickering and complaning; we really needed some amazing music that would remind us of how important it is for us to be Satisfied. We all needed to be able to answer for ourselves, that question, Is He Worthy? 
One thing that I have always just loved about his music is that there is also so much you can learn from it. There is a deeper understanding you can have. If you listen. When the darkness just isn’t lifting, when we are sure that He isn’t near, He cannot hear…We are reminded that Nobody Loves Me Like You.  When it is harder to see in the darkness, these songs they help us to see that Praise is the Highway. 
Oh How sweet it is, to sing His praises. And to feel the presence and power of God wash over you as you sing, and as you claim the words of every song for yourself.
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Math-Whizz {Review}

Around here math is something that brings out a lot of emotions (not always good ones either). I have always struggled in math – this is that one area that is scary, I doubt my abilities, help me please – I don’t know how or what I am doing and I just “can’t get it.” My oldest son is a perfectionist, he struggles with attention, focus, impulses – there are so many struggles! It saddens me how math has become one more for him. My younger son on the other hand loves math; he is our “little engineer” and so he loves being able to whizz through his math (with some challenges along the way). This program is recommended for ages 5-13. We used this with both of my boys (9 & 13).

We have gone through so many different systems and programs for math in our family. When we do find one that works for one child, it doesn’t quite fit for the other. Or it works great initially, but wears on them and they become bored, or frustrated with the program. Not this one. Whizz Education has created this amazing system to help find and fix those gaps in learning math. I was so very excited to have the chance to review this one, with both of my boys, (we were given a 12 month subscription) and so I introduce to you, Math-Whizz from Whizz Education.

It is fun, animated, a bit silly, with short lessons, simple straight forward instruction – Thus far we are just loving this! Both of my boys have their own login and password; I also have my own account where I can see their progress and check in for more detail as to where they are struggling and where they are really doing great!

While this is a math tutoring website, I was amazed at how thorough this really was. It is super interactive and engaging – the lessons are short and lots of fun! You begin with a very complete assessment; once that has been done each child is provided with a learning program that is just right for them. Something really neat? This program uses AI; so as your children develop so does their “math path.”

Once they are ready, they will have lots of really neat tools to explore ranging from the tutor to a dictionary, they can replay any lessons they would like to practice, they can even do “challenges” and as they proceed they will earn tokens they can use to play games, buy and feed pets.

One really nice thing about this program is that the lessons are all fairly short. They are very colorful and eye catching; for a kiddo who has a hard time focusing, this really makes it so much easier. The tutoring sessions have ten questions in them; after a very animated and involving demonstration they are given the chance to practice for themselves. If they get a certain number of problems correct, they can “jump” past a portion of the tutorial. My younger son really loves that part of the program. If they are struggling a bit in the practice? There are some great, encouraging tips and demonstrations along the way – if it seems like they are really struggling they are even encouraged to come back to the topic later.

Because my older son is very much a fixed mindset, really struggling in math kind of boy, it is great to see how the program speaks to having a growth mindset. It is also really beneficial, for him, the variety of topics that come up each day.

The goal in this program is for the student to spend thirty minutes per week on the program but I think both of my boys spend far more time on here than that. Granted sometimes its just to decorate their study area; other times maybe they are spending their hard earned coins playing games. Or feeding their pets. My younger son logged in this morning to hear that he needed to feed his pet before they would take it away. LOL

This truly is an amazing program. Whether your kids love math or hate it, this is sure to sparkle an interest in them. Be sure not to miss giving your kids the chance to learn and grow into real math whizzes!

Connect with Whizz Education Online :

Ramblings

Where To Begin

As of late I feel as though I have lost a little bit of myself. The years of motherhood have made me; they have be come all that I am.

As much as I love my children and my husband, as much as I know but my family is a great blessing, I realize that I have lost a little of my selah.

I think when we feel like that darkness has closed in about us, we have reminded of the value of God’s love for us.

It can be hard to believe, but it’s true, the Lord is singing over me. He is delighting in me!

That can be hard to believe. Especially on those days when I feel like all I’ve done is yell at my children; so sometime when I feel that I have not been gentle or meek or patient.

Blessed are the peacemakers. He calls me to be a peace keeper. He calls every one of us. Do I hear him?

I remember that I need to go back and remember myself as one who is deeply loved by the very God who spoke the stars into existence.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.

I am not condemned but I am beloved. I am covered by his grace and mercy.

The scriptures say, it is by the word of the Lord the heavens were made. I had the very same breath of his mouth, breathed into me, that gave life into Adam in the beginning.

Isn’t it just inspiring… That Breath of God…. It is what brought forth all life. God creates and renews; his breath brings forth such amazing life!

Ramblings

Sometimes We Have to Quit

I have never been one to say I quit. Doesn’t matter what it is, I have always had the need to succeed. Perfectly. Without flaw. I am realizing but there are some things that we need to quit.

Yesterday was one of those days, my kids were just on a mission to drive me insane. Lol

We all have those days of course. One of the major perks to choosing to home educate our kids. I think I read somewhere that it’s, holy sandpaper.

My poor baby girl who is 3 now, struggling with some strange digestion issues. We are considering possible food allergies.

My oldest son, I don’t even know what to say. So difficult. Everything is a battle. Whatever we expect, however we ask, she is stubborn and angry and belligerent. I watch my boys and sometimes think of Cain and Abel.

My husband trying to just do the best he can with our finances and so many things that needs to be done and have to simply wait. And he has me for a wife. Who is the exact opposite of all he is. I see her too often I push my expectations on to him. I think of an old saying about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

And all of my struggles and anxieties I know that it can be so easy if I just admit it and quit it. Instead I sit and wish about this or that. If only…that always make things better yes? 🙄

When I was a child my mother would always say that you were either good at something or you quit something. I always understood that to me in but whatever we struggle in we need to just let go of. But as I get older I wonder if what she really meant was that we need to quit trying and start determining.

I know I can spend so much time beating myself up over things I “cannot” do and the truth is, I didn’t really want to in the first place. I think it’s learning how to determine what we really want versus what we are simply wishing for. The difference between loving music and loving creating music. Some things we enjoy and some things we enjoy so much we do them.

This is where we need to transform and renew our minds. With God all things are possible. But we must move our feet. We must change our perspective.

It’s so easy when things aren’t going the way I want them to, to look back and consider how I envisioned my life when I was younger. To grasp hold of those dreams I had as a child. That is so much easier than acknowledging the struggle and finding a way to move my feet forward in the midst of it.

Will we live our life or will we simply endure it? I got the other day about the importance of embracing the life that God has given us. Right where we are, when we are.

I have not been embracing it. I fear I have been fighting it. I think sometimes my vision takes over. I am not patient but more of a dictator. Demanding a way that I believe is better. Whether it really is or not I tend to take the lead, the bull in the China shop. Not the best way to do things?

God tells us, don’t look back. Look up. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Him. It is when we look away, we get distracted, that we struggle. Peter walked on water as long as he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus. I need to quit looking everywhere else. I need to quit seeking after my own vision and claim His vision for my life. And then it with joy unspeakable. This world is not my home. No matter where I look that will never change.

Greater is He in me, than he that is in the world. ❤