Staying safe and sane during the summer with small children

Monday, June 29, 2015

It can happen in a moment; the blink of an eye. Before you can even react or think. You see it about to happen but there is nothing you can do. No matter how fast your mommy reflexes are, you can not prevent accidents from happening all the time.

You see that jagged edge and the child just about to run into it. Your eye was just on them; how did they move so fast? Their hand was fast in yours, but somehow they wiggled out of your firm grasp. You thought the door was closed behind you, but someone else reopened it and now your toddler is running out the front door towards the street. The boys were wrestling, but as you warned them to stop someone got hurt.

I have had so many heart palpitating moments right after witnessing my children hurt themselves or literally come close to losing their lives. I am sure there have been many times that they were close to death and I didn't even know it. I am sure that their angels are working overtime. I don't like experiencing those close calls but they do help me to not take anything for granted and to be more aware.

Though none of us likes to face it, the truth is accidents are going to happen; our children are going to get hurt. We can't live in fear and worry the rest of our lives, but we can take precautions to protect our loved ones. If I gave in to fear, I would never let my kids go outside. I would never get in a car to go anywhere and I would never let my kids go near water or climb trees but what kind of a life would that be for me and my family?

I often find myself going through scenarios in my head. You know, the ones when you imagine getting in a car accident with your children and have to decide which one to save. Picturing what would have happened if your totally oblivious toddler had run out in the street. I could go on and on.

June is national safety month and though there is only one day more left in June I thought I would share how I try to keep my family safe while still staying sane. I am joining Cameron from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in spreading awareness for His wife Heather, who is 9 year survivor of this disease. I lost my Dad to cancer so it's always encouraging to hear of those who have lived through cancer. I hope her story and these tips help you to take the steps necessary to keep your family safe this summer.

Trust the Lord

Ultimately our lives and our loved ones are in God's hands. We have to trust him. Whatever may happen he is in control and works everything for good. We can't live in constant fear about tomorrow if we want to enjoy today.

"They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them."  Psalm 112:7


I was a lifeguard for a couple of years and the most important thing to do as a lifeguard is to prevent drowning and accidents from happening in the first place. I also prayed everyday that God would keep everyone safe and that I wouldn't have to save anyone. I am happy to say I only had to rescue someone once. Now as a mom; responsible for my children's safety I pray everyday for their protection as well. I know that God hears my prayers and is watching over my family but as much as I am able I try to think ahead to prevent needless accidents from happening like:

*Keeping harmful things (knives/dishwasher detergent) locked up and out of reach of my little ones.
*Locking the doors when we are at home.
*Never leaving the little ones in the bathtub or kiddie pool alone.
*Teaching my children our address and phone number in case of an emergency.
*Making sure everyone is buckled up in the car.

The Buddy System

Having multiple children not only causes me to have more eyes in the back of my head but gives me more eyes through my children. When we are out and about I usually assign the two older boys to Ellie and Simeon, while I watch out for Luke. It not only teaches them responsibility but helps me keep everyone safe and accounted for.

Keeping Toxic Chemicals Out of Our Home

So many cleaning and body products contain chemicals and ingredients that are really harmful to our bodies. Unknowingly, we are often not only coming in contact with them but ingesting them as well. With so many little ones in my house who are prone to getting into everything I use only natural cleaning and body products as much as possible. I make my own multi purpose cleaner, lotion, sunscreen and mosquito repellant. I encourage you to rethink what products you are using in your home and replace them with natural and eco- friendly products. You can't always control what chemicals you are coming in contact with when you are out and about with your family but at least you can control what comes in your home.

Staying Cautious Around Water and Heat

Living in Florida means that we are not only near water in the summer, but all year long. Water scares me the most because drowning can happen so quickly especially when there are a lot of people around. I put life jackets on all my kids that can't swim and never take my eyes off of them while they are in the water.

Not only is water a big issue but the heat is just as dangerous. When we are out and about the older boys are in charge of bringing their own water bottles and I bring the little one's. I am so used to always having all the kids with me in the car that  I never have to worry about leaving anyone behind because the big boys help me with the younger ones but when I only have one child with me I have to be careful. I read a helpful tip that has helped me not to forget when I have only one child with me. You put one of your shoes in the child's seat so when you get out of the car you immediately realize you are missing a shoe and go to find it.

We have had some close calls over the years but thankfully we have only walked away with a little blood, and a lot of scrapes, bruises and tears.

Here are some more helpful tips:

I hope this list helps you to be aware and take precautions against the dangers around you and your family but also reminds you to put your trust in the one who holds the whole world in his hands.

"So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41: 10

Do you have any tips for keeping your family safe?

Linking up with some of these great link parties

One little thing...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I didn't have time to write about our week today because of oh you know this little thing called life, so I decided to share one picture with a scripture and thought... one little thing. I just might keep doing it every week, we'll see. Anything to save me time, right? Have a great weekend!

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable than sacrifice." Proverbs 21:2-3

I think this verse says it all, especially in light of the things that have transpired in our world lately...

I hope your week was filled with little moments that opened your eyes to see things unseen...little moments that inspired you to make the most of every teachable circumstance...little moments that challenged you purge your life and home of the things that are not edifying and little moments that spurred you on to fill your mind and heart with words that speak truth and life.

Linking up with: Looking Up Link Up, The Art of Homemaking Mondays

When nothing goes as planned

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I like to think of myself as a very flexible person; think Elastigirl. I honestly don't always mind last minute get togethers, set times being changed, plans being canceled. But I am finding what I think I am and what I really am are quite a bit different. I have learned to roll with the punches a lot better then I used to, but many days I get bent all out of shape when things don't go as planned or as I think they should.

This morning I decided to get the kids out of the house and take them to the beach. My plan of attack was that they would be all worn out from the beach and crash when they got home; which they usually do. I was looking forward to some nice quiet time to read, write and catch up on some laundry. To my surprise and dismay neither of my nappers: Luke and Simeon, fell asleep. I gave them baths, fed them, read to them and laid them in their beds; but no. There were no shut eyelids  or chubby cheeks fanned by long eyelashes, no chests rising and falling with deep breaths, just 5 kids all wide awake; still in need of my attention.

Of course now, after a lot of tears and tantrums from being over tired, Simeon is crashed on the couch and Luke is on my bed after nursing him and slowly inching away from him one body part at a time. Which you know means that they will now be up till midnight. What really gets me is that no matter how hard I try to implement good routines and plans they just don't always work.

Sometimes I underestimate how much I look forward to my deserved time by myself. I get up early but Luke wakes up early too, I put him in his crib and let him cry it out but he keeps making himself throw up, I feed my kids a delicious and filling meal but they are still hungry an hour later. This is when I start to lose it and wonder why I can't get a break?? I try so hard to put their needs above mine, to make the extra effort to have time by myself when they are asleep, to multitask and prioritize.

No matter how much I plan, scheme and strategize to get my needs met while also meeting theirs, there are going to be times when I have to gracefully let go of what I have envisioned taking place. It's not always easy and most of the time I am a big baby when I don't get my me time but I am slowly learning that it's okay. I will be okay. I will be okay if I don't get that quiet time I was so longing for. I will be okay if I don't get to go running or workout. I will be okay if I don't get to write all the thoughts and blog posts swirling around in my head. Yes, I feel great when things do go as planned and I do need my me time... but it shouldn't determine my attitude towards my children who just need me.

I have learned the most valuable lessons of my life when things haven't gone as I have planned. I am so thankful for those lessons, though usually not during them. It's easy to act gracefully when things go according to plan but not quite so much when they don't. Obviously God knows I need a lot of work in this area because he keeps changing my plans. I hope I have showed some improvement but I am totally aware that I don't always respond as I should in certain situations. I can get easily frustrated when I can't find something I am looking for. I can lose my patience and yell at my children when they don't listen. I can say things without thinking when I am lacking food or sleep. I can whine and cry when things don't go my way.

Things didn't go as I planned today. I didn't have the best attitude or respond in the best way but I am thankful that God's grace was there for me today and will be there for me tomorrow.

If your day didn't go as planned either, take heart mama...God's grace is there for you too.

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

"My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9(NIV)

Do you freak out when things don't go as you have planned?

Linking up with these great link parties: Thriving Thursday, Grace and Truth , Faithful at Home Fridays, favorite things friday, Mama Moments Monday, Words with Winter, Looking up Link Up, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Tuesday Talk

This week: Attempting to grow roses, we too will fade, being faithful with today while living for eternity

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I wrote way more then I had planned to this week; record breaking for me. I am going to try to keep it short and sweet this week... if thats possible.

I have been wanting to have a rose bush for a while now, but they are really hard to grow in Florida or anywhere for that matter. I have always dreamed of having a rambling bush of roses growing up the side of my house perfuming the air with their fragrance. I can dream, can't I?

I did some research and bought one that has been grafted to thrive in our harsh climate. I settled for a little bush. I am praying and hoping it will survive and that I won't kill it somehow. I found a good spot that gets early morning sun and I dug a huge hole and filled it in with nutrient rich compost and soil. The soil in our backyard is pretty much sand. In a couple of months I will start to fertilize it and prune it.
Taking care of this rose bush made me think of how God takes care of us. We are so fragile. Like this rose bush we need a lot of tender care. I am so thankful that God knows what we are and what we need to grow and flourish. He knows where we need to planted, what kind of nourishment we need to feed our souls, he knows when to prune us so that we can flower and bear fruit. He is our perfect gardener, our perfect father; tending to our every need.
I am also reminded that like the flower; we too will fade. Our earthly bodies will be no more some day. I am challenged to search my heart and ask God to help me to be faithful with what he has given me to do today but to live for that which will endure forever. To tend to my children's needs; nourishing them with not only earthly food but spiritual food. To bless my husband and meet his needs. To take care of my home and not neglect it. To bear good fruit right where I am in the season I am in. It's not always easy. Like the rose, I fear at times that I am going to mess my kids up because I seriously do not know what I am doing at times; no matter how much I have researched.
It is so easy to get caught up in the here and now and put our hope in the things of this world that we can see and touch, but this world; the things and people in it are all fading and will be no more someday. But God's love for us will never fade and I am looking forward to the day when my faith will be made sight and nothing will ever perish or fade anymore. I am living for that day by learning to be faithful with today and find grace for when I am anything but faithful.

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame;he remembers that we are like dust. As for man, his days are like the grass; he flourishes like the flower of the field; for the wind passes over it and it is gone, and it's place knows it no more. But the steadfast love is of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him." Psalm 103:13-17

Have you ever tried growing roses? Have you had any success?

What is God teaching you to be faithful with today?

Is it hard for you to live in the light of eternity at times when the here and now is all consuming?

Linking up with these great link ups: The homeschool mother's journal, Mama Moments Monday, Strangers and Pilgrims on earth, Mom2Mom, Tuesday Talk, A Little R and R, Thriving Thursday, Grace and Truth , Faithful at Home Fridays

I lost my father... but I am not fatherless

Friday, June 19, 2015

I wasn't planning on sharing with you about my Dad this week, but felt God impressing on my heart to I did.

When I was 13 my Dad was rushed to the hospital one day after he had passed out at work. He had been complaining for a long time of bad headaches but never went to see the doctor. Now we were being told he had stage 4 brain cancer and had to have immediate surgery.

In a moment my world turned upside down.

This kind of stuff happened to other people, but couldn't be happening to me.

The next year; which is mostly blacked out in my mind, was the worst year of my life.

My dad was dying; slow and painfully.

He was no longer the Dad I knew.

 Although he was still alive, he was not himself. That was the worst part; seeing my Dad turn into an old, incoherent man before his time,who could no longer take care of himself or communicate.

The day came when he was no longer stuck in his cancer ridden body and finally free from sickness and pain.

 As I write now all the painful memories of his sickness and death  resurface and still bring me to tears.

It still hurts.

I still miss him.

I don't often rehash all those sad memories. I like to think of him as I remember him; before he was sick.

When someone you love dies, you go into shock. It is so hard to believe someone you love so much is not there anymore. Our lives are based on so much of what is tangible. It is really difficult to comprehend. It is a long hard road to find healing.

I am so thankful that the deep wounds of my dad's death have been healed; healed by time...healed by Jesus.

I can truly say that even though I lost my Dad 18 years ago... I have never been fatherless.

I have not always understood or comprehended the why... but I have never been without peace.

I have felt pain, sorrow and heartache... but I have never lost hope.

I have been poor, needy and alone... but I have never felt forsaken.

My dad is no longer here to be my dad, but God has shown himself to be a perfect father to me.

He has taken care of me in ways I never could have imagined, he has been there for me when no one else was, comforted me when I was heartbroken and  protected me when I was scared and in trouble.

He has not always answered my prayers or given me what I've wanted; he has answered my prayers according to his will; he has given me what I've needed.

He is my heavenly father.

I still miss my Dad and wish he was here but God has healed the pain of his death and filled my heart with the hope of heaven. He has taught me to value the important things in life and not take anything for granted.(Though I often fail at this) He has given me compassion for those who have lost loved ones and has shown me that he is sovereign and most of all... I can trust him.

I look forward to the day when I will not only meet Jesus face to face but see my Dad again. Until then I am so thankful that I have such a great memories of my Dad here on earth.

I always will remember how he loved the three stooges and was always joking around. I will remember how I used to sit on his lap and snuggle. I will remember how we would cook and go grocery shopping together. I will remember how he disciplined me in love when I was misbehaving. I will remember how he shared scripture with me when I was afraid. I will remember how he apologized to me when he was wrong. I will remember how he loved God and served him with his whole heart.

He wasn't perfect, but he was my dad.

Maybe you have lost your dad or a loved one also to cancer, sickness or tragedy. Maybe you had a dad, but have far from good memories with him.  Maybe you never knew your dad.

Whatever your experience; know that God wants to heal your heartache, comfort you in your sorrow, fill you with his peace and give you hope beyond this world...he wants to be your father.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 NIV

Linking up here!

Practical Gifts for Father's Day

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I don't know if I have told you but not only do I have the best husband in the world but my kids have the best Dad. Before we were even married, I knew he was Dad material. He does everything with our kids. Fishing, hunting, gardening, baseball, skateboarding, skimboarding, snuggling... he does it all. I am beyond thankful that the kids have such an amazing Dad that is so involved in their lives. He really was born to be a Dad.

I shared earlier this week about what husband's really want for Father's Day but today I thought I would share some practical things they would like also. I am all about practical gifts. Though I like jewelry and flowers; when my husband gets me something I really need I do not complain; as long as it comes with a nice card.  Heartfelt words are what make my day and melt my heart. I know my husband also appreciates receiving things he needs also. So the kids and I went on amazon and picked out a few things we know he will need and like.

If you are a last minute shopper like I tend to be and don't like shopping amazon prime is the way to go. I am really excited that we can even get free one day shipping in our area!

I hope you are inspired to find some things your deserving husband or Dad could use also!

Travel Coffee Mug

He loves his coffee in the morning but when he is running late I put it in one of our mugs and they are really not conducive to traveling. So I know he could really use this.

4 Port USB charger

We do not have a lot of outlets in our house. So the one USB charger we have is in high demand. The kids and I often unplug Josh's phone to charge the kindle in it. I know it has been a pet peeve of his to find his cord unplugged from the charger and have to rummage around at night to plug in his phone. Yes, this is very practical.

Mini Farming Book

I am so proud of all of the research that Josh has put into our garden. It is amazing all that he has figured out to do by reading and and making his own discoveries. If he has something set on his mind to do, he does it. I never knew I married a farmer but I am so glad I did. Though there is so much information at our fingertips online I think he would appreciate this tangible book, I know the kids and I would have fun pouring over it also.


Josh is outdoors a lot, especially out on the boat and at the beach. His last pair of sandals fell apart a long time ago and he has been in need of some for a while but he just hasn't gotten around to going out and buying some so I know he will really appreciate these.

Hunting baseball cap

Josh has had a lot of hunting hats. But for some reason they are all always disappearing or have been worn ragged. Hats are something he can always use; hunting or not.

Church shirt

Josh always needs nice shirts for when he preaches on Sundays.

Though I know Josh will appreciate some new things that he needs that he wouldn't normally buy for himself; he will be happy to just be with his family...being a Dad.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product from clicking on one of the links I will receive a small comission. Thanks so much for supporting this little blog!:)

Linking up with these great link parties: Hearts for Home, Thriving Thursday, Faith Filled Friday

Refreshing Tropical Fruit Smoothie with Kale and Thai Basil

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Today seriously has to be the hottest day of the year so far! My weather app even says it is 94 but feels like 102! You would think after living in Florida most of my life I would be use to it but no... just no.

Our church has a skatepark and the boys have been begging me to take them up today. I don't know how they can even think of being outside today let alone skateboarding, but I brought them up and skate they did. I must be getting old because I can't handle the heat like they can. I watched them skate for a little bit and then left them to stay with Josh. He is not only a Pastor but the Skate Park Director also.

Earlier today I took the kids to Aldi and we bought a little kiddie pool and these beautiful mangoes and pineapple.When the little kids and I got back from dropping the boys off at the skatepark, we went to work filling the pool up. The whole time I was outside I was dreaming of making this smoothie.

 A couple weeks ago I had made a tropical smoothie with kale and while I was out of the kitchen Josh added some Thai Basil to it that he had grown in our garden. I was upset at first because I thought he ruined my smoothie but he urged me to try it and it was actually so good! Who would have thought! Basil? Well it worked.

As the little kids got ready to go out and jump in the pool I quickly mixed up this smoothie. While the kids played I finally plopped down and slurped down the smoothie. Ahhhhh.... It was exactly what you would want on a ridiculously hot day. Cold, delicious, light and nutritious!

Seeing my smoothie, Luke and Simeon promptly got out of the pool to investigate and drank most of mine. Soon all the water was out of the pool and the kids were getting tired so I had them all come in and then gave them a bath. I know we use a lot of water in our household but the pool water was filthy by the time they were done with it.

Now they are watching the Wild Kratts, thunder is rumbling in the distance and I am ready for a shower and some snuggling with the little guys before the big boys get back.Wait, nevermind they are back. At least I had a few minutes of quiet and that smoothie was just what I needed to get me through the rest of the day.

Refreshing Tropical Fruit Smoothie with Kale and Thai Basil
Printable Recipe

Makes 6 cups/ 3 servings

1 1/2 cups of frozen tropical fruit or fresh/ pineapples/ mangoes
1 frozen banana
1 cup of torn kale or about 5 leaves torn up
A handful of Thai Basil or about 6-8 leaves depending on flavor preference

Blend on highest setting for about 30 seconds and lower setting for 30. Enjoy!

Linking up with these great link parties: Hearts for Home, Thriving Thursday, The Creative Collection, Strangers and Pilgrims on earth, Titus2sday, Good Tips Tuesday, Tuesday Talk, A Little R and R

What Husbands really want for Father's Day

Monday, June 15, 2015

After I married my husband I realized I knew nothing about men... We are so different! Shocker, I know! But really there are so many things we do have in common. Basically we desire the same things out of life, out of our relationships. We want to be loved, appreciated and respected. Yes, we like celebrating special occasions and being treated royally at times but little acts of love, kindness and humility go a long way in the everyday. 

I love getting gifts, but honestly I love the thought behind a gift even more than the gift itself. When my husband gives me a gift that he knows I would really like; it means so much to me. When he makes plans for us to go on a date; it means the world to me that he was thinking of me and wants to spend time with me. His is the opinion that matters the most to me and his words of appreciation and love are all the praise I need.

I think the same goes for husbands and Dad's also. They just want to know that we are thinking of them and want to spend time with them. They want us to show interest in what they are interested in. Though every Dad needs new underwear, socks and shirts what they really need and want is to be shown affection. How many times do we go out of the way to show someone else they are special but neglect our spouses? Sometimes it's easy to take the one you love the most for granted. Just like our children need us to look them in the eyes, to listen and to praise them; so do our husbands. I am not a pro by any means at being a great wife or mom but I have found in the eleven and a half years I have been married, that the best thing I could give my husband for Father's Day is my time, my respect, my affection and my attention.

I don't know about your husband's but mine is so hard to buy things for. If he wants something he just goes and buys it himself. Even though I feel the kid's and I should get him something what he really wants is some good food and good company with us. I am blessed beyond measure to have a husband who wants to be with his wife and kids. I love that he loves coming home to us

This Father's Day the kids and I will make him cards and we probably will buy him something. I will make him his favorite food and dessert; because we all know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach( well one of the ways;) and I know that just being loved and appreciated by his children and his wife is all he really wants on Father's Day and everyday.

"Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Linking up with these great link parties: Mama Moments Monday, Mom2Mom, Motivation Monday, Tuesday Talk, Titus-2-Tuesday, A Little R and R, Raising Homemakers, Wifey Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, Thriving Thursdays,From House to Home, Hearts for Home, Faithful at Home Fridays, Faith filled Friday, Grace and truth, Titus2sday

This Week: Girl date, my little artists, dusting off my instruments, food shopping with 5 children, not worrying about tomorrow

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I had this post all ready to publish yesterday but for some reason, my finished post disappeared...arghhh. Have I told you I really don't like techy stuff? Thankfully I was able to salvage most of it.

So far this summer has been so nice and relaxing. We haven't had a lot of plans on our schedule, which means less rushing and stressing. The days have been filled with sweet fellowship with friends and family, lots of sun and sand, little projects and some school.

We started the week off going to the beach early in the morning with Josh on Monday. Hardly anyone was there. The water was calm and still cool. The kids had a blast finding cool sea creatures, fishing and swimming. The baby slept most of the time so even though my eyes were still on all the kids I enjoyed just being able to sit and soak in the sun. I shared some of my beach essentials earlier this week.

Ellie and I went on a little date.   I can't tell you how thankful I am to have a girl. Who would I go shopping with if I didn't have her?? I love going out with my boys but it's so nice to have a little buddy to do girl things with! We went to the thrift store, Target and Chick Fil A. The perfect date if you ask me. At the thrift store I found a few cute tops and Ellie found a whole bucket full of Legos for $3! Score!  As you can see I am attracted to flower and color. Ellie and the boys have already gotten hours of use and fun out of those Legos and I have worn my new top 3x already this week. I took some pictures with my phone of us on our date but my camera phone is so bad I just can't share them. Can you tell what show they have been watching lately?

Israel has been painting with watercolors a lot lately. Somehow he has already mastered how to use them! I am sorry but I am going to have to flood your screen with more of my kids artwork but I am one proud mama.

Israel and I had a contest to see who could paint the best picture. Ellie was the judge. Without knowing who painted which picture, she of course chose Israel's. My peacocks legs didn't cut it. I love that my children are so creative and have been given such amazing talents. My grandfather was an artist and Josh can draw really well also so I guess some of it might have been passed down to them. Though I like to draw I don't think I quite have the natural talent they do.

Even though they are all great artists I have to say I think Simeon might surpass them all. He literally draws ALL DAY. He is only three and can draw better then I can. Seriously! It's so hard for me to throw his drawings away. I have them all in a huge box that I need to go through...someday.
We go through a big box of paper each month.

For a while now I have been wanting to get out my guitar and violin and get some practice in. My musical skills have been getting very rusty. I started violin when I was six but since my family moved around a lot I was never able to consistently take lessons. When I was 18 I went to our local junior college and was able to take lessons again. I was even in our county youth symphony. Just so you don't get the wrong picture, I was not an amazing violinist. I hated reading notes, keeping time and playing scales. What I did love was playing on my church's worship team. I could play by ear and improvise. It really fueled my love for worship. Not too long after joining the worship team I taught myself how to play guitar. I spent many hours strumming away, writing my own songs and sitting in God's presence.
  My sister and I leading worship
After getting married I still played violin at church and even started leading worship for our middle school group occasionally. A few of my friends and I even started a worship band and recorded two CD's. But with the birth of each of my children I have been playing less and less. Every time I get my guitar or violin out to play they all come around and start banging on my guitar or hanging on my legs while I play the violin. It is fun playing for them and seeing them run around and sing but it's like they don't want me to play what I want to play....hmmmm.

The last couple of years I have been playing violin when we go to Josh's Great Papa's for a little service with him on Sunday's. He played the piano and we all sang hymns. It was such a precious time. He went to be with Jesus about 2 months ago. We miss him so much. I especially miss worshipping with him. I hope to share soon the impact him and his wife have had on me soon.

Recently I started taking violin lessons again. It has been great to brush up on my technique and play more but realistically I don't have the time to practice so I stopped. Maybe someday I'll be able to play more but for now I am okay with playing when I can. I know God will open those doors in his timing.

I did a big food shopping trip with the kids today to Sam's Club and Aldi's. I usually wait to go when Josh can watch at least some of them but he has been really busy with our church's youth conference so I sucked it up and went with all of them. Did I mention we had no food? Things were getting desperate. But really, I have to say the kids are always pretty good. I have already put my time in training them. Food shopping wears me out. I never feel like cooking after coming home and putting everything away. You would think at Sam's Club people would think it's normal for big families to shop there but I still get some crazy looks from strangers when they see not only all the kids but all the food we buy. It takes a lot of food to feed seven people, people! Thankfully the kids were great. It might have helped that I opened up a bag of snacks to keep Luke's mouth occupied;P
Taken with my terrible camera phone

Life has been very non eventful lately; meaning everything has been going good. No crazy situations, stress, worry or big problems to deal with just the day to day normal hard stuff. Whenever I go through seasons like this it's easy for me to get fearful and start worrying about what might be around the corner and start to let the enemy steal my joy. I have come to realize that hard things happen in life; no one is exempt from them. I never want to get cocky and think my family is invincible. because I know we are not.

Many people we know are going through really hard and trying times. I am so thankful I can lift them up to the one who can comfort and bring them peace and joy in the midst of sorrow, confusion and pain. Right now I know I need to seek him first, keep being thankful and faithful and not worry about tomorrow. God, the creator of time and space, holds my life and my loved one's in his hands.

"Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:26-27

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself." Matthew 6:33

"Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news. Their hearts are steadfast trusting in the Lord." Psalm 112:6-7

How was your week?

Do you go on dates with your children?

Are you or your children artistic or musical?

Do you take all your kids food shopping with you or wait till they can be watched?

Do you start to worry when life seems to be going too smoothly?

Linking up with these great link parties: Mama Moments Mondays, The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Faith and Fellowship, the homeschool mother's journal

The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Moms

Friday, June 12, 2015

Now that I made a list of books for the boys to read this summer I had to make one for myself also. My amazon wishlist is full of all the books I have been wanting to read. The only thing that has been keeping me from reading them all are two little things called time and money. I am also pretty sure that my mommy brain can only hold a limited amount of information at one time; no matter how good.

Lately I am just happy to read my Bible and the few blogs that I follow. If I didn't make reading my Bible a priority every day chances are I wouldn't read it as much as I should and I NEED it my life. It breathes life into me and renews my mind and spirit. It is the only book that is alive; Jesus made flesh!

I love how God can use ordinary people through all kinds of mediums to inspire and encourage me also. There are some books I have read that have deeply impacted my life. I might not remember everything I have read but there are some phrases and thoughts that have stayed with me long after I am done reading the book.

When I find a good book I can usually read it over and over again. It never gets old. My favorite books growing up had to be the Anne of Green Gable books.( You can get the kindle edition of all the Anne books for 99 cents! )Not only did I read all the Anne books but also all the other ones L.M. Montgomery wrote. I still have them and every couple of years I dust them off and read them again.

I have been writing more than reading lately but I know to be a good writer you should be a good reader also. So this summer I not only want to get encouraged and inspired but become a better writer also. I know I will have to be intentional with my time if I want to make this happen. Last summer I read two books that not only encouraged me but gave me some very practical advice that I have been able to use and apply daily.  I thought I would make a list of some of those books I have been wanting to read to motivate me to get reading them and possibly give you some ideas also if you are looking for a good read.

A few years ago my husband got me a kindle for my birthday and it has been great to download books without even leaving my house. I prefer paper books. I love holding a book in my hands and turning the pages but the convenience of the kindle is pretty awesome and you can use it in so many ways! All the books on my list have a kindle option too if you have a kindle also. They usually tend to be lower priced also.

I don't plan on reading all the books on my list this summer. Realistically I know that is impossible so I am setting a doable goal of three books. Hopefully I will get to read them all eventually. Most of these books I picked out when I was struggling with motherhood and needed some encouragement.

I love reading books by authors who are authentic and passionate about their walk with the Lord, the struggles they have gone through and the lessons they have learned. I want to read books that make me want to read the Bible more and make me search my heart and my motives. Of course I like books that I can just zone out in also and are purely entertaining. I put them in categories of Motherhood and Marriage, Homeschooling, Christian Life and Inspiring True Christian stories. I hope you find a book on this list that interests you; whatever season or position of life you are in!


Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home 

I read this book last year. It was such great encouragement!!

The Mission of Motherhood

The Ministry of Motherhood


Surprised by Motherhood

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full

I am half way through this and it is SO GOOD! If you are a mom you NEED to read it!

The Unwired Mom:Choosing to Live Free in an Internet Addicted World

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

Big Love: the practice of loving beyond your limits

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

This book has helped understand how I and other people receive love. Very eye opening!

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy

My husband and I read this before we were married. I really recommend this to newly weds. The title has still stuck with me all these years because it is true!

Created To Be His Help Meet 

I read this a couple years after we were married and it really rocked the way I viewed being a wife even though I knew all these things. I have to say that I took somethings with a grain of salt and didn't agree with all her views but if you want to be a Godly wife this book is a must read.


Homeschooling Day by Day 
(I read this book last year and it was such a great encouragement to me)

Simply Homeschool: Second Edition: Have Less Fluff and Bear More Fruit                                     
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom: A Manifesto of Freedom and Joy in Home Learning
Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool


Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

Be Still My Soul

The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard

I have followed Kara's journey up until her death and was so impacted by her faith and the way she lived it out. My father died of cancer so I know the all too real hardness of suffering. I just started reading the book and it has already resonated with me and ministered to me in other areas of life that are hard for me. We will all encounter suffering of some kind in this life and Kara found the source of peace and strength through hers.

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love

The Pursuit of God


Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus

The Hiding Place

I have read this book a number of times and it never ceases to bring me to tears and remind  me of what life is all about. The cross, forgiveness and hope.

Through Gates of Splendor

I read this book a couple of years ago and was brought to my knees by the raw faith of these martyrs and their wives. It is always good to have a reality check and be reminded what we are put here for and that our lives are not our own.

The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking

Unfortunately sex trafficking is so prevalent not only around the world but in our country. I think it's good to be aware of what is going on so that we can no how to help those who come into our paths.

After making this list I want to read them all!! I know I can't in one summer, so for now I am going to try to read  Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, Teaching From Rest and The Hardest Peace. I am excited to get my nose in these books and be refreshed, inspired and encouraged!

Are you planning on reading any books this summer? If so which ones? 

Linking up with these great link parties: Favorite Things Fridays, I Heart Naptime, The Homeschool Mother's Journal, Mama Moment Mondays, The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Mommy Moments, Motivation Monday, Titus-2-Tuesday. Tuesday Talk, A Little R and R, Raising Homemakers, A Little Bird Told me, Shine BLog Hop, Hearts for Home, Titus2sday, Mom Blog Party, Looking up Link Up

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