Monday, July 20, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, July 20, 2015

In the great outdoors...continuous heat advisory.  

Within our four walls...a little warm downstairs, as the A/C decided to go out in the wee hours of Sunday morning. But, we seem to have great insulation, and the upper level A/C still works. So, it’s not too bad – low 80’s. And, it looks like it might be a pretty inexpensive fix. Yay!

A heart of thanksgiving...for two A/C units; for friends who know a bit about A/C units and fences; for good friends in general; for a couple of days to enjoy my babies; for an apparent restoration of Internet after several days of little or none (makes my job a little challenging!)

A heart of prayer...for friends and family. So, so many needs.

Random observations...life nearer the big city is automatically crazier. I know living out in the country made it harder to get places, but living here makes it harder to get into a routine. There’s always something going on.

I suppose this is going to be a good lesson for us as a family. We can all learn better the lessons of choosing wisely, choosing quality over quantity, determining what is truly important, and truly learning the freedom of being able to say both yes and no.

My sweet children...are such a blessing to me. I really do love being their mama.

Thoughts from the kitchen...it’s too hot. I think this is the perfect time to teach the children about fasting.

On my bookshelf...I’ve been ignoring the bookshelf, actually. It’s been a crazy few weeks. Routine. I need routine!

Projects...school planning. It’s down to the wire now, and I’m not very far along! 

Sounds of the moment...not much. I think the dryer is running. Not the best idea when the A/C is out, but at least it vents to the outside. I probably should run a clothesline, but I don’t want to deal with that right now. So, the dryer it is.

From Hibbard Academy...planning, planning, planning. I believe all the books are in at this point. It’s just a matter of getting it all into My Well Planned Day. Once it’s in there, weekly prep will be much easier!

A favorite thing from last week...going to Arkadelphia to hear the girls perform with their respective WorshipWorks choirs. Oh my. I just love JoyWorks and PraiseWorks and the things that our children learn through those camps! Eternal lessons. Both girls always come back with a deeper understanding of how to use their talents to worship and serve Christ.

The planner...two more full weeks. This week we have a couple of normal days, then the kids go to Judsonia for a few days before school starts back. Next week, Olivia heads off to camp with the East End youth. That means lots of camp, but we felt it was important for her to spend this time with the new youth group.

Then, August. Wonderful, blessed August. August is being protected for an establishment of routine. We have to have that if we’re ever going to really settle in.

Because visuals are fun...the WorshipWorks gals. I just can’t say thank you enough to Karlyn and Chasity for letting Olivia & Angela be Almyrans for one more week. They’d been looking forward to this trip all year!

2015-07-17 12.21.02

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Marie Durand

I have officially dubbed this month “Crazy July.” The craziness is resulting in a pushing of the limits on just about every deadline on my calendar, including this review of Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr. But, I must say that this is definitely a book worth making time for!

My family has grown to greatly love Simonetta Carr’s Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, published by Reformation Heritage Books. The beautiful picture-book style format makes them great for use with young children, but the depth of content engages older students – and even adults - as well. Although none of these books will offer the extensive details of a full-length biography, they are perfect for challenging glimpses into the lives of Christian heroes. And those glimpses will, in many cases, drive readers to further study.

Marie Durand introduced me to a name I’d never heard before. Born in France to a Protestant family in an age when Protestants were not tolerated, young Marie’s life was anything but easy. Marie’s mother was arrested for allowing her property to be used for a Protestant worship service. That same night, Marie’s brother Pierre had to flee for his life for actively recruiting worship attendees. Marie was only seven years old.

Ten years later, Marie’s father was arrested in an effort to force Pierre, now a pastor, to come out of hiding or stop preaching. Only two years after that, nineteen year old Marie and her new husband were both arrested simply for being related to Pierre. She would spend the next thirty-eight years in prison.

Marie Durand chronicles the conditions Marie and other Protestant French women endured during their imprisonment. Over the years, Marie wrote many letters in an effort to attract the sympathy of officials and the public and secure the prisoners’ release. She also bolstered the confidence and spirits of her fellow prisoners and their children.

Aimed at a target audience in the seven to twelve age range, Marie Durand deals with tough topics, yet keeps the content appropriate for the age at hand. I love this, because it stretches the minds of young children, presenting age-appropriate content while not talking down to children. The book is also divided into manageable chapters and includes interesting additional time-period information, making it easy to turn this book into a short daily reading or even a unit study.

Bottom Line: This most recent addition to the Christian Biographies for Young Readers definitely lives up to the quality established from the beginning of the series. I heartily recommend it for readers of all ages.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, July 6,2015

In the great outdoors...cloudy and still very comfortable as we’re coming off of a weekend cool front ( low to mid-80’s). It’s supposed to be heating back up this week, but today’s forecast high is showing 90° (as opposed to the 95-97° I thought was forecasted!). So,maybe the reheat will be a little slower than expected.

Which is good, because we have a lot of work that needs to be done in the great outdoors. The owner of this house apparently loved to work in his yard, and he left bushes and flowers galore! Unfortunately, when a yard that was worked in a great deal is then left on it’s own for a year or more, it quickly goes crazy. We’re not really yard people, so I don’t know that we’d ever be able to re-tame everything. So,we’ll clean it all up and start from scratch with what we know we can handle. The kids and I are going to carve out some early morning time this week to get it done before it gets too hot.

I am excited, though, about keeping the hydrangeas. If I can just get them cleaned up (lots of dead sections, as surrounded by some monster weeds and overgrown bushes), I think they’ll be beautiful!

Oh, and there were chickens in our yard this morning! This time in the back yard after pushing their way through the fence. This did not include the white chicken we’ve seen in our front yard on occasion.

Within our four walls...real routine coming back this week. Yay!

A heart of thanksgiving...for the cooler weekend which allowed us to make progress in the garage and storage areas; for kids who so cooperatively bounce back into routine; for friendships.

A heart of prayer...for a long list of friends this morning; for a long list of salvation needs.

Random observations...the keyboard on my laptop is not functioning super well right now. Of greatest concern is the space bar. I’ve had to go back and insert spaces between many of my words this morning!

My silly children...are very, very quiet this morning. Hunting wabbits, perhaps?

Thoughts from the kitchen...maybe a quiche today. Or spaghetti. Not sure. Still need to get that menu plan done.

On my bookshelf (and Kindle)...review books Heartbreak Trail by Susan Marlow and Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson.

Plus, we’re all trying to make sure we read on biography a month. Mine for this month is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. And That Hideous Strength, last in C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, is on my must reads list. I read the first two in the series forever ago, but got really bogged down in the second one and never finished the series. Doug tells me the last one will probably be my favorite, so I need to get back to it!

Projects...finishing up school orders today, then starting on lesson planning for the new year. Also, Angie and I are going to go through our fabric to make plans so we’ll get it used. We don’t have an accessible storage place for it here – just tubs that will have to be stored in a garage storage room (fortunately, there’s an A/C vent in that room for a bit of climate control!). That means it’s going to be really hard to see and grab for projects. So, we’re going to inventory and find a way to be aware of what we have so we can still utilize it well.

Sounds of the moment...Olivia finishing up the living room floor (loving the hardwoods!); Piano Guys music wafting in from the dining room.

From Hibbard Academy...still just the basics – math and language arts. Will probably restart read-alouds soon, as I think we got a little behind leading up to the move. Otherwise, just planning and prep.

A favorite thing from last week...getting to work in the garage, accomplishing a little more toward settling in.

The planner...a week with very few plans!! YAY! Even though we’re not doing full school, we’re going into the week very intentionally. Next week the girls will be off to Praise Works and Joy Works at Ouachita, so we’ll be out of routine again. But, at least we get a week of working through the kinks out of the way first!

Because visuals are fun...from our back yard.2015-07-01 13.47.50