Wrapping It Up
Well, I'm not sure that I ever bought into the groundhog theory, but suffice it to say he seems right so far as the snow seems to just keep piling up out there with no end in sight. Oh how I long for Spring! People tell me it's right around the corner but have they seen the snow piles around the corner?? It was a wonderful St. Valentine's Day celebration none the less! It was the 26th celebration of St. Valentine's Day I celebrated with my sweetheart -we've never missed one yet- not even during our darkest year that included a brief separation. Yes, we've been there- not proud of it- but just want to be honest as I think there are too many divorces in this world....and not enough couples willing to fight the good fight so to speak and do what it takes to make a marriage work. I'm so glad that we have and still are committed to our relationship! Marriage is hard work but it is sooooo worth it!!
My Writing World
There are days I wonder if this world still exists. At the beginning of this month I even posted about this. I actually implied that I may be done with writing at least at this point in my life. Don't go looking for the post however, because after discussing this with my husband he requested that I delete the post. Some of you that follow by email probably already received it though before it was deleted and then probably got confused when I did go ahead with the Sunday Reflections. Sorry about the confusion. After my husband's request, I determined to take it very very slow for a while. Thus, only the Sunday reflections were written up this month on the blog. And only a few additional posts (quotes, prayers, etc.) were put up on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Orthodoxmom3
As for picture writing, I actually DID sign up for Emma Walton Hamilton's picture book class but haven't even looked at lesson one yet and that was three weeks ago! 🙁 Well, they are there in my inbox....waiting for me. I did send a new manuscript to both of my critique groups and did the critiques for the first group...my second group still awaits my critiques and I have nothing new or revised to send them for March.
I just need to find a way to balance the things that are important to me with this important part of my life. But my faith,marriage and kids come first. Once I figure out how to balance the rest of the things (God,housekeeping, homeschooling, a cook it from scratch Paleo lifestyle, etc.) then maybe I can figure out how to add more writing back in.
My Book World
It's been FULL. I can't possibly say enough about the book(s) my husband and I have been reading. This will probably lead to another post(s) but we are currently reading (and watching conference videos and listening to podcasts) Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerich. AMAZING!!!!!
I am studying this book heavily with my husband. It offers incredible insight to biblical principles of marriage. I'm also reading this one:
My husband has already completed it on his audible account. Never before have we read a book on marriage that has had such profound and immediate effect on the way we communicate on a daily basis and really spoken to both of us. It's an incredible book and I urge you to check it out along with Emerson Eggerich's blog online. They are also on Facebook and have an iPhone app in which enables you to listen to podcasts of he and his son discussing the many facets of Love and Respect. There is a book on the family as well.
And I'm still working on:
At some point, if I ever get my writing back on track, I hope to write a post on all of these.
Of course, there's always picture books too! Some of the favorites my son and I have read recently include:
Our Homeschool World
One part of cutting back on writing that has been beneficial is this area with my youngest son. I finally made some purchases to add into our homeschool days. He totally LOVES doing the workbook pages for the primer level of Math-U-See. He already has a grasp of the concepts we have covered so far in two weeks (six lessons) and I knew that would be the case but my goal was to introduce 'doing math' as a fun activity so it's only natural to start it out with something he is already confident with. This is what makes the 'worksheets' fun....well, that and Mom's 'enthusiasm'. It DOES make a difference. Six is a lot for two weeks but he WANTS to do it...so for now I have allowed it. We'll cut back to no more than one or two lessons a week and I do not have him do ALL the worksheets at this point. There's no sense in boring him with a bunch of worksheets on something he can already do well. It's all about the fun for now!
I also bought the first book of Five in a Row. So far we have covered Katy and the Big Snow and Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. I found the activities for the Robert Louis Stevenson poem to be too much for a four year old so I just adapted with some activities on snowflakes, etc. that I found online. But he really does seem to love the poem and loves reading the same book five days in a row (of course, I still read several other books every day as well!)I'm going to interchange some of the books from this book and ones from Before Five In A Row and group together the books that seem to fit together. For instance the next one will be A Snowy Day from Before Five in A Row. See the tie in?
His reading ability is growing at incredible speed. We have two sets of word cards - church words and sight words. He actually does better with the bigger church words. These of course, are words of interest to him- some of which he has picked like 'Theotokos' and therefore, remembers the words almost instantly since he has such ownership with it. Just two days ago he asked to add Lazarus to the stack now that this story has left such an impression on him. He loves telling people all about how Jesus told the dead man to rise up and walk and how HE DID!
My older son is almost caught up now and seems to be progressing well. It's a hard year for him trying to juggle academics with the football season, scouts, and other social aspects with family and other responsibilities. For the most part, he seems to be handling most of this with a maturity level I would not have anticipated and am enjoying seeing his growth. I think his most challenging course at this point is the Lost Tools of Writing online class that he is taking - not that the work itself is too challenging but it is rather time-consuming. This is frustrating to him with the rest of his courseload and I will have to really think over having him take this course next year and determine if it is truly the best thing for him. I LOVE the course- my daughter took it two years and it really helped her. But I am not sure yet that it is the best fit for him.
Our Food and Health World
I had really hoped to write a lot about this subject over the past few weeks and the upcoming weeks of Lent as my family takes on another Whole30 as we did last year during Lent.
Our adventures doing the Whole30 last year was a life changing event. We learned that yes, we CAN go over 50 days WITHOUT sugar, grains and various other foods we crave so often. And we learned that these food items DO have a negative effect on our bodies. My husband was dismayed to find out that peanut butter made his legs swell!
So here we are again, on our second Whole30 as a family during the Lenten season. Doing the Whole30 certainly qualifies as fasting. Though it may not be the typical "Orthodox" fast, we are fasting from foods that greatly tempt us- most especially the sugar and grains but also legumes, processed foods, alcohol, dairy. In addition, snacks are not for yummy pleasure but only for healthy nutrients to get us to the next meal and ONLY when truly necessary.
Be sure to check out a few of my posts from last year if you want to know more or ask some questions in the comment section! Here's a few links from last year.
My Faith World
This topic is the only topic covered by the blog this month. I posted every week about the way the Orthodox Church prepares for the Lenten Season and Forgiveness Sunday, the Sunday that marks the beginning of the fast. The Lenten season is an important season in the church, as it marks a particular time that we focus even more (not that we don't focus during the rest of the year because we do- this is just a much heavier time of focus before the resurrection) on our relationship to God, the sins in our hearts and the removal of those sins. As much as we sometimes groan and complain about fasting and whatever else, inside there is this tremendous somersault of joy as we reach out of the darkness and grab hold of the light we are aiming for. This is a season of repentance and renewal. The season that brings us to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Other Parts of Life
This month there isn't much to tell. The focus of my time has been on my marriage and family. My husband and I have spent countless hours reading and listening (audio) to the books I've mentioned above and watching part of the conference videos I bought him for Valentine's Day- what a better gift but conference videos to enhance our relationship. They were a little pricey but can be purchased on the Love and Respect website and already the first one we watched together was very good. This time has been well worth it this month. We are in a better place and are understanding concepts that have held us back for many years. So I leave this monthly wrap-up post with a link to the Love & Respect website:
p.s. They have things that focus on the family too! I've only listened to a few of those podcasts and a short bit of the book so far but it seems equally good as the other Love & Respect books on marriage- but really- they ALL apply to all relationships. And they ALL apply to the way God created us. 🙂