I love reading about what others are reading and sharing what I'm reading with others.                      Here's my summary of the past month and what I'm reading now.  I hope you find some good titles to add to your own list and share with me what YOU are reading in the comment section below!

What I Finished in May

The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution:  A Proven 4 Week Program to Rescue Your Metablolism, Hormones, Mind and Mood by Aviva Romm    This book is  SENSATIONAL and definitely, in my opinion, the best source I've read yet.  Now while I'm waiting for my food sensitivity test to come back I don't know that I'll be able to follow Aviva's protocol for diet, but it is an optimal program and I am certainly gaining a ton of insight on other aspects of the protocol because, believe me, it's NOT just about food.  My husband is listeing to this book on Audible and while we haven't had a chance to sit down and really converse about it, I can tell by the few comments he has made that he is equally pleased with the book and the information we are gaining from this doctor.

Everyday Saints and Other Stories by Tikhon Shevkunov   This is quite the lengthy read and I've been working on it for some time.  There is a great number of stories in this work that you will find inspiring and occasionally humorous.  And you will certainly know that miracles do happen even today.

Stuart Little by E.B White  -  My son got to watch two of the movies for his birthday so he grabbed this book off of our shelves one of our many read alouds.  He  enjoyed pointing out the similarities and differences between the book and the movie and  thoroughly enjoyed it, though I think we were both disappointed with the ending leaving so much up in the air-  including the bird!

Murder In The Smithsonian by Margaret Truman  I broke out of my non-fiction mode a bit.  Sometime you just NEED a little fiction in your life.  This book was reminiscent of my youth which was filled with mystery fiction!  I love a good Agatha Christie....  This book was not Agatha Christie but it was a nice switch.  I only rated it a 3 out of 5 on Goodreads but I'm sure mystery fans would still enjoy it.  I found it unsuspenseful and felt like it kept hinting at other story lines that never completed themselves in any way so I wasn't completely taken in by it.

No-Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D.  -  I read an article on Facebook (yeah, I spend way to much time on there but...) and took the link to Amazon for this book.  I loved the article so much that I immediately put the book in my cart.  This was a great read, both for the simplistic and important approach to 'discipline' and important aspects of developing emotions and problem solving skills in our children, but also for the important message that we as parents should not beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make.  ALL parents make mistakes.  There are simply no perfect parents out there, including the 'professionals'.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  While it's geared more for parents of younger (toddler) to say middle grade kids, I could easily apply things from this book to my older kids as well.

What I'm Reading                

 

A Beginner's Guide to Prayer: The Orthodox Way to Draw Close to God by Michael Keiser   I started this book before Lent and actually wrote a few posts in regards to prayer before Lent.   Being that I had promised myself to read my bible readings and a few pages of Thirty Steps to Heaven each day before reading anything else and my consumption of adrenal fatigue and other health related selections, I didn't touch this one all of Lent but it's to be included in my morning readings again soon!

A Woman's Walk with God:  A Daily Guide for Prayer and Spiritual Growth by Shelia Cragg   I know!  I told myself I was going to focus on the Beginner's Guide to Prayer after finishing the Thirty Steps to Heaven back in April but I grabbed this one instead, among others.  It seemed fitting as I packed for my weekend away and it really was.  It's not an Orthodox Devotional (see below for an Orthodox devotional by Sister Vassa), but it is certainly leading me in my search on how to fit prayer and devotion into my daily life.

Reflections With Morning Coffee - 365 Daily Devotions for Busy People by Sister Vassa Larin   -  Oh my goodness, it's Sister Vassa!  I asked in an Orthodox Facebook page if anyone had any good devotionals to recommend, Orthodox or otherwise (I'm not one to shun a non-Orthodox book but it's nice to at least get recommendations from Orthodox friends), and low and behold someone told me Sidter Vassa has one!  I LOVE Sister Vassa.  I used to listen to her on Ancient Faith Radio-- but I'm not an auditory girl.  I get too caught up in doing other things while listening and I have to listen to the same podcast about 5 times before I get it all.  And I've just always been a page in hand kind of person.  So having Sister Vassa's pages in my hand is a nice little uplift.

Blueprints for the Little Church: Creating an Orthodox Home by Elissa D. Bjeletich and Caleb Shoemaker    This is the selection my husband and I are reading together.  Blueprints discusses how we are to involve our children in the life of the Church from birth onward both in the church and at home.  I don't know why we have not found time to read together lately so I haven't made progress in this book but it needs to be a discussion topic soon!

The Whole-Brain Child (also by Siegel and Bryson)  I bought both this book and the No-Drama Discipline at the same time.  I wasn't sure which to start first and glancing through it seemed like both were relevant to one another but I went with the discipline book first.  Now I'm starting this one and I'm just a couple chapters in.  While I can relate what they are talking about from the Discipline book, I do not feel at this time that it's a total repeat, but simply a companion that explains the theory further behind the concepts in the book on Discipline.  I'm eager to continue my reading!

Delicious Blogging:  The Ingredients You Need To Create a Better Blog by Debi Stangeland  Debi is a book on my Kindle (I seldom use the kindle as I just can't resist a paper copy but it does come in handy ) some great ideas for bloggers, especially those starting out or with smaller blogs who want to have more success with finding readers and interacting with their public.  I haven't made progress with this book this month as most of my time is spent on reading about and taking care of my health and just getting a good handle on other things but I'm looking forward to a chance to sit down and soak up some of Debi's wisdom.

 

What I'm Reading With My Son

My son is 7.  He's techinically in first grade-  but I don't go by that.  We read what we think is fun and what I think he will be interested in or what I deem important.  I don't consider grade level.  It's more about age, interests and abilities.

Misty of Chicoteague by Marguerite Henry   While fictional, I chose to read Misty as part of our "history type" literature as it does talk about legendary history and the story behind the wild ponies of Asateague Island (where I spent my honeymoon incidentally).  I wanted to introduce him to the Marguerite Henry books and selected this one to see if he would like them.  We  made more progress with this one and I believe he is enjoying the story.

Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who? The Story Behind Some of America's Patriotic Symbols by Teresa Bateman and John O'Brien     This is a charming little book to introduce youngsters to the symbols of our country including the Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Lincoln Monument and more. I've chosen to use picture books for the most part in our American History studies thus far but am looking to start on some nice biographies soon. In fact, I've just borrowed a few from a friend to let my son pick which he wants to start with.

Poppy's Retunr (Dimwood Forest, #4) by Avi     My son is loving this book as he did the first three.  I was totally enthralled by the first 3, not as much by this one.  I have an issue with the 'swearing'...   while they are not using foul curse words, there is much use of the term 'freaking' and such in a disrespectful tone from the main character's son to his mother.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I'm not appreciating the 'humor'.  I simply skip over the words or substitute something more mild.  I highly recommend the first 3 for any age---  the porcupine 'swears' in all three, but really it's just a blend of really silly words put together as his form of complaining and both my son and I find that usage rather humorous.  This one, well if you are reading it aloud, it's still very enjoyable, but be aware you might want to be prepared to change some wording IF you feel the way I do about it.

 

What My Son is reading TO ME

Yes-  he has started reading to ME now.  This is his choice- his desire and I love it!

The Mystery at the Taj Mahal (India) by Carole Marsh    My sister got him about ten of this series for Christmas.  I selected to allow him to read them to himself at night while I sit and read in bed. He has read one on his own, is reading another and reads this one to me every now and then (his request).  However, I don't think we even put a dent in it last month and this month was slow.  We finally started it up again the other day. It's a little slow, not just because he has a little difficulty with a few of the words, but wants to stop and congratulate himself for each big word he reads and make commentary mid sentence if he knows a word, relates it to something else in his life or wants to point out how words are connected in other ways irrelevant to the story.  Sometimes I wonder if he really knows what's happening in the story because, frankly, sometimes I'm not real sure myself!  Hahaha!!

He also reads from his Children's Bible Reader to me on some days before our lessons.

I keep track of a lot of what I read on Goodreads.  And you'll see I usually have a LOT on my list at a time.  I used to be worried that this was strange.....then I started reading about Charlotte Mason and her methods and realized I must have been Charlotte in another life.... lol!  Just kidding!  But really, her homeschool methods teach about taking just small bits at a time from a book and giving the child time to think it over and ponder, if you will, and let it all soak in.  And she would have them read from various books each day - history, literature, nature, poetry, etc.  Some books a few pages or chapter a day, some only once a week.  So pretty much I've been doing 'Charlotte Mason' with myself all along.

Find me on Goodreads  HERE.

So--  that pretty much sums up what's on my reading list.

How about YOU?

2

As parents, we can simply SHUT UP! If we can sit back and listen to ourselves, we can hear how much negative harassment we throw at our kids.  If a parent would seriously and objectively listen to what he says (through his child's ears), he would be appalled and could probably with some effort change that kind of "No".

I think here of Lisey (then 3) who was pouring herself a glass of milk yesterday.  She had gotten it from the fridge, opened it, poured from a fat 2-quart carton a very small juice-glass of milk, had drunk it, then had gotten a paper towel and was wiping up the milk spilt on the table.  There was more milk spilt than the towel could absorb so as she wiped now, the milk was being pushed off the table onto the floor.

I walked in at this point and started with the running "No, No" commentary in a whiny voice:  "oooooh, no, Lisey, you should have asked someone to pour you a glass of milk-no, don't wipe it up, it's going on the floor; now stop, don't do it, I'll do it, it's bad enough on the table- look, now you've got it on the floor- you're making more work for me."

Happily at this point I was struck by a rare beam of sanity and it said to me, "Oh, quit being such a bitch, Lisey has just poured her first glass of milk all by herself and you're ruining the whole thing for her."

And suddenly I looked and saw a very little girl trying very hard to grow up- trying to wipe up herself the mess she had made getting herself a drink of milk.  And I said, "Lisey, I think Sparkle (dog) would like this extra milk."

Lisey stopped and looked at me.  I had finally said something of meaning.  All the negative harassment up till then she had been trying to ignore.  I said, "If you get Sparkle's dishe, we can put the milk in it."

She got it and we did.

And immediately she began an animated chatter about how Sparkle would like this milk and how she had poured them both a drink of milk, etc.  Until then, she had barely said one word. In fact, if I had pushed her far enough- "Ok, Lisey, get out of the kitchen while I clean up your mess"- she would have probably ended up crying (over spilt milk!).

But the happy ending here did not require much effort on my part because I wasn't very emotionally involved.  My mind could still be objective about the situation to the extend of being ale to control and change it.

The above was taken from Teach Your Own (The John Holt book of Homeschooling) by John Holt.  It really struck me this morning as I read this passage, recognizing my own self in the story, both as a parent and as a child and the view of the child in today's society.

There is beauty in a child.  They are gifts.  Gifts from our creator.  And they can be the most joyful blessing if we open our eyes to see it.  They can teach us by far more than any textbook, lecture, magazine article written by a scientist, lab experiment, or intellectual conversation.  A child can change us, mold us into the beautiful work of art intended by our God. But if we take society's stance as an unborn child has no right to live and that toddlers are A**holes (yes, a real book title that totally appalls me to the deepest core) whether it be in a joking manner or not, we miss the true essence.  We miss the chance to be shaped and yes, even work through our salvation, through the experience of carrying a child to term, giving birth, raising or even spending time with a child and enjoying that child to his and our fullest potential.  That is a great tragedy.

Today's society seems to tell us that children are born trouble makers....even viewed as a problem from within the womb.  It is not the child that is the problem.  It is our selfish worldview that is the problem.

When I walk into a room cluttered with my son's toys and artwork, it is me with the problem.  It is me that has trouble with how to accept that clutter as beauty.  It is me that grimaces at his noises and interruptions as nuisance to my ears rather than music and opportunity for my betterment and growthn. It is me that worries over insects or a cool wind as he goes in and out the door enjoying his world. It is me that doesn't take the time to observe the things he is learning as he builds the mountains of blocks or stacks his 20 animals around him in the living room or the mountains of papers on the kitchen table and floor surrounding it.  It is me that is not grateful for the messes.  It is me with the problem.  It's not my child.

As a child,  I was raised in a situation in which everything I did seemed to be a problem...  whether it was an accidental spill, noise, moving my lips when reading, a thought of my own, forgetting to pick something up off the floor or table, a question that wasn't wanted to be answered, or simply not performing to the adult perfection or timely fashion expected of me.  No and consequences for simply being a child and doing things that children do, did not shape me in a  positive manner. I grew up, even after that environment changed, believing I must perform perfectly (in the eyes of others and myself) to be worthy of love or acceptance.  Which means I often gave up many things before even trying due to fear, or didn't and still don't give myself credit for a job well done.

Is that what I want for my child?  Is that what we want as a society for our children?  For the young men and women that are growing up who will become the leaders of our society? I see myself, though over the years I've certainly changed for the better, still saying no when it could really be a yes.  There are still so many cases where I really just need to shut up and listen. I need to stop condemning my child for being a child and just shut up....listen, observe and soak it all in like a beautiful symphony. Listen to my child and realize he (they) is there to teach me just as much if not MORE than I am to teach him.  Observe from his perspective and see the beauty that God has given me through the eyes of this child.  Yes, we are here to guide our children-  but how do we do that?  It need not be in the words of "No", "Get out of there," or "Not now". Learning not to say no in a way that demeans or stifles their spirit is a challenge but so necessary for them to be themselves and freely learn more than a school room or academic lesson will ever teach them- or ourselves for that matter.   We don't HAVE to panic at every mess (though I still stick to my rule that he has to ask before he tapes one more thing to my walls.....) or assume the worse at their every move.  We can enjoy these moments.  Savor them really.  Use them to awaken and change our spirits.

 

Create in me a clean heart O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 50:10

 

2

Wrapping it Up:  November

The year is just flying by!  I can hardly believe that December is upon us bringing with it the end of 2015!  My oldest son will be turning 17 and I will be....um....well, older than I was last year!

My Writing World

It's PiBoIdMo 2015- have you signed up??

This was the month of PiBoIdMo - the month where aspiring picture book writers check in with Tara Lazar's posts on her blog to see the day's guest writer's post to find inspiration on our craft and attempt to come up with at least 30 ideas for a picture book.  You can check out my posts about the month starting with this one and ending with this one with a few in-between.  Other than reaching most of my much smaller goals for PiBoIdMo this month (I didn't actually get to work on a manuscript), I did get a few other blog posts out and thus have done better than the last few months.  But I really need to figure out a way to work on some manuscripts.  Sigh.  In time, I guess.  If you want to check out some of the other blog posts, here they are:

My Commonplace Book - this is something that I hope will also improve my writing skills; it will certainly lead to more writing topics!

Peaceful Reflections

Book Review Wednesday: Ishtar's Odyssey - finally- the first book review I've done in ages! Hopefully I will get back to at least doing one a month....fingers crossed!

Year One Homeschooling & Orthodoxy

Foster The Good (actually posted at the end of October)

My Book World

Photo by Kregel Publications
Photo by Kregel Publications

It's been a slow month for reading.  I really haven't been doing much of it at all.  I didmanage to complete For The Children's Sake and worked here and there on The Living Page.  And, if you've followed, I read all of Ishtar's Odyssey in time to do the blog post for Kregal Publications.  It wasn't my favorite book by Arnold Ytreede, but still a quality book for family reading during the advent season.

 

 

 

Our Parenting/Homeschool World

This has also been a slow month for completion of homeschooling.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I have determined that it's okay to stretch out a week of schooling (according to the Ambleside Online 'curriculum' that I'm using) into two or more weeks...but I'm not okay with days going by in which we don't do much of anything for school.  Unfortunately there were a few stretches like that this month.  I don't necessarily think that was a bad thing, but I don't want it to turn into habit.  SO - I just need to juggle this around in my head and figure out how to still get a half hour or hour of school into most of our days, even when really busy.

I've also been thinking over twaddle vs. living books as I mentioned in some of my PiBoIdMo posts (yes, even my Writing World intersects with our Homeschooling World).  I'm thinking more and more these days while there can be a huge difference between twaddle and living books, there can also be some overlap.  What's more- perhaps rather than focusing on eliminating 'twaddle' completely, it's just more important to make sure that better quality Living Books make up the majority of your child's reading time.

Homeschooling aside, I've struggled with parenting in general. Nothing surprising. We ALL struggle when it comes to a method of how to get our children to be obedient without killing their spirit or doing it in a non-loving manner.  My son is struggling with following directions without doing his 'growling' thing or actually attempting to push me or protesting by putting his face right in mine with the dirtiest face a five year old can give.  We read recently, my husband and I, Peaceful Parents Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham.  We believe entirely in her theory but putting it into practice isn't always easy.  His behaviors definitely push my buttons whether I recognize his need for guidance in how to display feelings or not and , well, it's a challenge.  So we are working on that. This afternoon was a difficult task - telling him no, he can not go to the neighbor's house as his behavior after church was not of the quality to earn privileges such as that.  While it was difficult, it was manageable, but only because I was able to prepare myself for it.  I knew , getting into the car at church, exactly what was going to happen when we got home and I had 20 minutes to prepare my own set of mind for carrying through.  It's not so easy when a situation presents itself necessitating an immediate response when we are needing to go somewhere or get a list of things done in a short amount of time.  Those cases don't always go the way  I'd like. But I'm sure I'm not the only one in that boat, am I?

Our Food and Health World

My husband continues his health goals in losing weight and becoming more conditioned. doing-the-w30-fb-cover-660x244Have I mentioned since doing the Whole30 during Lent this past year and sticking to a paleo eating style (at least 95% of the time) he has lost over 100 pounds?  The man is amazing as far as I'm concerned!  While I used to be the one doing the attempts at motivation, he is the one trying to motivate me to start exercising now....sigh... the vision is there....finding the time to do it and everything else needs some work!  I'm at least starting to walk a bit more again...if only I can figure out how to keep it up during the winter!  I have a HUGE aversion to cold weather!

This month we started the Nativity fast that is practiced by Orthodox Christians. I'll admit, we've never been ones to follow the nativity fast as well as we do the Great Lent fast.  But this year, my husband decided he wanted to do another Whole30 for the fast.  While my love for sugar was reluctant, I assented to his wish....well, for the most part.  He's doing a whole30 which I help with by keeping completely compliant for the meals (with a few minor exceptions on Thanksgiving) and I'm doing my own modified whole30- while not whole30 approved, is certainly a step up for me as I remain about 95% paleo,  I'm not adding sugar to my teas, keeping my meals whole30 compliant, sticking to non-processed snacks for the most part (at least at home) and attempting to increase my water intake.  And I'm doing my best to keep Wednesdays and Thursdays as days we not only observe the Whole30 rules, but stick to abstinence of meat products as well in accordance to the Orthodox fasting rules.

Our Faith World

Again, the nativity season is upon us.  I'm trying hard to keep up with my morning bible time, adding an Orthodox Advent Study to my materials. I purchased this last year through Sylvia Leontaritis at Orthodoxmom.com.  Unfortunately, I never got past the first week last year.  This year is still a struggle to keep up but I am sticking with it thus far.  I have actually learned a few extra things about the Theotokos I hadn't known before and I always like reading passages from the Old Testament that were prophecies of the birth of Christ.

We were disappointed to know that my husband has been scheduled to work both the nights of Christmas Even AND the night of Christmas Day.  He will be forced into missing both church services.  It's a struggle to not want to pout and think ill thoughts of those in charge of his schedule....  but we are trying to stay positive and be grateful he has a job and, really, other than church - which is of course the most important part of celebrating the holy day- we can do the other celebrations any time...and have planned to do just that.  Yes, Santa is such a NICE man, that he's decided to wait a few days to visit- so we can all open presents together....  cool dude, isn't he?

Other Parts of My World

Hmmm....what haven't I covered?  My son's girlfriend came up from Florida for a few days and visited.  She was able to watch him in one of his last football games of the season.  It was really nice to have her here.  Of course, it was really sad to watch his sadness in the days following her trip back home.  But they are able to at least count the days to the next visit which isn't terribly far off...though I'm sure it seems a terribly long time to them.

Thanksgiving was spent here at home as it usually is.  We had a quiet day- my husband  worked the night before so he slept for a number of hours during the day after he came home and prepped the turkey and chicken (long story that one).  The kids and I lounged in the living room watching the parade and dog show.  It was nice that I didn't have much cooking to do since I was inspired to do the majority of it the day before.  THIS is something that I plan on doing again!  I was sooooo thankful for a low stress day on Thanksgiving!

The days continue to get shorter and a bit colder though I can't complain about temperature just yet, especially for October.  And we've found an excellent 'handy man' to help us with cleaning gutters and other household/outside tasks that makes prepping for season changes all the  more easier.  We also installed a new pellet furnace in the basement and a pellet stove insert into our fireplace.  Between the two, we expect our electric bill and the hassles of last year's woodstove to be a thing of the past.  Time will tell but we are hopeful and feeling warmer already.

It's now 4:08 in the afternoon as I write this and I can see the color changes of the sky in the west already. This indicates to me as the day is nearing an end that I really should be thinking about ending this post and starting the evening meal.  So, until next time- take care and drop in and say hi sometime!

What did you do during November?

2

I love being a mother.

All Photos by Pixabay
All Photos by Pixabay

I love raising my children.  I love nurturing their every need: protection, food, shelter, love and all that this entails.

I also love bears.

black-bear-50293_640Maybe it's because I can so closely relate to the stories of how a mamma bear will protect it's young.

abcnews.go.com  - woman plays dead

newser.com   - Mama bear mauls jogger

Is it any wonder that they use the term mamma bear in a parenting safety app on phones?  (  http://mamabearapp.com/ )

In my life as a parent, I've played all sorts of 'mama bears':

The mama who goes about doing her own thing, but always watching with those eyes in the back of my head.  Oh yes, young ones, I know what you are doing...

bear-75059_1280

The mama bear who convinces the young child it's quiet time, so that I CAN TAKE A NAP!

polar-bear-415103_1280

The mama bear who trees her cub (time-out in human terms) to teach them a lesson or protect them from harm.

bear-79838_1280

The mama bear who GETS RIGHT IN  YOUR FACE and says "Hey! That's my kid - don't you DARE treat my kid that way!"

bear-89000_1280

And the mama bear who will FIGHT.  The mama bear who  will stop at NOTHING to defend her child and protect that child from ANY PERCEIVED harm.  Yeah, that's the one.

bear-371352_1280
Don't mess with mama bear!

And it doesn't really matter what that perceived harm is, does it?  Whether it's the bully on the bus, the stranger who makes a nasty comment, the neighbor woman who somehow thinks it's okay her child tripped yours, the doctor who wants to inject toxic poisons into the bloodstream,the librarian who doesn't get your child's special needs, the guy next door, the boys walking in the mall,  the school district that doesn't truly know the educational needs of your specific child,  or the chemicals that wreak havoc on your child's brain that so many people are fooled into thinking is actually 'food'....

We mothers can all identify with those protective instincts of a mama bear.  We will leap in and defend our child from whatever we perceive as harmful. Don't mess with this mama bear's cubs.  Don't toy with them, don't hassle them, don't mess with their brains.  I'm watching.

 

Can you identify with Mama Bear?

4

So while I'm on my quest for imperfect progress, I'm still on my quest for stress management which really coincides well.  I know when I'm stressed, I become unglued more often.

The first chapter I completed in my book on Stress Management was titled Goal Setting and Time Management. I figured it would give the basic time management strategies one usually hears:

  • Make a daily to-do list
  • Block out media distractions
  • Get up earlier
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Be reasonable and don't over plan your day.

You know, basic stuff. The stuff everyone knows we should do but don't always do it.But the chapter really actually spent a lot of time on goal setting which is pretty important.  So I made some goals.

First, I had to come up with a list of my ultimate priorities.  They do not consist of the only things I find important in life but they are the most important. While the first 3 are in numerical order, the others could be interchanged. These are the things that I simply could not accept having to live without:

  1. God
  2. My marriage
  3. Mothering my children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Family
  8.  Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation (Yes, some would be surprised this made the list as it's the one that is overlooked most often - but it really is a priority for me)

Once I determined what my priorities were (that part did not take long), I needed to develop short-term, medium-term and long-term goals....starting with long-term.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  1. Develop a union and closeness with God - keeping Him ever-present in my mind and heart, allowing Him to control ALL - Choosing to always be on His side.  In Orthodox language - staying on the path of Theosis and climbing the ladder of divine ascent.
  2. Have a strong lasting loving relationship with my husband that will strengthen one another that can serve as a model to others.
  3. To have my children always know - without a shadow of a doubt- that I loved them and to be a Christian model to them and someone they can depend on for strength.
  4. To feed myself and my family, REAL food as provided by God and provide a safe healthy environment to maintain all of our health.
  5. To educate my children to the best of my ability throughout their elementary, middle and high school years and prepare them for life, especially by way of heart and soul.
  6. To write and publish several children's books and have a blog of several thousand followers (blushing a little here....wondering if I sound vain??).
  7. To engage in pleasant activities and communicate well and often with friends and family and also help them in whatever ways I can.
  8. To maintain an orderly clean and , yes, stress-free environment in our cozy well-maintained home (finding this current cozy little house in the woods is a great start to this goal!).
  9. To live within our means and not only have a security net but also be able to help others in need.
  10. To enjoy life and remember to have fun and RELAX!  (this is actually the hardest one for me---  but I think my Stress Reduction and path of imperfect progress I have myself on will help achieve this goal!  But I may need a LOT of encouragement here- so please feel free to comment on these posts and offer words of wisdom and encouragement and your own tales of imperfect progress!

From there, I did establish some 'medium term goals' that I hope to accomplish within the next 1-5 years as well as short-term goals that I hope to accomplish within the next few weeks up to one year.

Obviously for my first goal - forcing myself to get up at 5:30 each morning for my quiet devotional time and reading Unglued and working on my imperfect progress will help me to do that.  I must remember that my goal is not to be perfect and I must forgive myself when I fall.  That's the hardest part I think.  I have this deep inner voice that ridicules myself when I mess up.  It's actually NOT nearly as bad as it used to be... but I must focus more on remembering that God will forgive me - but I must forgive myself also.

I also set goals that were specific to the Unglued Participant's Guide to describe what I would like my 'new normal' to be:

1.  I do not yell or raise my voice when frustrated, angry or confused.

2.  I make it through my days without regretting how I've spoken to someone.

3.  I find ways to acknowledge what I'm feeling without doing either of the above and without stuffing those emotions down to boil over later.

Whew.... that's a lot of goal setting!  Now on with my day and hopefully make some progress!  Are you with me?

 

 

7

Well I’ve put a lot of thinking on this blogging thing. Wondering if I should limit it to just a couple topics?
Some people seem to just write about their WRITING….others just on FOOD, others on their FAITH.
Well, I can’t. There’s just too much that’s important to me. So I’m going to keep writing about it all….but it will most likely be the following topics:

1. Orthodoxy (My faith)
2. Food (Our lifestyle, What We’ve learned as a family and why we eat whole foods and avoid artificial ingredients)
3. Books I’m Reading (or read, or want to read, or…..)
4. Writing
5. Home schooling / Parenting
6. Randomness (I like sharing random thoughts….they make up a good deal of my day 😉 )

I thought about assigning each thing it’s own day…and maybe someday I’ll do that….but for now I think I just need to do it as it comes, especially since I know I can’t keep up with this everyday just yet.

Well- that’s it for now.

Everyone have a nice day. I’m hungry….I need to go find food…..REAL food…..