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Wrapping It Up: May and June

So it’s been quite a while since I have posted anything here. I am missing the blogging and writing but am also feeling a bit more balanced in other aspects of life- actually a lot more balanced. I just need to figure out if I can ever really add writing back in….and if I can, how and when! But here’s a bit of a catch up for those of you left wondering…..

My Writing World

Well- It’s been vacant. I haven’t written a blog post since the end of April. I haven’t worked on a manuscript since maybe the beginning of April- might have been March. I haven’t even corresponded with my critique groups which appear to be disappearing from the radar. It seems I’m not the only one lagging. I never did complete the course work for the class I paid for. All in all, the writing world is off the map right now. So on to other things….

My Book World

Well my reading has certainly picked up. I became determined at the end of May that I was going to enjoy my summer- and while I have LOTS of work to do over the summer- I ...continue reading "May & June Wrap-Up"

 

Photo By Pixabay
Photo By Pixabay

 

Wrapping It Up  

March 

March has been a busy month and honestly, I almost forgot to do my wrap up post!  I was so excited that I found the time to write a post last night and was working on getting time to work on another upcoming post, that it almost slipped my mind that my monthly wrap-up was due!  I haven't written much, I know, but I do want to touch base with you all and ask how the rest of you faired this month?

My Writing World

Well, for those of you that follow the blog, you know the blogging part of my writing world isn't all that much these days.  I've kept up with my Sunday posts but that's almost all I've done.  My manuscripts have suffered with even less time.  I didn't even send anything in for critiques this month, but am currently working on something for April. I didn't get my two days away last month for writing (I used them for some spiritual reflection instead) but am in the middle of that two day get away for March right now.  So that's why I had time to do the extra post on food (see below)the other day, the one on reading aloud to your child and am able to write this one now.

My Book World

Here I've kept busy!  In the area of fiction, I finished up A Prayer For Owen Meany.  I'm not sure how I feel about the book.  I didn't love it but I didn't hate it all either.  It was a good read and certainly different from my regular genre which was a nice change of pace.  ...continue reading "March Wrap Up"

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2015-03-27 21.11.36March is Read Aloud Month.  I can't believe I almost missed this opportunity to blog about what I consider to be THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do for your child's educational success!

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I'm a HUGE advocate of reading.  Anyone that has seen the stacks of books I bring home from the library or that are on my own bookshelves knows this.  One of my favorite times of the day is the time I sit down with my sons to read.  Yes, I read to the older one as well as the youngest.  I will read to my oldest son for as long as he will allow me and I enjoy the coziness of cuddling up with my youngest on the couch under a soft blanket and all the giggling that ensues. So when I hear or read about other parents who say they just don't have time to read much to their kids, it boggles my mind.

The importance of reading aloud is often overlooked as parents sometimes miss the role that reading to their children plays in the child's development.  Only 48% of kids are read to daily in the United States. Yet research has shown time and time again that reading aloud to your child is actually the single most important thing you can do to prepare him or her for reading and other learning.  Not only does this social time offer a chance of emotional connection with your child, but it promotes vocabulary, literacy skills and improves the child's overall language development and reading ability.

Furthermore, it's important to KEEP READING to your children, even AFTER they have learned to read on their own. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends reading to children beginning at birth.  This is wonderful, but lets not forget to keep reading even after the child develops the skills to read for themselves.  Studies have actually shown that those children that are read aloud to will read for their own pleasure more than the kids who are not read to.

Sharon Younger of Chicagonow.com wrote an article describing 7 reasons why reading aloud to older kids is important including enjoyment, life lessons, building of vocabulary and the fact that children LISTEN on a different level than what they READ on. When you read to them at a level above their own reading level (in other words, at their LISTENING level), they will get excited about the plot which is more complicated than he or she can read for themselves and this will further their hook for reading.

Reading aloud to your child is a true predictor of their success in this world.  Success in reading which leads to success in life.  Take time to read aloud and expose your child to not only the story knowledge of a quality book, but rare words and ideas that you truly do not always cover in your day-to-day conversations. Take time to read aloud and give your child this quality time to practice listening - a skill that is of utmost importance not only for academic learning but to prevent YOU from having to repeat things over and over .  There is SO much skill provided in just sitting down and reading to your child each day.

So turn the TV off or yeah, even the LeapPad in my own home, and read to your child.

One of his favorites!
One of his favorites!

Readaloud.org states that just 15 minutes a day can have a HUGE impact.  Check out their information on this@http://www.readaloud.org/15minutes.html

I challenge you!!  Read to your child today for 15 minutes.  Then do it again tomorrow.  Then do it again the next day, and the next and the next......

 

What Book(s) Did You Read To Your Child Today?

 

 

Resources:

Readaloud.org

Trelease-on-reading.com

Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own

7 Reasons Why Reading Aloud to Older Kids is Still Very Important

Reach Out and Read

Read To Your Children

 

2

For today's post, I want to present you with the information in my ABOUT Page.  Why?  Well, though it's my most read page, I'm sure not all of you have had the opportunity to read the updated version I posted last fall.  Second, I want to reintrodue my readers to everything that I desire to include in this blog- so if you've missed a topic that interests you, you'll know what to search for.  And third, I want to ask- as I take time to ponder and plan what I want to write about this upcoming year- what is it that makes you follow the blog?  I've asked this is a previous post, but I wanted to give my viewers another chance to answer that question after reading the ABOUT PAGE Information- in case they missed it! 🙂

About Me

I wear many hats in my life - Orthodox Christian, Wife, Momma, homeschool mother,  reader, friend, taxi driver, cook, maid, WRITER and many more!

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I write this blog for me and FOR YOU!!! It is for me because I LOVE to write and what better way for me to practice my skill than by writing and sharing with others my biggest passions in life. It’s for YOU because I find these things to be beneficial to EVERYONE!

SO….. WHAT WILL YOU READ ABOUT HERE?

Orthodoxy – Orthodox Christianity is my Faith – It’s the oldest Christian faith in the world remaining unchanged since 33AD. If you want to learn more, read about it here. I love to post about my faith as well as semi-weekly posts that are spiritual reflections – good for anyone of any Christian faith.

Homeschooling – I post things about all aspects of homeschooling. Some former posts have covered the Pennsylvania Homeschool law, methodology, the Charlotte Mason method, curriculum, busy bags, living books, and more!

Books – I love to write and with that is my passion for books! I post about the importance of reading and the books I’m reading – fiction and non-fiction. I attempt to do a formal book review at least once a month but will hopefully be catching up and doing extra reviews on books I’ve read in the past as well.

Whole Foods and Natural Health – My family has completely changed our health status by turning away from the Standard American Diet and changing to a Whole Foods approach using the foods God gave us for consumption and staying away from overly processed food products containing artificial man-made ingredients. In our adventure, I’ve learned about the Paleo Diet and am experimenting with that as well as many natural remedies for health ailments such as the cold and flu and enjoy sharing these with you as well. It may be interesting to note that neither my daughter nor I carry our former diagnoses of bipolar disorder and my husband was able to stop taking medications for high blood pressure and ADHD due to this lifestyle change!

Recipes - Because what’s a blog that talks about food if there’s no recipes?? 😉
Writing – After all, this blog only exists because of my passion for writing. I am an active member of SCBWI and the 12 x 12 group formed by Julie Hedlund. I am very hopeful to become a published children’s author and make millions of dollars -NOT! Lol. I won’t make money at being a children’s author. My goal is to enrich not my pocketbook, but the mind of a child. And I will share with you my journey along with an occasional writing exercise that may help the aspiring writer or homeschooler in their own journey.

LIFE - Really, I write about so much more than just the above major focal points including stress management, marriage, reflections on famous quotes, decluttering, parenting, and MORE because I am sharing my life with you as a WHOLE. A lot of blogs focus on just ONE aspect of the blogger’s life. They are very good blogs but here you will get a much bigger picture of me and my life, not just one piece. You get ME. And I get YOU.

So -  What makes you follow the blog?  What's your favorite topic?  And if you DON'T FOLLOW YET.....

.....FOLLOW ME NOW 🙂 (You can follow here on WordPress, Bloglovin' or on my Facebook page!) and remember to introduce yourself! Tell me YOUR PASSIONS!

 

4

Last year I wrote out a list of 15 Resolutions.  I've learned a lot about goal setting since new-years-day-234805_1280 (1)then so I know that my list was really too cumbersome  and probably did not necessarily stick to my main priorities in life- so I didn't do so good in keeping them.  Still, I made some improvements in some areas and I personally feel that if people don't make that list of goals- whether it's called resolutions, goals, or whatever one chooses to call it, those improvements are much less likely to occur.  So I'm going over last year's list and the goal list I made in the fall to develop a plan of action for 2015.  So here's a brief review of how I did on my 2014 resolutions.

1.  Stick to the Paleo Diet at least 93% of the time.  -  We did really well with this for the first part of the year, not so good these last few months.  We haven't totally failed it; but it was more likely to be in the 70% range if I were to give it a number and YES- I've noted quite a difference so I WILL be focused on getting back to that 90% range!

2.  Exercise, on average, 3 times a week.   - Uh, well.......ooops.  Kind of failed this one.  My exercising tends to go in spurts and while I got myself really motivated about 3 months back to start again, it lasted about 2 days before I sprained my foot and well, yeah.  You get it.

3. Add Evening Prayers to my Prayer Routine.  Hmmmm.   I did it for awhile.  My problem is really  lack of routine at bedtime anymore and keeping my prayer book or bible by the bedside.  It tends to get moved a lot.  Maybe I just need to print out a copy of the ones I like for night and put it in the book I'm reading as the book tends to stay by the bedside more than the bible does.

4.  Read at least 3 books that are of Orthodox content over the course of the year.  Ooops.  Maybe I haven't done as well with these resolutions as I originally thought.  While I worked on several, I did not complete any from cover to cover.

5.  Read at LEAST 12 Newberry Medal Books.  Well, I didn't get in 12 but I do know it was my resolution to read them that kept them present in my mind and was the reason I did get through seven of them!  (Yes, I did finish Flora and Ulysses just the other day!)

6.  Read:

  •  2014 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market   YES!!!!  I did that!
  • A Family of Readers:  A Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature - well, almost.  It got misplaced in the move and I still haven't unpacked all the book boxes as we're still awaiting for the man to complete our built in shelves for the library.
  • Honey For a Child's Heart -  Another one in a box somewhere, but I believe I got at least halfway through that one too.

7.  Watch my Charlotte Mason Videos -  YES!!!  I did that too!  And I read a lot more about the methodology!

8.  Research for a Preschool Curriculum and make a decision by April.  Yes!  I did this too.  I didn't go with a preschool curriculum though.  I realized he was already beyond preschool and I didn't want to go with just one set curriculum this year.  I went with a variety of things including Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightful Reading program which we are taking very slowly and truly enjoying it!

9.  Break 3 Bad habits.  Well , I did break one!  (Nope, not telling- just saying it's done- you'll have to trust me on that one)

10.  Maintain my Gratitude Journal.  My journal, no - though I did add to it here and there. But I did keep a list of things I'm grateful for for my husband and presented it at Christmas.  So I DID work on gratitude and will continue to keep that as a daily goal.

11.  Maintain This Blog!  Well, it's still here so I guess I did it!  I didn't make the huge strides I had hoped for but I did gain viewers and didn't lose them so I'd say I'm still successful.  🙂

12.  Keep Writing!!!  Well, yes, I did do that.  Again, not as much progress as I had hoped for but I haven't given it up.  I think I need to really set more definite and attainable goals for the blog and my other writing.

13.  Set more time aside for ME.  I have done better with this.  This year I have really kept this in my mind as something I need to do and am making progress.  With that comes guilt though and I need to work more at overcoming that and setting my boundaries and reactions to others when they don't understand my need to do this.

14.  Spend more quality time with my children and husband.  I think this year was a definite improvement.  There is still room, of course, for further improvement.  But I would definitely say my husband and I have had many more date nights and time together than previous years and that I've spent more 'fun' time with the kids without feeling pressed for time.

15.  Work on Easy and Quick Paleo Meals that will ensure that I have time to do all of the above.  Yes, I've worked on this and the biggest realization I've made is that I need to stop trying to please the hubby and kids with all their favorite meals and something different so often. I need to make ease and time efficiency my priorities (after HEALTHY of course).

Photos by Pixabay
Photos by Pixabay

So in all, I feel successful.  No I didn't carry out every single one 100% or even half of them- but I think the list kept me on track to make progress.  And sometimes progress is all we can ask for!

How did you do this past year with resolutions?  Are you making a list for 2015?

 

5

 

Can you believe that 2015 is upon us?  WOW. It really doesn't seem possible, yet looking back it's been quite a long year with a lot happening.  Here's a somewhat brief review of my own highlights!

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2014 - A Year In Review

I started out with some resolutions . Some I succeeded with; some not so much - more on that in an upcoming post!  Later in the year, I talked more about goal setting and really thought about priorities- which will affect my thinking when setting up resolutions or goals for 2015!

2014 was also a year of learning a lot about the Paleo eating style and we really sunk our teeth into it during Lent when my family took part in an extended Whole30. If you didn't catch that and are interested, start with this post- and be sure to look for all the ones in-between that first one and this recap.  I'm thrilled to say our health did benefit and I am still not quite the sugar addict I used to be - though I'll admit, I could do with some tweaking again so another whole30 may be in store for us!

We moved from our home in Steam Valley to a beautiful house in the woods much closer to Williamsport.  That was quite the challenge as we discovered that the 'professional packers' didn't exactly do the professional job we had hoped and planned on. However we area all feeling at home and are totally in love with the trees surrounding our house!

Another highlight of our year was our son participating with the local school district in footballfootball! This was his first official football experience and we were so delighted in his progress and the team's undefeated season!

I did a LOT of research into Charlotte Mason!  I'm really drawn to this style of homeschooling and have done some experimentation with books, nature study, word making ( Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason), music and art appreciation, and more.

Charlotte Mason - Image by Wikimedia.org

I also attempted to  submerge myself into my writing and reading.  While I didn't carry out exactly what I set out to do (see this post), I do feel successful with both.  PiBoIdMo 2014 certainly helped! I'm hoping to do even more with both of those categories in 2015- and my children were kind enough to get my book pile started at Christmas!  This is my current fiction piece!

The blog didn't do too badly this year-  only 4,787 views but I did increase followers and got some interactions with comments- but it didn't quite get to where I had hoped for.  I think things slowed down a bit after switching to WordPress.com.  Other bloggers tell me this is a common problem so I'm hoping after making some other changes, things will pick up again in 2015! I did have several posts that seemed to do much better than others.  Here are some links in case you missed them:

Those People Who Always Smile - This continues to be my most read post since I originally published it after suffering a loss in 2012.  I keep thinking I should do another post on this topic.

St. Emmelia and the Orthodox Homeschool Conference - This post was about the conference held in 2014 but remains to be a highly viewed post.  I'll be sure to write another post this year when I find out the details for 2015!

Why I Refuse To Support Homeschool Diploma Programs -  This is a post I found really necessary to write.  There is so much misinformation out there on these programs and not much out there on the other perspective.  I've had a lot of support and positive feedback among fellow homeschoolers for writing this post.

12 Ways to Eat Healthy Without Going Broke - It's so important to place the food you put into your body as a high priority.  For some families this is hard- I know.  But there are ways to do it.  If your health is a priority (as it should be) there are ways to make healthy food an option instead of giving into 'foods' that aren't really 'food' at all....and cause more damage than good.

And while it hasn't hit the numbers for top posts over the year, a recent post that I wrote is viewed rather often too:

9 Steps to Become a Morning Person

Facebook has been my top referring site- so PLEASE- if you follow me on Facebook be sure to SHARE  your favorite posts and bring more tot he site.  If you don't follow me on Facebook and would like to -  there's a handy little follow button in the column on your right!!!

My personal favorite of the recent months though was this one:  Answer the Phone

Here's some photo highlights of my life this year! (I love looking over photos!)

Sleeping With Blankie...an every night occurrence.
Sleeping With Blankie...an every night occurrence.

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Greg's Wedding3

 

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This is Maggie.  :)   She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!
This is Maggie. 🙂 She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!

 

Overall, it's been a good year.  I certainly didn't include everything in this very brief synopsis as my time to write today is short and , well.....

Now it's time to PLAN!

I want the blog to do better and I'm looking for feedback!  So please take a few minutes if you can and let me know-

What do you like reading here?  What are your favorite topics?  Why did you choose to follow this blog and what keeps you coming back?  I'd love to hear so I can keep those thoughts in consideration as I make some plans and changes in the upcoming months!

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I'm an avid reader, as I'm sure you can tell.  Especially if you read my post back at the beginning of the year listing the books I wanted to read by year's end...

I've made progress on that list but I don't foresee actually getting through it.  Especially since I'm barely reading at all these days and the ones I could say I'm actually currently ACTIVELY reading are not ones from my list. Sigh.

There are other books I'm reading...but not so actively - meaning I've started them and they ended up in a stack of other books I've started but got sidetracked because , well, I started others.  It's almost an addiction... book stacks....

But here is what I'm Currently ACTIVELY reading:

1.  The Relaxation  & Stress Reduction Workbook (previously mentioned in several posts such as this one and this one)

2.  Charlotte Mason Education:  A Homeschooling How-To Manual by Catherine Levison- I'm hoping that Ms. Levison's book will at least put in my mind the key points of Charlotte Mason's methods.

Yep....that's it.  For me , that is really an extremely short list.  But I'm still unpacking...and searching....  Have I mentioned that I have unpacked (not put away and organized mind you...but ) the majority of our boxes and STILL can not find my son's Leapfrog LeapPad???

 This is a small computer like toy that he uses for educational games and BOOKS that I've downloaded for him.  He is not addicted to it like a lot of kids are with electronic games but we really like it for trips in the car, appointments and for use in general places that he has to sit for longer periods of time than usual....   So anyway... I can't find it.  It seems to be gone.  And that really really bothers me (obviously since I've seem to have found a way to rant about it here in the middle of a post on reading and books....)

So yes, that's my current book list.

I'm really eager to read more of the Charlotte Mason book.  I've just started it and can only get in half a page or so here and there.  I truly am falling in love with this method of homeschooling.  I just don't know how to shake off all those years of public schooling from my memory and let it completely fall to the wayside...  I guess I won't completely.  But I do really want to change my approach for our little guy.  The way he's picking up on 'making words' right now is delightful!!

I also hope to find more time this week to read the chapter on time management in the workbook....ain't that a hoot!  Need to find time to read about time management.... I guess that's a big indicator that I really do need to read it!

So What is on your current ACTIVE reading list?

 

I'm finally trying to put life back together or at least get back to some of my normal routine after the move.  I am still surrounded by boxes here in my new "library/office" area as we don't have bookshelves yet and let's face it, I'm human without superpowers and even though a lot of my time has been dedicated to unpacking lately I'm just one person and can only do so much.  After all, my family still needs to eat, learn and do other things as well. But I will persist and try to save my sanity (thus the post on stress the other day and yes, I am reading the book and doing my best to learn from it - more on that another day!) and attempt to get back to a somewhat regular blogging schedule if I can.

So today is day 28 of our homeschool year.  If you recall, my oldest son (I go by his school year plan for the day) started school back in the beginning of August.  At that time we planned on him having at least 8 flex days in the school year.  Little did I know when we planned this that he would, for sure, be participating this year in football...  That was a big goal for us when we decided to sell our house and move to the school district my husband would be working in....but we had no idea the sell of our house would take place so quickly!  And I, as a not so big football fan, did not have a CLUE how much time pre-season football practice would actually entail.  Yes, my son has fallen behind.  But actually, I've been rather impressed.  I think his responsibility with things have actually INCREASED rather than decreased.  Football really is important to him you see and he knows that school is important to me.  He knows to have both, school has to be going fairly well.  So he has really been trying hard, in my opinion, especially considering he has to endure this in a smaller room than he's used to which is full of still unpacked boxes which were not packed well by the movers....   but I digress.... back to school.

Despite being a few days behind in quite a few subjects now, he's performing well.  He got 100% on his first Chemistry exam - another testimony to having his father's brain cells 😉  and starts lab this Thursday with some friends at a local camp - the same one that offered a Biology lab last year.  He's also doing well with Geometry and World Studies.  He just started his online class for Russian and the Lost Tools of Writing class as part of his English course.  He could stand to do better with Keyboarding (I'm still not sure if this is what I'm calling that course on the transcript.... I'd like to include some basic computer skills in the course besides typing....).  I don't think I need to say much about physical education.  He's DEFINITELY getting his hours in and he's definitely performing well.

I'm not really keeping track of days for my youngest.  After all, he's only 4....  I'm still not even sure what I'm calling this year.  Preschool? Pre-K? Kindergarten?  He's definitely beyond preschool but I'm not sure if we'll get through enough to call it Kindergarten.  But maybe we will - he certainly is catching onto the reading thing!  And we're homeschoolers....it really doesn't matter what I call it.  I don't need to call it anything really as we live in Pennsylvania and I don't have to report anything to the state until he's eight.  So I think I have awhile before I NEED to decide what this year really is.

With that said, take a look at the words he already knows automatically - no sounding out!

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We are still using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons but I'm also practicing the words he's learning in that book and other sources with the sight word flash cards I've made above and have started using the Delightful Reading Program I purchased from Simply Charlotte Mason at the Chap Convention in the spring.

He's doing really well.  There are days he doesn't want to do it.  On these days I attempt some encouragement....chocolate chips for words he gets, that sort of thing...but if he really seems off, we just put the things away and move on.  It's OKAY. But he's really catching on to the 'making words' part of the Charlotte Mason program.  He totally figured out how to change 'pain' into 'paint' the other day and I haven't even covered changing word endings yet!

We also make sure we READ EVERY DAY!!!!!  That's the MOST important thing! Whether it be his Bible, books or magazines (He loves the stash of Highlights Magazine we have... I didn't do so good in reading them to him as they came in the mail so now I have a stash and we've been getting through one every week or so), we read together and now I pause every once in a while and point out a word I'm sure he knows.  He LOVES to see that he can read part of the story too!

Other things we are using so far this year include the first book to Handwriting Without Tears.  My goal this year is just to INTRODUCE the correct formation of letters.  I am not worried that he uses it all the time nor do we write everyday.  Right now I'll be glad if we get through the book ( a page or two, maybe three in a week) and work on his name and a few basic words.  For math all I'm doing right now is having him count the words he gets right in his word cards every day (he gets a special treat if it's more than the day before).  We also occasionally read out of the book "Everything Your Child Needs to Know in Kindergarten".  I don't rely on these books to really know it all....but I like the variety of things all in one book to pick and choose from and help guide me in giving him information that is varied.  The stories are nice and he loves the poems.  He loves that we are finding a lot of sources here at home containing the Rain poem by Robert Louis Stevenson which he will be reading in the Charlotte Mason Delightful Reading program.  Of course we start the day out with Morning Prayers (okay.... I admit it...I totally failed at this for the last couple of weeks but are now back on track) and Bible reading.  I use his Bible Reader. Check out this online source!  It's told on his level and has great illustrations!

Today I'm adding a Charlotte Mason type method to learning the words to the Our Father.  He knows the prayer.  But now we are going to learn the words and talk about what it means.

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How is your homeschool year going??

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Since I posted about challenging myself regarding stress management back on July 4th (Independence Day from stress!), I decided that I should give some updates here and there about what I have learned and what I'm doing to teach myself some stress management and relaxation techniques and how I'm fairing in actually putting them to use.

So far I've done the following:

  •  I've continued my chiropractor sessions for my back spasms.  Whether it's the chiropractor or me consciously trying to be mindful of my stress and making myself take more time to relax, the spasms have lessened in intensity and frequency. Now if I could just take that hour it takes me to drive to the appointment and back 2-3 times a week and do something for myself even when I don't HAVE an appointment...now that would be progress my friends and I'm sure it would lead to less stress induced symptoms. But.....
  • I've started reading both books that I purchased....I know...I keep adding books onto my reading list and sometimes I wonder if I'm actually causing myself MORE stress by doing that but....that's me.  And reading is supposed to LESSEN stress so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Thus far I've only read the introductions and breezed through to see what's there. I think I'll benefit from both.  Anyone looking for ways to reduce stress or add relaxation to their lives needs to be willing to try various approaches. There really is not a single technique that's going to produce great results for every single person, so one must be willing to try several to see what's best.
  • Promised myself to start exercising again....yeah, I know...I've said this before.  But this time I'm trying to be realistic.  I simply can not do 20-30 minute workouts.  I'm aiming for ten minutes - and that INCLUDES time on the bike, jumping rope, or walking AND weight-bearing exercises with very small weights (nothing more until I'm sure the muscle spasm thing is gone).  Exercise, they say, can really alleviate the damage of stress on the body.
  • I've made more of an effort to start my days out right.  I set my alarm earlier to make sure I get up and can follow my routine of prayer time and devotion (about a half hour of various things) as well as get in a minimum of 30 minutes on my writing before my littlest man wakes up - er, uh, well, at least before he's allowed to demand breakfast.  It does make my day seem more productive and fruitful to me.  Doing it first thing in the morning helps me feel more at peace and more control in the day.  This means getting up by 5:30 in the morning when my body just begs to crawl back under the sheet but....it's worth it - it really is.  Yes, TIME MANAGEMENT is a good way to handle stress!

What have you done recently to reduce or manage your stress load?

 

 

5

Title of Book:  Walk Two Moons

Author:  Sharon Creech   

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Pages: 280

Ages: 8-12

Publisher: Scholastic,  Harper Collins (reprint)

Awards:  Newberry Medal 1995, ALA Notable Children's Book, Parents Choice Gold Award, NCTE Notable Children's Book,  

Why Did I Choose It?  It's another Newberry Medal 🙂   As for why I chose to read this one this particular time, besides that it's one that I hadn't read before, the title is catchy and I was intrigued by the quote on the front cover:  "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins."  Couldn't we all learn from doing that?

A Bit From The Back Cover:  Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, known as Sal, is traveling from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, in search of her mother.  Along the way, she tells them the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, met a "potential lunatic", and whose mother disappeared.  Beneath Phoebe's story is Sal's story and that of her mother, who left one day for Idaho and has not returned.  Sal has less than a week to get to Idaho in time for her mother's birthday and bring her back.  Despite her father's warning that she is fishing in the air, Sal knows this journey is the only chance she has for reuniting her family.

Review:  This book was so heartwarming. The author did an amazing job at interweaving one tale of humor and wit into another tale of bittersweet loss to blend into a book most worthy of the Newberry Award( I read later how those tales were actually thought of at two separate occasions and it was the stubbornness of the author not to let go of either story that inspired her to interweave the two together....check out the story on her website- sink link above).  I loved how the story was told on a car trip with her grandparents across the states...a reminder of a trip I made with my own 'grandparents' as a child.  The story is rich in it's ability to demonstrate empathy and a human's ability to derive comfort out of story telling, nature and memories.  I highly recommend that you get yourself a bowl of blackberries, sit under a tree and read this book...okay...not necessary for the blackberries and tree but believe me, it would really add to your experience 😉

Other Books By This Author: Love That Dog, Chasing Redbird,  Absolutely Normal Chaos, The Unfinished Angel, The Wanderer and others.