Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Good Reads

God has been blessing us with a wonderful summer!   We were given a little extra money and the kids pitched in some birthday money, and together we had enough to buy a small above ground pool.  It has been so fun!  I was a little torn at first but now I am convinced it was a good purchase, as they use it everyday and for HOURS at a time!  Unfortunately, Clay has been super busy with school and work...he has four days of school and two of work and usually has homework in the evenings, so the weeks feel long.  I think if he didn't have clinicals on Saturday it would not feel quite so long.  Last week was particularly long and hard, but I managed not to shed any tears until Thursday night!  :)  Just a year ago I know I would not have had the stamina or emotional strength to handle this, just more evidence that my Adrenal Burnout is healing.  I have to remember this on the hard days.  Thankfully, this week has not been as difficult...and, Clay does not have clinicals Friday or Saturday because of the holiday!! We are all so excied! And I am making a big effort to have absolutely no expectations, because when I do they get thrown to the wayside leaving all parties involved (myself) disappoined.  I would like two things to get accomplished on Saturday, the lawn mowed (since it has been three weeks!!!!) and the hay changed out in the chickens coop.  But...those are not major and really I just want us to be together as a family.

There are a few personal goals I am working on.  One, I am trying to go to church more often.  My days are so full right now, with Clay being in school and having homework in the evenings, he is here but he isn't (do you know what I mean?) and with running a home with small children and homeschooling, AND just trying to keep everyone's morale up I am very tired by Sunday!  I am having a hard time finding balance, I go full steam all week but then do not make it on Sundays.  I know that it is just a season and I also know that you have to rest to rebuild your adrenals.  So instead of having my expectations too high and getting upset with myself, which will only increase my stress level I am going to be patient with myself.   I did make it last week and I was thrilled!  I would like to set a goal to make it every other week, but we will see.

Another goal I am working on is to read more.  I feel like I am actually achieving this one.  I have read several books lately, which I will mention in a bit.

Goal #3, I have done away with facebook.  I really do enjoy "visiting" with people I do not usually see but I feel more drained from it than encouraged.  I have to do what is right for me.  There was a time in my life when I was not on it.  It is not a need!! I am saying this more to myself, because honestly, I know it will be difficult for me.

Goal #4, I would like to improve on my hospitality.  I had a sweet friend and her kids over at the beginning of last week and it was so fun!  I was exhausted afterward but it was worth it.

Now for our goodreads...

I read this book last month, or maybe in May, I cannot remember. Oh! I loved it so much.  I really benefit from books about suffering and overcoming, it helps me to put my own life into perspective.  She endured so much and still loved and served God with her life.  I highly recommend this book. 

There are so many good words I could use to describe this book: charming, lovely, inspiring, colorful, musical, and southern.  A good story blesses your soul and this one did just that for me.  By the end I wanted to raise bees, drink a glass of sweet tea, and venerate our icon of the Mother of God. 

Honestly, this one was hard for me to connect with in the beginning.  I almost gave up on it, but decided to press on because of who recommended it to me.  It is all letters which I did not like.  Isn't that weird of me?  It is.  But, it was splendid!  I really love anything to do with WWII.  Really? How did everyone make it through that?  Rations would have been enough to do me in probably.  No sugar? Butter?  This story is actually post WWII but you learn a lot of what they endured throughout the letters.  People are people, and when we love and support each other we can make it.  The characters in this book are so lovely and likeable.  Isn't it amazing how we can love fictional characters? 

Presently I am reading Hannah Coulter by: Wendell Berry.  This is my first Wendell Berry novel.  And would you believe it has taken me DAYS to just get to page 82?? I told Clay, "It is so short, I thought I was just going to breeze right through it."  He laughed.  Well, I'm not giving up.  I am going to finish.  I do enjoy it, it is hard not too.  I loved it in the beginning, and then a character I really liked got killed off.  Maybe that is when it went down hill for me?  

The kids have been busy too.  Clay finished the Narnia series with them and now they are on The Hobbit.  They read this aloud before bed, but during the day I read to them at breakfast and lunch and really just whenever.  We are reading The Watcher by: Joan Hiatt Harlow.  We really love it!  Here are a couple books I read aloud to them last month...

Okay, we loved this book!  For one thing it is set in the FLA keys and has a dog and a mule in it.  This is the same author as The Watcher and Thunder (from a previous post).  This story is about the Hurricane that hit the Keys during Labor Day weekend of 1935.  It was devastating!  I'm not sure how I was born and raised in FLA and did not know about this.  This novel was so exciting that if I paused even for a second to eat my own lunch the kids would shriek, "Keep reading!!"  It was music to my ears. :)  Reading aloud to them is one of my most favorite things.  
I did not like this book at first, and actually the kids didn't either but I wanted to press on because we loved Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn Dixie.  And like always, I was glad we didn't give up on it.  The lesson Edward Tulane was learning was love.  He had to suffer quite a bit and be humbled before he learned to love.  There was one part of the story that was so sad I almost started crying.  I passed the book to Eleanor and asked her to continue because I was going to cry if I read any more.  The kids loved this book and I am so glad we finished it! 

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Good Reads for Kids

Clay and I each have our own read a loud books with the kids.  I wonder if that's weird, but it just so happened that way.  I think this evolved because we were reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis and Clay was SO into it that I didn't want to read it during the day without him!  I read to the kids during breakfast and lunch.  This works out so well because everyone is still and quiet.  :)   I love that whenever I stop to eat a few bites of my meal I can see that the kids are dying to know what happens.

There are two new books that we recently completed , the kids and I loved them!

The first is Thunder From the Sea.  I particularly liked this one because it was about a little boy and sometimes I feel like we read a lot of books about little girls.  I could be off on that though.  This book will make you consider getting a Newfoundland, or at least it made me do so.  :)   This book is about becoming part of a family, forgiveness, and perseverance.  It contains a lot of adventure so whenever I would pause the kids would yell, "keep reading!!"  I loved it. 

The second book we just finished is Because of Winn-Dixie.  I feel badly about this, but I judged this book before we read it.  I remembered checking the movie out from the library and thinking it was stupid.  I should have known the book would be so much better.  In fact, I loved it!  Her characters are so well developed!  I just grabbed this off the shelf because we had just finished reading Thunder and we were in a pinch.  It turned out to be wonderful.  I love the lessons you learn from this book.  We are all suffering, you may not know how someone is struggling, but we all need love and forgiveness. 

Happy Reading!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Birthdays and Letting Go

 I love this picture of Clay.

 The birthday kids!!!

 I LOVE this picture.  This summarizes Athanasius so well.

 My sweet sweet girl!!

 It is hard to get Athanasius to take a picture so I really cherish these. 

 She is finally getting brave and walking along furniture!


 Birthday cake is so thrilling.

 This girl melts me.  :)

 This is Felicity scooting on her bottom to get around, she is actually pretty fast.

The kids birthdays were this month.  Eleanor turned 8 and Athanasius 6.  I would give a lot to spend one hour with the baby version of them.  They have grown so much, I don't just mean physically, but as people.  They have these little inside worlds that I don't completely know about, thoughts and perspectives all their own.  Clayton took the kids to our weekly Tuesday night story time and I am blogging.  It feels so good.  The kids birthdays were great.  I love birthdays, I love spoiling them.  We had some dear friends over and I think the party went wonderfully! 

We are still homeschooling through the summer, but we only go four days a week.  I like it.  I am liking our routine more and more.  I am trying to meal plan more to make life more peaceful and reduce some of my stress.  It is "loose meal planning" meaning only dinner.  I like it, it feels good to have some sort of plan.  I have discovered the amazing and beautiful world of audio books!  I have been a mother for eight years and just now, NOW, am listening to audio books??   This is going to sound strange but I have to breath in a paper bag for thirty minutes everyday, doctor's orders, really.  Really everyone would benefit from it.  But it is helping work on very specific health issues.  Anyhow, I hate it. Thirty minutes feels like an eternity.  One day I was complaining that I can't read my novel while I breath in my bag, so my hero came to the rescue and found it for me on audio!  Thank you Husband!  It was like a whole new world opened up to me.

There is a lesson I keep having to learn..LET GO.  I will think I have a handle on it and then am shown that no, no I do not.  But I am taking baby steps and that is what matters.  My motto for my days is LOVE, PEACE, and HOPE.

I turn 29 in July and feel old.  I know 29 isn't old but I kind of feel it.  I asked Clay, "Where did my twenties go?"  I look at our kids and see where my twenties went.   :)  I was a Mommy by twenty and four babies later here I am.  I didn't take trips around the world or get a masters but I am surprisingly okay and at peace with that.  I have learned a lot of amazing lessons a long the way and have loved and been loved, none of which comes with out hardship and suffering.  But there is beauty in having peace with our stories.