The Three New Beginnings – A Guest Post

I’m not a perfect human. Regularly, I invoke the power of the do-over and make new beginnings in some area of life or another. At one point in life, I felt so much guilt about doing this that I found myself in urgent prayer to God. Just help me get it right so that I don’t have to start all over again constantly! But we were too far behind in our school work, and even though we homeschool year-round we needed a new beginning in the fall that year.

That’s when God revealed to me that He designed for us to have new beginnings every so often. He knows we’re imperfect creatures, and since He’s a good and loving God He gave us built-in new beginnings every year. In fact, there are three new beginnings (at least) on our calendar! Do you know what they are? There’s one in the winter, one in the spring, and one in the fall.

 

The Winter New Beginnings

Now, as I begin this blog post, I can already hear you readers out there arguing with me about starting with the winter new beginnings. Surely we should start with the spring! That’s the most obvious one, I think, to most people. But grant me just a bit of grace here and let me explain. The winter “new beginnings” is probably one that you’d think of if I hadn’t given you the seasons or started the way I did.

3 Yearly New Beginnings

Happy New Year! (Now does it make sense? I thought it would!) This is the time of year when most of us re-evaluate our lives, come up with new goals for the year, and organize our space. It’s a time to overhaul our decorating as we gather up the celebratory decor, and find places for all the new gifts the giving season has brought. Maybe it’s a good time to get rid of some of the old stuff, throw it out or donate it to make room for the new.

It’s not a Biblically-ordained time of year, really, but it is a cultural one. Almost everyone in the United States does some sort of breath-taking new beginnings at the end of the calendar year. The celebration we’ve just had commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. For the family of that child, it was for certain a new beginning. It was a large event because they’d come a long way for the Roman census.

And if you’ve researched and come to the realization that this all happened in the autumn, I have good news! Calculate backward from that event nine months and you know what? It’s possible that God ordained that the world celebrate the arrival of the Messiah on the date of His conception instead of his birth as the world assumes! Cool, huh? So maybe it’s God-ordained even if it’s not jotted down in the Good Book. Take a deep breath, and let’s have a new beginning for the year!

 

The Spring New Beginnings

Spring is a time recognized for renewal and new beginnings because life blossoms once again and even us humans emerge from our cocoons of warmth and safety in order to breathe and enjoy all that the season brings. Did you know that God specifically ordained for spring to be a time for new beginnings?

Spring Time New Beginnings

In the winter, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. In the spring, we commemorate His death and celebrate the Resurrection. Culturally, America celebrates this as the holiday known as Easter; Biblically, the celebration meant to recognize this event is the Feast of Passover. In Exodus 12, God’s people are commanded to keep this celebration forever; we get it somewhat right in our Resurrection Day events. But there are things we have forgotten!

Have you ever heard the phrase “spring cleaning”? Did you know that it was Biblical? That’s right! I know you probably already thought about that spring cleaning as part of the new beginnings in this season. I remember reading this part of the Bible when I first read it cover-to-cover a few years ago, and being so convicted by it! (That’s the point of the Law, of course. It helps us to recognize that we are imperfect and that there is no way to keep up to God’s standard!) Exodus 12 verse 15 gives the main gist of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall [qremove leaven from your houses… Exodus 12:15 ~ nasb

In the traditional following of this verse, those who celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread – which is the week leading up to Passover – completely and thoroughly clean their homes. What would it take in your home to be sure that not even a crumb of bread remained? Vacuum the blinds, wash the curtains, take apart the furniture and vacuum it out, vacuum the mattresses, flip, vacuum again… for starters! That sounds like new beginnings to me, for sure. What’s on your spring cleaning list? Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

The Fall New Beginnings

If you follow a traditional school year, then you’re likely used to having new beginnings in the fall. Even for us year-round homeschoolers, it feels like a new beginning sometimes in that it’s a return to a routine after the haphazard goings-on of a busy, event-packed summer (or a lazy summer, some years). It’s time for new clothes, wardrobe change from the hot seasons to the cool ones, putting away of the swimming supplies and gathering up and sorting of the school supplies. We shop when the sales happen! Am I right?

New Beginnings for the Fall

Once again, the Creator God knows and anticipates all things and provided in His design new beginnings for us in the fall! It was in the fall when I felt so much guilt over having to start over with our schooling and our chore routines. My circle pooh-pooed my concerns, since that’s when many of them are starting all over again anyway, and it was God Himself who got hold of me and made me realize that it was okay to start over. It was a New Year!

Yes, I know. We celebrate our New Year at the end of December. But by God’s calendar, which follows the moon instead of the sun like our Gregorian calendar, the years start with the Feast of Booths (also known as Tabernacle). It’s around this time when the family of Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, and it’s around this time that Jesus was likely born. That’s an interesting study if you ever wanted to dig into it!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish “new year,” is a time of solemn contemplation and humbling. Leviticus 23 refers to it as the Day of Atonement, and verse 31 is where God ordains that it be kept “for all generations.” This is a celebration of the creation and it’s when the civilian year number changes in Israel. The next 10 days, referred to as Yom Kippur in Jewish tradition, are a Biblical feast that Leviticus calls the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, and they are a time of celebration. Verse 41 is where God ordains that it shall be celebrated “for all generations.”

When you read about these holidays in the Bible, they are part of a list of feasts and holy days that Moses is being sent to tell the Israelites. Jewish culture has made their own traditions from them, but when we read it directly from the Word we can see the heart and intent of the Father. This celebration is about the harvest, and about being thankful for God’s provision. (Sound familiar to another fall holiday we keep?) I think this one sounds like it would be completely appropriate to go camping in celebration of God’s beautiful fall creation!

But if God ordains that at the anniversary of the creation of the world (tradition), His people stop to take account of their lives and humble themselves for a day, and then celebrate and feast and “camp out” for another 10 days, I think it’s fair to say that He’s giving us all a new beginnings and a season of do-overs! The traditional celebration of today counts these two holy days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as the two most holy days of the year. It’s important to God’s heart that His people have this reset.

 

How to Start Over

Once God pricked my mind about His built-in new beginnings, and I realized that even our culture includes these in its own way, I no longer felt guilty about my inability to keep consistent for a full year let alone for multiple years. God gave us new beginnings because He knows that we’re imperfect and can’t even follow our own plans as we’d hoped. So let me encourage you today, mama!

Write out those goals at New Year’s. Make your plans, and take time to do it! The week between Christmas and the New Year is a fantastic opportunity to plan your new beginnings every year. Take time in the spring to do that major cleaning! Take a couple of days at least and really get the house completely clean, because there’s a spiritual component and mental release that comes with it.

And in the fall, take the time to recognize and get out into God’s creation. Evaluate how you’re doing in your goals of all areas of your life, and make it a point to write out any adjustments that need to be made in order to finish what God has ordained for you before the holiday season. Do all of this without condemnation or sorrow, because the Lord is content with new beginnings so much that He ordered us to use them. He’s the God of second chances!

DaLynn McCoy is a 13 year homeschooling mom with five children, including one graduate and four students. Having been a Christian her entire life, DaLynn enjoys finding practical ways to utilize the Word of God in her life so that she can share that growth with others. She is a blogger and will relaunch two separate blogs this spring! She covers topics from homeschooling and home keeping, to Bible study, health and food, crafts and planning, and more. Click here to sign up to be notified when her sites go live!

Staying Motivated in the New Year

I have taken on a new position over the last year. This is great for my family, but it also means that I have to figure out how to schedule my days to get it all done. This upcoming year, I plan to make two simple resolutions to help me work from home and keep the home somewhat normal!

Little Changes Mean Big Changes

One thing that I did not know, was that making one simple little change in my routine would have big changes following it!

Now that I am working from home, I am looking for help on how to schedule and manage our days so we can still get my work, the kids’ school, the house cleaned and food for dinner all done in one day.

In making these small change, I have come to realize that I need to make more and bigger changes in our daily life. I am looking for ways to make the day to day easier for everyone in the house!

How to Make it Work

So, how do I make it work? I rely on resources that will help me make things work. Being a part of the Homeschool Review Crew has given me the option to find products that help me in ways I never thought possible.

LisaTannerWriting Balancing Diapers and Deadlines helps me figure the basics of my working from home while homeschooling and keeping the house. This program has been awesome. It is the simple things she talks about that make huge changes in our house. She has found great techniques and gives you guidance on how to make it work, working from home while keeping the house!

MyFreezEasy has been a blessing with helping me plan meals. I love looking at Pinterest, but I get lost. I can take half a day looking at all the fun recipes and only find one or two that work for us. But when I log in to MyFreezEasy, I am able to find recipes that work, find the shopping list I need, and make a second batch of the recipe to freeze for a later date! How simple is that for a busy work at home, homeschool mom??

Motivated Moms is a great resource that allows me to make sure my house is liveable. I am not saying that it is spotless, I have four kids so I don’t expect that, but I love having a simple plan laid out for me that allows me to keep my house livable while I am busy with other things. In fact, I use this list of daily chores when my kids come to me saying they are bored. They can pick a task and complete it to help mom out.

Working from Home and Homeschooling is Possible

Over this last year, I have learned that working from home and homeschooling at the same time is possible. You need to find your groove and rely on the resources you have available, but it is possible.

I have tried to do this on my own, and I failed, miserably. But when I finally went to look for help, I found that I had some great resources to help me! These resources helped me fill in the blanks that I couldn’t figure out on my own. They filled in the gaps and allowed me to keep homeschooling and working from home at the same time.

You Can Do It

You can do it. You can work from home and homeschool. You can have a liveable home while you do it. All you need are the right resources. I recommend you check these out and see how they would work for you!

How do you homeschool and work from home without losing your mind?

 

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I am linking up to the Homeschool Review Crew. Find more posts to read right here: 

Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors – A Book Review

I am always busy it seems like. I have so much going on with the kids and my husband’s health. Some days I just feel like I am not doing enough to raise my kids in the way that God wanted me to. I feel like I am messing them up more than preparing them for a future. Jami Amerine must have read my mind when she wrote Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors: How Less Than Perfect Parents Can Raise (Kind of) Great Kids.

What Is It

This is a 200-page paperback book with 17 chapters. There are two parts to this book, Part 1: Relent and Reprieve and Part 2: Reward and Receive. Between these two parts and the chapters, you will read about the biggest parenting lie we often believe, why we need to seek the Bible and the wisdom of spiritual giant, why we can’t make our kids love Jesus, how to rest in our identity as daughters of a perfect Father, and so much more.

Each chapter starts with a page with a quote on it. I really enjoyed this page and spent some time just sitting and pondering on this quote. The chapters are nicely written and on topic, and the pages are clean and uncluttered.

What I Thought Of It

I loved reading this book. It was like sitting down and talking with a friend. I was able to read this while raising my own kids. I could pick it up and set it down without feeling like I had to start over. I was also able to read this while spending time on the treadmill. It was not hard to read and get information out of while still being busy with those kids I am trying to raise.

I am thrilled to have had the chance to journey with Jami Amerine. To laugh with her and to cry with her. I really did feel like a friend was helping me through the tough times I have had to go through. And knowing that someone else has done the same while still moving forward, even on sticky floors, has helped me to slow down and think of my house as sacred ground.

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Art Journals from Ellie Claire – A Review

I love finding ways that I can have some alone time. The time that is spent doing things I want to do versus the things I have to do. When I had the chance to check out some cute journals from Ellie Claire, I jumped at the chance! There were three journals that I was given to review.

Illuminate Your Story Journal

This journal is a different style journal than I have ever looked at before. While there are a few pages to write your thoughts, or whatever you write in your journal, the main point of this journal is to bring back to life the illuminated letters that once were a huge part of books. You know, those letters that would start each new chapter? The ones that you always loved to look at? Yes, those letters! This journal will help you to learn how to draw those letters!

Faith and Lettering Journal

This journal is a journal that is a great way to work on your lettering. When I look at the designs of the letters and the phrases, I think of Bible Journaling and how these would be perfect for writing in those Bibles made for the journaling. There are pages that show you a verse, let you trace the verse, and practice it. Once you have mastered it, you can transfer it over to your Bible. But it is not only that, but you can learn how to write different styles of letters and symbols as well.

There are pages that allow you to write your thoughts, dreams, etc. There are regular lined pages, but there are also pages that have dots instead of lines.

The Illustrated Word: An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal

This is my favorite journal out of all of them! This is a journal that includes adult coloring pages of Bible verses. My husband stole this one from me. He has had some PTSD issues and part of his therapy includes keeping a journal of his dreams. He has been looking for one, and a regular notebook was just not cutting it. He has been using this journal and really appreciates the Bible verses that help him along his journey.

All three of these journals are hardcovered and have a fancy binding. This allows them to open up yet doesn’t break the binding to make it hard to close them when you are done.

I am not a fancy letter drawing person, but I have always loved the idea of Bible journaling, so while my husband took the coloring journal, I have been eyeing up the Faith and Lettering Journal, as long as the kids don’t steal it from me! They are artsy like that, and I am not, so either way, I am fine with it.

 

If you know of someone in your life that enjoys lettering and being artsy in their journals, these are perfect for gifts for them! 

 

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Motivating Books for Mom and Dad – 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

Welcome to the first day of the 5 Days of Back to (Home)School Encouragement! Today is Motivation Monday, and while I had an idea of what I wanted to share with you after I started writing, I was pulled in a different direction.

As a homeschooling mom, we are always worried about what our children and their learning. We as parents spend so much time looking into the right curriculum, the right style to teach, and the right programs to enrich their learning. One thing we don’t always do is find the books we as parents need to be reading to help us help our children. I want to share my favorite three books with you today.

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope

The first book that I have fallen in love with is No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young. I have an older child, and when he went through the tween years, I was lost and confused. I didn’t know what was happening and felt like I was doing something wrong as a parent. Once my second son hit the tween years and started doing the same things, I really felt worried. Now I really felt like there was something wrong in our house.

In came No Longer Little as a review item. I didn’t think anything about it until I started reading it. I couldn’t put it down. I could see my children in the examples! Were Hal and Melanie spying on my house to write this book?

No, instead I found out my children are normal. They are going through regular changes, and I am doing the right thing with my kids! It feels so good to know that these changes and attitudes are healthy and having the encouragement to guide me through this time is a huge blessing! Read my full review right here.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn

The second book that I have been reading that gives me motivation is God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco. I am still in the middle of reading this book, but I am so thankful for this book. The one thing that stands out to me from what I have read so far is comparing the fact that we should always have God first, we are not to have other idols in front of God. These idols include the curriculum that we pick for our children.

Each chapter of this book concludes with study questions that help us go over what we have read in the chapter. These questions will challenge you to look at the way you are homeschooling. Are you really following the plan that God has for you and your children? In this time of planning for the new year, this is a great book to help you slow down and listen to what God has to say to you. While I do not have a review for this book, you can check out the reviews of the Homeschool Review Crew right here.

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids

And the last book that I am reading right now. Yes, I am currently reading three books, while almost done with one, and actively reading the other two. This last book is The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie. This is the newest book that I have started reading.

I have followed Sarah Mackenzie and her Read-Aloud Revival podcast. It is just this year that I have finally splurged and took the leap into actually reading the book and joining her online premium membership. The Read-Aloud Family takes what I have always known to be true, my mom read aloud to my brother and me until we were teens, and put it into perspective for how I can use reading aloud in my homeschool.

If you are still looking for a literature program for your homeschool, but don’t like what you have looked at already, this book may be an eye-opener for you. You can take reading aloud to your kids to not only build some great memories, but you can turn this into a literature program for your kids at the same time. One that is fun and not dull. I am excited to keep reading this and learning more about using reading aloud as our literature program this year.

Moms, and dads, there are books for you. You are not alone in this process of raising these blessings. You have resources available to you. I have only listed three of these, but there are more out there! Have you read a good book that other parents should read as they raise and/or homeschool their children? I would love to add to my want to read list, so please let me know in the comments!

Stop by and check out the other members of the Homeschool Review Crew who are participating in this 5 Day Back to (Home)School Encouragement Blog Hop:

Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Betty @ Let’s Get Real
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Christine @ Christine Howard
Christy @ The Simple Homemaker
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Felicia @ Homeschool 4 Life
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Jennifer @ Dear Homeschooler
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Kellyann @ Walking Home …
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Linda @ Apron Strings & other things

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

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No Longer Little – A Homeschool Crew Review

As a parent, there are many different stages that we have to help guide our children through. We have the infant and toddler stage where we are helping them get used to the world around us, and the teenage years as we prepare our children for their place in the world. A topic that you don’t always think about is the tween age, but this age is another very important step for our children.

Hal and Melanie Young with Great Waters Press have brought us a book to help us through the tween age (8-14years old). No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope is a book for the parents of tweens to help guide them through this age with grace and hope.

What It Is

No Longer Little is a paperback book with about 185-pages. This book is geared towards parents of boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 14. You will be walked through things like hormones, emotional upheaval, spiritual, sexuality and virtue, family relationships, and youth in the Bible to name a few.

Throughout this book, you will receive real encouragement, practical help, and overall support from one parent to the next. I will have to say, this is a book I was interested in, until I started reading it, and realized this is a book I need, especially if you currently have a tween or will be having one very soon.

Hal and Melanie Young have written many great books that I have come to love, one of the most notable is Raising Real Men. With my two oldest being boys, I fell in love with this book. Knowing their honest and real style of writing made me excited to read No Longer Little with Ray Ray in mind. While Little Miss is 7, I found a lot of things that related to her while I was reading this also.

How We Used It

There really is no we in how it was used, unless you count mom reading and telling dad what she was learning. This is not a book that I used with the kids, other than saying, “Oh my! I just read a story about you, but it is really not about you.” Yes, I had those moments when reading this book. I felt like Hal and Melanie were talking about my children, yet they were talking about their own as they went through the same stages as mine are entering.

I read this book in my “free” time. I don’t really have a lot of free time, but this book was an easy read. In each chapter, there were subsections that allowed me to pick it up and set it down throughout the day. This is what made it really easy for me to read. I didn’t feel compelled to read a whole chapter at once but was able to easily do so when the time allowed me to.

Another thing that made this book easy to read is that I kept saying, “Wow that is Ray Ray all the way.” “I can see Little Miss doing this!” Knowing that I was able to actively relate the topics to my children made me want to read more.

What I Thought About It

I LOVED this book! I can’t say anything other than that. I really truly loved the way it was written and all that was covered. I could relate to 90% of the topics that were covered and saw my children in the examples given. This made it easy to relate to the book and the advice given was something that was needed in our house.

I love reading books where I can actually see my child in the book, and reading a few examples aloud and seeing Ray Ray and Little Miss looking at me wondering how they could be in a book with their actions or reactions to things let me know this was a book that was needed in our house.

From reading No Longer Little, I was able to find new ways to deal with the changes we are going through, big and small. This allowed me to handle the situations in a new and loving way. I was able to change my reaction, which in turn changed my child’s reaction. We have found a nice balance in how to deal with these topics that many tend to skip over.

I can tell that by helping guide my children through this time in their life, that I am building a more solid foundation for when we actually hit those teen years. Having a good relationship with them now will help in the following teen years when they struggle with who they are and where they fit in the world.

This is not a book for homeschoolers alone. This is a book for anyone with a tween! If you have a child between the ages of 8 and 14, you need to have this book in your house! If you don’t and are struggling with this age, you should grab this book.

Hal and Melanie also have an audiobook out for your teenage boy, Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Towards Sexuality. Moe Man is in the middle of something right now, but I do plan on having him listen to this. If you want to know more about this or No Longer Little, check out the reviews by the other crew member right here:

Love, Honor, and Virtue AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}
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Crew Disclaimer

Putting on the Spirit Devotion – A Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

As a homeschool mom to four busy kids, I don’t always enjoy my time alone with God as I should. It feels like my days just zoom by way too fast. I wanted to find something that would help me to find time with God that wouldn’t take too long. I found that in Putting on the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms from Paradise Praises.

Putting on the Spirit is a 28-day devotion for moms who don’t have a lot of time. This is a small paperback that is easy enough to carry around with your Bible. You are to keep a journal with this. You can easily grab any notebook and use that, or you can grab the free printable one that Katie has provided, the link is in the introduction to the book.

By using this devotion, you are admitting that there is something more important than that super mommy cape that you seem to feel like you always need to wear. And by recognizing this, you will find that it is easy to find the time to feel refreshed and renewed.

As you go through this devotion, you will cover the spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. You will spend 2-3 days on each of these, with the last day focusing on the whole fruit of the spirit.

Each day you will start with a Bible verse, Galatians 5:22-23. After you read this verse, you will focus on the fruit of the spirit for the day. You will find definitions, other Bible verses that talk about the spirit and ways to incorporate this into your daily life.

I started without the free companion workbook, and I am upset with myself for this. I wish I would have printed it and used it. This workbook has everything right there for you to use. The exercises that you do after reading can range from copying a Bible verse to making lists or writing down how the verse relates to you. The exercises at the end of each day really make the devotion hit home. You are able to see how this relates to you and your life.

I didn’t realize how easy it was to carve time out of my day each day to be with God. Putting on the Spirit has helped me. It made me slow down, take off my cape and rely on someone other than myself. This devotion did not take a lot of my time, and it was effortless to use and fit into my day. I was able to sit down with my coffee most mornings and reflect. This put me in a better mood for the whole day. I felt stronger after spending time Putting on the Spirit.

If you are a busy mom who doesn’t think she has enough time to spend time with God, you have not grabbed hold of Putting on the Spirit.

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Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life – A Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

I am a mom who works on the computer. I love to check in on social media, I even love to read my books or my Bible on an electronic device. But sometimes I find that my digital habits are out of control. Some days I wonder where all my time went, only to find myself browsing Facebook or Pinterest for the umpteenth time. Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life has helped me tame my digital beast!

Arlene Pellicane has written a great book that will help you find the right balance with your phone, computer, tablet and the rest of your life, the important parts!

Arlene gives us a 5-step plan to use less screen time and get rid of stress. These 5 simple steps are broken down into chapters. These chapters are written out like devotions. You only need to spend one day, or week on each habit.

  • H=Hold Down the Off Button: Turn off technology regularly during the day.
  • A=Always Put People First: Pivot away from technology when others approach and give them your undivided attention.
  • B=Brush Daily: Live with a Clean Conscience: Every night, evaluate how you’ve used your digital time. Have you wasted time, watched evil, or posted unkindly?
  • I=I Will Go Online with Purpose: Stop mindless wandering by going online with a plan. Ask the question, “What am I here to do?”
  • T=Take a Hike: Go outdoors, notice and be refreshed in God’s creation.

“If you greet the day with text messages and notifications, you feel behind before breakfast. You can retire your phone from guiding your life and directing your steps,” says Pellicane. “No matter what the world says, a fully charged phone in your pocket with Wi-Fi available can’t provide what you need for a calm, cool, and connected life. As you walk humbly with God, He will bring you to a peaceful place, leading you to green pastures that restore your soul. Look up to God, not down to your phone, and enjoy the view.”

Yikes! These numbers are scary!

I loved spending a whole week on each habit. I would read the chapter and spend the rest of the week working on the habit. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to master each habit and not just read the book and forget it.

Spending this time setting my phone aside, picking up my kids and having fun with my family was something I didn’t know I was missing. What is even more, I didn’t know how much my kids were doing the same thing. This was the best part of making these changes in me, I could make the changes in them as well!

If you feel like you have been spending too much time looking down and not up, if you feel lost without your phone, or if you have to answer just one more text or email while your child is begging for attention, you need to read this book! I have learned a lot while reading this book, and am ever so thankful that I was given the chance to review it!

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{Why} Motherhood Matters – A Book Review

I have always dreamed about being a mom! I thought I had the hang of things as I helped take care of my younger cousins and did babysitting jobs. I could do this! Only, it is different when it is your own child who is behaving a certain way, that is when you wonder if you are a good mom!

September McCarthy writes to us as mothers in {Why} Motherhood Matters. She doesn’t just write to us, but she reaches deep into us and writes to that person. No matter what stage in motherhood that you are currently in, September is writing to you.

I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the book, September starts off by talking about her difficulties of becoming a mother to begin with. I didn’t have these struggles. I felt her pain as I was reading, but it wasn’t reaching me. However, after this introduction, I couldn’t stop reading! I couldn’t stop listening to her talk to me through the pages on her page!

There are four different parts to this book. They are {Why} You Are Not Alone, {Why} We Cannot Live Motherhood by the Seat of Our Pants, {Why} You Will Lead Them in the Way They Should Go and {Why} Giving Your Children a Reason to Change Makes all the Difference. Each one of these sections in broken down into chapters. These chapters are written like a daily devotional, and if use this way, you would have a month (28 days) of devotional within this book.

Each chapter has its own topic. These range from {Why} Everyone Else Is Having a Baby and I’m Not to {Why} It’s Okay to Say No to Your Children, everything is covered in this book! Each chapter is finished up with a Taking Steps, My Parenting Principle and a prayer. While I loved the whole chapter, these were my building blocks on becoming a better, purposeful mother.

I love how open and honest September is with us as we read this book. I felt like I was sitting down with a friend and spending some quality time with her every day. I felt like she knew me, deep down into my soul on many issues that are happening in our house. The little pieces of Truth to Live By that are added in, are real, they are the truths we need to live by. And the prayer each chapter, it felt like me. I could see myself saying them, so reading them meant that much more to me!

Not only am I walking away from this book with a new tool-belt of ideas, and a fresh mind, but I am also able to give this to my kids. I was always worried about verse memory and having it be too much, but now, now we are working on verse memory daily. Hearing the words of God come from the mouths of my children remind me that I have been trusted to take care of them. It reminds me Why Motherhood Matters!

September McCarthy is a writer, speaker, popular blogger, wife, and a home-educating mother to ten beautiful children. She is juggling the stages of motherhood, from adult children to toddlers, and is now a grandma to two more blessings.

September writes with a heart of compassion for broken lives and shares hope in her words for women in every season of life.

She is the founder and director of Raising Generations Today, a nonprofit ministry designed to equip and inspire moms to reach the hearts of their children for God’s glory. Through providing valuable resources, inspirational writers and speakers, annual conferences, practical teaching materials, and the connection of moms in every season of parenting, Raising Generations Today offers hope to women so that they may embrace and thrive in their roles as moms. September speaks nationally to share the hope she holds on to daily to navigate life’s waters.

September also blogs regularly at One September Day (www.septembermccarthy.com) where she encourages women to be brave and to embrace the gifts that God has placed upon them to hand the torch of the Gospel to their family and those around them.

September lives a rural life with her growing family, chickens, gardening, shelves overflowing with books, and a project always on the horizon. Her family is her number one priority, and her heart is always at home. She believes in new mercies every day and fresh grace on everyone she meets.

If you are feeling like you don’t know why you matter, why your role as mom matters, you need to get this book into your hands and start reading it right away! Oh, and to help you do that, I have the opportunity to give one lucky reader a copy of this book!

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The Everyday Family Chore System – A Homeschool Crew Review

Chores

Having six people in the house almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the house can become a disaster. Dishes piling up, clothes that need washing and putting away, even just the simple job of sweeping can cause tantrums. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Everyday Homemaking has a great system in The Everyday Family Chore System.

Chores

The Everyday Family Chore System is a PDF book that not only gives you background on the chore system and how it was formed, but also all the charts and printables that you would need to make this a success in your house!

This is not just a chore chart system that you print up and use. This is one that you make for your family. You can pick and choose the chores that are needed in your house. In our house, I would love to have unload the dishwasher, but that is currently broken, so I need help with dishes or wash dishes, depending on the child. This is a plus for me. I don’t have to pretend to be a family we are not.

There are three parts in this system. Part One talks about Laying a Foundation. This is where we learn about why it is a good idea to have a foundation in action for your family. There are two main purposes for implementing the chore system, according to the authors, to train your children to be responsible members of the household and to teach them living skills. I truly agree with both of these! I don’t want to send any of my children, male or female off into the world, unable to take care of themselves, and even living alone for some time. By teaching and training them now, I know when they are out of the house, they will not be lost when the dishwasher breaks, and will still have clean dishes!

Chores

Part Two is Implementing the Plan. This is when you assign the responsibilities, teach the child how to actually do the chores and work on motivating them to get their chores done. This is the section that I loved. I loved that there was Life Skills Checklist. This is broken down by age and gives you goals for each age. I know that even though Baby Girl is 2, she does not know how to do all the life skills on the chart, but this gives me something to work with her on this year. The same goes for all the others. This list shows me where we need to focus for each child. I am able to tailor this system to work for each child and this family as a whole.

Not only do we get to check out the life skills, but now is the time we need to think about our family. What are the chores that NEED to get done each week? Once I figure those out, I can work on our rotating schedules. This is the schedule that will rotate, daily, weekly or monthly among the children who are able to do the chores. All three of the bigger kids are included in this, with Baby Girl getting added in on things she can do to help the older sibling with that chore when it is up on rotation.

Chores

There are numerous different ways to implement this system. I looked through all the ideas and I decided to use the Kids on a Mission idea. However, I did this a little different. I had cups with each of the kids names on them. I would put the chores on rotation for them that day/week/month, into their cup. I did not add the clothespins and make the children attach them to themselves for the day, instead, they needed to complete their cup each day before screen time was allowed. If you know my family, this is a big deal! Each time the chore was done, they would give that slip to me or dad. We would make sure that chore was done, and if things needed to be improved on, we would work with the child one-on-one to fully complete it.

Part Three is The Actual Chore System. This is where you are going to find the items you need to implement the system. The reproducible pages that you can print up, and some really great How-To-Do-It cards that will help your children remember how to do certain chores. These How-to-cards are easily available next to our cups. If the child on rotation that week had a chore they didn’t understand, or mom and/or dad noticed it wasn’t done all the way, we would pull these cards out and go over it. These were my lifesaver! Everyone loves a cheat sheet and it is no different when it comes to learning chores!

Chores

First things first, we are not a perfect in our chore system yet. We are still a work in progress. However, we have come a long way since we first started. The kids no longer fight me when I mention chores. They are not doing them to “my standards”, but I have learned to lower those as they are learning what needs to be done. I no longer have to do everything and have some time to myself that does not include clothes or sweeping. Ray Ray is super excited that he now knows how to make scrambled eggs…yes, I was that mom that thought I had to do it all, until I realized my kids couldn’t even cook for themselves!

Chores

Everyday Family Chore System has changed the way I looked at things around the house. No, my house is not magazine worthy, but it is live in worthy, without a stressed-out momma. This is an improvement that needed to be done. I am thankful that I have lessened my load, yet had a cleaner house because of it. How often do you say those words together?

Everyday Homemaking also has Everyday Cooking to go with The Everyday Family Chore System. Want to know more about it? Check out the reviews right here:

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
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