Category Archives: encouragement

Cultivating An Attitude

cultivating an attitude

So often we talk of cultivating a garden. Have you ever intentionally and with purpose cultivated an attitude? I am working on a plan for this year that will cultivate an attitude of appreciation. Or gratitude. Or gratefulness.

I chose the word cultivate because I want to be intentional about this. I don’t want it to be haphazard. I don’t want it to be something I think about once in a while. I want it to be something I try hard to do each day. Cultivate implies that you are conscientious about what is being done and working hard at it. When you cultivate something, it flourishes, grows, and becomes something that benefits everything around it.

So, I want to cultivate an attitude.

The attitude I want to cultivate is one that can have so many names – gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. There are probably more. These are the ones that came to mind while I was writing this.

A sermon I was blessed by at the beginning of the year mentioned a 1902 essay by William George Jordan. He wrote “Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.” This is in an essay titled “The Power of Truth: Individual Problems and Possibilities.” You can find it through The Project Gutenberg.

The first part of my plan is to read this essay fully. I am also going to listen to some podcasts based on this essay. This quote struck me. It is so easy to think that I am not harming anyone when I don’t show appreciation or gratefulness but really, I am discounting what that person has done for me. When I do not intentionally show gratefulness, it is hurtful, even when I don’t intend for it to be so. And when I show gratefulness that someone is not expecting, that blesses the person doubly. Why wouldn’t I want that to be what happens daily?

The next part includes writing out passages from the Bible each day this year. I am starting in the beginning of Psalm for now but I do expect that will change after a bit. I have a goal of six verses a day.

I was blessed by a basket from the blog The Sparrow’s Home. I am going to use the note cards, pens, and pretty basket as a place to keep my materials so that I can write more notes of thanks this year. I have a goal of four a month, or one per week.

The final part of this cultivation, for now, is that I am going to be praying specific prayers of thanks. I am going to find something in particular each day for the purpose of giving thanks.

My hope is that I will see more of the good in everything. I also hope it will rub off some on those around me. But really, I hope it changes my heart in ways I cannot imagine.

So this is my “word” for the year. I am cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word for the Year Ahead link-up.

Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One ~ Book Club

You Second Life

This is a compelling little book that was handed to me by my MIL the other day. She just said “Do you want to read this? It looks neat but it is way down in my pile and I can’t read it yet.” So I did. It grabbed me from the beginning and I was riveted.

Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One

Written by Raphaelle Giordano, this book has been translated into English. I believe it was originally written in French. It does take place in Paris, I believe. (I am guessing a little but the places mentioned all seem to fit Paris.)

We meet Camille at the beginning of the book and are quickly introduced to her hectic, busy, unfulfilling, unhappy/happy life. She is married to one she loves and has a little boy. They have a good place to live and she has a solid job. But she is feeling out-of-sorts, discontented, and unhappy. Which doesn’t make sense to her with such a “good” life. On the day we meet her, she has an accident with her tire and ends up in the middle of nowhere knocking on a stranger’s door. And with all that has happened, she ends up pouring out her story and discontent to him.

And he responds incredibly – I can help.

He listens and offers her his card. From there, he tells her that he understands (sometimes that is the most powerful part, isn’t it?) and that she can change her life. She is intrigued and contact him for help after she gets back to the city. What she finds is someone who wants her to success, to have a “happy” life, and a listening ear. She also finds significant encouragement and unusual tactics that help her focus, change, and redirect her thoughts and her life.

By the end of the story, we find a new Camille – happier, directed, focused, healthy, and energetic. She knows who she is and what she wants.

So many of the ideas and life changes are things that the reader can relate to. They can be addressed and changed in the reader’s life, as well. I find that fascinating. Yes, this is a novel but there is much to be learned from the approaches and the ideas in this book. If you are feeling rooted in discontent and want to find a way to redirect your life, pick this book up and give it a read. The ideas just might help you challenge your status quo and become someone you really admire and want to be. You just might end up following your dream.

Blessings,
At Home.

Visit Ladybug Daydreams, if you have a moment. I don’t know if Wendy is able to post for the Book Club this month or not but I’d love it if you would visit her blog for a moment or two.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Thankful for Homeschooling ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

Thankful Thursday

Today is one of those days, you know? The ones where it is a good thing you know your heart because the reality is a bit tough.

Today the bloggers of the Homeschool Review Crew are taking a look at the many, many reasons we are thankful to be going Back to Homeschool.

Right now, there are many pictures that show students returning to school. Parents are often jumping up and down and shouting about how glad they are to have their time back with the kids gone all day. There are plenty of articles talking about how good it is to be done with summer and not have the children “underfoot.” Not having to deal with babysitters or figuring out how to keep the children occupied. And seeing all of this, reading these things – my heart breaks and is joyful at the same time. I want to share that joy.

learning activities

Our Joy –

Joy that we have our children around us. Yes, even all day, every day. Yes, it can be hard but I am so thankful that our children are being taught good things that don’t undermine God and His word. They are being taught how to be God’s children, to think and reason and learn, how to discern, how to find strength and hope in the world.

Joy that our children are together. They enjoy each other’s company. Truly! They argue and fight, just like any sibling but when it comes down to it, they love each other deeply and support each other. Right now, school finished for the day by two of them, I hear them in the bedroom, laughing and giggling and sharing together. They will wait patiently (or maybe not so patiently) for each other to get their work accomplished so they can spend time together – maybe in reading or crafting or drawing or any number of things that they would not have time for were they in public school. They will pitch in and help each other, even when they don’t have to or need to, just so they can then do something together, like play a game.

Joy that we have the flexibility to tailor their learning to their interests and needs. I wrote about this a little bit with the Take a Look Tuesday post. All three of the girls have had a say in what they are learning this year; often in how the learning happens, though there is definitely some “I want to learn about this” stuff going on. We can fit in the things they are interested in and help them discover who God created them to be. Sometimes, I’m not so good at that as I struggle to make sure they are learning the things they need for life but they still get that independence for learning.

Joy that I can see their growth and celebrate their milestones. I get the joy of seeing them make their little milestones – get that cursive letter formed right or remember that Bible citation. But I also get to see their big ones – when they learn to drive (not there yet but it is on the horizon!), when they discover that thing that they get super excited about, when they realize that math isn’t such a big deal and chemistry is lots of fun. I get to encourage them along the way and see the baby steps that turn into the giant leap of understand.

Joy in seeing their social growth and responsibility grow. I get see my kids grow up. Not just the few moments in the evening after school and activities and homework. But each day – I see them chat with the older widows and widowers at church; I see them help the struggling mom at church with her baby; I see them keep the younger children safe while playing; I see them engage children both younger and older than themselves in games and conversations; I see them reach out to someone to ask a question; I see them approach the adult behind the desk at the store or the library to confidently ask for help; I see them order their meal; I see them act responsibly when they could easily pass it off on someone else; I see them save their money for something important like a gift for someone else. These are the little things that I get to see each day because they are with me when we go to the store or the library or many other places.

Joy in seeing them discover. I get to take the girls on field trips and this allows me to see them discover the world. I get to see them discover how bubbles work or how electricity flows or how to balance a bicycle on a wire high above the floor. I get to see them crawl over lava flows and study the rocks and plants. I get to see them figure out how to make lunch for everyone and see them offer to do it when they don’t have to. I get to see them hike a mountain path and explore the plants that are a bit different from where we live. I get to see them find new books and authors and ideas at the library. I get to see them discover sodas and the Titanic and sound and monuments and national parks and so much more. I also get to see them discover their own abilities – in dance, in cooking, in cleaning, in helping. This light bulb going off, these moments of discovery – they are a highlight of homeschool.

playing mancala

You know – now that I have started pointing out for you many of the good things we are thankful for in our education choice, my day is brighter. And this is another joy – getting to show the girls that a bad day or a bad moment doesn’t define you. And it doesn’t define our education. That bad moment right before I started typing this? Well, it has dissipated and we are now joyfully engaged in a game of mancala. Experiencing life and learning (lots of learning in that game) together. With JOY!

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Thankful Thursday! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

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

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How To Work It In ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

So, this post is a perfect example of today’s topic on how to work in things that are worthwhile or important. This is for you AND/OR for your students. Both are necessary.

For You –

Let’s start here because a happy Mom really reflects on a happy family. What do you do for yourself? When do you fit it in?

Honestly, sometimes it doesn’t fit in. I wish it did! I am waiting for the day I can join the community band again and play. But, it doesn’t fit our schedule at this time. However, I also enjoy writing (thus the blog!) and I enjoy finding encouragement, whether through reading or listening or talking to friends. So, how do I “work it in?”

I listen while I walk in the mornings. I have recently been listening to a parenting seminar by Steve Minor that we attended a couple of years ago. It is tremendously helpful and encouraging. (Take a listen through the church website. This particular one is the first in the series and there are a total of five lessons. The series is titled Family Matters! – 2016 Family Seminar. It is from December 2016 and the best way to get there from the main lessons page is to filter by the year 2016. It shows up on that first page after setting that filter.)

My writing generally takes place at night after the girls have gone to bed, as that is when I can write and focus and not have a million interruptions. (You know, don’t you?) So, I write and share and post. And that is good for me. And why this is a perfect example of working it in – we got home from worship services this evening, and then I had to get the girls to bed and the kitchen needed attention and the laundry and now, here I am at 10:30 PM writing the post I had hoped to get up first thing this morning. But, I worked it in. And I am hoping it is an encouragement to you.

As far as friendships go, I get a lot of joy from spending time before and after worship services chatting with others. I get a lot of my friend-time after Wednesday evening services as one friend in particular and I tend to chat for an hour or so after church. It helps that our kiddos get friend-time, too. Another time I get to work in some friendships is our monthly small group Bible study. We have several families that we are trying to get together with once a month or so to have a Bible study. And it is encouraging. Sometimes, it takes work to get it in, but we do because it is important.

For the Girls –

This is harder because it takes time and money for a lot of what they want to do. Their friendships – well, I mentioned those above but we also try to do some other things with their friends once a month or so. But their additional interests come with good friends, too. Dance and violin and library and sign language and volunteering – all these take time and money, to some extent. So, we talk about what is important, why they are interested in this particular thing, and then we decide whether to spend the time and/or money on the activity. This is the joy of home schooling, isn’t it? We do get to make these decisions and spend the time on it instead of sitting in a study hall or taking the same language class as everyone else because they only offer two at the huge local high school. So, let me encourage you to take with your students. Find their interests. And then search out ways to invest in the interest. Maybe it is just YouTube videos because that is all that can be afforded right now or you only have one car. That’s okay! (My dad taught himself wood turning through YouTube and he turns out gorgeous work! You don’t have to believe me – check out his work!)

Working it in is not the “easy way out”, though someone else may be doing the teaching. It is still a commitment. It still takes time. And, often, it takes money, even if only investing in tools or materials. It all adds up. But, look at the value! It is worth it to figure out how to work it in.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Work It In Wednesday! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
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

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Today’s Motivation – Prayer ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

Dear Homeschool Parent

Dear Homeschooling Parent –

Look around you. Look at each of the faces you guide and teach and journey with. This is your motivation.

Lots of people ask us why we homeschool and we have plenty of answers. Are these precious faces and lives your top answer?

Today, as we begin this week of homeschool encouragement with the Homeschool Review Crew, take a moment to pray.

Pray for each of the blessed children under your care.

Pray for the guidance and wisdom to parent them with love and grace.

Pray for the inspiration to help each of them find their individual path and to walk it with courage and bravery and confidence.

Pray for each of the children – that they will grow in wisdom and knowledge and hope and love and kindness.

Pray for others who are struggling along this path, whether it be for medical reasons, lack of confidence in themselves, or a million other possibilities.

Pray for your homeschool and others you know.

God answers pray. God gives peace.

As we traveled last week, the girls put on a CD titled The Music Machine. One of the songs is about peace and one line in it has kind of stuck with me for a few days now.

Peace, peace, I think I understand.
Peace, peace, is holding Jesus’ hand.

Today, as you journey into another season of education, I am praying for you – that you may be holding Jesus’ hand and experiencing the peace that only He gives. May your homeschool be filled with peace.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Motivation Monday. I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
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

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5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement – Join The Homeschool Review Crew August 20-24

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Next week, the Homeschool Review Crew will be sharing thoughts, advice, and more about homeschool encouragement.

Our topics?

  • Motivation Monday
  • Take a Look Tuesday
  • Work it Wednesday
  • Thankful Thursday
  • Friday Favorites

Each day you can visit the different Crew members who are participating and gather the encouragement you may need as you head into another season of education.

Who is participating?

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Christine @ Christine Howard
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
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
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
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

We hope you will be joining us!

Blessings,
At Home.

Julie Polanco’s book God Schooling ~ a Crew review

book cover 2

When you are making decisions regarding the education of your children, no matter the course you choose, there are questions and moments when you hesitate and ask yourself if you are making the right one. God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a book that will encourage you to continue the endeavor you have chosen if you are home educating your children. Julie Polanco has written this book from her own experiences and research.

Mrs. Polanco and her husband have home educated their four children, with nearly 15 years experience in this realm. She is the author of this book, as well as being a contributing writer for The Old Schoolhouse magazine and the Homeschooling with Heart blog. She is active in her local homeschooling community and the online homeschooling community.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is an easy-to-read, soft back book that is about 160 pages. It is broken into two parts. First is a discussion she titled “Dispelling Myths.” Part Two is titled simply “Practice.” With information from many experts interspersed with her own observations about how her children learn, there is much practical information.

Book cover 1

The purpose of Mrs. Polanco’s book is to encourage you to continue down the road of educational exploration and child-led learning. While I believe that much of what she does with her own children falls under the umbrella of unschooling, this is not the main thrust of her book. Following the lead of your children’s interesting and taking time to guide them in their learning is where her heart seems to be.

The first part of the book looks at what the Bible has to say about children, education, and parents. She also introduces the ideas of motivation, exploration, and how excellence relates to these ideas.

In the second part of the book, you will find age specific ideas about how to approach learning. There is a chapter about teaching children under age eight, teaching ages eight to twelve, and working with teens in their education and growth. There is information on different learning types, how to encourage them, and some ideas on how to get started. She has a chapter on questions and answers and one on structure and record keeping.

This second part include a lot of readily applicable practical ideas. Many of these are good thoughts to ponder and decide if they might work for you family. Regardless of whether they work for you or not, they have ideas worth considering. Each chapter also has study questions at the end that can help you formulate your own thoughts about the ideas in the chapter and gather them into a helpful structure.

MY THOUGHTS:

I did find that there are many very forceful statements in the book that can be discouraging if you did not choose the same path she did for her family. This can be very off-putting and I struggled to read the book. Not because there wasn’t good information but because Mrs. Polanco seemed to speak as though there were no other decent options that won’t harm children. I disagree; remember, there are all different ways to teach your children and every child needs something different. Take those statements at face value and move on. There is a lot of encouragement to be found in this book for the parent, reminding why you started the road and how to continue along it.

A SALE:

I received a note from Mrs. Polanco just a few days ago informing me that she is offering a sale on the purchase of this book until August 22, 2018. The cost of the book will be half-price until that date.

Blessings,
At Home.

A number of other ladies with a variety of learning styles in their homes have read this book in the past few weeks. I encourage you to go visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog and read what several of the other ladies thought of this book and find out what encouragement their received from it.

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