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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Complete + Happy Home

A complete and happy home is so much more than a series of pretty rooms. Between these two covers, we’ve captured everything we’ve learned at Apartment Therapy about decorating, organizing, cleaning, and repairs, so you can make and maintain your own fabulous home.” —from the Introduction of Apartment Therapy; Complete + Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan & Janel Laban

I love home decorating and organizing books. I love peeks into people's homes, peeks into their style, peeks into who they are (because you can tell a lot about a person by their home).
This book fits the bill for eye candy when it comes to interiors. Just look at those gorgeous kitchens!
Though I long ago figured out that my decorating style is a bit of whimsy and a lot of vintage, paired with a teeny amount of kitsch (seriously!) this book just sealed the deal for me when it described the one bedroom I loved with the title "The world-of-whimsy bedroom" (I'll take everything but the creepy cat!).
It also has helpful fix-it-yourself tips, a handy monthly home calendar, and so much more.

This is a great coffee table book just to ogle over. My two year old even sits in bed and "reads" this book, pointing out rooms that she wants!

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Longing for Paris

For anyone who has ever daydreamed of another life . . . Most days, you wouldn't trade what you have for the world. You love your husband and your kids, and you are grateful to God for your life. But there are days when you feel as though life is rolling over you in waves and you are just going through the motions. You find yourself aching for something more, something that is calling to depths of who you are, maybe for something you can't even name. 

For Sarah Mae, it was Paris, a place that is known for breathtaking beauty, inspiring art, and exquisite food. But as she searched her heart, she found there was more to her longings than she anticipated. Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae

We all have longings for something else. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" type longings. Sarah Mae shows us her search for joy, beauty, and adventure - right where she is. 

Page xx "I wanted to get out of the dailiness of life and into an adventure. I wanted to travel and see and touch and do, but my life didn't afford me that luxury. I couldn't just up and leave my family in order to figure out what was going on in my soul."  

I so could have written that. This speaks to my heart. Probably yours as well.

Page xxvi "Life is like that, a mix of fun and hard, beautiful and ugly, painful and life giving. This book - the stories in it, the teaching- is all a mix, because I am a mix of this life, as are you."

Mae gets real, down and dirty, and shares about her marriage struggles, about an abortion as a teenager, and how she climbed out of that pit of despair. Because no one's life is perfect and life really is beautiful and ugly all at the same time.

This book encourages us to use our talents. To become who God made us to be. Page 84, "I often wonder if the distractions in today's culture hamper kids from releasing untapped talent. Instead of being bored and going out to discover their talents, they are glued to TV and video games and the internet. It takes an immense amount of time to create a masterpiece." This also speaks to me, not just for my kids but myself as well. Necessity is the mother of all invention. A child may not find out that they are a great artist if they don't "get bored enough" to first pick up that paintbrush. A mother may not find out that she is a wonderful quilter or writer or pianist if she is always "too busy" to perfect her hobby. 

So when it comes to mothering, it's important for us to help our children, to guide them to their talents. For every single person has a hidden talent. And we should let our children be the guide. Page 131 "This is what children do: They bring laughter to our world. They are curious and observant and innocent in their understanding of so many things. They make us remember, for a moment, what it is like to see the world with fresh eyes and unscathed hearts.
   They don't have scars yet. Life is truly wondrous to them."

While Mae makes the point throughout the book that she does long for Paris...the culture, the people, the beauty...she also knows that what she truly longs for is HOME - Heaven. She mentions a dream that she had about running. 
Page 186: "I ran, and I thought about Heaven, and I thought about the wind in my face.
No tired legs.
No twisted ankles.
No gasping for breath. 
No side aches.
I just ran.
My new body fit inside of me perfectly.
My spirit was not held back.
It was glorious.
I felt absolutely light and free, and I knew I would one day experience what was in my dream.
My longings are the reminder that there is more-another world, another place where I am meant to be."

Why did that make my heart skip a beat? Because I have that dream. That running dream, quite often since Jacob was sick. The running, the feeling of flying, the sense of freedom. I always, always, always wake up from those dreams with a wonderful peace. And I didn't realize, until reading those words of Mae, that someday I will run with that freedom, that lightness. And that my sweet Jacob already is. He is running without getting tired, flying across the ground with his strong legs and his happy spirit. He is HOME.

So while this book touched me on so many levels there was one thing bothering me, nagging at me through the whole book that I couldn't figure out, until page 137 when Mae writes "As I mentioned earlier, French women are known for accepting who they are, embracing it, and working to grow into it. They don't strive to be like someone else; they want to be fully themselves." Mae seems to put France, and it's people, on a pedestal. Though she's never been there. I am curious to see what she thinks of the culture after she gets there someday. Because I have a feeling she will find that they are just human as well...and not as perfect as she seems to think they are in her mind. That is the one fault I have with the book, that sense of Paris perfection didn't sit well with me and became quite annoying.

This book was sent to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.     

Friday, August 28, 2015

We Made It!

It's 2:50 on a Friday afternoon and we just finished our first week back to school. I feel a sense of relief as this week was like a roller coaster - lots of ups and downs.

It's an adjustment to go from the freedom of summer to a routine and if one child is up to par one day they often aren't the next. Soon it will even out to smooth sailing but I'm just so happy to mark week one off the calendar! :)

This week was lots of review, and lots of books. Both Amy and Joe studied farms this week (Amy with her little farm activity pack from the library and Joe's science focused on "Spring on the Farm" with seeds and how they grow) so we also toured a dairy farm with a friend who also homeschools. 

They learned that Kangaroos like bread for snacks and that it's best not to get near the daddy Kangaroo.  
They each were able to bottle feed a calf. Amy enjoyed petting "her calf" more than feeding it as it was only 24 hours old and didn't have the hang of the bottle quite yet. 
The kids were able to shake up a bottle of heavy cream to make their own butter. They poured the buttermilk out of the jar, rinsed it with cold water to make it set, added a bit of salt, and snacked on crackers spread with butter (or in Amy's case, ate it straight off the knife).
They were able to see a brand new calf walk on it's shaky legs, try milking a cow by hand (only Joe was brave enough to do so), and see where the milk and cheese and ice cream is processed. As well as choose a small tub of ice cream all of their own. 

Hands on learning is always the best!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Plain Choice

I've often wondered if many, or any, worldly people ever became Amish so I was excited when I saw The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore; A True Story of Choosing to Live An Amish Life. 

Unfortunately, I feel the headline and this story is a bit misleading. Yes, it is Sherry's story about choosing to live an Amish life but not about becoming Amish. It doesn't sound like she ever was baptized into the church and driving a car, having a computer with internet, and a cell phone are not the Amish lifestyle. I was expecting so much more...I should have figured something out when Sherry herself is photographed on the cover of the book - the Amish will not pose for photographs. Is she claiming to be Amish? A Mennonite? There are big differences between the two sects. 

Had this just been a journey of faith, a journey of life book I feel as though I would have appreciated it much more. As it was, I felt confused throughout the book. I didn't see any one lifestyle embraced, but rather a mixture of plain and modern. That could have been explained without the Amish headline.

It is a quick read and Sherry's life story is interesting. I just didn't feel I got much of a "plain sense" from the book, especially not an Amish one.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Do You Believe?

I'm a little late to the party as this movie came out earlier this year but I just watched it at Bible Study last night. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. I borrowed the movie for my own family and think we will be having a family movie night on Friday to watch it together. With the action and story line I think even my husband will enjoy it.

I'm loving that movies like this one, God's Not Dead, and Mom's Night Out are becoming main stream and playing in theaters. Being available to the mass public and showcasing some moral, family-friendly movies is long overdue!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Back to School

This is our back to school picture. Because
1. we would have had to change out of pjs to get a photo 

2. The kids said "we aren't going back to school, we're homeschooled".

3. Everyone but Amy ran away from the camera 

4. The only reason she is carrying a backpack is to take it back to the library. 

The quote in my daily planner today was "Success each day should be judged by the seeds sown, not the harvest reaped." ~John C. Maxwell. Very fitting for the day that we started school. 

On a side note, the first day of school in our house only makes an absence more apparent. A child who would be starting 5th grade. This school year, instead of crying that your babies are starting school, growing up, spreading their wings...thank God for the fact that they are. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Soaking it Up

We are soaking up the last day of "freedom". School starts in this house tomorrow. I can't tell if I'm excited or terrified!


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