Friday, December 17, 2010

Grief and Grieving

This past week I've been surrounded by death on all sides. First my cousin's husband died, then the husband's sister was killed by a drunk driver, then the husband's mother had a massive stroke and is hanging on by a thread and it does not look good for her to pull through.  My cousin's sons have lost their father, aunt, and most likely their grandmother in the span of 7 days.  Words fail me.  Grief chokes my heart.

This past Sunday the Hanley family lost their precious son Mattias or "Tiggy" as they called him in a tragic accident that could happen to any one of us in our own home. Words fail me.  My mind lingers on my own 4 year olds face as I imagine losing him in this way - or any way for that matter - and grief threatens to steal the life from me.

I'm reminded again how quickly you can lose a loved one when Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience shares an excerpt from her upcoming book One Thousand Gifts.  Words fail me. The darkness rushes in.

I know you might be tempted to ask "Where are you God? How could You let all this happen?"  I know you are tempted because I once would have asked the same questions.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 
1st Thessalonians 4:13-14

I grieve for all the loss around me.  Tears flow freely. Words fail me. There are only heart groans.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  Romans 8:26

In my weakness there is Hope. I cling to that hope, that knowledge, and it allows me to rejoice in the grief.  Little Mattias is with Jesus.  Little Aimee is with Jesus.    And Jesus has made promises that I stand on in times like these.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  ~Revelation 21.4-5

This seems the best time to start my 1000 gifts list.  Here now as I wait on the coming Savior. I can start my 1000 gifts list now because He did come. As a baby. He will come again as King. This I am sure of.

#1 ~ The Sweet assurance in Jesus Christ. When all else fails this does not.

ICE! Opryland Hotel 2010

We went to ICE! today. It's always so fun. Words really don't do it justice so I'll just show you all the pictures. EVERYTHING is ice and it's 22 degrees in this place! It felt like it was colder than that though. The theme this year is from the classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

from our family
to you and yours!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Memory of Mattias Ryker Hanley

Because my heart just almost can't take it I'll direct you to other people who have said it better than me.  Please remember this family in your prayers this holiday season as they must live without their almost 2 year old this Christmas. 

There are no words.

In Christ Alone,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm determined to die today.

 This video has awoke a sleeping giant inside me.  It's not that it's new information for me.  I gave my life to Jesus years ago. 20 years ago in fact.  I've known that people should see Jesus in me.  That I should disappear and Him appear.  I can't say it's only been head knowledge up until now either. I've loved Him all these years.  I've loved Him because I was one of those poorest people before He saved me.  I've known the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I've tasted of His sweetness. Yet not once did I ever think that taking up His cross every day would be what cost me my life.  I was willing to give up my life for Him.  I just didn't know this would be what would take my life.  I feel dense and stupid right now.

If the Gospel brings death to the giver then I'm determined to die today.  Taking up His cross starts when I open my eyes each morning and look at my husband.  Mind you.  I've not died yet today.  I've already been frustrated, stretched, and angry and it's only 10:30 in the morning.  Why?  If I'm truthful with Jesus and you who are reading this then I know I've been trying to guard my own life this morning.  Isn't that the base reason peace doesn't come to each of us every day?  Aren't I protecting something I don't want, TRULY want, to give up?  This morning it's very true.  I've been protecting my schedule, my need to get my To Do list done, my CONTROL of my life. 

Is my schedule and To Do list bringing the Gospel to my family first? Is it Jesus' will or my will?  Do I really want to be the one in control today and every day?  I want Jesus to love me (I know He already does) because I'm all about His business like He was all about His Father's business.  He's given me a choice.  I can give up my life and I can take it up again.  There is NO OTHER WAY to serve Him because I've tasted His sweetness.  It won't be a curse. It will bring that PEACE that I seek after so diligently when I write my schedules and exact CONTROL over the day and my family.  Dying will bring LIFE. LIFE ABUNDANTLY.  Abundantly!  Did you hear that? ABUNDANTLY!  I don't know about you but I don't feel like life's been very abundant lately.

Anyone want to die with me today?  You can do right there in your own home.  Feeling stretched, frustrated, like your going to go crazy?  Give it all up for LIFE today.

In the name of the Prince of PEACE Jesus,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

But How Do We Go Mama?

The evening began with the 4 year old moving the 11 year olds presents around under the tree and the 11 year old yelling "Don't touch my presents!" and grabbing them and putting them back where they were. After dinner I'm watching a video on youtube and I watch another video produced by the same people.

I am undone.

I call the 11 year old to sit and watch and listen.  Tears stream down his cheeks.  I hold him and we cry together for a few minutes.  Then he looks at me and says "But how do we GO Mama?"

"Son Going will look different for each person. Can you see that we can't sit here and guard our own lives anymore?"

"Yes Mama. I understand. I will GO. I will be disappointed to not have my presents on Christmas morning but knowing the children will have presents is all I need."

I am undone again.

I am ashamed.

I am privileged.


Who I Am and Who I Want To Be

If you want to be made into a hero for Jesus Christ start HERE.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Advent Wreath & Resources

I purchased a new Advent wreath this week because the one we had was just not working for us.  The candles would not stand up or stay in the holders and it was frustrating.  This is our new one. 

I like this one because when I finally get the Way of Light Advent wreath that I truly want I will still be able to use this in another way during the Christmas season.  I purchased this one from Christian Book Distributors if you are interested in this for yourself. 

We are using 3 different resources for our Advent Devotions this year.  We are reading Jotham's Journey, using several ideas from Celebrate Jesus at Christmas, and also reading and making the Jesse Tree ornaments from A Jesus Advent Celebration.  Celebrate Jesus at Christmas has devotions for Advent through Epiphany and one thing it has us do each day is build a nativity and move Mary and Joseph closer each day to the manger.  Wisemen also move towards the Christ child. 

My sincere desire is for you to meet Jesus during this Advent celebration.  Be blessed as you quiet during this time and focus on His glorious first coming!

In Christ Alone,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Win A Computer & $250 Best Buy Gift Card

Angie Smith from Bring the Rain is having a great giveaway.  You can win an awesome laptop and a $250 gift card from Best Buy.  Head on over HERE and enter to win.

In Christ's name,

Free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional & Compassion

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has released her revised Jesse Tree Advent Devotional again.  As always anything Mrs. Voskamp writes is fabulous.  Please take a look and see if you would like to use it.  It's geared to families will all ages.  She has also chosen to make it free. Originally she had posted that 100% of the profits from this devotional would be given to Compassion

It is for this reason that I would ask that you prayerfully consider a gift or sponsorship to Compassion in Mrs. Voskamps name.  I know that Mrs. Voskamp has been stretched and gave countless hours revising the devotional.

Matthew 10:8 

8"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 

As we begin the Advent season where we focus on the Glorious Coming of our Savior Jesus remember that we all have freely received from Jesus.  Please prayerfully consider freely giving to those that have not.

Blessings to you as you embark on this glorious time of God with us,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Study Resources

This is a bit late but I wanted to list some of the things we are using to study about Thanksgiving and that time period.  I'm not really sure how I found this blog that got me started on all this but I am giving her credit now.  Learning Sharing Caring has some great lesson plans and I found most of my information from her plans.  Be sure and look through the Oct. archives for all the links. 

Scholastic Interactive site on Thanksgiving

Colonial America Interactive Website

Enjoy these resources to teach your kids about Thanksgiving!

Finally settled on curriculum for Joshua

Well after weeks of struggling, hit or miss school we have all decided and committed to a curriculum for Joshua.  We have chosen to use all BJU Distance Learning. We have used alot of BJU in the past including their distant learning classes through the satellite before they shut the satellite down.  Their distant learning classes are top notch and it will allow Joshua to complete his school work without waiting on me to teach him.  We spent the last several days (couple of weeks really) talking about all the pro's and con's of schooling this way or that way.  I tried to let Joshua tell me what he preferred and take that into consideration since he's getting older and we want to encourage him to take more responsibility for his education.  He choose BJU DL also.  After much prayer and talking it over with my husband we placed our order and we can't wait for our boxes to arrive.

It's very hard for me to let go of the doing Heart of Dakota at this point but I know this is what the Lord wants us to do regarding Joshua's schooling right now.  We will reevaluate after he completes this school year at the end of July but I see us continuing with this for quite a while.  I had planned to do BJU DL at the first of this school year and things were crazy around here so I decided to use what I had on hand.  I should have just done the BJU DL from the beginning but hind sight is always 20/20.  I know the Lord has not forgotten Joshua and will redeem my mistakes to bring Himself glory.

So this week we will be planning our new schedules and getting ready for several boxes of books and dvd's to arrive and learning about Thanksgiving.  I'll figure out how to post our schedule when I get it done.

In Christ alone,

Edited to say that I will still pick up the Diana Waring audio cd's to listen to.  We really like those and I want to listen to those in our free time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some thoughts on our curriculum

I'm seeing some things in our curriculum that will need to be addressed soon.  Joshua is doing cursive using A Reason for Handwriting.  He's not learning how to connect the cursive letters very well.  I'm going to have to do something else for him I think.  Any ideas are appreciated.  I am thinking of BJU simply because BJU was the the first curriculum that we used with Joshua and he's kept with the basic idea of their "font".  I also like that BJU has wonderful teacher's manuals.

We also have not been doing history this semester.  I have been looking over several curriculums trying to decide what to use.  I have let Joshua be involved in this process and we really like History Revealed by Diana Waring.  After all the research I remembered that HOD uses Diana's What in the World cd's. 

Ok let me back up and give you some history.  I have loved HOD since I found it a few years back.  I have used it in the past but sold it and bought it and sold it and bought it :o)  I just couldn't make it work for Joshua in the past.  BUT here I am again finding that HOD is using yet another book or curriculum that I am choosing on my own.  I honestly wish I would have known about HOD when Joshua was at the right ages to start it from the beginning.  I will be using HOD for history at a minimum for Jacob when he gets old enough to start it.  So let me just say again that I love, love, love HOD.

I'm starting to understand that I just need to do HOD and get over it.  The biggest decision now is what level to start with for Joshua.  Decisions. Decisions.  Oh if only all our decisions were really this easy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

On the eve of the election

As we hopefully all go to the poles tomorrow I want to leave you with this quote.  I believe this is one of the most important elections our nation has ever come to.  Please be in prayer and above all VOTE if you have not already.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. ~

Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fun Holiday Food and Drinks

Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner people!!  I will be making some wonderful festive drinks for my crew again this year.  Check out Holiday Punch and Peppermint Hot Chocolate.  For more holiday recipes see here

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Note About This Blog

Some of you have clearly noticed the neglect this blog receives from me.  I've tried to figure out why and I realized it was because I spend so much time over at Facebook.  I had given thought to just deleting this blog but I don't want to do that since I can share some things here a little easier than at FB.  So I won't be abandoning this blog but if you want to see more about me and my life then please get on Facebook and friend me.  Message me if you need my name of FB. 

Ok back to your normal programming.

My last lazy OOH-RAH

I know you might be saying "Did she say OOH-RAH?  What is a OOH-RAH anyway?" so I'll first define OOH-RAH for you.  OOH-RAH is commonly heard within the military most notably said by the Marines.  It is their war cry.  OOH-RAH is conceived in sweat, nurtured in drill.  It is raw determination and gut-wrenching courage in the face of adversity.  It cannot be administered.  It is not planned and put into action.  It cannot be manufactured.  OOH-RAH must be purchased.

Today has turned out to be my last lazy OOH-RAH.  It was not planned and put into action.  I did purchase it at the tune of $20.  I simply got up today still not liking my weight or the way I look in the mirror as I've done for far too many mornings to date.  Without thought I ate ice cream for breakfast within an hour of waking up.  Then for lunch I had a mushroom and swiss burger with deep friend curly fries and a large cherry coke for lunch.  Oh I also had 2 hand breaded (with white flour I'm sure) chicken strips with honey mustard sauce.  Then I decided to check up on some of my Facebook friends that I hadn't had a chance to read up on lately.  Enter Tracey with a war cry screamed so loud I had to cover my ears.  I go to church with Tracey and she runs.  She's also a Team Edward TWIHARD. Need I say more? Ok I will. She also has 2 boys like me.  If that doesn't make you want to run to Tracey's web site then I don't know what will.  If you need to know what a TWIHARD is then go here.

So I was reading Tracey's blog and suddenly realized that I had entered into my last lazy OOH-RAH. I don't know what I'll have for dinner but since today's my last lazy OOH-RAH then I can assure you it will be some tasty, not good for me, include some kind of chocolate BLISS.  Guaranteed.

Then at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning begins a new OOH-RAY for me in response to Tracey's war cry.  Now I must confess that Tracey has no idea she issued a war cry to me.  The war cry was in my ears.  No one else is as delusional as me to infer a cry for war from Tracey's blog.  But none the less the cry for war has been issued and I'm responding back with a GREAT BIG OOH-RAH.  Tomorrow morning the blood, sweat, and tears path to a smack down begins.  I'm going to rise early in the morning and run (translation: walk with wheezing, double me over cramps, sweat dripping in my eyes).

I see your HOLLA! Tracey and raise you an OOH-RAH!!

Let the fun begin!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Our Summer Curriculum

Over summer we will be working on some school things so I thought I would update what we will be using.  Joshua struggled to learn to read but he's doing really good.  I've prayed about it and I believe the best thing for us to do this summer is work on his phonics so that he can get better and faster at his reading.  I've purchased Saxon Phonics Intervention for him so that is the only Language Arts we will do over summer.  For Bible we will be using the Discover 4 Yourself How To Study Your Bible.  I will also be working with him on All About Spelling as that will only reinforce what we are doing in Saxon Phonics Intervention.  He is participating in 2 summer reading programs with Barnes & Noble and our local library system.  He's reading Hank the Cowdog books right now and loving those.

I'm also having to reevaluate our math.  He's been using Teaching Textbooks and he really likes it but I feel that it's not sticking with him like I feel it needs to.  I'm undecided what to use yet but I'm leaning towards Singapore or Saxon for math.  I'll update with final decisions on that when I know. 

He will continue to use A Reason for Handwriting for his cursive.  He's doing very well with his cursive.

I've not made any plans for the next school years curriculum yet.  I'm leaning heavily towards Heart of Dakota's Preparing Hearts for His Glory program for history & science.  We'll see what the summer brings with Joshua's reading and I'll go from there.

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Been A While

Well it's been quite a while since I posted anything.  Sorry about that. I just returned from spending a couple of weeks at my parents house in MO.  Great fun.  I will get back to posting more regularly now.  I've been having regular quiet times and reading the Bible every day.  I'm going to start posting some things related to that very soon.  Look for some changes to come here.

In Jesus' Name,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus more

Eisley Jacobs is having a give away when she reaches 1000 Twitter followers. The prize pack includes a $25 Amazon gift card, coffee and more.  Check her out at  There are several ways to enter for a chance to win.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Chicken Adventure Begins

We picked up our 25 chicks for Joshua's 4H chick chain project. They are so cute.  Pictures to follow. I couldn't take any pics because I'm having trouble with my camera battery.  This is going to be so fun!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Molly has a chick coming out

Max has chipped a hole into his shell and is chattering away.  Molly appears to be helping him a bit here & there. Don't miss this.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Babies on the Way

I'm sitting on pins and needles watching Molly with her eggs. She's very restless today. I think we will have at least one baby soon!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm addicted to Molly

I'm addicted to watching Molly and McGee (Barn Owls) with their impending brood. You might too. Check it out at

Enjoy the view,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bible, History, Science, Grammar & Writing

Well I've made some changes yet again to our curriculum.  We were using ACE paces for English, Science,  Spelling.  I was really feeling like I was not involved enough with Joshua's schooling so I've been on a quest for the last couple of months to find something new. I made my final decision today and we will be starting new curriculum Monday.

For Bible & History I've decided to use Veritas Press along with the Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History.  For Science and Grammar & Writing we will be going back to BJU.  For Spelling it's back to All About Spelling. I had tried ACE for spelling but I should have never tried to fix something that wasn't broken. I also subscribed to Meet the Masters for art through the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op. We will be starting Heart of Dakota's Drawn Into the Heart of Reading for our reading curriculum.We will use Handwriting Transition Student Worktext (Reason for Handwriting) for penmanship.

For Jacob I am using ACE Kindergarten with Ace & Kristi. I am giving serious thought to using BJU's K4 program with him in the fall. I would probably use the online streaming classes for him.

Well that's all for tonight folks. See ya'll after next week when I do a week in review.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two great books finds

I ran into Food Lion last night to pick up a side for dinner and they had a bargain book bin. Now I can never pass up a big pile of books and if they are bargain priced then I don't think I need to say anything else. I found 2 great books for $6 each.

The first one is not for the very young but my almost 11 year old loves this book.  It's titled Warriors: All the Truth, Tactics, and Triumphs of History's Greatest Fighters by James Harpur. It contains historical information about The Assyrians, The Spartans, Alexander and the Macedonians, The Celts, The Romans, Gladiators, The Vikings, The Samurai, The Ninja, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, Medieval Knights, The Aztecs, and The Zulu's. Whether they're fighting single-handed or shoulder-to-shoulder with others in strict formation, warriors have given their lives to win land, cities, and empires. From the ferocious ancient Assyrians to the fearsome Zulus, Warriors showcases these celebrated fighters, highlighting their battles, heroisms, weapons, and tactics. Discover how the fearless Spartans were groomed and trained for war from birth, or how Boudicca, Britain's terrifying warrior queen, rose up in revolt against the mighty Roman army. Learn about the bloodthirsty Aztecs and their custom of ripping out the hearts of living sacrificial victims, and enter the mysterious realm of the ninja, masters of stealth and sabotage!  Since we will be starting Ancient History soon this book will be a great addition to our studies as we cover these ancient places and people. It does contain graphic language that describes actions and tactics of the particular warrior or battle that is being highlighted that might scare young or sensitive children so use caution.

The other book is titled Blood and Goo and Boogers Too: A Heart-pounding Pop-up Guide to the Circulatory & Respiratory Systems. Both boys have looked at this one multiple times today. Very fun
 book that gives great information too!
Blood and Goo and Boogers Too: A Heart-pounding Pop-up Guide to the Circulatory & Respiratory Systems

So next time you are in a Food Lion be sure and check out that Bargain Book Bin. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, February 1, 2010

ACE Bible Reading Pace Samples

I use ACE for almost all our school.  Right now we are not using ACE for History & Science but I am planning to place him in that at the motel meeting.  Another ACE user has done a great job with posting paces samples but she hasn't put up any Bible Reading pace samples so I thought I would post a sample just in case someone needed it.  The following is from 2nd grade Bible Reading pace 1013 pages.

The other ACE user is RockingHSMom5 and you can find her blog here:

Hope this helps someone,


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