Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Better Than Before: Chapter 2

This week's running book club met this morning to run 8 miles and discuss chapter 2 of Better Than Before, entitled:  Self-Knowledge:  Distinctions.

This chapter presented several pairs of types of people followed by examples of each.  I wrote down most of these choices on my hand along with some key words from the discussion questions at the end of the chapter.

The written reminders really facilitated our discussion….until I started sweating.  And also, for most of the pairs I wrote down only one of the choices, and sometimes we could not think of the other choice!

All in all, it was a lively, enlightening discussion, and a great run!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hemming Jeans

Since I am short, I rarely find jeans (or any kind of pants) that are not too long.  The only exception is "ankle length", which is just the right length for me.  I bought a new pair of jeans last weekend, and of course they were too long. I remember seeing on Pinterest a neat way of hemming jeans that retained the original hem.  I did a quick search, found this Pin, and I was in business.  In about 15 minutes I had hemmed my jeans! I was so happy.  This really is such an easy way to do it.
You can find this pin here.

Happy hemming!

Monday, September 28, 2015

This Time I Did Forget!

Last week, one night I almost forgot to blog, but yesterday, I completely forgot!  I realized early this morning that I failed to blog yesterday.  Sunday morning I actually planned the hymn I wanted to share (we sang it at our worship service), but I got so busy yesterday, that I never even turned on my computer.

So……now I've broken the 100 days of blogging streak that I wanted to do.  :(
But, I am not giving up.  I will begin again today, and hopefully yesterday will be my only slip-up.  Keeping goals is like that…..If you make a mistake, just pick yourself up and get right back to it.

Here is the hymn.  What wonderful words to ponder.
The notes in my hymnbook state "C.E. Couchman (1986); based on Psalm 119:11, 18, 28, 50, 55"

Thy Word Is a Treasure

Thy word is a treasure, more precious than earth's fine gold.
How my heart grows richer each time the story is told.

Each page holds a promise:  peace, mercy, redeeming love.
Each promise exalts my hope to sing praises above.

Thy word is all wisdom; thy counsel I gladly seek.
Guide my understanding; open my eyes, Lord, to see.

Thy word gives me comfort when sorrows seem hard to bear,
A song for my journey, strength when my soul would despair.

Thy word is eternal, though heaven and earth must end.
Thy truth shall endure forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Saturday

At 6:00 this morning, I took Clay, Parker, Carson, and Sam to the Frank Horton Invitational XC Meet in Memphis.  Clay and Parker are both on our homeschool XC team, the Spartans, and Carson and Sam are the cheering and supportive brothers!  Jimmy is on call today, :( and of course my older girls are away at college.  They did not have a meet today. Their next meet is next Saturday at the Florida State University.

All of the Spartans had a fantastic race day!  Most of the runners either set a personal record, ran much faster than they did at the last meet, or both.  There were twenty-something teams running today, so this was a big meet.

The rest of my Saturday included making my weekly grocery list, buying the groceries, picking up Leah from a birthday party, cooking supper, and cleaning my kitchen.  Since I slept only 4 hours, 47 minutes last night, according to my Jawbone UP, I plan to retire early tonight.

It's time for me to go through Sam and Leah's clothes and weed out what is too small or in too bad of shape to wear next year. Then I will go shopping in my basement (from my boxes of hand-me-downs). Lastly, I will make a list of what (if any) new items they need for fall/winter.  I know they will need jeans, but hopefully, not much more than that!  Oh, shoes too.  I will probably buy Leah a couple of new outfits so that her entire wardrobe is not hand-me-downs, but that is all.  Passing clothes from one sibling to the next is such a blessing.

Happy Saturday night to you.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Our First Running Book Club Meeting

Leanna, Lynn, and I met Esther this morning for a 7 mile run and discussion of our very first book, Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  Esther did not know we were reading the book, but we quickly summarized the introduction and chapter one for her.

Then we began talking about what we had read. Chapter one describes the Four Tendencies regarding habit-keeping.  I know there are various quizzes and assessments available to determine one's personality, but this one is geared to how or why you keep habits in your life. The four tendencies are:
1.  Upholder
2.  Obliger
3.  Questioner
4.  Rebel.
You can click here to take the quiz to determine which tendency fits you.  We all talked about which one we thought we were and why.

I am mostly an upholder, but I have a little bit of a rebel tendency every now and then.  Not a rebel in the sense of breaking rules or engaging in sinful behavior, but rebelling against something that is ok, but not my idea. I can be bossy (surprise!), and I don't take commands very well…..but for the most part, I am an upholder.  But here is another twist.  While I am almost always compliant with both outer and inner expectations (goals that people know or don't know about), I am careful to set goals that I feel I can achieve… I can be an upholder!  What a cycle.

So if you so desire and have the time, take the quiz.  Leave me a comment and tell me which tendency you are.  And if you are surprised that I consider myself an upholder.  :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Homemade Granola Bars

Julie was our granola bar maker, and since she has gone to college, I am back to making them again.  I had to look up the recipe!  Also several people have asked me for our granola bar recipe recently.  The recipe I had previously published on this blog has been tweaked.  So, I decided to retype the recipe with all the changes that we have made.

Homemade Granola Bars

6 cups rice krispie cereal
6 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups chopped nuts
1 12oz. jar natural peanut butter
1 21oz. jar brown rice syrup
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
2-4 scoops protein powder (optional)

Melt peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and chocolate chips on stovetop. Stir in salt, vanilla, and protein powder (if using). In a very large bowl, mix cereal, oats, and nuts.  Pour melted ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Spread mixture into two greased 9x13 baking pans.  Put bars into the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  Cut each pan into 20 bars.  Wrap each bar in a small piece of plastic wrap.  Store at room temperature.

I need a little bit of blogger technical help.  I cannot remember how to access the "About Me" widget on the left upper sidebar of my blog.  I need to update the years I have been married, the children's ages, and my picture.  I have searched all over the blog account pages, I cannot find where to do this.  Can anyone help me? I have clicked on this widget under the "layout" tab, but it does not allow me to make any changes.
Thank you so much!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Almost Forgot

I began a blogging streak one week ago today, and as I was getting ready for bed tonight, I realized that I never posted today.  Since I said I would post for 100 days straight---I turned my computer back on!

I really like to read.  At any given time I have at least two books going.  Currently I am reading, reading out loud to my children, or listening to on Audible the following books:

Climb Happiness Hill
Plugged In Prayer
the Bible
Better Than Before
Tom Sawyer
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Indian in the Cupboard
Across Five Aprils

I think that is all.  Leanna, Lynn, and I chose Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin for our first running book club book.  We have to read the introduction and chapter 1 by Friday.

I better get to reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Little Bit About Our Homeschool This Year

This is the first year in a long time that I have had only three children to homeschool.  But it still takes me all day!  Not really, but on most days, if I do all subjects with Leah and Sam and check/review all of Clay's work, it takes me from 8:30AM-3:00PM.

Sam is in the 4th grade, Leah is in the 6th, and Clay is in the 11th.  Clay does all of his subjects independently, but I spend about 1 hour each day checking his work, having him make any corrections, and teaching him any new math concepts he had trouble with that day.

Leah and Sam sit at our schoolroom table (with me in between) and complete their schoolwork.  They do some subjects independently, some with minimal instruction (math), some with a little bit more instruction (writing--IEW), and some completely with me (science and Sonlight).

I laughed earlier this summer when I was planning my school days.  In past years I have labored over color coded schedules with 30 minute intervals---a MOTH schedule at its finest!  This year I jotted down a few things on a scrap piece of notebook paper.  :)

Here is our current daily routine:

7:45 AM:  Make sure all children are awake and drinking coffee (except for Clay who does not drink coffee).  Morning chores, breakfast. Clay is normally up before this time, and he begins his schoolwork before Bible time.
8:30:  Bible lesson and Scripture memory drills with all children at our kitchen table.
9:00:  Clay--upstairs to complete his schoolwork, Leah and Sam to the schoolroom.  I help Leah and Sam as they need me and check their work as they complete it.  They make their corrections at that time.
11:00:  Clay is still working.  I do a science lesson with Leah and Sam.  We usually have a snack during our science time.
11:30:  Leah and Sam take a break. I work with Clay at this time (reviewing/correcting/teaching math)
12:30PM:  Lunch (I do some laundry, make phone calls, answer emails, etc. during this time too.)
1:30:  Sonlight reading with Leah and Sam. Clay finishes any English work or other schoolwork he has not completed.
2:30:  We are usually done for the day. If we are later to eat lunch or the Sonlight readings are longer than normal, we don't finish until 3:00.

On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (afternoons) the kids have extra activities outside the house. On Wednesday afternoons, beginning at 3:00, I teach a small English class at my house for Clay and 5 other 11th graders.

That's it!  Our homeschool day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Edible Cell

It's hard to believe, but it has been 5 years since my children made their very first edible cell.  Clay was in the 6th grade, and all five of my children participated in this fun activity.

Now Leah is in the 6th grade, and she and Sam (4th grade) are studying Apologia's Human Anatomy and Physiology course. We finished the first module last Thursday, and Friday they made the cell.

You can click here to read all about the first edible cell we made (and see how much my children have grown!)

Leah made the jello, and after it cooled I let them make the cell all by themselves.  

They actually took most of these pictures themselves too.

Fun and educational!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday's Hymn

Here is a hymn to hopefully set the tone for your upcoming week.

Take Time to Be Holy
W.D. Longstaff, Geo. C. Stebbins

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide with Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak, 
Forgetting in nothing His blessings to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
Abiding in Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Last Couple of Days

Jimmy and Clay left yesterday morning at 4:40AM for a 1400 mile round trip to Gainesville, Florida, to see Olivia and Julie run in a huge cross country meet. They also delivered Olivia's goldfish that I forgot to take when I took Julie to college back in August (Olivia had to fly down to school a week early for a summer school class…..and I was supposed to bring the fish, except that I forgot!)

 Proud Daddy with Olivia and Julie after the Mt. Dew Invitational

While they were gone Leah, Sam, and I cleaned house, did some school,  bought groceries, and hosted 6 other children for a little spend the night party. (Lynn's younger two children and all four of Leanna's). They played while I prepared food for our family Bible study meal (that we had tonight) and packed the car for the tailgating at the Miss. State ballgame (earlier today).

The three mamas (Lynn, Leann, and I) and 11 children left around 8:00 AM this morning to go see the Bulldogs play. All three of our husbands were unable to attend today's game (Jimmy--on his road trip, and Kelly and Joe were working). The teenage boys set up and took down our big tent, and we all worked together hauling everything to and from the car. We enjoyed a nice day in front of Allen Hall, relaxing and eating lunch together before the game.

We watched the Bulldog Walk, rested in the shade a little bit more, loaded up all three of our vehicles, and then went on in the game.

It. Was. Hot.

 Lynn, Leanna, and Me---before the game---before we melted.

 The Children

A selfie we took after sweltering at the game awhile.
Nice photo bomb from the guy sitting behind us.
None of us have a twitter, but we texted the picture to Kelly to see if he could add it to the #maroonselfies so we could appear on the jumbotron (We never saw it). :)

We left at halftime in order to make it back home for our family Bible study.  We made it just in time! And guess who else made it too (before us!)?  Jimmy and Clay.

That's my last two days.
And that's post #4 of 100!

Friday, September 18, 2015

My St. Jude Half Marathon Training Plan

I have had this plan all summer, and I have been doing the first couple of weeks of it repeatedly. I think I have done the runs exactly as listed only twice. Most weeks I either ran only once or twice or I did a longer run than listed and then didn't run much more! Anyway. I looked at my calendar earlier this week, and I realized that I have exactly 12 weeks until the half marathon, so it is time to follow the plan!

I have 2 miles left to complete week 1, but I did not run the miles as directed….I ran 4, 7, 3, and I will run 2 tomorrow to finish it out.  Lynn and Leanna have been more consistent in their running lately, and they are already up to a 7-10 mile long run. I will continue to run their long run with them and adjust the rest of my miles accordingly.

Ok. Now that I have published my plan…..I have to follow it.  :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Running Book Club

This is the stack of unfinished books on my nightstand.  Most of them were begun earlier this summer….I am rereading Tom Sawyer for the English class I am teaching, and yesterdayI chose Better Than Before to be the first other book that I finish.

A few weeks ago Leanna suggested that she, Lynn, and I have a running book club, which means that we choose a book to read at home and then discuss it weekly while we are doing our long run.  Doesn't that sound like fun? It really does to me. The problem we are having is choosing the first book. We considered Little Women, because it's the next book I need to reread for my class. However, this morning we discussed maybe doing a Gretchen Rubin book (she has three that I like).

I am going to suggest that we choose our first book by Saturday and have the first chapter read by the time we do our long run next week.

I'll share what we chose when we figure it out.  :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Running Motivates Me

I have gotten out of the habit of doing many things the last several months.  Blogging and running are just two of those things.

This morning as I was running (and my running has been so sporadic lately), I came to a couple of conclusions.
1.  I have got to get back to doing two things that I know I love doing (running and blogging).
2.  I am going to start TODAY doing those two things again.
3.  I have a plan for both blogging and running. 

Running:  I am supposed to be training for the St. Jude Half Marathon in December, and I have a training plan in place for that.  Starting this morning, I am following that plan.  No excuses.  No exceptions.
Blogging: Today marks 100 days until Christmas Day.  I know that because (1) I received an email stating that fact, and (2) Today is my birthday, and I always know that from my birthday until Christmas Day is 100 days.  So, I have given myself the challenge of blogging every day for 100 days.
Usually, setting goals and putting them on paper motivates me to keep the goal.  

My blog posts will vary in content and length, but I am committing to posting something each day.

*****I want to share a somewhat short explanation of why I have fallen out of the habit of blogging since last February.*****
  1. We discontinued our satellite internet service last February.  Ever since then we have used our iPhones as personal hotspots to use the internet on our computers.  I have had a mental block regarding this.  It really is not that big of a deal to connect to my phone in order to access the internet on my laptop, but it is  perceived inconvenience. No more.  I am going to make myself blog even though it requires a tiny bit more effort than just opening my laptop and starting to type. In case you are wondering, we live in a somewhat rural area where absolutely no high-speed internet access is available except for satellite (which is overpriced, slow, and unreliable). I even contacted our public service commissioner this summer, begging him to do something so we could have high-speed internet.  They are working on it. Which means it may be years before something is available in our area.  :)
  2. This is the most important reason I have not been blogging……last February my beloved father-in-law, Jim was diagnosed with cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), and to be honest, the stress of that journey and all it entailed overtook my daily life. It was a precious time. Sadly (for us, but happily for him), Jim passed from this life on July 29. My sister-in-law, Megan, blogged perfectly about our experience, and you can click here to read it.  Anyway, I was conflicted the entire time about my blogging.  From the beginning of my blog, I have purposed to keep it real. Meaning that if I had personal struggles I tried to share them, not in a way to ask for pity, but hopefully to encourage others.  I have always wanted my blog to be an encouragement to others.  I never intended to paint a false picture of "having it all together/super mom" while my personal life was falling apart.  So, when things got tough the last several months, I just stopped writing----not because I did not want to share our struggle, but because I felt like it was not my story to tell. Does that make sense?  I felt it was too personal to share someone else's illness…….on the other hand, I did not feel right blogging about the silly and mundane things happening at my house, when we were all going through such a trial with Jim.  It just didn't seem right.

But I am ready now.  

Last Saturday, my dear friends Lynn and Leanna and all of our families (17 of us in all!) ventured to the first MS State home football game of the season.  Our three families bought season tickets this year (all together---a row of 17).  Fun!  Lynn's sister and her children joined us for tailgating before the ballgame.  And, sadness!  Olivia and Julie are both far away at their own college, and will not be joining us---except for the State/Ole Miss game which will be played while they are home for Thanksgiving break.

 Jimmy and Me

Me, Leanna, Lynn, and Lesley

The game was fun….even though we LOST!  We stated for the entire game (bad decision!), and so since the game was not over until midnight, and there was the biggest traffic jam ever on campus--thousands of people trying to leave at the same time--we arrived home at 3:30 AM.

This is what sat in front of us!
Check out the purple and yellow checked pants.
(He was an enthusiastic LSU fan--let's just leave it at that.)

Until tomorrow…….