Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Starting Point For Gratitude

At the time I began creating this blog I was trying hard to find a voice. I needed to regain some sense of myself. I'd been swallowed whole by the passions and responsibilities of motherhood. I was fading and I was falling apart.

In the beginning I ranted and wondered out loud about things that I couldn't really say to anyone. I wrote stream of thought. I purged myself of personal reflections so that I could float back into my real life world of caring for for the whims of others and not feel bitter. I really just needed to be heard.

Having this blog opened up an opportunity for me with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine to review products on the TOS Crew. It opened doors.
Writing homeschool reviews was an amazing blessing.

For one, it allowed me to write. But beyond that, it required me to spend time with my kids to really use and explore the products. I couldn't have done it without them. It taught me how to balance my dreams with my family life and taught my family to honor and respect my writing time because they had something tangible to gain from it. It was a win win.

My family began to view me as writer. My confidence grew and my life began to round out.

Before long I started a second blog to focus more on our homeschooling adventures. My time quickly centered around homeschooling and writing thorough reviews of the many products I was blessed to obtain. Some of the reviews where posted here too.

Then I started a third blog to serve as a hot spot for my writing samples. It's sort of like an online writing portfolio.

Shortly after that I heard about an opportunity to write devotions for moms of toddlers at Totally Tots and I was thrilled when I was welcomed on board.

I also began blogging about my experiences as a Pastor's Wife at Christian Women Take Root.

Through all the contacts I was making in the blog world I decided to start another blog and try to do some affiliate marketing. I'll be honest, I haven't received a cent for it. It's just fun and I enjoy learning about companies and spotlighting items I use.

Once the TOS Crew year began to wind down some of us got a little antsy about a review free future and began seeking out opportunities. That's how I got involved in blogging for books programs. I currently review for Crossway, NavPress, Thomas Nelson. Zondervan, and Waterbrook. I love reading. My most exciting moments of this opportunity so far are the complimentary comments left by an author regarding my review of his book, and the excitement of reviewing a book written by my favorite author (Robin Jones Gunn).

On top of that, I get to stay connected to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine to write product reviews for print.

If that wasn't enough, God paved the way for me to begin the work to publish my first novel. It's in the editing process now. The joy and excitement of seeing my cover and discussing elements of the publishing process gives me goose bumps.

It all started here. It all started with a pain in my stomach, a burning for something more and the tug of war feeling in my heart. God knew how much I valued my family and how unwilling I was to lay them aside for my own aspirations. He picked up the hopes I'd laid at his feet at He brought them to my house. He weaved my personal aspirations into the fabric of my everyday life and made it possible for me to have it all. I am so blessed.
In the Bible when something really big and important happened at a location Gods people would mark the area with an altar. The altar served as a marking point. It was a place to remember what God had done.

I can tell you that when I began pouring my heart out here I was in a pretty desperate place. In the last two years I've faced a major move, the birth of a child, the loss of two houses, forclosure, bankruptcy, my husband's job loss, wounded feelings from our former church, suicidal feelings due to postpardum depression, two more moves, my teenage cousin moving in, her moving out, and then . . . .blessing. This is the altar I'm building, the place I remember God's provision. He settled my family, gave my husband a wonderful job, provided a beautiful home for our family, fulfilled my ambitions, replaced my depression with joy, healed my hurts, met our financial needs, reconciled my cousin to her parents and to God (she was called to ministry while she was here), and blessed me more than I could imagine. He parted the sea for me. He blew my mind.

My next three posts here will be about beginnings. They will be thank you notes to God in a way. I hope you'll visit again as I reflect on the firsts that have occured in my home recently. I'll leave lots of room for you to comment too. I hope you'll join me as, together, we recognize the ground we've gained as children of the King.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Awesome New Writing Contest At The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Exciting News from TOS!

Attention writers!
Grab your pencils and get those creative juices flowing!

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is hosting our second Storytime Writing Contest! We have two creative fiction categories: adults (16 and up 2,500 words or less) and children (15 and below 1,500 words or less). Deadline to enter is March 16, 2009. $7.95 fee per entry.

Grand prize winners in both the adult and child categories will receive prize packages valued at over $1,000, publication in the Summer 2009 issue of TOS, and publication in our Storytime 2009 Compilation E-Book. Eleven Honorable Mentions from each category will also be included in the E-Book in addition to receiving gifts from top homeschool companies.

We look forward to reading your entries!

For a detailed list of prizes, official contest rules, to meet our judges, and to upload your story, please visit: www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com/Short_Story_Contest.php.

Need help teaching writing? We have over 200 writing products in the Schoolhouse Store!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A 7th Birthday Party

Chloe's 7th Birthday party was today. She's gotten so big. I can't believe she's already 7!
She had a couple of new friends over and received some pretty neat presents. One gift was a marker set. Nevie liked it a lot. Notice the lovely tattoo on her arm.
It might still be there at her 7th Birthday.
My kids are crazy, but they are crazy fun too. Happy Birthday Chloe. You are still my baby.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I am having so much fun taking pictures of my kiddos. I mean, aren't they just so cute? Here I caught Sadie reading in the bathtub. She swiped Nevie's winter hat and my bra to complete her look. I love how her book is upside down. I'll have fun teasing her about that when she gets bigger.

To see more cute kid pictures click HERE.

This is the first of my entries this week for iHeartFaces. The kids dressed up our poor dog, Hunter, in a dress. I think Sadie is adorable with her Clifford headband. My only regret with this photo is that Sadie looks so tired. She's barely been sleeping at all lately. That makes for a tired mommy too.
To see more cute photos with pets click here

Monday, January 26, 2009

Adult Entry for iHeartFaces

This is my adult photo for iHeartFaces this week. Our family friend, Mr.R, is 98 and a huge blessing to our family. Here he's playing with my daughter and her puppet "Clementine". He is full of joy around my little ones and they love having him around. It cracks me up watching him try so hard to be serious when he just wants to laugh.

You can see more joyful adult faces here

iHeartFaces captures "Joy"

This is my little ball of joy. Her fun and spunk come out nicely in this picture. To me, joy can be as simple as rolling in the grass. It's the smiles and laughter that create joy, even more than the activity or surroundings.

If you are looking for joy check out more joyful faces here.