An illustration I recently finished…(and other news!)

I just finished an illustration for livingpageslibrary.com (coming soon!). YES, I also do illustrations for “hire!” If you or someone you know is looking for an illustrator, keep me in mind! 

In other news, I am a couple of weeks or so away (hopefully) from finishing my brand new language arts curriculum schedule for grades 2-6. I’m really happy at how it’s coming along. It schedules in Beowulf’s Grammar as a grammar spine as well as lots of other colorful books that cover L.A. subjects without workbook drudgery! The subjects included are grammar, writing, spelling, vocabulary, poetry, and literature – all done Guest Hollow style!!

One of the terrific things about this program is that it’s truly adaptable for grades 2-6, so you can use it with more than one student at the same time without having to juggle separate programs and resources. It’s also creative, unique, and appropriate for all types of learners, even those who are reluctant writers with an aversion to picking up a pencil, lol…

If your kids don’t love language arts or aren’t as successful in that area as you’d like them to be, you’ll want to take a look at Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Level 1 (grades 2-6) in the next couple of weeks or so! I can’t wait to share more soon!

That’s my daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who don’t know, my daughter is living and working in Japan. On the side, she’s been working on building her acting resume. She is convicted that the film industry has a real need for a Christian influence. Here she is in a commercial for Toyota!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSa4N0W83_A

You can only see her for a tiny bit at about 1:98 in the video above. Here’s a screenshot:

Capture

O.K. That’s my little proud mama dance, lol.

I remember when I was homeschooling her and wondering what she would become and what she would do when she was grown up. I never dreamed she would live in Japan. I also never envisioned her in commercials (and other film work). I knew she had a purpose though, and that I was helping prepare her for it. It’s amazing to me that so many of the things I did back when I was homeschooling her, have helped in small ways to get her where she is now. We spent a lot of time learning about other cultures, and I believe God was beginning to prepare her heart for reaching other people. I also believe He was allowing her to explore and develop her gifts, like her love for languages and the arts, in ways she never would have been able to in a regular school setting.

I’m also glad He led her to attend our local jr. college, as NONE of her current opportunities would have unfolded via the previous college track we had planned on and hoped for, in the beginning. Who would have known she would get involved with Japanese students and a Japanese company in the middle of a cow town?! lol.  I think it’s hilarious that she runs into good friends so often in Japan. She’s thousands of miles away in the middle of Tokyo eating lunch with friends she met in a dinky little nothing town here in the states at a dinky little nothing jr. college. Cue in the music to “It’s a Small World”, lol. You would be amazed at all the little perfect storms in her life that I don’t have time to get into right now.  That’s God’s hand right there.

I’m so happy that she is getting to share her love of Christ with the Japanese, and of all the amazing things she is getting to do, as God throws so many doors wide open!

When you are working hard to teach your kids and fighting about math or stressing over which science program you are going to use, stop and remember that this time you have with them is fleeting. Your kids are going to grow up and move out and make their mark in the world, even though that may seem SO far away. It’s not. You are equipping them right this very moment for all of the things they are going to do. Let God lead you in the things you teach them, even if those things aren’t in the “usual” 4 year history cycle or whatever homeschool slave that’s driving you.

Don’t be afraid to do things a little differently or to spend time exploring interests that don’t always add up perfectly in your high school credits list, or that may not be in the current homeschool “vogue”. You just never know where it might lead and what impact it may have on your kids’s lives and the lives of the people they will touch in the future.

When my kids were little, we used to spend hours listening to radio programs in Asian languages just for fun. I had no idea why I did that, lol. Only now, I do. 😉 My daughter is reading and writing and speaking Japanese on a daily basis! What may have seemed like a waste of time (we weren’t actually LEARNING as we were just listening), may have helped her brain be more receptive to learning an Asian language.

It’s little goofy things like that, that added up and made a difference. Maybe your son likes to build paper models. Hey, that’s not school!! Or is it? Maybe someday he’s going to be an engineer. Maybe your daughter spends hours building little bead bracelets. Maybe someday her super developed motor skills will be enacted as her hands hover over someone’s heart in the middle of surgery. You just never know.

I’m so thankful for those precious years I had to teach my children. It’s exciting to see their lives unfold and to see that God’s hand was always working towards their futures, even when they were very small and I couldn’t see it in the day-to-day struggles.

Hang in there. It’s worth it.

Gold Country

Just sharing some pictures of our visit to “gold country”…

Some friendly horses:

horses

A vein of quartz poking up out of the ground like the back of a sleeping dragon:

A curious and furry face:

horse

I hope everyone is having a great summer! Ours has been busy, but productive. In a couple of weeks I’ll post a sneak peek of a new curriculum in the works: Knowledge of Nature!

Vid Angel

vidangel

I discovered Vid Angel not too long ago and LOVE what it offers. You can rent movies online and watch on your computer or devices or via Chromecast, Apple TV or ROKU. We already watch a lot of online movies via Amazon, so what’s so special about Vid Angel? Vid Angel will FILTER out unwanted content!! Want to watch Game of Thrones without the smut? Vid Angel makes it so you can do that. It does so with tons of new and popular movies. You are in control of the settings. You can choose to mute bad language, remove any s*x, nudity or immodesty, alcohol & drug use, violence, blood and gore, and other offensive or negative elements.

Each movie has its own set of sliders. There are lists of each potentially offensive moment and you can choose to set the sliders to disallow (or allow) specific content.

sliders

Vid Angel also lets you know if a scene is important to the story so you’ll know if your choices are affecting plot elements. Vid Angel will even alert you to spoilers so you don’t ruin a movie’s surprises, too:

vid angel

Every deletable or mutable scene (or bad word) is explained so you can customize it for whomever is viewing a movie with you (your 6 year old vs. your 16 year old). You also get to see a timeline of the movie that shows you how your choices have affected the movie playback time:

watch

So, here is my shameless request…if 5 people click on the link below and watch a movie on Vid Angel, I get one year of free movies. If you are interested, please try it out, because I need a free year of movies, lol! It’s a great service and a way to clean up movies for yourself or your kids. Movie (and TV show) rentals are cheap too! You can rent an HD movie for just $2.00 (SD movies are $1.50)! No more worrying if Redbox doesn’t have a copy of the movie you want to watch or having to get a movie back to the kiosk. Just click and stream! Another great feature is that if you rent a movie and end up loving it so much that you want to buy it, your rental amount counts toward the purchase price!

Click here to check out Vid Angel!! Movies minus the bosoms, blood & bad words!

Living in Japan

My daughter Hannah gave me permission to share some of the photos and details about her life in Japan. I find this kind of stuff fascinating, so I thought it would be appropriate to post here, lol. You can see first-hand what a previously homeschooled student is doing with her life as an adult! When she was younger and I was teaching her, I used to wonder what she would do/be when she grew up. Now I’m watching her life unfold into something so amazing!

A view from her window:

view from the window

She lives in a shared housing situation. It’s very interesting as it’s like a dormitory for working women. No men are allowed inside, not even family. There are staff that keep the common areas clean. Here’s a floor plan that shows how it’s laid out:

dormHannah has one of the little dorm rooms. They look like this inside:

dormroom2

There is a loft where you can put a futon to sleep. She actually put hers on the bottom level.

At the entrance of Japanese houses, you take your shoes off and exchange them for socks or slippers, and then you can step onto the higher level floor. You can sort of see that in the picture below with the shoes in an area that is a little lower than the main floor:

shoes

Here’s a picture of a temple she walked to recently:

temple

Notice the cherry blossoms:

cherry blossoms

I’ll be posting pictures of Hannah’s life in Japan from time to time. My next post about her will show her groceries and what she is eating over there!

Some of you are homeschooling little ones. Cherish that time, because it won’t be long and they will spread their wings and fly. 🙂 Hannah flew all the way to Japan, lol!

My state “collection” and our recent vacation

Ok, I got sucked into this like everyone else lately, LOL…
Here is my map of states I’ve been to:

mystates2

I feel really lucky to have been so many places in the U.S. (and some other places abroad too)! Now I just have to “collect” all those other states! 😉

Since I’m on the subject of visiting states, here are some pics of a recent excursion to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho! Recently, my husband and I had our first kid-less vacation in, uhm….11 years or so. It was absolutely amazing! No kids asking for potty breaks! No “Let’s stop at this museum to earn Jr. Ranger badges for homeschooling purposes”. No whining in the car because someone’s leg went 3 millimeters over into the other kid’s territory. No 55 stops at McDonalds. No bored faces while mom & dad take 20 years to take just the right picture of the scenery. No little legs that are too tired to go on or it’s past someone’s bedtime. Did I say it was amazing yet? We’ve loved our multitude of trips with the kids, but now with one last teen in the nest we are speeding toward adult only territory and it’s, well, fun. Is that evil for a mom to admit that? Do I lose my ultra-homeschooling-super-involved-mom of the year badge? LOL…maybe not yet, but at least I was able to recharge my batteries with stuff like this:

Buffalo in the parking lot in Yellowstone National Park:

buffalo

My husband taking pictures of steam in the distance (Yellowstone):

yellowstone

A beautiful blue hot spring in Yellowstone:

yellowstone2

The Teton Mountains in Wyoming:

tetons

A steaming, hot waterfall in Yellowstone:

Steaming, hot waterfall in Yellowstone

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Turkeys walking in a downtown Coeur d’alene neighborhood (Idaho):

Turkeys walking in a downtown Coeur d'alene neighborhood (Idaho)

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Look at this beautiful sunset (totally unaltered and straight out of the camera) we saw from my mom’s kitchen window in Idaho:

sunset

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

A flower on the hiking trail at Round Lake in Idaho:

flower

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

The forest at Round Lake in Idaho:

forest

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

antlers

White wolf at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana:

wolf

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

A grizzly at the center:

grizzly

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

An elk by the side of the road:

elk

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Mama and baby buffalo:

buffalo

It even snowed on us!

snow

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

We loved our trip. When the kids were little, I just couldn’t imagine life without children running around. I love being a mother, but sometimes I think there have been times I’ve been so immersed in homeschooling that I’ve forgotten I’m first and foremost a wife. 🙂 If you can’t go out and collect a state with your hubby, at least go out and collect a restaurant, lol.

Click here to make your own map of the states you’ve been to!

Being a Keeper of the Home

Keeper of the home

When I was younger, I did not enjoy “domestic” type jobs around the house. I thought they were boring and had to force myself (for the most part) to do them. I had a rebellious attitude and heart toward many of the old-fashioned stereotypes of women.  Why should I be the one stuck with the laundry when I had been changing diapers all day and chasing toddlers? Why should I bother to mend pants when I can just go out and buy another pair? So what if the living room wasn’t tidy…I’d been homeschooling the kids all day. Was I a maid too? While I loved taking care of my children, I did not love taking care of my home.

Now that I’m older, I’ve grown into an entirely different mindset. I LIKE taking care of my home. I love learning all of the skills I neglected or trudged through during my younger years. I’ve found that the closer I’ve grown to God, the more I’ve grown to enjoy the role He created for me as a woman and all of the “jobs” that entails. When I was younger, I was often disorganized and messy. Now my home is a place of peace and order (usually, lol). God is not a God of chaos. Everything in the universe has its place and purpose. Our homes need to reflect the God we serve.

I find when I do things His way that I’m filled with a contentment and direction that was entirely unknown to me years ago. I wish I had known then what I know now. Doing things God’s way is not always easier, but it’s always the best way. It’s also the only way to put yourself in a position to receive the full measure of the blessings he wants to pour over you and your family. I can’t tell you how many things, even little things that are just wants and not needs, that God has taken care of and given us. The more I pursue His way, the more I see Him working in our lives.

There are no excuses why a healthy wife and mother can’t take care of her home. Don’t tell me it’s because you’ve been teaching the kids all day (been there, done that) or that you are tired (I am too!), or that you don’t know how to do something (learn!) or the kids keep wrecking it all behind you (train them not to). If you are struggling with keeping your home, you CAN train yourself (and your kids) to do what needs to be done.

The first step is nurturing the right heart & attitude concerning your daily tasks and the things you still need to learn. I list this as the FIRST step because if you don’t have the right heart about something, you will never improve in the long-term. If you feel disaffected having to pick up socks off the floor your husband threw down for the 256th time, you aren’t going to make any progress. Why let it bother you? What’s faster and more conducive to happiness and contentment? Picking them up or making a big deal out of it in your mind and letting it fester in your soul all day? You have to look at being a wife and mom as your job. What sort of review would a boss write about your “work performance” lately? 😉 It’s a gift to get to stay home. It may not be super popular for me to say this, but I believe being a stay-at-home wife and mom is not only a gift, but also part of God’s design for the family. Start working on a grateful & cheerful attitude.

The second step is starting with something – no matter how small! Just keep going from one small step to another. Work on building new habits and learning new things. When I was just starting this journey, one of the things I had to learn was not to step over something on the floor, but to pick it up and put it away, right then and there. It was a small thing, but it made a big difference. Now I can’t stand to have anything on my floor, lol. It drives me nuts whereas before I could ignore it all day.

The third step is to get rid of things and start finding a place for everything. If everything has a place, it’s much easier to keep things clean. There are lots of blogs and websites that have terrific ideas on how to organize everything from closets to under your kitchen sink. Pick one thing to start with and go from there.

The fourth step is to LEARN! What is it that you can learn to be a better wife, mother, house-keeper, etc.? Here are some things I’ve learned or am learning to save money or contribute to a better lifestyle, make my husband happy and other similar reasons that all have to do with being a keeper at home:

  • Gardening
  • Cleaning and organizing – I’m often on the lookout for new and better ways of doing things and work to keep my home environment attractive and peaceful.
  • Sewing – I’m JUST starting to learn how to sew so I can mend my husband’s pants, make gifts and create things for our home.
  • Canning & food preservation
  • Cooking from scratch – I’ve never been a great cook, but am hoping to change that. I’ve started learning new recipes and am trying new things like making yeast rolls instead of buying them, etc.
  • Couponing – I’ve saved as much as 35% on some of our shopping trips.

What do YOU need or want to learn? 🙂

The fifth step is to never quit and just keep going. If you fail, don’t beat yourself up. Just do better the next day. After a while things will fall into place.

It’s never too late to become a GREAT (and happy / contented) keeper of your home!

1 Timothy 5:14 – I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Titus 2:5 – To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.