I love a good calendar. My life revolves around it. With He-wood working retail and leading worship at various churches, Wee-wood 1 having orthodontist appointments, and Wee-wood 4 going constantly for infant well-checks I cannot live without it. I also LOVE a good meal planning menu however due to our living situation its been a tad too difficult to nail down a whole month at a time.
So how about I link up to another calendar of sorts for you. Lifeway Women All Access blog has a calendar for this May with scripture-it also talks a lot about light this month. May it challenge us to talk about His Word more with our children. If you know me just a bit I have an obsession with Lifeway. I only cheat on Lifeway when Amazon is cheaper…crying shame I know. As a trained chemist if I could convince them they need to hire me I totally would! Mostly in their promotions department for their Lifeway branded Bible Studies. I have a thing for Bible Studies- you may have noticed that if you are my Facebook friend and saw how much I promoted Angie Smith’s new study Seamless. It’s a great one to check out if you are looking for a 7 week Bible Study.
Okay so here’s the link for the May calendar. Hope you enjoy it!
When we first started homeschooling I was super freaked out (read verge of anxiety attack) on teaching my kids to read. Don’t get me wrong I love to read I just have no clue how to teach it! I also didn’t want them to grow up hating reading so a firm foundation was key. Don’t even get me started on spelling. While my younger sister went to the D.C. for the spelling bee, autocorrect and I are bffs…well when it doesn’t change my word to something ridiculously stupid!
So enter with my mom’s suggest on All About Reading. We LOVED Ziggy when my daughter was 4! Ziggy is a zebra puppet that helps with the pre-reading curriculum.We start with their pre-reading at 4. She was a very advanced 4 year old since she knew how to write and already read several words but we did it anyways. She quickly grasped rhyming with Ziggy. Pre-reading is great because each day there is an easy craft and it varies so it isn’t always coloring.
Kindergarten we began AAR 1. We saw much success and we are now finishing it with out second daughter. She wasn’t as advanced as her sister but she even enjoys sitting down doing her flashcards by herself. I love that there are many different ways we can use the fluency sheets.
One thing I do need to say is that it is super portable! You can use the tiles for spelling reading words on cookie sheets or put them in an old diaper container and take them to a playdate to do school while the younger kiddos play. My favorite is to take a fluency sheet to a restaurant and reward the kiddo with an ice-cream cone after she finishes her sheet for the day. We’ve also done fun things like using bingo markers to mark out the words, dividing up larger sheets so it isn’t overwhelming, and rolling dice to see how many rows to read at a sitting! It’s so portable that when we did pre-reading with our oldest we were living in two different places 80 miles apart for my husbands job. We bought the full kit with the little tote bag and just threw in what arts and craft supplies we needed for those days we would be away from home!
We formally introduce spelling in first grade. So since we LOVED the reading we chose their spelling also. I love that both their reading and spelling curriculum tell you why we do it this way and some exceptions. Having missed or forgotten those rules growing up its been a great learning tool for this momma!
My oldest has one more year or so of their reading curriculum and many more years of spelling with them but we are thankful for the firm foundation it has given us. It’s also a great tool for non-homeschool families. If your child is struggling or just needs extra practice its an easy and quick way to incorporate it into their life. Great way to keep their brains working over the summer weeks when school is out!
You can see in the picture it even makes an appearance at Kindergarten graduation. To show reading fluency we allow them to choose a story to read or a book. My daughter chosen an AAR story she had recently read.
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As She-wood has shared, this day is a strange and difficult day for us. It has been exactly one year since we were let go from our previous church staff position. In that past year we have seen crazy life changes. It was also exactly one year ago today that we found out that We-wood #4 was on her way. Kind I a crazy day like I said. However, over and over again God has demonstrated His faithfulness toward us in His provision and guidance. We have seen Him work over and over again.
I have been drawn to Colossians 2:6-7 which says,
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
We have had no option but to walk with the Lord over the past year. We have had to follow where He leads as we wade through life on faith. But I don’t say this as a bad thing. We have had our faith built and our trust in Christ strengthened over the past year in a way that we never could have imagined.
I was reminded of something last week. On Friday we visited the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It is always fun for me. The kids love it and it is beautiful. We saw this flower there.
This flower is only about 3 inches tall, but it is gorgeous! In the picture you can see the detail that God put into creating it. The color, the detail, the mastery; God created a beautiful thing. It dawned on me that the very same power that God used to create this flower is alive in me through the Holy Spirit. He loves me and has a purpose and plan for my life and the life of our family. We are still waiting to see what it is as of yet, but I know that He is good and that whatever He leads us to will glorify Him.
Have you ever seen the rays of sun through clouds? Its a beautiful sight isn’t it?! Its one of the rare times we can actually see the light in its little column coming through the clouds to us. And if you are awesome when you pull into a shopping center you can snap a blurry picture of it then realize its blurry pop out and snap a much better picture of it. It may not be the prettiest picture because the restaurant “Chicken World” is featured in the picture but hey it reminds you that the sun is there…in my case HOPE and blessings. If you are as awesome as I am you will email said awesome photo to post into a well written (haha) blog to share with 2.1 readers, and delete the blurry one…or was it the good one you delete leaving your readers to stare at awesome blurry picture. Ahhh yes….early morning fringe hours you strike again and ruin my plan.
But it made me think, we often think clouds are bad. In fact clouds are beneficial for many things. Our wedding photograph told us an overcast day was best for lighting and they make for cooler weather during a summer baseball game! On this day they allowed me to reflect on the beauty God created. It created a pause in my day, a pause to take the pictures, to reflect that without the clouds of life (our trials and storms) would we really pause and see God as the author of our good and bad times. Our waiting times, our loss of a baby through miscarriage, our grief in not being able to parent a child that we advocated for and waited hours to feed its first bottle, our times of unemployment, the times people have deeply hurt us, the times that our plans don’t align with his plans. But through those times we see pictures just like this-God showing beautiful rays through the clouds telling us, reminding us to pause and remember him. Through an encouraging word, pizza brought on a devastating day to share over tears, homes opened up for us to live in…all piled in one bed, cards with gift cards/check to provide food, churches to play at and quilts to sell to pay the bills, friends to clean mouse infested kitchens, the same friends to pack a uhaul when our plans are not his plans and we move away…we could go on and on couldn’t we.
James 1:2-4 Consider it great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing
May we always remember to count our blessings and keep the faith. May my children be able to see the faith leading to endurance and the endurance to maturity. May we always hold on just a bit longer and lean into Him. And if I’m being honest may we soon be singing a new tune and have a new place in ministry and home.
He-wood and I are avid readers but sadly ever since wee-wood 3 we’ve become terrible bloggers. We’ve both decided to try and get back into it. So today I wanted to tell you of my latest read: The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner. As mothers we often neglect ourselves and her book encourages us to do better at this. Something I rarely do is paint my fingernails-mostly because in 2.7seconds they’re already chipping. So y’all awesome ladies need to tell me your secret nail polish tricks.
Anyhow, besides reading, and pampering myself-ie a haircut, I did a bit of quilting. Something I LOVE. My mom has never gotten a quilt of mine but i have gotten many and ahem stolen one…ok ok she insisted I take it but I think my youngest sister is plotting its safe rescue! So I saw fit that she have a new quilt for her bed, in fact its the largest quilt I’ve done to date! HUGE I tell you! I used many fringe hours or days to get this done in record breaking time.
I have to admit I am very blessed with a husband that allows me time and money to pursue my passions. So husbands out there take notice, grab your wife the book and take the kids so she can care for herself a bit.
I think my biggest take away from the book is to ask for help! I am terrible about asking for help to get things done, like going to the doctor alone, haircut without holding a baby, or sewing, or being in Bible study. I was also reminded that all stages in life can be crazy busy and women impose stupid standards on themselves and could possibly use our help. So I’m going to try and ask if I can help others and I’m going to ask for help more often.
It has always been a challenge to teach our kids to wait patiently. Sometimes they can be the most impatient children I’ve ever seen and certainly the most whiney! So when one of our favorite authors came out with a book about waiting I knew we needed to purchase it. Mo Willems wrote a book called “Waiting is Not Easy”. In it Piggy has a surprise for Gerald, the elephant. Gerald initially is very patient but just a few pages in he’s very impatient and begins to groan loud groans! Eventually it gets dark and he’s like we’ve waited all day-and wants to know the surprise. Piggy finally says look up there is your surprise. The beautiful night sky was above them. They both were awestruck at the beautiful night sky!
It got me thinking, How often are we Gerald the elephant with Piggy,a loving God. We begin by being patient but quickly lose sight of the beautiful night sky…the prize! In our life we’ve been through the waiting phase of unemployment. It was difficult last time around too. We were commuting 80 miles one way begging for the church to vote him in or let us move on. When we adopted our son we waited for nearly a year-getting impatient every day. Many people questioned if we were continuing, stopped asking, and there were days that shamefully I forgot we were in the process. This time of waiting is getting to us again. Okay to be honest it was getting to us a long time ago. It’s been a year that He-wood has officially known about the unemployment season but he’s been looking for a place in ministry for about 18 months. It’s been a long season of waiting. Today I remind myself that much like Gerald waiting for his surprise I too can keep waiting. I must remember that there will be a day when this waiting is over. So until then may I remember to look up and enjoy the goodness of God’s creation.
So last night I took our five-year-old on a date. I like to do that periodically. I think it’s important that I spend time with each of my children individually from time to time. The thing that struck me about the evening was that our five-year-old was overjoyed just to have time alone with me. I love our five-year-old just like I love all four of our kids. She is such a joy to be around. She is the funniest kid I have ever met. She can bring humor into any situation just about. The fact is I spent the evening with her and as I watched her face and as I talk to her and as I listen to her I noticed that she just loved being with me. She was soaking up every second of being with dad. And I couldn’t help but think of my relationship with my heavenly Father.
How often have I looked at time with the Father as something that is a chore? I should never consider it to be a chore. I should be overjoyed just to get to spend time with my Father. I’ve been struggling over the past couple weeks to get up early enough to spend time with my heavenly Father. I don’t talk about it as if it’s some sort of thing that will earn me more salvation. I talk about it as it’s a thing that I want to do but I can’t seem to do it. I now understand what Paul was talking about.
The fact is I know that just as much as I am overjoyed when I spend time with the Father, He revels in it as well. I just want to make him smile.