Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Activities for Thanksgiving Day:

These are just a few examples! What can you come up with on your own? Feel free to share!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Vision Boards: Getting Your Ideas Ready!

Over the past few weeks we've been talking about writing our goals. But what if you don't even know where to begin? Maybe you don't think you can pinpoint just what you want to accomplish in 2016. That's okay! This week, we're going to figure out just where your passion lies and those things that you truly desire to achieve in the next 12-18 months!

This week, I want you to write down at least 50 things you want to do before you die. It can literally be ANYTHING. Skydiving, learn another language, take a trip overseas, pay off debt, run a marathon, lose 40 pounds, meet your favorite celebrity, have a family vacation in Mexico, write a book, attend the Super Bowl or World Series, organize the whole house, buy a new car, visit all the beaches in the United States, take a short term missions trip, open a center for teens, and the list goes on and on. Big or seemingly small, there are no limits! Dream as big as you want and be specific. Later this week we're going to do something with that list, so be on the lookout for another Vision Board post this week!

The Bible says that without vision ( or dreams and goals!), the people will perish (Proverbs 29:18).

Earl Nightingale said, "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going."

And Zig Ziglar said, "If you want to reach a goal, you must 'see the reaching' in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal."

Walt Disney once said," If you can dream it, you can do it!"

Finally, my favorite speaker, Terri Savelle Foy, added her own paraphrase to Walt's by saying, "If you can dream it, GOD can do it!"

This week, write anything and everything you've ever wanted to do.  This is where your dreams and vision begin!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

Next week is Thanksgiving, and I confess that I am looking forward to having that time off from my weekly obligations. That's not to say that I don't enjoy them because I really do! I wouldn't trade any of them for anything else. But I am also aware of the amount of time each of them consumes in my life. Taking a break means I have time to catch up on writing, reading, crafts, and fun with my kids.

My sister is a teacher. She leaves early in the morning to prepare herself and the classroom for the day's activities. She also isn't able to clean her house regularly like she did before she became a teacher. But I know she wouldn't trade a SPOTLESS house for the privilege of teaching her 5th graders! And at the same time, she is also looking forward to her own break from school.

We both are so very thankful for the jobs we have and the lives of people and kids that are intertwined within ours. But breaks are definitely necessary to refresh and encourage us.

What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving? What breaks do you plan to take?


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it's important to teach our kids gratitude in special things and in everyday things. I've talked before about building strong character in our children, and this is just another aspect of that. 

As a homeschooler, there are many reasons to teach our children to express gratitude, from meaningful expressions of thankfulness to writing thank you cards immediately. Children of all ages and skill levels can benefit from learning this one trait. 

Three things kids can do, some with the help of a parent, are:

  • Write a thank you note for a gift recently received
  • Write 3 things your child is thankful for each day
  • Make a gift wish list...for other people. (Gifts your child would like to give or make for someone else!)

I encourage you to take this next week to focus on gratitude and instilling that character trait in your child. If you come up with other ideas, too, please share them here!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Vision Boards: Creating SMART Goals

This week, we are going to begin organizing the goals we've been praying about and writing down. In order for goals to be successful, they must meet certain criteria. The acronym for this is SMART.

S-Specific. Make goals specific and not general. If you need $20,000 for a down payment on a house, put that down. If you want to lose 17 pounds, put that down. If you want to pay for a Disney vacation that costs $3,000, write it down. If you want to increase your income by a certain amount, put that down. Avoid generalizations such as "money for a down payment on house", "lose weight", or "increase monthly income." These goals are good, but too broad.
M-Measurable. We have to be able to see the progress, measure it and realize that even if we aimed for 100%, we might have gotten 50% of the goal. For example, if we need to pay for that vacation that costs $3,000, we might create a chart where we can mark off milestones such as paying every $500.
A-Action-oriented. Goals require us to put forth an effort. As Christians, it's common to believe that God can and will do the impossible. That doesn't mean we don't have to put in some leg work of our own. We must take action, begin moving toward our goals, doing things that move us toward achieving our goals. For example, if I want to write a book in 30 days, I actually have to sit down at the computer and start typing on the keyboard! The book isn't going to write itself. If you want to record a CD, you have to gather or write music, find a recording studio, and actually record the songs. It's the same for any one of our goals.
R-Realistic. Goals that are way out there may not in fact be realistic goals, especially if they are not action-oriented. For example, it is not a realistic goal that you would increase your income to one million dollars by playing the lottery. Now, don't misunderstand. If that is God's will and plan for you, He can make that happen. But it's not a realistic goal and there is no action really required. Having a goal of weight loss is realistic, but losing 100 pounds in 2 months is not. Get the idea? Setting smaller goals drives you and increases your commitment to accomplishing the overall goal. So losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks is more realistic. Make sense?
T-Timeline. I think this is where our goals are achieved or not. If we don't give ourselves a timeline for accomplishing our goals, we have no drive to complete them. So if I say I want to write a book, well, that could be next week, next month or next year because there is no commitment to completing it sooner rather than later. 

Below is my first vision board. Looking at it, you can see that there are no SMART goals. In fact, the only goals I did add SMART goals to was publishing my books. I only published one. That is the only goal I accomplished on this board three years ago! 

When we create our vision boards in the next few weeks, we need to make sure we include these SMART goals with each goal. Let's say I want to save for a trip to Disney World. It might look something like this before I put it on my board:

Specific: Six day, five night trip to Disney World in September 11-16, 2016
Measurable: Cost for all 6 family members to go is $4,967.20 and includes Fort Wilderness campsite, park hopper park passes, and Dining Plan.
Action-oriented: Everyone must work to save the money for this trip.
Realistic: We can pay $400 per month from paychecks and need to work for $152 a month in addition to meet the goal.
Timeline: We will pay for the vacation 45 days prior to our arrival, July 28, 2016.

Do you see how each of these components work together to give us a very real, clear picture of a goal? This is exactly what you're going to do with each of your goals that you want to put on your vision board! Remember what it says in Habakkuk 2:2: Write the vision, make it plain. 

You may think that all of this takes a lot of work just to get ready to start working toward your goals. It does take a lot of work! But if God didn't require something of us in accomplishing these goals, we would be in danger of taking the credit for the achievements ourselves and taking the focus off of God's power to help us finish it.

Terri Savelle Foy says, "When you're ready, get ready!" We are ready to get more specific and more committed to our goals for 2016,,,and we start TODAY!!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

My confession for this week is simply that I can't do it all in my own power and strength. I need the Lord's help in my life, and that is why I made Him Lord and Savior over me. My job is to live out His dream for my life.

Did you know Jesus has a dream for your life? Well, He does, and He wants you to succeed in life, too. Ever wonder why you want to write so much, create things, help people, give of yourself, invite people into your home, fix every little thing? Well, it's because your spirit desires to get that calling out and it's coming out however you will let it!

God has so much more than we could ever hope or think. He just wants us to fully surrender to Him, so that His plan and will for our lives can be carried out.

So, the choice is yours today. Will you fully surrender your life to God so that all He has for you can be made real? Remember, someone is waiting on the other side of your obedience!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Today is Veteran's Day. So I want to encourage you to teach your children about our veterans, their legacy, what they might have gone through, and to support our veterans. One way you can do that is to attend your local Veteran's Day parade. You can also visit a local nursing home, VFW or American Legion and talk to the people there who are veterans. Let them listen to their stories and feel the patriotism that still, many years later, seems to still ooze out of these veterans, proud of their service to our country.
Then, ask your children how they want to continue honoring our veterans after today's festivities and celebrations are over. I'm sure they will come up with great ideas!