Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Preparing for New Year's Eve Celebrations

As the year winds down and we begin to plan our countdown celebrations, make a list of activities for guests of all ages. It's not uncommon for families to go out and celebrate with other families, and this way, little Tommy's mom and dad know that he will be entertained playing age-appropriate games with other children while the parents are free to mingle and take part in other festivities.

Be sure everyone knows where the bathroom is, too!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Reflections of 2013

Take Inventory of Your Year 

As 2013 began, I made a few goals regarding this blog: 1) write blog posts daily, Monday through Friday; 2) review 2 books each month; and host more giveaways. I wanted to share with you where I ended the year in relation to my commitment to the Super Mom the Illusion blog and the goals I set for it and myself.

Blog posts in 2013: 207
Books reviewed: 21
Giveaways: 11

My daily blog count should have been closer to about 260 and my book reviews came up three short. But you know what? Even though I didn't reach my goals, I came close. I also accomplished more than if hadn't had my eyes set on a target. I've shared before that one of my favorite quotes is "If you aim for nothing, you'll hit it 100 percent of the time!" 
So set goals for 2014! Don't get discouraged if you didn't reach the goals you set this year. Be proud of the things you were able to accomplish and use those as the foundation of next year's projections.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

One Word Wrap Up


At the beginning of the year, I chose to participate in a One Word challenge. The idea was to choose one word that would be the focus for all my endeavors for the year. I chose the word IMAGINE! It is such a rich word for me.

  • What would I imagine would become of the book I wrote?
  • What would I imagine the man who ask my oldest daughter to marry him would be like?
  • What would I imagine my first grandson would look like?
  • What would I imagine going to my first writer's conference would be like?
  • What would I imagine our Christmas would be like? 
  • What would I imagine for the next year and all that the Lord has for me there?
There was so much to consider and meditate on that the Lord had for me. And even in all the things I could hope, think or imagine, He still had far beyond what my mind could dream up. It has been a great year of imagining, catching the vision He has for me, and growing closer to Him everyday. 

Did you choose a One Word this year? I'd love to hear about your One Word, too!
It isn't too late if you didn't do that in 2013. You can make a decision NOW, today, to choose your own One Word for 2014. 
ON New Year's Day, I'll reveal my One Word for 2014!!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Putting on the Spirit Giveaway WINNERS!!

Congratulations to our WINNERS:

Jaqueline S
Rachel B
Jan S

I'll be emailing each of you soon with the link to your eBook copy of Putting on the Spirit 10 minute devotions for busy moms!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

TIP TUESDAY (a bit late in the day!)...

Remembering the Reason for the Season

There was a time, not too long ago, that I struggled with celebrating Christmas. It wasn't that I didn't love Jesus or that I didn't want to get in the mood of the Christmas Spirit. I just couldn't get out of the dark place I had allowed myself to go. I couldn't wait for Christmas to be over! It was the worst holiday for me often because we weren't able to get gifts for our children.
During those bad years, we followed our traditions of getting a real tree, going to Christmas Eve candlelight service, and driving around looking at lights afterward. But on December 26th, I would promptly pack up all the decorations, pull the lights off the tree and have one of my sons help me haul the tree out of the house. The rest of the decorations we had put up around the house were soon packed and put away, too. I just wanted to move on to the New Year and be done.
A few years ago, I prayed to overcome that state of depression and the Lord delivered me. Now, I make it a point every year to focus on celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.
The tip for today is, no matter where you are in your relationships, in your finances, in your haves and have-nots, don't forget why we have this wonderful time of year!

Jesus is the reason for the season!
Keep Christ in Christmas!

Blessings and Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bless You

More Than a Nicety When Someone Sneezes

As I sat writing in my Thursday office (Panera!), someone nearby sneezed. I instinctively offered, "Bless you!" to the gentleman. He thanked me and commented that you never know when you'll sneeze and have a heart attack. How true!  

As is quite typical of me, that comment got me to thinking. What if I hadn't said those polite words expressing a common politeness? What if he needed to hear those words of blessing, not just because he sneezed, but becauase of something I had no idea was going on in his life? What if those words lifted his spirits and were instrumental in him have a better day than had begun for him? 
Our words really do impact the people in ways we cannot fully imagine or comprehend. Our words, when coupled with our faith, can change the course of an out of control car, sickness and disease that would attack us, or even change the course of a war as happened when Rees Howells prayed during World War II! 
I know when I've had an off day or a bad day, an uplifting word from a friend or even a stranger when I hear it and accept it has turned that day completely around for me! I believe that our words have power and that we can change not only our day but the day of those we encounter. 
What can you do or say to someone today that will encourage them?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Putting on the Spirit eBook Giveaway!!!

How is this for an amazing Christmas giveaway? My friend Katie Hornor at Paradise Praises just released her book, Putting on the Spirit and to celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway for THREE copies of the eBook!!! We'll start today and on Christmas Day, I'll choose the winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TIP TUESDAY: Homemade holiday treats

I grew up in South Florida and it was almost always too warm to think about drinking the typical warm holiday drinks such as hot cocoa or hot apple cider. Instead, we opted for candy canes stuck into oranges!

It's easy! Just break off each end of the typical candy cane (you might notice there are two small holes inside it!), and jabbed it into the orange peel. Now you just use the candy cane as a straw and suck the orange juice through it for a yummy, festive treat!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review--Faith Leaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

     You may remember earlier this year I reviewed the book Faith Leaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits. 
In her first book, Alyssa Avant helps readers to focus on their passions, explains in practical terms how to take a leap of faith and trust God with the passions He's given us, and ways of profiting from those passions-turned-income-potential.

     Faith Leaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Starting a Virtual Assistant Business is the much sought after sequel. Alyssa gives wonderful, practical advice for starting a business and finding your niche in the world of virtual assisting. If you have ever considered making your way into a stay-at-home career as a virtual assistant, you must get this book.
     What I really liked about the continuation of encouraging me to find my passion and purpose was that this book took it a step further and showed me ways to jump start my career while doing something I enjoy. If you have read her first book, but wondered like I did, "How do I get started and where do I go now that I know what I want to do?" This book is for you!

You can purchase a copy of The Christian Mom's Guide to Starting a Virtual Assistant Business on Amazon.com!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cast Off ALL Fear!

It's Time to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

     My daughter loves to perform...as long as she has the rest of her theatre company behind her. After talking one day, she said she thought she could do a solo and that it was time to step out of her comfort zone. WOW! How right she was!
     That started me thinking about how often I'm unwilling to step out and try something new. Our church sound team member could not be there last Sunday and I was already scheduled to do the overheads. Our head sound team coordinator (who is also on the Worship team so he couldn't do both that day!) asked me if I could tweak somethings if it became necessary. I had never fiddled or fumbled with the sound board before. I was comfortable doing overheads since I've been in that role for 10 years off and on. But as a lifelong learner, I accepted that challenge! It was great...well, it was good to learn some new things, but it wasn't all that great. How many times have I let fear of screwing up determine if I would even try or even take one small step out of my own comfort zone?
     Well, we really don't have to stay there. We can leave that comfort zone and push beyond our fears. After all, what would have been the worse thing that happened if I hadn't remembered to unmute a microphone? What would have happened if my daughter messed up on the words to her song? Really? Nothing more than I would have flipped the button a bit later than I was expected to and my daughter would have kept right on singing. We would have stumbled through and done it--Completed what we set out to accomplish.
     Do you want to remain in a comfortable life or do you want to make progress and keep growing? The number one enemy to your success is FEAR! The definition of fear is: flight or to run away from.
Insecurities are rooted in fear. Rejection, low self esteem, and pride are even rooted in fear. Fear is activating Satan's power in your life. 
     Release your FAITH in the things you're trying and trusting God for. You can't be full of faith and full of fear at the same time. Romans 10:17 says "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." If you entertain thoughts of failing, you are no longer living by faith. You can remind yourself each time you get ready to do something new, "I am releasing the power of God by fath in doing this!"
Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, there is nothing to fear. I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties."
     Practice how to overcome your fear with faith!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

25 Confessions of a Homeschooling Mom

Realizing You Can't Do It All & Knowing It's Okay!

     I created this blog because when other moms heard how many children I had, my own educational accomplishments, and my career pursuits, they would regularly say, "You're a Super Mom!" The reality was and still is, I'm NOT! I wanted to give my readers a glimpse into my world not to show everyone that I'm not perfect (although that is very true!), but to perhaps allow them to see that what they are going through, thinking, feeling, and getting frustrated with in their own homeschooling journeys, I've gone through (and often still am) and I understand.
     So today, I want to present to you a few confessions of my homeschooling journey in the hopes that you might have an identifiable moment that makes you feel a bit more normal and less alone in the experience than you thought!
(C) ahalelaw.com

Truths about my homeschooling and life:
  1. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes thinking of the shortfalls my students have in their learning.
  2. I plan lessons for filling learning gaps during those hours I'm battling lies Satan is hurling at me.
  3. I feel more challenged in my homeschooling now with my youngest three than I did with my older five! I don't live and breathe curriculum searching and worksheet printouts like I used to.
  4. I wonder if they will ever learn to type or write a complete sentence beginning with a capital letter and ending with the proper punctuation.
  5. I know that training their character is a part of their education, but wonder if I am doing the job to their benefit.
  6. I feel like I am pursuing my own dreams and leaving my children's education hanging.
  7. I know they are doing well, but wonder if I could or should be doing more with them daily.
  8. I understand that knowing how and when to utilize resources such as math tutoring will benefit them far greater than passing out another worksheet.
  9. I feel jealous of Michelle Duggar teachig her children, keeping her house tidy, and still writing and going on speaking engagements.
  10. Encouraging my children in their future careers is a priority and plotting ways to align them to reach those goals becomes a strong goal for me.
  11. Bible reading is encouraged daily, even if just a few verses.
  12. I don't take the time to do regular devotionals with my children and I feel very guilty about that.
  13. After 20 years of using much of the same curriculum I got bored and decided it was time for a change.
  14. I enjoy helping other moms find positive ways and solutions for homeschooling their children.
  15. I believe a parent spending 4 hours a day teaching their child is an investment in that child's future life even if the teaching time is during non-traditional school times.
  16. I believe parents are more capable of teaching their own children than they believe.
  17. I believe that if everyone homeschooled their children, instilled Godly morals, values and beliefs in them, and held them to a higher standard and greater degree of accountability, the overall character of our nation would change for the better.
  18. When my three littles were younger, I thought I had more time to teach them the basics and recently realized that in just 6 years, my homeschooling years will come to an end.
  19. I dote on my children's accomplishments academically and try to hide their failures because I view their lack of knowledge or understanding as a failure on my part.
  20. It's okay to acknowledge my part in their learning gaps, but I must also allow my students to be accountable for their roles, too.
  21. I believe that unschooling has a place in education, but I also use this method of teaching and learning as a crutch for allowing them to explore topics my children are interested in learning about.
  22. My house needs to be picked up more often than it stays picked up.
  23. I find areas of the house I enjoy cleaning and work on keeping those picked up while assigning the rooms I don't like picking up (the living room, dining room and family room!) to the children as part of their chores.
  24. A date with my husband is often a run to Wal-Mart of Lowes without the kids.
  25. I'm not perfect, but I do encourage learning as often as possible whether academic, socially, building character, exploring topics of interest that may fade quickly, and pursuit of future careers.
     Let me encourage by telling you, there is no such thing as a Super Mom; only the illusion of such. God made you capable for schooling your children and caring for your family in a way that only you could do. He made Michelle Duggar capable of what she does and I don't have to try to be her! And for all the things I do that may make me seem "Super," there are far more that prove that concept wrong! 

     When you think, "How does she homeschool, do online college classes, work as a member of the Civil Air Patrol, co-edit a magazine, drive her kids to their activities, volunteer at church, take time for writing a blog and contribute to two others, write novels, work as a Facebook administrator, keep her house clean, and make it all look so easy?" Please remember or look back on these confessions! 
I can't do it all myself. I can't make it through the day without the strength my Savior promised me (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!). I am not perfect, and I daily fail. But the One who gave me a passion for writing, for being a mom, for homeschooling, for learning, for working with youth, for discipling and mentoring women, and for being a wife worthy for my husband makes it all possible!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Special Launch Week Pricing for Putting on the Spirit Book!!

New Book Release: As Fairydust Settles by Jansina

My friend and fellow writer has been busy with her latest project! A sequel to Shrouded Jewels, Jansina’s newest book, As Fairydust Settles, is now available!

From the back cover:

“Would you have married me if you had known?”
 Mical’s question stays with Davey. He doesn’t have an answer.
 Mical was wrong to deceive him, and her apologetic efforts may not be enough to keep them together. Will her spiteful father allow them the chance to find out?
 This sequel to Shrouded Jewels continues to follow Mical and Davey as they struggle with deception, temptation, and a sometimes bitter reality.
 Will Davey and Mical find their happily ever after?

Praise for the book:

“I think it may be her best yet.” – Gina Marinello-Sweeney, author of I Thirst
“Jansina, once again, brilliantly shows how the fairytale can have a happy ending after all.” – C.M. Stewart.
“It has mystery, humor, sadness, happiness, it’s very descriptive, and more. Jansina is a gifted author!” – Liz Ellertson, author of Liz’s Lefse

As Fairydust Settles is now available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats!

Ebook: ($2.99)

As Fairydust Settles on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384473

Paperback: ($12.99)

As Fairydust Settles in my CreateSpace store: https://www.createspace.com/4554057
As Fairydust Settles in the Rivershore Books store (autographed copies available): http://rivershorebooks.storenvy.com/products/921200

Hardcover, casewrap: ($19.99)

Hardcover, dust-jacket ($21.59)

You are welcome to purchase paperback or hardcover editions from the author by emailing her at Jansina@rivershorebooks.com. She is honored to sign any copies purchased directly from her!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

TIP TUESDAY: Decorating for the Holidays

(C) melissaknorris.com

If you want to decorate your home with the fragrant scent of fresh pine, don't spend a lot of money on purchasing evergreen boughs. Instead, visit your local Lowes or Home Depot where you can pick up the cut-off ends of trees others have purchased.
Simply hot glue the branches together to form the shape you want and attach a nice bow (which can actually be purchased from the dollar store!) and your holiday decorating is that easy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: Putting on the Spirit by Katie Hornor

10Minute Devotionals for Busy Moms

My friend Katie over at www.paradisepraises.com has created a great new devotional for us busy moms! If you are like me, finding just a few minutes for yourself every day can be such a challenge. This book is the solution we've been searching for to spend more quality time with the Lord. 

Each day of this one month devotional is about 10 minutes to finish and is based on the Fruits of the Spirit. It's a great way to strengthen your spiritual self while drawing closer to God and focusing on love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Nothing makes a mom feel more complete in her day than being able to spend regular time with the Lord first before beginning her day and serving her family.
Putting on the Spirit (English version) will be offered for free on Tue (12/10) and then for 99cents on Mon,Wed-Fri (12/9, 11-13). This week is the PERFECT time to get this book! And good news is that the book is also available in Spanish for Kindle. Those books will be 99 cents all week (12/9-12/13) on Amazon. Now there are no boundaries for sharing the Word of God with all your friends whether they are Spanish or English speakers!
Another fun thing is that Katie is offering a companion workbook to go with each book. After buying the book, you can go download a free workbook on Katie's website: http://paradisepraises.com/putting-on-the-spirit/.
Next week, I'll be giving away 3 FREE eBook copies of Putting on the Spirit, too! You won't want to miss that!!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Angelic Messengers

Listening and Obeying

(C) ephphatha.co.nz
     Our church has been doing One Church, One Book for the past two years. It was created as a way to engage people in their Bible reading and to position us for discussion in our small groups called ACTS (Activating Christians to Service) Fellowships. This month, we are reading through Luke.

     In just the first few chapters, the Father speaks to His children through angels. They are sent as messengers to prepare certain people for a life-changing event, in this case, the births of John and Jesus. I began thinking what it must have been like for Zechariah to be all alone in the portion of the temple where the incense was to be burned only to have an angel appear to him. Zechariah was paralyzed with fear, it says.  The angel proceeded to explain all the Zechariah and Elizabeth should do in raising this child, but Zechariah began to ARGUE with what the angel was telling was going to come to pass! Can you imagine?! First paralyzed with fear and then arguing that it would even happen! 
Next, Mary is greeted by an angel, Gabriel. Now her reaction I could probably relate to better: she was troubled! I've looked through many versions and some say she was confused, shaken, disturbed. The next thing the angel Gabriel says to her, though, is "Do not be afraid." I believe afraid would sum up how I would feel seeing an angel standing before me and bringing a message from the Lord. Not so much paralyzed with fear as Zechariah was, but afraid of what the message from the Lord might be perhaps.
(C) hdwallpapersinn.com
     As the time drew near for Mary to give birth, they travel to Bethlemhem for the census. When Jesus is born, the Bible says that an angel visited some shepherds and proclaimed the birth of the Savior to them. After the angelic message was delivered, the shepherds went quickly, some versions say they ran as fast as they could, to find Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
     In Matthew, we read that Joseph was visited by an angel through a dream. He was again visited through a dream by an angel who told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to flee the wrath of Herod until the news came that Herod had died. Joseph did not hesitate in either situation, but upon waking from the dreams did just as the angel had said. An angel also came to Joseph when Herod had died to alert him that it was safe to return and so they went to Nazareth.
     Finally, an angel visited the three wise men. This angel warned them that after seeing that the Christ child had been born, not to return to Herod for he was deceiving them and did not want to worship the baby but wanted to kill him. The Magi obeyed the angel and never returned to Herod but returned to their own country through a different route.

     In each of these examples, whether they were followers of God or not, when the angels came and told them something to do or to warn them, each group listened and obeyed. Now, Zechariah didn't initially obey and paid the consequence that no unbelief come out of his mouth so his mouth was shut for the nine months until John was born, but he did obey when it came to naming the child. Some folks don't believe there are still angelic visitations today, and that's another discussion we may soon embark on. But the point here is that they were given a message and chose to accept it and obey.
     Today, as we listen and hear from God, we have a choice to listen and obey or to argue, disagree and pick apart the things we are told. This is our opportunity choose to obey the Lord and to hear Him say, "You are my Beloved child in whom I am well pleased."


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Embracing and Valuing History

Remembering the Important Events of Our Nation

I recently had the pleasure of doing a presentation at a local middle/high school. I spoke about Civil Air Patrol, its history and the role it plays in our country today. I began my presentation with a question. It went something like this:
     "The Civil Air Patrol was founded on December 1, 1941. Who knows why this date is significant?" Sadly, out of the four sessions with these teens, only four could tell me the correct answer. "It was six days prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese during the start of World War II." I was so surprised at how many students didn't know that!
As a homeschooler, I want my kids to embrace our country's rich military history and the fight for independence and liberty that we still battle today in many ways.

  • December 17, 1903--The Wright Brothers made their first powered flight.
  • December 10, 1906--President Theodore Roosevelt wins Nobel Peace Prize for helping negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese war
  • December 6, 1907--361 people killed in a coal mine exposion in Monongah, West Virigina
  • December 1, 1913--Henry Ford developed the modern assembly line
  • December 12, 1937--Japanese attack was made on the United States Navy gunboat USS Panay while it was anchored in the Yangtze River outside of Nanjing; killing three Americans.
  • December 7, 1941--Attack on Pearl Harbor; The Empire of Japan declares war on the United States and Britain, attacking the U.S. Nvala bases in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The event resulted in the sinking of 6 U.S. ships, destroying 188 aircraft, wounding 1,247 and killing 2,402 Americans.
(C) Pearlharborsurvivorsonline.org
  • December 8, 1941--The United States declares war on the Empire of Japan signifying the U.S. entry into World War II.
  • December 11, 1941--The United States declares war on Germany and italy after both nations declare war on the U.S.
  • December 16, 1944--The Battle of the Bulge, Germany's final major offensive of World War II, began; being the deadliest military battle for the United States during World War II.
  • December 6, 1946--President Truman signed Executive Order 9808; establishing the President's Committee on Civil Rights.
  • December 1, 1955--Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, inciting the 386-day Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • December 5, 1955--The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merged into the AFL-CIO, becoming the largest labor union in the United States.
  • December 2, 1957--The Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the first commercial nuclear power plant, went into service.
  • December 10, 1964--Dr. King became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his 'nonviolent campaign against racism'.
  • December 15, 1969--President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.
  • December 14, 1972--Apollo 17 became the final mission of the Apollo program and last human spaceflight to the moon. 
How many of these events were you aware of? Do your children know of them? Make a point of including strong United States history not only in your homeschooling, if you teach your children, but in your life in general. Let's pass on the knowledge of our country's history as tangible events that we should be proud, honored and grateful for!