Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

I have a few friends who are new to homeschooling. Some are using tried and trusted curriculum; some are trying a couple of different ones to see what works well for their children. The bottom line with choosing a curriculum for your child is that it is okay to change if something isn't working. Kids don't fit into cookie-cutter learning styles. What works for some of my children, doesn't work for others. And it's okay to try and find that one style that will engage your child and open new worlds of learning, knowledge and understanding for them.

You're doing a great job, momma!!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Back-to-School Hacks

Our friends at Organized Chaos Online, Patti and Tawsha, have so many clever life hacks for back-to-school! Here are just a few:

All photos (C) Organized Chaos Online

Do you have life hacks for back-to-school to share?


Monday, July 28, 2014

Moments with Moms

This article was originally posted in October 2011. But the message is still timely. I hope you remember to spend time with the women in your life and allow yourself to be something beyond "mom"!

Today, I spent the afternoon with one of my best friends I have made since moving to Florida.  I have known her for less than 10 months, but I feel as though I've known her for years!  We have so many things in common and are different in so many ways, too.  We know lots of things about each other and still just a little.  But we are sisters in the Lord and I believe that God put us together for a reason.  And the fact that it feels as though we've known each other for so much longer than we actually I have I am convinced is because of our like-mindedness in Christ.

I heard someone mention that soul mates don't exist for Christians because that would indicate that a part of us was really missing and that God didn't construct us in that manner.  I agree with that!  I also agree that when sisters and brothers in the Lord are literally put in each others paths by God, they experience a familiarity and comfort with each other because of a communing of our spirits.
Today, I had a latte with my wonderful friend, got soup at one of our favorite restaurants, bought goodies for our puppies and spent time with each other being something other than MOM!  Don't neglect your time with the moms and women the Lord has placed in your life.  You each have something the other one needs today and only you can share that!!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fess Up: Better Late Than Never...

This afternoon, I had an opportunity to sit and reflect on my week. I must confess that I had many things on my mind this week with regard to my work with Civil Air Patrol. We had our regular meeting, but I was teaching a leadership class which I rarely do. Then on Tuesday, I was trying to gear up for our squadron's trip to Cheyenne, Wyoming for Cheyenne Frontier Days' Air Force Thunderbirds presentation.
I fully expected to write my blog posts through the end of the week, but before I finished, I realized I hadn't written them...when I was already up at the air show. I felt as though I had let all of you down, and I am truly sorry for not getting Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement out this week. For next week, I'd like to know what encouragement you can share with us to get us geared up for starting the new school year.
So my fess up is that I failed this week. I didn't meet my own set deadlines. But next week is an entirely different week! One that I can strategically plan for and not let you all down again!

His mercies are not only new every week, but they are new every single morning! Praise God!!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Home-made Pore Strips

Our friends, Patti and Tawsha, at Organized Chaos Online shared this tip for acne!.
TIP OF THE DAY: Create your own pore strips with only a small pack of gelatin (not the entire box) and a bit of milk.

(C) Organized Chaos Online

*WARNING: If you have peach fuzz, this stuff will GRAB it and make your eyes water. Test on a small area of your face before doing your whole face!


Monday, July 21, 2014

God: The Great Creator

Do you like to sew? Knit? Crochet? Write? Draw? Make jewelry, scrapbooks, take photos, paint (not just the living room!), make sculptures, design buildings, dance, act, sing or anything like that? Do you know why you have the desire to create within you? It's because God made us in His image and His image is the Creator of all things!

We see God's creations everywhere around us, every day. It's beautiful and wonderful and so incredible that words can describe. That's how He sees the things we make, too.
God spoke the Earth into existence with His words. He created us with His words and put a desire to be like Him inside each of us. And to be like Him, we have this desire, this innate need to create something! It might be computer graphics, drawings, photographs, or any number of things, but the need to create comes from the Lord!

  • Genesis 3:7 says (Adam and Eve) sewed fig leaves together.
  • Genesis 4:1-2 says that Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain and then Abel. Adam and Eve created offspring.
  • Genesis 25:29 says Jacob cooked a stew. He created fine meals!
  • In Exodus 36 the Word talks about "gifted artisans.
  • I Kings 6:4 And he made for the house windows with beveled frames
  • Exodus 36:14 He made curtains of goats’ hair for the tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains.
  • I Chronicles 9:30 And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.
  • II Chronicles 4:14 ...he also made carts and the lavers on the carts;
  • The Proverbs 31 woman, as you will read, works with her hands, makes meals, and sews.

I could go on and on, and these are only a few of the many verses that you will find that show us that we create because that is what the Lord put in us to do!

What things do you enjoy making? That's a talent He's given you! 


Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Fess Up

I have to confess that this week, I struggled with forgiveness. Long story short, a friend of mine told me that someone was painting a poor picture of me and my husband. I knew the information was wrong, but I also knew that people who know me believed some of the information that was being touted.
I've cried over the situation feeling disappointed, hurt, angry, and embarrassed. I've talked to God about the things that were said and He reminded me of one of our church's "10 Benefits of the Favor of the Lord" that our pastors wrote out a couple of years ago.

(C) Captured Memories 365
I realized I don't have to get upset! I don't have to be embarrassed! I don't have to be angry or disappointed! I just have to give it to the Lord and He will fight for me!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Love.Period. When All Else Fails by Rudy Rasmus

The Bible says that God is love. It goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

Rudy Rasmus' book talks about just that. When it really comes down to it, love is the foundation of all things. Rasmus discusses the depth of love. It is designed to be used individually or in a book club with discussion points called "Responding" for further thought presented at the end of each chapter.
What I like about this book is Rasmus' use of his own, real-life struggles with learning to love and learning to lean on the Lord in all situations of life knowing that He is love and His love NEVER fails.

If you are interested in learning more about  how we can walk in God's love, this is a great book to gain that foundation. Rasmus ends the book with his own Love Revolution that says that our love:

"Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end. (1 Corinthians 13:7)"

Find Love.Period. on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

So, homeschooling momma, how are you doing? Are you enjoying the summer off of school with your children? Have you already started back to school?

Today, I want to encourage you that whatever course you choose to take with your homeschooling, it is the best for your family! Some families I know take off the whole summer just like traditional schools. Some, like our family, only take off a month in the summer. Still others, take no summer break at all. Any none of these families are right or wrong, compared to what you choose for your children and family.

Keep trying different things until you find what works best for your own family. Don't worry about what other homeschooling families are doing, what curriculum or grade level their children are in, and don't compare yourself to other families because your family is unique and not like any other family. Even if you use the same curriculum, your children are in the same grade levels as other children their ages and you take off the same amount of time in the summer, only your family has the parents and children in it that yours has. Embrace your family's home school adventure!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Plants to Keep Mosquitoes at Bay This Summer

Our friend, Patti, over at Organized Chaos Online, shared these bug repelling plants for a more bite-free summer!

First off, I’m arming my deck. I love to sit outside and read in the evenings. I learned that mosquitoes hate the smell of certain plants. Out of a long list I found, I’ve picked the ones below (that I can also use for seasoning) to plant in pots scattered all over my deck. (I’ve heard you can also crush their leaves and rub them on your clothes – but not directly on your skin).
Plants Mosquitos Hate | Hey Mosquitos, Suck THIS!
Read the full post at Organized Chaos Online!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Do We Pray? Part Two

Last time we talked about why Christians pray. New Christians are often taught to pray and to ask God for things through prayer. But as we learn more about our prayer life and its necessity in our walk with the Lord, we realize that it is a daily communion much like time spent with friends. The more time we spend together, the more we get to know our Father intimately.

We understand prayer is communication between us and God. Looking at the Strong's Concordance, it also refers to one's complaint, talking, babbling, meditation and thoughts in the Old Testament Hebrew references. In the New Testament, it is the intercession, request and vow. With this knowledge, we pray for things beyond ourselves. We make intercession for family, friends, the lost, communities, particular people groups or even whole countries. We vow, through prayer, to be willing vessels to be used and we meditate on the character of the Lord and all that He has for us.

When we pray, we do so knowing He can change our current situation and refresh, restore and redeem us instantly. We pray out of the love we have for the lost. We pray that His love would be developed in us. We pray also because He gave us the ultimate way to proclaim that we are servants to Jesus and desire His will in our lives. And through this one prayer, we have all we need:


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

One of the best ways I have found to save money on homeschooling, is to buy used textbooks from other homeschoolers. We have accumulated all the materials we needed for teaching all 8 of our children with very minimal expense.
Some of the places to look for used curriculum are:

  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Homeschool blogs
  • Facebook

I have found other sites that I enjoy using to go along with some of the other curricula we use, too. Two of my favorites are Khan Academy and Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. They are available online as a supplement or in some cases, as a full year curriculum. Don't be afraid to check them out, use them, and change them. Your school is just that: YOURS!

You see, you have chosen to provide your children with a unique education. No two homeschooling families are alike. No two children using the exact same curriculum will yield the same results. You are exploring the possibilities of which curricula to use because you truly care about the education your kids receive. And that is a great, selfless act on your part, Homeschooling Momma!

Keep on going and growing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Smelly Beach Towels? Try THIS!

Our friends over at Organized Chaos Online, Patti and Tawsha, have got a great idea for freshening up those smelly beach and pool towels!

Find other ideas for simplifying your life, chores and home in practical ways. Visit: Organized Chaos Online and tell the Super Mom the Illusion sent you!!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Five Years From Now

Do You Have a Plan?

Have you ever thought about where you will be five years from now? What about where you want to be five years from now? Do you plan to finish a degree? Have more children? Begin homeschooling your children? Own a home? Take a family vacation? Buy a new car? Get out of debt? Have the perfect job? Follow the call God has put on your life?
Do you have a plan?
My sister and I are in the process of creating our own independent private school for homeschooling families in our area. We have a plan in place that lays out just what we want to accomplish each year and have an effective means of measuring those goals. We have a plan in place.
I have a plan in place for the next three years for my books. I know essentially what I will write about, when I need to the book to be completed and ready for editing and when the book will be published. I did that with my first book, too. I wrote down my plans and goals for that book. A measurable goal with a deadline that would signify that I accomplished the goal and if I met the deadline set. You can do that with your dreams and goals, too!
We've talked a lot about vision boards and this accompanies that in a very unique way. You see, you must dream in detail for your five year plan. Far more detail than setting a goal on a vision board such as "publish 2 books by 2013." Now there is nothing wrong with setting those goals. But if you are planning a goal of remodeling a kitchen, for example, what does that look like? You may very well have a goal of completing the remodel by November 2014. It is measurable, but what does it look like? How much will your remodel cost? What sort of cabinets do you want in your new kitchen? What will the color of the back splash be? Will there be a back splash? This is where a plan book can come in handy. You can clip or print off pictures of particular aspects of a kitchen that you like and get pricing for them. If you're planning a vacation or anniversary celebration, you can get details and put them in a notebook. Then you must act.

Action is a required part of your plan. It's not just enough to write down your goals. You have to look at them often and do things to move yourself closer and closer to accomplishing that goal. And you have to expect favor as you move toward completing the plan. Hebrews 9:11 says, "Jesus Christ has become the High Priest of good things to come." We need to confess that and believe it as we pursue our plans because we don't want to stay where we're at five years from now; we want to see goals achieved and dreams coming true!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday "Fess Up"

I tried this about two months ago, and I just did not follow through with it. I apologize for that, but I do want to get back to checking in with each of you each week!
So, every Friday we are doing a "'Fess Up." This is one place that we do not judge others but rather support each other in all that we are going through. This is the day we will confess to our sisters in the Lord how our week has truly been!

What I want to know is how your week went! 

  • Did you have some unexpected successes? 
  • Maybe you fell short on a school day. 
  • Do you need help or encouragement in a certain area? 
  • Have an idea to share that changed your homeschooling? 
  • Was your week less than perfect? 
  • Hormones got you feeling up one minute and down the next? 
  • Would your husband say you nagged him this week? 
  • Did your devotional time and time with the Lord in general increase this week? 
  • What victories did the Father give you? 
  • Do you have something to share to encourage your sisters?

This is where I want us to share all of those things!! No limits, but I will moderate rude comments. That sort of thing just isn't allowed here.

This week I want to encourage you to keep pressing on! No matter what it is you are going through, the Lord sees it and He has your solution on the His perfect time! I needed to hear this myself this week as I sat wondering how I could better help my husband provide for our family. I want to help, really I do! But I get so exhausted just thinking about running the house and then turning around and going to work on top of that. But the Lord showed me He has better things in store for me! One reason it seems so tiring even before I think about going into corporate America is because I am already working! I write a daily blog, contribute to two other blogs, write my books, take online college classes (I start my last one on Monday!), homeschool, I am the Women's Ministry leader at our church, I'm on the social media team at church, and I am a wife and mother. Anyone who doesn't think that is work, needs to, as the old saying goes, "walk a mile in my shoes"!!

Your home life may not look like work to the outside world, but lady, you ARE working and doing a great job! Keep at it and keep pressing on!!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trust: That's the Real Issue

My friend got a new puppy this past weekend. Her children feel in love with little Wrangler and her and her husband thought he was adorable, too. They had gotten him from a family at church who knew they couldn't care for the puppies once they were weaned. My friend and her children bought all the supplies they would need for this new little puppy and made sure to ask about the current food the young pup was eating so they could get the same and maintain a familiar diet.

When the family brought the little dog home, they found it cute that he would try to suckle on an ear and cuddled in my friend's hair. The first night home, though, the small puppy whined and cried for a good part of the night. The next morning, she and I were chatting on Facebook and she told me the puppy wouldn't eat the dog food. A typical 8-10 week old puppy would eat small portions about two times a day, so I tried to help her nail down what the problem could be. As we discussed what the previous owners had fed him, my friend told me the pup was actually only four weeks old and had been weaned for a week already! 
I knew that wasn't right and we headed over to the local pet store to seek more professional advice. We learned that the owners, even though they were from her church, had actually jeopardized the health of the puppy and his littermates by weaning them so early. After purchasing milk supplement as recommended by the in-house veterinarian, my friend went home and fed the milk with dry food soaked in it to their young dog. Well, that little guy gobbled it all up! I'm sure he was feeling confused and now was relieved and had a full belly. But I began thinking about how trusting we are of people and what shapes that.
Fueled by the mistrust my friend felt of this lady from church, I asked my Facebook friends if they were more or less trusting of other Christians. Sadly, many said they were no more trusting of fellow Christians than they were of non-believers. A few said they were more trusting, but that having that level of trust had also led to let-downs and disappointments because some Christians had abused that trust.
We are called to be set apart and different from the world! But how can we be different when we look just like the world? The world says one thing to gain our trust and then changes it when they've got what they wanted. Some Christians are like that. The lady who gave my friend the puppy wanted the puppies GONE, and that was her agenda, her motive. As Christians we should hold each other to a higher standard! Proverbs 27:17 says we are to sharpen the countenance of our friends just as iron sharpens iron.

Our experiences with trust, especially with other Believers, prepare us for our next opportunity to trust, too. While my friend is hurt and disappointed in the dishonesty of the previous owners, it is also an opportunity for my friend to grow and maybe even gently and lovingly correct the woman and show her that she abused my friend's trust.
Today, we have a choice when our trust has been broken. We can sulk and be hurt and begin to build a wall that says, "I'll never trust again!" Or we can take that opportunity, knowing that trust goes along with integrity, and share with the one who wronged us that honesty and truthfulness is best. 
Jesus was betrayed, the trust He had of Judas broken. Yet he didn't let that scar him and cause him to create a barrier so he would never be hurt again, did he? We can't make people stop breaking our trust, but we can stop the way we respond to it.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Summer Beach Wave Hair

I love the beach! Ask anyone who knows me! I enjoy surfing, boogie boarding and picking up seashells. I also really like how my hair looks after a day in the salt water of the ocean. But being in Colorado, I never get to enjoy any of those things. I especially miss the look of my hair, so I started scouring the Internet looking for ways to capture that look by using products I have at home!
I happened to find a couple recipes for homemade beach wave spray! So I gave them a try.
(C) Jodi Cotten 2014

The first calls for:
8 ounces of water in a squirt bottle
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of conditioner
1/2 teaspoon of hair gel
Mix all ingredients together in squirt bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray on damp hair. Scrunch and let air dry.

This one seemed to need more sea salt. I'll try adding more and see if that makes any difference. Other than that, it didn't really give me the beachy waves I was looking for.

The next recipe called for the addition of Epsom salt to the mix and used aloe vera gel instead of regular hair gel. Here's the recipe:
1 cup of hot water (not boiling)
2 tablespoons Epsom salts (or more for extra texture)
1/2 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt
1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
1/2 tsp conditioner or a few drops of almond oil or jajoba oil

As with the previous recipe, all ingredients are added to the squirt bottle and mixed. I liked the addition of the Epsom salts, but I kept the hair gel instead of aloe. It worked better for me than the first recipe, but don't be afraid to play around and find the recipe that works best for your hair!

Enjoy your summer!