Monday, November 30, 2015

Vision Boards: Gathering Supplies

This week, we're going to collect our supplies for making our vision boards! Below are a few of the basic things you will need or want to do before we begin.

First, purchase a board. This could be anything from a cork board to poster board or even foam board. Something you can stick your photos and words to, write on, etc. and that is big enough to fit all your dreams for 2016!

Next, you'll want to get some photos. Magazines are great for that, so is printing off pictures from the Internet. Something that reflects your goal or vision. For example, if your goal is to pay for a family vacation to Disney World, you might find a photo of Cinderella's Castle or the infamous Epcot silver ball. Something that shows your destination, people you want to reach, island or country you want to visit, books you want to write, etc.

Then, you will want to refer back to your SMART goals. Here's where you're going to print of the deadline and perhaps cost for your goal or vision. Using our example of a vacation, you might print out the cost and due date for payment like this, "$4,976.20 by July 28, 2016!"  I downloaded the Disney font to use, too. On another sheet of paper you might even keep a record of your progress like the photo below:

Finally, you'll want to post encouraging quotes that will continue to motivate you to achieve your goals and vision. Zig Ziglar quotes are some of my favorites and you can find those on Use Scripture, too! Nothing activates your faith like applying the Word to your situation!

Additional things you will need include some sort of glue or tape (I use a tape runner so I can cover the variety of zies of my photos and glue tends to make magazine pages weak and tear easily), perhaps some decorative stickers, and some sort of adhesive or other way to hang your board up. Adhesive putty works well, but may stain walls. I like 3M Poster Strips or thumb tacks that I found at Dollar Tree.

Now we're all ready to assemble our boards, but that will happen next week! Be creative. Be specific. Be brilliant! Own your board!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vision Boards: Honing in On Your Passion

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I'm up getting the turkey ready for the oven, so I thought I would share with you something that I've committed to doing for the next 28 days to get ready for making my vision board. For the next 28 days, I want to challenge you. If you are willing to accept the challenge, here is what you'll need to do!

By now you should have begun compiling your list of 50 things you want to do. That was the assignment, if you will, from Monday. Now I want you to choose the top ten things from that list that you'd like to accomplish in the next 12-18 months. Here are the rules:

  • Write down your top ten things everyday
  • Use a separate page for each day
  • Don't look back on what you wrote the previous day; try to remember what you wrote
  • Try to write at the same time everyday

At the end of the 28 days, the things that you were able to remember successfully, especially with great accuracy, are the things in your heart, the things you are most passionate about on your list.

These things are what we're going to use to create our vision boards for 2016!! You'll be well on your way to accomplishing your goals because you're passionate about them, you'll see them everyday, and you'll want to move toward checking your goals off your list!


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!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Vision boards: Let the Dreaming Begin!

This week, we're going to start a vital part of creating our vision boards. We're not ready to start cutting out pictures and pasting on words and phrases yet, but we are ready to start writing down those things we want on our boards.

Two weeks ago, I asked you to get with the Lord and ask Him what He has for you for 2016. Did you do that? If not, it's not too late to start right there. If you did, you're ready for the next step. Today, begin writing down what the Lord spoke to you. Some of those things may seem silly or even impossible! That's okay. Write them down. You can even note that it seems silly if you want to, but also note that you're going to follow God in whatever way He leads you toward that silly thing.

Another thing you might do if you aren't sure where to begin is to simply write what you see. What do you see yourself doing in a month, a year, two years from now? Write that down. Do you have a dream to go on a family vacation? Write it down. Do you have a dream of having an outreach to the homeless? Write it down. Do you have a dream of helping people? Write it down. The Bible says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Dr. Dave Martin, America's top  Christian success coach, said that in order to accomplish a goal, "it has to be seeable before it is believable." In other words, you have to see it in your mind first. Can you imagine yourself doing some of the things you're writing? 

A man was praying and walking along the shore in Hawaii when he looked up and saw a beautiful mansion. He simply said to himself, "Wow! I could never imagine living in a house like that!" And the Lord spoke to him and said, "And you never will." It was at that moment that the man knew he had to change his thinking. It's the same way with us! One of my favorite quotes is from Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it." But I like Terri Savelle Foy's twist on it: "If you can dream it, God can do it!"

Start writing down your dreams and what you see the Lord telling you about 2016. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision plain on paper, so that you can see it on the run." Close your eyes and see what the Lord is showing you...
Do you see it? Write it down!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week, was less hurried for me than previous weeks. I simply attended a creative meeting at church instead of my usual youth organization meeting. I began to think that maybe that was a sign that I shouldn't be doing the youth organization any more. Maybe I had finally taken on more than I could do. And you know what? That's true! I have taken on more than I can do on my own.

But God is my life preserver. He is waiting for me to just give it all to Him and let go. I can't do anything in life in my own strength. The Word says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
You see, no matter how much I try to accomplish all these tasks and do all I can, giving 100% of myself, I will fail without God. He knows the more we try to take on and do ourselves, the more likely we are to burn out and make things worse in our lives. He wants us to lean on Him, fellowshipping with Him and asking Him to help us succeed.

Remember that God wants to be involved in our lives. He's just waiting for us to invite Him in! What have you been trying to do on your own? What have you still not given to the Lord? Give it to Him today!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This week a friend called and simply asked for a "pep talk." Her homeschooling day had been less than desireable, and she was feeling frustrated. That made me stop and think that there are other moms who probably just need that little pep talk that says, "You can do this!" Moms that need to hear some encouragement beyond a "Hump Day Encouragement."

Homeschooling Mama, you can do this. Don't look at the failures of the day, look for the small victories. They are there. As far as I'm concerned, education is not meant to simply fill children with information but rather to teach them how to learn. Don't compare your child to another. Don't compare your homeschooling with anyone else's journey. Has your child learned something today? This week? This month? Is your child taking on more responsibilities in the home, helping with chores, brothers and sisters, and offering to help you with your daily tasks? Are relationships changing for good between you and your children? Do you still believe that homeschooling is the best educational choice for your family? Then your homeschooling is successful! That is the goal of teaching your child at home. 

The Bible says, "Commit your works to the LORD and your thoughts will be established." If you believe your homeschooling time will be successful, it will. If you believe your child will learn, he will. The Lord will establish your thoughts if you commit to teaching your children to the best of your ability!

You may feel as though you can't get beyond the fact that sometimes teaching your child is like talking to a wall. But your child is still learning. Remember, learning doesn't always have to take place with a textbook or workbook. Maybe your child does well with technology-based learning. Great! There are lots of apps for mobile devices that can help. Maybe your child is a hands-on, experimenting kind of kid. Great! There are websites out there that have free or low cost experiments to do right at home. Maybe your child needs more time sitting with you while you read to him or her. Great! The Children's Bible is a wonderful place to begin, and the Children's Bible app is now available. What better book to read together thank the Word of God?

These are all suggestions, but I think you get the idea. Schooling isn't all about the academic knowledge a child has retained, though there is a place and time for that. It's about helping to create lifelong learners who are driven to learn by a passion to know more!

Have a great rest of the week, Mama!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Leaning on the Lord

Recently, I was talking with a friend about leaning on the Lord.  For him, it is easier to lean on the Lord during difficult times in life, but he struggles with turning to the Lord in everyday life.  I realized I'm just the opposite!  I pray for the Lord to show me what to write in my books, what blog topics I can discuss, and even for those divine appointments to share the Gospel.  But I struggle with turning to the Lord in times of need, confusion, heartbreak, and loss.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut at
While meditating on why I have this issue, I began to ask the Lord to show me, give me a little glimpse as to why I came to this conclusion.  What He showed me was that every time I don't open up and ask His help in my life during those trying times, I put Jesus back up on the cross.  He went to the cross not just for my sins, not just for my sickness and disease, but He also died to secure a forever relationship with me (and YOU!) so that any time I needed to talk or just plain NEEDED Him, I could go to Him and find rest, peace, and comfort!

As I go through a personal trial, I am reminded that there is nothing else I can do, nowhere else I can go but to the Son.  I am encouraged that HE will always be by my side.  For me, I now realize that by not going to Jesus, I was being selfish.  He wanted me to come to Him with my problems, my worries, my hurts so that He could heal those wounds and provide the solutions I've needed for so long. 

Praise God He NEVER leaves us or forsakes us!!!