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Thoughts for Tuesday, February 9th

Outside my windows… it’s snowing today. Balance has been restored to the universe, and Maine has proper winter weather again. I’m not exactly a fan of the snow, but there is something comforting about things being the way we expect them to be.

Inside my house… my African violet is hanging on, though I doubt it’s due to anything that I’ve done!

Counting 1000 gifts… hearing the kids take turns reading from the books we’re using for history.

Prayers of the heart… safety for everyone who has to be out driving in the snow today.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… reading and resting on the couch. I had thought that we were past whatever icky bugs were going around, but maybe not…

From my playlist… a radio dramatization of Mansfield Park.

From my reading list… finishing Safe House. This is a book that you want a notebook or journal at hand while reading!

From my needlework basket… just finishing up the hood for the birthday sweater. Then I’ll need to set in the sleeves and sew the side seams, but the end is in sight.

In the learning room… the kids are digging into Amos Fortune and I’m starting to look at the 2016-17 book list. Shopping this early gives me the chance to keep an eye out for sales and used copies.

Random ramblings… I do love listening to a good audio drama, and a well-read audiobook is a joy to listen to. I secretly dream of being cast in an audio drama or being an audiobook reader! The radio industry rather captured my imagination when I was younger. Maybe someday I’ll come up with a topic for a podcast so that I can dabble a bit in “broadcast”.

Profound ponderings… “Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” Holley Gerth

Caught on film…

I got a new pair of glasses in the mail today! Mr. Q does not need glasses… Yet. #justgotmyzennis

A photo posted by Teish (@teishknits) on

Book Review: Raising Grateful Kids

I’ve worked in a variety of jobs since I was a teenager, but most of them have had one thing in common: I was interacting with a lot of people. I typically enjoy this, but there have been times (the year I was working retail during Christmas) when the entitlement attitudes are a bit much. As a parent, I don’t want my kids to end up becoming that person. You know what I mean, the person at the donut shop who is pitching a fit because they’ve sold out of the chocolate donuts, or some other silly thing. Since I already follow Kristen Welch’s blog, I was anxious to read her new book on the subject, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes  -     By: Kristen Welch There were times reading the book when I thought, “OK, we’re doing pretty well in that area.” And there were other times when I thought, “Boy, I need to work on that myself!” The great thing about Raising Grateful Kids is that it’s not a book that lays out hard and fast rules that, if followed precisely, will guarantee the outcome. Kristen gives you ideas and things to think about, but never suggests that her way of doing things is the only way. There’s a lot of latitude for figuring out how God wants you to apply things in your own family. Even better, she freely admits that it’s a work in progress for their family too. You can breathe a sigh of relief now!

I wasn’t expecting how convicting Raising Grateful Kids would be in relation to my own attitudes. As Kristen pointed out, we need to model gratefulness in our own lives if we want our kids to learn how to be grateful. That’s probably an area that all of us have room for improvement in. I sure do!

I appreciated the chapter “Making Smart Choices about Technology”. My kids are still young enough that they’re not using the internet without direct supervision, but I know that this is something we’ll be dealing with sooner than I’d like! It really is a different world than it was when I was a teenager, and I was glad to read someone else’s perspective on technology. Even though we’ll probably do things a bit differently, it gave me a lot of things to consider and think through first.

Raising Grateful Kids is a wonderful resource for parents with kids of all ages! You could read through it in a weekend if you wanted to, but I preferred to read through it a bit more slowly and ponder each chapter a bit before moving onto the next. There are a lot of good books for parents, but I’d definitely say that this one is a must-read.

Please note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

Thoughts for Tuesday, February 2nd

Outside my windows… there is sunshine and patches of bare ground. Of course, our driveway is still icy, and it’s definitely cold! Ironically, friends of mine who live at more southern latitudes have been dealing with blizzards. Apparently, we’re exporting winter this year.

Inside my house… it’s still cold out there, so there is still a lot of tea being brewed in here!

Counting 1000 gifts… a Little Guy who likes sharing Mom’s tea, even when it’s the Earl Grey stuff that no one else likes.

Prayers of the heart… for a friend who is having eye surgery today.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… trying to find places where they can go sledding in the back yard. It would help if there was a bit more snow out there.

From my playlist… just the hum of the computers and the occasional sound of traffic this morning. It’s quiet since the kids are taking an outdoor recess break!

From my reading list… I devoured Charity’s Cross by MaryLu Tyndall last night. (Yes, I stayed up way too late reading again!) When she comes out with a new book, it’s always on my kindle pre-order list. This one did not disappoint! If you love pirate stories, high seas adventure, or historical fiction, then you won’t want to miss this one!

From my needlework basket… a sweater for Munchkin’s birthday, because I am clearly insane. Who starts a sweater that must be finished in two weeks? We’re not knitting toddler sizes anymore either, since my (very) tall girl is going to be 11.

In the learning room… I finished first semester reports and realized how well the new curriculum is working out from the academic perspective. I’ll share more about Well Planned Gal’s new Lesson Plans when they are available for order!

Random ramblings… This is the year of Story for me, and for now, it seems like at least part of that story will be poured out in my journals. It’s hard to decide what to share and what to remain quiet about. I think part of the reason for this is that my life isn’t just my story. My life includes the stories of other people too. I’m not always sure how much of their part in my story that I should share. Ah, the need for wisdom! Another part is because there are still parts of my story that I’m grappling with. So my journal becomes my confidant as I wrestle with deep questions. Truly, there is something about writing on paper anyway that does me good.

Profound ponderings… a poem for today. I wish that I knew who wrote it, but I do not. If you happen to know the author’s name, please do let me know so that I can add it!

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better

To paint a picture or write a letter,

Bake a cake or plant a seed,

Ponder the difference between want and need?

 

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,

With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,

Music to hear and books to read,

Friends to cherish and life to lead.

 

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there,

With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,

A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.

This day will not come around again.

 

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,

Old age will come and it’s not kind.

And when you go – and go you must –

You, yourself, will make more dust.

 

Caught on film…

Turkeys in the backyard! #reasonstolovemaine

A photo posted by Teish (@teishknits) on

Honey or Vinegar?

“You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

I heard this often from my mom and grandmother. It may be one of those little sayings that it seems everyone’s grandmother knows, but there’s truth in it! You’re more likely to have pleasant interactions with others when you are kind to them.

As Christians, we have another, even more compelling reason to treat others with particular kindness and deference.

“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Phillipians 2:3-4 HCSB

Admittedly, this attitude is counter-cultural, and in direct opposition to our own human tendency towards selfishness. Putting others first is certainly not my natural response, particularly if I feel that someone is being “difficult”. There are times when I show kindness more out of a sense of obligation than because I want to!

Consider this though, you have no idea what is going on behind the scenes in someone’s life. Perhaps the person who is irritable when placing their coffee order has been up most of the night in the emergency room with a loved one. The person who is angry about the mistake on their store receipt may have just lost their job. Maybe they are dealing with a chronic illness, or this is the time of year when someone they were close to passed away. It could be that they are just having a no good, very bad day!

I came across a quote attributed to Rev. John Watson that sums this up nicely.

“Be kind, for every one is fighting a hard battle.”

Remembering that everyone is dealing with something in their own lives can help us to be a little more patient and compassionate with others. We may not be able to do anything about the struggles in someone’s life, but perhaps their day will be just a bit better because someone made it a point to be kind to them.

Putting others first does not have to be merely an obligation though. Believe it or not, you can find joy and satisfaction in it. God may use your behavior to encourage someone who desperately needs it. What could be better than that?

There will, of course, be times when you have to deal with someone who just doesn’t seem to be happy with anything. As you practice being gracious to everyone, you’ll find that this is the exception rather than the rule. Most people will react positively to a gentle manner, even if things get off on the wrong foot!

“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” – Proverbs 15:1 HCSB

The next time that you’re interacting with people, whether it’s at school, work, church, or just out and about, pause for a moment and think of how you can show kindness to them. Even better, begin with your family. You may be surprised to find a change in your social interactions as you do, and you never know who God may bless through your small acts of kindness!

Thoughts for Tuesday, January 26th

Outside my windows… it’s been raining a bit today. Sort of ironic that there was a blizzard on the east coast last week and Maine didn’t get any snow!

Inside my house… the amount of tissues that we’ve gone through the past few days is more than we usually go through in a few months. Blizzard or no, it’s definitely cold season in Maine.

Counting 1000 gifts… tissues with lotion. I’m quite serious! It may seem a small thing, but I’m always thankful for them when I have a cold.

Prayers of the heart… for wisdom. I’ve been reading a lot of things lately that have made me ask myself some hard questions.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… a couple of them are curled up on the couches nursing their own colds. The other two are playing a game.

From my playlist… Can’t Fight This Feeling. I’ve always loved this song!

From my reading list… I’m still reading Safe House, but that’s a book that needs to be read slowly and pondered. So, I’m also reading one of the Assassin’s Creed novels. I’m not familiar with the video game franchise, but they say that you don’t need to be familiar with the games to enjoy the novels. We’ll see what I think when I get a little further in the book.

From my needlework basket… pulling out the plastic canvas to make a chemistry themed tissue box cover for Munchkin.

In the learning room… Thankfully, we’ve still been able to get through schoolwork every day, despite the colds!

Random ramblings… I saw a post today on Facebook where someone was raving about one of the popular “prosperity gospel” speakers on TV. I understand why their doctrine is appealing, but it’s completely un-biblical. Take a look at John 16:33 HCSB:

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Jesus himself warned his disciples that they would have suffering in this world. He didn’t tell them that if they had faith, and thought positively, and believed enough, that their lives would be easy and great. He didn’t tell them that He wanted them to be happy, wealthy, and successful. He said things like what we find in Matthew 16:24-26 NIV, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’”

Trusting in our own efforts to win God’s favor is building our faith on the foundation of shifting sand. We can earn nothing, and it’s only through the redemptive work of Jesus dying in our place that we can even be forgiven. That’s the solid foundation that we must build our faith on if it’s to weather the storms that we will face. The real hope of the gospel is not in circumstances here on earth, it’s hope for eternity. Life here is over in the blink of an eye, but there is so much more than just this!

Profound ponderings… “And the fact that it bothers me bothers me also.” – Unknown

Caught on film…

Am I right? #WeLoveDVD

A photo posted by Teish (@teishknits) on

Book Review: Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty

I enjoyed the first book in Angela Hunt’s Dangerous Beauty series tremendously. (The title of the first book is Esther: Royal Beauty for any of you who would like to read it. You can read my review of it here.) That’s why I jumped at the chance to review Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty, and I was not disappointed!

Cover ArtI’ll admit, the story of Bathsheba didn’t spark my interest quite as much as Esther’s did, but once I got started, I couldn’t put this novel down. Before reading this book, I never gave much thought to Bathsheba. She’s often painted as something of a temptress, but this novel presented her differently. It was fascinating to read such a different view, and it made me think about Bathsheba and what it must have been like for her to go through everything she did. For instance, it had never occurred to me how scary it must have been for her to discover her pregnancy. It was entirely possible that she could have been stoned for adultery! Angela did a beautiful job bringing a deeply emotional story to life with this book.

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
is written from two alternating perspectives, Bathsheba’s and that of Nathan the prophet. This isn’t typically my favorite format, but I enjoyed the two different points of view, and it was always clearly noted at the beginning of the chapter which character I was reading about. When you finish the book, do be sure to read the Author’s Note as well! Angela talks about what she bases some of the story details on, and it’s a must-read in my opinion. All of her reference sources are clearly listed as well for anyone interested in doing more research on their own.

Fans of historical and Biblical fiction will want Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty on their “Books to Read” list. While this book is a clean read, I’d recommend it only for older teens or adults due to the sensitive topics addressed in the story.

The next installment of the Dangerous Beauty series is due out in June, and as much as I’ve loved reading the first two, I’m definitely planning on reading Delilah’s story too!

Please Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thoughts for Tuesday, January 19th

Outside my windows… it’s windy and cold today!

Inside my house… I’ve been trying out the Komari method to declutter and organize. (It’s from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.) I’ve been listening to the audiobook. Some of it’s a bit “out there”, but I’m finding parts of it to be helpful as well. I am surprised by how many books I ended up parting with…

Counting 1000 gifts… I know that I’ve said it before, but I really can’t say it enough: I am so thankful for my husband. He has been there for me through a lot of crazy stuff, and there’s no one I’d rather have holding my hand when things get tough.

Prayers of the heart… I had a tooth pulled last week, and I’m still feeling pretty sore from that. Praying that my jaw settles down, and that I don’t end up losing all of my teeth before age 40!

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… making sandwiches for lunch.

From my playlist… Star Trek: The Astral Symphony. It’s still one of my favorite soundtrack albums. I’ve owned it in cassette, CD, and mp3 format because it’s just that good.

From my reading list… Safe House by Joshua Straub. There may be a pattern to my non-fiction reading as of late…

From my needlework basket… wool socks for me. I’m hoping to get a few more pairs knit up this winter. Nothing is quite as nice as wool socks when it’s cold out.

In the learning room… We’ve finished up a couple of books this past week that the kids are sad to be done with. You have to love it when they are enjoying a book so much that they hate to see it end!

Random ramblings… I’ve had an audible subscription for a few months now. I wasn’t sure whether it was something that I’d really enjoy or not. I still tend to prefer reading to listening, but there are times when it’s nice to listen while I’m working on something else.

Profound ponderings… “It is the posture from which we parent, not the technique, that matters most.” – Joshua Straub

Caught on film…

Tea and knitting this evening. #adagioteas #knittersofinstagram

A photo posted by Teish (@teishknits) on

Thoughts for Tuesday, January 5th

Outside my windows… the sky is crystal clear today, and a beautiful blue.

Inside my house… we are all working at the table by the coal stove. It’s cold outside, but it’s nice and toasty here!

Counting 1000 gifts… visits from cousins we haven’t seen in years!

Prayers of the heart… for wisdom to know what to say, and when…

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… math for the older kids, and LEGOs for Little Guy.

From my playlist… just the hum of the stove this morning! Music to my ears in the winter though!

From my reading list… a book not published recently, but not really “old”, Back to the Moon. It’s a bit far-fetched, but it has been an amusing novel nonetheless.

From my needlework basket… socks for me. Christmas knitting is over, and there’s nothing as warm as good wool socks!

In the learning room… We are officially back to school after our Christmas break. And now that it’s 2016, I’m looking ahead to the next school year. Yes, it’s early to be thinking about it, but I’m weird that way!

Random ramblings… I want to write more in general this year, but I particularly want to write more on paper. The tactile experience of filling pen with ink and setting it to paper makes me slow down and think more when I write. Besides, maybe if I practice enough, I’ll finally develop decent handwriting!

Profound ponderings… “I needed a piece of a story, something real and full of life and blood and breath and heartache, something that someone had lived through, a piece of wisdom earned the hard way. That’s why telling our stories is so important.” – Shauna Niequist

Caught on film…

Because sometimes a pen is better… #fountainpen

A photo posted by Teish (@teishknits) on

Word for 2016: Story

It’s been hard for me to pick a word for 2016. I even printed off a worksheet to help me try and narrow it down to just one…

2016 is the year to tell more of my story. I don’t know exactly when, how, where, or to whom. I do know that I’ll be watching for God to show me that.

We all have a story, and it’s the stories that stay with us. Some people have big, dramatic stories. I’ve found inspiration and encouragement in many of those! Yet just because some of us have smaller, more ordinary stories, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t tell them.

My story may be one of the small ones, but God has still worked in big ways in my life.

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comfort us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – II Corinthians 1:3-4 HCSB

That’s what happens when we tell our stories. We share a piece of our life, and we let people see how much God has done for us. In telling our own stories, we are reminded anew, and perhaps even realize for the first time, just how much God has done for us. How much He has saved us from. How amazing that His grace really is.

Some chapters of our stories are harder to tell than others. I’ve got a few of those myself. Ironically, those are the ones where God’s grace shines through the brightest. That’s why telling our stories is important.

Have you picked “one word” for 2016? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Thoughts for Tuesday, December 15th

Outside my windows… it’s snowing! And accumulating…

Inside my house… wet snowsuits and mittens are drying by the stove.

Counting 1000 gifts… kiddos helping me shovel the snow off the coal pile. It’s so nice that they are old enough to help with things like this, and even better that they offer to help!

Prayers of the heart… praying for the health of people I care about who are not feeling the best now.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… playing with Little Guy’s “school stuff”. Hands-on preschool stuff is fun for even the older kids apparently!

From my playlist… I’ll be Home for Christmas. Even years later, it still seems strange not to be able to call up Mom and sing this to her.

From my reading list… I finished An Amish Second Christmas while knitting last night, so now I need to decide which Christmas book to read next.

From my needlework basket… Christmas knitting! There’s still a sweater and pair of mittens that I absolutely have to get finished. The rest of it will depend on whether I have the time…

In the learning room… Christmas and winter theme printable worksheets allow me to slip in some learning during our break. Pinterest is fabulous for finding printables.

Random ramblings… My stash of “good tea” has run out. This does not mean that I’m anywhere close to being out of tea though! Time to dip into the rest of the stash…

Profound ponderings… “Worry is always belief gone wrong. Because you don’t believe that God will get it right. Peace is belief that exhales. Because you believe that God’s love is everywhere – like air.” – Ann Voskamp

Caught on film…

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