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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Loving Care of Our Father God


God's Words:

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
~Psalm 27:10


This verse popped out at me in a big way this morning during my devotions.  See it circled in pen at the bottom? You are probably thinking right now to yourself, "Wow, she is highlighter happy".  Why yes, yes I am and happy to admit it!  I love me some God's Word!  By the time I'm 95 and about ready to crawl (or be carried by a very strong hospice nurse) into my death bed, I will probably have highlighted every verse in my much-adored Bible.


Anyway, as I read this verse this morning, it struck me that many children are forsaken by their parents, in many different ways; whether done on purpose or not.


There are foster children whose parents aren't capable for whatever reason of taking proper care of them.  Maybe these parents have been abused and are carrying on the horrible cycle of abuse to the next generation.  Maybe they are in the bondage of addiction, trying to numb their own personal pain, leaving them unable to give their children the loving care and attention each child desperately needs.


Then, of course, there are the children in abusive or negligent homes who haven't been rescued yet.  My heart aches so painfully for them and I wish I could save them all.  My own mother and her siblings were children just like this. They were never rescued from their extremely mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically sick, abusive father...until the day he drank himself to death when they were all grown-up or nearly grown-up. And even now, many years later, they are each still carrying the wounds and bearing the scars of how they were hurt by the hands and mouth of their own father.


Yet, God always has a plan of healing and restoration for these hurting souls; they have only to reach out to the Savior Jesus Christ and find his supernatural healing from all their pain, shame, and bitterness.  And in Him they will also find forgiveness - not only for themselves, but also the ability to forgive those who hurt them.


In addition, this verse ultimately makes me think of all the millions and millions of aborted children in the history of the world.  Yes, there has always been abortion, you know; just not always a "legal right" where there are actual massively-funded centers in which a woman can "safely" have her child dismembered, sucked, and many other despicably-cruel-and-taboo-to-mention-methods of removal.


These precious, innocent lives may be forsaken by their very own parents whom they were given to by God to care for, love, and cherish for all their life long.  After all, this is an imperfect world with imperfect people suffering from many forms and degrees of pain and sin.


But all of these beloved of God are NOT forsaken by their Heavenly Father. He WILL receive them, somehow, someway.  It's a promise.  Right there in His Word.


I think of all the aborted babies being excitedly welcomed into heaven by their Heavenly Father and His angels when their earthly parents haven't chosen to keep them, for whatever reason.



A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
Psalm 68:5


As the wife of a pregnancy resource center director, I am more aware than the average person of the fact that many girls and women who end up choosing abortion have felt forced to do so. Some have no support from their family and friends, either financially or emotionally.  Some have boyfriends or husbands or parents who order them to kill their child.  Many others are ashamed to be pregnant in the first place and are desperate to hide their secret from the world. Or feel like their future will be ruined if they bring the baby to term, regardless of whether they choose to raise it themselves or give it up for adoption.

Unless one has been in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy, I dare say it is difficult to truly understand the excruciating thought and decision processes that these women (and their partners) go through before they make that final decision to keep, give up, or abort their child. And my heart goes out to each of them, because I don't think anyone really desires to be in that situation. 

Then I think of the many amazing people who have followed God's call to be foster parents. Oh, the selfless, self-sacrificing work they do, day in and day out, and throughout each night of caring for hurting little ones!  The stories I have heard firsthand from my fostering friends have made me cry, both in sadness and happiness.  Foster parents are my heroes (along with single parents). These specially-gifted people amaze me.  I am constantly in awe of their sacrificial love for needy children.  God comes to the aid of these children by providing temporary (and oftentimes long-term) caretakers:



Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress...
~James 1:27

Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
~Job 29:11-12

And I think of the numerous people who have followed the Lord's call to rescue orphans by becoming adoptive parents.  Now THOSE children are the especially "wanted" ones!  They are specifically chosen to become one's son or daughter!  Wow.  The gift of adoption is like none other and blows my mind whenever I really think about it.  God reaches out to these parentless children - in the form of new parents who want so much to have them be their very own children.



I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
~John 14:18

...for in You the fatherless find compassion...
~Hosea 14:3e

God sets the lonely in families...
~Psalm 68:6a

So the comfort we find in today's key verse is this:  Whenever a child is forsaken for whatever reason, God has promised, and always follows through, to receive them in one way or another.  He promises to provide for their needs, somehow, someway.  He offers them complete healing through the power of His compassionate love, His Spirit, and the saving, forgiving work of His Son which enables them to be set free and whole from the hurt of their past.  And He promises to love and take care of them, when they are unloved by seemingly everyone else. Even if that means joyfully welcoming them into heaven before they take their first breath on earth.


Have your ever suffered in some way by being forsaken by your parent(s)?  Or do you know of someone who has or is enduring this pain?  How have you, or they, been received by God?


Or perhaps you feel the call to help children such as this?  How do you feel God specifically calling you to reach out to them and be His arms and feet of love and care and protection for them?


In Christ,

Suzy

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Very First Guest Post at Hip Homeschool Moms!


God's Words:


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

~Ephesians 3:20-21


I'm still on Cloud 9 about the fact that the awesome ladies at hiphomeschoolmoms.com selected my post about Thanksgiving for their guest post today!  This is a big, huge deal for a newbie writer like me, who will now be reaching hundreds and thousands of readers through this very cool website with the Word of God and the lesson He has taught me and my children about being thankful.

When I started writing this post two years ago, the very last thing from my wildest imagination was that God would give me the opportunity to have it shared like this and I AM PUMPED about it, to put it very mildly. The post is titled "Overflowing Thankfulness" and can be read at the HHM website here.

If you are a homeschool mom or considering homeschool someday, the Hip Homeschool Moms website is a really fun and incredibly helpful online community where you will find lots of up-to-date information on education, curriculum ideas, recipes and fun family activities and a whole lot more!  And, by the way, they didn't even ask for me to give them a plug, ha ha!  I am just genuinely enthusiastic about their awesome online resources that have already been so helpful to me as a homeschool teacher and mother.

So it's a dream come true to be included on their website.  Only God can work out things like that!  Just like the key verse states, I never imagined this would happen to me at such an early point in my writing career.  Isn't He amazing?

Hip Homeschool Moms also has a facebook page where they post even more helpful tips and ideas, plus post questions from moms like us who desperately need advice that really works from fellow homeschool teachers.  So it's remarkable to me how many encouraging moms comment back on each question, and the wonderful advice I have gleaned so far from these amazingly selfless women from all over the globe.

I hope you enjoy my article on the three effective ways I have found to teach my children (and myself) how to be more thankful throughout the year; not just during the month of November. Enjoy and God bless you and your precious family!

In Christ,

Suzy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Smelling Armpits & Other Fun Things I Do as a Mom

God's Words:

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
~Proverbs 31:27

"Where has Suzy been?", you may have been asking yourself of late. No posts in over 2 months?!?  Did she drop off the face of the earth or something?  Or... perhaps, she is just a busy mother.


Yeah, that's what happened.  I'm a mom.  That one noun (actually a predicate nominative in this sentence - sorry, that's the grammar-loving teacher in me) has so many different dimensions and meanings to it.  If you are a mother yourself, then you know just what I mean.  You also wear all the many varied hats that mothers are required to wear.  And you too try your best to remember to wear the right hat at the right time on the right day.  Wait...what day is it today...? I think it's towards the end of the week because I'm really starting to tire out and Sunday's looking pret-ty good about now.


Well, anyway, I'll tell you exactly where I've been and what I've been up to since the last wondrously laid-back, sunkissed days of summer (but you had better sit down, this might wear you out, too):


I have been busy teaching my children in our homeschool, which is a huge time commitment.  We typically spend 3-4 hours each weekday morning learning together about God's amazing world. If you caught the phrase "learning together", well that's because I am learning and relearning so many things along with my kids.  I can't tell you how many times I've said to them when we're going through a lesson, "Why didn't I learn that in school?!" (feeling kind of mad at my teachers because they left out some pretty cool stuff).  Or, "Ugh.  I don't remember how to do this/what this means... Hmmm, let's ask Dad and see if he remembers!"  I think my husband knows a lot about pretty much everything, so he usually does have an answer to most of our questions.  He could be on Jeopardy and win so much mulah we would be able to retire.   He's a smarty pants, for sure. And he is the principal of our homeschool, after all.  Ha ha, I love saying that.  But, if all else fails and not even Dad can help out with a schoolwork problem, then we always have the world wide web at our fingertips!


In addition, several days a week you will find me bustling about town, taking my well-rounded children to their co-op classes, sports activities, piano lessons, youth group, church clubs, and play dates (or "hang outs" as my teen and tween call it.  No more "play dates" for them!). Whoever said homeschoolers aren't "socialized" needs to spend a week in the life of my family! We socialize a bit too much for our own good and need to constantly work at staying focused on our school and house work!


Then there's my husband's job as executive director for a local non-profit ministry.  I have a vital responsibility to support him and the ministry by accompanying him to fundraisers, meetings, and other ministry events.  Not to mention lots of volunteer work on the sidelines and behind the scenes, such as editing, helping with events, manning information booths, and much more, including being the director's sounding board for new ideas and tough decisions.  My "job" as his wife is so important, that we were actually interviewed together for his last interview for the job! The board of directors knew that the executive director's position requires a very supportive and available spouse.


On top of all that, I also spend countless hours each week preparing music for and leading worship for my church's women's Bible study group, as well as rehearsing and singing in my church choir and praise team.  This volunteer work is my most favorite thing to do in the whole wide world.  I love every second of using my musical gifts and skills to bring worship to my Lord and helping others do the same.


But then there are the housewifey duties I also must attend to each and every day of each and every week of each and every month of each and every year. Did you catch the gist of my feelings for this part of my life?  Yeah.  Ugh.  Major ugh.  I sure do wish I could spend all my time doing the things I love to do and hire someone else to do the yucky jobs.  A girl can dream, can't she?


I really don't even know where I find the time during the busy school year to clean my house and do laundry, let alone have any time left for my other duties that probably should get done.  You know, like meal planning instead of pulling meat out of the freezer and making "chicken surprise" for dinner. It's always a surprise for Mom, too.  It's fun that way.  Or how about putting together a grocery list before I get to the store, instead of trying to remember what we need as I go down the aisles.  Oh yeah, that might help with the meal planning too, wouldn't it?


So, needless to say, that might be why I haven't posted anything lately.  I have many a mom friend, who just like me has attempted to keep up a blog, but eventually falls off the writing wagon simply because we don't have the time right now in our busy phase of young motherhood, not to mention the extra brain power, to devote to writing.


But I have lots of ideas that come to me all the time and I'm lucky if I make a note of it to keep for later.  I find random blog idea notes all over the place.  In my purse.  In my iPhone notes. Stuck within the pages of my Bible.  In my desk drawer.  You know, one of these days I should probably collect them and put them in one local designated spot.  But that would take time and don't get me started...


Yet, I imagine that some glorious day in the seemingly far off future, I will have plenty of free time to do nothing else but just sit at my desk with a steaming cup of coffee and write the hours away.  Like I said, a girl can dream, can't she?


But back to the main point of my post today.  That is, if I can remember what is was, darn mom brain.  What was it, anyway?


Ok, let's see...  We young moms are busy.  I, for one, am so literally, overwhelmingly busy most hours of the day that I sometimes don't know whether I'm coming or going.  Can you relate?


I feel like my day is one big blur of busyness from the moment I drag my sorry, very sorry-and-already-missing-my-warm-covers-body out of bed to the moment I finally convince all three of my children to please stay in bed for the remainder of the night.  Or at least just stay quietly in your bedroom and do not come out again or you had better have a good excuse that has something to do with blood or puke or fire or a fever or a broken limb.  And if you have a broken limb, then may I ask what the hey were you doing in your room?!


Except for those few and far between times a year when I don't have all three of my children with me for longer than a couple hours.  And those are ironically the times that I don't know what to do with myself...


There's no one to make a meal or snack for that they've been begging me about for the last entire hour, even though it seems like I just got done cleaning up the kitchen from their last meal.


No one to present me with the challenge to stay focused and keep my cool when they interrupt me, even though I'm obviously busy doing something that shouldn't be interrupted.  Like, can I please take a shower in peace, with the door shut, and not have to shout through the door to answer you about why your sister touched your pillow with her "gross feet" and what I'm supposed to do about it?!


No one to clean up after or to yell at them for the hundredth time to pick up your ding dang underwear from behind the bathroom door!


No one to remind to brush their teeth for longer than 5 seconds.  By the way, that very well might explain their bad breath.


And no armpits to smell to find out for myself where the vileness is coming from.  And speaking of which, no one to demand to take a shower...now!  And then wonder to myself how many days has it been since that child last bathed?  Can they not smell their own filth?  Do I have to be the one to bring it to their attention?  I mean, I realize my nose is more sensitive than the average person's, but seriously?  You cannot smell the bodily stench coming from your own pits, which are a mere 7-8 inches away from your very own nose?!!  You are somehow incapable of bending your head down either to the right or left and sniff once?  Really?  I have to do it?


Oh, the debasing things we moms do for our kids...  Not to mention smelling hands to make sure they have been sufficiently washed after going #2.  You know what?  On second thought, I don't even want to talk about poop right now... Let's save poop for another time, shall we?


So yeah, I'm busy.  I'm sure you can relate if you are a mom with kids still living at home. Whether you are a working mom, stay-at-home mom, single mom (by the way, go you!  Single moms are my personal heroes!), homeschool mom, foster mom, mom of preschoolers, and the list of amazing mother roles could go on and on.  Regardless of the specifics of your calling as a mother, you are probably as busy, if not busier, than I am.  And I'm here to tell you that I feel your pain and fatigue.  The "mom guilt" and trap of comparisons to other moms that seem to have it all together.  I understand your struggles and frustrations with trying to do it all, and do it all well.


And that is precisely why the key verse for today cracks.Me.Up.  Sometimes I think, no I know, God has a sense of humor.  I wonder if He included that very verse in this chapter of Proverbs just for the sole purpose of giving me a good 'ole laugh whenever I read it.  Especially if you read the entire passage of Proverbs 31:10-31, titled "The Wife of Noble Character", which goes as follows:


A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


The word "idle" basically means choosing to be lazy.  Yet, were you as amazed as I am each time I read about all the many industrious things that lady got done?!  It's crazy how busy she was! Puts me to shame, that's for darn sure.  What about you?  I think we can all agree here that she wins as Supermom, hands down.  Let her have it.  We can all read for ourselves that she has won that award for all time.


Of course this extraordinary lady was never idle!  She already had way too much going on in her crazy-busy life to have any time to be lazy!  Once you list it all out, like the writer of Proverbs did for us, it doesn't seem possible that any one human being would be able to do all that.


There is no way this godly woman, or any other wife or mother trying her best to please God, really is able to be idle very often.  We are all too busy taking care of our families, homes, jobs, and volunteer work to have much "free time" to be lazy with!  Are you with me here?


Now, of course this phenomenal woman was a human like the rest of us and therefore did not do everything perfectly.  But what stands out to me is her attitude and her desire to serve and please God by serving and taking care of her family, household, and even the needy people in her life.  It's obvious that she tried her best at all she did.  And I know that is why she was included in God's Word.


And this is exactly what God is calling each of us women to do, whether we are mothers yet or not, and whether we are married or not.  He wants us to carry out all the duties we have on our overflowing plates, and wear all the hats we have been given (or chosen) to wear, to the very best of our ability. With a positive attitude.  And a joyful heart.  And with the sole desire to obey and please Him in all we do, for His sake, the sake of our family, and even our own sake.


"Happy wife, happy life" as the saying goes.  Well, guess what?  Every wife (and woman) chooses her attitude.  It's not all up to how her family and other people in her life treat her.  We can choose to be happy in our overwhelming busyness.  Allowing the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts, we can choose to do all our duties with a positive attitude, even though we may absolutely hate the duty itself.  Raise your hand if you enjoy cleaning toilets or vomit from the carpet!  What?! No one??  Ok, then.  Glad I'm not alone in that.


So my point is that although we may not be able to choose the responsibilities that have been set before us, we can choose how we handle them - in a way that will bless our families, please God, and ultimately be for our own good too.


And that even includes smelling our children's armpits to make sure they are clean so that they are able to maintain friendships.  Who wants a stinky friend?  Not me, I say!


And training them to brush their teeth for the entire 2 minutes so that they will learn healthy dental care and not have gingivitis, dentures, and whopping dental bills in their future.


And reminding them to pick up their underwear from behind the bathroom door so that their future wife doesn't end up hating me.  Oops...gave that child away, now didn't I?  Let's just keep that between us, shall we?  And he won't be the wiser.  Or actually, now that I think about it, maybe mass shame will be the one thing that will finally work to get that boy to throw his dirty whitey tighties in the hamper!  So feel free to mention to him what you read about him in his mom's blog.  He, he, he...


So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed with your busy life, remember the wife of noble character.  And learn from her imperfect but still exemplary life, and how she managed to juggle everything in a way that pleased God and her family. Remember her happy and hard-working attitude, in spite of her overwhelmingly busy schedule.


Her example is a wealth of wisdom and knowledge for every woman.  Book upon book could, and has been, written about those 21 verses describing her life.  Her example is a challenge to us all and we have so much to learn from her.  Whenever I need a good reminder of what my life should look like right now in this phase of young motherhood, I go and read about this woman. She shows me what God wants from me.  As a wife.  As a mother.  As a volunteer in my church and community.  As my job as teacher to my children.


What are you overwhelmed with right now in this phase of your life?  How had God helped you handle everything in a way that has benefited you and your family?



In Christ,

Suzy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hip Homeschool Mom's Hip Homeschool Hop!


Hi again!  I guess it's blog sharing today because I was also invited to share 3 of my most popular posts on Hip Homeschool Mom's website!  Check them out:  #91, 92, and 93 here.  So much fun!

And if you are a homeschool teacher, or thinking about becoming one someday, this is another awesome resource.



In Christ,

Suzy

Time-Warp Wife Titus 2sDays Link Up!


Hey all!  I joined up with Time-Warp Wife today for her Titus 2sday Link-Up Party
and I wanted to let you know about it so you can check out her absolutely wonderful, fantabulous blog!  Her posts are full of words of godly wisdom for practical, every day life.

To get to her blog, you can either click on the blue blog title above or her Time-Warp Wife button on the right side of my home page below.

I added one of my most popular posts (it was so hard to choose which one to share!).  It's #129.  You have to scroll down a bit!

I hope you are richly blessed today by the treasures you find on her blog.  I know I have been.

In Christ,

Suzy


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Independent Homeschool Student Weekly Planner

God's Words:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
~Proverbs 16:3

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
~Psalm 20:4

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
~Jeremiah 29:11


Just as a head's up, this post pertains to homeschooling.  So if you don't homeschool, I suppose this post won't interest you much...  Sorry! But stay tuned for future posts that might actually apply to your life.


Two school years ago, after much frustration with my hopeless search of finding a homeschool planner that works for my family, I finally gave up and created my own.  And since it is the new year and I assume we all are in need of a fresh start at organization, I thought I would share my planner on my blog, in case you might be able to benefit from using it for your homeschool.

The planner I created is specifically designed to be used by independent homeschool students.  However, if your child(ren) aren't independent learners yet, I suppose the planner could be adapted to be used as the teacher's weekly planner.  That would just take a little tweaking.  Either way, I hope you can make it work for you and your student(s).


What is this independent learning, you say?  Would that mean less school time involvement required of mom (and dad)?  Well, yes, yes it does.  Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?  Imagine getting more housework done during the day, instead of it piling up all week long because you're already too busy personally teaching all the school lessons.


Getting my children to eventually be independent learners in their schoolwork has always been one of my goals of homeschooling.  They will definitely need to be able to study and work on their own once they're in high school and college, so why not get an early start in training them to do so?


Once my eldest child started 6th grade, I felt it was time to get him used to completing most of his individual assignments independently.  And my then 6th grader is now an 8th grader, with his 7th and 5th grade sisters not far behind him, who are both also doing mostly independent work.  We do a few subjects with all my children together, such as Bible, history, science, health, and geography.  Wow, I guess that's more than a few.  Anyway, I wanted my middle-schoolers to have an organized, easy-to-use student planner that would help them be more independent with all their individual studies.  And free up my time to actually get most of my housework done each day.  Whoo-hoo!  Never thought I'd be so happy about that...

Here is what the independent student weekly planner page looks like:



There are check mark boxes, which the student checks off himself when finished with each assignment, so that Mom can easily see what has already been done (or not done) and also so that the student can quickly see which assignments need to be done next.

The first table, "My Daily Assignments", includes the assignments that must get done each day, such as Bible memory work, reading, and music practice.

What I love most about this student planner is the second table, "My Weekly Assignments", which lists all the subjects that the student can work on whenever he chooses, as long as he gets all assignments done by a certain time at the end of each week.  Our family rule is that you must get all independent work done by 3:00PM each Friday or you will lose all "screen time" for the entire weekend. I don't even have to tell you that we've never had anyone break that rule.

So for example, one week he might want to do all his math lessons in 2 days, with none to do for the remainder of the week.  Or all his grammar assignments in one day.  You see, it's up to the student, which will prepare him for the independent study necessary in college.  Mom's not helping out with college work.  Sorry, kiddos.  You're on your own by then.

The third table, "My Weekly Chores", lists that child's chores, when they need to be done, and check mark boxes for each day of the week.

The last table, "My Weekly Planned Activities", is like a calendar showing the child what day their special activities are on.  It's especially helpful at the beginning of each semester or season whenever a new sport or class starts, so they won't have to keep asking mom, "What day is football practice again?"

Now remember, we teachers might meticulously write out our plans for each day, each week.  But one of the most important lessons I've learned as a homeschool mom is to be flexible.  Because life happens.  God just may well have a different plan in mind for your family that day or week.  As it says in Scripture:

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
~Proverbs 19:21

You or a child might come down with an illness.  Dad might decide to work from home for the day (no school work's getting done when fun Daddy's home!).  An impromptu field trip, visit with friends, or a last-minute getaway vacation might present itself.  And there goes that week's schedule!

That's when the pencil and eraser come in handy.  Use it.  Embrace it. Flexibility is one of the best benefits of homeschooling.  So don't fill out the planner like you're chiseling in stone.  I advise only filling out 2 weeks or so at a time.  That way you won't have to erase a whole lot, because what homeschool family is going to choose a day's worth of schoolwork over a spontaneous visit to a friend's house if the opportunity arises?  Not this homeschool family!

There are 2 possible ways you can use this planner:

  1. Click on the link below which will take you to Google Drive where this document is absolutely free for the public to use.  At the top of the web page there are several different options.  If you click on the "printer icon" you'll be able to print the document and fill in the blanks using pencil or pen (pencil is always, always, always preferred because you'll often need to erase and change assignments).  This is the more time-consuming method of using my planner pages because you will have to fill in all the necessary blanks each and every week.

  1. The more efficient and personalized method:  First, you will need to have Microsoft Word (or another word processor software).  Next, click on the link below which will take you to Google Drive.  Then click on the "download icon" at the top of the web page, which lets you to save the document to your computer.  Once you open the document on your word processor, make sure to "Enable Editing", which will allow you to type in information and revise the template however you want to suit your child's needs.  You can add the student's name and grade to the top, which will save you lots of penciling in each week.  Also, you can type in all of your child's independent subjects and daily assignments into the table.  Then each week when writing down your child's assigned schoolwork, you will only have to fill in the assignments for that week, saving yourself lots of time.

If you don't have word processor software on your computer, no worries!  You can simply click on the "down arrow" at the top of the web page, which will give you several more ways to use the document with "Connected Apps". So, for example, if you already have a Google Docs account, then you can open the document with Google Docs, which is basically a free online word processor.  It may not have all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Word, but it works great and it's free.  Gotta love free!


I also designed a two-to-a-page independent homeschool student weekly planner to use when it's not necessary to have the child's weekly chores and extracurricular activities listed down each week.  This planning page saves ink and paper and can be simply cut in half to make two separate planner pages.

Once again, you can click on the link below to access this free template on Google Drive and follow the same steps listed above in order to use it.


Please let me know in the Comments section below if you find my planner pages helpful in your homeschool or if you have trouble downloading or using them with your word processor.  And I'll see what I can do to make any necessary adjustments.  Thank you!

May God richly bless the remainder of your school year with peaceful, happy learning and growing healthy, loving relationships!

In Christ,

Suzy

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Part 5: Scripture Card Mini Clipboards

God's Words to Read:

I meditate on your precepts
   and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
   I will not neglect your word.

~Psalm 119:15-16

In my third post last year of a series I started writing called "Spend More Time with God", I shared about how I write Bible verses I want to memorize on index cards and tape them up in certain well-frequented areas in my house where I can see them often to aid in memorization.  Although having white index cards taped up all over your home can be helpful to your Scripture memorization efforts, unfortunately, they're not very pretty.  I knew there had to be a more attractive, decor-friendly way to display my Scripture cards, but I just had no idea or inspiration of how to go about this.  So for years I've had white cards taped up by my kitchen and bathroom sinks.  Boring.  Kind of messy-looking.  Not a good thing for this clean freak momma.

So while I was in deep thought and prayer about writing this series on what I do for my personal devotions and spiritual growth, I experienced a moment of sheer creativity (which rarely happens to me since I'm not very artistic, so once I got over the shock I went with it!).  Here was my creative inspiration:  what about using mod-podged mini clipboards to display the verse cards?  Eureka!

Of course I immediately got busy shopping for supplies. I found 2 plain hardboard mini clipboards at Menards - each for just over $1 (I'm telling you, you save big money there).  Add in a bottle of Mod Podge, a few sheets of pretty scrapbook paper, some coordinating ribbon, a sea shell (Say what? You'll see...), a small 3M Command wall hook, and a small suction cup hook.  And now I have 2 very cute Scripture card clipboards that match my bathroom and kitchen decor!

What follows is how I made my very own mod podge clipboards.  I found instructions online for mod-podging clipboards at two different sites (Small Family Big World and Echos of Laughter ), but incorporated the instructions from both and made some adjustments to create my own.



You will need:

- mini clipboard
- scrapbook paper
- Mod Podge
- paint brush or sponge
- scissors
- X-Acto knife or box cutter
- pencil
- newspaper or other table cover
- 3M Command wall hook or suction cup hook (for hanging on mirror or window)
- embellishments (optional)
- glue/hot glue




Step 1:
On the back side of the scrapbook paper, trace around the clipboard.


Step 2:
Cut diagonal slits from each corner of paper all the way to each corner of traced section.

Yes, if you couldn't tell by now, I'm left-handed.  Please refrain from all left-hander jokes at this time, thank you.  I've heard them all by now anyway.  You try to sit in a school desk that has the attached writing table only on the right side.  Or have random people comment on your left-handedness nearly every time you write in public.  Like, wow, it's really that noteworthy.  Oops, sorry, a little sensitive about it.  But you know you noticed it and would have commented on it had we been together in person while I was cutting.  That is, unless you too are left-handed and then it just looks normal.


When you're done cutting the corner slits, your paper should look like this.
Step 3:
Lay back side of paper over the top of clipboard and using X-Acto knife or box cutter, cut around the clip part of board.  Also cut off the very top middle part of paper above clip part.

Please notice I put the box cutter on the right side for this photo to be fair and give visual aid to all you right-handers out there.



Now the back side of your paper should look like this.














And this photo shows what the cut-out part of the front side should look like, so that it will snugly fit around the clip.
Step 4:
Okay, now you're ready to mod podge.  Yay! Open a window, though.  It has a strong smell and I'm not so sure how good it is for the old brain cells.

First, coat the top of the clipboard with a layer of mod podge.  Remember to protect your table surface.  Mod Podge is really hard to wash off (learned that from experience, folks)!


Step 5:
Then quickly paint a coat of mod podge on the back of the scrapbook paper and gently press on the top of clipboard, carefully pulling the sides of paper around to the back of clipboard.  Press paper down on all sides of clipboard, gently smoothing out wrinkles.


Step 6:
Next, gently paint on 1-2 coats of mod podge over the scrapbook paper on the top, sides, and back of the clip board.  If doing 2 coats, let dry for about 15 minutes between coats.

This yellow clipboard is for my kitchen.  Pretty!  I love tone-on-tone patterns.










Step 7:
Embellish!  I glued on some coordinating ribbon.  Make sure to wrap it around the sides of the clipboard, gluing all the way around to the back.

I also tied a little ribbon to the clip.  Adds a little extra flair, don't you think?

I wanted to fit 2 verse cards on this clipboard, so I found these amazing sticky note holders at the local teacher's supply store.  They have an adhesive side on the back that sticks to just about any surface and is completely removable and re-adjustable.  And they are designed to hold up a piece of paper as thin as notebook or printer paper, or as thick as cardstock.  Love!  What will they think of next?


Step 8:
Hang it up where you'll see it often!  I hung up my kitchen clipboard with a 3M Command hook next to the sink, where I can easily read it while doing one of my most dreaded and never-ever-ending chores:  dish washing.







Yellow and green are such happy colors.  Perfect for the kitchen where I spend countless minutes each day (and not always happily enjoying what I'm doing in there!).

Now for my beach-themed master bathroom clipboard, I used 2 pieces of scrapbook paper - one is ocean waves (or lake waves!  I'm a big Lake Michigan lover!) and the other is a sandy beach.  I mod-podged the waves paper over the clipboard first.  Then cut a bottom section out of the sandy beach paper.





I mod-podged the beach paper over the bottom of the clipboard until it looked like...











THIS!  Cute, or what?
















Then I glued on a sea shell my mom brought me back from a recent trip to Myrtle Beach.















Now, simply add a Scripture card...
















Hang it up on the bathroom mirror with a suction cup hook and viola!  You are ready to memorize and meditate on a favorite verse while you floss your teeth!  But watch out for flying floss shrapnel.  You don't want to get your pretty Scripture card clipboard dirty.















I guess I'm not as artistically-challenged as I had previously thought.  Wonders never cease.


















So, what do you think?  Are you going to make a Scripture card mini clipboard like mine or do you have any other creative display ideas to share?  I'd love to hear about it!  Please share in the Comments section below!

In Christ,

Suzy