"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter: A Season of Hibernation

     I have found the last couple of winters to be very difficult for me.  I wouldn't say I have a classic case of Seasonal Affective Disorder but I would say that the lack of sunlight and vitamin D wreak some havoc with my body.  I end up having insomnia during the winter months, and this has and is taking a toll on me!  The last two weeks in particular have been rough with sleepless nights. The city I live in tends to have quite a bit of dark days during the winter: so I started on some high levels of Vitamin D, some fish oil and a very good Cal/Mag.  I also try to get outside, whether it's a walk with our lab, or a jaunt around the backyard or neighbourhood.   I just find the winter months so hard that I have decided to be proactive about how to manage it this year.  I enrolled in a Hibernation Course with a friend of mine, which starts in January.  It's essentially on line retreat geared to nourish, rest, and create throughout this season.  As I started to think about this concept, I realised this is how I needed to approach this entire season.  I am always in a hurry for winter to be over and spring to come, I feel uptight, and anxious longing for the spring and summer.  Physically, I am doing what I can but emotionally, I need to look at things differently.  I came across a quote the other day that impacted me.  "Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action." ~ Ralph Ellison  This is how I will use this time to prepare physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I won't be in a hurry or complain about the dark days, I will find the beauty in them and through them.  I will learn to sow through this season, as I embrace it.

I am taking part in the Documented Life Project as well.  I finished my cover a couple weeks ago, it depicts every season of the year.  I decided to paint the cover to reflect the word I have chosen for this year.  I also wanted my cover to invite me to sit down and do some art, to create as I sow through this winter season of hibernation!  I finished the inside of my journal today.  I can not tell you how good this has been for me at this time.  Expressing myself through the art, taking the time to create and enjoy.  It has been so incredible.  I needed this.  I have always loved art and form but never really embraced it or tried it on for myself.  On the inside of my journal I painted a tree along with a quote I loved.  " Preparation is never lost time.  The seeds you plant today will bring Harvest tomorrow." ~ Sarah Wehrli.  This is how I see this year.

The next page depicts a snowy winter scene with the quote I mentioned above.  It serves as a visual reminder of what I am striving for right now.  I looked up a you tube tutorial (this one here) and just followed the steps.  I had such great fun learning new techniques.  I found it settled me.  And as I build on my techniques and skill I will be able to do more scenes of my own!

I haven't prepared more of my journal then this.  I don't want to look ahead, I just want to be in this season and this moment, learning to rest in it, taking it as I come.

I chose a log cabin in the snow to depict this season of hibernation.

I love trees, so I used one on the inside of my journal. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015 - A Year of Sowing!

It was hard at first, to pick my word for this year!  I couldn't think of one for a bit.  So I made myself a tea and sat quietly for a while to reflect and look forward.  What did I see this new year being for me?  I knew I wanted it to be about growth but I wasn't sold on that particular word.

I knew I wanted to challenge and stretch myself.  This year I have chosen to take part in The Documented Life Project by Art to the 5th.  To take part in this project is completely free!  Through a series of weekly prompts for the entire year - you end up creating your very own art journal.  The talented artists at Art to the 5th have come up with some wonderful ideas to stretch your creativity and build your art skill.  Anyone can take part all you need to do is sign up (you can use the links in this post).  It doesn't matter if you have never done 'art' before.  I have always loved art, and we keep nature notebooks so journalling my year through art appealed to me - very much!  As I began to think about it, I wanted my year to encapsulate this theme of growth, using my journal as a opportunity to be intentional about it.  I came across a picture depicting seasonal art on line a while back (there are all sorts of ones out there on DIY Art Pinterest boards, see here for the example I patterned mine from).  I had wanted to paint it on canvas but it didn't happen for 2014.  I decided then, that it would be on the cover of my art journal and I settled on the word 'sow'.   I would like this year to be about sowing seeds of new habits and olds ones made anew.  As I work through my art journal with the weekly prompts from The Documented Life Project I will fill it with all sorts of things: poetry, scripture, riddles, reflections in the days of both joy and struggle, song, music, prose and of course, art.  I have always been drawn to creating and doing art but have never had the opportunity until this time in my life to stretch myself and explore my creativity.

I am looking forward to this season of sowing.

My art journal came from amazon and is the Ranger Dylusions Dyan Reaveley's Creative Journal
 - the recommended journal by the Art to the 5th Academy.   I treated the cover with gesso  (a couple of coats) and bought some acrylics at the Dollar Store.  I was very nervous to start it, because I didn't want to mess it up!  One of the ladies on the FB group for The Documented Life Project said if I made a mistake or didn't like it, I could just add gesso and start again. Problem solved!  I decided to relax and have fun!  Have fun I did!!! I had a lot of fun.  I took the colours I wanted as my backdrop for the seasons and mixed them to either soften the colour or brighten it, using a wider paint brush with wide strokes to add the backdrop. I let it dry and added my tree.  I used more mixed colours to create some texture and variety for the tree. I also used a skewer to add some thin strokes I wanted to create with other colours.  Fingers were good for blending little bits of paint!   I used q-tips for the round 'leaves' and tooth pics dipped in various colours to compliment and add a variety of colour inside the leaves.  I used what I had on hand and thought about what I could use to create the effect I wanted.  Some of the kids playdough tools looked appealing.  I tucked that away in my mind for another day and art project! 

I didn't use a you tube video this time around, although I am certain I will utilize them in the future to encourage techniques and variety.  

Above all, I enjoyed myself immensely.  It was both relaxing and satisfying.  Looking forward to doing more as I learn to cultivate through the seasons of growth this year.

Excited to get started!

The cover of the journal treated with gesso.

I mixed the colours up and painted them on with wide free strokes.  It has a few layers.

Added the tree!

It was quite of bit fun doing this once I got started! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December First: The First Day of Advent!

Good Morning!

We are all very excited to begin the 25 days of advent!  The kids worked hard on their Jesse Tree last week.  I had a different Jesse Tree planned for this season but they liked last year's one so well that we did it again.  The one for this year wouldn't have been as interactive and they really wanted to participate in building it.  It's hung up and waiting for the first decoration to adorn its branches.  If you have never heard of a Jesse Tree, have a read through here for an explanation.  I had considered buying the pre made Jesse Tree Ornaments Ann Voskamp has on her site but the kids really wanted to colour the ornaments themselves, so I downloaded them from A Holy Experience.  It became very clear to me that they wanted to be a part of how The Jesse Tree unfolded.  I have to say, I am deeply impacted by how meaningful this whole process has become for them.

We will be using Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift to do our advent readings from.  It's a wonderful book with gorgeous illustrations throughout.  A family keepsake, to be used time and time again.
The Jesse Tree!

I made a Kindness Elf to go along with our advent season.  She will be hiding in parts of the house each day with a note.  The activities will be geared towards random acts of kindness during this advent season.  I will be using the suggestions in Unwrapping the Greatest Gift along with suggestions on the Facebook group: The Kindness Elves Page to help me formulate ideas and acts of service.

Lily is all ready to go this morning!  I crocheted her from a pattern I found on line.  She was originally called Lily the Christmas Elf, so I tweaked the name for our purposes!  If you are a crocheter and would like the pattern, here it is!  Lily is all ready with her note, some ornaments for the kids' tree along with ornaments for the kids to make up for friends!

I will be blogging about our adventures from time to time throughout the advent season.  Please feel free to join us for this amazing time!    

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Beloved Poetry Tea Time

This is a post about how absolutely amazing Poetry Tea Time is!

I was introduced to the concept by a friend's blog (Life on a Canadian Island - excellent blog) and found myself intrigued with the idea. We were struggling to do poetry.  My older two don't care for the genre but I thought it was important to include this time honoured art in order to round out our education.  Poetry Tea Time is rooted in the Brave Writer Program, she explains it here.  It is quite simply one of the most brilliant ways of doing poetry.  It's a cosy way of reading together out loud, creating a truly enjoyable environment against the back drop of baked goods, lovely plates, tea/hot chocolate/apple cider, while indulging in lovely prose!  This time has become a scared passage in an otherwise busy week.  The children look forward to it with great anticipation.  They talk about what baked good we'll cook up in the kitchen, the drink they will have and how they will dress the table. They participate in the preparation of Tea Time.  Not only are we reading but they are learning life skills such as baking, setting a table and serving.  My youngest daughter even made a candle out of beeswax to light while we read a loud.

I read a book a few weeks ago called More Charlotte Education in which she addresses how to approach poetry.  "Poetry can grow on you - if at first you don't care for it keep trying."  Catherine Levison says.  To be perfectly honest; it wasn't my favourite genre either.  It didn't help that at school we tore it apart line by line analysing it to death, rather then simply reading it for pure enjoyment.  So I set about making poetry fun for me as well!  Poetry is meant to be read a loud, it's meant to illicit thought, laughs, and it's even meant to be recited (think of Anne when she recited the Highway Man in Anne of Green Gables), all bringing the reader or listener to a place of reflection.

Levison made a couple more suggestions which I have found helpful.  One being, to read the poem but not the title.  After the poem is read, the kids try to guess the title.  They LOVE this exercise.  She also suggested that children bring their own poetry to the table.  You would be surprised how many read a louds contain a prose, limerick, hymn or song written in poetry style.  She also suggests for the children to practice reciting a short poem back.  This approach has also been good, as the children giggle and try to recall the lines. We have even gone around the table and each of us make up one line of poetry to make a whole poem.  I have also found it a worthwhile exercise to build on what type of poetry they like to hear.  My children love limericks, so we read a lot of those to get them going.  It's also good, Levison suggests, to expose them to poetry at a young age, just read it out loud to the very young child and you will see their eyes come alive with wonder.  There are tons of great books from Poems and Prayers for the Very Young, to The Real Mother Goose to The Llama who had No Pajama - all delightful books with wonderful illustrations.  Several others we have enjoyed: Favorite Poems of Childhood, A Child's Garden of Verses, Favorite Poems of Old and New, and EverydayGraces (contains lots of lovely poetry particularly as it applies to manners and living).  I've got my eye on these one: Poems to Learn by Heart  and Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost.

Levison suggests not to prepare all the readings before hand but to just pick out what strikes you. I love this loser format, I have found it incredibly refreshing.  We read from a variety of poetry books.  A lot of my poetry books have come from Sonlight Curriculum, which have been purchased with all the cores I have bought.  They are outstanding books.

My two older children will likely say they still don't care for poetry but in some ways they have been endeared to it without realising it.  They will often recite a line from a poem throughout the week. I don't draw attention to these moments but quietly smile to myself during them.  This is what poetry is meant to build - connection to the world around us.  It's what all good literature does.

I will also say that my connection to poetry and love for it has grown leaps and bounds as we have done Poetry Tea Time for the last two years.  I find myself drawn to it.  I recently received an old copy of Robert Brownings poems and have put Caroline Kennedy's She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems on my Christmas list  I enjoy reading them on my own and writing the ones that hold meaning for me in my Common Place Notebook.  I am so pleased with Poetry Tea Time, it has enriched our lives in so many ways!

I used some linen a beloved family member gave me.

The little candle in the middle my daughter made.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

For the Love of Nature

Richard Louv wrote in his book Last Child in the Woods:  ".....,nature does not steal time, it amplifies it."  I couldn't agree more.  There is something intrinsically complex about our response to nature. It settles the spirit while at the same time cultivates the mind.  Our eyes feast on the delight of colour and form, our ears attune to the sounds all around us, the feel of the weather rests well over the skin; wrapping us up in sensations of warmth, cold, dampness, and the like.  The nose is able to scent the changes of the seasons while becoming familiar with the smells of winter, summer, fall and spring.  It engages us. 

As the day emerges colour comes alive in its vibrant display of glory.  The sun chases the moon from the sky as the still of night gives way to the stirrings of dawn.  Even the spider web glistens with the dew of a new day.  Mist shrouds the green of foliage in mystery until it lifts revealing that which was hidden. As evening falls, the stars appear in the sky, the moon giving us the light of night.  There is much for us to see in the beauty of nature.  It invites us to pay attention.

As I take it all in, I am reminded of the glory of the one who called it all into being.  Perhaps this is why I love nature so much.  It brings me back to the Creator, reminds me how incredible and majestic He is.  His breath of life surrounds me from the blade of grass to the sparkling stars.  And I'm apart of that!  I am so blessed.  

We spent three days hiking Algonquin Park, taking in the wonder of nature so raw and fresh.  We rose early to welcome the dawn in the park.  We spent hours hiking, just taking it all in.  For this particular trip we were there to take in the Fall colours.

Each season brings with it, its own personal narrative.  I must say Autumn reveals its glory in that setting in a way I have never seen before.   It literally took my breath away.  As we walked higher up the trail, we saw the red, gold and orange of the trees mingled together, reflected in the stillness of the water beneath it. I stood there taking in each shade and image.  I snapped some shots but not a whole lot, I wanted to be present in the moment.  I loved the hiking, the anticipation of coming through a clearing to see more colour, more beauty.  The cliffs were high on one trail; 420 feet up.  I confess being that high alarmed me but it was well worth the climb.  I am ever so glad I had the opportunity to see it from that vantage point.  It's something I will never forget. 

We went for a canoe ride along a lovely winding river just off a lake.  This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  We came around a bend at one point and I was stunned by the scene before me.  The colour of the trees, the red of a little cottage and boat house - all perfectly reflected in the still water beneath it.  We put up our paddles and sat there taking it all in.  It was made perfect by the sound of the wind through the trees (how I love that sound), and the light chatter of the birds who were calling out to us as we sat there in silence.  I could feel the wind on the skin and hear the rustle of it moving the leaves.  I enjoyed that moment to its fullest. 

It was a perfect weekend to go.  The weather couldn't have been nicer for this experience and we hit the peak of Fall colours.   I have thought of it often since our return.  Our leaves are just beginning their own transformation and we'll trudge through our own fall.  It will be lovely too but how blessed I was to live so close to be able to visit such an amazing place as Algonquin. We really felt like we were able to experience Autumn from the height of a cliff to the meandering of a river canoe!
We turned into the evening with the sunset and the crackle of a fire made complete by the vast canopy of stars above.  The stars were brilliant up there. 

It was impossible to get a bad picture of our adventure.   Anywhere you pointed a camera was photo worthy!  I am happy to have some lovely shots.  They are the back drops of my phone, my commuter and even our TV.  

I hope you enjoy them too. :)

Beautiful Sunris

The mist of a river lifting from the beach.

The sun illuminates the reds and oranges of the Booth Trail

So beautiful from the trees to the reflection of them in the water.

Close up of the leaves

The kids sat in the rocks for a while taking it all in!

I love this picture.

This one reminds me of some of the paintings of Tom Thomson.

This pic doesn't do it justice but the dew was sparkling on this spider web.

Sunset as seen by the river

Winding down from an day of hiking with an evening campfire

Some star gazing. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I Choose Trust

The old becomes new, time is redeemed, minds transformed by the power of a Holy God, and living waters flow over into the dry places.  These are the things I am choosing to embrace today, this week, it is my mantra wrapped up in the prayers that come from my mouth to God's ear.

These past few months have been difficult for our whole family but now that life is taking on its usual pace I am trying to play catch up.  I knew I  had missed some things and have been concentrating on making a running list today, so I can check it all off as it gets done.  It feels overwhelming and crazy at the moment.  As I talked to God about it, this particular set of verses came to me:

1 Peter 5:6-8  "Humble yourselves, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self controlled and alert.  Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour."

It really is God who works in me to will and to act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). I was feeling anxious about everything I had missed and had yet to do for this entire month. As I added things to the calendar and the list I felt more and more overwhelmed.  I was feeling keyed up and out of sorts.  But my Father is faithful and gave me His words when I needed them, as the verses came, I realised that God will give me the strength to complete what He has given me to do.  I need to keep surrendering myself to Him.  As I humble myself; He'll lift me up!  As I thought about the last half of the verses I realised that I need not feel anxious about these things.  But rather give thanks that He is strengthening me for what lies ahead.  The moment I embrace the anxiety about what the month holds is the moment I surrender my joy and exchange it for a self deprecating attitude.  This is what the devil wants because it means I am less effective.

The month holds lots of activity but the greatest beauty of it all is that Jesus holds me through it.  And every moment, every activity, simply means meeting Him in it and allowing Him to work in me and through me in whatever I am doing.  When I look back through the past few months and the strength He gave me to do all I needed too, I know I can continue to trust in Him for the days ahead.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Project - Be Love

Love is a Choice.

I said this to my girl after she had an argument with her brother. She expressed her disagreement with this statement, insisting it was something you feel. I explained that it can be something you feel but it is also something you choose in the hard moments when your feelings tell you to rage, to yell, to tear down or to cut up with your words. I explained that what she says impacts her brother in some deep and significant ways. I had recently read an article about how a mother explained to her daughter; that what her daughter says to her sister may matter even more then what they, as parents, say. And that her sister's self esteem can be easily built up or torn down with her words. I explain this to my girl but she doesn't want that responsibility, I can see it in her eyes, in her face. It is weighty. I know that talking to her about all this is good but teaching her to live it, walk it and breathe it is better. We talked some more and I asked how Christ showed His love. She responded that He died on the cross for her sin. I dig deeper with her. I ask her if she thinks Jesus felt like like dying that day? She shakes her head - she knows He asked for this task to be removed from Him while He prayed that evening in the garden. But He did His Father's will and He died for us with great love. It was a choice. I press further, what is His will for us?? A question was asked of Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher. what is the greatest commandment in the law?" He replied "Love The Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: 'love your neighbour as yourself', all the law and prophets hang on these two commandments." These words were put to the test that day at the cross when Jesus enacted and became love for us when He died. She shakes her head and says: "Well, can he (her brother) treat me badly then?" I say "No, he can't. Love doesn't mean you don't have boundaries. Forgiveness and turning the other cheek doesn't mean you ignore bad behaviour or explain it away. It means you love them to forgiveness, hold them accountable and then work together to repair what is broken. Christ does that too, in His relationship with us, it's the message of His word! He loves us to forgiveness. He doesn't let us off the hook, He still calls us to account but also provides a way back to Him to repair what had been broken." I can see she understands this on an elementary level but she needs to work on how she responds - we all need to work on how we respond. It will be difficult and require patient teaching. A family needs to be a safe haven for this growth not a hindrance to it. It is our responsibility to provide this haven and security by both our example and by our teaching. To come along side of them to spur them on to good - the good message of the gospel.

As I prayed about all of this I felt The Lord drawing me towards teaching them how to really love each other, with 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 as our foundation for the framework of love. I have called it: 'Project - Be Love. It is obvious that if all the law and prophets hang on these commandments of loving God and others then we need to lean into God's understanding of love, to find out what exactly that entails; what it really and truly means. He hasn't hid that understanding from us, it's all in His precious word. Scripture indicates that love isn't all flowers and roses, it is hard and painstaking work, at times. It IS a choice - one of the greatest kind. Jesus' death clearly shows us that.

So, on Monday morning we start Project - Be Love. I have a few ideas about what that will look like over the next several weeks. It will certainly begin with the memorization of 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.  When we have scripture firmly lodged in our minds, the more likely we are to recall it when we need it the most. It will involve a deeper study of the scriptures as we take each thought in that passage and compare it to other parts of scripture for clarification, for understanding and for wisdom. It will also involve each of us submitting to one another, being accountable to each other for the way we choose to love and being very intentional about it.

I will be blogging about it each week. I trust that God will bless this journey, give us insight and understanding and I believe He will do great things.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Difficult Summer

These past couple of months have been extremely difficult for our family and I would like to share what has been happening.  

My husband had elective surgery on July 9th, the surgery was not complex and usually straight forward but it did not end up that way for him.    He developed some complications post surgery - an infection and then an abscess that was roughly the size of a grapefruit.  By the time this developed, which was two weeks after the initial surgery, he was in serious shape.  On July 22nd, he was in hospital having emergency surgery.  They needed to drain the abscess.  The next day, the 23rd, he was back in the OR having the wound de-brided and repacked.  The next several days were difficult as he experienced daily repacking of the wound.  Despite being on a heavy IV narcotic, he was still in a lot of pain during the repacking of the wound.  In total he was in the hospital for 6 days before he finally came home.  It didn't stop there though, we have had a nurse coming every day to the house to repack the wound.  His healing has been far from straightforward.  He's had to go on several courses of antibiotics as the infection threatened to come back and was back in the hospital for more ultrasounds and Doctor appointments.  As of today, September 1st, we are still in the middle of every other day packing.  The wound is sluggish to heal but he has not had to take pain meds for the repacking and it is healing.  He is certainly MILES from where he was and we are in the home stretch now.

This has been difficult for all of us, him especially.  At one point, I was very fearful of losing him, because he was just so sick and I fretted about other complications that may arise.  Through the midst of all of it; we learned to rely on God in deeper ways.  We learned that we really are not in control of some of the things that happen to us. Prayer became pivotal as the healing progressed at such a slow rate with more hitches.   

My word for the year, the one I chose, was prayer.  This has stretched me to the point where prayer is something I breath.  Prayer is NOT my initial response, I do get there and once there am in it for the long haul but it's not the very first thing I do.  The first thing I do is panic, and my mind strays every which way.  I have become keenly aware of how important of a habit this is to develop - where prayer becomes more my second nature. While on morning walks with the newest member of our family (our lab, Miley)  I have used that time to talk to God and especially to work on scripture memorization.  It's been such a peace filled time.  These walks have welcomed me to slow down and be still, be quiet with the Lord, committing His words to memory.  I love to read scripture and do, all the time, but I struggle with memory work.  This is an important skill to learn.  And the more I commit His words to memory, the more they become apart of my initial response.  

Further, I have had to come to grips  with the fact that nothing happens to us that God is not aware of. Whatever we face, He is allowing to happen; He desires for us to come to His throne and seek His face. The response to all the external events reveals the internal condition of my heart. This is where He works. 

My responses, my actions, to all things external live inside of a brand new day.  They will affect me, my relationship with God, and all those who enter into the moments of my day.  It's been very difficult the past few days as I have struggled with why my husband's wound is taking so long to heal.  I am tired and cranky as of late. It's hard watching my husband go through this and I have also had to carry a lot more responsibility lately.  I was expressing this all to God while I prayed this morning on my walk, essentially complaining.  I am sure the Lord was smiling as I moved on to the scripture for that day.  On my q-card today: Hebrews 12:1-2  "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  It's a race, you know, right now.  We're almost at the end and it's more tiring then ever and I just want to give up on that home stretch - emotionally implode under the weight of it all.  But then God convicts and reminds me that the last leg of the race can feel like forever and would be easy to just stop and not push through to the end.  Matthew 11:28 came to me just then: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  In that moment I am reminded that He's before me and even though I feel heavy and burdened He is waiting to give rest.  I felt the breath of God as He breathed new life into my soul with His word.  And I am reminded, pray, pray, pray......and if I fall and forget, and stumble around for a bit, He's there to make sure I rise up again.  I felt so silly and I confessed it to Him, then I feel the grace come and I felt the strength to carry on well up in me once again.  And I know - I am held.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What would you do if you saw Jesus today?

My daughter and I were out on a walk one morning this week with our puppy.  She turns to me and asks me this question: "Mom, what would you do if you saw Jesus today? Like say, He was just around the corner and you met Him?"  She always asks the most poignant questions, the ones that have me digging deep.  This one took me by surprise and caused tears to prick my eyes. So I said to her: "I would fall on my knees before Him."  The answer surprised her and she wanted to know why.   "He's Holy."  I answer.  "And the more I surrender to Him the more I see His holiness."   We chat some more, she tells me she would hug Him, and she calls Him her friend.  I love that she loves the one who called her into being.  And I love that she thinks of Him as friend.  And I know in that moment, she watches.  She sees how I walk my faith out and what I say needs to line up with what I do.  

It's IN and THROUGH all the moments of surrender that bring me closer to His Majesty.  There are times when circumstances teach us we really are not in control of anything but our own response.  You know the ones I mean.  These past few months I have faced a number of them: death of a loved one, a health diagnosis, the loss of a beloved family pet, emergency surgery of a spouse, insomnia - it's been a rough ride these past few months.  I am learning to surrender more and more.  It's not the first thing I think to do, it doesn't come naturally.  It takes action to surrender it to His care, this action produces a peace that is firmly implanted deep in my soul. Then I see it - I see Him in all His holiness and majesty.  By His wounds I am healed and in my brokenness before Him I know how big He truly is.  When I embrace the surrender I can lean into the promises of His word.  The passage that is in my heart in the morning and provides rest for my soul at night right now is  Romans 8:37 - 39: "37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.".  

Jesus surrendered it all at the cross.  When the sky darkened, when the ground shook, when the veil was torn in two - He surrendered to the will of His Father.  It was finished.  It was hard, oh so difficult but He surrendered.  He didn't allow Satan the distinct pleasure of a foothold.  Each day is about surrender, it's about allowing Him to invade and it's about resisting the temptation to allow Satan a foothold.  The surrender needs to be found in ALL areas of my life, my children, my marriage, my church, and deep in my soul when I choose His will over mine.

I explain this to my daughter, who is at the tender age of 13.  Her faith will be tested, there will be times of trouble but Jesus has made us conquerors.  The more I live the more I need Him and the more I need to surrender and when I do, I just want to fall on my knees before Him - in awe of how Holy He is.   She gives me that smile of hers, the one I love best after a moving conversation.

I've been singing it in my head since then:  I surrender ALL, ALL to Jesus, I surrender......  I love how God speaks to me through these children of mine.     

Thursday, June 5, 2014

When your kid astounds you

The other day, I was watching my eldest get out her nightly reading.  Every single night, without fail, she does her devotions, reads her Bible (she has set herself a goal of reading the Bible in a year), and does a prayer book.  I have, not even once, intruded on this time, just quietly observed.  This is all about her and her relationship with Jesus.  Over time I have given her some tools: a devotional book, a Bible, some journals but the impetus to do this has been one of her own design and it doesn't include me. :)   I have observed this for a few years now.  Curiosity overcame me the other night about the two other books she puts on her bed and I have seen her writing in.  I causally asked her about them.  Her answered astounded me.  They were journals.  One was for all the verses or quotes she had found that she wanted to remember and one for a list of running questions she has asked me for quite some time now.  I knew she asked me questions but I never realised she recorded both the questions and answers.  I can not even begin to tell you how impacted I was by this - in a few different ways.  It made me take a critical look at how I answer these questions of hers.  Do I casually answer them or do I pay them great heed?  I thought about how her example speaks life to me. This tender-aged sweet girl is an example to her almost 40 year old mother. I thought about how she has made her faith her own.  She has chosen to ask the difficult questions, to do the seeking and to spend the time researching.  She agrees, or disagrees, she embraces, she learns.   These are habits she is developing in her youth that will serve her well as she grows into adulthood.  But what amazes me the most, what I am proud of the most; is that they are HERS.  I can learn from this young girl as she grows and finds her own path.  I can learn from her passion and stamina, from the budding desire to learn and know more about her God.

And it has given me great pause to make sure that my answers to her questions match her fervent desire to increase in both knowledge and wisdom.  I am ever so glad I asked about the last two books, because with it, has come some deep thoughts and reflections; on parenting, on relationship, on spiritual depth, on life.

Monday, May 12, 2014

As the Day Closes

As this day comes to as close I can't help but look back on it to see where God was in all of it.   Because He was and IS in this day, His presence is the thread that is woven into each moment of the day - the perfect ones, the ugly ones, the trying ones, the prayerful ones  - His presence never leaves, He abides with me.

As I sit back and look at the day I see Him in all the fullness of these moments:

In the quiet of the morning, when the day is fresh and new.

In the school work when I breath a prayer of patience for the child who is struggling.

When I read a good book with the kids and hear their laughter intermingled with mine.

As I write a poem into my commonplace notebook.

In the food I make and prepare.

In the praise and worship song blaring through the speakers.

When I watch my hand tremor as I hold my pen to correct a math paper.

When I stop the children from fighting.

In the message sent to ask for prayers for a family who is suffering a crushing loss.

In the thunderstorm.

In the encouraging words of a husband whose very words wrap me up in comfort.

In the FB message that tells me an uncle has gone to the hospital in grave condition.

In the emotional exhaustion of a sleepless night.

In the disappointment of plans changed.

He's there, in all of it and through all of it.  His hand holds me, and my name is written upon that nail pierced palm.  He's here as I write this, He'll be there tonight as I put my kids to bed  and lay my own weary head down upon the pillow.   I could chose to ignore that He's here but it never goes well when I do.  He's the great comforter and that very present help in trouble.

I am so very exhausted today, that deep exhaustion that seeps down into your soul, but God knows that too and He meets me there.  Then He fills me up again as I empty it all out before Him.  That's just who He is.  His blood cleanses, His mercies are new and His presence is with me - always.  My Grandma once told me: "Pray to acknowledge His presence, not to receive it, because you are His child He is with you - always.".

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mother's Day: Women of Faith and Destiny

Here I stand, contemplating my life as a women of destiny, a child of God. And I find I am more determined then ever to 'run the race,' to make each breath count as I walk this earth.  My husband has spent a great deal of time researching his family tree and as I watched him add each name he found to their respective spot, I was impacted.  They are not just names on a piece of paper, they were people who lived and breathed.  They experienced love, hardship, loss, grappled with life, succeeded, failed: LIVED.  And one day I will be on that tree.  One of my ancestors will look at my name, my husband's name, my children's names and perhaps; maybe even wonder about my life.   I visited my family's homestead a while ago, they came from England and settled some land up north.  My Dad's side of the family lived on that land, farmed it, sweat over it as they sought to make a life here.  While there, we discovered several names which had been written on bricks out in the sun room.  I brushed my hand over the signature's, some with dates and couldn't help but wonder what their lives were like and how they lived, and if they finished well.   As I look to my life I find myself asking the question:  "How shall I pass down my lineage to the next generation?"  This is a multifaceted question because it involves 'doing'.  Anyone can hear something and agree with it on an elementary level.  The 'doing' is the most difficult part yet it reaps the greatest reward.   I consider myself blessed.  I come from a line of several generations of a people of faith.  I know both my Grandma's prayed for our family and I know my Grandpa did too.  At this writing both the matriarch and patriarch of my father's and mother's family have gone home to be with the Lord, and they finished well.  I miss their wisdom and prayers.  Now that I am older I appreciate the impact their lives had on me with the understanding and eyes of an adult. The legacy they leave me with is both a blessing and a reality.  They were flawed individuals, didn't always make the right choice(s), had their quirks and struggled with sin as in the battle Paul refers to in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  They were also conquerors (Romans 8:37), courageous (1 Corinthians 16:13), prayerful (Thessalonians 5:17), loving (Hebrews 13:1), suffered long (Galatians 5:22), and loved the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

As I look to the generation beneath me, I am reminded that I must continue to grow in my faith.  To hand that legacy down is the most precious gift I give to my children, and their children and so forth.  When my soul passes from this earth, I take nothing with me.  I leave it all behind.  My fervent hope is that I have truly embraced the words, "To live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21).  As a women, teaching my daughters (and yes, my son also!). I want them to understand and embrace the reality that their strength comes from the Lord (Psalm 37:39).  Their worth is not measured in beauty, not by the things they possess nor by what their skill set is.  It's not even by their accomplishments, their education and so forth.  Their worth needs to be fully rooted in a deep, abiding relationship with their Heavenly Father.  This is the measure of their womanhood.   My most fervent prayer is that I will be able to reflect Christ and my relationship with Him to my children so they may then pass that on to the generation(s) beneath them.  This requires building your house upon the rock, a sure foundation, so that when the winds come it will not be shaken nor will doubt come crashing down upon it like a wave blown and tossed by the wind.  There will be times when I fail and need to rest in the forgiveness of the cross, continuing to run the race looking to Jesus the author and finisher of my faith.  (Hebrews 12:1-6).  What I want my children to learn is that they can count on my prayers and encouragement to be a 'doer' of the word and not only a hearer.  The character of our Lord never changes, He doesn't lie, and He is indeed that sure and steadfast anchor of the SOUL (Hebrews 6:14).  They can fully trust in Him to accomplish the good work He started. (Philippians 6:1)

I have a passion for women and for the young ladies who are growing up in their faith.  They are women of destiny.  My prayer is that they will be faith builders who impact those around them with the reality that yes, they will sin, they will fall short but that the Lord will lift them up and determine their steps with purpose as they submit their wills to Him.  As a women, then, I pray for the ladies who walk along side me and for the generations coming up beneath me (not only my own kids but those who are apart of my church family) that they will write the word and promises of the Lord on the doorposts of their houses and hide them deep in their hearts.  That they will impact others with the proper balance of grace and truth in full measure.   They they will remain authentic people about all the struggles this life will hold but transformed by the renewing of their minds to reflect a mind that is stayed on Christ.  What a challenge this is but the very good news is that it is Christ in us that accomplishes this, He gives us the strength to live a life of righteousness as we constantly submit to His will and His leading.

A name I will be, upon a page one day, but the legacy I leave will grow with my children.  I want that legacy to be the gift of a relationship with Christ that reaches far into the generations beneath me.  My prayers, they have, as I seek to follow in the footsteps of my Lord.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: A Birthday Week and Slower Pace.

We began the week with Esther's birthday.  My little girl is 7 now.  It seems like yesterday she was just born!   I don't have a huge place, and right now, it's under a lot of construction (ie: painting) so I am trying to make the kids' birthdays special by other means rather then having a party.  She took her birthday off of school work.  We had a cake, and a couple of her little friends dropped gifts/cards off that day.  Later on during the week, I took Esther and her friend to an indoor play structure for the morning, where they had a blast.  She loved her week and I was glad that we could make it special for her in a variety of ways.

We have been outside a lot, as weather has permitted.  I am so pleased about getting out again with the kids. My daughter took some pictures of the blooms and flowers that are starting to unfold.  We'll use a few of her pictures to sketch on a rainy day.  And she just enjoys experimenting with different ways to take pictures. We took note of all the new changes in the nature around us as we walked up and down our street and around our backyard.  I love how they notice things: like how the back yard grass grows more quickly then the front (and why; more sun back there), and how the stages of the trees and flowers have their times.

We played a lot of math games this week.  Our program (Right Start) incorporates math games as a way of solidifying math concepts taught throughout the lessons.  We worked with exponents this past week.  My eldest dislikes showing her work, she does it in her head so quickly and right that she doesn't see the need!  She felt she didn't have to write down each part of the equation in order for it to be 'right'. :)  She also doesn't understand why learning about all this is beneficial.  I can hardly blame her, I had similar thoughts at her age.  The difference between her and I is that she is a natural at math and I was not.  My hubby was home and heard us talking about it so sat and chatted with her about the importance of showing her work.  He also talked to her about how incredible our universe is and how God wove math together to create the vast cosmos and life here on earth.  I found myself being in awe of this as he spoke about how God was so orderly and math is an expression of this order.  He's so great with the kids, doing science and math easily with them, in an every day sort of way, bringing it to their level of understanding while at the same time helping them to see it in a broader sense too.

We're coming to a close with this month's book for book club (A Wrinkle in Time).  Book club is Monday, looking forward to that and I will be posting about it the following week.  Heather will be doing a book review on Dragon Chronicles Series for Book Sharing Monday.  She worked on her book report for it this week as part of her grammar assignment.  She did a great job, just needing to fine tune it a bit here and there.

Nice week all around, despite my struggle with bouts of headaches due to the rapid changes in barometric pressure.  It's always a struggle for me that way when the seasons change.

Esther - playing with some lego on her birthday.

One of the pics my daughter took of the evidences of spring.

We are linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up!

Small Things: A Blog / Blog Entry Worth Reading

My heart is in agreement with a blog post I read this morning: Hard Times, Pretty Pictures.  She talks about how and why she posts on her blog and I couldn't have agreed more with her.

I remarked to a friend the other day that when I post something on my blog, particularly about my kiddos, I am highly aware that I am representing my children.  Perhaps at some point, they may even read what I wrote about them.  Small Things blog post sums it up when she says: "my heart is not the only one on the line." 

When I post on my blog, or take a snap shot for Instagram it brings me joy to capture the beautiful things we are doing, the precious moments that make it all worth it.  It doesn't mean I don't have hard moments, days, weeks or even months.  It doesn't mean that I am not facing struggles of my own.  It doesn't mean that I am being disingenuous.  It simply means that I  choose to acknowledge the good.  When I read or see about the moments others are having it makes me smile too.  And I am thankful it was captured and shared.

I loved Small Things Blog post because it resounded with me in so many ways, and was beautifully written.

Monday, April 28, 2014

God's Smuggler: Book Sharing Monday

God's Smuggler was one of our book club picks.  We have always read a steady stream of missionary books.  They are not only great books for mission work but for history and geography as well.  God's Smuggler quickly became one of our favourite missionary reads.  This book had such an impact on us.  The book is based on Brother Andrew's life of smuggling Bibles into Communist countries and bringing encouragement to the Christians who were struggling to live a life of faith behind the iron curtain.

From a boy he dreamed of being a spy, fighting in wars, believing it would be glorious existence.  When he was in his late teens he fought in the Dutch East Indie War and found the harsh realities of war were far more reaching and damaging then he ever thought.  After he was injured in the war he came home to figure out what to do with his life.  At this point he was not a Christian but God placed people in his life to bring him the truth and after a while he embraced the Lord with all his heart.  The change in him was incredible and he had a deep desire to bring encouragement and Bibles to those who led their life behind the iron curtain.

What impacted us most was how strong his faith truly was.  Answers to pray were astounding in the face of great danger and odds, God provided in miraculous ways.  The book was full of accounts in this respect.  We were often stunned by the way God answered and the faith of these people who answered God's call on their life to mission work in the communist countries.

Brother Andrew and his wife are still alive and have founded Open Doors, a mission dedicated to providing Bibles and missionaries to countries who so desperately need help.

I am pleased to say that this book was a huge hit in book club.   I received an email from one family in particular who expressed that the book impacted their entire family as they read it aloud together.  I was so pleased to hear this.

We would highly recommend this as a mission read.

God's Smuggler, one of our favourite book club picks!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: Learn to Run

It's been a fast paced week and we managed to get in all the essentials, as well as concentrate on some physical fitness!  The finer weather has now arrived in our area so we are hitting the track for some running and took out the bikes for some riding!

Learn to Run
My older two have set some goals for themselves in terms of running.  Heather would like to run a 10K this year and Graham a 5K (will be his first running experience).  All the kiddos have asked to participate in a colour run.  So I need to look into that.  I injured my foot a couple of times last year and hadn't hit the track in quite some time.  We started all over with a couch to 5K training app I have on my phone.  It's a nice app and was free, you can even add music to it, if you like. :)  We made it out a three times this week and although it challenged my son, he hung in there.  My youngest (7 yrs) rode along side us on her bike, ran or walked depending on what she felt like doing at the time!  It's been challenging to find the time but well worth the effort; lots of fun and memories made as we preserver together!  There is a home school track and field meet held a few hours from our city that I plan on taking the kids to next year.  They have all shown some interest in doing more activities like this.  We'll take the year to research the various track and field sports so they can decide what they'd like to do.   I'd like to start practising the sports with them throughout the year.

Book Club Books
We've been concentrating on our books for book club this past week.  I run a junior division with 11 children; ages 6 - 11.  And a friend of mine runs a Senior Book Club, which my eldest daughter attends.  The junior book is called:  A Wrinkle in Time & the Senior's are reading the classic: Little Women.  My daughter is struggling to read Little Women, she finds it very slow paced, but she's hanging in there.  It certainly isn't one of her favourites!  The younger ones and I are throughly enjoying A Wrinkle in Time.  I will be writing about our book club next month when I do a Book Club Monday post!  :)

That's pretty much it for the week!  Just keeping up with all the regular studies!

A little bit of picture fun at the park!

Me and the kiddos! :D

We are linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap!  Have a look and share your own!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keeping the Pace

I took the kiddos out for a run yesterday.  The older two have set some running goals for themselves.  One would like to run a 10K this year and the other his first 5K.  Admirable goals, and this Mom needs the exercise too.  It was a gorgeous day, beautiful weather to run in.  Just the perfect amount of breeze and coolness! :)

We set out in the afternoon on our bikes and headed to the track.  Wednesday's are always a busy day and I have trouble trying to fit everything in but I knew they needed it and I did too.  What happened I will remember for the rest of my days.

I have had two injuries in the last year to the same foot, so hadn't been running on it for quite some time.  My stamina is gone....  Plus my son has never trained for a race so we needed to start over again anyway! I have to work up to running a 5K in the 33 minutes I was accustomed to doing it in.  We started the From Couch to 5K running app I have on my phone.  I was struggling to do the running portion of the program but was still pulling off the jog.  Heather commented that it was hard to run at the jog pace for her.  Not wanting to slow her down, I picked up the pace a bit but was struggling to maintain it.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw her watching me.  She smiled and said to me: "It's okay Mom, I can run at your pace, that you're even doing this with us means so much." Tears stung my eyes, and I know she didn't realise what she'd said.  I started talking about how the Bible talks about running the race.  My son pipes up and says: "oh wow, what race mom?"  I know he's got his mind on the running of an actual race and I chuckle repeating the verse for him found in Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."  Oh right!, he says. I explained to them that they are like the cloud of witnesses running with me and that Heather's comment to keep pace with me during this time impacted me in the spiritual realm too.  We need that encouragement, someone to keep pace with us through life, the storms, the hard things, the joy, the sorrows.  I go on to talk about how the Bible talks about not looking to the right or left but to the prize before us.  I was surprised when my son suddenly veered off course, running far off to our right.  I wonder what he's doing, then he runs back to us and says: "I get it Mom, when you run to the right or left you can't finish the race."  wow.  He actually did that without any prompting on my part.  I am astounded and more tears prick the backs of my eyes.  "Yes, son, that's exactly it, and we are to look to the author and perfecter of our faith (Christ), with our prize being the eternal life we inherit."  They got it, these kids - get it. We talked about the sin and the cares of this world, how they press in on us and steal our joy and hope.  We talked about how the race is hard and you want to quit but the more you run the stronger you get.  So many parallels to drive home the point.

I felt the Holy Spirit move yesterday afternoon and knew those moments were well spent.  I sometimes wonder if the teaching I am doing gets through, the kids fight, they struggle, I want to loose my mind sometimes; feeling like a broken record.....  Then these moments arrive and I am astounded.  God's word never changes, His touch heals and brings truth, it doesn't return void.  I pray my kids will remember this, that they will hold tight to this truth even in the darkest of moments when hope feels far off and life threatens to cave in.  I pray that I will always encourage and keep pace beside them, remind them who they are and that they are loved and held by a mighty God.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Sharing Monday: The Burgess Bird Book by Thornton W. Burgess

The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess

I attended a Charlotte Mason Meeting a few months back, where I heard about this book.  After reading through some reviews and pondering it for a bit, I purchased a copy.   It has been around for a number of years now, being put back into print as a timeless classic.  

It has fast become one of my six years old's favourite read a louds!  The beloved Peter Rabbit is the main character in these stories, with an insatiable curiosity to meet and understand all the types of birds he can! Jenny Wren is eager to help with her vast array of knowledge about all things feathery!  :)  The stories about these feathered friends of ours are delightful and engaging.  They capture and hold a child's attention while at the same time teaching them about a bird's habitat, eating, nesting habits and the like.  My older children (ages 12 & 11), eagerly listen in too, often asking me to wait just a moment so they can join in the fun.

There are black and white illustrations throughout, and although they are pleasant, I will often use my bird book to look up additional information.  That way the kids are able to see the wonderful assortment of colours bird life has to contribute to this world of ours!  The kids enjoy sketching and painting out the bird they have heard about at that reading.  

We love talking about wild life around here, and in particular bird life.  We enjoy feeding the birds at the wild life centres and nature habitats.  In November, we had the opportunity to go camping up north, where we were able to feed the chickadee and nuthatchers.  The kids absolutely loved doing this.  All of us had a great time observing the various types of birds.  Nuthatchers, cardinals, blue jays, screech owls, and woodpeckers adorned the trees and we were able to get a close look at them.   Such a great time!

I would highly recommend this book to help develop a love of birds.  A half hour of readings; a tea for me and snacks for the kiddos and we are wrapped up in a world of wonder with our feathery friends! :)

My son, feeding a chickadee at the park.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Hard Moments & the Ones that Follow

My son took up violin this year.  He's shown some natural ability with it; catching on quickly.  I am amazed at how far he's come in such a short amount of time.

The other afternoon, I reminded him to practise and he gave me some grief.  That's nothing new, he struggles with doing things cheerfully.  This combined with the fact that I needed to get dinner on and attend to a few other things, made me miss what was really going on.  He continued to complain and I hollered from the kitchen to stop the complaining and just start practising.  Which he did.  I knew he was struggling with the bad attitude but the next thing I knew he was packing everything up and declaring himself done with the violin - forever.  He's said this a few times.  Emotions ran high, mine, his.  I sent him to his room to calm down.  I gave myself a time out and while making dinner I thought and prayed.

 He's my child that requires a lot, and that's okay.  I am thankful to homeschool him.  He needs that one on one with me to learn in the ways that will bring him success, to ensure that he is learning the way HE learns and not just subject to the mercy of a certain teaching style or restrictive field of learning.  He needs so much more then that.  I sigh as I think about him.  And I know right then what he needs from me.  He needs me to slow it down and be present with him.  I can't give him a lot to learn on his own; just yet. Some day, but not now.  He needs hands on, tactile stimulation and the presence of someone to encourage. This requires more out put from me as a parent as an educator.  It means: not being in a rush.  It means: being there.   I ask the Lord for help and patience and I pull my son into my arms. I ask him: "What do you need from me to help you with your violin practise?"  He looks at me and I can see the relief pour over him.  He tells me he needs help to read the notes, to have me sit and listen and watch.  *sigh*  It would be nice to send him off to do it on his own while I do something else but it's not what he needs so we'll do things differently.  I tell my kiddo, he's amazing, that I am so happy God gave him to me and that I won't let him quit violin because he has a natural ability with it. I tell him we're a team and I will walk along side him.  He hugs me, one of those soul hugs. :) So this week I slowed it all down, I carved out the time, I rearranged the day, and I do all the things I know he needs.  This is different from a nonessential want, he NEEDS this.  I helped him get the notes and fingering right even though I am not 100% certain what I am doing but we laughed together and learned together anyway.  I gave him encouragement when he struggled and clapped when he succeeded. And I noticed that he eagerly picks up his violin the next time I asked him to practise.   Before we know it, he has that piece down.  This kid is amazing.  I know it's these moments that matter the most. The hard ones when you wish it could be easy but know it matters the most because it's hard and you know it's the change that will make the difference. The moments after this are so sweet because it's reaped the reward of the harvest of change.

I don't always figure it out right away and I know I mess things up.  I hope, in me, they see a human touched by God's grace, walking, falling and getting back up.  :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Sharing Monday: Do Hard Things

Do Hard Things was the book Heather did for her book club in March.  She is in the Senior Club now.  I, personally, can not say enough good things about this book.  But I asked Heather to write this up as she read through it and discussed it with her peers.  She absolutely loved this book.


Do Hard Things is written by two young boys, Alex and Brett Harris.  They saw the need for young people to step up out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to: do hard things!!!  They began by setting up a blog and then wrote a book to inspire teens all over not to be complacent in their teen years but to use it as on opportunity to develop character.  They gave examples of teens who 'did hard things' by doing chores with great attitudes to groups of teenagers who organized community events. 

I am one of those teens who have been inspired 'to do hard things'.  I have made out some lists and taken their suggestions to begin my teen years in this way.  I feel challenged.  The book is a very good read and I believe people of all ages, even adults, should read and put these suggestions into action.  


I am so pleased she enjoyed this book.  She has challenged me to read it and I have committed to doing so. But I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed her chatting/sharing with me about this book as she read through it.  She would like to follow this book up with Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are. She is highly motivated and I would like to give her every opportunity to excel in this area!  She has been visiting their blog: The Rebelution and enjoys reading through their posts.  She has also made a list of the things she would like to accomplish at this time.  So proud of her for taking up this challenge! :)