New Life

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"The best day of my whole entire life."

Beach trips can do that.  Each day seems better than the last.  The gift of time is priceless. 

Grateful journal entries #1117-#1137

Feathers in their hair..

Hermit crabs to watch...

Rolling around in an old fashioned skating rink...

to familiar songs on 45's...

And the sweet old couple that was around when Hurricane Hazel came to town in 1954.
Long walks towards sunrises...

Sneak peeks at sunsets...
And an audience to watch with...
Time to...

for a new high schooler, a new jr. high schooler, and a new kindergartner...

Relaxing in a spa on the beach....
Splashing about....
Cracking up...
Bringing 'being silly' to an art form.

As we waited for Hurricane Irene,

the waves crashed bigger

and the wind's breath louder, stealing words.

Boards went up...
And messages in bottles sent...
But the one thing that made it "the best day of my whole entire life",
according to my 5 year old,
was riding the waves...
Photo by Tracy W.

Little surfer, little one, made my heart come all undone. Do you love me, do you surfer girl?  
The Beach Boys

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting organized~ Give-a-way ~

"But all things should be done decently and in order." 1 Corinthians 14:40 (ESV)

Isn't this a great book cover?!?!?!

GIVEAWAY: One blessed reader of AKA Homeschool mom will win a copy of Glynnis Whitwer's book,  I Used to Be So Organized: Help for Reclaiming Order and Peace
 In battling clutter, I am determined.  But I have not arrived.  Glynnis's book gives much insight in how to do this practically.  It is presented in a way that makes it an easy read.  Get your highlighter ready!

This is what her website says about the book,
"Glynnis' newest book, I Used to Be So Organized addresses the frustrations many women feel when they can't handle their lives.  They know, deep in their hearts, they should be able to manage things.  After all, they used to be organized...ten or twenty years ago.  By now, life seems to hand them on distraction and challenge after another.  Combining spiritual encouragement and practical application I Used to Be So Organized presents a balanced approach to finding order and peace for today's overwhelmed woman.  This book contains 23 chapters, each short enough for a busy woman to read during a lunch break.  Every aspect of life come together in this one easy-to-read guide."

As a homeschooler, I find this frustration even more acute.  School is everywhere, projects are everywhere, and our life is everywhere.  This book presents excellent tips and strategies to streamlining your life while taking care of your family.

Here are some of my tips for staying organized...
  • Have a painting party with your friends.  Serve pizza and provide supplies.  Ask your friends to help.  This is a great way to fellowship and get to know your girlfriends.  It really does make painting fun.  Painting really isn't difficult and it makes everything look clean.  Talk to someone at Home Depot or email me!  I find it therapeutic!  I have found top quality paint at Wal-Mart that is inexpensive compared with the bigger chains and they can match it to any color you want. 
  • Move 'school' to another space as you work on different rooms.  Ask kids to help. 
  • One of the best pieces of advice I got from a realtor when selling our home was to get everything off my kitchen counters.  Toaster, blender, etc... goes in cabinets.  We didn't use them every day anyway.  It looked so good, I now keep all appliances in cabinets. 
  • Get rid of knick knacks you do not love to dust.
  • Have a yard sale.  Get kids involved.  Let them keep the $ from the stuff they sell.  Have them take everything off the shelves, toy boxes etc... before organizing them back.  Holding an object in your hand before deciding if you really want to put it back on a shelf is more helpful then just rummaging by hand through your belongings to see if you really want them.  You can't really 'see' it that way.  Take ALL your clothing off your rack before putting it back on the rack.  Set aside a pile to try on.  Keep nothing out of guilt and trust God to provide in the future what you will need. 
  • Have kids do this in their closets and discuss why they didn't put certain items back on their rack.  I have learned a lot about what my kids like doing this and saved money in buying their clothes.  One child didn't like red and it didn't matter how much I bought of it, she wouldn't wear it.  Another was sensitive to certain fabrics, etc...
  • Organize closets first.  Group sheet sets and towel sets together.  Look at the rest and decide if you really need/want it.  Organize junk drawers when you talk on the phone.  I have cleaned out all kinds of things when talking to a girl friend.
  • Rearrange furniture so there is more floor space.

What is your best organization tip for your time or your stuff? 

Here’s how you can enter to win!
To Enter {Up to 4 Entries}:

{1} Leave a comment.
{2} Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me you did.
{3} Share a link to this post on Facebook, then come back and leave a comment.
{4} Sign Up for FREE email updates.  I will never share your email. Leave a comment and let me know you are a subscriber.

*Leave a separate comment for each entry.  Also, be sure to leave a way for me to get a hold of you, either linking to your blog or with an email. I will randomly choose the winner on September 5th. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


August 5th marked our 4th annual Adventure Group Mom's Weekend at the Beach.   I escaped with 4 amazing women {names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent} .....

Pep, who is so full of energy, she pulsates; the Princess, who is reinventing herself and her life; Pollyanna, who believes the best of everything and everyone; a Practical Planner, who is the queen of details; and me.

Rain drops drizzled on the windshield as we pulled in and noticed the welcome sign.
Sigh.   {Good sigh.} Pollyanna thinks of everything!

Although we hoped for good weather, no one really minded.  We had made it; arranged child care, transportation, and actually left our homes (a feat in and of itself).  Left for a time to relax, refresh, rejuvenate, and unwind.  No one to clean up or cook for except each other.  It is like being purposely unplugged.

Coming here stops the electricity of our lives; phones  (well, all but one of us :), computers, laundry, etc.. for a spell.  It is like a hiccup once a year.  Catching a breath in the craziness of who we are, homeschooling, and life.   The timing made perfect as school is about to start.

The rain allowed time for thrift store shopping.  You really get to know about your girlfriends when you do that.  The thrill of the hunt made for an entertaining morning.  It deepens relationships the more we spend time together without interruptions from kids.  We laughed ourselves to tears.
Over the years, we have prayed for and encouraged each other.    I value these women.  We sharpen each other.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

And then the sun came out...
I can't remember the last time I read a novel cover to cover, uninterrupted.  Lounging on the beach and listening to the surf was calming.......  Harmonizing my breath to its coming in and going out. 

Inhale.  Exhale.

Not having to watch ever so closely to little ones near the waters edge was freeing.   I could just close my eyes....

We played in the waves and heard the whitecaps and foam utter, "SSSSShhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh".  It's like the sea was in on it too, this rhythm of slowing down.

We walked and talked, the pier the prize.

And then, just as quickly as it came, the weekend was over.

Saying goodbye to the sand, surf, and sisters was hard!  We were tired (a good tired) and made the 4 hour trek back to our families, responsibilities, and things to do lists.

Absence made my heart grow fonder.
I departed for home with renewed strength, a fresh perspective and an improved attitude of, "Bring it on!"


NEECIE (and Jeannine)!  
Thank you!

"You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."
Charlotte, "Charlotte's Web"  - E. B. White
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble....... Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.