Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer Reading for My 14-Year-Old Daughter

You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  ~Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

That is one of my favorite quotes!  Books really can impact our lives, so my husband and I want our girls to read quality literature that teaches them principles they'll remember long after they put down the book.

As I mentioned in my summer learning post, we're assigning our teenage daughter seven non-fiction books to read this summer.  (You can also check out the seven books she read last summer.)

1.  Just Friends:  Guarding Your Heart for a Wonderful Someday by Mike Ray and Cary Schmidt.  I pre-read this book and think it will be a helpful read for her before she enters high school in the fall.

2.  The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  She read Financial Peace last summer, so we'll see how the two compare in her mind.

3.  The Image of Loveliness by Joanne Wallace.  I read this book in high school, and even though parts of it may be a bit dated, I still think my daughter can learn much about inner and outer beauty in its pages.

4.  What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst.

5.  The Go-Giver:  A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann.   (This book is not pictured, by the way, as it's loaned out to someone right now.)

6.  Start Here:  Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are by Alex and Brett Harris.  This is the follow-up to Do Hard Things, which she read last summer.

7.  Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally.

Our daughter will have about a week to read each book and prepare a brief report on it.  As I mentioned before, we pay her $5 for each completed report.  Next summer, we'll have both girls on this program.

What other books would you recommend (fiction or non-fiction) for a 14-year-old girl?

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Number One Way to Get God's Grace


"Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."  ~I Peter 5:5

Humility is the key to receiving God's grace.

It begins with salvation.  I must recognize that I am a sinner and can't save myself; only Jesus could meet the requirements of being my Savior and it's only through Him that I can get to heaven.

In my daily Christian walk, I know that I can only live for Him through His power.  When I think I can make it on my own, I will certainly fall.

Proverbs 3:34 puts it in a similar way. "Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly."

Isn't pride what began man's downfall?  Eve, seeing the fruit, desiring to be made wise, to be "as gods," made the choice to disobey.  So I tend to make choices that put my own wishes in the forefront rather than submitting myself to God's desires for me.

Yet I long for God's grace, know that I must have it to be the wife and mom that I want to be for my family today.  

So let me be humble, let my heart see my need for God so that I can be a recipient of His grace today.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Salutes


I made this Chicken Taco Casserole for supper on Monday night and it's a keeper!

Jessica shares her Coastal Blue Powder Room Makeover. 

Joshua Becker lists 35 Things I Hope My Kids Will Say About Their Dad.  (These could apply to moms as well!)

Crystal has 5 Ways to Have a Happier Home Guaranteed!

Rachel writes To The Mom Who Has Yelled.

I just wanted to end this post by thanking the Lord for some specific answers to prayer this week and for His incredible goodness in my life, undeserving as I am.  Trusting you have things to thank the Lord for this weekend as well!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Surrender in the Small Things


"Great people don't do great things.  God does great things with surrendered people.  And surrender happens every day in one thousand small moments."  ~Jennie Allen in Restless:  Because You Were Made for More

Life is made up of small moments, the nearly non-stop choices of whether I will follow God's way or my own.

There's the moment when I choose between....
  • kind words or a snappy retort
  • patience or impatience
  • a selfish action or sacrificing my way
  • gratitude or discontentment
  • puffing myself up with pride or allowing humility to rule
  • worry or prayer
  • faith or unbelief

If I want to become all that God can make me as a wife, a mom, a friend, and His child, then I must have His help in those moments, in making the right "little" choices that will add up to a surrendered life.

These verses encourage me in this struggle.

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." ~Galatians 5:1

"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."  ~Romans 6:13

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."  ~I Thessalonians 5:24

Let's ask for God's help in surrendering to Him in our choices today!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Summer Learning Program 2015

With the middle of May in sight, the "extreme planner" side of me has come to the forefront and I've been organizing our learning program for the summer.

Years ago I discovered that while summer can be a time for relaxation and plenty of unstructured time, the girls and I function best when we have at least a bit of a schedule and some planned activities for part of the day.  It takes about an hour and a half to complete the work listed below, so there's still plenty of time for swimming in the pool, going on outings with friends, etc.

When the girls were younger, I scheduled theme weeks and planned all our reading and activities around that theme.  Now that my girls are older, I've moved away from the themed weekly plans and structure things a bit differently.  (If you're interested in seeing how I planned those theme weeks, links to previous years' summer learning programs are at the end of this post, along with tips for creating your own program.)

As far as I know right now, we have six "free" weeks this summer when we're not out-of-town, participating in camps, etc.  Here's what our schedule will look like for those weeks.


  • Bible (10 min.):  Personal devotions.  I want to emphasize with my girls the importance of establishing the habit of daily devotions.  I'll let them pick from several resources we already have in our home and then we can begin our day by individually spending time with God.
  • Bible Memory (5 min.):  Memorize/review John 14:1-6 and Philippians 4:6-13.
  • Math (15 min.)  Alternate between Critical Thinking workbooks and Khan Academy. We have two workbooks, Balance Math and More! Level 2 and Crypto Mind Benders Classic Jokes, left over from last summer, so we'll work on finishing those up.  My 14-year-old worked on Khan Academy (a free, online math program) during the school year, so she'll continue reviewing her pre-Algebra skills with that.  I'll also set up an account for my 12-year-old to review her 6th grade math skills and we'll alternate between the workbooks and the online program.
  • Piano Practice (30 min. each)
  • Homemaking Skills:  I'm focusing on cooking once again this summer.  I hope to have each girl plan for and prepare one meal a week.
  • Read Alouds for 12-year-old:  Prairie School by Lois Lenski and Daughters of Destiny by Noelle Wheeler
  • Summer Reading for 14-year-old.  We'll continue the summer reading program we started last year with our teenager.  We assign her one non-fiction book to read each week; she completes the book and writes a one-page report on it.  (She can write it like a regular book report or in list form, i.e. "Ten Ideas I Learned from this Book" or "Ten Principles I Can Apply from this Book.")  I'll be sharing her assigned reading list next week.  As an incentive, we pay her five dollars for each report.

If you'd like tips on planning a summer learning program for your children, check out How to Plan a Summer Learning Program for Your Kids.

Here are links to previous years' summer learning programs.

Summer Learning 2014
Summer Learning 2013
Summer Learning 2012
Summer Learning 2011
Summer Learning 2010
Summer Learning 2009

What activities are you planning for the summer?

Monday, May 11, 2015

3 Truths About Personalities and Marriage

Whether you're an introvert married to an extrovert or a chronic clock watcher married to a procrastinator, there are probably a number of personality differences between you and your spouse.

On days when we're wishing our husband or wife was more like ourselves, perhaps these three truths can bring some perspective to the situation.


1.  Accept the differences in your personalities.  Don't try to change your spouse, but recognize that God made him/her that way.  Pray for any weaknesses and encourage your husband or wife in their strengths.

2.  With God's help, your personalities can complement each other and bless many.  Qualities that your husband or wife has can cause you to become a better person.  The two of you together make a unique couple, so pray that God will use you, with your different personalities, to minister to others.

3.  If you look for the positives in your differences, you'll find them; if you look for the negatives, you'll find those, too.  Learn to love and embrace the differences between you!  One area in which I'm finding this helpful is in parenting.  My husband often has a better place from which to interact with our daughters based on how his personality connects with theirs.

How thankful I am that God put my husband and I - each with our own distinct personalities -  together in our own special relationship!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Salutes

Happy Mothers Day

An encouraging read for moms in Balancing Act.

Here's Help for Mothers Who Want to Give Up:  10 Keys to Raising This Generation of Boys into #GoodYoungMen.

Sue Acuna writes about going Out to Lunch with 8th Graders.   (I always enjoy posts that remind me what behaviors are "normal" for 8th graders - since I have one!)

Renee has a cute Collection of Memorial Day Crafts.

Hope all of you moms have a great Mother's Day tomorrow!  I'm thankful for my two daughters and for my own precious mom whom I'll be connecting with by phone.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2015

My Favorite Parenting Quotes for May

These quotes put into words a few of the truths that I'm seeking to apply as a parent these days.

Sunday Quotes

I should make this into a shirt and wear it out with the boys!  Full Hands Full Heart 5x7 Art Print by ellolovey on Etsy

Do you have a favorite parenting quote?