Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Next Year's Bible Reading Plan

This year, I am reading through the Bible using the Discipleship Journal's Book-at-a-Time guide. This is my second time to use it. I like this plan for a couple of reasons, including the reflection days (in my life, they are called "trying to get caught up days") and the free days at the end of each month.

They schedule 28 days per month of reading, with every seventh day being a reflection day. This means each day's reading is longer, but the free days are nice. If I was in the habit of reading every day, I would have time to go back and study on those free days. But with our schedule, I am usually catching up.

I have printed the "Preview Free Sample" to get mine. If I were supplying a church or Sunday School class, I would buy the packet. I think that they don't mind if individuals print one copy for themselves. I hope I am not wrong!

Anyway, I came up with an idea today that I am excited about for next year.

I am going to try to make a plan for myself. I plan to use the same scheduling idea--28 days a month, every seventh day a reflection day--but I am going to go through the New Testament three times and Psalms once. If my calculations are right, this can be done by reading three to four chapters a day.

260 New Testament chapters times three equals 780 NT reading. 780 plus 165 Psalms (I know there are 150, but some of them are long, so I increased it to 165) equals 945 readings.

Four weeks a month equals 48 weeks a year. Six days a year times 48 weeks equals 288 days.

945 readings (chapters or portions of a chapter) divided by 288 days of reading equals 3.28 readings a day.

Now, dividing it up will be interesting. I may do that as I go.

I'm going to pray about this, but I am excited! I feel like it is time for me to know the New Testament better.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our Family's Rights and Responsibilities

I modified this some, but most of it came from the book, 401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home by Bonnie Runyan McCullough and Susan Walker Monson.

Rights and Responsibilities


1. We each have the right to our toys, books, and clothes. Others should ask before borrowing them.

2. We each have the right to be spoken to kindly and to be spoken about in the same way.


3. We will be dressed and our beds will be made each morning before breakfast.

4. We will each be responsible for our own bedroom and bathroom areas and two other household chores a day.

5. We will only eat food in the kitchen and dining areas, to preserve furniture and carpets not designed for easy clean-up of messy foods.

6. Everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen, including food items away, wiping counters and hand-washing or putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

7. Everyone will help with dinner dishes and, except for special occasions, no one is excused until the kitchen is clean.

8. We are responsible for putting our own things (books, toys, projects, coats, hats) away, out of consideration for other family members. (Special permission may be granted for some projects, but it must be asked for ahead of time.)

9. After using something, we will put it away where it belongs, even if that is not where we found it.

10. We will ask permission before leaving the house unless we will be in our yard or on the street in front of the house.

11. If we are delayed in returning home, we will call home to explain, so others won’t worry.

12. Music lessons are a privilege and with that privilege comes the responsibility of daily practice. Music practice must be finished before free time is granted.

Husbands as priority, pleasing husbands, honoring husbands

I'm still thinking about husbands. . .

My husband should be my second priority, after God.

That means that his priorities should be my priorities.

What are his priorities? Well, I may not know all of them, but I do know three of them:
  • nutritious meals for himself and the family
  • and for me to be content (or "happy"--his word--but I think he means content)
  • kids to pick up after themselves more
And God, in His infinite wisdom, gave him a wife whose weaknesses are:
  • regular, healthy meals
  • a complaining spirit
  • consistent training for the kids on picking up after themselves
Not that I never do a good meal or that I complain all the time or that I never work with the kids, because I do, I don't and I do, but . . .

These things are hard for me.

I certainly need work on these areas. I think this means that God wants us to grow, but it also means that to please my husband, I have to make sacrifices. I have to spend my time doing some things other than what I want to do. (It is so easy for me to justify time spent doing what I want because I spend so much of my time on the family and on the kids. And the time is usually related to the kids or homeschooling. But it is just that: justification.)

I should do what I can to please him.

Making his priorities my priorities is one way to be more pleasing.

I recently received a Laine's Letter and she talked about honoring her husband. Behaving in a manner that brought honor to him.

That is, being a good wife, mother and homemaker so that he will be held in higher regard because of those things. Also, allowing him to be free to "sit at the gates." Free to do business.

After all these years of marriage (almost 15), I still have a long way to go.

LORD, help me to make his priorities my priorities; give me the will and energy to do the things that are important to him; help me to bring honor to him and give him the time and freedom to do what he needs to do. Amen.


  • Summer swim team: exercise, accomplishment, friends and structure for the beginning of the summer for the kids.
  • Excellent coaches (in any sport). We've had them and so appreciate them.
  • Learning the phrase, "procrastination takes too long" and really starting to believe it and use it. (A life-long procrastinator I am. It is tied to my insecurity that produces perfectionism and "what will they think of me?-ism")
  • Changing "what do they think of me?" to "what does God think?"
  • New days. What would we do without fresh starts?
  • Grape juice from concentrate. I try to drink water mostly. I do not drink soft drinks. I limit my tea consumption to hot green tea in the morning. And all those sports drinks are too sweet (and I am not exercising now -- I should be, but I am not!). Grape juice is nice when I need something with flavor.
  • Family. I would be so lonely without my family!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Planners and Calendars

Well, I got an email from Calendars.com with a 20% coupon off for planners for next year (the ones that start in August or September), which got me to thinking about my needs for next year, which got me looking at some different planners, and next thing I knew, I had spend way too much time on the computer!

I got the coupon from Calendars.com because for the last four or so years I have gotten each child a fine arts calendar for their room. It is not our only artist study, but it is one way to get them exposed to fine art. Do not let your kids loose on the site, however, because they have all kinds of calendars, some quite inappropriate for kids to see. (Well, even for adults to see, in my opinion.) Sometimes I pick the calendar and surprise them, sometimes I let them choose between a couple. I have given them on Christmas or on New Year's Day. I think New Year's Day is better, because they tend to get overlooked on Christmas Day.

But now I am thinking calendars and planners for next year. . . .

This is the wall calendar that I have used for seven years (I know because I keep them). The More Time Moms calendar is big, has big squares, is printed on writable paper (as opposed to those fine arts calendars, which are on that slick paper...but we don't use those for planning, so it is okay). The MTM calendar comes with stickers and has a back pocket for a few papers. (It looks like they don't have their 2009 calendar out yet. Here is a description of the 2008 calendar.)

The MTM wall calendar is really our command central. Everything goes on there: appointments, school-related things, sports schedules, music lessons, and so on.

I have also used a planner that I could carry with me. I am less faithful to this these days. It was easier when our schedule was simplier (and the kids were mostly doing things together).

In fact, keeping a calendar and a planner is double work and, I think, asking for trouble. What if I fail to transfer something from the planner to wall calendar? And updating the planner each week was time consuming. So I am not sure what I will do next year. I stopped carrying my planner for this year already. But I do need something to record things when we are out.

The two planners I have used in the past and loved are the YWAM Prayer Diary/Daily Planner and Amy Knapp's Family Organizer.

I especially love the perforated tear-off grocery list on Amy Knapp's. It is a menu list one week--on the right page of a week-at-a-glance double-page spread--and the next week, the back side of your menu list is your grocery list--now on the left page. Tear it off and go! The Family Organizer also has stickers. I have had several people see this and get one of their own.

The YWAM Prayer Diary/Daily Planner is a great prayer tool. If my home life wasn't so busy, I think it would work very well. So far, I just haven't been able to make it work for our life as it is now. However, this planner has you praying for different nations each day, weekly prayer responsibilities, and much more. I really like the concept.

Ann, at Holy Experience, wrote about planners here. I, too, have the Motivated Moms downloadable chore list. I have not been using this lately. The house shows it! I need to print out more pages. (I was trying to print as I go, and it is too easy to forget to do this.)

At one time, I tried to make the Motivated Moms list my planner, but I was not successful with that. So now, instead of trying to integrate everything into one planner, I just accept that I will have a variety of things (calendars, planners, household lists, prayer lists, and so on). One was to use this is to put the list in the kitchen (my was on the refrigerator) and check-off what gets done.

Ann has a broken link on her page to Lilting House -- that blog moved, but here is the archive. And here is the day planners post.

This Circle of Days planner looks intriguing. . . and beautiful. But it is perpetual--good for that purpose, but I am not sure how it would work. I tend to like dated planners, but I am thinking on it.

The Mom Agenda is also beautiful in a different way. Too expensive for me, however. (Maybe too beautiful, too. Would I really use it?)

I do like the look of the BusyBodyBook, either the planner or wall calendar. What I like about this one is the separate sections for each family member.

When the kids were younger, we tended to stay together more than we do now with my oldest going into high school, second one junior-high-aged and the youngest one still considered elementary-aged. (The oldest will go to public high school, the two younger ones will be homeschooled.) Having a slot for each child makes more sense these days.

And should I switch from wall calendar to a planner? My thought is the planner would have a place in the kitchen, unless I was leaving and then it would go with me. That would be a big adjustment, but it might work.

All this to say, I have some thinking, praying and deciding to do.

But now, I have the links to the different options in one place!

More Gratitude

Thanks to Ann at Holy Experience for the reminder to remain grateful; to always look for the gifts. The gifts she sees and describes are no mere list of things to be grateful for. I am convinced that because she has asked to have her eyes opened, she is seeing things she would not have seen otherwise.

  • Watching high school baseball on a breezy Texas night. Not much better than this! (Watching my son's team this spring--before things started to change--that was extra special. To see a team come together and play like they played . . . And they were all good boys, too.)
  • Bible Study Guide for All Ages. My kids and I have learned so much with this program. It is not really CM (Charlotte Mason--meaning, it doesn't use her methods of learning, which would be reading and then narrating), but we have learned a lot.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Seeing Gifts, Practicing Gratitude . . .

My eyes have not been on the gifts lately. I have forgotten to practice gratitude. Father, forgive me.

There is so much that He has given, but if I fail to see, my life is poorer for it.

So, a list of a few things . . .

  • My kids. I really am so grateful for them. When they happen to all be gone at the same time (rare!), I miss them so much. When they are here, I fail to be grateful.

  • Nature is a gift from God. How many years was I oblivious to all but the most incredible sights? I forget to go outside and just "be" for a while. Let me remember and rest.

  • My husband is such a good man; better than I deserve; a true gift from God.

  • Praying the hours. I am still striving to make this a habit, but it is a gift. When I pray the hours (using Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours), I am praising. I was so tired of my own prayers, which were lists of things I wanted--not all of them for me (most were for others)--but still, just things I wanted. Praying the hours with The Divine Hours keeps my prayers more well-balanced.

  • Good movies. The kids and I saw Prince Caspian yesterday. I was so moved. Even though it varied from the book, I loved it. And I grateful that there are movies like this and that they are successful.

  • AAA. Yes, I know it is a service we pay for. But husband was out of town, interior lights were left on overnight and battery was dead in the morning. Thanks to AAA and a wonderfully polite man, my battery was charged.