Friday, June 3, 2016

What Happened When I Stopped Adoration

I am about to get real with you. Like, really real. I had made a habit of going to adoration after dropping my children off with their Father on Fridays. Now, this began out of desperation. I begged God to keep them safe while away. Over time, it evolved into more. I would go, I would pray, I would read, I would look for ways to grow in my own faith. I never walked out the same way I went in. I felt empowered and amazing. I felt like God had my back.

Then one day...I didn't.

I didn't go.

Then the next time, I figured I would pray at home. Then again...and again...and the next thing I knew, I was no longer adoring, but rather asking for God to fix things and give me things, like a small child would ask of its mother.


Perfect. I am an entitled brat. Wonderful. Amazing. Of course...

I was humbled. I was knocked to my knees. A few weeks ago I was called to make my way back into that small room again, and I did. But I wasn't all there, really. Then it happened. I needed God. I needed God. I was in a bad spot, I was scared, and I knew there was no good way out. I am a single mother with four children, and I didn't have enough money for my bills. I knew I needed help. None of the programs had money to offer, so I turned to my Father. I begged God for an answer. There were novenas and rosaries, there was prayer like nothing before. Now, my prayer was simply for God to show me how to make it work, and he did just that. But, not before my lesson.

While not attending adoration, I noticed something odd. I was angry, and sad, and frightened. I was not myself, and I was not happy. While God was present in my life, I was not present in His. I was failing as His child. I was failing to love Him the way He loves me. Now, I don't get down on myself about this. I am choosing a different path. I am choosing to see this for what it is: my natural consequence for my own choices. I chose to do what felt good rather than what I knew I needed to be doing. Skipping adoration was a weight off my shoulders, or so I thought. Now, really, do we think God gave me that feeling of relief? No, not likely. Looking back, I gave into a temptation that we all face at some point. And then came the day I could no longer ignore the screams from within that were telling me I needed my adoration time. I needed to speak with my Father in a deep way...

Mid prayer, I realized that I was not there for God. I was the one not listening, not him. I needed to focus on God, not just the prayer, but on Him. That call to go back to adoration was part of the answer before I even knew the question. I can feel His tug on me. I can feel what he wants me to do. I know many don't really understand adoration, but I wonder if that can be changed. I wonder if it can be broken down. I know when I wasn't attending adoration, life was chaotic, at best. I know when my eyes are set on Christ, my life is bliss. It is basic, simple, love. I want to toss out a small challenge in June {I will do it with you}. Adoration. Once a week. One hour.

I will post on Friday mornings {we will call it Faithful Fridays}. In June, I will post adoration related information. Hey, maybe I will even toss in an interview with a priest, or at the least some advice! Today's advice: Get up, get dressed, grab your rosary and a faith-based book, and go to adoration for an hour. Suffer through. Give Jesus one hour. Just one. It is all he wants.

Did you know that the demons that plague you cannot be present before Christ?

So, if we are present before His body, then...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Six Creative Electives for Homeschoolers

We all have that moment where we look at our kids and say "ugh, really, Spanish?" I mean come on, we homeschool. We have the freedom to do anything. I was so in love when one daughter wanted to do 4-H photography and another decided to do cooking and cake decorating. Sweet! Interesting electives!

Here are some great elective ideas other than languages, pottery, and art:

Entrepreneurship - Teach your children to make their own money on their own terms! This is great for the self motivated child! BONUS: Did you know, Origami Owl has a youth program? Yeah, the Owlette Program for young girls. Uh, yeah...I think this is great!!!

Photography - This is a life skill people. You need to know how to take more than a selfie at some point. Kids love to play with expensive technology, well, this piece of equipment can get them outside!

Culinary Arts - And I do NOT mean home econ...I am talking real cooking classes. Bear wants to cook, but she can already grill a steak, make homemade mac and cheese, and bake a cheesecake. SO, what should I have done? Well, for one, we use a whole lot of Netflix. She actually gets credit for watching cooking programs! She then recreates what was made, or makes something similar. She has made perfect Eggs Benedict, Gelato, Crepes, and some very delectable cupcake combos!

Creative Writing - If you have a writer on your hands, why not give her the opportunity to use that skill? Creative writing, short stories, poetry, whatever it is...just double your English time and allow your child to explore her skill set with that time. There are a ton of curriculum choices, or just wing it!

Voting 101 - It is election year after all. This is the perfect time to teach older students the ins and outs of the voting process. We can change the course of the country by empowering our children to form educated opinions and follow the vote this year!

Archery - I don't think I need to tell you why this is the coolest elective I? I mean, sharp arrows, targets, shooting things? I dare you to find a kid that say "eew, no way!"

Monday, May 23, 2016

5 Simple Detox Solutions

Let's face it, we all need a good detox every now and then, right? I love soaking and drinking in my bath. I use essential oils and have been making my own scrubs and soaks for years now. Today, I wanted to focus a quick post on 10 ways we can detox ourselves without doing a harsh detox that will make us sick!

Common Detoxes I Use:

1. Dry brushing - I can only describe it as a way to make the circulatory system work better. Here is a great Pin on dry brushing.

2. Oil pulling - I know...this one is not for every one. I, myself, happen to love it. I use organic coconut oil. I place some in my mouth upon waking and swish it around while I check emails and whatnot. About 20 minutes later, I spit it all out and brush my teeth. It is a really simple process.

3. Salt soak - I make my soaks ahead in large quantities. A single soak is about 1 cup of Epsom Salts (most people are low on magnesium and this is a great way to get can help with sleep issues), I use 5-10 drops of Lavender in my soaks as well. I usually soak for about thirty minutes. DRINK.WATER. Seriously, a lot of water. I then pat dry and apply my lotion (I love Renew by Melaleuca with a drop of Peace oil mixed in).

Check out these great detox baths!

4. Detox tea - There are a million amazing recipes out there, but turmeric is powerful stuff, let me tell you {maybe I ought to do a whole post on it}. Well,a great detox tea will be made with turmeric, cinnamon, and lemon. Add whatever else will make you enjoy it, I have seen honey, ginger, and even black pepper. Better still? Check this pin out! Here are couple ideas to get you started.
*I promise there will be a post with recipe links next week that will include turmeric*

5. Detox waters {infused water} - The clear winner here is lemon and cucumber. Period. It is refreshing, and when used in conjunction with the rest of these, it is a great way to restore electrolytes and get that water in your system. You simply cannot detox without at least 50 ounces of water a day! And that is the bare minimum.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Language Arts CUT LIST

*This post contains affiliate if you like these, get them...they help me pay for my kids' school books, which is kind of important*

You see that look in her know the one. The look that says she isn't going to do this without a fight. I see that look daily. Bear hates Language Arts. I haven't found books she enjoys reading yet. I haven't found a grammar program that doesn't make her cry. And I most certainly haven't had an amazing year trying to get this done.

Actually...I lied...I did find one curriculum that didn't make her want to kill me. That was Wordsmith Apprentice. It was fun for her. The writing was approached in a way that made it less like work and more like a fun activity. She began with filling out a job application and moved on to reading newspaper articles. This curriculum moves the child along with writing and gaining confidence without the child noticing. By the end of the semester Bear was able to bust out a great five paragraph sentence! We also used A Beka, but I wasn't loving it, and neither was she! Every day was a new fight this year. I really should I have switched gears early on, but I had hoped she would rally.

I used Wordsmith Grades 7-9 for Boo. She loves to write, so this wasn't a concern of mine at all with her. I did it in conjunction with Saxon Grammar and Writing Grade 7  and Wordly Wise 3000 Student Book 7. Boo will be using grade 8 for both of these next year at her own request. We have found a curriculum that works really well for her and plan to stick with it! She also used a literature curriculum by BJU: Explorations of Literature. I'm lucky because she loves to read and write, so none of this is wasted on her!

What made the cut for this year:

Moving Beyond the Page L/A 11-13 - This is new to us, but looks promising. Bear hates reading, writing, and grammar, but I am hopeful. She did use a couple MBTP books this year for fun and just loved them! They take a more classical approach than I am used to, but I welcome the change.
BJU Excursions in Literature - This went so well, Boo asked for it again!
Saxon Grammar - This is year three for Boo with this and she loves it...easy to understand.
Wordly Wise 3000 6th Grade - We moved back to Wordly Wise for vocabulary with Bear.
Wordly Wise 3000 8th Grade - Third year in a row and going strong...I will do a whole review post on this later.
BJU Reading Grade 6 - BJU went so well with Boo last year, I am jumping in and seeing if it will work with Bear the same way. It is not easy, and can be a lot of work for the child, but a schedule is included for completion in either one or two semesters.
Reading Comprehension Skill Sheets 6 - These are by A Beka and they are all that made it to this year's planning! Bear did love the skills this helped her to build.
Teaching Writing Structure and Style with SWI Package (B) - I am blindly jumping into this one. I have heard rave reviews about IEW and figure it can help lay a solid foundation for the kids. Plus, it is good for years to come!

And here it is...


A Beka - I just didn't love it. It was boring and repetitive. So. Unreasonably. Repetitive. Oh, and even though I love bible readings, I don't think it builds confidence in a child to have to edit them. They are hard to read and understand as all means, let's make it harder! No. Sorry. Plus, Bear hated much.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a portion of the profits if you make a purchase using these links.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Three Requests of Fatima

In honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima I thought it wise to spread her will...or rather God's will. We all know the story, May 13th 1917 the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children. She had warnings and pleadings to offer us. She also make three requests. Three basic requests we cannot ignore...

Our Lady has asked the following of God's children:

1. Prayer - every time Our Lady appeared she asked that we pray daily. Not just any prayer...the Holy Rosary. Now, as a Catholic we all see them, we can pray with them, but can we really pray with them? Do we know how to focus that prayer? Feel the beads within your hands and let the rest of the world fall a way for a time?

Adapt to life:

I do prefer physical beads, but I will say that the download of Laudate has taught my own children how to maintain the prayer easily. Teach our children to pray from an early age, include them in your daily Rosary. Children mimic what they see. If they see you obeying God, they, too, will obey. If they see you praying, and see you reaping the rewards of that, they will pray too.

2. Reparations - to old school Catholics this is called Penance ( all of us, but reparation sounds way less scary). We are called to confess our sins and leave them behind for eternity. You may want to do more than just "confess" your sins. God grants us mercy without asking...perhaps we should use that and be sure we do ask. Then it will be known to Him that we want His will to be done through us. A simple Act of Contrition is not the answer here. We must be truly sorry, we must mean it when we ask forgiveness of our Lord.

Adapt to life:

Ask for forgiveness regularly. Forgive regularly. Now, forgiveness is not the same as allowing people to walk on you, but that is a whole different blog post. Let your child see you begging God to forgive your transgressions. Let them see you put those sins in the past and no longer committing them. Our children will more readily ask for forgiveness if it does not seem shameful to do so.

3. Consecration - pay attention here...this matters: Consecration makes things holy. If we consecrate our lives to the Holy Mother, then we are opening them up to Jesus. We are consecrating our lives and hearts to Christ through the Holy Mother. This is important!!! By consecrating ourselves to Mary we are making ourselves holy for God. For His glory and happiness. We are called to have a fire within our souls for Jesus and Mary.

Adapt to life:

It seems like so much to live up to...lucky for us, we only have to desire and ask. When you truly desire and ask something of God, he responds somehow.  I cannot fully tell you how to incorporate this into your life, but I can tell you a great book to assist you in doing this would be 33 Days to Morning Glory. I used it as a personal retreat and it has done wonders in my life.

Rosary - Pray this daily with an examination of conscience...then consecrate yourself to God and the Holy Mother.

Make the Sign of the Cross

Holding the Crucifix, say the Apostles' Creed

On the first bead, say anOur Father

Say three Hail Marys on each of the next three beads

Say the Glory Be

For each of the five decades, announce the Mystery (perhaps followed by a brief reading 

from Scripture) then say the Our Father

While fingering each of the ten beads of the decade, next say ten Hail Marys while 

meditating on the Mystery. Then say a Glory B(After finishing each decade, some say the 

following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: O my Jesus, forgive us 

our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have 

most need of your mercy.

After saying the five decades, say the Hail, Holy Queen