Well, I guess this is a good thing. I've been outed. Is that how you spell that? Anyway, around Christmas, on one of the Barnes and Noble sales, I bought The Love Dare. Now, this is not the type of book you give as a gift to someone else. Somehow, I think you'd be taking several steps backward if you gave this to your spouse. In essence, you are saying, "Gee, I think you really need to use this to love me better, because what you are doing is obviously not working or adequate. So, go ahead and march through the 40 days, then get back to me and we'll talk."

Now, if you gave your spouse The Love Dare as a gift, I apologize for my above statement.

However, if you didn't, I would recommend getting it for yourself as a gift for your spouse. (Wow, that's confusing.) Let me explain. This book charts out 40 days of daily life lessons that you can do to improve how you treat your spouse, how you approach him/her, how you can improve and grow and strengthen your love. I have a good marriage. I have a husband who loves the Lord, loves his family, loves to be with his family, and tries to put us first. While all these things are true, I don't always treat him the way I should. I am selfish, often put my needs first, question him which directly speaks to my respect for him, and can sometimes be a nag. I'm not too proud to admit it. So, now I'm in a 40 step recovery program to improve on all that. That's what I call it anyway.

"Hello, my name is Sarah, and I have a problem with loving my husband unconditionally."

"Hello, Sarah."

Seriously, don't we all have a problem with that? Can't we all do better? I love how this book lays out simple steps each day to make you more AWARE of what you are doing, supporting it with biblical principles, and then challenges you to do something specific each day to grow and improve your marriage. That's why I think it is such a great tool. Because I don't want to have a good marriage.

I want to have an awesome, out of this world, love has no bounds, spectacular marriage. And, I believe God wants us to have that, too.

So, last night, my dh asks if I am doing something like The Love Dare. Of course I look at him blankly to see what he means, and ask why he would ask such a thing. He responded that it seemed like I was being more kind to him (gasp, have I been unkind?), touching him more (I am not a touchy-feely person), and just have been acting different (PTL, he has seen a difference).

Well, I finally 'fessed up that I was working through the book, but was only on Day 11. (Sometimes, I have to spend more than one day on a lesson to really give it justice, you know) But, I was always hoping that he would see a difference if I went through this endeavor, so I am excited that he has. I pray that I can keep up the changes to improve and further invest in the best earthly gift I have been given, that of my husband.

Brad, you are the best thing that has happened to me. It is a joy for me to learn how to love you more. I love you. I will always try to live by this verse:

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5

That's one of many I am trying to emulate. I'll try, I'll fail, but I'll keep moving in the right direction. Thanks for your patience.

You did a really nice thing yesterday. The phonics reader you made for your sister was a gift from your heart. I know you love to draw, so that part was easy for you. But to add all the words and strive to have perfect spelling and handwriting, that is a gift of love.

I will treasure that special book, and I absolutely love "Beed" and "Bob". You have such a gift of drawing. God has blessed you with that talent and you absolutely amaze me with how you can continue to improve with how you show movement and perspective. Keep using your talent for God's glory.

I hate teaching science.

Does that make me a horrible teacher?

I teach my kids at home, am responsible for their entire academic learning process, and I dread, each and every day, teaching them science.

Not all science.

Just anything that has to do with earth science, chemistry, physics, gravity, forces of nature, weather, the earth's atmosphere, the world's oceans, and taxonomy of both plants and animals.

Hmmm. That consists of all but two units of this year's science curriculum.

I DO love teaching anything and everything about cells, cell processes, and physiology. Guess that is why I didn't become a nuclear physisist and instead pursued an occupational therapy degree.

You would think I would be excited about learning all these things once again, because now I can see their relevance in my world.

Wrong. I still don't get it. I guess that makes me NOT smarter than a 5th grader.

But, I'm trying to be a darn good actress and showing my kids all my enthusiasm for this great world of scientific discovery.

Thank goodness for Cosmeo to explain it when I can't. Heck, even Schoolhouse Rock has it figured out better than I do.

Off to utilize my wheel and axle to get us to tonight's church activities...
For Today...

Dear Lord,

I'll bring you my shortcomings...Lord, I don't spend enough time with you and I want to change that. I know you're there, I trust in you, but I want to deepen the relationship we have.

I'll bring you my worship and praise...I praise you for the variety you created in men and women. I praise you for the differences that are deeply imbedded within us which makes us each unique and special. Your awesomeness is so apparent in how you created each and every one of us. I praise you for being the molder of the clay.

I'll bring you my prayer...Lord, draw not only me, but my family closer to you. My prayer is ongoing that we will be a witness to everyone we meet. I pray that we will touch a life each and every day. Help everyone see the light in us that only you can flame.

You spoke to me...In the gentle voice of TJ this morning. What a blessing when she wanted to "talk to me privately" about a concern with a friend. When I asked her what she thought we should do, she immediately said we should pray about it. Lord, you are speaking to me through her. May my first sense always be to pray, rather than it be an afterthought.

Please feel free to join your heart with others through the Simple Devotion link on the right...

May God bless your day!
If you haven't seen the movie, get out and get the DVD. Rent it, buy it, see it. We have not bought one movie, ever, on the day it has come out in the stores. Today was the release of Fireproof, and we picked it up at our local Christian bookstore. This is a great way to strengthen your marriage, foster communication, and solidify the foundation that God has blessed.

And, if you are lucky enough to have a Focus on Marriage Simulcast in your area Feb. 28th, get your tickets today to attend with your spouse. Spend the day working on the best gift of all, each other. Look here for more information.

Can you afford not to?

Finally, take some time tonight to snuggle up with your spouse and love on him. Share what makes him special. There's no time like the present to do it.

Blessings to you...
FOR TODAY... (Please link to Peggy's daybook at right -->)

Outside my window...a very fine, light snow is falling. Accumulations to be just a dusting, but hopefully it will cover the brown and bring the world back to a glorious shade of white

I am full our day is today, as usual, for a Monday

I am thankful dh's attitude and self sacrifice; I am so blessed to be married to a godly man who is working on growing each and every day

From the learning rooms...all subjects today - Science test as well over forces - eeks

From the kitchen...JT is cooking himself some eggs and the pot of coffee just finished brewin'

I am wearing...typical Monday uniform - layers, layers, layers

I am creating...a clean space on my desk to work today

I am going...probably to the grocery store - man, I bought a ton of groceries last week but we plowed through them all

I am reading...misc. magazines around the house and one book which I'll clue you in on later...

I am hoping...I can better reorganize my days and I can not be drawn to the computer so much

I am hearing...the space heater running to heat up our school area. This plus three add't bodies keeps it cozy in here. Too cozy as the distractions seem to bother the oldest

Around the house...wash sheets in our bedroom today and do some general pick-up

One of my favorite things...A pastor who preaches the Gospel with skill, ease, and conviction

A few plans for the rest of the week: generalized clean up around the house, keep the basement in order, couple time with Brad

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
A flashback to fall, my favorite season. Most people have leaves. This year we had cornstalks!

Have a blessed week!
My fellow blogger, Joyce, at Mom's Musings, had been "tagged" to write 25 goals, facts, and habits about herself and challenged others to do the same. Since I am the queen of random thoughts, I thought I would take the challenge. Try it yourself and see what kind of things come to mind. My goal is to write 25 things in way less than 5 minutes.

1. Coffee is my favorite beverage but I would substitute an umbrella drink on the beach if needed.
2. I homeschool my three children, work for my husband, while trying to manage our household.
3. I love to read, particularly Christian fiction, but I am working on adding more non-fiction to my repertoire.
4. I have a stack of Christian, self-help books at my bedside, mostly half read.
5. I am a hermit at heart, and don't mind if I don't leave the house for days.
6. I can wiggle my ears and my nose at the same time.
7. I prefer salty snacks to sweet, hands down.
8. I like dark chocolate better than milk chocolate.
9. I used to practice crawling out of car windows because I wanted to be a flight attendant.
10. I have to work at being an optimist, but I continue to try and improve.
11. I love to take baths to get warm to the core.
12. I used to be an occupational therapist, but have let my license lapse.
(5 minutes have come and gone...)
13. We are a Survivor family - we love the show; we DVR it so that my kids don't have to watch the nasty commercials - we DVR most shows for the same reason. We don't watch a lot of TV, but dh and I love Top Chef, Frasier, and Seinfeld
14. I would like to learn to knit and/or crochet
15. I don't get home to see my mom, or call her often enough
16. My dad died when I was 12, and he was a pastor
17. I am so thankful that I was raised in a godly home, and am married to a godly man who loves me with all his heart
18. I am proud to be the mother of my three children and greatly blessed in that I can stay home with them every day
19. I am not too proud to say that some days my children are not too happy that I stay home with them every day :)
20. Dad is the fun one in this relationship - I don't "play" very well
21. I am getting tired of saying "I"
22. I need to read my bible more, exercise more, and eat better
23. Some of my closest friends were initially met through the internet via the curriculum I use...but I have been blessed to be able to grow a relationship with them and see them once a year the past few years. I hope it can continue!!
24. My biggest issues that I deal with most likely boils down to my selfishishness
25. I hate the ending of the movie Message in a Bottle

Wow - that was harder than I thought.
Well, let me rephrase that a bit. I love Saturday mornings when my dh doesn't get up and go in to work, when we can all wake up at a leisurely pace, and lounge the morning away. What a luxury it is to be able to gradually meet the day, greet each other with a cup of steaming coffee in hand, and wear pajamas until noon. (Actually, I'd freeze if I wore them that long, but it's a nice thought.) I need my layers around here to keep warm!

So, today, dh snuck out of our room to try and let me sleep in a bit. I've been having some difficulty sleeping this past week, so I was looking forward to a little extra snooze time. Of course, it seems that whenever you have the opportunity for it, you can't sleep which was actually the case this morning for me. I was awake, but did spend some time just lounging and relaxing in my bed, enjoying the solitude and peace. I took some time to lift up my family in prayer and continue to place them in God's hands. I am so thankful we have a Lord and Savior who allows us to approach his throne with our requests and praise. Seems like I lean more towards the requests and not enough towards the praise so I need to continue to work on my focus!

Brad started a fire in the fireplace at 9:30 so we are enjoying the snap and crackle of the logs earlier than we usually do. It's a treat to have a fire at night, but even more so to enjoy it throughout the day! We played a game of family "Blokus" with a steaming cup of coffee, and the day was off to a great start. Steaming coffee is one of life's simplest pleasures, and I think I have made it my adult security blanket. The majority of my day is spent with cup in hand - even if it is just to keep me warm...

Plans for the rest of the day include a game of Monopoly, Herd Your Horses, and maybe some closet cleaning. We already got through some work for the office so that is nice to check that off the list. I'm excited about our full class for "Fireproof Your Marriage" that will be meeting tomorrow - last week we started the class with a review of God's model for the family from "The Truth Project"...powerful stuff. God's design is imbedded into everything and we frequently stray from what he intends. Our challenge is to stay the course and hopefully influence others in our walk as well. I pray we all, as a family, can be a light to each person we come in contact with on a daily basis.

Off to heat up the cup that has cooled...

Enjoy YOUR Saturday -
What a beautiful day today is. I so needed to get outside and breathe in the crisp, fresh air. Seems like it has been forever since I went outside for something other than the garbage, recycling, feeding the animals, or getting in or out of my car. Dh, JD, and I (along with Baxter and our two cats) took a walk around the neighborhood without freezing!

I have beef stew in the crockpot for supper along with some italian bread in the bread maker. Brad is excited because the Minnesota Gophers are going to be playing on ESPN2 so we can watch them this evening. Sounds like supper will be in front of the television tonight. The boys will be excited about that.

TJ and I need to get some schooling done yet, so I'm off to read Rapunzel and work on time. You never realize what a difficult concept that is until you try to teach it. She's still trying to figure out why 30 minutes after 2 is not 6 after 2. Confusing.

Off to teach and enjoy the sunshine just a bit more...
Goodness, this blog has not worked out the way I had intended. It is barely all I can do to get two posts a week done. I had originally planned for this to be my so-called "journal" of sorts, with grandiose ideas of capturing special moments from our lives and compiling it into one area for easy access. So far, that really hasn't worked very well!

It seems life is so busy, and I'm constantly moving from one fire to the next. There's nary a time to breathe and just "be". When I do, I either feel guilty and I'm back up again to move to the next thing on my list, or I fall asleep! Seriously, sitting down and relaxing for a moment really does nothing but make me tired!

Today, I'm going to just jot down a few things I would like to accomplish by this time next week. At least then I will have a tangible list to see how much I have accomplished by next week.

1. Research computer and tv purchase for mom
2. Computer purchase for work?
3. Exchange air mattress at Walmart
4. Clean TJ's room
5. Clean the upstairs hallway
6. Assess school schedules for all three kids and plot out remainder of the year plan
7. Go through clothes in my closet
8. Prepare for bible study on Sunday
9. Meal plan for entire week
10. Write out calendar for entire week
11. Finish living room cleaning
12. Get outside
13. Start taking vitamens
14. Start exercising??????

Okay, that's enough. Work stuff goes in there as well, but that doesn't have to be written down as that's a given. We'll see what happens in a week and how much progress I can make.

Overall, I just want to keep a positive attitude and keep looking up!
For Today...

Dear Lord,

I'll bring you my shortcomings...Again, my selfishness always finds a way to creep into my day. Lord, I continue to turn it over to you to rebuild and mold me more in your image. I am not perfect, but I do want to be more like you.

I'll bring you my worship and praise...Father God, you touch lives in ways many of us don't understand, or even comprehend. Sometimes you touch us in ways we do not even see until long past the day when you intervened. As the songwriter says, "You are God of all, before time began, you are God alone." May my days be full of worship and praise to you, the Father of all creation.

I'll bring you my prayer...Today, I bring you my pastor and his wife. Lord, the challenges are great to lead your flock, and I pray that you will uplift and uphold him as he seeks your will and guidance.

You spoke to me...I feel compelled to use the same verse as last week, to guide me in my works and ways... "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3

Please feel free to join your heart with others through the Simple Devotion link on the right...

May God bless your day!
(Please join others through the daybook link at right...)


Outside my window...Cloudy day, but happy it is not so cold. 20 degrees feels like springtime around here

I am thinking...what a blessing it is to be able to stay home with my kids and teach them in our home

I am thankful dh who gets up and goes to work every day, manages the finances, is active in our church, and leads a godly life to be an example for his family and everyone he encounters

From the learning rooms...JT is taking a math test, JD is rushing through his work as he has computer on the brain, TJ is at my beck and call to start whenever we can get her going

From the kitchen...need to make a menu plan for the week. I did really well over the weekend cooking meatloaf, chicken and rice, but now I need to plan for the week. I think I will do beef stew and crusty bread or a different soup tonight

I am wearing...wool socks, jeans, long sleeve white tee and flannel shirt

I am creating...lesson plans for the week and trying to get a calendar for all of our activities updated

I am the dreaded Walmart to take back a few things and get some necessities; We're getting a Kohl's and Target on this side of town in the next year and I can't wait!!

I am reading...nothing right now. My attention span has been poor and I haven't been able to focus on some of the library books I have checked out. Just too many other things to do that I haven't been able to enjoy reading

I am continue to keep on top of the organization around this house - seems like it is a continual battle with us here all day and one project always leads to another!

I am hearing...TJ chattering about her birthday party for her stuffed bear, JD humming as he does math problems and JT humming his way through a math problem as well. The low grade noise is all over the place.

Around the house...I need to find a final resting place for the rest of the Christmas gifts that are still in our living room. We've been playing the games frequently and they need to get a special home where we'll still get them out. I find if they are easily accessible, we play them more often.

One of my favorite prayer shawl and my cup of coffee with my bible in hand

A few plans for the rest of the week: payroll, statements at the office, general cleaning around the house, choir for kids, final prep for Discovery workshop at church if we get a few more people

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Special cousins together at Christmas...

I hope you all have a blessed week!
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For Today...

Dear Lord,

I'll bring you my shortcomings...My fuse is constantly short and I struggle to look outward vs inward. Lord, you know how I am made, and I pray you will continue to guide my eyes toward others and away from myself.

I'll bring you my worship and praise...Lord, I praise you for a good health report for a dear friend, that you have held her and her family in the palm of your hand while awaiting results of tests. I praise you for the way you work in our lives, through a simple touch, or an outright miracle, your hand is in everything. Each of us are amazingly made, and it is awe inspiring to see your handiwork.

I'll bring you my prayer...Father God, I pray for you to always be at work in our family, that you can make us a unit knitted together in you. Help us as parents to guide our children in your ways, and to be examples of you in all we do and say. I also pray that you will guide people to the classes at our church beginning this Sunday so that, as a church body, we can all become more deeply rooted in you in order to share the Gospel with others.

You spoke to me...You are guiding me to be less selfish, and I see this challenge in the days and weeks to come. Blessedly, you provide assurances of help when we struggle with earthly problems. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3

May God bless your day!
(To join others using the Simple Devotion, use the button at the right to link)

Outside my window...not quite sunny with a wicked cold front and wind coming through later today

I am thinking...that this will be a full day of school and I'm trusting it will be quite productive

I am thankful for...a chance to catch up on sleep and that we all have been extremely healthy this winter thus far

From the learning rooms...still yet to get the ball rolling this morning, but we will do all subjects today

From the kitchen...thai chicken perhaps for supper? Have some chicken in the fridge that has to be used; Will also back chocolate chip cookies as the butter is out and ready to be used

I am wearing...slippers, socks, yoga pants, long sleeve white top and pullover black sweatshirt

I am creating...not much - getting ready for the start of two new bible studies this week that we are teaching

I am going...probably to the store later today so we can nestle in for the next few days

I am reading...Rachel Ray's magazine to get some fresh ideas

I am hoping...that today goes smootly, that I can balance school with work and home activities

I am hearing...the shower run as Brad gets ready for a late start today

Around the house...finish re-organizing the storage room now that all the Christmas decorations are put away

One of my favorite things...a well thought out day with everything planned for school - unfortunately, that's not how today is thus far!

A few plans for the rest of the week: clean TJ's and JD's room again as they have gotten a bit out of hand, family meeting, master calendar for January, deal with work computer issue, spend daily time with the Lord

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Please click on the Simple Daybook button on the right to find the original Simple Woman's Daybook!

I pray you all have a blessed week!
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