Undivided: Living For and Not Just With One Another


It had been a long day that seemed to contain a million sibling squabbles. As soon as one was resolved, it seemed like another one would erupt! Anyone else know that feeling? Before bedtime we exhaustedly plopped down on the couch for some family devotions. We were starting a new book, Undivided: Living For and Not Just With One Anotherby Rhonda and Mitchell Owens.

Undivided is a 12-week devotional for the whole family. Instead on focusing on Bible narratives as many devotionals do, this book is unique in that it focuses on the various "one another" passages in the New Testament. Verses that explain and describe the many ways we can live out how to best love one another.

Undivided is written so that each chapter has four sections: Learn It, Live It, Ask It, and Give It. All work together to help explain the original text, discuss how it applies in real life, discuss what was learned, and practically put the scripture into action.

I'm personally not especially into doing activities as part of devotional time, but that has proven to be the best and most impacting part of this book for my kids.

The night of sibling squabbles we were being asked to write everyone's names on a slip of paper and put them in a bowl. Then, we'd each pick a name and write down a way we were going to practically show love to that person the following week. It resulted was that a day that had been filled with fighting ended on an encouraging note.  Instead of only being focused on ourselves, we were now focusing on ways to make someone else in the family know they are loved, from playing legos to having tea together.

We are looking forward to reading the rest of the book!


I'm giving away ONE copy of Undivided: Living For and Not Just With One Another. I'm going to be doing the giveaway over on Instagram so be sure to be following me over there! Come on over and enter!

How to Be a Valiant Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman. Love her or hate her, she’s pretty amazing. She’s a hard worker, staying up late and rising early. She’s a business woman who deals in the marketplace purchasing fields and vineyards. She sells handmade items. If Etsy had been around during biblical times she’d have her own shop. She’s generous to the poor. She’s not afraid about what the future holds and dresses well to boot. She’s wise, her kids all speak well of her and so does her husband. Above all, she fears the Lord.

No wonder so many women cringe when they hear “Proverbs 31.” Who can measure up to that?

One thing to keep in mind is that Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem (in the original) that describes the characteristics a godly woman should strive for. Not in a legalistic check-off-the-list sort of way. Maybe more like a “when I grow up I want to be like her” kind of way. She wasn’t “real.” At least not like Sarah, Rebekah, or Mary were. Those women were all flawed and we love them for it.

Until recently I thought I knew the Proverbs 31 Woman pretty well. But then I made a discovery that surprised me.

Continue reading over at Ungrind.


How to Stay Connected to Your Kids as They Grow Up

“Mom, pleeaasse read just one more chapter! Com’on, please,” I begged. And Mom would usually smile and read ten—or twenty minutes longer.

One of the most treasured and important memories from my childhood is my Mom reading to my siblings and me after lunch. Everyday I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next to my favorite character, while I’d be transported to another time or place by the power of Mom’s voice, as it became that character. When the chapter or time was up for the day, my siblings and I would often beg for more.

We read the childhood classics. The Little House books were a family staple, and the Secret Garden was my first gothic suspense novel. Cheaper by the Dozen had us laughing until our sides ached, and The Yearling—with its lush descriptions and heart-wrenching story—made us cry. These books were dubbed “family books,” and we continued to read aloud together even long after I was old enough to read on my own. Mom believed it was important to experience different language styles, even if it sometimes was a little challenging to comprehend. The power of the audible voice captured any wanderings of my mind, making the stories dance off the page and into my imagination.

The benefits from those cozy days curled up on the couch did not just result in better reading skills, lively imaginations, and a love literature and art. It also resulted in connected relationships.

Continue reading over at iBelieve.com

(Image Credit: iBelieve.com)

3 Sanity Savers for the School Year

It’s September and a new school year has begun. Every autumn I have mixed feelings about the close of summer’s picnics and late nights on the deck, but am excited for the routine of a new school year!

Around this time I also look at my calendar and see what I can streamline to make everyday tasks run smoother and take less time. Days are filled with school, work, and several evenings out during the week for soccer practice. Here’s some ways I’ve made tasks that are constantly on repeat a little easier for our family.

Join me over at For the Family to read more.

The First Day of School

2015-08-31_0012015-08-31_0022015-08-31_003 A new school year began yesterday! I'm so excited to begin a new year of learning and growing alongside my kids. I thought I'd share our curriculum choices for this year, because I've enjoyed other people's posts along those lines (I'm a geek like that). I usually discover something I've never heard of before, and through such lists I actually came upon the science curriculum we're using this year.

But first, my new desk area. My old desk was literally falling apart, so I got this very simple white desk from IKEA, kept the old green chair that went with the former desk, and spray painted a desktop organizer a glossy black. Tada! A lovely work area that is aesthetically pleasing--because after all--that's pretty much the most important thing for me outside of storage.

And can I draw your attention to the most adorable book bunting? You can order it custom and mine is Pride and Prejudice. I ordered and gave Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre book bunting earlier this year to both of my sisters. It's is such a fun and unique gift for the book enthusiast!

If you're interested in any of the resources I will link to them below:

Desk: Linnmon/Adils from Ikea Corkboard: Vaggis Noticeboards from Ikea Mama print: Melissa Lyon West Jane Austen print: PrintableDesignHouse on Etsy (similar) Book Bunting: Rosealind Ashberrys on Etsy


Now onto more homeschooler-ish things.

Duncan and Owen are entering their 3rd grade year. So hard to believe! Here's what we'll be using this year:

Reading: We love the All About Reading resources and it has worked great for the boys. We started out trying to use The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and after the first year it did not go well. I love how much more simply All About Reading is broken down and that it comes with its own readers! We will be finishing All About Reading Level 2.

Language Arts Loop (for more info on loop scheduling read this):

Spelling: For spelling we use the Spelling City website and I plug in words from their All About Reading lessons.

Grammar/Writing:  We will be finishing First Language Lessons Level 2  and then I think we will be switching to English Lessons Through Literature. It is very similar to First Language Lessons in approach but is more integrated, a fact I love. It uses full-length books (instead of selections from literature) and also incorporates writing and spelling into the lessons. I will also be using this rather new program with Sophia in the future as well.

Penmanship: Zaner Bloser handwriting textbook for penmanship. Nothing fancy. It's just penmanship and it works.

Math: We use Singapore Math and it's been great for my kids, although I will be looking for something less "teacher intensive" once they are reading more fluently. Any suggestions?

History 2x weekly: We will be daily listening to the Classical Conversation audio CD and learning the history sentences and continue learning the timeline song. We also will be reading The Story of the World Vol. 1 along with a TON of library book reading. I will be incorporating geography and art study into history.

Science 2x weekly: My friend Nicole introduced me to Biology for the Grammar Stage from Elemental Science and I'm very excited to use it this year. Last year we were part of a Science co-op and this year we are not, so I'm excited to try something new. The kids will be learning about animals, plants, and the human body.

Sketchbooking: I'm going to be using sketchbooking as a way to incorporate writing, history, science, and drawing with the kids this year. Inspired by Kirsten Rickert (and since my kids love to draw) we will be using the Strathmore Kids Drawing Story Book to capture what we learn in short sentences, diagrams, and pictures. I love that it comes with space for drawing and is pre-lined for writing!

Physical Education: Soccer (fall) and PE once a week at our homeschool co-op.

Art: We will be studying art in the context of history and be sketchbooking but they also will have an applied art class each week at co-op.

Music: Co-op music class!

Sophia will be joining us as a Kindergartener this year and she's is super enthusiastic about it! She will be tagging along for all of our studies as she has interest but for her we will be concentrating on reading, penmanship, and beginning math. She will be using All About Reading, Zaner Bloser handwriting, and Singapore math just like her brothers but at the Kindergarten level. She also will have a geography unit study, P.E., art, and music class at co-op every week.


I also thought I'd share some of the online resources and blogs I find inspiring as it pertains to homeschooling. Some of them I've talked about before and have interviewed their founders. Here's some of my favorites!

Online Resources:

Wild & Free Conference, Bundles, and other resources  (Interviewed founder Ainsley Arment here.)

Read-Aloud Revival podcast and membership site (Interviewed podcast founder and host Sarah Mackenzie here.)

Home | School | Life  Magazine, blog, or newsletter, this is a great resource!

Simple Homeschool A practical site by various authors full of posts from the practical to the encouraging.


Mt. Hope Chronicles  I've been following this blog by Heidi Scovel for years, maybe even before I had children? I love her blog, especially her booklists! And she has three boys so I find her perspective valuable when it comes to resources for boys.

Ed Snapshots A very practical blog which also has a podcast attached to it.

Cloistered Away I love Bethany's blog. I heard her speak about Intention at last year's Wild + Free conference. She's a writer, photographer, blogger, and homeschooler so I am inspired by her and our interests are similar.

Kirsten Rickert Another inspirational mama who is a photographer and writer with heavy emphasis on the environment, I love subscribing to her blog and reading her thoughtful posts.

If you homeschool (or even if you don't) what educational resources or sites do you love for your kids? That inspire you?