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con·tent'ed·ness n.the state of being contented with your situation in life.
"...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content..." ~ Philippians 4:11
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." ~ 1 Timothy 6:6
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Bible in 90 Days - Round 4!
4 of 90 Days (4%) complete
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Category Archives: Teachable Moments
Yesterday my mom, affectionately referred to by her grandchildren as “Baba” – the abbreviated Russian word for “grandmother”, turned 70 years old. And you know what she did on her birthday? She showed up at my doorstep with a 9″x13″ cherry cheesecake that she made for ME. On HER birthday. I should be used to her selfless acts of kindness but I’m not. She continually astounds me with them. Throughout my life, I have never known anyone else to be so completely and genuinely selfless, freely giving of her time, love and resources, and having an unwavering servant attitude toward others. In this regard, she is as close to emulating Christ’s serving heart toward others as I have ever witnessed. What makes her even that much more amazing is that she is the way she is despite the multiple hardships and challenges she has endured throughout her entire life: born and raised in the poorest of conditions in Soviet Russia during World War II, uprooted with her family to a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany; being separated from her mother who suffered from tuberculosis while in the DP camp, experiencing the death of her 9-month-old brother who died of neglect … Continue reading
Always check your boots before you put them on. I learned this unlikely lesson when I was five months pregnant with my first child. I woke up one morning and, as per my normal morning routine at the time, peered out my bedroom window on the way to the bathroom. To my surprise, I saw Bonsai, my 2 year old Akita, dashing out across the pasture on his way to breaking out of our farm’s compound. I swiftly cranked open the window and yelled “BONSAI!!! STOP! COME BACK!!!”. The dog stopped dead in his tracks…turned his head around to look at me for a few seconds, then turned back around and CHARGED away as fast as he could. This is the same 2 year old dog that had been stubbornly challenging me at every attempt to obey simple commands since he first came into my possession at 16 weeks of age. After two years of going toe-to-toe with the hound, I was not about to back down now. Not on Sunday morning. Not 5 months pregnant. Not EVER. So I raced downstairs in my pajamas, threw on my jacket and slipped on my knee-high riding books (unstrapped because who had time to … Continue reading
“Do not forsake the teachings of your mother” ~Proverbs 1:8 That bible verse is especially poignant to us homeschooling moms as we are in a position of teaching our children practically 24/7. OF COURSE we want our children to mind our teachings and delight in knowing the bible backs that up. But what about the adult parent minding his/her own mother? At 46 years of age, I like to think that I am competent at most of the important parts of my life: marriage, raising children, finances, housekeeping…er, well, maybe not the housekeeping. But, in general, I’m a pretty responsible and competent person. Yet my mother, who I love TO PIECES, almost always finds an opening to point out that I just don’t quite do it right. It doesn’t really matter what the “it” is…her way is always better at “it”. My siblings and I even share an inside joke about it using the snarky line “You’re doing it wrong” (which, by the way, are words my mother has never uttered…only implied). I’ve pretty much learned to shrug off what I have perceived to be her criticisms (but what she, no doubt, perceives to be loving and helpful advice) because, … Continue reading
Our homeschool support group had their September kickoff meeting last night which was prefaced by a Newbie Workshop. The ladies on the Newbie Team were asked to introduce themselves and follow up with a “word of wisdom” for the newbies in the audience. Their golden nuggets were all great (from “stay teachable” to “keep it simple”). I started to think of what my “word of wisdom” would be (had I been asked) being a newbie myself as I am only starting my 3rd year of homeschooling. The answer immediately popped into my mind. Probably the most important thing I had learned during my second year of homeschooling was how NOT to keep up with the homeschool “Joneses”. Being a part of a large homeschool support group (113 families and growing), the support, the encouragement, the wealth of information shared, and the social opportunities available have far exceeded any expectations I may have had. It has been an incredibly enriching experience for me and my kids. However, I quickly learned that there is a double edge to that sword. In the process of establishing relationships and gleaning information, I had a tendency to pull out the invisible benchmark to measure our … Continue reading
As the end of the traditional school year is coming to an end for most families, it won’t be for ours since I am in pursuit of the Meanest Mom Award and have decided that we WILL be homeschooling throughout the summer months. Nevertheless, I found myself reflecting on the past 9 months of our homeschool. However, rather than reflecting on what my DS had learned this year, I was more interested in what I had learned! After all, I’m the “Old Dog” that supposedly can’t be taught new tricks, right? Well, I’ve gotta tell you, this old dog learned PLENTY. Too much to write all about it in one post so I’ll break it down into pieces. This post will deal strictly with how I learned to GRANT PERMISSIONS. Not just to others but to myself. I never realized how liberating it is to grant permission! I mean, being on the receiving side of a permission (i.e. being the GRANTEE) is always pleasant and gratifying! Just think about the toothy grins and elated squeals of delight of your children when you give them permission to snack on some cookies…or (gasp!) to drink a can of soda! Never did I … Continue reading
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! <wild cheering in the background> My almost 3 1/2 year old son has FINALLY decided that it is TIME to go poopy on the potty! I’ve waited three days to go by before writing this post…hoping that it wasn’t some sort of fluke. For some inexplicable reason (because I had given up complete hope) he has decided on his own that he was ready. He never even told me he needed to go! He just helped himself to the potty (without the kid’s potty seat, no less) without me knowing then yelled for me to come and see the poop in the potty for myself! I was only too happy to wipe his butt for him as tears of joy rolled down my face for I had truly believed I would never see this day come! Needless to say, I was completely overjoyed as was my newly trained 3 year old along with his 7 year old brother. We all started doing the Snoopy Happy Dance and singing and carrying on. I even baked cupcakes to celebrate! I’ve gotten alot of grief from members of my family about my boy’s delayed progress in this area…and I’ve given myself some of that … Continue reading
I am sure many people can relate to the title of this post. Unfortunately, the title was a shameless and underhanded trick on my part to hook you into reading this post which is, in fact, about my Mother-In-Law (MIL) except the dear woman is anything BUT evil. In fact, in the eight years that I have been married to her son, she has consistently invoked overwhelming awe in me because she is as close to perfect (if not already perfect) as one could be as a Mother-In-Law. I never really gave much thought to the “in-law factor” when I decided that my DH was the one for me. My in-laws were nice and all but if they weren’t I don’t think it would have changed my mind about marrying DH. If anything, I was prepared for the worst kind of MIL based on my experiences with my own mother (no offense, Mom). My mom is loving and generous and nurturing and will defend even the slightest of her children’s transgressions. But at times, she can also be overbearing, critical and controlling and knows she can get away with it because…well, because she can. These traits of hers I’ve learned to accept and … Continue reading
“So…”, my 75-year-old retired engineer father-in-law begins, “what’s RJ’s report card look like???”. This was a question that took me by surprise in the middle of a homeschool day last week. How do I answer this so that I don’t have to take an hour away from our already constrained homeschool schedule yet do it succinctly enough that he understands? I reply without much pause: “RJ doesn’t get a report card like the public school kids, Pop.” “Well…how’s he doing in math? Is it better than his reading???” Ouch. Was that an intentional zinger or a well-intentioned yet misspoken voice of concern? Within a split second I realize it is my turn to be officially squeezed under the homeschool microscope…a place I knew that I already lived although not strikingly reminded of it on a daily basis. Today was the full frontal assault by a well-meaning and understandably concerned grandpa. His 7-year-old grandson is, after all, having trouble reading. This fact has caused me some level of concern during this past year but I’ve been pretty good about shoving my concerns aside (thanks in large part to the MANY articles I’ve read from other homeschooling moms who have shared how their children … Continue reading
I’ve taken it on the chin alot during my adult life. Mostly as a result of the stupid mistakes I’ve made. But also as a result of no wrong doing on my part whatsoever. The stupid mistakes have, thankfully, waned in number as I’ve gotten older (although I have been known to make a doozie now and again later in my life…crude reminders that no matter how I try I remain flawed). Most recently I’ve come to learn that most of my hits the past few years have come as a result of what I believe to be an optical illusion: the illusion that a person of perceived means has it easy and, therefore, judged to have no reason to struggle with righteousness. It’s also my personal opinion that the more visible one becomes, such as a person in public or private leadership, or even celebrityhood, the greater the chance for the optical illusion to appear. This optical illusion does not appear to discriminate to whom it would appear for these hits have not only come from some of my own family members but from those outside my family as well: people in my church and (gasp!) even my homeschool support community. Not by everyone but by enough … Continue reading
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” -Samuel Johnson -John Ray -Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (take your pick) One of our dear friends (to protect his privacy I’ll refer to him as Darn Funny, or DF for short) has been having a bad few years with this teenage son. The boy has been doing poorly in high school, left behind one year, was cutting class, getting detention, and this year transferred to a school for the “bad kids”. The hardest blow to date was the boy was caught doing drugs in that school. In complete exasperation, DF was lamenting to DH about the situation and asked the question “Why couldn’t my son be more like yours?”. My DH’s first-born son, Aaron, from his first marriage is the same age (18) and a freshman at college. Both he and his sister are good kids with good grades and good hearts and they’ve kept away from bad people and bad situations. But this is no sheer accident or a luck of the draw or a complete act of divine intervention. It’s been the result of purposeful parenting by the part of their mother. Oh, there may be some of the other three … Continue reading