Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School Countdown: 9 Days to 9th Grade.

This back to school season has been especially big around here. 
Our little homeschool is in a MAJOR transition.
In fact, we are planning to have our official homeschool door open only two days a week this year. The Little Sister is going to a homeschool/hybrid school three days a week and The Big Sister at high school. If someone would have told me last year that I would barely be considered a homeschooler this year, I would've spit Diet Coke.

Still, it happened. The Big Sister started her first day of high school today! I am so excited for her! Just like kindergarten, she walked right on in with confidence, even though I know she was a little nervous. Who wouldn't be!?
Different than kindergarten, though, she didn't tell me, "Mom, you're talking too long." Ha! True dadgum story. I only had a quick second in the drop off line today, though. 

Anyway, like I said in my last post- SUNDAY, cause I'm all feast or famine on this blog- 
this is our first First Day in seven years. 

This means it's a Big Dog Deal! 

Traditionally, we don't do traditions well in this house. We aren't big on doing much on a repeat. Not for any reason other than spazzy parenting. I'm not a Pinterest Mom or the mom who makes a celebration of things. I mean, we are good for an ice cream to celebrate or "Hey! Let's make cookies!" 
But, this is a really big deal, and I wanted to commemorate it for her. 
So I got this idea for a "9 Days Before 9th Grade Countdown". 
First Day of High School.
I made her take her pic at the boat dock.
Here's what you have to know about me: I'm pretty ENFJ/ENFP. Translation: I love my people. I love the idea of doing super cool things for them. I have the troubles when it comes to the execution. I mean, really. I'm an idea person. Big picture. Not so much on the details. 

So, I lowered the bar. 
Melissa go unda the limbo stick. 
For real. Like crawled.

There's this other thing: I like to make gifts out of things we would normally buy. Parents miss out opportunities to cultivate gratitude by not getting "credit" for certain purchases. It also makes the purchase of school supplies a little more pleasant and it becomes a gift! 

Anyway, I did this Countdown and I'm posting it here for you, Reader With Bad Handwriting; for you, Mom Who Doesn't Know What Mod Podge Is; and for you, The Budget-Conscious-Gift-Giver.
This is for the "blogger" (I use this term loosely when talking about myself) who doesn't know how to set up dramatic, pinnable photos. 
The Pinterest-Challenged Mom who loves her kid. That's who this is for. 

I'm here to show you how it doesn't have to be perfect to be meaningful and appreciated! It really doesn't!

Here's the Countdown. 
Nine Days Before Ninth Grade:

9. Warrior Princess embroidered pocket-tee.  
"Daughter of the King= Princess
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 
And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1"
This is a pinnable photo if I ever saw one!
The blurred out part is the name of the school. My friend over at Sew Dazzlin' Designs made this custom tee. I just love it and so does the Big Sister. I have to confess to you: I got a little prideful about this purchase. I ordered it like three weeks ahead of time like a responsible grown up. Shut up, YES, I DID! It was sitting in the packaging box for about two weeks before this little fun thing started! Unprecedented!
I can be a PREcrastinator! Obviously.
This is the picture of my whole table with spilled salt on it.
Slightly less pinnable than the photo above.
8. School supplies. 
"Best School Supply Wisdom:
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 
You may forget what goes on these pages, but never forget these words: Trust the Lord!"
You'll notice that I used the same gift bag for 9 straight days.

7. Tide Pen.

"Sister, You will make mistakes. But your mistakes won't break you. 
Here's a Tide Pen for some of them...for all others, there's Jesus...and your mom."

Tide Pens are all the rage for high school. You can Google it.
This is not even a sponsored post. Ha.
Also, this is probably the truest of all the notes. 
Mistakes are inevitable. Amen?!

6. Warrior Shirts (Uniform requirement.)
"'The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.' Judges 6:12
An angel delivered these words to Gideon 
and I am delivering these words to you. 
You ARE a Warrior Princess! And the Lord is definitely with you!"
I'm a photographer, but you probably can't afford me.
5. #DoWork: A few more supplies
"You are such a diligent student! I am so proud of the hard worker you are!
'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.'  Colossians 3:23-24
Also, some sweet friends got in on some of the note-writing.

4. Taste.
The one when I'm obviously not a Bible Scholar.
"'Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.' Psalm 34:8
This is totally out of context & has nothing to do with lunch! But enjoy it! Ha!"

I'm not even sure if this is funny or pathetical. (I made that up.)
But, I got her this lunch box with a bird on it. 
So I still consider that a major win. (I don't love the birds.)

3. Beauty Supplies
"'Let the King be enthralled by your beauty honor him, 
for he is your Lord.' Psalm 45:10
You are beautiful and He is your Lord."
This is not up for discussion.
Listen, I'm not pushing these extraordinary standards on my girls, 
but we like our special hair products and mascara.  

2. A Little Chocolate Goodness to Think About...
Yah. I had a moment. Sorry to the coaches.
"'Whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable- 
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- 
think about such things.' Philippians 4:8"

I think chocolate is all those things, yes? 
Hashtag theology. Hashtag hermeneutics.
Protein bars & Butterfingers. We diversify.

1. The Last Day Before 9th Grade.

"I pray you love Jesus and His Word.
'In the beginning was the Word 
and the Word was with God 
and the Word was God.' John 1:1"
Do you know how hard it is to get a Bible to stand up vertically?
Just curious.
This was really so easy and doable. 
It's true because I did it. 

Bottom line is I wanted to do two things: 
Get "credit" for buying school supplies -I'm not really sure what this says about me- 
and make a fuss over her first First Day in a long time. 
We won't be doing this each year, I can assure you! 

Her first day was just grand and she said, "I felt like I had always been there."
It felt familiar to her. Love that. 
That's the Body of Christ becoming more evident to her. 

The 7th Grader will get one, too, but she doesn't start school for a couple of weeks. 

Do you do anything special for "Back to School"?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

On Doing a New Thing or Three

Hello? Hello? *tap, tap*
Testing. 1, 2, 3.

Oh, yay. You're there. Thank you for your patience. 
I contemplated telling you we've been experiencing technical difficulties, but then I might as well put accelerant right in the yoga pants I'm wearing.  

So, I'm glad you're here. 
I've got a few things to bring you up to speed on. I know it isn't gonna happen in one post, so I'll just tell you a few *new* things I did these past few weeks. Doing new things is something I mostly love. I mean, not the new thing of a mammogram, but meeting new people, going new places...you get the idea. 
Honeymoon Island.
The End.

A New Thing
Since we moved back to Florida, an EXACT YEAR AGO, (For the love of Jack Johnson, I can not believe it's been a year!) Spouse and I have really enjoyed Instagramming our little town and the beachy loveliness all around us. Through social media hashtags and our photog friend, Stephanie, I connected with a group of creatives through the Cleargram community. This past week, there was a "meet up" in my little downtown. So fun! So, I went! It was so fun walking around, chatting with an amazingly diverse group of people, and getting creative tips.
The evening began and ended at a fun little local spot with my Spouse, excellent wings, a drum circle and great strangers I "met" online, and I only got one great picture. Just one. (Like that's not good enough.) That's what the group is about!
Of course, Spouse got a cool one, too. Whatever. Anyway.
Talk about a new thing. Strangers from the inter webs.
And a few of them, I would have taken home in a heart beat. For sure. Love.

Another New Thing. 
In a total impulsive move, I bought a treadmill on Craigslist last month. It had rained for 40 days and 40 nights here (OK, maybe like 3 weeks, but whatever) and I needed something. So, I bought a treadmill for $85. Then, a few weeks later, I remembered that I don't really love a treadmill. Plus, I really would love a foosball table for my downstairs big room. So I listed it back on Craigslist. For $125. And I got it. Ha! I Googled the potential buyer, and found him on Linked In. I determined he wasn't a WhackaDoo and gave him my cell. Plus, my sweet neighbors agreed to be my Security Team. They came over and secured me and fixed the treadmill I thought I broke. I made $40 on a Craiglist purchase. Total new thing! Yay me! And yay! Spouse for driving me to pick it up to begin with! Hashtag marriage.
The two in the front here are my neighbors
that I wish the whole world could meet. 

The Biggest New Thing
Well. This is a dadgum doozie. I went to my first high school orientation as a parent. Well, not exactly. We had a little unconventional adoption back in '98 that I'll have to tell you about at another time. This was my first high school orientation as a parent of a biologically born child. We have homeschooled since 2009. 
'"The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace."'
Numbers 6:24-26
Tomorrow TOMORROW!!! will be our first First Day of School in 7 years. (We started January '09.) We love homeschooling. No doubt. But, ya know what? We loved our public school! LOVED IT! There was not a single reason to leave except for a specific calling from Jesus. We knew it. And I was scared/sad/excited/ etc. I loved my little community of that elementary school and I left it! And we have loved homeschooling. Loved it. Home education is not broken in our home. Know that, precious reader. Not broken. We might do it again. But, for the Big Sister, attending a local Christian High School is a new adventure. It is something that we have prayed over  and decided for her and WITH her for this season. It may be a year or two or four. We don't know. 

I just need you people to understand one thing:

I'm so excited for her. She is filled with the Spirit of the Living God. I have assurance of that. She is an excellent student. And this will be hard. Hard academically, physically (early mornings!!), and even spiritually (she's gonna be tested a bit). This kid is up for the challenge. And her Jesus is BIG.

There you have it.
A few NEW THINGS I've done.

"The past events have indeed happened.
Now I declare new events;
I announce them to you before they occur."
Isaiah 42:9

Did you do anything new this week?

PS: I'll update more on this high school biz asap. We've celebrated & counted down pretty big. :))

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rainy Days and Littles

This is right now.
Central Florida is on about day 8 (or 100, what's the difference!?) of her Sun Rebellion
While there have been moments in which she has teased us with a break in the clouds, it has rained much more than those afternoon showers she's famous for. 
See? A little tease of color?!

If I seem a little blah, it's because I'm Vitamin D deficient. And by deficient, I mean pale. 
Enough about me. 

I'm really thinking about our local moms of Littles right now. 
The ones who have been on lock-down because you just can't see it's worth it to load up in the rain to go anywhere. 

I know you are worried about too much screen time, too much fighting, too many Cheez-Its, and Lord knows there's been too much Candyland. (For you, not them.) You've done that crafts, the dance parties, and read all.the.books.

You don't really want go to Chick-Fil-A playground every day or the mall, because budget. I get it. The free movies are great, but when one needs to go to the bathroom, you have to load everybody up.

I remember. 

This is when the Band of Sisters is so important, and I do pray you have one. Even if you can just go to one another's homes it breaks the monotony. Or go to the free movie together so you can divide and conquer. Maybe swing by and pick up a tweenie or teen to be a "Mother's Helper"? 

(Updated: I just saw this list of indoor activities today on Tampa Bay Moms Blog.)

But, what if that's even too much? 
What if your road is flooded & you couldn't get out if you wanted to?

Throw away screen time rules for a few days. Embrace the movie day. Build a fort. Make it a whole thing. 
Yes, I know you're worried that the violence of the Serengeti cheetah killings will be desensitizing, but it won't, it's educational. Circle of life and whatnot. I know Jeff Corwin drives you bat crazy, but go ahead, press play. Then, give yourself permission to stick an earbud in your phone and watch a little Gilmore Girls on the side. We won't tell. 

By God's great grace, this rain will eventually stop (Soon, please!) and you can hit the pool again, go to the library, and the even the grocery. 

The point is, give yourself a little grace. And maybe a little stash of chocolate wouldn't hurt. 

Praying for special blessings for you today.