Life, Love, and Reading

Winter seems to be leaving its mark a little late in our neck of the woods, and rather than going a little stir crazy I am bent on finding ways to make the most of the madness this snow season.

First of all, there’s something about being home for long periods of time that helps your notice the clutter bugs and cobwebs.

What is that smudge on the floor? 

Is there a shoe sticking out from under the loveseat? 

Where did all these dust bunnies come from?

On a regular day, I would be so covered up in alphabet sounds, math facts, and writing assignments that I would be happy to just get the kitchen table clear in time to put dinner on it.

I’m thankful for snow days as a chance to tame the crazy and deal with the clutter and dust that piles up at our house on a regular basis.

Second, miracle of miracles, I am down to one child today.  One stayed with mamaw before the snowstorm and two are headed to work with Daddy today.  I am looking forward to some one on one time with my seven year old.  We are hoping to build a snow fort, play a game, and enjoy the quiet!

Finally, I’m planning to get a little reading in this weekend!  Homeschooling four kids, it’s usually “Mommy Time” that gets tossed to the wayside, and I am excited for the chance to get some reading in.  Here are my books for March:

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sarah Clarkson is one I started yesterday.  It is all about being a Titus 2 woman and leaning on God instead of trying to do life yourself.  (Secretly, I think they wrote this book for me!)

Choose Love by Stormie Omartian and Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge are both about our relationships with our God, our loved ones, and ourselves–just in different ways.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Fit for Excellence by Sheri Rose Shepherd is a book that I have wanted to read for quite some time.  I listened to Sheri Rose on a Focus on the Family broadcast awhile back, and she is very real and just hilarious!  I’m interested to read what I believe is her first book ever.

When Jesus Wept by Brock and Bodie Thoene is my one fiction novel for the month of March.  I love to write fiction, but my taste is a little random, so I don’t often find a novel I really want to read.  Brock and Bodie Thoene, though, have always been some of my favorite novelists.  I love their writing, I love their style, I love the heart behind what they do.  I also love to read something contemplative during the season of Lent.  Just like Christmas, I love to experience the journey up to Easter.

Recently, I read a devotion about taking the Lenten weeks and reading Christ’s words in red.  We have been going through the Bible book of Matthew this year for our homeschool readings, and it is amazing how Scriptures I have read many times before open up new meaning this time around.  (More on that later)

The last books I have pictured are research materials for my new novel.  Part of it is based in, you guessed it, Turkey and Greece.  I plan to post portions of it on the blog later this year.  I was particularly thrilled about the volume on Greece that I found by Jesse Stuart.  I know him for his Appalachian volume The Thread that Runs So True.  It is a winner, for sure!

So what are you reading this month?  Leave a Comment and let me know.  I may put it on my list for April!

Grace to you,

Nicki

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March Madness in Real Time

So, it’s March again!  Where we live, everyone is snowed in for the second time in the last three weeks.  🙂  If you are anywhere near social media, I’m sure you’ve heard jokes, complaints, anything and everything (including one post I saw blaming the current most popular animated character on the silver screen).  Everybody has their own way of coping when the winter weather throws an icicle into their regularly scheduled lives.

At our house, we got an unexpected day off to spend with Daddy.  He has been working a few extra days lately, so that is very much appreciated (especially for Mommy).  My kids are getting time to just be kids!  No running around and hassling them about what they have to do next.  I was so happy inside when I walked into the kitchen and saw this…

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Just like their Mommy, instead of having a fit about what they can’t do or where they can’t go, my kids would rather just pull out the art supplies, crank up some Mozart, and have an art day.  Paint love!

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Maybe we can all learn a lesson from our kids today while our plans are “frozen”–and find a moment to love, a moment to create, a moment to snuggle, a moment to enjoy.  I know I will.

How about you?  How are you surviving or thriving through the winter weather?  I would love to hear your stories.

Grace to You,

Nicki

All Things New.

January 1st makes me think of all things new.  Does it you?  I am never in a hurry to take down our Christmas decorations.  They usually come down on the first Saturday in January.  I love that feeling of a home covered in greenery and lights, lovely & shining, a family well fed, nowhere to be, time to spend together to play and enjoy.  And possibilities.

Possibility is knocking at my heart’s door this New Year.  I can’t lie.  I feel like this every single New Year.  I do.  Maybe it is the days of rest to breathe and relax that follow the celebration of the Christ child that makes me look forward to the year yet to come.  I find myself planning the second half of our homeschool year with expectation, looking for ways to make our time special.  It’s so much easier to think ahead when you are not in the midst of the teaching and training, disciplining and correcting.  Everyone is on break and occupied with building sets, games, reading, and just being a kid!

Perhaps I am a kid in my heart when I think about the New Year too.  When we consider the Lord, it makes us want to be the very best version of ourselves, and when January 1st rolls around, I believe that it is truly possible.  The Bible is full of newness, new things, fresh starts that I think we all desperately need!  I don’t know about you, but I’m not happy with all my words or attitudes in 2014.  I think our family’s “fruit” could use a little work.  Our Holy Spirit gardening skills sometimes get a little shabby in the winter!  We definitely need a fresh start!

No matter who you are, no matter where you are, and no matter what the New Year looks like for you, let me encourage you with this Scripture:

“Do not remember the former things,

Nor consider the things of old. 

Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it? 

I will even make a road in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert.”–Isaiah 43:18-19

Don’t be afraid to wait on God this New Year, and trust that His timing is perfect.  Trust Him enough to lay down the old year and take up all things new.  God has prepared it, and He has a perfect plan for you.