Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer Reading List

  A fellow blogger of mine wrote a few weeks ago her summer reading list!  I thought this seemed like fun, so I decided I would share as well!
   Summer break is so close I can taste it.  It can't come too soon either.  We have been in survival mode for a few weeks now, so it will feel so nice to finally just take a break for a little bit.  This has been a stressful semester to say the least.  We barely got settled into our home when we dove into school head first.  We didnt really get much of a chance to settle in and enjoy our new home before we jumped headfirst into school.  We spent a lot of time changing curriculum, starting new things, finishing old things and just trying to pick up where they left off at their private school- and its been hard to say the least.  We are settling in emotionally and physically..  and its just been a hard semester.  All of us can attest to that.  And the break is much needed for all of us..  mentally, emotionally.  We are ready to wind down a bit, breathe a little- and enjoy some down time.
    I haven't been able to do a great deal of reading anything other than math book and lesson plans, so I'm also looking SO forward to spending a good part of the summer with my nose in a book.  Several books.  So, without further ado...

     My little headboard bookshelf. I love our headboard.  It has two bookshelves, one on each side of the bed.  They used to hold tons of books, but when i rearranged our bedroom to create a better and more comfortable space, I moved probably a hundred or more books into the living room bookshelf.  Now, the bookshelves hold only the books we are currently reading.  Being a seminary student, my husbands side is a bit more cluttered than mine...  but here is mine!  Far less overwhelming than it was at one time!

First, my one and only electronic book I plan to read this summer..  as much as I LOVE my kindle and usually do devotions on it, I really prefer the feel of a good book, but this book I purchased on kindle, and I can't wait to jump into it!

The Life Giving Home:  By Sally Clarkson

     I'm a big fan of Sally Clarkson, and this book in particular calls out to me.  I love how she writes of her home, of how she creates a peaceful atmosphere for her family, and I long to be that sort of home maker.  I can't wait to jump into this one!  
     I actually bought it the day it came out, lol, but haven't even started it yet!  This is Sally's newest book..  and I can't wait to read it!!!

   The Mom WAlk, Seasons of a Mother's Heart, and Mission of Motherhood.  Also by Sally Clarkson

    The rest of my Sally Clarkson library, lol!  I really love the way that she has such a deep heart for motherhood, and speaks to my heart so much!  I am almost finished with Mission of Motherhood, and about halfway through the Mom walk.  I absolutely love her encouragement of mothering...  its truly my greatest calling, and I appreciate the fact that she shows it to be such a true and noble calling!  I love her books, and can't wait to soak up all of that wisdom!  She may have never met me before, but she's one of my Titus 2 women that I've came across in life.

Made to Crave: Lysa Terkeurst

I have just barely started this book, but its helped me SO much!  You see, I'm also working on a weight loss journey...   well I have been for years, but this is the first time I'm actually seeing results!  And this book has been a helpful companion.  Although I haven't gotten deep into this yet, I'm exited to finish it.  Just from the beginning, I can see that it addresses a lot of the issues I deal with as far as weight loss and eating disorders.  I'm looking forward to learning from Lysa!

One Thousand Gifts- by Ann Voskamp

This is also a finisher.  I've read most of this book, and it touched me deeply in places that I have not been touched in my heart in a long time.  I have literally wept over this book- and at the same time I've been so awakened by it.  I started this last fall and didn't finish before all of my health issues got the best of me, so I'm picking it up again from the beginning, and plan to start all over.  I also plan to make my own list, of a thousand gifts, over the summer, and encourage my kids to do the same.  I believe this will be very life-giving!  

Lord, I want to be Whole- Stormie Omartain

Very early in my Christian walk, I read the Power of a Praying wife.  I remember the moment I picked it up, and went through the words.  I can remember down to the day, that book had such a monumental impact on my life.  I actually picked this book up from the college.  There is a whole bookshelf in the lecture rooms with free books, and whenever my Mom came to visit, we went and gazed gloriously of all the books.  I picked this one up.  I don't know a lot about it, other than its about emotional healing, and I know that I need that.  I also know that this is a time set apart to do a lot of that healing in my life.  I've realized some places that I'm broken..  insecure, hurt..  and I'm looking forward to this read.  I love Stormie, and I can't wait to walk another journey with her!

Better Late than Early

     Okay so I need to read at least one school book during the summer..  so I chose this one.  
It's really been hard for me this year- trying to go from the mindset of private school to home school.  Just working through the test prep books makes me feel so inadequate, like I have so much to teach that I don't know.  Forgetting that God called me to home school, and that he will equip me to do so.  I remember when my middle child was younger- a lot of her friend seemed leaps and bounds ahead of her as far as school was concerned.  They were faster readers, better at math.  I honestly felt like I had failed her.  I'll never forget when she went to sign up for private school the first time (we've tried this and failed a couple of times..  what can I say, I don't always follow Gods lead)  She sat it the room and immediately as the door shut she began to cry, running out and into her Daddy's arms, because she could not read the test.  We placed my seven year old daughter in kindergarten, because there was only three months of school left and I wasn't sure she could keep up with the first graders.  
   A lot has changed since that time :)
   She has attended private school a total of thee months in her life.  The rest of her years have been home schooling.  My third grader now reads entire books in a days time, well she reads magic treehouse books in a single bathtime lol!  Yesterday she was seamlessly working through area and perimeter.  She loves books, loves drawing, loves school...  I think its safe to say I didn't exactly drop the ball on her.  When she was seven, it certainly seemed that way!  The few months before this home school year she did spend in school, she was my straight A student across the boards.  Almost perfect in most of her grades.  So honestly, it was later than most, but so so so much more thorough in my opinion.  
   I need this reminder, and I'm looking forward to this book to do just that for me.  

   And, since everyone needs a little adventure in their life from time to time, these two books need no introduction...

   I'm halfway through Gone with the Wind...  OHHH my its wonderful!  I'm also looking forward to following Tolkein through the Rings journey..  I hope to read this again with my kids when they are a little older, and hope that Bella will read it during her High School adventure! 

We are also reading the Little House books as a family.  I'm not sure how many we will get through, but I'm excited!  We finished up this year just barely into the first Kirsten book, so I'm hoping this will bridge the time frame over the summer, and finally help me decide whether or not to spend a year on Prairie Primer or move forward to the civil war.  :)  I can't decide....

   Somewhere I've REALLY struggled in for awhile now is Bible study.  It seems like every Bible study that I come across here is on a night that Stephen has class, and although I don't mind to let my older girls occasionally watch the boys, I don't want them to have to do it on a regular basis.  I'm praying hard that next semester will put us in a place where maybe I can take some time to do some bible studies.  We are currently working at one church and attending occasionally at another- so hopefully between two churches someone will do a women's bible study soon enough!  
   Until then, I was reading a home school blog the other day and the blogger wrote that she does most of her devotions with her kids, because that is her season of life.  So that encouraged me a lot!  I decided this summer I should start a bible study with my girls that I've had on hand for awhile now, and still haven't gotten into...

So along with my daily devotions, I want to do this each morning with my girls.  :)  After my workout, and before our walk, which is something i'm really looking forward to this summer!  It will get us all up and out early on in the day, and give them something to look forward too, so we don't sleep in all summer long!  

   Testing is hard, so all you home schooling Mom's out there, you have my prayers!  As a home schooler we feel like we are being tested on our ability to teach our children.  Just remember, as mundane as state testing feels sometimes, but just breathe.  Get through it, file it away..  show it to your kids or completely leave them out of the loop if you want!  Just know your child grew, and value that growth, and make it through.  I'm praying for all of you!  And looking forward to Saturday, when we can put it behind us!!!

Much love,

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Little Wonders...

Let it go
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know
The hardest part is over?
Let it in
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate

Time falls away
But these small hours
These small hours still remain

Let it slide

Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you

And I don't mind
If it's me you need to turn to
We'll get by
It's the heart that really matters in the end

All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But I can not forget
The way I feel right now

In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
These twists and turns of fate

Time falls away, but these small hours
These small hours, still remain
They still remain
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain

Lyrics, "Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas 

Thankful for these little moments of my life...  these precious gifts.  God is so good!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Springtime in Pictures

   Welcome to spring!!!
   Isn't spring wonderful?  When we start to thaw out...  unpack our bright colored clothes, clean up our homes in anticipation of spending more time outdoors, plant flowers.  Unpack our sandals and paint our toenails.  Spring brings the anticipation of newness, the thoughts of new beginnings, partially from the new life that springs forth from nature, and partially because we are shaking off the cold of winter and getting out and about more often.  Spring is wonderful, and this spring has indeed been very good to us!


   Easter was wonderful.  We made the trip back up the mountain to spend time with family.  We dyed Easter eggs with my sister and her family, which we have done together for years.  I'm thankful that the move hasn't interfeared with that tradition.  

    My sweet babies looked quite dapper in their Easter outfits!  We attended our little home church back up the mountain for Easter Sunday.  The Pastor asked my husband to perform his first communion Easter Sunday, and that was a blessing!  Truly, God has been so good to us, and we are so thankful for that sweet little church that has poured their love out to our family through this whole journey!!

My, how they have grown....

We got to spend the rest of the rainy evening with family..  hunting eggs at my Moms and Stephen's Mom's house, and having Easter dinner.  It was wonderful to spend time with family, they truly are such a blessing to me!!

   At the beginning of April, we took our first 'trip' of the year!  My Dad, both of my sisters and their hubbys, and my two nieces all traveled to Asheboro to visit the zoo!  We added a little fun with an overnight trip so the kiddos could spend some time in the swimming pool (The big kiddos- meaning my Dad, hubby and Brothers) played even more than the little kids lol!  It was so awesome to spend time with all of them together, and we really enjoyed the zoo!!!  It's so fun now that the kiddos are bigger..  and Callie says she would do absolutely anything to work there!  It was a day full of wonderful memories!  I certainly love all of these people!!!

   See all our zoo pics here :)

    We also had some wonderful times around our new home.  As the weather is getting warmer, we are able to get out and about a little more often.  We are discovering the new things, and we really like it here!  We have gotten to know our neighbors and all the families on campus, and being here has became a big blessing to our family!!   We have lots of parks and playgrounds..  we have visited Lake Lure and are excited about some of the things we have found to do this summer!  We are really enjoying this sweet little area, there's just so much to do!  

    At the end of April I once again made a trip up to the mountains.  We spent my Moms' birthday with her.  She got very teary eyed when my sweet little Sawyer sang Happy Birthday to her at the top of his lungs.  He's grown up so fast!!!  I also had the privlege to take pics of my *little* cousin as he went to his junior prom!!  I have no idea how he got so big so fast..  but I really enjoyed doing his photos, its been awhile!  I also enjoyed meeting Shelby.  She is very sweet!  Its hard to believe he's old enough to have a girlfriend- lol, but they really are so cute together!!!

    On May 8 Hudson turned 7!  So we celebrated on the day before with a small party at the house.  A few of our family came down, and our neighbors joined us.  It was small but nice, Hudson was excited to have everyone come to his house!  He's very much a home body :)

For the first time ever I didn't get a good photo of the cake :(  It was the Good Dinosaur, and we also had Inside Out cupcakes.  :)  

And as per Duncan family tradition- you always, ALWAYS get sprinkle pancakes with a candle for your birthday breakfast :)  Even if its Sunday morning and Mama has to get up super early to get everyone out the door for Sunday school.  :)  I love this little boy....

All in All, the spring has been wonderful to us!  It's been very warm!  Like summer back in the mountains- so we are wondering what the summer is going to be like..  likely- very, very hot!  At least we have AC here..  we have never used it before other than window units lol!  

    Stephen also began his first ministry job since being in school here!  He is interning as youth pastor at French Broad Baptist Church.  The position is until June, and so far he is really enjoying it!  It's not been an easy run since he is also still working fulltime, and going to school fulltime, but so far we have really been blessed by being at the church!  We are also still attending and loving Ebeneezer when there is no service at French Broad, and are so blessed to continue to be a part of that church as well.  Stephen was actually asked to preach there a few weeks ago on Sunday evening, and he did the best job he has ever done.  It's amazing how much just being in school for a few weeks has impacted him..  he was a great preacher before, this has just given him more depth!  I can't wait to hear him preach again- I enjoyed it so much!
    We also joined a home school group!  I was hesitant to join near the end of the school year, but this is a group which is headed by a woman I met at church, and we really enjoyed it!  The kids made flower pots and sugar scrub for Mothers day at our first meeting.  It's a really good size group of kids- not to big but not too small.  We really enjoyed it!!

    We are so blessed, and I am so excited to see what summer brings!  Thank you guys for catching up with us!  Lots of love!!