Archive | August, 2013

Cycle 2 Copywork: English Grammar, History Statements, and Science

22 Aug

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Assembling their Classical Notebooks. They would never admit it, but they were pumped!

I was inspired by Half a Hundred Acre Wood’s post this summer describing the Classical Notebook her boys use in conjunction with the Classical Conversations Memory Work. I loved the idea of incorporating CC Review and Handwriting. (My boys can never get enough practice with handwriting! If I could foretell their professions based on their current handwriting, it’s DOCTOR all the way!) Also, I learned in college that through the discipline of transferring my notes from class onto flashcards, I would have most of the concepts immediately memorized. I later learned that this is characteristic of a visual learner. Since my oldest son is a visual learner just like his Momma, I knew that he would benefit tremendously from the discipline of writing out the Memory Work. I immediately decided that we were using a Classical Notebook this year for Cycle 2.

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Putting our Classical Notebooks together

This is how I assembled our Classical Notebook. I first bought a 2 Inch Binder and three sets of 8-Tab Plastic Dividers to have 1 divider for each of the 24 weeks per son. For each weekly tab, I included History Statement, English Grammar, and Science pages behind the 24 individual tabs. In the back of the folder, I included the Latin and Math resources that Half a Hundred Acre Wood included in her Classical Notebook post  and printed maps for Geography from CC Connected. The Latin, Math and Geography I put into page protectors to use with dry erase markers since those particular pages will be used for multiple weeks.

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See my cute little “Week” tabs?!?! Maybe having 24 was a little overkill,
but it makes it easy for them to find by themselves.

I decided to make my own documents for the English Grammar, History Statements, and Science Memory Work. I used the font, “KG Primary DotsLined,” which you can download for free here. The font made creating handwriting worksheets a cinch! Because these subjects contain Classical Conversations information that falls under copyright, I want to honor that and am making the files available on CC Connected At Home Sharing Center. You can find them uploaded by: suzannemosley. They are available as a free downloaded if you are a member of CC Connected. For the Timeline each week, I created a Timeline Copywork & Illustration Page. Each week my boys will pick one timeline card from that week’s seven cards. They will copy the title of the Timeline Card and then illustrate it. Hopefully, this will also reinforce the Drawing Grammar they’re learning the first 6 weeks of Fine Arts. You can download the copywork & illustration file here.

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How we are using our Classical Notebooks

This was our third week of school, but only our first week of CC. Thus, we have only been in our Classical Notebooks one week, but so far so good! When I told my oldest son today that it was Classical Notebook time, he said, “I thought the Classical Notebook was going to be really hard, but it’s easy.” I responded with a question, “And, it’s kinda fun, isn’t it?!?!” A huge grin spread over his face. That was all the assurance I needed that we’d struck gold with the Classical Notebooks!

We use the Classical Notebooks 4 days a week, and the subjects focused on each day correspond with the subjects we orally review on the respective days. Here’s our Classical Notebook and CC Review schedule:

Tuesdays–English Grammar and Timeline

Wednesdays–Math and Latin

Thursdays–History and Geography

Fridays–Science

We are only one week in with our Classical Notebooks, but I am already marveling at what my sons are doing thanks to it! Their Timeline illustrations were beyond my expectations, and they were truly enjoying themselves! I can’t wait to see their joy when they realize that illustrating the History Statement is part of today’s task. The Classical Notebook has helped synthesize classical tools of learning, like copywork, CC Review, “independent” work, handwriting, and FUN into one component. Isn’t that amazing?!?! I also love that the Classical Notebook gives them something purposeful to do independently during our school day. This allows me to work individually instructing one son while the other is working solo on his Classical Notebook. Then, we “flip flop,” and the other son comes to me for instruction while the other is Classical Notebooking it. 🙂 It also is liberating to me on some level. If we run out of time and can’t do our oral CC Review, I know they have been able to do some review on their own! So many good things in one 2-inch binder, right?!?!? I am excited that we are incorporating this into our school year!

Any other Classical Notebookers out there? What do you love about your Classical Notebook?

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Team Mica Fund & Postpartum Depression

22 Aug

I was honored to be given the opportunity to share about my experience with postpartum depression over on the Team Mica Fund Blog. Mica Breeden Martin and I shared many things in common–a hometown, mutual friends and mental illness. Mica’s journey ended in December 2011. The Team Mica Fund was created in her honor to support organizations educating others about suicide prevention and assisting those with mental illness.

If you know someone experiencing mental illness, postpartum depression or contemplating suicide, please love them well by getting them help.

To read more about my postpartum journey, click here.

Encouragement for CC First Timers

21 Aug

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Our first day of school photo. Oh yes, we’re sporting our swim gear–our new ‘first day of school’ tradition.

Our CC Community started back this week! We had a wonderful day learning and laughing together. At our dinner table tonight, we were discussing their first day of Classical Conversations. Our oldest, totally unsolicited, said, “It was a great first day of CC.” My heart was happy. We asked Son #2 his favorite part of CC today, and I thought, “He’s going to say, ‘Playing football and basketball in the gym after lunch.'” I was pleasantly shocked to hear him say, “Playing the Bang! review game.” Children, truly, are natural learners, and I believe their hearts sing when they are learning (although they do not realize it or know how to articulate it). As a parent, my heart sings when I watch them learn! Isn’t it wonderful?!?!

Our CC Community got together a couple of times before our year started today. At one particular “CC Mom’s Night,” the CC Veterans were given an opportunity to pass along wisdom, best practices, advice, and helps to the CC First Timers. As I collected my thoughts and thought back over last year (our first year with CC), I passed along these 4 “nuggets” of wisdom.  I wish I had known these things going into our first year of CC.

1) Chaos: Embrace it–Talk about a learning curve! Whew! I was on one last year as we embarked on our first year of Classical Conversations. I had not been classically educated as a child, so everything was new to me. As a planner, type A, perfectionist personality, I wanted to know and understand exactly what I was supposed to be doing with my children at home and how to do it. After Week 1 last year, I felt like I had drunk out of a fire hydrant. Everything was completely foreign to me, yet I could see glimpses of brilliance in the hours following.  My sons sang catchy New Grammar songs with Latin and Math in the van ride home from CC that day. Light bulbs began going off in my head. “Aha!”

If I had only known that driving home from our CC day after completing Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, things would start to slowly make sense, I could have saved myself many panic attacks. 🙂 One way that I have heard the Classical Model explained is layered learning. We have to hear things multiple times to cement it into our brain. This was the sum of my experience in those first weeks of CC. Week 1–Confusion, Week 2–Less confusion, Week 3–Even less confusion, Week 4–Starting to “get it”, breathing a little easier, Week 5–Feeling more confident. With each week, the mortar was being laid, the layers were being cemented into my brain. CC was making more sense.

So, for those of you like me–planners, type A, perfectionists–embrace the chaos that you will feel those first few weeks. I am a perfectionist, but I like to say that I’ve been in recovery the last 3 years. 🙂 During this time, I have learned my greatest lessons from just going with the flow. (Did I really just say that?!?! Seriously, people, I’ve come a long way; glory to God!)  My encouragement to you is this–throw off your longing to completely, perfectly understand everything from the beginning. Your depth of understanding and “Aha!” moments will increase with each week. Embrace the chaos. It, too, shall pass, and clarity will be right around the corner.

2) Community: Take Advantage of It–I love that the structure and title of each Classical Conversation location is a CC Community. There will be CC Veterans in your community, Lord willing, who have done CC in the past. When you’re stumped, bumfuzzled, or pulling out your hair, seek those women out and sit at their feet. Ask them questions, talk to them about areas where you are struggling, glean from their wisdom.

I regret that I did not take advantage of CC Veterans around me as we started last year. Our Community was in year #1, too, and surprisingly there were only a couple of CC Veterans. Most of us were new, walking around “deer in the headlights” for a while. 🙂 However, instead of “staying there,” I wish that I would have reached out to the couple of CC Veterans in our community or friends of mine  who are CC Veterans living in other states. I should have picked the brains of those women! I was burned out last year before we even made it to Week 24! If I had chosen to set aside my pride, open up to wise women around me, I firmly believe that I would have never made it to the burn out level. They could have helped steer me in a better direction than the one I was charting for myself.

Related to this discussion of “community,” I shared with our CC Moms, too, and I’ll let you in on the secret. Drum roll please–no one has it all together. We are all regular people, who have good days and bad days in our homeschooling journey. Don’t be afraid to share how you’re struggling or to ask for help. After all, you are in a Community.  You are not on this journey alone! Isn’t that wonderful!?!?! If you can’t figure out how to review New Grammar at home, ask a CC veteran. If you are feeling guilty that you’re not doing enough, ask a CC veteran. (Don’t worry! I’m sure that you are!) If you have no idea what CC Connected is or how to navigate it, ask a CC Veteran. 🙂 The beauty of community is seen, felt, experienced when we set our pride, “walls” aside and are just plain ol’ honest with one another. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or to feel like you’ll look “dumb.” I pray that your CC Community will be there to walk beside you with each step.

3) Community: Intentionally build it–I loved that our Classical Conversations Parent Practicum speaker this summer challenged us to pray for our communities to be peaceful. She even suggested reading this book,  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, together in a book club format with your CC Community’s Moms. (Love this idea!) In the weeks following the practicum, I have been praying for our community to be one characterized by peace. However, I didn’t stop there. I long for my CC Community to be a COMMUNITY, one that is open, honest, supportive and encouraging to one another, so I have been praying for those things as well. As I have prayed, I have realized that I am a part of the answer to my own prayers. If I desire for my CC Community to be a community, I need to be characterized by the things that I’m praying for–open, honest, supportive, encouraging and peaceful. I am praying for Him to enable me to be those things. I desire to be faithful to do my part in building community at our location.

I love that the structure of the Classical Conversations model is designed to facilitate “community building.” In the hour following the completion of our CC Classes, we all pile around lunch tables and share a meal together. The moms chatter incessantly (Thank you, CC, for building in “adult conversation” time for us!), and the children run wildly  play together. There were weeks last year when I was tempted to just go home and “skip lunch.” Or, there were mornings when we left hurriedly from home and lunches did not get packed. On those occasions, I left after CC class and went home. I realize now that I missed out on great opportunities to glean wisdom from CC Veterans and veteran homeschool moms and to build relationships with these amazing women. My commitment this year is to not do that. I want to be proactive about building community, sharing life with those in our CC Community, and I see the beauty of the CC “lunch hour” in doing just that.

4) Your School Year: Pray for it– I wrote earlier this summer about how Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World exposed my belief that there were some things that I just couldn’t pray about. I’m glad this book was on my “summer reading” list. Now, I’m trying to live out what I learned–praying about all things, even our school year. Honestly, I don’t think I prayed about our school year last year–at all! (Did I just say that out loud?!?!? And my husband’s a pastor! See, I told you no one has it all together!!!) Don’t do as I did last year. I tried to navigate my entire CC school year in my own strength. Whew! That got me a whole lot of nothin’ (except a bad case of burn out!) In all things, pray, and yes, even praying about your school year is allowed. 🙂

May He be your strength and hope this year. The mission of Classical Conversations is To Know God and Make Him Known. May you know Him and make Him known as you travel on your CC journey this year. I emailed this prayer to our Community the night before our first day. It is my prayer for your school year, your CC Community this year, too:

I pray that God would graciously build strong community among us, that our love for each other would grow exponentially, that we will be encouraging and edifying towards one another, and that we would all experience amazing growth in our relationship with Him this year as we see Him in all things.

Re-post: How the Mosleys Tackle CC Presentations

14 Aug

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If you’re new to Classical Conversations and you your children are shakin’ in their shoes at the thought of doing a weekly presentation, I wanted to re-post an article that I wrote last year. It shows how we worked on developing our presentations at home each week. Hope that it’s helpful!

I will say that, as an Abecedarians tutor last year, one of my greatest joys was watching my children blossom, flourish, and soar as presenters! Week #1 they were holding Mommy’s leg and spoke in a whisper. After only 4 weeks, they were more relaxed and more confident. By Christmas, they were old pros and by the year’s end, they were rock stars!! I truly marveled at how each child developed and matured over 24 weeks. I was one proud tutor!

This past year was our family’s first with Classical Conversations. I had no idea how the presentations would impact our family! As a parent, I have seen the confidence that our weekly CC presentations have given my sons. At a Sports Festival this spring, our oldest son, 7 at the time, walked up to an NFL player, a midst a sea of adults, and asked for his autograph. I attributed his confidence to having 24 weeks of CC presentations under his belt. He would never done that one year prior! I was one proud momma!  Embrace this wonderful opportunity and have a great year with CC!

CC Cycle 2: Science Projects and Scripture Verses–God in all things!

14 Aug

Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520

Photo credit: NASA-Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520

With Classical Conversations, the goal is to integrate a Christian Worldview with the Classical Model of Education. I love this synthesis because it places God where He deserves to be–the center of all things. As we start in Cycle 2 this year, there are many elements of the Science Experiments & Projects and New Grammar introducing Astronomy. One suggestion at our Tutor Training was to incorporate a Scripture verse with the weekly Science Experiment or Project. What a wonderful way to hem in and saturate our Cycle 2 studies with God at the center! As I have looked over the Science Experiments for Cycle 2, Weeks 1-6, noting the Astronomy theme, I went to work with my concordance. It was a fun little exercise! I think I had chills constantly as I read about God’s majesty and power in creation!

I found several great verses that will work well with Cycle 2, so I wanted to pass those along. Before I posted the list, I wanted to give you an example of how these can be used in class.

How I will use in class-The example of Colossians 1:15-17

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. It was in our wedding. 🙂 I love that Colossians 1 teaches us that all things were created through Him and for Him and that Christ literally holds everything together. This can easily be incorporated into our conversations about the planets, stars, comets, moons, etc.! All of the planets, stars, the sun, moons, comets are in their orbits, in their exact location because Jesus is holding them there. If at any point that God decided otherwise, these celestial beings would do something else. Gravity is explainable and exists because God is. Force = mass times acceleration because God made it so. The planets are orbiting around the sun because Jesus created them to do that! They are staying right where they are, in their respective orbits, because He is holding them together. Whew! Tears, tears, tears for me right now!! Isn’t God creative, powerful, majestic and amazing?!?!

Here are a few other Astronomy-themed Scripture verses that you can incorporate into your CC Day or time at home, too. Enjoy this journey in finding God in all things!

  1. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:1-4 ESV)
  2. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6 ESV)
  3. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
    (Psalm 71:19 ESV)
  4. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! (Psalm 108:4-5 ESV)
  5. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147:4-5 ESV)
  6. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

    (Genesis 1:1 ESV)

As you prepare for your Science Experiments and Projects this year, I encourage you to get out your concordance as well! Have fun leading your children to see God in Science…and all things! 🙂

TODAY (8/13) ONLY–Complete series, “Little House on the Prairie” @ Amazon

13 Aug

TODAY ONLY–Tuesday, August 13:
Little House on the Prairie: The Complete Nine-Season Set (Complete Series + Pilot Episode) is Amazon’s “Deal of the Day” selling for $86.99, as opposed to $149.99! For anyone looking for wholesome, quality television, here you go! I looked forward to Friday nights as a child because Little House on the Prairie was always on!

I know that $86.99 kinda makes me squeamish when I’m looking at our budget. However, if you’re looking to add this to your family DVD library, one idea is to purchase it now and give it as a gift to your child throughout the course of a year or two. A couple of DVDs could be a birthday present and a few more could arrive at Christmas. You could even have grandparents pitch in and pay for part of the set, and they could also give a few of the DVDs as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Thinking of it in that way makes it more feasible for our family’s budget. 🙂

This deal is today only. It will end just before midnight, so don’t miss it! And if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can have it on your doorstep in 2 days. Not an Amazon Prime member? Sign-up for a FREE 30-day trial!

Geography Songs: A family favorite, CC Cycle 2 and adoption

8 Aug

I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to *SHARE* one of our family’s favorite cds, Geography Songs (You Never Forget What You Sing). We were first introduced to the cd by my friend, Amy, a mother to 5 boys, 3 biological and 2 from Ethiopia. She said that her family used it over and over while they were waiting to bring home their first son from Ethiopia. She explained that the songs on the CD have all of the countries of the world set to catchy little tunes. I love geography, maps, and all things “world”ish, so we bought it ASAP.

When our oldest son was still a baby, a friend wisely told me to find as many resources that I could with information set to music. She said, “He’ll never forget what he sings.” That’s actually the tagline to this wonderful Geography Songs cd–You Never Forget What You Sing. And, isn’t that true?!?!? I can still remember the silliest things that I learned as a child. Isn’t it a beautiful idea to have children learn important information set to music?!?! (That’s one of the million reasons we love our homeschool tutorial, Classical Conversations, since it’s based on this same philosophy.) So, if you are looking for a fun way to introduce your child to the world, I can not recommend this enough!

My favorite things about the cd:

  • Brilliant combination of information and music–Each song is based on a section of the world, for example, Northern Africa. The song goes through each country within that region of the world. Each country of the region is listed and sung to a creative musical score. The music for each song is based on music from that region of the world; I love the intentionality behind that! (“South Asia” is my favorite example of this having spent time in that region of the world and familiar with its music.)
  • Learning happens effortlessly–The CD contains a “Continents and Oceans Song.” Our middle son was 3 when we got this cd, and he knew all continents and oceans after about 48 hours. He sauntered around the house shouting the names of the continents and the oceans. I LOVED IT! Now, clearly, he had no idea what he was saying and what that meant. However, when he learned the continents in Classical Conversations last year, he immediately started singing the song. My heart was full. You, too, may find your child walking around your house singing “Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Island of Cyprus, Jordan…” So, if you don’t want your child exposed to all the countries of the world in a fun musical way, I would not buy this cd. However, if you do, this is a must purchase.

I would recommend all parents buy this cd for their kiddos. I  would  really recommend this cd to anyone…

  • adopting internationally–This would be a fun way to introduce your children to the geography related to where their brother or sister lives. What a fun way to include the whole family in learning, preparing for the new addition! 🙂
  • participating in Classical Conversations–Although the songs don’t perfectly “match up” with the Geography grammar for the particular cycles, all of the countries in the Geography grammar are included in songs on the cd. (After all, it’s all the same planet, right?!?!) Particularly of interest for Cycle 2 is the “Continents and Oceans” song on the CD, which is part of the Geography grammar for Cycle 2. You better believe I’ll be singing along with it as my Abecedarians and I learn those locations.
  • interested in opening the world to a child–This cd is a remarkable avenue for introducing children to the beautiful world in which we live. As they learn the countries and regions of the world through song, this is a natural segue way to showing them the locations on a globe or map.  (We have, and I’m in love with the Hugg-A-Planet Globe, which we bought to use with the cd. And, I might also have this World Map Shower Curtain. I told you I’m a wee bit into geography and maps.)

You can buy the songs in two different versions. There is a CD and book combo or an MP3 album download. Either way you chose, go for it! Drop back by and let me know how you’re enjoying it!! It’s okay to confess if you bought the Hugg-A-Planet Globe and World Map Shower Curtain, too. Really, it is; I won’t think you’re weird. 🙂

Teaching the Trivium (one chapter)–$0.99 on Kindle

6 Aug

Wow! I was really, really excited when I first saw this on Amazon listed for $0.99 on Kindle. Cha-ching! Totally buying it! I couldn’t wait to hop on my blog and SHARE all about it! Wait, wait, wait before you go out and buy the Kindle edition, though! We must first have a heart-to-heart: I’ve got good news for you, AND I’ve got bad news for you.

First, the BAD NEWS. Let’s just get it over with, right?!?!? I thought the entire tome of Teaching the Trivium by Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn was in the $0.99 Kindle edition. Sigh, it’s only one chapter.  My dreams and visions of having a LIGHTER version (LITERALLY!) of this book to tote around  to read in my spare time, well, those have vanished. Oh, well! I’ll probably have bigger bicep muscles from carrying around this hefty book; that’s positive, right?!?!?

Now, to the GOOD NEWS. The ONE chapter that is included in the $0.99 Kindle book is Chapter 11, Ten Things to Do Before Age Ten. The good news is that it’s a quality chapter. 🙂 Before buying the book, this would be a good way to preview it (for $29 less) and see if you like it.

Or, you could just take the plunge and buy the whole book. I’ve recently started it and am enjoying it! Thanks to my wonderful friend who gave it to me as a “thank you” gift for being her son’s Abecedarians teacher last year. I heart books…and had always been too cheap to buy it. So, thank you, Whitney!!

 

 

 

Shameless promotion–FREE Bag Tag with any order from Keep in Touch Stationery Co.!

6 Aug

This is my shameless promotion of my *little* stationery business, Keep in Touch Stationery Co. In keeping in step with the by-line for my blog, somethings are just too good to keep to myselfI wanted to SHARE a little sale that I have during the month of August.

With any August order, you’ll receive a FREE Bag Tag (TWO FREE Bag Tags if the order is placed by 2pm on 8/8/13!!!).

Since most of my lovely readers are Mommas like me, we’re…

1) always looking for a SALE

AND

2) always in need of Bag Tags for our kiddos’ backpacks and lunch boxes!

Hop on over to my website to get the full details. Thanks! Shameless promotion has now ended. 🙂

Planning (and PRAYING!) for the new school year (and a great “must read”)

1 Aug

I am quite frustrated with the calendar on my refrigerator. It’s telling me the current month is AUGUST, and I KNOW that can’t be true! I believe my calendar is lying to me, or perhaps, I’m just in denial. Where has the summer gone, people?!?!? Sigh. Although I love the rhythm and structure our school year provides me and the boys, I’m still trying to enjoy these last few days of no structure, unseasonably warm weather (we’ve had a GLORIOUSLY mild summer!), and lazy summer days.

I’m trying to overcome my denial that it’s already August. In a few short weeks, our new school year will be beginning. Seems like only yesterday that we were finishing Cycle 1 Week 24 at our local Classical Conversations Community. Sigh (again!) With only a few more weeks of summer, I’m trying to get ahead on some planning for the upcoming school year. My inlaws called over the weekend and asked to keep the boys for a few days, so I’ve spent the last several days rearranging our school room, pulling out next year’s curricula and trying to organize a daily and weekly schedule for our school year.

Planning for the upcoming school year, causes much anxiety, panic and mental chaos for me. I’m a perfectionist, so I have a tendency to be unrealistic about what we can accomplish in a year. This usually results in a list a mile long of what I want to accomplish and spending 95% of my day FRUSTRATED because we’re not getting it done. My husband has become my “unrealistic expectations” filter (thank you, God, for him!) I have learned to get him to look over and talk through with me what my goals are for the year. He can read over them in about two seconds and help me discern if I’m being realistic or unrealistic. In addition to my often unrealistic expectations, I also get easily overwhelmed when I look at what all we will be doing this year. Anxiety, panic and mental chaos yet again.

However, this summer has been different. I have no one to think but God Himself. This is clearly not of me! Remember, I just resort to anxiety, panic and mental choas. It all started when I signed up for a Women’s Book Study this summer. We’re reading through A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World by Paul Miller. I love many things about this book, but probably the greatest take away for me so far is a reminder to simply ask God–pray–when I have a need.

In the book, Miller traces a division between facts and feelings from the 18th century Enlightenment where the thinkers of the day decided that God wasn’t necessary anymore. Miller continues, “The Enlightenment mind-set marginalizes prayer because it doesn’t permit God to connect with this world.” Therefore, living in the post-Enlightenment era, it is easy to believe that there are some things that one just shouldn’t pray about. As I read this section of the book, I realized that I was allowing our post-Enlightenment culture to impact me. I had never verbalized it, but in my heart, I believed that there were some things that I truly shouldn’t pray about. Whoa…gut punch.

James 4:2b-3 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

I’ve read that verse hundreds of times, but it was refreshing to read again in this context. I loved this quote because it beautifully put words to what was going on in my heart, “Those who [don’t ask] surrender to God before they are real with Him. Sometimes we try so hard to be good that we aren’t real. The result is functional deism, where we are separated from God. The real you doesn’t encounter the real God.” Wow…that was convicting. Thanks to this book I realized that I was a functional deist. God used this book to expose the faithless places that exist in my heart, places that I don’t like to acknowledge exist or to let others see.

How has my world been different since reading this book? Well, it’s helped me to understand that I can bring anything and everything before the Lord and that nothing is too trivial for God to hear. Before reading this book, would I have thought to have PRAYED in the midst of my anxiety and struggle while planning our homeschool year? NEVER! Now, though, I have thought about it and have prayed about it. It was actually so refreshing to pray and turn over my worries and anxieties to Him rather than letting them cripple me! How revolutionary–we don’t have to succumb to sin when it entices and entangles it. Isn’t that refreshing and beautiful!?!?

This book gave me a new vision and understanding of what prayer is and how to pray. It was also a wonderful read as a parent. Miller gives some wonderful examples of how he saw prayer change his children and family. This book is about prayer and would never be marketed as a “Parenting” resource, but I, actually, think that it should be! Loved this quote, “Until you are convinced that you can’t change your child’s heart, you will not take prayer seriously.” If you’re needing some encouragement and practical help on how to pray for your children, I highly, highly, highly recommend, A Praying Life.

So, now to get off here and back to my school year planning. Thankfully, I now know how to battle the anxiety, panic and mental chaos. 🙂 I know myself well enough to know that anxiety, panic and mental chaos will try to creep back into my heart and mind. I am thankful for the vision from A Praying Life; I do not have to give into my sin. Through prayer, He will meet me in the moment. Typing those words right now, a huge peace fell over me. Praying that you and I will let Him meet us in our moments–no matter what they are–through prayer.