January 19, 2017

Fitness, Teenagers and Stuff

The holidays were here and gone....we all survived. 
We now have a teenager...a day I couldn't imagine when he was born. He loves being a teenager and we are getting used to the idea. 
In the middle of December we accepted a fitness challenge. I had gained 20 lbs over the last year in school and was feeling gross, unmotivated and tired constantly. I asked John if he wanted to join me and he agreed too. We worked hard and we are now participating an another, longer 30 day challenge with our weight loss totals over 40 lbs combined! I have worked harder in the last several weeks than I have in a LONG time, but it is paying off! Our kids have even been getting involved in our daily workouts and we are all paying closer attention to the foods we eat. 
I'm happy to share more specifics about our journey-just drop me a line and I'll message you!

November 9, 2016

Elections, Holidays and Unplugging

Whew! What a night last night was! In preparation for the election we spent several weeks going over everything from the definition of each party, who the candidates were, what the issues were, the election process, and how the branches of government work. We kept things very light and unbiased on the parentals part. I wanted our kids to form their own opinions about the issues and the candidates. We don't watch a lot of news on television so it was easier to keep them censored from the negative campaign ads and such. At the end of last week we invited some homeschool friends over to our house for an election party. We over-viewed the process as a group, had a little quiz of fun facts and held a mock popular vote- voting booth included! With the exception of two write-ins, the vote was unanimous (I'll keep that part to ourselves :)). Overall, it was a fun time had by all and educational as well!
Regardless of your vote and whether or not you woke up excited, upset or indifferent this morning, I know one thing to be true....Jesus is King!
Now we can move onto holidays....Praise Jesus. 
We are looking forward to a quiet, simple, no-frills holiday season at home. We have been very blessed with visits from family over the last few months filling up our love tanks with time spent. I pray this will help get us through the holidays away from all of them and help our kids to take advantage of the quality time spent with just the six of us-fingers crossed!
I recently was encouraged by a sweet Instagram friend to look into Nature Pal Exchange. I hopped over to their website here and after a few minutes, promptly signed up! You can look at their Instagram and Pinterest boards as well....just amazing. We will be taking several walks over the next few days and weeks to work on our Christmas box for our exchange. We haven't received our pal assignment yet and the anticipation is killing me. The weather here in ND has been crazy good for being November, like actual fall weather ;)
In the spirit of simplifying....I bring up the subject of screens, social media and the like. The whole election campaigns, holiday advertising, ect has made me want to take a shower after a few minutes on Facebook or watching tv. I was sitting in a bible study this week and was overwhelmed by the desire to just unplug. John and talked about how much time we allow our kids to spend watching Netflix on their Kindles, watching shows on tv and playing video games and we realized...yikes...it's way more than we thought. I also looked at myself and how much time I spend perusing Facebook, watching Netflix and the hours we spend after the kids go to bed watching *our* shows we recorded...double yikes. 

So we made the decision to remove Kindles from our kids hands, shut off Netflix for a while and I told my husband I was considering a long break from the ol'FB. We have enjoyed the last 24 hours spending time playing games, reading more and just being together. I encouraged the kids to take the time and enjoy being together, hoping they will cultivate their relationships not only together but also in Christ. I am hoping John and I will continue to lead by example, reading our bibles everyday and taking matters to prayer before worry and anxiety set in. 
I am prayerful we will have a home full of gratitude, love and peace this holiday season!

October 18, 2016

Clinging to What???

Our lives have been a little shaken-up lately. I am learning though, through those "when it rains it pours seasons", to just hold on to the truth that God is bigger than all my problems- can I get an "AMEN"?! One of our recent trials included our son breaking his arm and then after casting, falling and further injuring it, resulting in a surgery this week to correct it. Although 3/4 of our kids were born early and had adventurous starts in life, this was the first surgery or major injury we have encountered. Twelve years essentially trauma free is a pretty good run, don't you think? Even though the events happened fairly quickly, there was plenty of time for this mama to stew and worry. As a healthcare provider myself, I knew exactly what to expect, but did that stop my mama-brain from going over all the "what-ifs"? Of course not! I instantly became an irrational worrier. I found myself clinging to the only thing I knew to be true...God's word. As I have aged and became more of a "wise" parent (read: old lady), I am learning so much about the importance of seeking truth in His word. I mentioned in my last post about a sweet lady in my bible study who gave us each a copy of Parent-Prayers and let me just tell you...the timing could not have been anymore perfect! Not only was I able to find some peace for myself, but my son was feeling very anxious as well, so we read a few scriptures together and prayed about it the night before. I am so proud of him, he was so brave!
These prayers are so quick, but so relevant. You can keep the "children" in the prayer or insert your child's name, either way, there is sure to be more than a handful of them you can use each day.
Here they are:
Parent-Prayers Armed with Scripture
Father, foster saving faith in each of my children and cause them to confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe with their hearts that you raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9) Cause them to know they are saved by grace and not by their own works. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Lord, contend with the enemy who contends with us and save my children. (Isaiah 49:25b)
Lord, I pray that all of my children shall be taught by You and great shall be the peace of my children. (Isaiah 54:13)
Father, just as You have loved Your own Son, You love my children. Please cause them to abide in Your love. (John 15:9)
Lord, ignite my children to love you with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Grant them hearts to love others as much as they love themselves. (Mark 12:30-31)
Cause this truth to take up active residence in their bones, Lord: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Lord, You are for my children and not against them. (Romans 8:31) Make them more than conquerors through you who love them. (Romans 8:37)
Lord, make my children strong and courageous. Cause them not to be driven by fear or dismay. Be outrageously obvious in Your presence with them wherever they go. (Joshua 1:9)
Lord, hem my children in. You are behind them and You are in front of them. Hold them tightly in your hand. (Psalm 139:5)
Lord, my children cannot exceed the bounds of where Your Spirit is willing to go. They cannot flee from your presence. Whether they ascend to the heights or sink to the depths, they are in your hands. Be the light in their darkness. (Psalm 139:7-11)
When my children walk in the midst of trouble, Lord, preserve their lives. Stretch out Your hand against the wrath of their enemies, and deliver them with Your right hand. (Psalm 138:7)
Lord, You will fulfill Your purpose for my children. Your steadfast love endures forever. You will not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Lord, let it be said that my children are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as You chose them in You before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and blameless before you…In you they have redemption through Christ’s blood, the forgiveness of their trespasses, according to the riches of Your grace. (Ephesians 1:3-4, 7)
Lord, stir up kindness and tenderheartedness in my children. Cause them to be forgiving people as they have been forgiven. (Ephesians 4:32)
Lord, let no one deceive my children in any way. (2 Thessalonians 2:3a)
Lord, when my children are held captive, cause them to come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they have been captured to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)
Lord, according to the example of Christ, increase my children in wisdom and raise them up in favor with You and with man. (Luke 2:52)
You, O Lord, are a shield around my children. You are their glory and the lifter of their heads. (Psalm 3:3)
When my children are afraid, help them to put their trust in You. (Psalm 56:3)
Keep the steps of my children steady according to Your promise, Lord. Let no sin get dominion over them. (Psalm 119:133)
Father, be glorified in my children by causing their lives to bear much fruit and by proving them to be Christ’s disciples. (John 15:8)
Cause my children to know the truth and the truth will set them free. (John 8:32)
God, you are able to make all grace abound to my children, so that in all things at all times and in all ways, they may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Lord, make my children generous people who find tremendous happiness in giving. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Grant my children supernatural love for the Scripture and make them men and women of God who are competent and equipped for every good work. (2Timothy 3:16-17)
God, help my children to see honor and dignity in their sexuality. (1 Thessalonians 4:4)
Empower them to resist sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Cause the love of my children to abound more and more with knowledge and insight so that they can approve what is best. (Philippians 1:9-10)
Cause my children to be strong in You, Lord, and in the strength of Your might. (Ephesians 6:10)
Lord, Jesus came that my children may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
Father, empower my children to forget the past and press forward to what lies ahead of them in Christ. (Philippians 3:13)
Father, help my children to do all things without grumbling or questioning, that they may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom they will shine as lights in the world. Cause them to hold fast to the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)
Lord, bring my children out into a broad place. Rescue them because you delight in them. (Psalm 18:19)
Father, in Jesus’ name, I pray fervently that no weapon forged against my children will ever succeed in doing them harm. (Isaiah 54:17)
Lord, I pray that my children will stop doubting Christ and believe. (John 20:27) Help their unbelief. (Mark 9:24)
God, equip my children with divine power to destroy strongholds and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5)
Lord, activate the mind of Christ in my children. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Lord, when my children are weak, cause the power of Christ to rest upon them. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Lord, deliver my children from jealousy and selfishness. (James 3:13-16)
Father, make my children worthy of your calling and fulfill their every resolve for good and every work of faith by Your power so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in them. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
Lord, foster trust in my children toward You and move them by Your Spirit to pour out their hearts to You because You are a refuge for them. (Psalm 62:8)
Lord, cause my children and me to believe with all our hearts that, when we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all our unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Grant my children the privilege to know You as the Lord, the compassionate and gracious One who is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness. (Exodus 34:6)
God, guard my children against being weak-willed and susceptible to emotional predators. (2 Timothy 3:5-6)
Father, deliver my children from strife and pride and make them wise to take advice. (Proverbs 13:10)
Help my children not have lips of fools. (Proverbs 18:6)
Lord, cause my children to be skilled in their work. (Proverbs 22:29)
God, give my children learning and skill in literature and wisdom. (Daniel 1:17)
Lord, whether my children turn to the right or to the left, grant them ears to hear a voice behind them saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
Lord, even if my children wander far away and squander what You’ve entrusted to them,  draw them home, act on Your great compassion, run to them, embrace and kiss them, and welcome them home. (Luke 15:13, 20)
Deliver my children from anxiety, Lord, and teach them how to pray. (Philippians 4:6)
Fill my children with the knowledge of Your will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they may walk in a manner worthy of You, Lord, fully pleasing to You, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)
Make my children thankful people. (Colossians 3:15b)
Help my children not grow weary in a good work. Stir up trust within them to know, that, in due season, they will reap if they do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Develop such delight in my children toward You that You can lavishly give them desires of their hearts.  (Psalm 37:4)
Heal my child’s broken heart, Lord, and bind up her/his wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
Cause my children to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)

Raise my children up mighty in faith, fully convinced that You are well able to do what You have promised. (Romans 4:20-21)


October 8, 2016

Restful Homeschooling - is it Possible??

Whether you are a new homeschooler or a veteran, you know the words "restful" and "homeschool" are not commonly used together in the same sentence. Homeschool moms know there are weeks, maybe even months of planning, prep, research and prayer involved in planning...and there is nothing restful about it! We torture ourselves over which style of homeschool, which subjects and curriculum we should use. I, myself, had just accepted the idea that I would forever spend part of my spring and summer in a state of unrest...planning the perfect school year. But as my fellow homeschoolers know, a few weeks, maybe a few months into the school year, those plans quickly blur and we head into survival mode only to repeat the cycle.
My husband and I decided to homeschool for several reasons, one of the most important was to instill a foundation of faith. We are Jesus-loving-praising-God family-so in a confusing, crazy world, we have chosen to homeschool. I truly believe my role as mom and homeschooler is first to plant the seeds of faith in my children, but how is that acheived when all the other subjects have to be covered as well? I found a good place to start. I have been watching, reading and following Sarah Makenzie at amongstlovelythings.com for the last year or so. Sarah recently came out with a book titled, Teaching From Rest: A Homeschoolers Guide to Unshakeable Peace. This book was life changing for me as a homeschooler! The book is an ebook and right now you can get it for less than $5 through Amazon when you listen with Audible. Go to here to purchase. Sarah also has a podcast which I love as well. It's so good to hear from other mommas who are in the trenches with you.
On that topic, podcasts. These are seriously my favorite thing right now. I was doing some canning this week and I just popped one side of my headphones in my ear (so I can always hear what the munchkins are up too) and work away in my kitchen or driving down the road with it plugged into my aux port. I find them so encouraging! Here are a few of my favorites: Read-Aloud Revival, Schole Sisters, God Centered Mom and the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.
Finally, after a year of being in school full-time myself, homeschooling and working full-time, I have finally reunited with my local mommy friends on occasion. Ladies, our social lives are important in helping each other to encourage one another! I am currently participating in a bible study by Jen Wilken on The Sermon on the Mount. One of the other homeschool veteran moms in my group gave us each a copy of Parent-Prayers Armed with Scripture. It is a list of scripture to help jumpstart your prayer time for your kids. It's excellent! Please let me know with a comment below if you would like a copy and I would be happy to email you the list.
Be encouraged moms! We are all in this together and God has a unique plan for each of your homeschools!!

September 9, 2016

Homeschooling Thorndikes

Our journey has changed just a little over the last three years...we are no longer Oregon Thorndikes, we are now what we lovingly refer to ourselves as, the NodakThorndikes. We moved to North Dakota, my husband changed careers and we started homeschooling our children. I may give you all the nitty-gritty details on the road to ND later, but for now, let's talk homeschool.

I'll spare you the "whys" of our choice to homeschool in detail, but for now just know it was all a positive path-no disgruntled parents, no hating the school system or terrible experiences. We were guided through prayer and our faith in God to ultimately choose homeschool for this season of our lives. Please know we regularly re-evaluate and continuously pray over our decision!

Today I thought I would share what curriculum we will be using this year.
We are trying a few new companies this year and I am very excited about it. Now that we are heading into our third year of school, I'm starting to get the hang of customizing our curriculum for each kid. (There are several links below)

Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive (Younger kids) Printing (Older kids)
Growing with Grammer
Explode the Code

Reading Eggs- This is a great tool I am using for both the younger kids. Hosanna struggles with Dyslexia and reading has been difficult for her. Reading Eggs is a website that assesses where the child is via a placement test and then the child plays reading and spelling games. I have a coupon code for a free 4 week trial HERE

I teach all the kids our Science as a group and then use age-appropriate activities for each of them. We love Apologia! We are currently finishing up Zoology Exploring Creation Land Animals of the Sixth Day. We are about two-thirds the way through it and will continue into the next year. Once we finish we will begin Apologia Human Anatomy & Physiology. Jeremiah will begin the Apologia Exploring Creation General Science.

History is done similarly to science, as we go over it as a group. We will be finishing up our Notgrass America the Beautiful 1000-1877. We will also cover the process of the election and government for September and October. Once we finish up Notgrass we will most likely begin either Mystery of History or Story of the World Middle Ages. 

I am very excited about our upcoming year! Email me if you want more information.

June 20, 2013

Summer adventures

John and I recently took a long-overdue trip by ourselves...literally...just the two of us. It was AMAZING! We totally love our kids, but it had been over three years since we spent more than 24 hours away from our kids. I think it is healthy and important that we take care of our relationship so that when those precious gems of children are long gone and living their lives, John and I still want to live with each other. So, the kiddos left (a day early) on a camping adventure with Nana & Papa and John and I got on a plane.
Back story- John has traveled tons more than I have, but he had never been to Southern California or really seen the summery side of the Pacific Ocean-Oregon and Washington coasts tend to be cold and blustery most of the time. So what is in Cali, you ask?? Well John has a very close and best friend from his college days, Adam. John and Adam had not been in the same room since Adam's wedding 5 years ago. So I decided that it would be really fun to spend the weekend visiting Adam and his gorgeous wife Gee in LA where they live. Bonus, my Uncle and his family live in the area too, so we took an opportunity to stay with them as well!
It took John a good couple hours once we landed, got the rental car and drove to my family's place to really start to relax. We spent a good day and half with Adam & Gee exploring all the fun in LA and aside from me getting a little ill (junk food not ok on vacay-lesson learned) we had a total blast!

February 10, 2013

Nice Surprises

Gotta love a quick visit from a friend! Our friend Scott and his buddy Rex stopped by on their way through town today. It was great to visit and the kiddos loved playing with Mr. Scott :)