Thursday, September 3, 2015

September is the New "January"

Whoosh...and August has passed, just as fast as I knew it would. And we're into September.

For me, this signals a bit of reflection, and a whole lot of change. Every year.

See, I've never been much of a January/New Year's resolutions kind of girl. I do set some goals. I dream. But, more than anything, in January, I hunker down in order to survive winter. I keep doing what needs done. I continue the rhythms that I started way back in September.

September is my time for assessing and change. September is my time for new. New schedules, new activities, new ministries, new focal points. September is all things back to school, all things efficient, all things organized. Or at least the attempt of all things efficient and organized.

September is the end of summer fluidity, and the beginning of regularly scheduled activities.
September is the carefully orchestrated dance between activities, school, life, and everything else.
September is the hot days, intermingled with the nip of fall.

Here's some of the things I am looking forward to as we embark on September...

The reading of some "self-help" books. (Lisa Pennington's Mom Needs A Do-Over, and Susan Cain's Quiet) The reading of all kinds of Greek books-both mythology and history. Freckles is reading to me, which is fun and benefits us both.

The start of school. Well, we started yesterday, actually. We are having a kind of "soft" start. Which is rather like a soft opening before the grand opening. We are doing 3 days of school this week, and 4 (because of Labor Day) next week. So, we will technically be in our third week of school before we put in 5 days. It is a nice easing in to the schedule, and I think that will be helpful. (frankly, it was either the easing in option, or the not start until the middle of September option. I figured that easing in was more practical.)

The culmination of my summer training as I participate in the two events I've been working towards-the triathlon and the half-marathon. The end of September signals the start of my "resting" months.

More time to write. Though not necessarily for another week or two. I still have to put in some heavy training this week and next. And some of that training will be happening in the afternoons, after school, when I would normally write. But, I really am looking forward to writing again. I've got thoughts swirling around. Lots of thoughts swirling around.

Teaching Sunday school. Yes! I've agreed (actually-volunteered) to teach the 6-7-8 year old class at our church. I am quite thrilled. It has been a couple years since I have regularly/formally taught kids. I am teaching LC's class. I don't think she was originally too excited about that fact. But, after some contemplation, she told me that she thinks I will be a good teacher. Thanks for your vote of confidence, Pal! We are starting in Genesis for the first semester. Such great stories. I can't wait!

Bible studying via Bible Study Fellowship. This is my 19th year attending BSF, and I am excited that we are going to be delving into the book of Revelation for the first time. I take two kids with me, Mr. Hippie takes another one, and my s.i.l. takes Meres. I love that we all are studying the same passage even though we attend three different classes.

So these things will all fit into their days and nights, and fill the calendar squares repeatedly until May.

I'm also instituting some changes. Not many to our schedule but more to the how's, why's and wherefore's of it all.

Our how daily/weekly chore system is getting an overhaul. The boys are being promoted out of the dish routine, but will be taking on the vacuuming and dusting full time. This is no longer my chore. Excepting my own bedroom. I'm going to continue vacuuming and dusting that.

LC is stepping up to the plate (pun intended...snort...). She will add loading of the dishwasher to her regular unloading routine. But, she will have Meres to help her on this. She also will be scrubbing the dishes too big for the dishwasher, and Meres will be the resident dish dryer. LC will also be helping with some of the dusting-particularly her room.

LC is also relinquishing her emptying the garbage chore. Meres is our final garbage ma'am. She thinks its great. Meres is also now on towel folding duty.

I will continue the bathroom cleaning and floor scrubbing. And I am the laundry girl. And the cooker girl. But, I feel like my load is considerably lighter. I can get my cleaning done in 1-1/2 hours. Not bad.

I also am planning to get the kids involved in dinner making. Not exactly sure yet what this is going to look like. I am envisioning a salad maker, plus each getting a chance to help with the entree.

Are you excited by the possibilities of September? And somewhat overwhelmed also? The blocks of life and schedule that have to fit fairly exactly each and every week, from now through May can be rather daunting. But, I've included some helpful links below that will enable you to maximize your new January...aka September...

Cleaning Schedule: This girl has some gorgeous printable cleaning schedules. And she has some great tips for getting into a good daily/weekly rhythm...(here)

Chores for Kids (by age): So practical. Our kids are capable of doing far more than we think. Printable chart. (here)

To-do Lists: Daily (here) or Week at a Glance (here) Personally, I follow more of the week at a glance format myself. But I also put a couple extra things at the bottom of most weeks, things that need done, but I don't exactly know when I will get to them.

Exercise: The advent of kids in school, means more daytime availability for many of us. And with the cooler temps, fall is a great time to get back into a good exercise rhythm. Shazzy Fitness does hip-hop dance routines that shape what the Father gave you (their tagline. Makes me laugh...). Check them out here.

Meal Planning: after the loosey-goosey, easy-peasy, come & go-ness of summer meals, I bet you are itching to get into a good meal planning routine. Which is great. But, if you don't have time to plan, shop, and then cook, I've got a great solution for you! She Plans Dinner takes the planning out of your dinners, emailing menus, pre-assembled grocery lists (!!), and recipes twice a month. There is a deal going for Barefoot Hippie Girl readers. Use the code "backtoschool" to save 50% on any menu plan! (here)

Well, go get 'em, girls!(and guys)

Monday, August 31, 2015

What I Learned in August

In no particular order...

1. After 14 years of marriage, some things need replaced. Like the clothes iron that I never use (except when I do), that has been dropped a time or two. And won't stay on for more than 5 seconds, when I do get around to using it. Or how about all those Pyrex lids? Not the glass bowls, but the lids. That are all cracked, and bubbled, and generally not terrific looking. They were free (when you open a checking account), and I think they've out-performed themselves.

2. Just because you can, doesn't mean it's easy. (let's not even broach the "can/should" branch of this thought process...) I make this mistake with my running on a fairly regular basis. I think that because I can run 11 miles, it will be a breeze. Yeah. Not so much.

3. Greek Mythology is a huge subject. Almost bigger than Greek history. It was hard to rein myself in as I looked at books and projects.

4. Also, Greek Mythology has some interesting similarities to the Bible on some key points. I'm thinking of Creation, and the Flood just for starters. My theory is that mythology is based on corrupted/rejected truth, but I really have no way to prove that.

5. Sometimes I don't like books that everyone says are great books. Which feels so counter-blogger-culture. Sometimes I read a book that has been well promoted amongst bloggers, and I just don't get the hype when I actually get down to reading the book.

6. (more reminded) Crafts generally don't calm me. They wind me up tighter than a top. But, cooking for my family...that does make me feel very peace'd out. When I am not rushing and being uber efficient, it is such a balm.

7. I really like Jimmy Fallon "Late Night Show" clips. They are my secret vise. I'm not holing up watching the Soaps. I'm watching the newest highlight videos. My favorites are the lip sync battles, and the hashtags.

8. The days crawl, the years fly. Especially when it comes to parenting. But, I am finding that I am really enjoying this particular parenting stage. One teen, one preteen, one 8 year old, and one 5 year old going on 15. They are all rather independent. And they are pleasant at restaurants. Restaurant eating is no longer a sprint to get the meal accomplished before anyone (everyone) has a meltdown. We can slow down and enjoy the experience.

9. Speaking of restaurants, I've learned (by experience) that my favorite restaurant, Olive Garden, has these computer device Ziosk things on their tables now. And I don't appreciate it. I'm not sure what they are trying to accomplish. But, I think that more screens that include games, aren't the jive I'm hoping for when I eat at their restaurant.

10. Sleep is a wonderful thing. I didn't think this when I was younger. My mom will tell you that I was up with the dawn. (I'm still up with the dawn...) But, I love sleep. And sleep is so restorative. I can go to bed achy from training, and wake up feeling good. No more achy muscles. It really is amazing.

What did you learn in August? 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon

The nip of fall is in the air here in the Mitten. This week. Next week it is supposed to be up to 90 degrees again. 

The cooler temps had the kids hauling out sweatshirts, long-sleeve shirts and jeans. It was a tangible measure of how they've grown this summer and how their fashion sense has matured. Or not.

It's our last full week of summer break! I am in denial now! Where has this summer gone? I know we've been on break for almost 3-1/2 months and I am looking forward to what we are studying, but still...

Being the last week of summer break, it was time to whip the house into shape. No "licks and promises" this week. Bathrooms and floors have been scrubbed. The house has been vacuumed and dusted. The girl's room has been dealt with.

Which was a disaster! It looked like a bomb went off in there. I really don't understand it. They have a small room, but they also don't have tons of stuff. And yet, it all was all over. Not cool. Now it is organized, de-junked, and ready for fall.

The days have been noticeably shorter this week. It is hard for me to be motivated about getting up and training when it is still dark out at 6:30. I've been reminding myself that dedicated triathlon training is only for two more weeks. And then we will finish up September with fewer bike rides, but good, long runs, to finish training for our half marathon on the last Saturday of September. That will finish up my best training summer ever, and I will be into rest mode for a couple months. Which means that I will still swim and run, but not nearly as much. Though I am contemplating another 100 mile October.

The cooler weather has gotten me eager to cook again. I've contemplated baking both bread and cookies this week. I didn't say that I baked them...Let's not be too enthusiastic.

I was working on the SPD menus for September and October. (Oh, have you seen there is a sale on? Save 50% on any subscription!) There's a lot of stews, soups, and other things that require the oven being on. And it just made my mouth water. I like each season, and it's special cooking rhythms. 

Sign Up Today! (here)
Here is one of my favorite late summer/early fall recipes.

Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon. I love it because it is fast. It's healthy. It's gluten-free and dairy-free, and looks stunning for company. It uses tarragon and cherry tomatoes that are both browning like crazy in my garden at this time of year. 

Farm to table at its best and most basic.

Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes & Tarragon
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 18 minutes, Total time: 25 minutes
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut into 3 pieces
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
12 ounces cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 shallots, sliced
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped

-Cook rice.
-Season the chicken breast pieces with 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Working in two batches, cook the chicken until brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side; transfer to serving dish.
-Add tomatoes to the skillet and cook over med-high heat, stirring occasionally until they begin to burst-about 2-3 minutes.
-Peel and slice shallots. Chop tarragon.
-Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the shallots and tarragon. Serve over chicken with rice.

Enjoy the last weekend of August 2015!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's All Greek to Me

Last week Thursday started quite rainy. And the boys were staying with my parents, so I had a double excuse not to do my Thursday training early, but instead to stay in bed drinking multiple cups of coffee.

I was planning to spend the morning reading and reading some more. But, then I remembered the fact that we were due to start school in approximately two weeks, and I had done very little planning for that imminent event.

So...I surrounded myself with a stack of school books instead of novels, and I had a tremendous morning planning school.

We are basically going to follow the weekly pattern that we have used the past two years. Monday-Thursday are "regular school" days. Fridays are "fun" school days. This schedule has helped us to finish the week on a strong note, doing studies that we all enjoy.

Our break down of regular subjects is pretty much the same as last year. Except...

BMV will be in 8th grade. He will be adding vocabulary to the mix this year (on top of creative writing, math and Bible study), and a hefty reading list. But, we will be subtracting his typing course. For each book on his reading list he will be doing kind of an "overview" paper about the author, the time in history it was written, and other stuff like that. Then he will do a book report, evaluation, or some other type of paper that covers the content of the book. I will be having him type both his rough and final drafts, so I think this will give him sufficient typing practice.

Freckles will be in 6th grade. His main (independent) subjects will be spelling, math, grammar, typing, and Bible study. He also will have a reading list, and will be writing book reviews for each book.

LC will be in 3rd grade. Her main subjects are spelling, handwriting, grammar, math, and Bible study.

Meres will be doing just a wee bit of "preschool" this year. Cutting, mazes, numbers. All that good stuff. That will require very little supervision from me.

The three oldest will continue both in Spanish and Science. The change this year is that we will only be doing these two subjects Monday-Thursday. Not Friday. We have 2 chapters to finish of last year's general science and then we are moving on to Physical Science. There are experiments to do, and the boys both have "journals" to fill out. I may have LC orally give me the answers this year.

Our daily "schedule" looks something like this: (meaning-this is what we aim for, but exact times vary by day)

8:00 Breakfast (dressed and beds made by breakfast, brush teeth after)
8:30 Devotions (reading Bible, prayer, singing, memorization)
9:00 Reading time
9:30 Spelling, Typing, Math, Grammar, Handwriting, Bible Study
11:00 Recess
11:15 Science (and then more book work if needed)
12:00 Spanish
12:30 Literary Lunch (they eat while I read to them)
1:00-3:00-Quiet time (reading time for 1 hour, then free to play quietly, or finish school work as needed)

So, essentially we "do school" for 5-1/2 to 6 hours each do, with a 15 minute recess break. I consider reading time school time. for the "fun" school. The part that I am REALLY excited about!

If you've been around these parts long, you know that I love history. And you also may know that we do a history based education. I have split world history into 7 (possibly 8) sections, and we are moving through them one by one, year by year. This is our third year at this.

We covered 1600-1800 two years ago. We studied the events and people of that time period. We listened to lectures about world and U.S. history. We read books written then, and also written about then. We did art (music, poetry, and art) from that period. We learned about science from that period. It was such a fun year.

(You may be wondering why we started in such a random point in history. Well, because it is such a happening point, and I knew it would be easy and fun. And it was.)

Last year we went all the way back to the beginning. Ancient times up to Alexander the Great. There was less to read from this period, but we did find enough to read about it. Our music and science courses both started way back at the beginning too, so that was helpful and cohesive.

(the remaining periods will be Roman history [through the fall of Rome]; the Middle Ages [400-1600]; the 1800s, the 1900s-present day.)

(Also, I realize that Middle Ages chunk is quite substantial, but I think it is doable.)

(This will get us through BMV's senior year of high school, and then we will start all over.)

This year we are studying Ancient Greece-History and Mythology.! It's going to be fun. We have four lecture series that we will be watching. One in on Greek history. One is on Mythology. One is on famous Greek people. One is all about Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic period.

So, Fridays will consist of listening to 4 lectures. (the first 3 series, and also music. We will have a few weeks of school left when we get through these, which is when we will hit the Alexander series hard and fast.)

I also have thought up some "extra-curricular" projects that will be hands-on, and kind of artsy. Each project is assigned a 8-10 week period. The last 10 weeks of school we will be working through a workbook called Tools of Ancient Greece. There are hands on projects for each chapter-like building a model Acropolis.

Here is the list of projects:
1. The Olympus throne room. I'm looking for drawings of each of the Pantheon's thrones, plus kind of a family tree. Who is connected with whom?

2. The Battle of Troy and Odysseus' travels. This will be more of a timeline with the players and events. Events will be illustrated.

3. Greek History timeline. That's fairly self-explanatory.

Reading is foundational to our school year. Like I've mentioned before, the kids each have a reading list. But, new this year, is also general reading that needs done each week. We have a scheduled reading time each day, where the kids previously had worked through their reading lists. This year I may switch the format of that reading period. I am thinking of having them work through the general reading at that time. BMV can read aloud to LC, and Freckles can read aloud to Meredith and I. (then I make it through the required reading too. I know...clever!) Then they will spend the first hour of quiet time each day reading the books from their reading lists. It's a new format, so we will see how it works out...

On the General reading list is:
Susan Wise Bauer's ancient history book, Bulfinch's Mythology, Edith Hamilton's Mythology, and the Oxford handbook of Ancient Greece.

BMV's reading list includes:
The Odyssey and the Illiad. The Histories by Herodotus.
The Greeks. Heroes, Gods, and Monsters. Greek Myths. The Greek Way. Aesops Fables. Last Days of Socrates. The Trojan War. Ancient Greece. Tale of Troy. Apocrypha.

It is quite the mixed list. Some are rather short. Some are very long. And there is some overlap. The two that may be dispensable are The Trojan War and the Tale of Troy, since both are on the same subject, and will have been covered in the Illiad.

Freckles and LC have the same reading list. It's about 15 books long, but all are considerably shorter than The Odyssey and the Illiad or The Histories. They are a lot of books written about mythology or history that is put to a kid's level. They are both quite excited to dig in.

So, this is what we are planning.

It reminds me of the verse from Proverbs...(16:9)

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Born to Be a Flower Girl

 Meres, in her flower girl role this weekend, reminded me of that verse in Esther...

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Totally NOT the application, but you get my point. Meres was born to be a flower girl.

The dress. The drama. The flower petals. The dancing. 

She marched down the aisle, and back up again. She even dropped a few petals. She grinned, and wasn't shy. And she even kept her shoes on for 6 whole hours. Which has to be a record for her...

She also managed to scrape her knee on the way to the drinking fountain between the photos and the ceremony. And she got blood on her dress. Seriously...nobody but her...

Thankfully, someone had the brilliant idea to line the entire dress. Which practically drove that person with the brilliant idea insane when she was pulling up the gather stitches. But, which brilliant lining also saved the dress. The blood got on the lining, but didn't soak through to the dress. I was able to rinse the blood out of the lining, and wring the lining dry, and it was just fine. 


She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee, her dress has got a tear;
She waltzes on her way to mass, and whistles on the stair;
And underneath her wimple she has curlers in her hair-
I've even heard her singing in the abbey....

Fun fact: Meres and her flower girl cousin were singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, in the line up to go down the aisle. I'm all kinds of grateful that they (she) didn't decide to belt it out as she walked down...

I don't put anything past that girl...

I decided to just do Meres hair in a simple bun, at the church. Anything else would have been a headache for me, and wouldn't have stayed in very well. Because my flower child is also my wild child. (see above paragraphs about the scraped knee...)

I think we were mutually and equally proud of that dress. A veritable princess...

Meres was asked to dance by one of her boy cousins-that is about 2 years older than her. He had some moves, and even dipped her a time or two. That's what I call future wedding fodder.

The wedding was beautiful. The food was delicious. (after all, I made the pulled pork). The dancing was fun. It was good to see some extended family and friends that we don't have an opportunity to connect with all that often. The kids maxed out the photo booth, and plenty of laughter was had by all.

Oh, did I mention that the white flower girl dress stayed spotless until (and only until) immediately after the second photo session after the wedding ceremony? We no sooner head to the car, than Meres puts her hands in dirt, and gets dirty hand prints on her skirt. And then she drinks red punch at the reception (didn't spill) and shakes the drops from her empty glass all over her dress. And then she also managed to get chocolate from the snickers bars on her dress too. Frankly, I'm amazed that it remained spotless through the key parts, and I'm not sweating the rest.

We didn't get home until after 10:30. Which really isn't terribly late, but considering that Mr. Hippie and I got up early to run 11 miles, and then we were all at the church at 1:00, it was a long day.

We made the tactical decision to turn off our alarm clocks for Sunday morning and just sleep in. We ended up skipping church completely. We all slept in, had a leisurely morning, and then went out to Chinese for lunch. Mr. Hippie dropped off his tux, and BMV bought a book at Barnes and Noble with his birthday gift card. We ended up back at home, napping for almost an hour. The day was topped off with brats, a bike ride, and an early bed time. It was a much needed day of rest.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Anniversaries, Wedding, School & Greek Cucumber Noodles

This morning started out rainy, but now glorious sunshine is pouring through my bedroom windows. It is cool-in the 60s. A perfect summer morning.

The boys are with my parents overnight, so I couldn't train this morning. (no babysitter for the girls) I was going to use the morning to read and write, but I got thinking about school, so I took the time to plan my school year instead. I am so very excited! I will share more about my school plans next week, but for now, let me just say that the historical period we are studying is Ancient Greece. Couple that with a good dose of Greek Mythology, and it is going to be an amazing year. I didn't think anything would top the 1600-1800 year, but this one just might! Essentially, I've spent the past 3 hours in my bed, surrounded by a couple tall piles of books-figuring out lectures to watch, and reading lists, and projects, and all that stuff. I just might be a history geek. And I'm okay with that....

Like I said, my parents have the boys. Which means that they are in town visiting for the week. Well, actually, they are staying in the camper, about an hour away. But, they are popping in on a daily basis. They had the girls from Tuesday to Wednesday, and then the boys from Wednesday to Thursday. I'm wondering when it will be my turn....

Tuesday was our 14th anniversary. Each anniversary that comes is such a blessing. At this stage, I've come to realize (hopefully) that a good marriage is not to be taken for granted. A good marriage is a blessing. It takes hard work, prayer, love, and investment. We don't have anywhere near all of our junk in order, but, I feel that this year was more of a thriving than surviving year, and for that I am truly grateful.

We have Mr. Hippie's brother's wedding on Saturday. I'm praying that it is God-honoring, and also a peace-filled experience. Weddings can be so stressful! Especially if you are playing any bigger part than simply attending. And, for this one, we have two players. Meres is a flower girl. Mr. Hippie is a groomsman. My goal is to get Meres into her dress, with some sort of hair-do, just in time for pictures. Then to keep her spotless until after the ceremony and other pictures. And, then, well, then I don't care how spotless she remains. I also would like to see her keep her shoes on for the entire ceremony. But, let's be honest-that is not very likely. So, I'm hoping that if she kicks her shoes off, she will be content to wander back up the aisle barefoot, and not try to hold up the show while she puts her shoes back on. 

This is a realistic scenario, people. I asked them if they were SURE they wanted Meres in their wedding...

Well, I'm leaving you with another summery side dish/salad. Greek Cucumber Noodles... 

Essentially, it is very similar to Greek salad, but without lettuce. And with hummus. It was oh so good! And look at that gorgeous color!

An important tip...

-Make your noodles, salt them, and let them sweat for 5-10 minutes. And then drain the accumulated juice. It makes for nicer "noodles".

Greek Cucumber Noodles
Prep time: 20 minutes
3 seedless cucumbers
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1 small red onion
6 Tbsp hummus (buy or make recipe below)
3/4 cup Feta cheese
Kosher salt and Black Pepper

-Adjust the blade of a mandolin to the 1/8” setting, or use a julienne peeler to make noodles with the cucumbers.
-Divide the cucumbers onto 4 to 6 plates, or just place all in a serving bowl.
-Halve the tomatoes and the olives. Thinly slice the red onion. Divide among the plates. Spoon 1 Tbsp hummus in the center of each plate. Sprinkle feta cheese over all. Salt and pepper to taste.

Prep time: 15 minutes
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

-Add all ingredients to the blender before adding beans. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Add 1/4 cup liquid to the blender on top of the beans, and pulse until smooth. Add more liquid as necessary to get the thick dip effect.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's Simply Tuesday

So I've known for a long time that Emily Freeman was writing a new book that was coming out today. But I figured it was a long shot, when I applied in early June to be a part of her launch team. To  get an advanced copy of that book to read before everyone else got it. To have to the opportunity to review and promote it.

But, I took the long shot, and ended up being one of the bloggers picked.

I was pretty pumped.

I am kind of a fan girl of Emily Freeman. Her talk at the Influence conference back three years ago changed my life. I began to see myself as a work of art. I began to see myself as an artist. My writing, my homemaking, my teaching-all a work of art. Inspired by, and for the glory of, the Divine Artist.

After that talk, being such a fan girl, I read her book, Grace for the Good Girl. Big sigh. More life changing, life giving words. Good girls, desperately needing grace. We've come up with our own idea of grace that involves a lot of perfection and trig hard. But, we fall so short. Yet, grace isn't earned or deserved. And "good" girls need it just as much as "bad" girls. It was a breath of fresh air. It touched my soul.

I've been looking forward to Simply Tuesday's coming out, since last fall at Allume. While there, I again heard Emily speak. This time she talked about embracing the small moments of life. Choosing to reject the hustle for the bench. It was good stuff. It was the basis of this next book.

I received my copy of Simply Tuesday towards the beginning of July, and I dove right in.

What I feel like when I read Emily's books and hear her words is, "really? You too?!"

Some of our life's happenings are eerily alike. And, once again her words touched my heart.

There is a chapter called Stairwells and Stages. She talks about worship. How we are made to worship. It's in our nature. We are good at it. We want to worship, and we desire to be worshipped. Whether it comes out blatantly (oh look! a celebrity! She writes ______!) or subtly (accolades from our families in regards to what we do for them.) worship is part of us. But, the only One who should be worshipped is God Himself. Every other worship turns to dust.

And then, there is the chapter called Community and Competition. Seriously, I felt like we lived a very similar year. Loneliness. Choosing to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone in three distinct ways. Seeking out a counselor/mentor. Joining a small group. Meeting with a group of artists.

For me (and I've written about these things)...we started marriage counseling which was so good for our marriage. We joined up with a Wednesday night small group (while we were in between churches, and that is actually connected with our new church home) which gave us fellowship we peers in both ours and our kids' life stages. I started "article club." All three things were a huge challenge for my personality type, but all three have made a huge difference in my life this calendar year.

I've got the book rather earmarked.

I must say that I totally get her idea of Tuesdays. Their smallness. Their ordinariness. But, I have to laugh, because Tuesdays are my one "not ordinary" day of each week. It's my working day.

So, I rarely do book recommendations, but I am going to recommend this one. If you are hustling and desperately craving rest-this book might speak to your soul. If you are feeling small in a big world-this book might encourage you right there. If you need a "me too!"-this book might be what you didn't know you were looking for.

Some nuts and bolts information about Simply Tuesday...

-Simply Tuesday's list price is $14.99. Amazon is selling it here.

-Simply Tuesday is almost 250 pages. It is divided into five parts, each containing three chapters.

-Simply Tuesday contains discussion questions at the end of each "part" which would be good for a small group or book club discussion.

-Each chapter of Simply Tuesday is closed with a simple prayer. It's just a nice ending to each chapter.

-Simply Tuesday has quite the pretty book cover too. If you happen to judge a book by its cover. Gold leaf....

Anyway, buy it, or borrow it, but do read, Simply Tuesday!