Monday, August 29, 2011

Lovely Laura, Life:Beautiful and a giveaway

Meet Laura. As you can see, I did not exaggerate when I said she was lovely. Laura 
is fun and spunky,
is married to a Marine,
has a new baby boy,
has a bunch of fun sisters,
wears really cute clothes,
loves hanging out with her mom, and
is my friend

I met Laura two years ago, when she attended Bridges, a Crescent Project class that my husband was teaching. It teaches Christians how to build relationships with Muslims.

Laura came in (in her cute outfit and sweet smile) and I liked her right away. Plus I always enjoy a young 20-something that is open to friendship with an old 50-something.

Laura's husband was away on a Marine mission and while he was gone, they received word that a good Marine buddy had been killed in action. So each Sunday in class, we prayed together and shed some tears. (Let us remember to pray for the family members that sacrifice so much to have their loved ones serve our country and remember the soldiers that have given their lives. Laura would tell you . . . it is not easy.)

We attended a summer Bible study together, became facebook friends and Laura began reading my blog. Even though we now live in different states, just thinking of Laura . . . makes me smile.

One summer evening, Laura brought me a present. As she handed me a gorgeous magazine she said, "I keep thinking that you would also like my favorite magazine and I wanted to give you one." (Laura is lovely AND thoughtful.) And this is how I was introduced to one of my favorite magazines, life:beautiful.

And now, I would like to introduce you to an amazing magazine . . . life:beautiful.

In celebration of life:beautiful's fourth birthday, Editor-in-Chief, Wanda Ventling penned these words. . .

 "A few years ago a major magazine publisher told me that new magazine launches were out of the question. 'It's a million dollars to launch a new magazine,' he said emphatically. Increasing the risk was a down-turned economy and an unfriendly marketplace - major retailers were cutting newsstand space and competitive electronic readers, such as iPad, had come along. The publishing world was a bloodbath, slashing magazines and jobs.

In the midst of this storm, God prompted our media company, only a year old at the time, to do the unthinkable and launch a magazine like none seen before. life:beautiful was designed to be as beautiful on the outside as the Oprahs and Marthas of the world. But there was a huge difference - this magazine would honor and glorify God."

I think that you will agree with Laura and me . . . this is a stunning magazine. (our favorite)

Each issue you will find, beautifully styled and photographed pages, ideas for your home and holidays, travel tips, recipes and so much more. And, there are no advertisements. Wow.

I always enjoy their feature writers as well ~ Joyce Meyer, Gary Smalley, Janet Parshall, Daniel Johnston and Max Lucado.

In the current issue, SUMMER 2011, the editor asked for help getting the word out on this beautiful magazine. Thus was born my idea to tell you about lovely Laura and life:beautiful. You can subscribe at Join Laura and me.

And now for the giveaway . . . comment on this post, telling me what your favorite magazine(s) is and I will add you to the drawing for a copy of the current issue of life:beautiful, to be announced next Monday. You will love it.

Linking today to the lovely Soli Sisterswho would all enjoy life:beautiful. 

magazine cover credits:

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Read a Magazine

This is a magazine. It comes in the mail. It is printed on paper. You can hold it in your hand. You turn the pages. Does anyone. . . anywhere . . . remember these?

I have long been a magazine lover. And while I have learned to enjoy reading on line, I would much rather cozy up in a chair, with a cup of tea and read the "real" magazine.

How to Read a Magazine (Glenda style)

Step one: While I am brewing my tea, I quickly go through the magazine and remove all those small cards that are advertisements.

Step two: If I have time, I tear out every page that has advertising on both sides.  (Sorry to the folks that paid so much money for those adverts, but I do not read them.) You will be surprised how much lighter your magazine is, and easier to read.

Step three: Peruse the magazine. I look at the pictures, the article titles, noticing which things I am most interested in reading. Then I put the magazine away for another day.

Step four: In a slow and leisurely manner, I go through the magazine a second time. This time, with pen in hand, I read the entire magazine. (Not necessarily in one sitting.) As I read, I mark any ideas I love, want to try, or want to share with someone else. If there is something that requires action (I want to order it, send this article to a friend, etc.), then I turn that page down.

(notice that I have circled two ideas on this page)

Step five: Now, I go through the magazine a third time and re-read all the pages I marked or turned down and act on them. I order the cookbook, I tear out a small idea I like and glue it in my idea notebook, I mail the article to my friend etc. If there is a complete article that I love, I tear it out and put the whole thing in plastic page protectors and add it to my notebook.

Look at this cute picture that I saved . . .

And there you have it . . . How to read a magazine - Glenda style.

What is your favorite magazine? Come back Monday, and I will share mine.

image credit: cover and scanned page - Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holly Becker comes to Chicago's Anthropologie and a mother/daughter adventure

Holly Becker
          *founder of the popular design blog decor8
          *instructor of the Blogging Your Way e.course
          *author of the beautiful DECORATE: 1,000
           professional design ideas for every room
           in your home
yes, that Holly Becker, came to Chicago last night.

It was a beautiful summer evening, and Jenny and I turned it into a mother/daughter adventure.

Step one: Split a luau salad at Cheesecake Factory.

Step two: Arrive early and enjoy the beautiful displays at Anthropologie.

Step three: Score a great seat and enjoy the beautiful books.

Step four: Enjoy the great hospitality of the Anthropolgie staff and the adorable store manager.

Step five: (the real reason we came) MEET HOLLY BECKER. She is adorable, sweet, friendly, and a great teacher. Just what I expected from taking her e.course last year.

Holly taught a great class on the 7 steps to create a mood board. I loved hearing her talk about why she loves to teach people how to create a home. She spoke of a German word that encompasses her philosophy. It translates "unconditional coziness." Such a great goal for my home.

She brought some of her own favorite things and created a mood board, including bits and pieces from a recent trip to Istanbul. Very fun.

Step six: Get my book signed.

Jenny and I enjoyed a lovely evening together.

Thanks, Holly, Anthropologie and a fun crowd of bloggers.

I am linking to a great summer party over at my friend Sarahs. Hope you can all enjoy a wonderful summer night out, too, with someone you love.

Monday, August 22, 2011

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom - part five

Well, we have made it to the last post.

13. Expose your kids to amazing people, whenever you can. Dave and I never felt that we exclusively had everything our daughters needed. We invited tons of people into our home, went to hear amazing people speak or sing and encouraged our girls to have lots of good friends. Our girls were both very active in their youth groups, went on mission trips and were both mentored by amazing godly women. We loved not being the only ones that poured into our girls.

14. Be a parent. Believe it or not, it is possible to have your kids home all day and even complete school and still be a distant parent, who does not really enjoy their kids. Live life together in a mostly fun way. It is all about relationship. Be a parent who homeschools - not a homeschooler who forgets to parent.

15. (I saved something I really care about for the last point.) Please, please do not let your entire life revolve around homeschooling. Yes, it is a big commitment and you cannot do everything you would do if you were not homeschooling. But you can still enjoy a lot of life. Go on regular dates with your husband, attend a women's Bible study or book club, take a fun class, have friends over, travel, go out for coffee alone . . . etc. etc. etc. Model balance in life for your kids and above all . . . HAVE FUN (at least most of the time.)

I want to close this series by sending you over to Edie at Life in Grace. Her recent post Why I (still) homeschool reflects so much of what I feel about homeschooling. Hop over and enjoy a great post.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom - part four

I would love it, if you would add your homeschooling tips in the comments. We can learn so much from each other. Here are my next three lessons.

10. Be intentional and balanced in your work and play.
Our motto was . . . when we work, we work hard. When we play, we play hard. Homeschooling offers the freedom to do both well.

11. Become friends with the children's librarian at your local library. We were on a first name basis with the children's librarian and she really loved our girl's enthusiasm for learning. She would often order and set aside books that she knew the girls would love. We spent one morning a week at the library (and saved thousands of dollars).

12.  Learn to love books, books and more books. We read books aloud, we read to ourselves, we listened to books on tape, (I know, it was a long time ago.), we read magazines, even the back of cereal boxes. I guess our family really liked words. 

Early on the girls had a notebook and kept track of every book they read. They still maintain this today. How fun to have a list of every book you have read, since you learned to read. 

Warning: Be aware that someday your kids will rent third floor apartments with no elevator. And, you will help them cart all those boxes of books up and down all those stairs. (one third floor apartment, two second floor apartments . . . no elevators.)

None of those boxes of books went to England with Christy. So, I thought you might enjoy her post, 10 things I like about my new kindle. 


Saturday, August 20, 2011

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom - part three

Our series continues . . .

7. My goal was never just to get school work done, but instead, was to develop life long learners. In this information age, we do not have time to teach our kids everything. But if they know how to find and learn the information they want/need . . . our kids will do well.

The saddest thing to me would be to spend all of this money, time and energy to homeschool . . . and then to graduate kids that did not have the love of learning.

8. Leave room in your schedule for your kids to pursue their own interests. I left lots of margin in our homeschooling day.

There were multiple topics our girls studied on their own, just because they wanted to . . . women authors, World War II, Monet and many other artists, Amish lifestyle, knitting, crocheting, quilting and so much more. (I had nothing to do with this.)

(For example, I remember my surprise the first time I took the girls to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. They were in elementary school. When we got to the Monet section, the girls talked on and on . . . "this is the painting Monet did when his wife was dying, or he was loosing his sight on this one, or he painted this picture at four different times of the day." Of course, I knew none of this, and was thrilled to see what they had taught themselves . . . just because they were interested in this subject.)

9. Include all of life as school and learning and record it in your lesson plans. Piano lessons, cooking, sewing classes, library events, youth group, our summer trips to Europe with Royal Servants, visits from Grandparents (who always taught the girls amazing things), etc. I also included chores in the lesson plans. Having your kids home all day and working on projects, can get messy. Teach your kids to keep the house clean.

Friday, August 19, 2011

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom - part two

Continuing on in our series . . .

4. When teaching more than one child, do as much schooling together as possible. Even though our girls were three grades apart, we did much of our schooling together (except math and language arts.) That leaves a lot of great subjects to enjoy together -  history, science, art, Bible, music, foreign language etc. This was much less work for me, saved us money and was much more fun for the girls.

5. Let your kids work at their own pace. The girls knew what they needed to accomplish each week. (see #3) If they wanted to work extra hard and get it done early, that was just fine with me.

6. Teach to your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. For me, I loved history, literature, writing, Bible and the arts. I could teach science in a mediocre way, if I had a good curriculum. And, I stunk at math. (This is why I taught first grade, because I cannot do second grade math.)

If you are not sure what your weak areas are, here is a sure fire way to know. If you and your kids end up in tears every time you attempt a certain subject - bingo, that is it. For us that was always math. Be creative in your area of weakness, but do not just skip that subject. 

Once the girls got to any upper level math, I knew we could no longer muddle through. For Christy - our friend Melinda loved math. So once a week, we exchanged a home cooked meal and use of our laundry room for tutoring. 

For Jenny, (we moved and very sadly - no more Melinda) we enrolled her in pre-college level math at the community college.

image credit 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom - part one

Welcome to my series of lessons I learned as a homeschool mom. Here we go . . .

1. It is important to find your own homeschooling "voice". There are an increasing number of styles and options to choose from.

Read homeschooling books and magazines, peruse catalogues and attend  conferences. Ask good questions of other homeschooling families.

Do not be afraid to test out little bits of different styles. Some of this is trial and error.

Then . . . pay attention to what works well with you and your kids, listen to your heart and ask God for direction. It will take some time in the beginning, but you will discover your families homeschooling style.

2. Do  your homework in choosing curriculum. Spending hours each summer pouring over catalogues (to study the different options for each subject) was so much fun. Talk to other parents, as well.

I enjoyed picking and choosing from lots of different publishers and independent sources, to find the best option for each subject. (still miss doing this)

I never purchased a complete curriculum from a publisher. (very expensive) Nor did I ever buy the teacher's guides.

As I began to piece together the books I wanted for the next year, I first checked out which books were available at the library. (We started homeschooling before the library catalog was available on-line.) Purchasing used books and borrowing from friends was great, too.

If you are new to homeschooling and picking out curriculum feels overwhelming, you can purchase a full years already prepared plan from a publisher, and get a year of homeschooling under your belt. Then next year . . . oh the fun you will have, picking out your own.

Occasionally, I would purchase something that looked great, but when we started using it, we all hated it. Rather than torture ourselves all year, I would just let that book go (and let myself off the hook for wasting money.) Remember, there is a lot of trial and error here.

I usually spent $100 per girl. It was an exciting day when the books and supplies arrived in the mail.

3. Choose a lesson planner that matches your style and personality. A simple form that I created worked for us.

Each Friday, after our school day was over, I would plan the next week's lessons. I enjoyed not thinking about school over the weekend. And we were always prepared to start school on Monday, even if I got sick or something came up. (Life still happens when you homeschool.)

After I wrote the next weeks plans, one for each daughter, I stapled it into a file folder. If you prefer to have the year's plans in one book, Target often has a great lesson plan book in their dollar section. Check out the requirements in your state to see if you need to keep these records.

Relax and have fun doing your planning. It will take awhile to discover how much work you want to accomplish in a week.  Even when I taught school professionally, I rarely accomplished everything in my plan, or often changed my plan as I went along. You do not have to get this perfectly. It will feel more natural with time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom - an introduction

There is a lot of teacher in me. . .

     *I studied elementary education
at Biola University.

*I taught first grade. (loved teaching kids to read)

*I homeschooled for lots of years.

*My spiritual gift is exhortation, one
of the teaching gifts.

*I love teaching women - to study God's
word and how to organize their kitchen. (etc.)

*And, I love school supplies.

As parents across the country are preparing for school to begin, I want to kick off a short series on education. As adults and parents (hopefully in that order), I believe we can each choose the best education for our kids. (Yeah for intentional parenting.) And, fortunately, there are a lot of great choices. This short series will reflect our family's choice . . . homeschooling.

I love being a mom. For me, there is a very fluid line between parenting, homeschooling and discipling our daughters. In some ways, they are the same. Our friend Louie, used to say, "all parents homeschool."
(Who taught you how to tie your shoes?)

15 Lessons from a (retired) Homeschool Mom will include specifics to home education, but some of it reflects our parenting philosophy, as well. I am hoping that you can enjoy and profit from this, whether you homeschool or not.

Come back tomorrow and we will get started.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Canaanite Momma

Earlier this summer, I was contacted by Joy and Stacee, to invite me to write my reflections on a Gospel passage.

I intentionally chose the week that Christy was leaving, and was looking forward with anticipation to the passage they would assign me. What would God have to say to me this week?

Immediately, I liked this Canaanite momma. Hop over to SHEPHERDRESCOURCE.COM to read my reflections on Matthew 15:21-28, words that were a great encouragement to this Chicago momma.

Who are you praying for today?

Linking today with Michelle and some lovely writers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Newsy Bits . . . on England

My mind, heart and emotions are all over the place today. For two and a half years, our daughter, Christy, has been working to be ready for her move, her life and her ministry in Bicester, England.

All the packing and weighing of bags is done and tomorrow, off she will go. Or as Christy would say, "Let's roll."

I am full of gratitude:

1. for Christy. She is godly, smart and funny. She has faithfully listened, worked and followed the Lord to be ready for this day.

2. for the nine months that we have had together as a family, because of our work move to Chicago, where the girls already lived.

Someone asked me at church on Sunday if we had anything special planned for Christy's last week. My response was, "We have been doing special for nine months." It has been delightful.

3. for Jenny. It has been ages since we have been able to spend extended time with Jenny. She moved to Chicago six years ago for college and has been here since then. Jenny and I already have several fun dates on our Fall calendars. Jenny is so cool and is also one of my best friends.

4. for Dave. My husband is an adventuresome guy, who also enjoys quiet evenings at home with a cup of tea. We have been missing each other a bit in the hub
bub of our own cross country move, new job and enjoying the four of us hanging out. Where do you want to go exploring next week, Dave?

5. for skype. When we were in our little lake house in Seattle, we had many skype dates with the girls. We would all make cups of tea and settle in for a long (and free!) chat. Skyping from Chicago to Bicester will be awesome and we can see Christy's flat.

6. for the team in England. Christy's ministry leaders (and bosses) are dear friends. Several of them cut their ministry teeth during summers in Europe with us, when they were in college. We love and trust them and adore their hearts for reaching youth and training youth leaders in the UK.

7. for the truth of God's Word. One of Christy's teammates sent her this verse today.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:10

The truth of God's presence on all sides of the pond, brings great comfort to me (and made me tear up this morning.)

Of course, our hearts and prayers have been with England this week with the riots in and around London. I am grateful that Christy is working with Reign Ministries,  making a difference in the spiritual lives of students in the UK.

My friend (and blogging neighbor) Sarah, of Modern Country Style, (who will soon be real neighbors with Christy), wrote a great post that brings some encouraging perspective.

Some of you have asked about charitable donations to support Christy in her ministry in Bicester through Reign Ministries. If you are interested, e.mail me at dvs3girls(at)aol(dot)com and I will send you information. Also send me your address if you would like to receive Christy's updates.

And thanks, blogging friends for your sweet words and prayers.

Here are Christy's thoughts on the day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And down I went

I do not think you could do this . . . if you tried.

Yesterday, I took the morning off from all the craziness/fun of helping Christy get ready for her move to England this week. I enjoyed a quiet morning at home puttering and doing normal stuff - quiet time on my porch, laundry, watering my container garden etc.

Then on my way to Christy's to resume packing, I stopped at one of my favorite stores, Target, to get some moving supplies . . . zip locks, space saver bags, UK plug ins etc. And some Starbucks.

It all went downhill from there.

I had a full cart, that I was steering with my right hand. I had our coffees in a carrier in my left hand. A huge gust of wind greeted me, as I came out the door of Target.

Not having great control with one hand, I slowed down and attemped to get out of the cross walk. (Take notice of the word . . . attempted.)

Just then a second gust of wind hit. (cue slow motion music)

my cart crashed into the curb

my cart turned over and crashed
 into me

me, my coffee and most of the stuff
 in my cart went flying

and down I went.

Thank the Lord, I am fine. I spent the afternoon on Christy's couch with ice on my huge knee (while folding clothes and putting them in ziplocks.)

Rest and ice . . . it really makes a difference.

ps. After my spill, I really wanted that Starbucks, so I hobbled back in to Target and had them make our coffees again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Blessing

My friend, Suzanne, of Privet and Holly posted today about an event she helped plan for her church, where families bring their dogs for a prayer of blessing.

As I was reading it, a sweet memory came to my mind of one of our summers in Europe. We were working in a church in England with our team of 90 highschool students.

Sunday morning we attended church with the lovely folks who had been hosting us. It was more liturgical than I was used too and the communion wine was real (shocking back then!). And it was a wonderful morning.

During the communion time, each person went forward to receive it from the pastor. I was surprised to see rows and rows of wee children going forward to receive communion, too.

That afternoon, Dave and I were hosted for lunch in the beautiful manse and enjoyed visiting with the pastor and his family. I asked him about the really young kids having communion.

I was deeply touched by his answer. "Oh, Glenda, they are not having communion. I think they are still too young. But we want them to feel a part of the experience and feel loved."

"When the wee kids come forward, I give them a Smartie (like an m & m), put my hand on their heads and pray a special blessing over them."

I suddenly wanted to be a kid growing up in that church. I love pastors that just simply "get it."

Do you have happy childhood memories of church?

Linking to Jen and the ever growing Soli Sisters, with whom I would enjoy having communion.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Glenda was not a good listener

This adorable picture with the title Glenda was not a good listener, was recently e.mailed to me by Jenny, with a note ~ "You are a really good listener?" Sweet Jenny!

This oil painting is used by permission from Janet Hill.
We love all of her work, even if she thinks I am not a good listener. :-)

PS. Thanks so much for your kind words and prayers for our family as we prepare to send our daughter to England. You guys are the best and it means so much to this mom.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Road Rage . . . thanks to the state of Illinois

I have become a better driver since I moved to Illinois. YOU HAVE TO BE! I had to learn to pay attention . . . no more day dreaming.

There is a lot to watch out for ~

     *bicyclist (without the great bike
       paths of Seattle)

     *pot holes galore

     *people walking across the middle
       of the road without looking - all the time.

     *city buses that think they own
       the road

     *cars stopping in the middle of the lane
       to make a quick delivery (parking is a
       big issue in Chicago)

     *etc. etc. etc.

It is good for me to pay attention. I even use my side mirrors now, which I barely knew existed. (I know!)
And I am surviving quite well, as long as I stay pretty close to home. I can honk like I have lived in Chicago a long time.

But road rage . . . I did not get that until last week when I studied Illinois Rules of the Road to (finally) go get  a new drivers license. :-)

Oh my goodness, 112 pages of poorly written, hard to understand NONSENSE.

There are three pages just on documents you need to bring to prove your identity. Three pages, folks.

One of my favorites was the safety belt laws:

"Safety belts must be worn by all drivers and front seat passengers over age 8. A child not in a safety seat must wear safety belts regardless of location in the vehicle.

All passengers under age 19 with a driver age 18, regardless of location in the vehicle, must be belted. In a second division vehicle (truck with front seat) any person transporting a child under age 8 is responsible to secure the child."

Huh? Who knew you had to memorize the ages of everyone in your car. Why not cut out three pages and just say "Everyone must wear a seat belt."

Well, I did read all 112 pages, I aced the test and I now have a Illinois drivers liscence. I am off to watch for more pot holes.

Monday, August 1, 2011


My mom used to ask me . . . "Do they EVER run out of things to talk about?"

My answer was always, "NO."

It is not that they have never been apart before . . .

There was the summer that Christy was in Africa and Jenny was in Europe.

There was Christy's year in England at Capernwray when Jenny was in Minneapolis.

And the years Jenny was at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Christy was in Washington.

But they have been sharing adorable apartments together in Chicago for four years!

Would you pray for Christy as she moves in two weeks to England to work with Reign Ministries?

And pray for Jenny, who will still be working in Chicago at The Moody Church. (It is always harder for the one that stays behind.)

Thanks for praying for our girls . . . adorable sisters.

I am linking today to Jen.  And Soli Sisters, I have a little surprise for you. Guess who stayed at our house this weekend?

Yup, the sweet Abby from Fan the Flame and her darling family. They finished their training in Colorado and are in a big transition as they raise their final support before leaving for Hungary. Let's pray for this sister, too.

Here we are honoring our blogging roots that brought us together.

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