Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Choose Joy Book

Long ago and far away, okay, so maybe just 7 years ago and a few states away, I happened upon a blog called Gitzen Girl. I honestly don’t remember how I wound up there, but I do remember enjoying it so much that I went through the archives, what can I say—I didn’t home school in those days and only had two children, so I had a little extra time on my hands! It was early 2009.

I loved the way Sara wrote. I remember wishing that there was a book that my girls could have some day filled with the wisdom I read from Sara. I read her blog as I moved around a bit and as she grew more ill. One of my first memories of being settled into this house was catching the last couple minutes of her funeral, as it was broadcast. Sitting in this spot. Wishing again that there was a little book with her words to share with the, then, three children.

Books can be slow to grow, as C. S. Lewis remarked in his dedication for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but now with a fourth little one in my lap, I can read Sara’s words in a book. I was so honored to be chosen to help with the launch of Choose Joy.

The first thing that struck me in reading the (electronic pdf of the) book was that it was missing the doodles! All of Sara’s fonts and graphics that I was used to seeing were missing from the page, but then there they were, when I got my physical copy of the book—canvases she’d painted, photos of Riley (her dog), and pictures of her with her family and friends.


Her dear friend Mary Carver placed many of Sara’s blog posts into the book, linking them with person insights from her own life and memories others have of Sara in chapters.

Sara’s words are full of grace and wisdom. She reminds you to always look to God for what you need and he will provide just what you require, even if it isn’t exactly what you might have thought you needed. And she reminds us that JOY is a choice we can make for ourselves.

While Sara wrote from a place of pain and seclusion, her words move far beyond that. Sara was Catholic, single, childless, and homebound, where I am protestant, married since before I graduated college, have a house full of giggle boxes, and often out of the house more days than not, but her words are true for anyone who loves Jesus and wants to look for JOY. She was better at it than I am, despite my clear physical advantages in some areas. She saw her seclusion as a chance to serve others and an opportunity to be close to God, though she would have welcomed a different life.

Sara knew our God is a great God. One who loves her, and until we meet in heaven some day, we have these words, carefully chosen, with which to remember Sara, and even more importantly to be reminded of He who made her, after all, as Sara would tell you, it’s not about her.

I hope that you will have a chance to read this book. It releases for sale on January 5th (2016), but you can pre-order it now.

***I was given a digital and hard copies to help with my review and also some cute note cards with some of Sara’s doodles as a thank you, but no compensation for my review, and all of the opinions are mine. I do not earn anything from any of the links either.***

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

I hope that you are all enjoying a wonderful Christmas time with your families and friends.  Our weather has been so unseasonably warm, as it has been across much of the country.  I must admit I don't remember ever having to take shelter for a tornado warning on the 23rd of December before!

We opted to keep our Advent a little less Christmas this year, and wait to do most of our Christmas things this week, with Justin off work.  We got out our Advent box, nativity, and Advent wreath at the beginning of December, but we didn't put up our tree until last week (this cut down on saying no to the toddler and keeps it special still). This week we've been baking and preparing for our Christmas celebration.

I hope that you all have a peaceful and joyous Christmas!  And just because it reminds me of my Daddy, Happy Christmas Eve Day!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Funny

Nate: I have to wear a grown up hat because my head is soooo big.  My head grew so big because my brain grew so ginormous.  If my head didn't grow, then it would have exploded because my brain is so big!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Here

The third week of Advent is here, and the busy-ness of outside schedules is slowing down, with AHG wrapped up until the New Year, our tutorial and church's women's ministries are wrapping this week.  There are several family and church things to help us enjoy the season in the next ten days though!

We've finished up the first half of our school year, according to our required 180 days, but we're still chugging along through the end of this week, until Justin is able to be off with us.  We'll actually reach our 100th day of school tomorrow.

Gabby presented her robot (Crabby--a play on it's crab walking style and her name) at the AHG Christmas party, finishing off her robotics badge.

Nate has been learning graphing and subtraction in math.  Our book often uses manipulatives to introduce new concepts.  He (and his sisters who helped him dispose of the tools after the lesson), were very disappointed to come upon a lesson that required graphing the number of colored candies in a bag.

Ellie is our silly toddler.  She has been playing dress up, hosting tea parties for her dolls, and coloring using pointillism.

We've visited with a Santa and took a trip to the zoo yesterday, with some unseasonably warm temperatures.

I'm in the middle of making Christmas PJ's for the kids, wrapping presents, and reading a couple of books I was chosen to join the launch teams for.  They deserve their own posts at some point, but I'm reading: Choose Joy and Raising Grateful Kids*  I've also joined the board of our local AHG troop.  Next fall I'll take over the treasurer's position as well.

We hope you are having a joyous (and maybe a little silly) Christmas season.

*(I don't get anything from those links, nor will I be paid for reviews, though I did get complimentary copies to read, and some small gifts for being a part of the groups)