How to Not Let Summer Slip Away Or My Summer To Do List

 

Wild Roses and Privet Hedge

 
Why is it so hard to transition from school year to summer?  The school year is so busy and scheduled. Then summer comes…thankfully summer comes…and there is more flexibility and I have some control over what each day looks like. You would think it would be a jubilant jump into summer. But it can be a bit bumpy sometimes. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what to put on my To Do List or I know what needs to go on there but I can’t quite get it prioritized right. 

Here is a start to my summer to do’s (in no particular order):

1.  Make a daily To Do List. My dad has always made To Do lists on small cards and keeps them in his pocket. I love 3×5 cards for my lists. I remember when I was young my dad showed me how he made a list and then once he had all of his things down, he would go back and decide which should be #1 and #2 and so forth until they were all prioritized. That’s how I do it though I’ve not been as consistent as he is. 

2.  Exercise early – before starting my list. I just learned that my phone counts my steps. I’m shooting for 10,000 every day. I mean if Siri is counting, I should be walking, right?

3. Keep a hard copy of my calendar in my purse and refer to it often. Keep my course requirements on the real, touch-and-feel-it calendar. I love a pretty calendar. I’ve been using Google calendar for years but I’m ready for a throwback. 

  
4. Work on memorizing the Psalms every day. Say the ones I have already memorized each day and continue to add to what I’ve learned. Always be working on a new verse. 

5. Have lunch with friends often. 

6. Take some day trips with my family. I want to go to Hot Springs and visit Garvan Woodland Gardens. I have never been here but have wanted to go for years. It’s only a couple hours drive. Crystal Bridges is another place I want to go see soon…. This will require at least one overnight stay. 

They currently have this exhibit:

Van Gogh to Rothko: Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

February 21, 2015
through June 1, 2015

 The exhibition features masterpieces by some of the most prominent names in art history including Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and Mark Rothko.

I went there a month or so ago because I was in town but they were closed. I took this picture then. I love their hay exhibit that is in a pasture just before you turn onto their road.  

Here are some wildflowers as you drive down to the museum. 

  
7. Get my course work done early. Uggg. I’m in graduate school and this is a top priority this summer. I shouldn’t say ‘Uggg.’ But sometimes I do. I’m in a great program with awesome people. I really have no complaints. I’m learning so much. 

8. Do Beth Moore’s study on the Psalms during the summer to help me when Ladies’ Class starts up again in September. 

9. Work from home as much as possible. We don’t have high speed internet out here in the country for many reasons so it makes it hard to do much office work from home but I just got my husband’s phone turned into a hot spot so I can do some grading for my summer classes that I’m teaching online. I can also email some documents from home. But no streaming video–not nearly enough data for that!  Don’t forget!! (This should be on my To Do list…don’t forget)

10. Ride often. I rode this beautiful young horse this week that I think I’m going to claim as mine. She is gentle and slow-moving and relaxing to ride. We’ve had her since she was a baby. My husband says it takes me about 3 years of knowing a horse to trust it. We’ve had her about 3 years. I claim both of the walking horses but they are fast moving with big personalities and not too relaxing to ride. I have to always be ready for them to jump or spook or something. Flashy is calm and happy just to walk around. 

  
11. Enjoy my kids whenever they are around. Drop everything and hang out with them when they pop in. That will be #1 on my 3×5 card. 

12. Go on walks with my husband. 

This should get me started. I know there are more I should add… Can’t think of them right now. 

This post was inspired by Elizabeth Foss at the blog In the Heart of My Home

What are you doing this summer?

Have a great day!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Book Reviews:  a reread, a mystery, and a just plain creepy

I’ve been reading three books lately that you might be interested in reading yourself. These books are all really different from each other so maybe one will peak your interest. I have linked them all to Amazon but I have no affiliation with them … Other than getting a lot of books from their site. I do love the ability to get a sample on my Kindle for free before I decide if I want to buy it. Audible.com is how I find my books that I listen to. The thing about audible is that they let you return anything you decide to abandon while listening. I have returned several audio books with same day or next day service and no questions asked. They have great customer service.

My Reread:

Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us by Daniel Pink

Here is Daniel Pink’s TED talk about motivation.  This is worth watching.

 Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the main motivators for people. This applies to education, parenting, and business. Pink takes us through several experiments to illustrate his point. He shows us how attempting to motivate people with ‘carrots and sticks’ (rewards and punishments) can actually have an adverse effect on motivation. Pink claims that people need to have choice, the time and opportunity to master something, and authentic purpose in a task to be optimally motivated.

Every teacher, parent, and employer should read this book.

It’s great on audio but you will probably want to underline a few things to refer to later.

Highly Recommended

——————–

A Mystery

Veronica Mars:  the thousand dollar tan line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham


The 20-something detective has traded in practicing law for private investigation. It is interesting but not much to think about. I have seen this book praised on other blogs so I picked it up thinking ‘if so many people think it’s great…’  It’s just ok.

Sometimes I like a book that’s ‘just ok.’  I listened to it on a recent road trip I took alone and it did help the drive pass without much angst.

However, I didn’t much care about what was going to happen next. Finishing it wasn’t a top priority like it is when I’m reading a book I love.  The plot line seems thin to me, simple. There just wasn’t much to really grab me.

Today I just saw someone call this book a Young Adult book. That fits.  I didn’t realize it was a YA book, so maybe I was expecting too much.

Somewhat Recommend

—————-

The Creepy Book

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

You have probably seen this around. I think it’s currently on all of the Best Seller Lists. This book is about a woman who rides a commuter train every day and makes up stories about the houses and people that she sees out her window. Her imagination and her life begin to cross paths and you never know what is going to happen next.  The author switches view points with every chapter so you get to see what is happening from all of the main characters’ vantage point.  I really like this set up for a book.

Any more information and I would have to put up a spoiler alert.

Read at your own risk.

I really wanted to know what happened so I barreled through it.  I think someone has bought the movie rights so you may see it around for awhile and on the big screen.

Cautiously Recommend

———————————-

I am listening to and reading Middlemarch By George Elliot right now.  It is so long.  I’m not sure when I will be able to write a review on it.  It is over 35 hours on Audible but since it is referred to by some as one of the great English novels, I thought I should read it. It is read by Juliet Stevenson who has a wonderful reading voice. I love the accent.

Modern Mrs. Darcy has a Minimalist Summer Reading Guide that you might want to take a look at for some great books to read this summer.

I hope you have a great day!

Posted in Books and Movies, Just For Fun | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Overheard in Target


I was walking by the checkout lines in Target (where all the candy is just within reach) when I noticed a mom in line with her little preschooler. He looked longingly at all the candy choices and ran his fingers along the edges of the chocolate bars. I couldn’t hear what the mom said but she apparently scolded him because I heard the little boy – loud and clear – with a stomp of his foot, “but I CAN be twusted.”

I hope you have a gweat day!

Posted in children, Just For Fun, Parenting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

These are my entries in the Weekly Photo Challenge at WordPress.  This week the word is enveloped.  One definition is to surround entirely. Some synonyms for enveloped are enfold, cover, hide, and conceal. I think these pictures express the word enveloped pretty well.

Envelope: to surround entirely – as far as her little arms can reach!

Envelope: to surround entirely – as far as her little arms can reach!

He is enveloped in mud.

A synonym of enveloped is covered. He is enveloped in mud.

Buddy is enveloped by the hay.

Enveloped: to conceal, hide – I’m not real sure where the hay ends and the dog begins!

You can see more entries at WordPress.

Have a great day!

Posted in children, Church, Dogs, Just For Fun, Photo Challenge, Photography | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

True You Project

I saw this on my friend’s blog at makeshift gypsies  and thought it looked fun!  This actually began as an Instagram project (#trueyouproject) but has evolved into other venues. I’m going to participate here. This project encourages people to share a little about themselves. 

1:  Who are you?

I am Amy. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, student. I live on a small horse farm in the middle of Arkansas.  I am in awe of God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness. 

   

2:  Your favorite coffee place
I like coffee only when I’m chilled. My favorite place to drink it is at home. I love being home. 

I like sitting on my swing with a cup of coffee but would really like to get a nice big cushion for the seat. 

  

Day 3:  What Are You Working On Right Now?

I am currently working on my doctorate. I should be finished in May of 2016.  Here is what my work space looks like. It gets more intense as the summer kicks up. 

 
Honestly, this is a bit more orderly than usual.  

Day 4: From Where You Stand

I took this as the faculty and the graduates were walking into the graduation ceremony on Saturday.  I’m so proud of these graduates!  They will be incredible teachers who have a significant impact on their students and the world. 

  

Day 5: Show Your Mess

Ugggg. I don’t like this one. I try so hard to get just the right picture that avoids too much of the mess. But here you go… A bit of my mess. 

  
Here we have winter jackets, halters and lead ropes, and a hat. We’ve kept our horses separated from each other lately so we like to have halters close by. Really…there’s no excuse. 

Day 6: A Few Of Your Favorite Things

Baby blankets I made myself for my children. I had never made quilts before. Meredith’s will surely show up someday!  

  

  
My show saddle – I love how big and comfortable it is. I feel really secure in it. 

  

Beautiful stirrups I won showing my Tennessee Walking horse. I think these are the only things I’ve ever won.  

Here is Spirit.  

  
This was the first few days after we bought him and brought him home. He had never been let out of a stall long enough to experience the snow before. He was fascinated with it.  I love the snow on his lips. 

 
  
A gift from 5-year old Barrett  

  
Scott bought this china cabinet for me when we were first married.  

Day 7: Your Style

I was looking at one of my favorite blogs the other day and she, Cyndi Spivey, had a picture of some pants I had just bought!  And she styled it for me and everything. 

I bought these pants and another pair at Target. My mom is hemming them for me because they are so so long.  

How would you answer these questions? I would love to hear your answers. 

I am honored that you stopped by my blog. 

Have a great day!

Posted in Fun Facts, Just For Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Stitch Fix #3

  

It is really exciting to get a package in the mail. This box was sitting on my steps this week. I was excited to see what they sent me. 

So, here we go:

Kolla Mixed Material Cardigan  
 Edmond Henley Knit Top 

 Kaylie Solid French Terry Blazer 

 Rocco Faux Wrap Dress

 Circle Bib Necklace  

In general, the items did not seem to be well made. The wrap dress was nice but it did not flatter me, so I had my daughter try it on. She liked it so, since I did not want to lose my $20 styling fee, I kept it for her but sent the rest back. It’s $20 for the service but it will apply to the cost of whatever you decide to keep. 

Stitch Fix is suppose to get better as you go along and they figure out what you like and don’t like. I’m not sure about that.  I liked my first box better than any of the subsequent boxes. 

I’m not sure I will keep doing this.  I will update my profile again and see if it gets better. I was disappointed this time or maybe just the novelty of it is wearing off. Maybe I’m hard to fit and would rather pick out my own things.  I’m not sure but I’m going to try at least one more time.  Seeing that box on my steps is really fun!  Scott calls it my new money pit. Ouch!

Have a great day!

Posted in Just For Fun | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Psalm 3: The One Who Lifts My Head High

Delphi, Greece

Delphi, Greece

David begins this Psalm by talking about the people who are against him and want to see him fail. These people show disdain for his faith in God. But David will not give up on his belief in God’s care and protection over him.  

My favorite lines from Psalm 3:

Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”

Can’t you feel that?  Today there are many who say that God is not real and he will not and cannot help us.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

I can just picture the Lord with his hand under my chin, gently lifting my head so that I can see him.  I can see where my help comes from.

I call out to the Lord and he answers me from his holy mountain.

Our Lord will answer us when we call out to him.

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I can rest and be confident that I will wake again because of him.  Not because of my planning and great alarm system.  Not because I have big dogs that will keep intruders away.  I wake again because of the Lord.  Whether in this life or the next, I wake because he sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.

I have not one thing to fear.  Enemies, terrorists can come at me from every direction, I will not fear because it is the Lord who is a shield around me.  He sustains me.

From the Lord comes deliverance.

My deliverance will come from the Great Almighty One who lifts my head high.

Here is this beautiful Psalm in its entirety from biblegateway.com:

Psalm 3[a]

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”[b]

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked. 

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

Have a great day!

Posted in faith, Scripture | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review:  Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

  

 I didn’t skim until the last chapter. That is a good book for me. Dear Mr. Knightly kept me interested all the way to nearly the end. 

This is a story about a girl who has been in foster care most of her life. She has spent much of that time reading. Her favorite books are Jane Austen books and she frequently quotes from these pages when she is nervous or upset. 

She is given the opportunity to go to a prestigious journalism school by a benefactor connected to her orphanage. The one catch is that she must regularly and often write to this benefactor called Mr. Knightly. She becomes quite open in her letters and struggles to find herself and come out from behind her beloved books. 

This is a wonderful book that is not only clean but encourages high moral standards. 

Here are some quotes from the book:

I’ve been so scared to mess up that I do it daily.

We’re constantly told that we’re the best at Medill and that the top tier is where “the best” work. But I’m not part of that elite. I’m the girl hanging by my fingernails off the back ledge.

Changing, being real and becoming who you want to be, is hard work. Right now, I’d love a good chat with Jane Eyre. She never lost herself. Not once.

I think more was said than what he actually said. But it’s like smoke; I can’t catch it.

That’s who I want to be— a friend who sticks—

How can I not believe that there is a God who exists and loves, when the people before me are infused with that love and pour it out daily?

I think when you’re fighting for your life, kindness becomes a luxury you can’t afford. Seeing it in Kyle lets me know he feels safe.

I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun .

I highly recommend Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay. I think you will be glad you read it. 
I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for her summer reading guide. I feel you like to read, you will love her site!

Have a great day!

Posted in Books and Movies, Just For Fun | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pretty in Pink

I took this in Hot Springs about 5 year ago. We took a mini vacation and were stopped to get gas when I looked up and saw this:  a poodle with pink hair in a convertible sporting sunglasses. Quite a surprise!

  
  
I am joining up with Cee in her photo challenge:  Pink. 

Posted in Dogs, Just For Fun, Photo Challenge, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My College Kids are Coming Home

I think I have adjusted to being at home without the kids.  It was not too bad.  I got a puppy and  stayed really busy. The 2 in college are attending our local university where my husband and I both teach so even though they moved out of the house, they didn’t go too far.  This was the year our last child went to college.  She headed there a year early so I wasn’t quite prepared, but I’m not sure you ever are prepared for these big life events. This was also the year that our oldest moved out of town and started his career.  He is about 3 hours away.  Now, school is out for the summer and 2 of them are coming back home.

summer 2014

summer 2014

Things have changed since all our children have moved out…

1.  I don’t keep 2 gallons of milk in the refrigerator any more.  I rarely buy milk.  When my children were home, I bought milk every time I went to the store.  Which was often.

2.  We eat low carb which means I keep our bread in the freezer so it won’t mildew and rarely buy cereal.  Cereal is my kids’ favorite food.

3.  I boxed up all of the goodies/junk in their rooms and moved it out.  I kept telling them that this was going to happen.  I don’t think they believed me.  Their rooms look so much better.

4.  Lights are turned out at about 9:00 pm.  We go to bed really early, whenever we can.  They don’t.

5.  I wash clothes once a week, not every hour of every day.  When the kids are home, if the washing machine is not running, I feel like I am way behind.  I was actually behind whether it was running or not, but I least it sounded like something was being done when I could hear the washing machine.

6.  I have cash.  I dole it out when the kids are home.  For one, they go to the store for me, which I don’t like to do .  For another, they put gas in the car which requires some cash.

7.  I share the small bathroom with only one other person.  We have two bathrooms but everyone wants to use the same bathroom.  So we will be sharing the small bathroom with 4 people again.

8.  I know where my iPhone is.  My phone is our only internet access at home.  I got in on the iPhone 1st generation unlimited data plan, so I have kept it.  Which is great except that everyone needs my phone…

9. My shoes are in my closet.  I like that she likes to wear my shoes, but her feet are at least 1 size larger than mine.  It makes for roomy shoes and an occasional trek to her closet to find them.

10.  The house is quiet.  I don’t like this part of the kids being gone.  When they are home, there is usually an extra kid or two around and a lot of laughter.

Have your children flown the coop?  What changed for you?

I hope you have a great day!

 

Posted in children | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments