Friday, January 18, 2013

I have this red, rubber, bracelet...

I have a friend, Heather, who has a sister-in-law, that is sick.  So sick she needs prayer.  Lots of prayer. They have a FB group.

They had these rubber bracelets made up as prayer reminders.  They are giving them out willy nilly - asking for LOTS of prayer.

I'm telling you - these things really work - at the oddest time, I'll notice my red rubber bracelet, and I'll shoot up a prayer for Ahna Pollock.

May God bless Ahna, and her family!

p.s.  If you would like a bracelet - go ask Heather...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's coming up

Last year - the few days after Valentines Day - the cards were CHEAP!

HA!  Snagged some....

So - 02/14 is coming up here soon... I wonder where I put those cards?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Interesting Reading...

I have been doing some reading.  Someone pointed me to Randi Kreger's blog.  
She said this - and boy... do I agree.   Sometimes the people who love us the most know the triggers that hurt us the most. What does it say about someone who pushes your most painful buttons, yet claims to love you? It says much more about them than you. So not only can you not control their thoughts, you don't need to control their thoughts. Only yours. Strangely, it is only when you give up control that you obtain it.

 It says more about them then me.  

I wonder why they don't see that?  Some one said to me once, "You are all about being nice."  LOL  As if that were a bad thing.  I guess that's a good way to be known.  It's all about being nice...

I have prayed and asked God to give me wisdom to live my life - and I just really and cherishing the things he has brought into my life.  Books, blogs, people, and more books...  I'm so thankful.

I'm so glad God answers prayers.  Give me wisdom!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Favorite

I know I've shared this on FaceBook already - but this is my new favorite family photo!  Taken November 2012 for our next Church Directory.  I think I like it so much because in the midst of my family - I have peace, and joy, and can smile!  I hope you print this off and use it as a prayer card for 2013.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Did you know?

I learned something new in 2012.

I have a TIMER on my clothes washing machine.

I can load that sucker up with filthy clothes right before I go to bed.  Fill it up with soap - then set the TIMER to start washing first thing in the morning... actually 45 minutes BEFORE I wake up - so when I hear the "chime" that it is done washing, I can hop out of bed, and put it in the dryer, before it starts to smell all moldy and musty... unlike before - if I were to start a load say... 45 minutes BEFORE I went to bed... then forgot about it as I walked by in my exhausted state that is normal for me at bedtime...  let's see... where was I?  

Anyway - I can even set the washing machine up BEFORE I hit that exhausted state... I can set it up for HOURS before my wake up time.  Normally I set it to start in 9 hours... and get 8 hours of sleep.  Perfect fit for me.

I love that trick... so here I set - coffee sipped, eggs and sausage consumed, and one load of clothes WASHED, and I'm going to go put it in the dryer... all before... 7:00 a.m.  (That's a lie actually - because I'm typing this in the middle of the day on the 2nd and am going to "schedule" it to post on the 9th at 7:00 a.m)  :)  That's another wonderful thing - I can also schedule blogs... then my posts don't get all moldy and musty from setting around getting unread due to OVERKILL!!  :)  I'll spread them out... why your welcome.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I just found something

On there are exercise videos.

Full length videos.

I can walk away the pounds in my house when it drops below 40 degrees outside.  I no longer have any excuses.  Oh MY.GOODNESS!!

How do you exercise when it's cold?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Home School Buyers Co-op

I've heard about this HomeSchool Co-op from a message board I frequent.  Several of my friends bought a "lego" buy.  They got a discounted price on Legos and got a BUNCH of them.  :)  So - I've joined... it's free to join... and I am looking forward to some bulk discounted buys... hoping to get some good birthday gifts that way.

One way to make this work is to spread the word to other home schoolers - increasing the buying power.  They say...

Home School Curriculum for Grades K-8 and High School
Howdy, homeschooler! You have just discovered what is probably the most important page on our website -- our summary of the many GroupBuys and special offers for home school curriculum, programs and material currently available through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. Each and every discount is one of the Co-op's manyhomeschooling benefits. In every case, the discounts you get through the Co-op for your homeschool curriculum and materials come by virtue of the Co-op's purchasing power, which in turn depends on the size of our membership, so tell your homeschool friends and groups about the Co-op!

So - I am... spreading the word.  Go forth and conquer... or sign up.  What ever.

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's TAX TIME!!!

I'm using to help me with my taxes.

I used to sell Scentsy - as most of you know.  Scentsy is a home based business - self employed.  So a LOT of things can be written off...

SO - how do I keep track of all that?

I LOVE that.

So - here I go - I'm going to click, click, click on - then copy and past that info into a spread sheet and hand it over to my tax preparer. (whom I happen to live with).  He loves how organized I am.   :snort:  Well - maybe he's just glad he doesn't have to do it alone.  Or he's glad for the write offs.  Or he's glad for the refund...  your guess is as good as mine.

So - Do you use Mint?  I love it...  let me count the ways.

I don't use a checkbook register any longer.
Debit card receipts don't get lost.
I can track EVERYONE'S credit card usage with this thing.  (well - everyone that has a card in this household... not everyone in the whole world).
If I have labeled things correctly, tax time is easy peasy.
It makes me look smart, and orderly.
It's free.
I can put my budget on there and it lets me know if I'm with in budget.
It's secure.
It helps me track my saving goals.
It's accurate.
It lets me know if I have extra funds to direct toward debt payoffs.
Did I mention it makes me look smart.

So - taxes done?  check...  Whew, what a good feeling that is.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Awww... wonderful

Library Thing - it's wonderful.  My own personal card catalog - right in the palm of my hand.

Several years ago - I started entering our books unto Library thing.  Then another time - I sorted all the books, and labeled them with the Dewey Decimal number.  Fiction separate from non-fiction.  Fiction in order by author's last name.

Today was a funny day - hubby came home from work - ranting and raving that nothing got done... I've failed to train the children, blah, blah, blah... but I felt at peace - because all 488 books in my home library are in order.  All shelved.  (not labeled, but I lost track of those right now - so that's for another day).  So - all is not right with the world - but boy, do I feel wonderful.

What makes you feel wonderful?

Some things that I think tell us the most about others are their photographs, and the books they read.  Are you on  Do you share your card catalog with friends?  I'd love to see your book shelves... even virtually.  I use my tablet - scan the little thingy on the back of the book - then library thing uses that ISBN code and looks the book up on and I say, "Yeah or Nay", if I say yes, it adds that information to my library.  Very coo.... most new books have a dewey decimal number assigned already, automatically.  Well - I'm a collector of old vintage books, or I really like using old books for school - so often times I'll have to research if I want a dewey decimal number assigned to a book.  But I'm willing to do that.

So - if you use Library Thing Friend me.  (please)  If you use something - please share...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I just learned a trick.  Some lady was talking about doing this on the radio - I'm going to steal her idea.  I'm going to keep the cards that people sent us this season.  I've got a cute little box I keep them in... I'm going to put that box in the dining room.  I received a few cards via e-mail and Facebook.. I think I'll print those pictures off and include them in the pile.

Each meal we usually start with prayer, thanking God for the food.

I'm going to grab a Christmas Card off of the top of the pile and pray for that family during prayer.

Thank you to all who thought of us this season - we hope to repay you by praying for you through out the year.

We love you - and cherish your friendship! 

May God bless you this year. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

THE JOHNSTONS: 2012 in Review

The Johnstons

We didn't send out a Christmas card this year. (I don't remember the last year we did, actually).  I seem to get overwhelmed BEFORE Christmas... but look - we got a good family snapshot - so I'll share it with your AFTER Christmas.  This is a New Years Day Letter.  Maybe I'll start a new tradition.

This photo was taken at Grace Baptist Church, in Chariton, IA, on December 23, 2012.  I LOVE this church and my church family.  It's a wonderful thing.  So - I'll start on the left of the photo and work my way over.

1. Me, Jennifer - 42 years old, and I feel every bit of that age.  I've had a life changing year this year.  I went to some counseling at Freedom Ministries, in Illinois, in April of 2012. That was amazing stuff.  I really learned a lot about myself.  Since then I have been praying differently - really trying to hear what God is saying specifically to me.  I've tried to teach my children how to pray this way.  I think it has clicked with a few.  I need to be diligent with my spiritual training with them.  Keep on keeping on.  I've read amazing books this year.  Wow - I just can not express enough how God is working in my life.

Since I've learned something about myself... I've made changes.  I have sold my Scentsy business.  I LOVE Scentsy, still use it, plan on having a party in January, but I don't sell it anymore.  One reason is time - I am a full time home educator.  5 students.  Some require more of my time then others... but 5 - I needed more time to devote to them.  This is my true full time job.  Speaking of students... let's move on.  That will change the subject from all the other areas in my life that I still struggle with like my weight, my hair,  and time management.

2. Victoria - 17 years old.  This past year she ran in track for Knoxville High School, in Knoxville IA.  Indoor season, then out door season.  She had an eventful summer with a missions trip.  Working R.A.G.B.R.A.I..  Then Cross Country season started directly after that.  Now she's concentrating on school work until Indoor Track season starts up again.  She is in her junior year of high school. She doesn't require much attention from me for school - although I review her work, and am a sounding board.

She goes in to Knoxville High School every day to sing with the Concert Choir.  I love that for her.  I wish I could do it.  I live vicariously through her... singing and learning in that wonderful choir, under the direction of Mrs. Duffy.  It's amazing.

She still loves to fix her hair.  She is considering becoming a cosmetologist in the future.  One more year of school to get through, then she'll begin that journey.

3. Wayne - 7 years old.  He is a 1st grader.  He'd rather do anything but school.  He still says, "I can't read."  We are still working through that book "How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons."  Depends upon your child if it is easy or not.  Still plugging away.  He would rather do math.  He would really rather play outside.  Or wrestle.  He is going to wrestling practice once a week, and entering some wrestling tournaments and drags his dad along.  Wait... that may be the other way around.

4. Milo - 11 years old.  Milo is a collector.  One thing he collects is pocket knives.  He may expand.  He asked for a hatchet yesterday.  I said, "I'll let you buy that when you are with your dad."  Oh my... boys.  I didn't have any brothers - and I'm not a boy... so I do a lot of reading about them.  He is doing well with his piano lessons - THAT I know about.  I hope he never quits.  I love listening to him practice the piano.  He is in 5th grade this school year.  We are learning in history about the Romans right now.  From Rome to the Reformation is the time period we will cover this year, and we are using the My Father's World curriculum.  Interesting stuff.  I can't wait to get back to it... one more week of break, then back at it for a while.
5. Mansel - 13 years old.  He is my busiest child.  Always involved in something.  7th grade is the year I have them try every sport because it's free through the public school.  He went out for football for the first time this fall, and cross country as well.  He didn't run at every meet, but did make it to 3.  He improved in football a lot.  Going from "yard football" in knowledge to starting on the offensive line the last game to cover for a starter who got injured.  That was a fun experience.  Now he is wrestling for the Knoxville Middle School team, which he knows, as he has wrestled since he was in Kindergarten.  He needs to know more.  He is a big 7th grader, so he wrestles the more experienced 8th graders often times.  Next sport.  Track, then baseball... fun year.  He is going through the Further Up, Further In, Narnia unit study for school this year.  Reading is right up his alley... he has read these books over and over again. I need to have him help me organize the book shelves in the Den with me, so he can "discover" some new reading material. Avid reader - praise the Lord for that.

6. Danielle - 9 years old.  We call her Dani most times.  Which only gets confusing when we go home to Dan's house - and they still call him Danny.  He's a grown up at our house and at work and church, where he gets called Dan.  Anyway... Dani loves life.  And most of the time it loves her back.  She is a sensitive little girl... figuring her way around in this family.  As a 3rd grader she is in her 2nd year of Patch the Pirate Club at church.  She LOVES to get the drama parts which are offered each month... sometimes she will memorize a part ahead of time and ASK for it.  She likes that attention.  So she has a good mind, and is a hard worker.  She likes hanging out with her friends from the Heritage Home Educators (HHE) co-ops that we are a part of this year.   I can't wait for her to get into 7th grade.  She's going to be a runner as well...  that is my favorite type of sport to watch; cross country and track and field.

7. Dan - last but not least... the Patriarch of our family.  He still works at Pella Corporation - which has down sized quit a bit in the past few years, but he keeps having a job to go to.  For THAT I am grateful.  It pays the bills, and a few extras, like wrestling club.  He is taking Wayne and Mansel to wrestling practices once a week, then to as many tournaments as he can afford.  He is the manager of our yard, keeping the swimming pool clean for the kiddos in the summer, mowing the grass.  Cutting the wood that we burn for heat in the winter.  I sit here in a cozy home while it's in the single digits outside... not worrying about the heat bit one bit.  And our cars are usually purring like cats all the time.  One has a broken mirror right now - but that's due to icy roads and inexperienced drivers, not low maintenance.  He'll get that fixed before long - and all will be right with the world.

I appreciate you staying and reading about our family.  If you would - you could use this as a prayer list, and pray for us as often as the Holy Spirit brings us to your mind.  Ahead of us are times of great spiritual growth, and educational milestones that need to be met.  Character training is a constant thing around here.  Pray that I have the wisdom I need to keep these kids feet on the path of Holiness. That's my plea... you may need to call Dan, and see how he wants you to pray.

Thank you for all you do for our family.  Some donate time, money, most pray - and some I'll never know.  Thank You, Thank You, as I can't walk this journey alone!