February – The Life Giving Home Discussion {Link Up}

Welcome to our monthly discussion of The Life Giving Home (take 2)! Today we will be discussing the February chapters in both the book and study guide. If have not had a chance to read them feel free to catch up and join the discussion later! If you don’t yet have the books click below to order them:

Get The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. (Click the images to go to Amazon)

 

A Life Giving Home book discussion and link up

 

How this study works:

  1. On the last Friday of each month, I will post my overall thoughts on the chapter for the upcoming month and what suggestions from that chapter I plan to try. I will also share how things are going with previous ideas I have tried.
  2. In our Facebook Book Club, we will discuss the chapter in more detail and work through the questions in the study guide.
  3. I will check in with everyone weekly in the book club group to see how we are all doing implementing suggestions from the book.
  4. You can also interact in the comments to discuss your thoughts on the chapter and/or link up your own blog post discussing the chapter using the linky.

 

Update from Last Month:

The year has started off a bit crazy. We have had a very busy month and didn’t accomplish as much in our schedules and routines as I had hoped. That said, we have fallen into at least somewhat better morning and bedtime routines. I’m still working on getting in the habit of offering my children a morning blessing – words of encouragement do not come naturally to me but I’m working on fixing that. I have listed out all of my activities and prioritized them and created an ideal schedule to work towards following. I don’t expect most days to fit the ideal but it gives me a structure to work within.

I am slowly and steadily working on my other goals but, as expected, they take time and won’t happen overnight.

My Thoughts on February:

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Sally chooses to focus on love in the month of February. I have to admit I’m a bit of a scrooge when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It isn’t that I’ve had bad experiences or anything has caused me to dislike the holiday, it has just always felt like an overcommercialized thing where people are convinced to spend a bunch of money on junk to “show their love.” I prefer to show (and receive) love throughout the year in unexpected and authentic ways. 

But, I can see how this could be made to be a special and memorable time for my kids, especially after Sally describes the different things she has done with her kids for Valentine’s. I still doubt I will make a huge deal out of it but I do like some of her ideas and, of course, ways to show love can and should be incorporated all year.

I love how Sally describes our love for our children as a way to open their hearts to the love of God. She also reiterates the importance of affirming and encouraging words and admonishes us to focus on what really matters!

Next, Sally discusses good manners. She says “the true heart of good manners is treating people with respect and showing them honor through the ways we behave.” I love this definition and will be teaching it to my children. Good manners aren’t about making OURSELVES look good, but about showing honor to OTHERS. She also talks about how honoring others teaches us (and our children) to honor God by building pathways in our brain for honor and humility. Sally then goes on to talk about practical ways she taught her kids manners, tips I will definitely be using in my family.

The next section discusses Love Languages. I love The Five Love Languages books and highly recommend them to others. The concept of love languages has been transformational in how I understand and relate to those around me. Sally lists some other ways to “speak” love that can be incorporated into how you interact with your kids, spouse, friends, and extended family. I have also found that teaching my children about love languages can help them better understand how to treat others.

Birthdays is the next topic of discussion. This is something I need to get better at. I am trying to think up some birthday traditions we can incorporate into our family. Right now we have a fun day out with dinner at a restaurant of the birthday child’s choosing on a day close to the birthday when everyone can be together. On the actual day, the birthday child chooses all of the meals and is exempt from chores and school work for the day. I would like to come up with a few more ideas to make the day special.

There are a few other ideas in the rest of the chapter for ways to show love in your family. I really like the idea of “teatime discipleship.” Everything in this chapter can be summed up with the idea of showing love by spending time, honoring those around you, and being generous with words of affirmation.

One quote in the chapter really hit home for me: “Machines may have distracted you from those who long for your attention every day but have become accustomed to your passivity in their lives.” My prayer is that my kids and husband do not ever become accustomed to my passivity in their lives. I need to make more of an effort to show active engagement, interest, and presence in their lives on a daily basis. I am putting some strict boundaries in place for myself in regards to computer and phone use to accomplish this.

My Life Giving Goals for February:  

  • Continue working on giving my kids a daily morning blessing.
  • Continue working on our schedules, routines, and household organization.
  • Cut down on my computer and phone time and keep those to designated times of the day.
  • Brainstorm new ways to make birthdays special.
  • Teach my kids to honor others with their manners using Sally’s “Stop, Look, Listen” method and list of manners.
  • Cut out colorful paper hearts and write a child’s name and words of affirmation on each one and hide them where that child will find them throughout the month of February.

 

Your Turn:

Share your thoughts on the January Chapters of The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. You have 3 ways to share:

  1. Here on the blog in a comment
  2. In the Facebook Book Club Group
  3. On your own blog via the Link-up below

 

A Life Giving Home book discussion and linkup

 

Link-up Rules:

  • ONLY link-up a post that discusses the January chapter of The Life Giving Home book.
  • Copy and past the linkup button into your post or blog sidebar (or at least create a text link back to this post).
  • Visit at least one other post in the link-up.
  • (Optional) Share this post on Social Media to spread the word!
A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up



Facebook Discussion:

I am hosting a Facebook discussion group for this study. We will delve deeper into the book and discuss the study guide. We can keep each other accountable and encourage each other in our goals and efforts in creating our own Life Giving Homes. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Next Month:

I will post my thoughts on the March chapter and what ideas I plan to try on February 23rd. 

Announcing: The Book Club! (Invitation, Schedule, and First Book)

As you know, I am hosting a study of The Life Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson both here on the blog and in a Facebook group. Starting in February I am also officially kicking off my book club. We will study one book every two months focusing on the themes of motherhood, marriage, and homemaking. It will take place in the same Facebook group as The Life Giving Home discussion. You can choose to participate in as many or few of the studies as suits you.

Motherhood, Homemaking, and marriage book club February and March book A Woman's High Calling by Elizabeth George

The goal of this book club is to study good books by Christian women whose writings are scripturally based in order to gain new insights and ideas to improve in our various roles as women of God. We are discussing them together in order to challenge, inspire, encourage, and hold each other accountable.

I agonized for a while on which books to include and how to pace the studies. I finally settled on two months per book as the right amount of time to study a good number of book and not get overwhelmed. I have a long and ever-growing list of books that would fit the goals for this group and it was quite difficult to narrow it to five for 2018. I don’t have anything scheduled for December because that is a very busy month for most people but we can always decide to add something in as the year progresses.

Here are my selections and schedule for 2018:

February and March: A Woman’s High Calling by Elizabeth George

April and May: Lies Moms Believe and how the Gospel Refutes Them by Rebekah Hargraves (physical book and study guide will be released March 30 so we will begin the second week of Aprilcheck out my review of this one.) 

June and July: Blessing Your Husband by Debra Evans

August and September: The Life Giving Table by Sally Clarkson (and The Life Giving Table Experience study guide) 

October and November: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch

I will also occasionally reference A Gracious Space by Julie Bogart (of Brave Writer). This series of books, which are tailored to each season of the year, have wonderful, short, uplifting entries to provide encouragement and inspiration for a mom’s soul. I don’t read mine every day but pick it up when I need a quick bit of refreshment. When I do and find something I think will uplift others I will share that in the book club. Feel free to get your own copy and share what stands out to you.

 

 

A bit about our first book: A Woman’s High Calling by Elizabeth George

I have not yet read this book; I will be reading it along with everyone else but want to give you a brief synopsis of what it is about. In this book, Elizabeth George suggests that there are ten essential areas that every woman should be focused on. She believes focusing on these will help to simplify life, bring you closer to God, and lead to a more fulfilling life. The ten areas she believes are most important are; wisdom, Godly speech, love of husband, love of children, ministry to others, purity, personal discipline, goodness, Godly behavior, and love of home. The book contains two chapters for each of these essentials. The first explains what it means and why it is important and the second gives practical tips on how to put it into practice in your own life.

I have the older version of this book. I am getting the study guide so that we can use that as well. The newer version (linked above) has the study guide included within the book.

Schedule for A Woman’s High Calling:

  • Feb 4-10  Introductions and Chapters 1-2
  • Feb 11-17 Chapters 3-5
  • Feb 18-24 Chapters 6-8
  • Feb 25- March 3 Chapters 9-11
  • March 4-10 Chapters 12-14
  • March 11-17 Chapters 15-17
  • March 18-24 Chapters 18-20
  • March 25-31 Wrap up and further discussion

This schedule is when I will post discussion questions and thoughts about each chapter. You are welcome to participate in each discussion as you are able. The threads won’t close or disappear so if you join later or get behind just jump in when you can.

Motherhood, Homemaking, and marriage book club February and March book A Woman's High Calling by Elizabeth George

Lies Moms Believe will begin in April. Since the physical book and study guide don’t release until March 30th, we will not begin discussing the chapters until April 8th but may do some introductions the first week in April. Plan to order your copy asap or get the digital copy!

*Note: It is likely we will not all agree with everything in all of these book selections. These are books written by flawed humans just like us. We are reading and discussing with the intent of learning and growing but should always measure everything against scripture ourselves and discern through our own reading and prayer if what the author says is in line with God’s word. Kind, healthy, peaceful debate is welcome in the book club. Feel free to question something and bring it up in the discussion, just keep that discussion respectful and considerate. 

Join us in the Facebook Book Club Group!

Book club study announcements and schedules will be posted here on the blog. I will also post a review of the books we study when the study is completed but most of the actual discussion will happen in the book club Facebook group. 

January – A Life Giving Home Discussion {Link-up}

Welcome to the first monthly discussion of The Life Giving Home (take 2)! I hope you had a chance to read the January chapters in both the book and study guide. If not feel free to catch up and join the discussion later! If you don’t yet have the books click below to order them:

Get The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. (Click the images to go to Amazon)

 

A Life Giving Home book discussion and link up

 

How this study works:

  1. On the last Friday of each month, I will post my overall thoughts on the chapter for the upcoming month and what suggestions from that chapter I plan to try. I will also share how things are going with previous ideas I have tried.
  2. In our Facebook Book Club we will discuss the chapter in more detail and work through the questions in the study guide.
  3. I will check in with everyone weekly in the book club group to see how we are all doing implementing suggestions from the book.
  4. You can also interact in the comments to discuss your thoughts on the chapter and/or link up your own blog post discussing the chapter using the linky.

 

My Thoughts:

Sally describes the new year as a new start, a clean slate, out with the old and in with the new! I agree with this and am excited about a fresh start in a new year. That said I tend to take the approach of wipe the slate clean and plan out a whole new schedule and routine and new ways of doing things and attempt to implement it all on January first. It took me quite a few falls flat on my face to get through my head that making changes that way rarely works. So this year I am making new plans and goals for changes in the rhythm, routine, and culture of our family but I will be implementing them very slowly, one or two changes at a time until they become habit and routine. I expect it will take most of the year to start seeing the changes in myself and in my family that I hope to see. I am learning to be ok with that and am just making a list of things to work toward….slowly. Sally also describes the culture of home as a garden that needs to be planned, cultivated, and worked. Gardens require a lot of work before you see the fruit of that labor. Sometimes it takes weeks or months to see the results of your work but sometimes it takes a year or more. Berry bushes generally take a couple years to establish themselves enough to bear fruit. Trees can take several years. I am viewing 2018 as a year of planning and cultivating and giving myself permission to slowly and intentionally build our family culture. Starting with the most important things we need to work on and slowly working my way through my list of goals a little at a time.

Sally touches on making plans within the limitations of our current circumstance, strengths, weaknesses, personality and the needs and personalities of our family members. This is another lesson I’m learning. My time is limited, very limited. My children have many and a wide variety of needs and my husband’s job keeps him away often. These and many other circumstances are what I need to keep in mind when setting goals and making plans. If I am overwhelmed and frustrated it is because I have overestimated my time and abilities and it is not fair for my family to suffer because of my own poor planning. Improving in my ability to realistically plan is one of my main goals for this year! One thing I have recently heard many times is that God gives you enough time in a day to accomplish all that HE has set out for you to do (not necessarily all that you want to do). If you can’t get it all done there is something there that doesn’t belong. I’m working on removing the things that don’t belong and focusing on His plan for my life.

Sally goes on to talk about planning and give a variety of suggestions to help in your planning. She then discusses routines and rhythms that we could work on in our homes. Making plans for my family, listing the things I currently do and those I want to do and then prioritizing and choosing based on how much time I actually have is one of my plans for January. I will also be setting up chore lists, our ideal daily schedule or routine and goals for my family. But as I said before I will choose one or two things to work on at a time as we develop new and better habits. I will be starting with working on our bedtime routines (and children staying in bed when they are told) and our morning routines. I think if we establish good rhythms at the beginning and end of each day it will set the tone for the rest of the day. I really want to incorporate Sally’s morning blessing into our day. I think that would really help my children feel loved and start out the day on a positive note. Once we have developed good morning and bedtime routines I will slowly add in many of the other routines Sally recommends.

This year I expect my planning and organizing will take most of the year. For example, I hope to thoroughly declutter my home but I don’t expect to get it done in one month. I also plan to overhaul and streamline my meal planning and grocery shopping but again that may take several months. I am also working on setting up a homemaking binder, another project that may take a while. Hopefully, doing these things slowly, intentionally, thoughtfully, and prayerfully will mean future years’ planning will be easier.

 

 

Your Turn:

Share your thoughts on the January Chapters of The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. You have 3 ways to share:

  1. Here on the blog in a comment
  2. In the Facebook Book Club Group
  3. On your own blog via the Link-up below

 

A Life Giving Home book discussion and linkup

 

Link-up Rules:

  • ONLY link-up a post that discusses the January chapter of The Life Giving Home book.
  • Copy and past the linkup button into your post or blog sidebar (or at least create a text link back to this post).
  • Visit at least one other post in the link-up.
  • (Optional) Share this post on Social Media to spread the word!
A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up



Facebook Discussion:

I am hosting a Facebook discussion group for this study. We will delve deeper into the book and discuss the study guide. We can keep each other accountable and encourage each other in our goals and efforts in creating our own Life Giving Homes. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Next Month:

I will post my thoughts on the February chapter and what ideas I plan to try on January 26th. 

Life Giving Home Study – Take 2

At the beginning of this year, I tried hosting a discussion of Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s book The Live Giving Home here on the blog but for a variety of reasons I discontinued that series. I felt like I was too busy just surviving during my husband’s deployment to do any of the “extras” suggested in the book.

A Life Giving Home book discussion and link up

In the last couple months, I have come to the realization that cultivating the environment and culture in my home should be one of my top priorities, not an afterthought. I would love for others to join me on this journey, so I will once again be hosting a book study of this wonderful book starting in January and following month-by-month with the chapters in the book but with some changes to enhance the discussion.

This book is really inspiring and a little overwhelming. It is full of so many ideas I want to implement in my own home. I love and have gained insight and encouragement from many of Sally’s books and this one is just as great!

The book is written so that each chapter corresponds to a specific month – moving through the whole year. The companion guide, The Life Giving Home Experience, is also organized by month. We will spend 2018 working gradually through both the book and guide month by month, trying out a few ideas from each chapter in our homes, and sharing about our experiences and challenges as well as sharing additional tips and brainstorming solutions together. 

A Life Giving Home book discussion and linkup

We will read each chapter the month before the chapter title and I will post my thoughts on the chapter here the last Friday of the previous month (i.e. I will post my thoughts and plans pertaining to the January chapter the last Friday in December). Starting in the January post I will include how things went implementing the ideas for that month along with my plans for the next month. 

This year, in addition to the discussion here on my blog and a linky for other bloggers who would like to post their thoughts and experiences on The Life Giving Home, I will also have a Facebook group where we will discuss all of this in even more depth. This group will give everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts, plans, and experiences. It will include weekly check-ins on how everyone is doing with their goals and a deeper discussion on The Life Giving Home Experience study guide. (This group will also host a monthly book club beginning in February, stay tuned for more info on that!)

If you would like to participate all you need to do is:

1. Get The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Home Experience. (Click the images to go to Amazon)

2. Read the chapter before the beginning of the month it is written and work through the chapter in the companion guide.

3. Pick a few suggestions to try with your own family.

4. Join the Facebook group.

5. Join me here on the blog the last Friday of the month, read my thoughts and share your own thoughts, what you plan to try, what you tried the previous month, what worked, and what didn’t what didn’t. Join me in the Facebook group weekly for further discussion. 

We will repeat this each month of 2018.

Each post will include a linky for anyone else who plans to blog through this journey with me but the bulk of the conversation will happen in the Facebook group.

 

A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up

The first few chapters of the book are an introduction and overview, I will discuss these along with the January chapter in the first post on December 29th. Please try to read these beginning chapters AND the January by then. 

Join my mailing list below to make sure you don’t miss any posts in this series!

 

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If you plan to join in this study leave a comment and let me know!