Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I love Archery

I've written to you in the past about archery and our boys.  Truth is, I love to shoot my bow.  A few years ago, the Big Dog got me a used bow that I can shoot.  It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.  Now, when Daddy and the boys go to shoot their bows, I get mine out and shoot it as well.  Actually, Big Mac doesn't like it too much when I shoot because I get very quiet.  If you ask my family, they will tell you that I don't get quiet too often.  But shooting my bow makes me quiet, and contemplative.  When I'm finished shooting, I am always very much at peace.  Here's why:

Shooting a compound bow at a 14x14 paper target 20 yards away takes quite a bit of concentration and focus.  At any other time, my mind does not concentrate or focus on one thing.  If I am doing laundry, I am thinking about the lessons I need to prepare for the boys, or the spreadsheet I need to work on for work, or the meal I need to begin cooking, or the cobwebs that need swept from the ceiling, or the floor that needs swiffered, oh wait, was that the puppy whining?  Does he need to go out?  What am I going to give the boys for afternoon snack?  I didn't make anything over the weekend for a treat.  Did I remember to RSVP to that wedding shower?  I need to get the music ready to play for my neice's wedding.  I haven't talked to my girlfriend in a while, maybe I should give her a call... and on and on and on.


When shooting, the only thing I can think of in order to shoot well is my form and that target.  My mind clears and I am focusing on the yellow circle at the center of the bull's eye.  I am focusing on the form my body is taking as I pull back the bow.  I am thinking about the steps I've learned to make an accurate shot.  All those other thoughts, work, homeschooling, housekeeping, are pushed out of the way as I focus on the things most important for that moment.

And when I come away from shooting my bow, I am totally at peace.  My mind isn't racing.  I am relaxed.  It's hard to describe, but it is this attitude that creeps out our oldest son.  I'm quiet.

So, how does that translate into real life?  Well, I'm sure you can make the translation just as well as I can.  Where are we focusing?  Are we focusing on the one true thing, Jesus Christ?  Or is our focus all over the place.  When our hearts are pointed straight at the target of the Lord, then maybe we can find that peace that we all seek.  If everything that we are, our hands, our heads, our backs, our legs, are focused on that one thing, serving and worshiping our creator, then maybe we can come away with that same quiet soul that I have after spending time on the archery range.

I want to lead that quiet life that Timothy talked about in chapter 2.  But I so often find my body and mind at odds with that quiet peaceful life.  I can totally relate to Paul when he says, "That which I do not want to do I do."  Romans 7:15.  I want to live this peaceful, focused life.  But I find my mind in turmoil more often than not.  I found a line in The Valley of Vision that so aptly describes what I feel, "The thought of Thine infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but Thou art for ever at perfect peace."  (Resting on God, page 234) So when you struggle for peace, what's a girl to do?

Well, in archery, I'm learning all the proper steps to pulling back and holding my bow.  I have to stand a certain way and hold my arms a certain way.  I have to focus on my form.  And then, when I'm ready to aim and shoot, my sole focus is the yellow center of the target.  All other thoughts are pushed out as I keep my eye trained on that yellow spot with the black x. 

So what are the proper steps for living a life of peace.  Well, we need to spend time daily in the Word, and in prayer and worship.  We need to be sure that those things are the spine of our day.  I've been thoroughly enjoying Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  This book is a treasure and it reminds the reader that one of our focuses HAS to be gratitude.  Let's add that to the spine of our day:  prayer, worship, The Word, and gratitude.  With those in place, then we can put all of our focus for the rest of the day on the Lord as our bullseye.  I like to call Him the Lord because it reminds me that He is in charge.  He is Lord over my life..not me.

I'm not saying, at all, that I am able to focus each day like I should.  But I think I can learn a lesson from archery and begin to carry it over into my every day life.  So let's get out those prayer journals, bibles, gratitude journals, and worship CDs. And let's get our focus on!  Let's find that focused peace

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Million Things to Do with Your Kids...Part 2

If you missed my first installment, check it out here.  Continuing...

26.  Go for a stream hike.  Put on an old pair of sneakers and take a walk in a creek.  I suggest plastic containers so you can collect critters or cool rocks.  Just follow the stream as you would a trail.

27.  Make edible playdough.  I don't care how old you are, you're never too old for playdough.

28.  Volunteer.  We just finished up being the helpers for 5 weeks at the summer story hour at the library.  We took advantage of this program when the boys were small and this year was our time to give back and be helpers for all the little people.

29.  Go to the drive-ins.  There are 3 drive-ins within an hour of our house.  Our guys have wonderful memories of these last few years piling into the van with our pillows, sleeping bags and snacks and taking in two feature movies on a summer's night.  It's great memory building time.

30.  Listen to music.  I listen to what they like (right now, rap) and they listen to what I like.  I just reviewed a new CD that's a lot of fun.

31.  Walk the mall.  I always have fun when we go to the mall and I just let the boys lead.  I watch the things they're attracted to.  We talk so much about styles and interests.  We rarely buy anything, but it's a ton of fun for me.

32.  Paint a "real" picture.  I bought a cheap canvas and let the boys loose with our acryllic paints.  They loved it.

33.  Shoot archery.  This is one of our family's favorite activities.  Maybe yours would enjoy it too?  I'm not very athletic at all but I thoroughly enjoy shooting my bow.

34.  Make a fort in the living room.  Even at almost 15 and 13 our boys will still make a huge living room fort on occasion.  I let them move furniture and take all the cushions off the sofas.  Of course, they have to put it all back where it was when play time is over.

35. Learn origami.  We learned a new orgami fold each week at the library summer story hour.  It's fun to be able to fold your church bulletin into something cool by heart.

36.  Go out for icecream.  We have found an ice cream spot that is a bit of a country drive, but we are making lots of summer memories taking our drive.

37.  Read a book.  Here's what we are reading as a family right now.  As we finish supper, I read a chapter.  If we're going out for ice cream, Big Mac reads to us.  (I get sick when I read in the car)  We always have a family chapter-book going.

38.  Write a poem.  You can write a big poem as a family or each of you can write your own.

39. Learn to knit.  I've never gotten the Big Dog to knit, but the boys both learned a basic knit stitch.

40.  Take a trip.  Half of our family lives in Minnesota.  We live in Pennsylvania.  It takes us two and a half days to drive to MN for a visit.  Actually the drive is a great part of the trip.  We listen to books on tape.  We give the boys special treats and surprises every few hours.  We play travel games.

41.  Have a game day.

42.  Have a yard sale.

43. Go yard saling.

44.  Go to a thrift store on half price day and let them try on everything they like, or pick up a new-to-them toy or game.

45. Watch a tv show from your childhood and tell your son or daughter about why you liked it.

46.  Go to grandpa's house and have him tell a story from his youth.  If you don't have a grandparent nearby, find a surrogate grandpa at a local retirement home.

47.  Play the guess who game?  We think of a person, maybe someone in the family, or a well-known person, and everyone else gets to ask us questions to try and guess the person.

48.  Go to a historical reenactment.  Our favorites have been Williamsburg, VA; the renaissance faire, and Gettysburg, PA.

49. Paint rocks.  when we had a friend over for a few days, we picked up rocks in the driveway and painted them to make critters.  I still have the rock I painted when I was in summer camp as a child.

50.  Make a photo book.  Either put some pictures into an albumn (I've picked up some beautiful albumns at the thrift store) or do one of those cool photo books at the photo kiosks at drugstores or on line.

Want to contribute to this list?  I'd love some help actually getting to a million.  Give me some entry ideas and I'll give YOU the credit!  Leave a comment with your addition to "A Million Things to Do with your Kids!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And the winner is...

Last week I told you about a new CD by Robert Pierre.  In that post I announced a giveaway on one of his CD's, "I'm All In."  Well, today, we have picked a winner!

And the winner is...

Yep!  It's Ginny!  Propeller will be sending you a copy of Robert Pierre's new CD, "I'm All In!"  I know you and the kids will enjoy it.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Blogging

Hey!  I'm guest blogging over at New Leaf Publishing today!  Check out what I wrote about "Life of John Newton." 

I received a copy of "Life of John Newton" from Master Books/New Leaf Publishing in order to complete this honest review.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Make Plans for Family Movie Night

We got the opportunity to preview the upcoming family movie night feature, "Who is Simon Miller" this week.  I must advise that you all make plans to watch it this Saturday on NBC.  This was a fun family adventure.  It's full of action and intrigue.  Our whole family loved it.

Watch of trailer of this action-packed adventure here

As a family, we love movie nights.  I've shared with you in the past about our love of technology around here.  Well, our movie collection is a testament to our love of family movie time.  "Who is Simon Miller?" did not disappoint us.  It's about a man who is the father of two children and the husband of one wife, but also an internatinal spy.  Of course, his family doesn't know about his secret life as a spy.  What unfolds is intersting and keeps you guessing almost to the end.

Although the movie is an action adventure movie, there is minimal violence.  A gun is shown during  a scene, but a gun is never shot during the entire movie.  There are plenty of chase scenes and a skirmish or two, but no fist fights.  So this is definitely a family-friendly action movie.

There is a theme to this movie.  The them is "trust."  Trust is an issue between parent and child, friend to friend, spouse to spouse, and co-worker to co-worker in "Who is Simon Miller?"  But the theme is not over done or sappy.

As movie buffs we are not fans of the overly dramatic movies.  We, as a family, don't enjoy sad movies.  Life is sad enough, we don't want to be saddened by our entertainment.  SO, all that being said, "Who is Simon Miller?" kept us entertained, made us think about trust, and engaged us in the characters, without making us sad.  That's a win-win-win in this house.

Mark your calendar.  Pop your popcorn.  Grab the afghan.  And watch "Who is Simon Miller?"  Saturday night, 8 PM est, on NBC.  You'll be glad you did.