My Life Documented Monday #14

My Life Documented Mondays #14 {Free Printable Journal Cards each Week!} @ AVirtuousWoman.org

My Life Documented Monday

How have you been? We have had a wonderful couple of weeks! It started a week ago Sunday when Hannah had her first ice skating competition where she won first and second place medals.

I FINALLY received the CD we purchased with the professionally done photographs of her performance. I’m still waiting on the DVD! However, the photographs came with no copyright so I can make as many copies as I want and share them with you all here.

So I just had to share a couple. You can see all of the ones I posted on my Facebook page if you are wanting to see more.

Ice Skating @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Ice Skating @ AVirtuousWoman.org

We were at the ice rink this Wednesday for practice and I’m telling you, it’s like every time she gets out there you can see improvement. She works so hard at it. So on Wednesday, her arabesques were so pretty! I mean the improvement was pretty amazing – and the arabesque is an advanced level skill. I know, I’m her mom, and totally biased, but I have to share this 15 second Instagram video with you anyway. I hope you’re not too bored!


Did you see how high she got her leg up?

Two or three weeks ago when she was practicing this I was standing there watching her and she leaned just a little too far forward and her toe pick caught on the ice and she went down flat on her face. Scared me to death! But she got right back up and kept going! It’s really the only time I’ve seen her fall attempting this move. Falling like that would have killed me.

Anyway, so that was last week. Then this weekend we had Laura and Emily’s music recitals. They’ll be playing again at the Spring on Cloverlick Art Festival where I’m hoping Emily will when the Art Scholarship!

Here’s the video Laura’s violin performance from my Facebook page:

That piece is called Spanish Violin. Beautiful, huh? She’s been playing for just over a year now.

I’ll share Emily’s piece when she plays at the Spring on Cloverlick {and may just share Laura’s performance from the art festival too}.

Free Printable Journal Cards for Project Life

My Life Documented Mondays #14 {Free Printable Journal Cards each Week!} @ AVirtuousWoman.org

How to Download

  1. Follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram if you can. Or Pinterest. Thanks!
  2. Download the .pdf file for Because He Lives Journal Cards here.

Document the Everyday

Instagram is my other favorite tool for keeping memories alive. It’s free and easy to sign up. If you do get an Instagram account, I’d love to have you follow me @thevintagehomemaker!



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Letting Go of Expectations

Letting Go of Expectations @ AVirtuousWoman.org

If you haven’t already, you might want to read:


Life is a series of choices. Each day we wake up and choose to do what we do. Okay, so sometimes not everything that happens is within our ability to choose. No one chooses to have a flat tire or an overflowed toilet.

For a long time I was frustrated – and I’m not sure frustrated is a strong enough word – that my life was out of my control. It often seems like our family – because of extenuating circumstances beyond our control – moves from crisis to crisis. It’s one thing after another, after another.

We have a large extended family who often need my help or my husband’s help. And when I say often – I’m talking on a near daily basis. My husband and I are stable and able to take care of ourselves and others. We have family members who have struggled financially, who aren’t able to drive, who have major health problems, and more. And everyone of them 14 people to be exact} relies on us for something – and all those somethings require the one thing that is most important – our time.

Up until last year my husband and I were the sole caretakers for his 88 year old MIL, his 88 year old step father, his 87 year old Uncle, and his 61 year old brother who was terminally and mentally ill. Not one of these precious people could drive a car and everyone of them had doctor’s appointments – often two hours away on almost a weekly basis.

And every time Uncle Kenneth is home alone I would have to go and sit with him – 2 to 3 times a week for anywhere between 4 – 8 hours a day because he can’t be left alone.

Add on top of that two grown and married kids who live close to us who have struggled to  make ends meet and only have one car each. I am often responsible for driving the wives to doctor’s appointments or helping with other needs including babysitting grand kids a few times a week.

Add on top of that, the crisis after crisis that some unnamed family members have gone through – sometimes because of just plain bad luck and other times because of just poor choices – which required either my husband or I to help in some way – sometimes on a weekly basis.

Add on top of that the three churches my husband pastors… and the fact that I am a homeschooling mom with three horses, three dogs, and two cats {and numerous other animals over the years}. Add onto all of that – I’m responsible for maintaining the household chores, laundry, cooking, and day to day cleaning.

And then there’s A Virtuous Woman which I’ve been running since 2001 – that alone is just about a full time job!

Not to mention the fact that all of the holidays and any other special occasion is held at my house… and I cook for 20 family members on a regular basis.

I don’t think any of that description of my life really does it justice! I’m telling you – I’ve been exhausted caring for so many people for so many years with no real relief in sight.

Mykal’s brother died two years ago. And last year his step father passed away. Things changed a little since then. I no longer have to take care of his brother Steve’s medication daily. And Mykal no longer has to drive the two of them to doctor’s appointments each week among other things – and we think about them everyday. We miss them! But we are still soooo busy caring for everyone else.

So… maybe you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this.

About a year ago I began telling people I could no longer do certain things. And I’ve learned to say no to a lot. Not because I don’t want to help or that I don’t care – but my plate has been too full for too long. I went through some serious burn out. And I lost my joy.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s important when everything seems important.

One day last summer I got out my journal and I wrote down a list of boundaries. It was a detailed list. By writing that list I learned what was important to me and where I drew the line. You see, sometimes because I’m nice and I love people – I allow them to take advantage of me. It was a real problem.

I read an article last summer that changed my life. I can’t remember now where, but it said something to this effect:

People take advantage of us when we fail to tell the truth in love.

So for instance, maybe someone would ask me to do something, but I honestly did not have time, but because I’m nice and because I love these people, I would panic in my head, put a smile on my face, and agree.

What I should have done was lovingly explain that I honestly did not have time in my already overflowing schedule. Because by doing more and more and more – I just felt more stress and more unhappiness.

So, back to my point: Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s important when everything seems important.

So I had to make some decisions – what was really important to me. What was it God wanted me to do with my time?

I decided that my home, my husband, and my children were my top priorities. Everything else was secondary.

Now obviously, I still have a 89 year old MIL who has not been doing well at all over the last few months. I still have my husband’s uncle who needs care and I have to cook for everyday. And I still have grand kids who I have to babysit several times a week all day long so their parents can make some money – and they cannot afford a babysitter.

I still have kids I have to homeschool and a house I have to take care of. And really a million other things that come up on a weekly basis that need my attention.

But I say no when I need to. To whatever needs come up.

I give myself permission to have days where I do nothing more than snuggle in the bed with my kids or read a book when I feel I need rest. And I don’t feel guilty for resting.

And probably the biggest relief to me has been that I let go of my expectations. One of my biggest – and I mean this was HUGE – frustrations was that I homeschool and there was so much chaos – that I did not create – from other family members pulling on my time – that the last several years I could not have my kids on a schedule for school and we couldn’t get into a good routine.

I like routine. I really, really, like routine. It helps me plan and organize my day.

So, we would do school whenever we could find time during the day – often in the evenings. And it drove me crazy because in my mind that’s not what our homeschool {our life} was supposed to look like.

I wanted the perfect life and none of this stuff that was beyond my control fit into that ideal image.

Since I let go of my expectations – I’ve learned to live. Live fully in the moment. Embracing imperfection. Finding joy in the moment instead of the culminations of days, weeks, months, and years. I’ve been set free.

I’ve let go of the stress. Really, I’ve stopped trying to control things. I don’t stress over when we do school. We get it done – just not in a traditional way. I don’t stress over the house cleaning schedule because it eventually gets done – just to need doing again tomorrow. I don’t stress over grumpy days. I don’t stress over busy days.

At least most of the time.

I only have this one life. ONE LIFE. I don’t get a do over! So it’s my choice to live THIS LIFE full of joy in the moment.

Do you need to let go of expectations?



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12 Little Blessings Board Book Giveaway

12 Little Blessings Book Review and Giveaway PLUS a Free Printable Lamb Craft! @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Really Woolly’s 12 Little Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

UPDATE: The winner is Heather N! Congratulations!

Just in time for Easter! This sweet little board book from Tommy Nelson and Dayspring is the perfect gift for your little one.

I’ve been talking a lot lately about counting your blessings – it’s important for moms too!

12 Little Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen teaches young children more than just numbers!

From the back of the book:

Learning to count is so much fun when you’re counting God’s blessings – from twelve down to one! Read along as the playful characters of Really Woolly teach young hearts to see these many gifts from God while also learning to count!

Soft, sweet rhymes, a Bible verse, and a prayer of praise plant God’s Word in your little one’s heart… a reminder that God is the giver of every good thing.

Free Printable Lamb Craft for Toddlers

Free Printable Lamb Craft for Toddlers @ AVirtuousWoman.org

How to Print and Use

  1. Follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram if you can. Or Pinterest. Thanks!
  2. Download the .pdf file for the Lamb Craft here.
  3. Print page onto cardstock. Help your child add glue and cotton balls to the lamb.
  4. Count how many cotton balls you used.
  5. Can you name that many blessings?

12 Little Blessings Book Review and Giveaway PLUS a Free Printable Lamb Craft! @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Now, about the giveaway. You can win your own copy of 12 Little Blessing by Bonnie Rickner Jensen. Here’s how to enter:

How to Win Your Own Copy

Enter to win your very own copy of 12 Little Blessings! Giveaway ends April 11 at 8pm.

There are 5 ways to enter:

{PLEASE NOTE: leave a separate comment for each entry – i.e. go follow and come back to comment.}

  1. Follow me on Facebook
  2. Follow me on Instagram
  3. Follow me on Twitter
  4. Follow Tommy Nelson on Facebook
  5. Answer the question below.

You can purchase 12 Little Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen on Amazon.com.

How do you make sure your kids know of all of God’s blessings?



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