4.30.2013

The Day That Got Away (Last Day of National Poetry Month)


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The Day That Got Away

There it was,
there it went.
Where has it gone?
I wish I knew
 but I suspect,
as I stifle back my yawn-
it slipped away, 
my today
never to return
 History,
a mystery 
for which 
now I yearn.
Too late, too short, 
without further adieu,
I bid you sweet farewell
Be gone now, finished,
shoo!
Procrastinated plans,
interruptions in my day,
set me on a treadmill
of multiple delays.

So now I see the clock has ticked it's final tock,
I will hope my tomorrow
wears a more productive frock.

For now I say, Ta-Ta
and I wave my hand goodbye
sweet dreams today,
Tomorrow's my ally.

©Dawn Paoletta-Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith


Originally posted February 3, 2012 on the original day that got away, with a special song added! 

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4.29.2013

Mass Hope Home-School Convention Highlights and Multitudes 2013

Nothing holds back the sista-hood! We are His girls! 

I had planned on attending the Mass Hope Home-School conference ahead of time. I bought the tickets and anticipated going, but other than knowing it would be my first BIG Home - School conference I did nothing to prepare. These days are lived teetering at the edge of a cliff. I walk along this current path, veering straight into joy on some days and other days I wonder if jumping off the edge is a valid option. I listened to those who gave me tips and warned me in advance not to be overwhelmed by the volume of vendors. I anticipated blessings because I was repeatedly told I would be blessed and encouraged if I attended. I asked some sweet sisters to be sure and pray for me at the last minute when I had a rough couple of days. I prayed, and waited like a second string player sitting on the bench awaiting for a turn to play, not really quite sure what to expect once actually in the game.

The day arrived and I was off to the DCU Center in Worcester Massachusetts with my dear friend Natasha, her son and my daughter. We arrived at the hotel, and descended upon that conference center Friday later than planned, yet perfectly on time. You know it's all grace, friends.

How shall I describe it to you? 
Let me see, wall to wall books, books and more books. Needless to say, I was in my very, very happy place. I spent hours perusing the curriculum at the various vendors. I quizzed the reps and volunteers with a myriad of questions, sometimes returning after another question came to my mind. Yeah, I am that person.

I was impressed with a number of the curriculum choices and not overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to check out a few specific vendors based on my own prior experience and exploring. These were Sonlight and My Fathers World.  I had gone to the local Home School conference a month earlier and knew I wanted to check into Classical Conversations, based on a lengthy conversation with a couple of  moms who communicated their satisfaction with the program and patiently answered my multitudes of questions. Although I knew there would be good speakers and topics, a table full of books is tough competition, especially once they are within my reach.

A few notables were A Beka, which I had dismissed somewhat but since my daughter seems to like it - I may be considering implementing it. What appealed to my daughter I think was that it looked like enough work to her. She is quite traditional in her expectation of Home- School and feels secure with specific assignments and structure which A Beka clearly models. I did like the cohesiveness, yet I am not sure if it might be too rigid? I stumbled upon a Language Arts curriculum that completely intrigued me, called Total Language Plus. It utilizes classic literature with a focus on critical thinking and communication skills. Both my daughter and I were very interested in this program and probably will try it (at the least) regardless of what else we choose.

I checked out a couple of other sets of complete/semi-complete curriculum: BJU Press, Freedom Project Education, Tapestry of Grace. Each of those I mention had points or elements I really appreciated.

As I searched for the ever elusive perfect curriculum, God had graciously appointed a meeting to offer guidance, wisdom and perspective. I passed by the Summit Group Testing Preparation booth without much interest but somehow the lovely lady there caught my eye and before I knew it we were discussing everything from her homeschooling empty nest to my own one chick nest with all of it's challenges! The company she represents does both online tutoring as well as in home and in school test preparation for SAT, PSAT, SSAT, ACT tests and more. Linda, as I would come to know her was a wealth of information, grace and truth. Plus she gave me chocolate. Now you know that was a truly divine appointment!

I attended the keynote speaker Bill Jack's excellent presentation Saturday morning and loved it. Bill leads Worldview Academy a kind of leadership camp for youth. His take on "Whatever" and our worldview was eye opening and inspiring. I will never be able to watch Gilligan's Island without thinking of the 7 Deadly Sins. Thanks for that, Mr. Jack! Not that I um, er...watch that show. Ahem.
Also singing Amazing Grace to the tune of the sit com's theme song with an amazing correlating lesson was powerful. You had to be there. Or you can get that CD on the Mass Hope web site at some point if you really want to know. 

I also attended Christopher Perrin's talk on Revolutionary Logic. This was a little rough since it was the last session on Saturday afternoon but I have to admit once he started speaking Latin he had my attention. Fortunately he did not do the whole talk in that language but his comfortable use of it and his wit sealed the deal. He had me at Logos...

There were many more workshops but as I said, I was quite the book table tramp.
I had two of the complimentary bags from Sonlight. Yup, I am that person, too. Thanks, guys!


I treated myself to the book The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer  - who I actually am getting to be quite enamored with...she is pretty amazing to me. I am becoming quite a fan.




#436. Safe travel with a beautiful friend and fellowship on the road!
#437. smiling faces on two beautiful children, who are growing up so fast
#438. A hubby who works hard, and deserves a little bit of recliner time, occasionally
#439. Three beautiful gifts of friendship: Natasha, Lauree and Tina. Thank you, Lord for each precious one.
#440. Prayer and workout time in the morning.
#441. free coffee
#442. Meeting Home School parents in the Jacuzzi and talking about Home- Schooling...fellowship and shared wisdom, right there in the foamy, bubbly water!
#443. Singing How Great Thou Art Saturday Morning
#444. Coming home to a Sunday Morning Sermon which was faithfully served up by my very excellent Pastor
#445. Waking up to a crock pot meal made by hubs to come home from church to.



Question for You Home Schooling Friends:

What are your Home- Schooling Preferences?
Do you prefer mixing and matching your own or a complete (more or less) curriculum? 
Let me know what you think.
Don't be shy...please pipe up!



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4.22.2013

Achoo! (on Monday)

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Here comes Spring...NOT! You think it's here then WHAM- frost alert!
I am tapping away here between coughs, sniffles and sneezes- I think you're safe where you are.
I must say it's hard to miss all of the beauty that is popping out and fighting hard to make it;'s appearance  Forsythia, Magnolia, Daffodils, Tulips are blooming and buds are battling for their place in the sun, everywhere. But old Jack Frost is fighting for his own right to party. May the sunshine win. Even I have had enough of cold for one season.

 I made it through church and Sunday School yesterday but then bedded down for the day with a steady dose of CNN and Disney's Tangled between dozing. 

Well here is my round - up for Monday.
Share a link, or comment and I will pop by to visit between coughs and sniffles! 




Morning walk and a whole lot of yellow visiting, Narragansett! 




This week I wrote a lot. I mean per usual but I wrote in a very unlikely place. Not that I won't write anywhere. I keep a journal in my bag at all times. However this time I camped out in the Food Court at the Mall Friday, while my girl and her friend romped around for 5 hours. I wrote to my hearts' content and finished a short book on my Kindle about Self-Publishing.
Hoping to share more on the experience with you all later.
So my big tip for writers this week: Get out of your comfy zone and write in an unlikely place.
Go. 

I picked up this cute little book as a gift for my hubby but I perused the pages myself and it is a must read for locals as well as anyone who wants to come and visit our little state! Recipes, and insider looks at the back-stories of many great dining places and influences surrounding Rhode Island Cuisine. I give it a YUMS Up. 

Over at 5 Minutes for Faith this month there is a special series happening and I wrote about my own mom and my relationship there. Pop on over when you have a chance to read it as well as the many other encouraging posts through May. Also if you think God might want you to share at 5 Minutes for Faith, check with Barbie to see if there is a current opening. 


Beautiful Dogwood in bloom - I actually turned the car around and grabbed this beauty,because life is short and why not capture all the beauty you can in a day...or a moment!



The WINNER of the signed copy of Transformed By Tough Times is:
Pamela Manners! That is, as always random drawing of folded papers in bag picked by husband or daughter. Congrats, Pam!


Counting to 1000 #431. His faithfulness to meet me as I prepare for Sunday School lessons #432. flowers and friends, both uniquely beautiful #433. How He loves me... and how knowing this gives me everything I need to hang on in difficult times and rejoice in good. #434. it's all from Him. 
#435. trusting he will bring comfort and healing to those who have been impacted throughout the tragedies this week. 






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4.21.2013

On Learning To Honor My Mom at 5 Minutes for Faith Today...




I came into Christianity with baggage in hand.

Actually dragging a baggage cart is more like it, loaded with an assortment of luggage, full of issues, pains and beliefs that had to be gently unpacked, sorted and released.

One of those issues my God wanted to address, was my tumultuous relationship with my mother.

As I studied His word and sought His truth, it wasn't long before I started to realize this particular suitcase was full of complex memories, emotions and expectations.
It was the bag that was overstuffed, crammed and locked painfully tight...continue reading how I learned to honor my mother.


Please join me at 5 Minutes For Faith to read the rest of this special post in the series "Lessons I Learned From My Mother".

I've turned the comments off here, in hopes you'll join me there





4.20.2013

I Never Meant To Be A ...Blogger!

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I confess to the fact that I am a recovering social media ignoramus. Just four short years ago I could not define what the word blog meant. I had a vague idea that it was for computer people. Other than that, I would have to Google it to tell you. Not sure I was as enamored in those days with Google as I am today either. It wasn't until 2009 that I got onto Facebook, when a friend sent me pictures in an e-mail and the only way I could view them was to have an account. Thus began my service to the Dark Lord of Social Media. It was in 2011 when I pushed "publish" on my e-blogger account for the first time with no other expectation than the feeling of gleeful victory knowing I had just done something life-changing, if only to and for myself. I felt the God prompt and it was enough to find a way. I was content with the releasing of words, blissfully ignorant of the new world I would soon discover that was so much more than my initial push button perception. 

I remember walking into a library running into a friend from our former church, who looked at me as if I had snakes in my hair when I explained I wanted to attend a smaller, local church. He informed me that these were "global" times. Times of a global network, Internet access- a brave new world of connections and connecting. I blinked, doe-eyed, feeling stupid and small. We didn't even have cable.

I realize now he was actually right. It was shortly thereafter I realized how much truth there was in what he was trying to communicate to me. We moved at the end of 2008 and found ourselves plugged in, cabled up, screened out and and suddenly there were new opportunities and new challenges facing our family. Battling the giants of 24 Hour cable access, Internet surfing, and eventually Tweeter, Tumbler and Pinterest, we fought the good fight as all families do. Or intend to do. Eventually we succumbed and retreated into our individual realms of screendom. Every room seemed to have a screen vying for the attention of each family member. Anyway, I digress.


The fact is, I never really meant to be a ...blogger. I mean, I just kind of stumbled upon it. (No, not that kind!) But needless to say, here I am. A blogger. How in God's green acre did this happen? 
Seriously His ways are not our ways. 

How did you become a blogger?



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4.19.2013

As We Walk Each Other Home (A message of Encouragement for today)


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I wanted to share this uplifting video which came through my Facebook Newsfeeds. If I could hug you today, I would. But instead, I send this message and verse. 

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

As we walk each other home, let us cling to the good.

Lord, have mercy. 





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Into the Unknown {5 Minute Friday-Jump}



The word jump has me pondering this new year's expectant start. For the past two years on January first, I have jumped right into the Atlantic Ocean. Baptism by full immersion. Trust me, my dear friend Jen, will not let me out of that water until I have gone in all the way. Which to her means, I must dunk shoulder deep. Some people are so pushy. Really it's not enough I go in to my waist. No she wants the full monty! Anyway, I suppose that's what friends are for. This year to my surprise, my daughter joined us. Last year she came and watched. A handful of we, the brave, ran right into that frigid water, anticipating a year of new beginnings. I don't think any of us could have anticipated all of what was ahead, that was not on the resolution, intention or goal list. But God knew. Somehow I find comfort, strength and peace in the fact that my God is not surprised at the punches I think life is pulling. Better still, He will bring good out of the planned "hits" as well as the perceived "sucker punches" that have taken me by surprise. He fights fair. He fights for me. I'm pretty sure that if I jump, He'll catch me. No. I know that if I trust Him, He will not let me down. When I walk, jump or take the leap. He's right there.


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4.18.2013

On Those Days It's Hard To Hang On

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But Christ is faithful as the Son over God's house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Hebrews 3:6

I'm surrounded by unpacked bags in my office. They sit, along with a good part of my to do list ignored, awaiting a bit of attention from me. In my free time, I sit and stare blankly, semi-paralyzed considering the lists that grow longer as my capacity to complete tasks grows more impossible...with every passing moment. I wonder why I return to this place, again and again.

 It's the place of Overwhelmed. It's not God's place for me any more than the desert was for a bunch of wandering Israelites...and yet it is His classroom as it was for my sweet, Jewish, faith forerunners. I learn much from them, I confess. I read and re-read the story and History of Israel and I see myself more clearly, through His eyes. Am humbled by His mercy and wonder at His wrath. Am sick with the beauty and pain of it. The pure unadulterated truth that is being muffled daily by those who call themselves intellectual, enlightened, knowledgeable. 

I can't watch a drop of news because my chest swells, and I can't breathe and I feel Jesus weep within me. Not to mention I am waging war with enemies within and without of my own small circle of love. The battle to hang on spiritually, emotionally, mentally...wages on. Hanging on and victoriously living are two different things. Don't you dare point a finger because suffering is promised my friend, along with victory. My stomach turns, and I hang on. Hope swells larger than my pride, and lingers long. It never leaves me...it never leaves you who cling to His hope.

I hang on to this hope.
Especially on those days it's hard to hang on.
Even today. 


And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5


What do you cling to on those days it's hard to hang on? 


4.17.2013

Roadblocks: Pathways to Discovery (Re-Post)

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How do you respond when the path you are on is suddenly blocked? What is your first response? Do you shake your fist and holler out "Get out of my way" or "Coming through" and push through anyway? Or are you the kind who stews quietly thinking the words you would never say. Maybe you respond with a diversion like checking your phone messages or the surrounding scenery. Chances are on your way anywhere in this life, whether literally on the road or just maneuvering along life's path, you are going to encounter unexpected road blocks, unplanned delays and various derailments for better or worse.Well I am here to share a few of my latest insights in light of recent road blocks and how I believe they are helping me redefine my definition of success.

Lesson 1: Look Up or "Are you talking to me? "
Personally, I have never REALLY had an animal speak to me, BUT if I did I, would like to think I might reconsider the direction I was travelling. When Baalam rides his donkey (Numbers 22) and is derailed, by an Angel no less, instead of contemplating the direction he is going he tries to plow on repeatedly until finally he realizes God himself is the creator of the road block standing between him and his gain. When we want to plow through obstacles, we really need to be clear that God isn't re-directing us for a reason, as in this case. Baalam's wrong motives, as well as choice, were completely out of the will of God. God deals mercifully with him despite it all. So lesson number one is all about looking up when something stands in your way. Check in and check yourself out before God. Maybe you are off track. He can get you back on the right path...or direct you to another.

Lesson 2: "Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."
I am not sure who said this, but it is a lesson that resonates strongly within me this year in light of recent personal circumstances. It just makes good sense. One of the biggest challenges we face as believers, living in an unfair world, is balancing our faith with common sense and practically living it out wherever God has us, often before an unbelieving world. Wisdom is needed and Wisdom is promised. But, sometimes we forget and get sucker punched...so we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and get on with it. Rose gardens are nice but begging your pardon, we are not promised a rose garden. (You know I have to include a random song that is triggered when I write).

Lesson 3: "Trust No-One"
Many years ago I was a fan of a TV program called The X-Files. The tag line of the show was "Trust No-One". Now this might seem extreme but I think we really have consider with whom we place our  trust. One of my first Bible Teachers reminded me that in this life I will be let down and I will let other's down. That is reality. We live in a fallen world and we ourselves are prone to sin. Once we are spiritually born into the family of God we desire to walk in victory. But truth be told (and that is what I am here to do) I have fallen on my face as a Jesus loving, God fearing Christian despite my desire to shine for my King. I also have had some really nasty things done to me by those who claim His name. I have learned that GRACE is how we get here and GRACE is how we stay here. It is never by anything we can do or not do or muster up on our own. Heaven is the place for perfection. In the meantime we have to be careful to keep our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith and trust Him alone. It all comes back to Him ...and he will lead us to a few who might be trustworthy. Thank Him, stay focused on Him and recognize that trust is a fragile thing. Think eggshell. Be careful with where you place it and be careful to treat other's trust gently.

Lesson 4:  Remember the Good
Sometimes, remembering the good isn't easy. But I promise you it can be done. Sometimes it takes time to heal or just time to allow more perspective. This is not about rose tinted glasses, but think of it as "Reality Training". Scripture tells us to bring every thought captive and under the authority of Christ. It exhorts us to dwell on that which is good and excellent. It reminds us that what we do not master will ultimately master us...past or present. We are not to be slaves to our past, but as God reveals truth to us we seek Him and bring our minds into full submission to Him. We train ourselves to remember the good. Focus on it in others and ourselves. Leave the rest to God. Leave behind that which is not useful to you. The fact is anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness can be traded for empowering emotions when brought into the light and transforming grace of God. We are not to repay evil for evil. We are to be excellent at what is good and innocent of evil. It takes training. It takes going to Jesus continually. It can be done. And when we feel we can't ...again we run to him in our need, failure, fear and doubt and He meets us there.

You never know where a road block might lead you ...it might just take you down a new path of discovery which brings you closer to God. I pray it does. So remember the next time you hit the ground running, ordering your life just so, heed the donkey, the angel or whatever God uses to block your way. You never know what catastrophe He may be keeping you from...or what blessing lies just around the bend, over the horizon, or beneath the surface!


                                             


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4.16.2013

Grace Without Words



An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
Henry David Thoreau


All my life through,
the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.
Marie Curie


The best remedy for those who are afraid,
lonely or unhappy is to go outside,
 somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be
and that God wishes to see people happy,
 amidst the simple beauty of nature.
Anne Frank


Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.
 Rabindranath Tagore

Today I walked. I actually walked in the morning and evening. 
Once with the dogs in the neighborhood and then tonight at the beach. 
This is what I saw.  

As usual nature, 
God's creation, ministers grace to me without words. 

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty you give to minister grace, 
truth and rest to our weary souls.
Lord, bring your new life to our hearts this moment.
As buds ready to burst forth beauty, do likewise in our hearts, minds,
souls. 



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When God Says Hush

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When God says, "Hush, what's your rush?"
interrupting my mental notes,
I push back my hair-
respond, "Are you there?"
turning back to my long list of quotes

When God pushes back the drapes of my day
allowing me a glimpse
of our walk today
gently I nudge my agenda His way
awaiting an approving nod.

When God tip toes into my morn,
I hardly know He's there-
but through the blinds
dust specked rays quietly reflect the dawn

When God slips quietly into my night
starlight shimmers
twinkling light
I stare heavenward
adoring the sight

When God says "Hush"
I submit to His pause
and sneak off to our secret place
behind closed doors
and let Him minister
again in awe
through tears, fears and so much more-
When God says "Hush",
I realize
there's more I need than meets the eyes
and in His sovereign grace,
I wait.

Upon His lowly estate I rest,
trusting at the end of the test
that as He is, I will be
strengthened by that which I cannot see
But all to Him is needful,
pain and beauty intermingle
through and through
bringing His glory
like morning dew.


©Dawn Paoletta


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It's National Poetry Month...I blogged about it right here

4.15.2013

Monday's Are For New Beginnings, Right?




If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.  ~Flavia Weedn 

What one is fated to have in life one will have; what one is not fated to have, there is no point in pressing for. ~unknown 



I am at an important crossroads. This word Release is wreaking havoc lately, in my life. How? Well it seems that since this has been my One Word for the year, I am clinging tightly to everything.
How's that, I bet you are wondering...well specifically I am afraid to release anything and becoming increasingly overwhelmed. I'm afraid of releasing the wrong thing. Have you ever felt this way or am I utterly alone in this mess?

So, this weekend has been especially important as I seek to accept the fact that I can't do it all. I mean I know this in my mind yet, my mouth forgets to say "no" to one. More. Thing. 
Something has to go. Something or a few things need to be released to make room for the best things.
It would be easy if a few of these "things" were bad in some way. They are not. They are all very good. Herein lies every single Believer's challenge. To discern the things that are the Ephesians 2:8-10 things that God wills for their lives. You and I need to tune out all of the competing voices demanding our time, talent and attention and seek to hear clearly above all else the still, small voice that matters most. His. Christ alone is the one to determine the details. 

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.  ~Robert Schuller


Look carefully through all the claims pressing upon you in your complicated life, and decide once and for all what it is that is the one really important and overmastering duty in it, and should be the one dominating aim. Then remember that if you succeed in that, the others, so multifarious, are really no more than the fringe of the garment, and that you need not spend so much anxiety over them, provided that the one most important is faithfully attended to. ~Anna C. Brackett


424. Breathtaking beauty everywhere

425. Coastline days

426. He leads me beside still waters on busy days...


427. The skies declare His glory and faithfulness


428. This little book which brought me a smile in the Doctor's office waiting room.
I adore the detailed artwork of Jan Brett.
And sometimes a children's book is just what the Doctor ordered...and good therapy. 

429. Rejoicing in this Holy Union of God, and beautiful sister in Christ and friend being blessed with a wonderful  marriage and new start! He is the God of new beginnings! Amen?
430. Sweet Saturday with my hub. Wedding Ceremony, coffee and appetizer
in between. Then a wonderful night of fellowship and laughter.


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May His amazing grace be evident in all you say and do this week!


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