Letters From Home, Volume 1

Letters from Home is my new format to stay personally connected with my readers even as I endeavor to fulfill my vision of maturing my blog into a resource for a growing audience. So, whenever I have home news to share, I’ll do it under that heading, kind of like the letters I wrote my brother while he was in boot camp.

The kiddos with Uncle Jordan

Speaking of Jordan…
My Marine brother graduated right up near the top of his class and went on to get into just the specialized military he had his sights on  (something to do with bombs and tanks and such). He is now continuing his training and half the time I don’t know what state he’s in. But he did get a chance to visit over Labor Day. He adores the kids and the feeling is mutual.

Claire helped drop (clean, decorative) rocks into the water

We started school this month – even before I’d done the laundry from our trip!! I was determined to get a good start with our first official year of school, and new that if I stuck to my routine I’d make steady progress on all the other things we had to do. Sure enough, we now have 3 weeks of school under our belt, and the house is beginning to feel organized again. (The photos are from hands-on learning about Aesop’s Fable, the Crow and the Pitcher)

Jesse uses a straw ‘beak’ to reach the water

I wanted to use 31 Days To Clean for the month of September, but found I was going to be stressed try to match the exact pattern of the book, so I’m gleaning from the wonderful perspective and advice throughout the book, but doing my own list of daily tasks. Jesse, Claire and I do an hour of chores each morning after breakfast and before school, and that is helping me make steady progress – even to organizing long-jumbled shelves and cupboards. No, the kids don’t work a whole hour – they have specific chores to do along side me, then they get some play time in before school. I took a bunch of photos during chore time the other day so I could make them picture chore cards like Lindsay – I know they’ll enjoy the clear, visual reminder of their responsibilities, and the satisfaction of transfering the cards to the ‘done’ envelope.

Seth climbs to see what’s going on!

In blog news, we’ve had constant computer issues since the spring. We had carbonite keep our data safe, but I was having to do all my writing and internet stuff on this tiny little netbook we have, and had no access to my archives of photos and my beloved bookmarks. At last, this week, we have a new desktop up and running, which means I will be able to resume work on formatting my book for kindle and nook, and finally including photos in my posts with more regularity. (remember the days of show-and-tell blogging? They’re coming back, friends!) Also, I’m really looking forward to getting into vlogging more!

While the computer was out of commission, I got in the habit of taking photos on my phone and emailing them to All That Is Good’s Facebook page just so I felt like I was staying current. My new thing is to take a quick photo of dinner each night and send it to the Real Fast Food page – this helps keep me motivated to create real, nutritious meals for my family, and also hopefully inspire you to do the same! (I just have to mention, that was my first ever screen shot – and I did it by myself using this easy tutorial and just one phonecall to my husband! LOL)

Jesse’s drawing is really starting to develop! He loves art time.

The apple harvest from our orchard was dissapointingly small – we usually have to press 3 or 4 times to use all the apples and make 80-100 gallons of cider. This year we only pressed once and got 17 gallons, which didn’t go very far, considering we love to bless all our friends and neighbors with a gallon or two when it’s fresh. But we have a busy fall and don’t really have time for more pressing and our large freezer in which we would have stored the bounty is broken – the Lord knew! I did make more of an effort toward applesauce this year, and ended up canning about 30 jars (mostly quarts!) so we have sweet, pink applesauce for the whole winter!

Claire had help with her Crow :)

The Lord has been faithfully working in my life and heart, despite my own unfaithfulness in letting so many other things take priority over time with Him. He is showing me how it IS possible to cultivate and grow my relationship with Him in this season of motherhood IF I will make the effort. I have taken to staying off the computer completely on Tuesdays – it’s amazing how much those little moments add up and usually by bedtime I have been able to spend some good time in the Word and have been able to hear from Him because the other voices are quieted. I’d encourage you to try this yourself!

Seth joins in the fun (and poses for the camera)

I’m very inspired and encouraged by these books – if you’re in the same season as me – a busy mother of little ones, sobered by the tremendous responsibility of training and teaching them, these titles will bring hope to your heart…

Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids.

These are affiliate links – if you click through and make a purchase from the links in this post, you support All That Is Good – thank you!

Facebook: Keeping the Tool in the Tool Box

After confessing to my affair with facebook , sharing what I learned from a month-long facebook fast, and telling you all the other places I’d rather spend time online, many of you have asked,

Did I delete my facebook page?

No. All that time away from facebook helped me see that facebook was a time waster for me. But all the time spent learning to develop my blog made it clear what a great tool facebook is. I did not feel I could afford give up facebook. I realized it was a tool I should learn to use properly, rather than something that controls me.

So, how did I find balance in my facebook usage?

Here’s my secret to keeping facebook in its place.
Are you ready?
It’s really, really simple, but it works:
I only go on facebook ever other day. And no weekends. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
That’s it.

Setting these simple boundaries of ‘facebook days’ and ‘non-facebook’ days is the easiest way I have found from getting sucked into hours wasted online. I don’t have to set a timer, have an accountability partner, or even deal with withdrawal symptoms. Limiting my usage of the site automatically helped me keep the perspective of ‘it’s a tool’ – when do get on, it’s with a purpose. I check my profile, respond to friends and notifications, and then scroll through the homepage IF I have time.

Do I miss stuff?


Has it killed me?


As entertaining and fun and cool as facebook is, I’ve never read anything on facebook that I couldn’t have lived without or found somewhere else. 

 The difficulty is that so many people use facebook as their primary communication and relationship tool, and if you don’t keep up with them on facebook, you can’t keep up at all. I’ve decided that’s a price I’m willing to pay. I don’t want to get sucked into the majority of my relationships only existing in the electronic realm. I don’t want hours on facebook stealing precious moments talking and praying with a friend on the phone, or busily tidying my house so I can host a friend for dinner. I never want electronic relationships to steal time from face-to-face fellowship with my husband, my children, or the wonderful friends God has given me.

What DO I use facebook for?

It’s helpful for me to have a goal in mind whenever I sit down at the computer, especially when I sign in to facebook. My goal on facebook – the primary reason I’m there – is to deepen relationships. Here’s how I do that:

  • I’m on facebook to guide people to my blog, where I invest more of me and the communication and sharing is deeper and fuller.
  • I use facebook  to connect with old and new friends. Once we find each other, I get their blog, email, or phone number so we can connect on a deeper level, eventually getting to the point of meeting face-to-face. (This is really fun!)
  • I only follow a few close friends – ones for whom facebook is their primary online presence. I will visit their page to check out photos and links they have posted so that I can stay current with what’s important to them.   
  • I only post a personal status when I feel I have something worthy to say (with the occasional exception because I love randomness!) 

Have I ever broken my own rules?

Yes. But not often, ’cause I really like it when facebook stays where it belongs in my life (pretty far down on the list, let me tell you). I have made some exceptions:

  1. When I read something cool online and want to share it, I’ll click the ‘share on facebook’ link, but once I’ve posted it to my page, I x out of the window and move on. It’s how I keep the tool in the tool box unless I’m using it. 
  2. My All That Is Good facebook page – I try to keep that current as it is an extension of my blog and part of my system for growing my blog. But if I’m on ATIG’s page, I try to resist the temptation to switch over to my personal profile.

I love facebook. But I’m no longer addicted. And if feels great.

How about you? Do you struggle with facebook stealing time, or is it something else online? How do you keep your computer time in balance? 

Did you like this post? Then share it on facebook! Just click on the cute little button my web designer installed for me at the bottom of this post. I appreciate every time someone links to me and shares my blog! 

Your Back Stage Pass

I’m writing an ebook.

There. I said it. Now I have to follow through. (eeek!)

Actually, I told my friends on ATIG on Facebook about the book last week (I’ve even given away two copies already as we’ve interacted on the subject!) You see, the FB page is kinda where you get sneak peaks of what’s happening at ATIG. There I upload photos quick from my phone that might take weeks to get up on the blog. There I ask reader’s opinions and tell them what’s going on just a bit before I get it in a blog post. It’s ATIG unedited and accessible – it’s even easier for me to answer comments and for us to interact with each other there then it is on the blog.

So, this is an invitation, your official back stage pass to ATIG and joining me in my newest adventure…

Writing a book.

Books are exhausting!

You see, I need your help. I’ve gotten spoiled by blogging and the awesome feedback and encouragement I receive every time I publish a post. Working on a book is a little lonely. Despite the fact that the draft to publishing time is drastically shorter with ebooks than a printed book, I still don’t think I’m gonna make it through the writing process with out your feedback and support. As excited as I am about the book-

(it’s a cookbook chock full of my best time saving stategies and techniques for cooking real food from scratch!)

-it’s a challenge, an unknown, and I’m finding writing a book takes, well, guts. Here’s an excerpt from my journal just last night…

“Can I really do this thing? Write, publish, promote, sell, be proud of, and sleep in spite of – an ebook? The doubts come as frequently as the need to blink. My mind is consumed by it. I remember with wistful fondness the days I thought I had time to read a novel. I remind myself that I do believe in the book, but still the doubts come. I’m not worthy, no one cares, I will fail. And I don’t want to fail – or even come close. I’d really like to be perfect, but then, what’s the point in that? I tell myself that the benefit is as much in the journey and the process itself, as in the end result. How I’m learning as I research topics for the book. How I’m practicing time management and learning to stay focused on a project. What a fun team effort it has been with me and Jeremy (He’s doing the formatting and graphic design!). But I continually ask myself, ‘will people like it? will it even be a small success?’ (and what is my definition of success for this project???) Then I remind myself that if even one busy wife or college student or overworked mom is able to overcome their inhibitions and objections and be encouraged and inspired to create more nourishing meals for herself and her family, I will have achieved my goal. My passion will have met its mark. I’ll be able to sleep a night!”

So, you see – I need you. If you’re at all interested in this project and want to chat about, pray for me, give me feed back (I’ve got a  title, but I’m looking for a good subtitle still!), or just find out more about ATIG behind the scenes, come on over and join. After you “like” the page, you can go straight to the wall and see what’s new, say hello, and meet other readers. I’d be delighted to meet you there!