Have Fun with Your Family

Harmonica FunHappy New Year! One of my goals this year is to find time to have fun with my family.

Last year my word for the year was “finish”. I had so many unfinished projects that I wanted to focus on finishing some of them. While that was a worthy goal, I found myself finishing things but starting so many things that I became a little overwhelmed with all the tasks left undone by the end of the year.

This year I picked a word that I feel would free me of some of the stress that I find myself under. That word is “boundaries”.

In December, I started reading a really good book entitled Boundaries: When to say Yes How to say No to take control of your life.

That book made me realize that I tend to over volunteer to do things. It’s not anyone else’s fault but my own because I haven’t set clear boundaries in my life to help me know when I need to say “No, I really can’t right now.”

So this year I planned to set some healthy boundaries in my life.

You know the Lord has a sense of humor, I honestly believe, because it really wasn’t part of my plans to hurt my shoulder which forced some boundaries upon me.

It is all good though because I finally went to a local health clinic today and the x-rays show that I didn’t break nor fracture any bones and I still have a good range of motion even though it hurts so with some medicine and gentle exercise I should heal in a few weeks.

harmonica funNow to the fun stuff.

My husband and I got new harmonicas for Christmas and we started a new goal this year. We are going to try to record ourselves playing our harmonicas together each week.

Here is a fun video of me opening my Christmas harmonicas. My husband and kids surprised me by getting me more than just the one harmonica I was expecting.

Here is that video:

I was really surprised. I think the biggest surprise for me was that none, I repeat, NONE of our six children told me about it. They kept it a secret and were very proud of themselves for it too.

Now I know you are waiting to hear us play some so here my husband and I are having fun with our first recording for this year. My husband is playing a Hohner 48 chord harmonica and I’m playing on a Lee Oskar Diatonic harmonica.

And here is our second video. This is after I hurt my arm so it hampered my playing a little bit.

And our latest video together still with my hurt arm. I’m glad to say that I’ve been given the “go ahead” about using my arm so my next video will be less encumbered.

It really is good to find things you enjoy doing with your family.

My husband and I enjoy playing harmonica together. Our younger children enjoy basketball and I will share a post about that in the near future. The important thing is to find something you can do as a family that brings you closer together.

Maybe for your family it is playing games or putting a puzzle together.

What does your family enjoy doing together?

I would love it if you shared what you do together in the comments.

 

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Plan to Finish

JonathanChristmasTree

Jonathan is standing beside several unfinished projects.

 

Each year starting in 2013 I have been choosing a word for the year. In fact it was a blog post by a fellow Tribe Writer called “Why you should have One Word for 2013” that got me started. Picking a theme word each year has really revolutionized my goal setting and how I keep up with it all.

I won’t bore you with all the details on how I’m not a list person and how before starting this method I gave myself way too many goals thus becoming overwhelmed and hardly accomplishing anything on the list at all. (Yes, I did just say all that in one breath!) 

Now I pick one simple word. A word that all my goals and aspirations can snuggle up to and get comfortable with. 

In 2013 my word was “Determined”. All that determination helped me get my writing off the ground. I finished my manifesto “Don’t Quit! Build a Legacy of Commitment“. Which you can download the pdf for free right here on my site. It was a really good year for my writing. 

That year I wrote a post about how my Life is Like a Boat. Despite all my determination I still felt unbalanced. I decided maybe if I chose the word “Organize” for 2014 I would find that balance. 

My family and I accomplished a lot in 2014. We got most of the house cleaned up. We traveled a lot without losing too many things. It was a very good organized year (at least organized for me). Even though things aren’t perfectly organized yet, it is better. I feel this past year was a successful year. We did so much more that we wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t even tried.

Now you are probably wondering about my word for 2015. 

I struggled to decide on a word. I started thinking about it in December as I was trying to do last minute organizing. One of the things I need to work on is making sure I keep my priorities straight. It sounds very noble. Make a list of the things that are the most important and focus on those things this year. However I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t quite feel that word working for me. As I tried to write down some things that I wanted to do this year using “Prioritize” as my key word my goals just looked flat.

My husband and I had our children list some things they wanted to accomplish this year. They wrote some pretty good goals and some lofty ones that will take them a lot of work to accomplish. Most of them were very good goals and they can achieve them all if they work hard at it.

New Year’s Eve my husband and I sat down with the kids and talked with them about their goals. I told them that one of the things I would like to see this year are goals actually being accomplished. I told them that if they set out to do a project I want to see those projects finished this year not just started.

Then my word for 2015 hit me between the eyes…”Finish”. My children are not the only ones that need to finish things. Suddenly my mind went to all the unfinished projects I have laying around the house. 

I never finished crocheting a blanket I started around 10 years ago. I’ve worked at it off and on (more off than on) but never finished it. I have a lot of blog posts just from this past year that I started writing but never finished. I have books that I planned to write and some I even started but never finished. 

I look back on my life and realized that a lot of those unfinished projects stem from a problem in my mind. Somewhere in my life I got into the bad habit of assuming things weren’t going to get finished. 

For way too long I have set myself up for failure.

This year I’m going to finish. I’m going to finish that blanket. I’m going to finish getting organized. I’m going to finish cleaning my house up. I’m going to finish writing a book. I’m going to finish the writing courses I started. I’m going to finish reading my Bible through. Everything I start I’m going to make plans to finish.

I’m going to help the kids finish their projects as well. This year will be very productive and I’m going to keep a list of every project we finish. 

I already know our Rock Solid Family will finish this New Year out strong. 

How about you? Do you have some goals for this year? If you were to summarize them into one word, what would that word be? I can’t wait to hear from you. Please share your word for the year in the comments

Together let’s make 2015 the best year yet!

Right now? I am going to finish taking down that Christmas tree!

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Life is Like a Boat

You may be wondering where I have been. Well, life has been pretty busy lately and my blog has been down for right around a whole week. I have finished my book and will be sharing that with you tomorrow. But today I wanted to describe what my life is like.

My friend Pamela Hodges asked on her blog ipaintiwrite.com what life is like to us. She plans to put all submissions into a book. You can read more about her plans on the post “Tell me what life is like and be in my book“. I have been describing my life as a boat for a long time. So I’m going to share it with you today. And since I haven’t blogged in quite a while (try a whole month!!!) this post is very fitting as a prelude to my book launch tomorrow.

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

My life is like a boat. A leaky boat. It keeps taking on water.

I run over to one part of my boat realizing I neglected an area. I work diligently to fix the holes and bale out water.

Ah! Smooth sailing…

Then suddenly I look behind me… Oh, no! Another leak. In the process of fixing one area of the boat I forgot to see the damage in another area of the ship. I then have to run over there and fix that leak and bale out more water. 

There fixed! Life is good.

Uh oh! Yep, you guessed it. I’m constantly running in circles to fix up this rickety ship.

One day it’s the dishes starting to pile up. I get so upset about the mess that I work very diligently to get that mess cleaned up. It may take a few days but I’m back on target with the housekeeping. 

Then I turn around. Sometimes I don’t even turn around just someone warns me. You have a problem over here. Maybe it’s a problem one of my children are having. I leave everything else behind and focus on that problem. Great that child’s problem is solved. Even if it took a few weeks to resolve the issue, I’m happy with the results. 

But oh, no! I planned to have a book finished and given to you, my faithful followers, by the end of August. So I rush over to that part of life and try to get that resolved. I have so many things planned for my little part of cyber space. 

Anyway, you get the picture. And that is what life is like for me. I’m still on this same old rickety ship called “Life”. I’m beginning to see that it will always be this way.

I used to get very upset at the tipping and tossing by the waves. Once I accepted this ship that God has given me, I can now enjoy the ride.  

How about you? What is life like for you? Do you have trouble keeping everything in balance? Please tell me about it in the comments

Where am I at today on this boat? Well, the dishes are clean. The kids homeschooling got off to a pretty good start.

Where are the holes? Well, you have just witnessed me patching one up right now. I am finally posting this blog post after a month of neglect.
Over all? Life is pretty good since I have great ship-mates like you to share it with. :)

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.   ~ Mark 4:37-39 

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

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If I Only Had One Day Left

The latest picture I have of my Papaw holding his great grandson Jonathan born November 4, 2007.

The last picture I have of my Papaw, Clyde Clark, holding his great grandson Jonathan born November 4, 2007. Papaw passed away July 11, 2008

I recently read a book that was given to me by a friend and fellow Tribe Writer, Eva P. Scott entitled “20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course in Mastering Your Life Right Now” by Robert D. Smith.

It was a very good book. I can’t quite apply all the concepts because I’m in a different time of life than he was in the writing of his book.

For instance he was past his 20,000th day when he wrote the book. I am currently on my 13,324th day. (If you want to figure out which day you are on you can go to his website day calculator: Here)

I’ve got young children that still need to be raised. So I have to keep my situation in mind while reading his book. Not everything will apply to me.

But one of the things he mentioned in his book that really got me to thinking was to imagine everyday as if it were your last. 

If I really imagined that everyday was my last day to live, I’d never wash another dish again. I’d hide all the dirty clothes in a closet. Those things aren’t on the most important list for me. But they are things that have to be done and I cannot neglect them. 

It did get me to thinking though. What legacy do I want to leave to my children, grand-children, great grand children, great great great great great…? Okay, you get the picture.

Will I have a great-great-great…grandchild one day that will be just like me. Will she be going through the same challenges? Will she even know who I was? Do I know anything about my great-great-great…grandparents?

My paternal grandfather, Clyde Clark, wrote his story. He wrote his memories down during the years right before he passed away. I found the document he typed the other day. I could hear his voice in my mind as I read it. I want to turn his story into a book. It will be a book that many generations from now will read.

I’m not stopping there though. I want to write my own book. A book for my children and beyond. I want them to be strengthened long after I am gone. A continuing legacy of building a Rock Solid Family.

That brings me to my current plans. I must say that I feel like I’m always in the planning stage. It is hard to move from planning something to actually making it a reality. Well today is the day… No more procrastinating.

I have finally started my book. And you, my faithful followers, will be the first to read it when I’m done.

The working title right now is “Don’t Give Up: A Rock Solid Manifesto of Commitment.” I say working title because the title may change.

This summer is incredibly busy with family and church commitments. So I’m going to set a tentative launch date for the end of August. That will give me a month between the time all the summer activities end and the homeschool activities begin.

What do you think? Does the subject I plan to write on interest you? Is there anything you would like to see me include in my book? How about a future book? Is there a subject you would like me to write about? Please let me know in the comments.

I’m making my writing goal public as a challenge from a blog post by another tribe writer, Bryan Hutchinson of PositiveWriter.com. He encouraged writers to “write a post about starting on your path to achieving your dream, and then post a link in the comments.” You can read more about the challenge and his great advice here.

 

~♥~  Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~♥~

“Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!”

–Job 19:23-24

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Happy New Month!

At the beginning of this year, I decided to do something a little different.

All the previous years I would write down all the goals I wanted to accomplish for the year. This year I’m setting monthly goals.

For the month of January, I had several main goals. 1. Keep the kitchen clean. 2. Blog twice a week. 3. Write 1 devotional each week. 4. Write one children’s story book in the month.

I am happy to say that I did pretty well at keeping the dishes clean. There were a couple of nights that I was too tired to wash dishes before bed. But I got those first thing the next day. My husband and kids helped quite a bit by doing dishes when I was busy with the baby.

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Those of you who follow my blog may have notice a long break in my posting. I blogged twice a week most of the month. That goal is good if I don’t want to write anything else.

Last week I spent my normal blogging time to write the rough draft of my next children’s book. I plan to finish editing it this month and then it will go to my illustrator (aka my husband).

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My husband, Scott, started an art class for our family. Since we homeschool we can add classes at any time. Monday is our main art day.

On Wednesdays we watch The Wednesday Drawing Show. Shoo Rayner is the instructor. His videos are made for all ages. Then when you draw the assignment he gives you can upload it to his website and he’ll show it off on his Sunday Gallery Show that he added to show off all the art.

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So far we have drawn snakes, made or drawn eyeballs on scrap materials, and this Monday we did charicatures of famous people.

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Here is my first charicature. Can you tell who it is of? Go ahead and guess in the comments. I’m curious if he’s recognizable.

This month I’m switching to just one blog post a week. I need a little more time for pursuing other goals.

So for the month of February I plan to blog once a week, write 1 devotional a week, write another children’s story, and learn some HTML.

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Keeping the dishes clean is an ongoing goal. I am adding to that getting the master bedroom cleaned up. It’s the catch-all room. I’m going to be brutal and get rid of a lot of stuff.

I’ll give an update at the end of this month on how I’m doing.

Did you set goals this year? How are you doing with your goals? And don’t forget to guess who my charicature is of.

I’ll let you know if you guessed right or not. In my next post I’ll tell who he is.

Don’t miss my posts! I don’t have a set day I post on. The best way to keep up with me is to receive my free email updates in your inbox.

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When Do I Find Time to Write?

I’ve been asked this question so many times I decided that I’d dedicate a whole blog post to answer it.

When do I find time to write?

Let’s see right now I have about 45 minutes to type with one finger on my phone while my husband drives us home from karate class.

Oops! I have to pause a moment to feed the baby while my husband runs into the store to get sandwich makings.

Okay, I’m back. Um the baby is reaching for my phone now. My husband is still in the store. It’s times like this I a……..

I just answered the question, “Why is that guy carrying trash in a buggy?” Yes, we call the shopping carts buggies.

Okay, back to writing… Where was I? Oh, yes! It’s times like this I really appreciate auto-correct.

20130124-211446.jpg The baby is now thoroughly distracted. She is laughing at her siblings that are laughing at the worker taking out the trash.

She’s not going to be happy when she gets put back in her car seat. I may or may not be able to write during this drive.

What did I tell you? See, she’s mad.
Time to make sandwiches… I’ll be right back.

Those were good sandwiches. My sweetheart went all out and bought cheese for our sandwiches.

Finally, the baby has fallen asleep I can stop patting her mouth. I only got bit once. Okay, back to writing.

Right now I’m writing about when I find time to write. Normally instead of telling you about the interruptions I write a few words about the subject I have on my mind.

I can get quite a bit said in 45 minutes or so even with distractions. I’ll need fewer distractions when I finally stop to edit this. Right now there are a lot of typos even with auto correct. I’m pretty sure I’ve repeated myself a couple of times.

My eyes are tired from looking at this bright screen in the dark. I’m going to stop for a moment. I might have a few minutes to work on this at the house.

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I’m glad I went ahead and got all the dishes washed right before running out the door for karate class. I knew I’d be too tired when we got home.

Just got the kids to bed but I’m too tired to think right now.

I only made it my goal to post two blog posts a week. I didn’t say which days they were going to be posted on. Last week I had my first post out by Tuesday or Wednesday. This week I posted my first post on Thursday. I try to be flexible though. If I made it a set day I’d probably give up.

Good morning, everyone! Yes, I’m finally up and at ’em. I woke up too late to write much this morning. However I have a few minutes right now while the kids are happily chit chatting over their breakfast. The baby is enjoying some Cheerios.

Uh oh! My baby is no longer enjoying her Cheerios. I only got one paragraph in during that break. Of course, I did check my notifications on Facebook but we don’t have to talk about that distraction. Do we?

My almost 8 year old keeps bringing the baby to me before she even cries.

I dare to hope right about now that the baby will take a mid morning nap. I still hear bowls and spoons clanking in the kitchen. I’m feeding the baby who is not cooperating on this nap idea.

Um… She’s working on a diaper. Would that be TMI (Too Much Information)? I better change that diaper.

She is wide awake.

Battery warning!!! I need to charge this phone and get myself breakfast.

Is this post almost done?

Oh, no! The baby thought her sisters’ hair bands were fruit loops. I rescued them and her.

20130125-092414.jpgI think you probably have the general idea of how I find time to write. Last year my goal was to post 1 blog a week. My husband had gotten me a tablet that helped a lot in accomplishing that goal.

This past Christmas my parents gave me a smart phone. I tell you what! That phone has sure helped me with my goal of two blog posts a week. I can type a few words here and there where ever I am at. I just save it as a draft and then I can finish writing on my computer.

Hello, Elisabeth!  I’ll be right back…

Okay, I fed Elisabeth. Picked up Joshua from his job feeding the neighbors animals. Now I’m determined to finish this post!

I used to try staying up at night after getting everyone to bed. However I kept falling asleep with my computer in my lap. Then I’d be tired all day.

I tried getting up early to write. That doesn’t seem to work too well. I prefer to read first thing in the morning. I read my Bible and then the blog updates that I follow. By the time I get all my reading done Elisabeth wakes up.

Basically I find time to write whenever I can. Sometimes I just have to tell my kids to give me a few minutes. I let them know what I am working on and that I only have a few more sentences before I’m finished with my blog. Then I write like crazy for those few minutes.

Typically, with distractions, it takes me a couple of days to get a blog written and a partial day to edit and tweak it. Depending on the topic too.

I’m almost done with this post. Right now, I’m typing with one hand while trying to feed the baby who is fighting sleep. She’ll probably fall asleep right about the time I hit “Publish”.

I know I’m not the only busy person in the world. Some of you probably have more going on than me.

Do you have a hobby? When do you find time to work on the things you enjoy? 

What did I tell you? She’s out like a light! Now that the baby is finally asleep, it’s time for me to hit “Publish” and get the rest of my kids back on task.

Now if I could just find the time to shower. 😉

 

 

 

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Why I Started the New Year With 1000 Kicks

karate2013Elisabethmom

Every year on January 1 our karate class practices a Japanese tradition called Hatsu Geiko. We all gather at our dojo to perform 1000 kicks together. After every 100 kicks our Sensei would ask someone randomly to tell what motivates them to keep on going to karate class even when they know it’s going to be hard.

I just knew she might call on me if I didn’t think of something to say. So the whole time I was kicking I was writing my answer in my head.

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My husband and I have been married 16 years. When we first met we were skinny little things. My husband had taken various martial arts off and on before we had met.

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December 2009 (Left to Right): Jonathan, Joshua, Ruth, and Hannah

Then married life hit us along with good cooking and bad eating habits. I don’t have very many pictures of those days. When we were expecting our second child, my husband would come home from work and just lay down on the floor and let our almost two year old son just crawl over him. That was all the energy he had back then. He knew he needed exercise. So he joined a Tae Kwon Do class. I just watched.

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Our karate class in January 2011

Then we were faced with a move a few months later after our daughter was born. We didn’t join any courses for a while but then my husband wanted to find another class in our new location. He found one that met at a YMCA and we both joined that time. My parents watched the babies while we went one night a week to karate classes.

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Mommy and Elijah during Haitsu Geiko January 2011. He was about 10 months old.

We moved again! This time we didn’t find another dojo for a while. I started gaining a lot of weight. I wanted to have a 3rd child but it didn’t seem to be the Lord’s will.

I was depressed! I tired easily. My back and neck both hurt.

After about a year of being depressed, I decided to see a doctor. According to his diagnosis there was nothing wrong with me.

I gave up.

Most of the time giving up is a bad thing. This time it was good.

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Our Family Summer of 2010

 

 

I quit worrying about not having another child. I decided I would just be happy with the two I already had.

I joined a local exercise place for women. I started losing weight. My husband decided he wanted to lose weight as well and found another martial arts school.I could have just let my husband do Martial Arts while I continued my own routine. However I had read in a Marriage book once that it was good for wives to participate in their husband’s hobbies. I decided to join him in Tae Kwon Do.

Then came Baby #3.

Then we moved!

Yes, we moved again. This time my husband had a very physically challenging job so he didn’t really need the extra exercise. I was expecting our 4th baby and decided walking up the stairs where we lived was exercise enough.

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Our Family March 2012 just before Elisabeth was born.

Then we moved again! This time we moved to our present location. We lived here for about a year and a half before I decided we needed to find another place to exercise.

It was about the time Hannah was 4 and wanted to be a football player. I knew she needed a sport and the rest of the family could use some exercise as well. I talked to my husband and he started calling martial arts classes in nearby towns. That’s when we found our present karate family.

Now what keeps me going to karate class?

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We had our family picture taken with Nobuaki Kanazawa in June 2012 at a SKIF seminar held in our dojo.

I’m not exactly what people imagine in a martial artist. You look at me and you see a mother with a whole bunch of kids! I’m not exactly the karate kid. I didn’t even do sports in school.

I do this because I believe that it’s not only good for me to join my husband in the hobbies he enjoys. It’s also good for us to teach our children that we can do things as a family. If mom is sitting on the sidelines or going shopping while the rest of the family works out what message am I giving my kids?

I think that we mothers need to have fun with our families. Even as I get older I can show my kids that I can still have fun.

How about your family? Is there a hobby that y’all enjoy doing altogether as a family? If not can you think of something you can start doing together? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear what your family does together for fun.

I am setting my goals on a monthly basis this year. I have a few goals for the year but mostly I’m going to reevaluate monthly. So for the month of January I’ll be trying to post two blog posts a week. I also plan to write one devotional a week. I also plan to write one short story book.

And that’s just my writing goals. I have plenty of family goals for this year as well. Including keeping the dishes out of the sink. Laundry is a whole nother matter. I think I can. I think I can.

Sign up for my free email updates in order not to miss anything. Happy New Year!

 

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