I Need an Attitude Adjustment

We have been hit by one thing after another over the past few months and it’s been physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally exhausting.  I mean it folks, I’m pooped.  Since we moved, we had one week of calm before the storm of Appolonya’s skin condition started and have since seen 7 doctors, we had to go gluten free for about 10 days, then the muffler fell out from under our car, we thought the transmission went out in our 267,000 mile van, Appolonya and I got a nasty virus (I’m talking gross-nasty…), my husband hurts his knee in a Wiffle Ball tournament (yep, you read that right, a Wiffle Ball Tournament) – but his team won! – and has to be on crutches and in a knee brace for a couple of weeks (he says it’s worth it since they won), all while still trying to settle in from a big move and adjust to a new homeschool co-op group, and Tommy tries to keep up with his graduate studies while starting a new ministry.

Drained.

But you know what, I’ve been focusing so much on all the little “fires” I’ve been putting out, I’ve forgotten to see the positive.  I saw War Room last week.  Twice.  I realized that I seem to have forgotten who was in charge…..  So, last week I started googling positive motivational sayings and Bible verses and printed a bunch of them out.  I looked specifically for quotes (and photos) from movies and individuals that our children are familiar with.  I took them to Office Depot and got them laminated and wah-lah!  This is what I got!

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Now, I am aiming at putting these reminders all over our home as reminders.  I’ll take some photos after I’ve gotten them hung.

In the meantime, I’m looking at the positives:
1.  Appolonya is doing better – she doesn’t have any serious or life threatening illness

2.  Tommy is off crutches – no serious damage to his knee and no surgery required

3.  The van ended up only needing a $17 part that a family member put on for us

4.  The car was fixed by a friend at church for $30

5.  I have a ton of new gluten-free recipes that I love

6.  We love our new homeschool group

7.  My amazingly smart husband has got a 4.0 in grad school

See?  Lots and lots of positives!  And #8.  Our house is finally settled in and put together (but don’t ask about the garages…. they are currently in “enter at your own risk” condition…..)

It’s all coming together.  I just needed an attitude adjustment and a reminder that God is in control.

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Our New Homeschool Room

There are so very many differing ideas behind homeschooling and how (or if) to set up school in your home.  A lot of people don’t set aside any particular space for it and some have immaculate setups very similar to a traditional classroom setting.  Just look on Pinterest and you will find a plethora of ideas.  I’m organized but not all that creative so you’re not going to find fancy charts and a bunch of “Pinterest-y” things in our classroom but this may give you an idea of how we do it.  It works best for us to have a learning space separate from our living area.  We are renting right now so we have little to no wiggle room on how to decorate the basement (thus the 1/2 paneling on the walls and no carpet) – but with some throw rugs and creative placement, I have made quite a little pleasant learning area.

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                                Our school in the basement…..

 

 

 

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                   Math Area
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            Reader books and                    Dylan’s work box system
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Social Sciences and Geography
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Curriculum / Teacher Shelf         Appolonya’s work boxes
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               Teacher Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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           Language Area
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         Art / Music Area
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              Science Area

Spending Fast Update

I’ve been gathering my notes on our spending fast last February. If you are thinking of doing one of these, here are a few tips we learned…

First and foremost – AND MOST IMPORTANT…….

1. Stock up on toilet paper!! – You can “make do” with just about anything else in your home but this is one that you simply cannot substitute. Buy more than you think you could possibly need.  Then add one more package.

2. I went the last night of January and purchased my fresh foods like spinach, bananas, apples, kiwi, oranges, pears, etc. Spinach and bananas only last about a week (you can also freeze the ripe bananas) but apples, kiwi, oranges can last longer especially if kept in the fridge and pears can last a little longer if you buy them not entirely ripe.

3. Meal plans were a must for us. I wrote out all 4 weeks of menus while looking through my freezer and pantry. If I had frozen hot dogs, I knew I would need to buy a package of buns.  A great alternative to bread and buns are tortillas – they last much longer before going “stale” or growing green mold and can be used as buns, taco wraps, peanut butter roll ups or just plain sandwiches. It was important to buy the things I would need to use up the stuff in the fridge / freezer / pantry (i.e. buns for the hot dogs, etc.).

4. We also didn’t go to restaurants or out to eat the whole month either so it was important for us to keep snacks and bottled waters with us at all times. We looked at our calendars and double checked for any events that would call for pot luck meals or any special spending situation (birthday party invites, etc.) that would cause us to spend extra money and took steps to resolve or avoid it being an issue.

5.  We didn’t change our habits when it comes to milk.  We often drink almond milk which has a shelf life of up to a month.  We also buy raw cows’ milk from a local farmer.  We drank the cows’ milk the first week, then drank almond the rest of the month.

All in all, we did pretty good. We are going to be doing the same thing again next February. Let me know how yours spending fast goes!  Be sure to leave comments and recommendations for the rest of us!

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your top left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy Lanham

 

Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind….

Thanks for reading!

State Fair Homeschool BINGO

I’ve had a lot of people inquire about our homeschooling.  We always start school the first Monday of the Kentucky State Fair.  We make it a field trip fun day to kick off our school year.  Each child has their own bag of snacks, a water bottle and a BINGO sheet I made to challenge them to look for new and exciting (as well as some old favorite) displays at the fair.  I decided to upload a copy if anyone is interested!  Enjoy!kystatefair

Dear Christians: Just shut up about Dylann Roof

I sit here with a broken heart.  A deeply troubled young man has taken the lives of so many precious people.  My heart aches.

I am on Facebook (which is sometimes good, sometimes bad).  Today, it’s bad.  I’m reading of great leaders of our churches calling Dylann a “racist little punk,” “evil-hearted monster” and saying he should be hung or lined up in front of a firing squad.  A friend of mine I went to Bible college with posted:  “I hope he doesn’t get off on an insanity plea, what he did was just plain evil and he deserves the chair.”  His own uncle stated “He’ll get no sympathy from us” and ““He’s going to pay for what he’s done, I’d pull the switch myself, if they’d let me.”

If these statements reflect what you are feeling, stop reading now because I’m only going to tick you off.  Seriously – so stop.

 

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First, I cannot hate this young man.  “Whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.”  (1 Jn. 2:11)  If I hate him, how am I any better than he is?  Don’t stop reading just because there’s Bible verses thrown in there.  Hear me out (but there will be more verses).

Not only am I not able to hate him, I must love him.  “The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God because God is love – so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”  (1 Jn. 4:8)  I don’t get to choose who I hate and who I love.  I’m commanded to love.  Period.

“Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”  Eph. 4:32  Who the heck do I think I am to not offer forgiveness and love to others?  Can I disagree with Dylann’s actions?  Absolutely!

Satan used this young man to bring so much misery to so many people.  Did you get that?  SATAN used this man.  This man was originally created for a charlestonGodly purpose.  God has his eyes on him and lovingly created him for a reason.  Somewhere along the way, satan got his hands on Dylann.  What difference could someone loving him had made?  I read somewhere online “He almost changed his mind because they were so nice.”

What if he heard reports of his uncle saying “We love you” rather than “Ride the lightening”?  I hope he is hearing the message of the victims’ families saying:

‘You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you. I forgive you.’

Gary and Aurelia Washington, center left and right, the son and granddaughter of Ethel Lance who died in Wednesday's shooting, leave a sidewalk memorial in front of Emanuel AME Church comforted by fellow family members Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

No, they were not my family members he murdered.  How can I talk about love and forgiveness when I’m not the one affected?  But you know what, the victims families ARE talking about forgiveness.  According to news.Yahoo.com – “Relatives of the Charleston church shooting victims gave emotional statements during Dylann Roof’s initial court appearance Friday, some of them breaking into sobs as one after another they told the man suspected of killing their loved ones that they forgive him.”

Now, whether you believe in God or not, THIS ought to make you think.  Dylann didn’t show any signs of remorse.  He didn’t ask forgiveness from anyone.  Yet they have offered forgiveness to him anyway.  Through their pain, maybe even hatred towards Dylann, they are forgiving him.  Why?  Because they follow this crazy man named Jesus, you know, the one who sat with drunks, had patience with jerks, hung out with sluts and had dinners with thieves.  The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is modeling what it means to truly follow this Jesus character.  Not just going to church Sunday mornings when it’s convenient,  not just when it’s easy but when it’s really, really hard.  They are showing Jesus to the world right now.

So now for my special note to Christians specifically.  The world is watching.  They’re watching what the victims’ families are saying.  They’re watching how the church responds, they are watching how YOU respond.  When you say things like you hope he fries, you look exactly like the rest of the world.  There is no light in that.  Jesus calls us to be the light of the world, set apart and showing love.  Pray for these families who have lost loved ones.  Pray for Dylann.  These families know where their loved ones are.  They are sad but they know.  Dylann’s soul is lost and needing saved right now.  Pray for these families but also pray for Dylann.  My Mama always told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all.  So, I’ll put it to you this way:  Church, if you cannot reflect the heart of Jesus, just shut up about Dylann Roof.  You’re only feeding what the world thinks about “those Christians” if you only spew more hate.

My Spending Fast – The Lesson of the 4 Old Brushes

nospendingSo I’ve decided to expand our yearly February “no grocery store” commitment.  This year I thought about expanding it to “no restaurants.”  My only 2 exceptions were gasoline and whatever Valentine’s Day plans my husband makes.  The more I thought about it and looked around me at our first world home crammed full of first world “necessities” I became increasingly aware of my “first world spoiled-ness” (Is that even a word?) and was convinced we need to simplify our lives.
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So, after my “first world” epiphany, I began to plan.  I wrote out a whole month of meal plans carefully planning fresh foods for early in the month and frozen and canned goods for later in the month.  I purchased our typical budget ($400/mo.) worth of food on January 30th.  It took 3 people to roll the carts out and stuff all those groceries into our van!  The only thing I made SURE we had an abundant excess of was toilet paper.  ‘Cause Lord knows, we don’t need to be running out of toilet paper in this house.

We’ve eaten good this first week of the fast.  We had fresh spinach all week, fresh apples, bananas (they were gone by Tuesday), grapes, blueberries and many other goodies.  We ate these fresh produce items first knowing they would spoil quickest.  Confession time:  I will admit we had one slip-up.  We had an incident where we had ordered lunch at an organization a few months ago and they couldn’t find our payment.  We were there, it was lunch and didn’t have time to run home to pick up anything.  So we went to Wendy’s and let the kids eat from the value menu… (I told them they’d better be glad Mommy was being flexible)…. while I sat and drank my free Wendy’s water.  Lesson learned:  From now on, we take a bag of snacks and bottled water with us wherever we go, at least in the month of February.

So, I’ve already spent our budget this month, so how is this saving us money??  My hope is that it will make me think about what we DO have and make use of it instead of me joining in our culture’s “throw it away or buy a new one” mentality.  My only example thus far is this….. our children needed paint brushes for a canvas painting art class they just began taking.  I somehow missed the memo that they needed to bring their own brushes.  I thought the class fee would cover brushes.  In the past, I would have run out and purchased them both their own set of new br1brushes (along with at least $50+ of “necessary” stuff I didn’t know I “needed” until I got to the store).  But because of this spending fast, I asked my daughter to go through all of her paint supplies to see what she could find.  Did she find a whole package of brand new brushes?  Nope!  She dug like she was digging for a golden treasure.  (Did I mention this also accomplished a goal of cleaning up her  art area??)  She squealed when she found 4 used, crusted up old paint brushes.  We washed them up, put them in her backpack and took them to class with her.  She leaves them in class for when her brother goes in right after her and he uses them.  They are careful not to lose them because they are the only ones we own.  Since the brushes cost about $6 per package, I think I’ve saved around $12.  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???

(Do you hear the intended sarcasm??  Go ahead, read it again with the sarcasm….)  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???  BUT a second thought crosses my mind…. I didn’t just save $12.  I saved $62+!!  $12 for brushes and $50 of “needed” junk.  Oh and did I mention…. it taught my children to be happy and thankful for what they do have, to share what they have and to take care of their things….

It taught my children to be thankful for 4 old brushes.  brushes

There are lots of people have have 30 day no-spending challenges or spending fasts, etc.  Google them and maybe they have some good ideas that will inspire you!  Wanna hear the next step in my February project?  My goal is to make $500 extra this month by selling odds and ends using Facebook yard sales and eBay so we can increase our emergency fund……

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

Get Over It!

gotochurchYep – I just said it…. get over it!  My husband has been preparing for a message tomorrow on evangelism.  

e·van·ge·lism  [ih-van-juh-liz-uhmnoun

1.  the preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist.

Evangelism is not just the work of the minister.  If I truly believe what I say I believe – Jesus died for my sins so I can spend eternity in Heaven – how much do I have to hate somebody to NOT tell them?  If my worst enemy was in the path of a train, I’d attempt to save their lives.  If I know the cure for cancer, wouldn’t I tell people??  People around me are in the path of something much worse than cancer or a train.  Sin, Hell and separation from Jesus.  For eternity.   A miserable life on earth void of purpose and meaning.  Empty.  And I often don’t share my faith because I’m worried it’ll be socially awkward?!?  What the heck is wrong with me?

So somebody in some church somewhere stepped on your toes.  Somebody commented about your clothing and embarrassed you.  Somebody mentioned a “tithe” and you got all worked up and offended.  Somebody somewhere frustrated you so now you’re not ever stepping foot in a church again.  Really?!?  You’re giving up the life Jesus promised – a full life, abundant and free from your stupid, petty frustrations.  Is it worth giving up heaven?  Is it?  I don’t care if you don’t go to my church, just go somewhere!  The Bible tells us to worship together.  No getting around it…. go to church.  Get over your hurt feelings, your frustrations, your embarrassment and get out of bed in the morning to worship Almighty God.  So what if you feel out of place?  You will be blessed.  You will hear something that will stir your soul…. ready or not. 

Now, are you going to spend more time offended that someone would challenge you like this or are you going to go set your alarm clock?  It could be a life changing decision.

Challenging Video right here that got me to thinking…..

God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell / Spiritual Rape

Now I’m getting on shaky ground, right?  I mean, to read my posts about healthy cooking, how to use cast iron, funny things my husband has done….. that’s good stuff right there.  But now I bring up God.  And Hell.   Careful Preacher’s Wife, this could get uncomfortable!

heaven-and-hellFirst, let’s discuss that guy (or girl) in high school.  You know, the one who never looked you square in the eyes, followed you around (at a distance of course) and showed up everywhere you were?  Let’s name him/her Creeper.  You knew Creeper had a crush on you.  Creeper would stare at you from across the room.  Creeper would eventually get up the nerve to talk to you or even ask you out.  You weren’t interested so you said “No.”  Then Creeper would call you.  Or these days, text you.  Creeper might even write you notes.  The words “I’m not interested”  really meant nothing.  Creeper stalked you on social media.  You wanted Creeper to leave you alone.  You finally say “Get away from me!” slightly worried you’ll hurt Creepers feelings but enough is enough, right?  Geesh!  Leave me alone!

Now let’s shift gears here.  Let’s shift to thinking about God.  Keep reading – it all comes together in just a minute.  From the beginning, God has been pursuing you.  God has a desire for you to turn to Him – when things are good and when the road is rocky….  Heck, when the road turns into a cliff and you’re barely hanging on!  He desires you.  Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  He wants to hear from you – even though he’s omniscient (all knowing, having complete understanding).  If you have kids, think about it this way.  Don’t you know when your child is hurting?  Don’t you know when they are upset about something or someone?  I don’t know about you, but I love it when my child comes to me and confides in me.  Whether she asks for advice or not, I love it when she opens up to me and shares with me even though I already know what is bothering her.  I love putting my arms around her and comforting her.  God is the same way – He loves it when we come to Him.  His greatest desire is for us to want to be with Him.  He wants to give us rest.

Free choiceAlright, now let’s combine our two areas of discussion here.  Creepers and God.  And no, I’m not suggesting that God is a Creeper for goodness sakes!  Stick with me here folks!  God desires us.  He wants us.  But if you spend your whole life treating him like a Creeper telling Him “I’m not interested” then guess what?  He respects your free will.  He won’t force anything on you.  Even Heaven.  If you spend your life avoiding God, why in the world would He force you to go to Heaven where you will spend eternity with Him?  He will brokenheartedly allow you to choose to spend eternity away from Him in Hell.  He doesn’t send you there.  He wants you to choose Him.  But if He forces Himself on you, it’s no longer free will.  It’s spiritual rape.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  He’s with you.  So no matter how far you’ve run from Him or how much you’ve done to push him away, He’s there.  Quietly waiting for you to turn to Him.  Doesn’t matter who you’ve slept with, how much you had to drink last night, how high you may be right now reading this.  He loves you.  Doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday, serve in soup kitchens or give loads of money to charity.  He loves you.  You can’t get away from His love.  But He will not force it on you.  You have to choose it.

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Tammy Lanham Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She is also the owner of Tammy Lanham Images.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

How Michael Jackson and Tommy Lanham Ruined My Evening

I love my husband.

He came home as we were preparing to go the ball park tonight and watch my son play a Rookie Ball game.  It’s like t-ball but they hit the ball that is pitched from a pitching machine.  In this case, a round wheel that whirls and spits the ball out.  Gorgeous night for a game.  I came through the house gathering the last of the supplies – ball, hat, glove, batting gloves, cleats, the ball player, you know… the essentials.

As I gather the ball player, I noticed he and his sister are staring intently at a video my husband has pulled up on the laptop.  It’s the Michael Jackson Thriller video.  At the very moment this image popped up……

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………. my children did this…..

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Appolonya ran into the corner screaming “Why??  Why?????  Why would you show us that??”  I went to console her and she lashed out at ME asking “Why would you let Daddy show us that, Mommy?”  Yeah, like it’s MY fault…  In the meantime, Dylan is balled up in the fetal position on the floor squeezing his eyes shut and holding his hands over his ears while he’s screaming at the top of his lungs “Dad, make it STOP!”  Might I add that Dad is still sitting at the laptop trying his best to not bust out laughing.  I’m shooting darts at him in my mind but he doesn’t feel them.

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Yep – nice, calm, peaceful night before a ball game.  After the game, dear ol’ Dad had to go counsel a family and left Mommy at home to get the children in bed.  After we got home and got our baths, Dylan wouldn’t get more than 5 feet from me.  He sat in the floor in the bathroom while I helped Appolonya blow dry her hair.  When I tucked her in, he sat at the foot of her bed asking if that man was ever going to come back.  Then I tucked Dylan in.  Oh goodness…..  Poor kid.  He finally decided it would be okay to fall asleep if he slept with every single light in his room on.

Yep  – he’s asleep with every light on.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll when Daddy terrifies his children.

Thanks Tommy – and thank you Michael Jackson for such a peaceful evening.  Tommy – next time, you’re on tucking in duty!

 

 

 

Tammy’s Healthy Fresh Apple Cake Recipe (No sugar added)

Fresh Apple Cake Post for FB and PinterestI found this amazing recipe for Fresh Apple Cake but it was LOADED with oil, fat and sugar equaling over 300 calories per slice.  So I made a few adjustments and came up with this 169 calorie treat!  It’s absolutely delicious, made with whole grains and no added sugar (some sugar in glaze but not in cake)!  Hope you enjoy!

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Tammy’s Best Fresh Apple Cake 

Serves 20, 169 calories per serving

1 ½ cups applesauce                     ½ teaspoon, baking soda
1 ½ cups honey                                2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs                                                  ½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups sifted white flour                1 tsp vanilla
½ cup sifted wheat flour               3 cups sliced apples (boil to soften first)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees                                                                            
2.  Mix oil, honey and eggs in a bowl and beat well.
3.  In separate bowl, combine flour, ½ tsp salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture.
4.  Add vanilla, fold in apples.  Pour into sprayed, floured tube pan.
5.  Bake for 1 hour.  While cake is still warm, invert into serving plate.

Glaze:

2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp lemon extract

Combine and mix all ingredients in bowl and drizzle over cake while cake is still warm.
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