Diana Waring
December 11, 2013 Edition 

Take the Stress out of Christmas  

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Gena SuarezHey Mama,

Are you trying to take the stress out of Christmas? What do you think of this idea? Ditch the school plans you made and be SPONTANEOUS. Take the kids and go do something or stick around the house and talk all day. Cook a meal with them (assign each child a task) to surprise Dad with tonight or bake some holiday cookies. Spend some hours on a trip into town or sledding at a park if the weather permits. The school work will always be there, and believe me, it's not going to ruin your child to miss out on a few chapters of whatever today. But they'll remember "Spontaneous Mama" forever.

Take a walk on the wild side today and throughout the holidays, Mama. Ditch the plans and surprise the kids with something totally out of the blue. And don't just reserve being spontaneous for the holidays--surprise those kids throughout the year by putting away the books and doing something different.

You awesome Mama, you. You're just the best. And your kids know it even though they don't say it enough. Don't worry; they will someday.


~ gena



And here are some ideas from the magazine for reducing stress during the holidays:


The Gift of Everyday Moments -Deborah Wuehler  


Keeping Christ in Christmas-Being Organized Helps -Malia Russell


Sponsor Article

Loving God with All Our Mind 
By Dee Jones

Fall--another school year is beginning and where are our thoughts? We find ourselves thinking non-stop about curriculum choices, lesson planning, schedules, meals, and much more. It is so easy to let our minds run to overwhelming responsibilities and to-do lists.

Preparing to homeschool our children takes time, energy, and planning, which are good things, but too much of this can cause discouragement and stress. When difficult moments arise, we are given the opportunity to exercise our faith and refocus our thoughts towards God.

Here are three steps to help refocus:
  1. Recognize the negative thoughts.
    We must recognize when our thinking is stinking. Our thoughts stink when they do not align with God's word and are contrary to His nature. When this happens we must be quick to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

  2. Talk to yourself.
    C.J. Mahaney points out in his book Humility, "Christians spend way too much time listening to themselves instead of speaking to themselves."

    Too often we listen to the voice in our head say, "I do not have time for this. I will never get it done. I am a failure!" Sound familiar? Instead we need to speak words of truth to ourselves, "It is God who works in me to will and to act according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). I will accomplish in this day what He has called me to do. I will do all things for and to His glory."

    Speak truth to yourself and do not be pulled down by the lies of the enemy. 

  3. Spend time alone with God.
    Nothing helps us refocus our minds more than time alone with God. For us moms this time can be hard to find! We have many demands in a day, especially when our children are small. Each day is filled with instructing, explaining, correcting, and comforting so we need to be filled by the Lord to pour into our families.  

    Try to give yourself a few minutes each day. Sit at the feet of your Savior, renew your mind (Romans 12:2) with scripture, be still and listen.  
Loving God with our minds takes time and discipline, but for everything He calls us to, He equips us for. God Bless. 

Mardel Homeschool  

The Familyman 

Stressed about Christmas? You should be!!! It's right around the corner, and it's going to be over before you know it. If it will make you feel better, scream right now. Feel better?


Here's the deal: there are Marthas and there are Marys. Some get stressed and some don't. My wife and I are one of each, and let me just say that we Marys cause MORE stress for the Marthas. Marys see all the fun and Marthas see all the things to be done. I'm not sure how you can change who you are, but maybe there are things you can do to be less stressed out.


That's why I'm asking my stressed-out wife to give her thoughts (secretly I'm thinking it might help her as well). Here's my lovely, stressed-out wife's suggestion: marry someone who's understanding and loving!


Isn't she adorable? Hmm . . . well, anyway I guess this turned out to be for those who DON'T get stressed out. We need to be understanding of our stressed-out spouses, AND we need to avoid adding to the stress by having such high expectations of fun and by being bothered when they are stressed out. That's just the way they were created. In fact, it's almost absurd to think that I, a non-stressed person, can instruct a completely, differently wired, stressed-out person to avoid the stress. Even Jesus, when he told Martha that she was missing out on the best, didn't offer any instructions. He just stated the fact.


So if you're stressed out, print this off and give it to your spouse. And if you're not stressed out, try to be understanding, let the comments roll off your back (easier to write than do), and ask your spouse how you might help lessen the stress.


Isn't marriage at Christmas fun?


Be real,



P.S. We're having an "I-Ordered-Too-Many-Christmas-Crafts" Sale, and our Christmas crafts are now only $5. The craft kit includes FOUR easy-to-assemble Christmas crafts for your kids to assemble. Once made, they make great gifts and cherished heirlooms. Order right now!! 

A division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! No limits!  


We have a surprise for you on Everyday Copywork that will help you take some stress out of Christmas. We invite you to pull up a chair and enjoy poems by Janice D. Green, author of The First Christmas Bible storybook and owner of Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC. Relax and ponder the Christmas story in a special way as Janice retells it in thirteen original poems. Have fun with these handwriting worksheets just in time for Christmas!


SchoollhouseTeachers.com If you have little ones ages 5-10 at home, don't miss your chance to see their work brought to life! In partnership with EZTales.com, Schoolhouse Teachers is running a storybook contest. The winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet, and the winning story will be animated for everyone to enjoy. No membership is needed to enter. More than 200 stories have already been submitted. We've extended the entry deadline-but only until midnight, December 31st. Visit our Contest page for details.


Don't miss our Buy-One-Get-One December membership special. Buy one year of SchoolhouseTeachers.com and receive a free one-year membership to bless a friend or loved one with! Plus, you'll receive a FREE copy of the 2014 Print Issue when it is released (US only) and access to the Schoolhouse Library. Don't miss this incredible sale!
Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


Before we talk about how to de-stress, may I offer you some Christmas shopping cheer? Exclusively for readers of THM, we are offering FREE SHIPPING (media mail) on U.S. orders now through Christmas Eve, 2013, on all products at www.dianawaring.com. When ordering, simply write "THM Christmas Gift" in the comments field, and as we process your order, we will deduct the price of shipping!


Now, on to today's topic. You already know the basics:

  • Don't overspend.
  • Don't overeat.
  • Don't overdo!

But when we focus on what we should NOT do, what normally happens? That's right; it begins to consume our thoughts--much like being told not to think about pink elephants!


So, let's turn the microscope the other direction and consider, in the de-stress-Christmas-mood, what we CAN do. Here are some steps that may allow you to take charge of this wild and wonderful season.


First, make a list of your top three most enjoyable things to do at Christmas. Then, ask your spouse and each of your children what are the three things they most love to do at Christmas.


To give you a flavor of what I mean, here are my top three:

  • Hike around a tree farm in search of the perfect tree (preferably with snow on the ground).


  • Go Christmas caroling, particularly with singers who can sing 3- or 4-part harmonies.
  • Make Christmas cookies and/or miniature gingerbread houses to give to neighbors and friends.

Now, look at the list you and your family have created. Are there any overlapping ideas--like making cookies and giving homemade gifts? If your family is large or if the ideas listed take a lot of preparation, the list may seem overwhelming, so in a family meeting, trim it down to size.


I suggest writing each one out on a chalkboard or easel pad. Then, with everyone happily sipping hot chocolate or spiced apple cider, talk about each person's number one choice. No criticism allowed!! If the little one's favorite thing to do for Christmas is play Candy Land, then no grumbling. If the teen's favorite thing to do is build a snowball fort for snowball wars, then no grumbling. If your favorite thing to do is watch White Christmas (one of my must-dos!), then no grumbling.


Depending on the size of your family and the energy required to do these things, you can choose how many ideas are chosen--one, two or three per person.


This list is now a potential GOLDMINE for you! Mine it for the treasures contained within, treasures of laughter and delight for your family. And let this list guide your choices over the Christmas season. If you all have chosen your favorites, and a particular tradition or ritual is not included, maybe it's time to let that one go. Lighten these days with delight, dear friends.


I have to say this. Plodding through school at this point is accomplishing very little. You might want to consider taking three or four weeks off from formal school--at the very least, two--and do life. It is probably the number one de-stressor for you and the number one joy-generator for your kids.


As wise people have long noted, if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. And if you do what your family loves this Christmas, precious memories will wrap themselves around your children's hearts with bright ribbons of laughter and joy.


Remember, stay relational.





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"God is whispering to you to celebrate Him. Seasons of our life will change, but he will
never change. He is worthy of celebration."

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.



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"For all of evolution to be, there had to have been the first cell. This first cell had to have a membrane and internal components that include enough DNA to allow the cell to reproduce. If it can't divide and make another cell, then it dies and all is lost."  

Contest Corner 

For the month of December, 2013    


Philosophy Adventure from Home School Adventure Co.


Philosophy Adventure In Philosophy Adventure, Stacy Farrell helps us explore the history of ideas. When I first received the textbook and student workbook to review, I was a little nervous. Philosophy? The word brings to mind dusty bookshelves, deep theological texts, and eyes struggling to stay open under the weight of heavy eyelids. I couldn't have been more wonderfully surprised.


The book skillfully takes us through the lives of eight philosophers, but the text does far more than simply recount historical facts. In the introduction, author Stacy Farrell shares, "What we learned when we delved deeply into the study of the history of philosophy is too significant to sleep through. In fact, the future of freedom may depend upon how many of us wake up to the world of ideas and seek to discern and defend truth."


Why is understanding the history of philosophy so important? Do any of these questions sound relevant to today's life?


Where did the universe originate?

Was the universe created or has it always existed?

What happens to a person when they die?

Is there more to life than the physical body?

Is the spirit reincarnated into other living creatures?

How does the character of a group's leader impact his followers?

Could there be one omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God?

Who or what can solve the mysteries of life?

Can truth be known or is all of life an endless string of confusing contradictions?

What happens when you try to blend science and myth?

Is it possible to know God exists?


In addition to exploring the historical foundations of ideas that continue to shape modern thought, author Stacy Farrell also introduces us to a world of logical fallacies, teaching us how to identify them and think critically about the "facts" that are presented to us. (Click here to read the rest of the review!)


You can WIN this set!  


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Philosophy Adventure" for a chance to win* this amazing homeschool resource for your family!

In this week's issue:

Writing Tales


Brookdale House

Take a look at
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"Relish our Christmas tradition of simplicity."  

in the latest issue of
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