Friday, September 30, 2011

Romeo and Juliet, Drawing Trees, and Reading

In my life this week…
I  am feeling so much better; however, the swine flu has hit the city and the schools here have been closed for 10 days. Can you imagine?

In our homeschool this week… {Week 9}
So this week includes some of what was on the week 8 list and we plug along doing things like….
  • Reading a lot.
  • Drawing palm trees adding as much detail as we can see.
  • Introducing our personal spelling dictionary so that we can try that before asking mom.
  • Birds, birds, birds
  • Looking at the dates on coins and charting them

My favorite thing this week was…
We went out for ice cream to start our week. While we ate, we watched the end of a  very silly spoof of Romeo and Juliet on the large screen of this outdoor eatery. The Spanish show had two children acting out Shakespeare for some talent show which ended with corpses dancing to "Thriller", not exactly pure theater. My oldest son asked me about to tell him the story of Romeo and Juliet after that. Ahem, yes I can share this story and in fact, we can read it in our Tales From Shakespeare book by Charles and Mary Lamb.
When moments of learning come up naturally it's exciting; although I try to present a calm, unassuming front to my kids so as not to destroy that spark. They really enjoyed Romeo and Juliet, I stopped often to explain and they asked questions, but their interest remained with me to the bitter end which we discussed at length. Now where can we find a spoof of MacBeth

I’m reading…
I started reading So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore that my mom gave me last year. So far ,it is a quick read told more as a story and less as a study, like her other books.

A photo to share
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My son ran in the house asking for the camera to take a photo of this cool bird. 
The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Tweet “Takeaways” From The Nines

The time I was able to watch or listen to The (free) Nines Conference was inspiring+!  If you missed it, you can still head over and purchase the very practical videos and notes which helps cover costs. It would be excellent for your church leaders as well as missionaries you know.

As I followed the hashtag #thenines and retweeted, here are some tweets I don’t want to forget. (Sorry, I included 10 from the Nines) …

1. @MissionalMama tweeted– (This is me.)
rituals, space, unselfish, breaks, creative, slowly, less, family, language, involved -Andrew Jones #thenines @tallskinnykiwi
(You can get the full list of great ideas for a missional leadership family at Tall Skinny Kiwi.)

2. @nancycarm tweeted-
"When you have no idea what you're doing, it's great. Cause then, you pray." Mark Batterson #thenines

3. @michael_parks tweeted-
"Nothing worth pursuing doesn’t come with challenges - including those days when you just want to quit!" (Mark DeYmaz) #thenines

4. @seanpalmer  tweeted -
"If you prioritize your marriage/family, expect to disappoint people. Don't be a people pleaser." @JudWilhite #thenines

5. @rickweinert tweeted-
#thenines Carey Nieuwhof - just because it's a good idea doesn't mean we have to do it. What if we should only do what we do best?

6. @johnendriss tweeted-
"Remember money is a tool for evangelism, not a safety net! God is the safety net." #thenines

7. @akapastorguy tweeted- 
Frank Turk: "I can't lead like Jesus. I can only lead like someone Jesus has saved."
#thenines #fb

8. @JAshinhurst tweeted-
"Everybody needs a coach otherwise you're left with only your own insight into your life" -Steve Robinson  #thenines

9. @Amazing_G_ tweeted -
Time management starts before calendars R pulled out—need guidance of God 2 ensure time is effective & God honoring. @ShunnaJones #thenines

10. @ShinyPastor tweeted-
Spending the rest of the day with my wife @shellysn celebrating her b-day, and NOT tweeting... because I don't suck. #TheNines      
(The above tweet was in response to someone else who tweeted that if you tweet while on a date with your wife, you suck.  Ahem, not a big fan of that word, but in the context it was funny.)

Did you listen in to the Nines? What was the last conference you enjoyed?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's On Your Nightstand? for September

What's On Your Nightstand
The more that I read, the more books I seem to find that I add to my pile! I really want to be intentional and choose the best books for what I need and what my kids need.  How do you choose? 


Still working on

  • Too Small to Ignore - This has been on my to-read list for awhile, but recently my friend, J9, was talking about it so now it has moved up my list. Can't wait to borrow in on my Kindle!
Finished but did not read every single word because of the nature of the book:
What are you reading these days?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron Book Review

The insanity of living with an addict rolls into your life like fog as you stand on the shore of your hopes about the future. Then the tide begins, imperceptibly at first, to rise. Over the years, the water gets higher and higher, the fog continues to thicken, and one day you realize you’re lost, over your head, and even the calling of gulls has stopped.” page 224
This year I have realized anew how much I like memoirs. Unlike most of my readings, I can sail through a good life story in a few days which was what confused me about Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. I was expecting to be placed in the story and swept along which just did not happen. What did occur, for me, was meandering slowly through the first half of the book which was full of stories about his horrible father, how the CIA played a part of his life unknowingly, and a boyhood that just seemed hard and sad.

When I arrived at the second half of the book, it picked up for me and I finished quickly. Cron’s story that centered more on God was what I enjoyed. His friend Tyler who caused me to hope for this boy and his turning into a very different type of Dad is what drew me.

This is not a solid, scripturally strong testimony of a boy who realizes he is a sinner, ask forgiveness for his sins, and becomes a new man. Because of the chapters that Cron chooses to share, you don’t know any details of where he truly stands with all that. When Ian writes things like, “Even God was surprised.” (pg.168), I was sure by his style he was kidding, but I have to admit that within the stories the theology seemed questionable at best. 

He does warn in the first chapter that he is embellishing this memoir. Many of the stories happened so long ago, that the details are not exact. Knowing that, I think the whole point of Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me is Cron’s coming to terms with his father and about forgiveness with a little of how Cron changed as a person.

Would I recommend this book? I’m not sure. I suppose I would share it with people who deal with an addict in their life or had a troubling childhood but maybe not. I did enjoy the writing style for much of the book and perhaps it is there that the real value lies.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Journaling with Your Computer: The Journal 5 Review and Giveaway

I was invited to join Rafflecopter and because there were no entries in my giveaway yet, I decided to add Rafflecopter and extend the giveaway by one day!

After clicking The Journal 5 button on my desktop and typing in the secret password, the following is what shows up….

If you like keeping a daily journal on your computer, this is the one for you. I like the simplicity and the ease of this platform.  I also like that fact that it is offline and saved on my computer, although you can back it up online as well if you want and if you don’t like green that is easy to change too.

My goal was to write a token from each day. Sometimes I have just one line to write and other days a picture with story or conversation.  If  a day is missed, I freed myself from going back and filling it in so that it does not become a chore but a welcomed way of closing out my day.  Keep in mind, that if you have trouble coming up with something you can add a simple daily journal template that is quick and easy to help you along.

When you purchase The Journal 5, it comes with easy to follow and clear directions. Plus it allows you to add tabs, lists, and things that interest you. For example, I have a Happiness Project Tab where I list some things that I wanted to remember from the book by that name. The Happiness Project has a place where you can keep these lists online, but I prefer mine to be private and so I am keeping them in my journal.

9-22-2011 9-42-37 AM

My favorite thing about The Journal 5 is the Memory grabber add on.  I highly recommend this as it allows you to keep a running timeline of your life along with memory questions to remind you of key events you won’t want to forget.  The timeline (pictured above) has room to add your age to each year as well as monumental events. The space expands if you have a year that warrants more writing. I plan to list births, weddings, graduations, big moves, significant current events, and major life happenings. The memory questions include family, childhood, work, favorites, talents, and many more.

I highly recommend the Journal 5 for people looking to keep a simple desktop journal. You can purchase a download now or on CD in various bundles and packages. Head over to The Journal's website to see more page views and insights to the program.
You can also win The Journal 5 with the Memorygrabber (a $59.95 value)

I received a download of The Journal 5 in exchange for this review which is my own opinion.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

When Mom is Sick, Unschooling, and Dia de Santa Cruz

In my life this week… I was put on some hefty meds from my cold and rested much of the week. I am thankful that I do not appear to have the swine flu which has closed the local International school.

In our homeschool this week… (Week 8, sort of)
This was an unschooling week. The kids marched on with Math and a few other regulars; however, mostly they followed their interests. The highlights included bringing a baby chick home (named Chirp or Tweetie depending whom you ask), going to the Expo with Dad, counting rings on a tree that was recently cut down, child directed and led reading and crafts, listening to lots of books on tape, and a participating in a program for Dia de Santa Cruz.  I really like that learning does not stop even when mom has to rest.

My favorite thing this week was…
Watching my kids immediately start counting the rings on a tree that they saw which was recently cut down. My son counted 30 years which was how long ago, we were told, it was planted. Tree rings came up in our readings last week, so it was cool to be able to actually have some to count ourselves.

What’s working/not working for us…
Being sick is not working for me. I need my energy back!

A photo to share…
September 2011 003
Each pair is wearing typical clothing from different areas of the Santa Cruz department of Bolivia.
This was at the program for Santa Cruz Day. My daughter participated in a dance.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall into Reading Challenge 2011

These are the books on my list:
MY GOALS FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS (September 23 – December 21) are as follows:

1. Finish all the books listed above. (They are all review books and have all been started already.)
2. Finish at least five more books.
Total: Read 12 books or four each month.

If you like a little reading accountability, join the challenge by clicking the button above. It really does help in accomplishing goals when you write them down for the world to see.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sore Throat, Mosquito Net Clubhouse, and Your Mom is Ugly

In my life this week…
After logging my day on Monday, I went to bed with a sore throat and that was a good indication of what the rest of the week held. I did very little reading out loud.

In our homeschool this week… (Week #7)
Most of the week was independent work and extra reading time and today was catch up. We still have a few items to read together but then we're good. 

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
I really want to teach my daughter tools to deal with mean girls… so the perfect opportunity came this week. My daughter came home from afternoon school where they are learning Spanish and told me a girl in her class told her, “Your mom is ugly!”  She took it personally. (side note - I am actually really, really good looking, just so we’re clear *wink*) I am trying to help my daughter to see the words for what they are and what was meant behind them. I was told today that saying someone in your family is ugly is a very common insult children use here. We went on to talk about what she can do next time something like occurs. (And nothing we talked about included the words, “Oh yeah, well your mom’s ugly too!”)

I am inspired by…
ThinkFun - I gave it a lot of thought as I planned my guest post over at their blog.

September 2011 012
My favorite thing this week was…
I took a nap with my preschooler the other day under the mosquito net. He was excited to sleep in the “clubhouse”!  My older two enjoy sitting under the “clubhouse” too and sometimes they are there reading or doing a workbook.

Questions/thoughts I have…
How do you help your children deal with mean kids?

Things I’m working on…
Learning to make a coffee shake with the extra coffee from the morning. I am needing to find the right amount of coffee, milk, and ice for the perfect cool drink!  Then I add a little carmel on top! (Thank you to my friend, Laurie, who introduced me to this afternoon treat!)

A video to share…

(FYI: I am not a big fan of books nor songs that make it seem like your dating God, but this catchy tune seems different to me. I am thinking she is meaning that she is practicing God’s presence all the time, loving her Savior with her life. I could be reading into it as I have listened to it almost one million times today. We all have it memorized now! Who knows?)

Daughter and Doll Aprons

Remember when I reviewed the beautiful 18" doll clothing from the Small 4 All Etsy shop in July? Well, here is a picture of my daughter and her doll in their matching aprons that she happily received on her birthday.

Isn't it adorable?  Small 4 All has several apron selections available including this ONE that is similar to the one we have.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You Can Find Me at SmartPlay!

I am guest posting over at the SmartPlay blog sharing how to use games, specifically ThinkFun games, for learning!

Have you played any of ThinkFun Games? What are your favorites?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Day in the Life of Missional Mama {Homeschool and Otherwise}

6:30 A.M. – My husband wakes me up as he leaves for an early morning at the hanger, he has something to get done before the flight at 8:30 A.M. I get out of bed about 15 minutes later, make coffee, take a shower, and sit down in the chair that I just moved into my room to read Leviticus and pray.

August 2011 232

7:30 A. M. – Wake the kids, set out clothes for my youngest. The oldest is normally in charge of breakfast. (I hear him tell one of the children, “You have to eat the cereal that I made especially for you.”) A-- comes in needing a band-aid for a booboo that I can’t see and already has the covering in hand. All I need to do is open it for him (easy peasy, this mothering thing is a cinch! Smile)

8:20 – 9:00 A.M.Art class at the local International school where most of our MK friends attend. While the older two are in class, A-- and I head to the library. Today, I have a few review books that I am donating plus we always have books to drop off. On the taxi drive home, I hand out Flying Machines, The Little House Cookbook, and a Hot Wheels book that I just checked out to keep the kids occupied during the ride.

August 2011 230

Home again, Home again…. The kids have a few minutes to do what they need to do (snack, potty, run around the house) and then meet me at the table where I have everything set up from the night before. {Generally on Sunday night, I like to get things settled.}

This is what we do…. {Homeschool Week #7}

  • Bible – {started at 9:45 A.M.} Read Luke 16 and discuss, practice “The Shorter Catechism” questions we are memorizing out of The New-England Primer, read “Endure Hardness” out of Polite Moments vol. 3, and pray.

  • Practice “The American’s Creed” which we almost have memorized. (by we, I mean my kids.)

  • A Reason for Handwriting {I check blogs}

  • Trail Guide to World Geography, week 7, day 1

  • A Child’s History of the World Chapter 40 and 49 with narration

  • Color an illustration about “The Star-Spangled Banner” while listening to it playing several times.  I also read a description of the illustration from Color the Patriotic Classics.

  • 30 minutes of Math – Aleks and Saxon {Meanwhile, I figure out what we are doing for lunch, do a lesson from How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with my preschooler, shove some peanuts in my mouth, and read for a few minutes}

  • Very short break at 11:17 A.M

  • Read two poems from You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You by John Ciardi

  • Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day pgs. 57-59 with writing narration in the accompanying notebook. {My oldest then draws a bird picture in the notebook while L— finishes up something else}

  • Read two tales from English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. My kids really enjoy these and always ask me to read more. While I read, they both draw. L--- turn to draw a bird picture in our science notebook.

  • Grammar with the oldest while my middle reads from her reader to A—.

  • I— then finished grammar while L-- reads from her reader completing one workbook page, and finishing phonics which he started already.

  • Grammar with L— {As she put it away she said, “That was fun.”} and then she reads aloud from her reader while she lays on the floor. {I leave the table at 12:14 P.M. to begin lunch while they finish up a few assignments.}

Lunch – eggs in a basket, carrots, apples, and watermelon. {My husband and one of the guys from the hanger come to eat with us.}

1:30 P.M. - My husband takes the older two to Bolivian school.  It runs from about 2 – 6 P.M. for the elementary.  Each day they have three classes and two breaks. They are there to learn Spanish and accomplish what they can. I do some dishes (we have a tiny sink area), sweep a little, and straighten up a bit.

2 – 4:00 P.M. – A visitor stopped by to return a couple books and talk about homeschooling. 

4:00 P.M.  

Finished checking email, FB, Twitter, and scrolling blogs on Google Reader. A few posts that I opened and read were…

Nap time for the little one with me laying beside him reading. It is our special sweet time that I try to work in when we can. He is only a toddler for a bit longer. I fall asleep for about 1/2 hour until the phone rang. So I  finish the dishes, sort the laundry for tomorrow, straighten the family room putting things away around the house and did some paper work.

6:35 P.M. – The kids, hubby, and a friend are home after stopping quickly at the store. Our friend is a young adult who grew up in a children’s home here. We love having him at our house and he comes often.

We start preparing dinner for the grill.  I get to work cleaning vegetables that were just brought home and making fresh lemonade.  My husband works his burger magic and we put together a salad. Our friend cleans potatoes and puts them on the stove. Meanwhile, the kids are having some free time.

7:30 P.M. – Our Pastor and his wife arrive to talk and have dinner with us.

8:30 P.M. – Dinner {Most of the time we eat our big meal at lunch with something lite at night as is custom here, but since we are having company we switched the meals today.}

9:00-ish – The kids head to change clothes, brush teeth and get in bed. The oldest finishes some reading he needed to do. Because of our lives here, the kids go to bed at different times; that is just the way it is. Tomorrow we won’t start as early so they can sleep a little longer to make up for going to bed late.

10:15 P.M. – My husband drives our guests home.

10:30 P.M. – I am showered, ready for bed with a sore throat coming on strong. (oh no!)

Our days are really never the same, but this is a small window in to what happened one Monday in South America…

Are your days tightly scheduled or does your life demand flexibility?  Have you written a day in the life post? Read any great blog posts we should check out?
Hip Homeschool Hop Button Not Back to School Blog Hop

Friday, September 9, 2011

Birds, Swimming, and Life on the Prairie

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

In my life this week…
My husband has been sick so life has been about staying home this week.

In our homeschool this week…
I really have been enjoying studying about birds. This week as we were learning the details of the feathers and wings, my daughter was showing me where everything was on her stuffed Webkinz bird. It was cute and educational.

I also enjoyed watch my daughter come home from art class and draw a bowl of fruit, inspired from the study they are doing of the fruit of the Spirit.

Also, I really like that Little House in the Prairie is full of lessons that we can point out or just let the kids absorb as we read. For example, last night we talked about what was rude to do at the table because of what we read.

My favorite thing this week was
We went swimming with some Bolivian friends. It was a great time getting to know them better and the kids had a blast.

What’s working/not working for us…
I am enjoying the weeks that we get most of our weekly work done early and have the end of the week for extras. My kids are now asking about how they can schedule math time to be done early, I hope that this will transfer over to some good life lessons.

I’m reading…
I am really enjoying Don’t Call it a Comeback by Kevin DeYoung and His Kingdom Come published by YWAM. I also finished Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman this week in 24 hours!  You need to read it!

I’m grateful for…
The funny, silly, and sometimes insightful things my kids say along the way…
I know that you know what I mean because your kids do this too!
The Homeschool Mother's Journal
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Math. 6:10 NKJV). This is not only our prayer; it is also the great work of the church and of every person who is part of the body of Christ. We’re not only to bring salvation, but also the life of the kingdom of God to the earth.”
                                                                           - Your Kingdom Come by YWMA pg. 23

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Fine Art of Insincerity​ by Angela Hunt {Review and Interview}

a_The-fine-art-of-insincerity1Angela Hunt is one of my favorite fiction authors. She has well crafted stories that follow widely different themes and characters. That takes some serious talent to pull off and Hunt seems to do so effortlessly.

Hunt has the distinct ability to draw the reader into the lives of her characters. In The Fine Art of Insincerity, Angela Hunt shares the lives of three, very diverse sisters who each have demons they are wrestling.  Because those we meet in The Fine Art of Insincerity are messy, it makes them easy to relate to and more realistic. I found myself turning pages wondering the outcome and roads each would choose. Although the issues, some obvious from the start, are hinted at, the manner in which they are resolved is a surprise even to the very end.
Three Southern sisters with nine marriages between them--and more looming on the horizon--travel to St. Simons Island to empty their late grandmother’s house. Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she’s the only one who hasn’t inherited what their family calls “the Grandma Gene”--the tendency to enjoy the casualness of courtship more than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a “girls only” weekend, closing up Grandma’s memory-filled beach cottage for the last time, for the sisters to unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind. (summary credit)
Angela Hunt graciously agreed to answer some questions about her book, writing, and how you might connect with her…

1. I have read many of your novels, The Fine Art of Insincerity felt different to me in the way it was told by three different sisters, how did the idea come to be?       I am one of three sisters, so I've always wanted to write about that situation. Plus, many of the stories are adapted from my real life. My grandma has a lot in common with Grandma Lillian.

2. When you write, do you know where and how things will wrap up or is it also a discovery for you as well?
It's about half and half. I always have a vague idea of the ending, but I often struggle with the details up until the very end

3. The Fine Art of Insincerity is an interesting title, what is one lesson in relationships that you learned while writing or that you hope your readers will take away?
That what we think is love often isn't--it's responsibility. There's a huge difference.

4. Can you tell my readers a little about your blog and where else they can connect with you online.      My website is, and my blog, Facebook, and Twitter all spring off from that.       

5. Since this blog is Missional Mama, I was wondering if you would like to share how you are impacted by missions or being missional.
I consider my books my missional statement, and the world my mission field. Sometimes Christians fault me for not being "Christian enough," but they forget that the world doesn't speak our language. You have to reach people where they are.

6. Will we see these characters in future books? What other book or books can we look forward to next?
I won't be working with these characters again, but my next book is also concerned with three sisters. It should release next summer (2012).

I truly enjoyed The Fine Art of Insincerity and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiction and especially Christian fiction. Hunt is a fantastic author. Check out what Liz Curtis Higgs wrote, “Only Angela Hunt could write a relationship novel that’s a page-turner!”

What is your favorite Angela Hunt book?

I was given this book by Glass Road Public Relations  in exchange for my honest review and opinions. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recommendations for Read Alouds

“The more you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"
Photo credit: Surachai

My hope and goal is that my children will enjoy reading to the degree that they naturally become lifelong learners. I know of no better way than to introduce them to a variety of genres and high quality books as we learn together.  Because I love books, my eyes are always open to stories I have yet to read.

Some of the places that I go to add to my always growing book wish list…
Here are a few of the read alouds we have enjoyed this year…

Homer Price
Little House In the Big Woods
The Story of Thomas Alva Edison
Ginger Pye
Heaven's Heroes
Anne of Green Gables
Jotham’s Journey

A few books I enjoyed reading aloud when I was a classroom teacher…

The Giver
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
A Wrinkle in Time
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Witch of Blackbird Pond

What read aloud books do you recommend?

Visit Three Thinking Mothers to see other posts about read alouds.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Buying Jeans, Homer Price, and the Weekly Schedule

In my life this week…
  • Meetings
  • Doctor visits
  • Visits with friends that went late into the evenings
  • Buying second hand jeans (which I like and want to keep) at the used clothing market to send to the single missionary in the village :)
  • Speaking last Saturday night to the young people about drawing near to God
  • Finally finding a place to get a good hamburger here 
In our homeschool this week…
We finished Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. Sometimes read alouds get pushed to the side because we work to get the rest of the stuff finished before the kids head to afternoon school for  Spanish.  My kids have been begging me to finish Homer Price, so today they thought we should start with reading and we did. 

I am inspired by…
Pinterest is a great place for homeschooling and craft ideas!
Follow Me on Pinterest
What’s working/not working for us…
I really like that my schedule is not split into days but has everything listed for the week.  This way we can get done as much as we can each day and split it up according to our schedule.  Our life is often unpredictable and this really seems to make things flow better for us.  We do have a few things that need to be done daily, but even these things can be flexible.
Things I’m working on…
Beginning to make a schedule for when we go the states this winter.
I’m reading…
I finished Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus last night.
The Homeschool Mother's JournalI’m cooking…
Last night we had this amazing Mexican meatloaf from a cookbook that I will be reviewing soon.
I’m grateful for…
family and friends

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
My friend Kim wrote this on her FB status (which she credited to her friend Monica); I thought it was worth pondering...
 "What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"