Students At Home

For Everyone Who Learns at Home

You Are God’s Artwork

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Self Care Starts With One Small Step

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When I need to participate in self-care, I sip a cup of hot mint tea or flavored coffee, pet our cat, read a book, or take a walk.

What’s your favorite self-care activity?

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Review: Breaking The Power Of Negative Words

breaking power negative wordsWords have power. Just this week, I spent a few extra minutes one morning styling my hair, and I  thought about a comment my elementary school classmates made about my dark locks over 35 years ago. That particular day, I had taken extra time to curl my thick, straight hair, and I thought the curly style looked beautiful. Instead of praising my new do, though, several kids criticized it and called my hair a “mop.” Ever since that day, I’ve hated my hair. It never occurred to me to be grateful for my thick hair until I met Joyce a few years ago. She repeatedly told me how much she loved the way my hair curled and its thickness. I chose to believe her and now love my hair. See? Negative words can deflate and discourage us while positive words can inspire and encourage us.

Mary Busha understands the power of words. She uses this book to help readers recognize the power of both positive and negative words. The book outlines the practical steps we can take to form healthier habits with the words we speak. It also discusses ways we can learn to forgive others for saying negative words and change our negative word habits into positive habits.

On almost every page, I was encouraged and motivated to make changes. I appreciated Mrs. Busha’s conversational yet educational writing style that shares deep concepts without being dry or boring. Also, in addition to scripture, she includes examples from her life and the lives of others in each chapter. These examples helped me connect emotionally to the concepts. The thoughtful discussion questions at the end of each chapter prompted me to go deeper and reinforced my understanding of the chapter’s concepts

After I finished reading this book, I thought of all the people I know who would benefit from it, including people who invest in me with positive words, people I know who have been wounded from negative words, and people who wound others. Basically, it’s a book that’s ideal for anyone and everyone. I highly recommend it. 5 Stars!

 

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Book Review: Under Pressure

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Anxiety affects our daughters in frightening ways. However, Dr. Lisa Damour’s book “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls” addresses common causes of stress and anxiety and offers tips that help parents and girls manage these causes in effective and unique ways.

The big takeaways from this book for me include:

1. Anxiety can be an ally rather than an enemy. What would happen if we would see our anxious feelings as a prompt to pause and check in with how we’re feeling? This pause can help us regain control.

2. Nerves can range from protective to disruptive. Wherever we are on this continuum, we have hope that our feelings are not permanent and will change in time.

3. Stress and anxiety can accumulate. That leads us to overreact over small things. We can build slack into our schedule so we have time to relax, unwind, sleep, and rest.

4. “Settle the glitter” or take time to pause and clear our heads when our first reaction is anxiety. We’re not locked into our first reaction because our second reaction may be a solution or a reminder of what we can do to manage or resolve the challenging situation.

5. Mindfulness is a way for us to become intimately familiar with the landscape of our inner lives. This practice can equip us to know ourselves and our triggers and coping mechanisms better.

6. When we face conflict, we often act like a bulldozer, a doormat or a doormat with spikes (passive-aggressive), but the goal is to be a pillar. Recognize our tendency and look for ways to stand up for ourselves without stepping on anyone.

7. We do need to succeed at school because our grades and performance affect our college admission, but let’s be more efficient and tactical. How can we work smarter and not harder? Can we study less in a subject we ace and put our time and efforts into a subject that’s harder?

I liked that Dr. Damour uses the word “we” and shares dialogues with clients throughout the book. I truly felt as I read that she was in this together with me and was coaching and cheering me along as I understand anxiety and stress better.

I also liked her practical tips as she provides effective ways to deal with social media, the news, peer pressure, boys, sexual harassment, school, grades, and conflict. The resources for parents and children also are useful.

I didn’t appreciate that Dr. Damour speaks primarily from her clients’ experiences. While her advice is helpful, she admits in the book that she has only experienced one panic attack, and readers should know that she does not share advice that she has personally followed successfully in her own life.

Overall, I would recommend this book to parents of children in mid-elementary to college. It offers a unique perspective on anxiety and stress and helps us equip our daughters to manage their feelings when they’re under pressure.

 

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February 5, Safer Internet Day

safe internet day

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Book Review: Little Princes

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This book is important. It shares details about child trafficking in Nepal and one man’s goal to reunite families. In addition to learning more about the trafficking crisis, this book includes information about Nepalese culture, politics and terrain.

Mesmerizing and entertaining, this book is filled with love – love for children, a country and friends.

I’m adding “Little Princes” to my “read again” list and encourage others to read it too.

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Book Review: Goodbye Things

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I’ve always struggled with stuff. I like being surrounded by things that trigger a happy memory or thoughts of loved ones. Plus, I often think, “But I can’t throw this thing away because I might need it.”

Lately, though, I’ve been motivated to get rid of stuff. Our kids are getting older and don’t need all the toys they used to play with every day. Also, my dear hubby detests clutter, and I do enjoy the white space he creates when he removes piles of clutter from around the house. I always feel more peaceful, too, after I put the laundry away or file the piles of paper that accumulate during a week.

That’s why I’ve been learning about minimalism. I like the idea that less is more, and it’s time to figure out why I want to be surrounded by so much stuff and how to get rid of the objects that don’t bring me joy. I also want to leave my kids a legacy of peace and joy, not things.

I found this book on Amazon Prime Reading and decided to read it before the New Year. This book is actually one of the best I’ve read on the subject of downsizing. Fumio Sasaki gave me many new thoughts on the process of minimalizing, and my perspective on things has changed because of this book.

Here are some of the key takeaways I discovered.

1.Minimalism: keep only what’s truly necessary to live, not to gain approval or for the purpose of appearances.

2. Less stuff = more freedom, less brain clutter, improved energy, space to daydream and be creative, which is important to me.

3. Our things are like roommates that take up space but don’t provide any intrinsic value.

4. Holding onto old stuff also holds us in bondage to an old image of ourselves when we could be embracing the present and pursuing a fresh start and new adventures in the future.

5. It’s ok to toss mementos from the past because we remember the memories that are most important. Also, we can prioritize the people in our lives, not the objects they gave us.

6. Give important things space to be impactful.

I recommend this book to anyone who’s curious about minimalism or needs a jumpstart to begin downsizing. It’s packed with wisdom, easy to read and very insightful. I’m adding it to my “read again” list!

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Book Review: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

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Before reading this book, the only thing I knew about Sonia Sotomayor was that she is a Supreme Court judge. Her book “My Beloved World” gave me a new appreciation for her and her work, including her advocacy for Hispanics, diabetics, and women.

I did expect to hear a bit more about Judge Sotomayor’s beliefs and opinions, but she kept the primary focus of this book on her experiences as a human. Her stories, some of which wandered at times, discuss her childhood, college education at Princeton and Yale, and her law career.

Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The content is engaging and well-written. However, I think the book would have impacted me more if Judge Sotomayor had narrated it.

In general, I enjoyed reading about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s life. She proves in this memoir that she’s a dedicated, talented and smart woman who shows that girls can indeed do anything.

 

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Review: The Unwinding of the Miracle

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I started reading “The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After” with the understanding that it would be published after the author Julie Yip-Williams died, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional journey the book took me on. As I read, I experienced wave after wave of emotions, including sadness, joy, surprise, and frustration. And I confess, I laughed and cried while reading this heartwarming and heartbreaking story.

In it, Julie Yip-Williams offers a balanced, well-rounded view of her experience with cancer and her preparation to die. She includes love, rage, despair, and triumphs and does not try to sugar-coat her experience in cancer treatment and choosing what will happen with her children after her death. 

I learned a lot about cancer treatment as I read. Also, I liked that she used initials to identify people. 

I recommend this book for anyone suffering from cancer, including their loved ones. It’s also helpful for people who are curious about what it’s like to prepare for death.

To enhance the reading experience, I suggest reading each chapter as a personal essay that’s independent of the other chapters. Also, Mrs Yip-Williams tells her cancer story and the story of her life in bits and pieces rather than chronological order, and she does repeat some information several times in the book as she adds more depth and details to her experiences.

Overall, this book is an interesting memoir. It gave me more compassion and understanding for friends who are suffering with terminal cancer, and it prompted me to think about what I would do if I knew I only had a year to live. It’s an important book, and I’m glad I took the emotional journey with Mrs Yip-Williams during her final days on earth.

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Review: “Merry And Bright”

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This is the first Debbie Macomber book I’ve ever read, and I’m honestly surprised that I liked it so much!

You see, I’m usually not a romance fan, and I knew this would be a romance story. For that reason, I almost put it back on the shelf. But I’ve watched several of the Hallmark movies based on Debbie Macomber books and figured I’d give this one a shot.

Primarily because of the romance, I thought I would hate this book. But it sucked me in from page one, and the story definitely surprised me! It’s cute and engaging.

I think it helped that I liked Merry instantly and appreciated her close relationship with her family. She loves her parents and her brother Patrick, and they love her. I found it refreshing to read about a young, professional and competent woman who is still dedicated to her family as she stretches her wings.

Jayson is another story. He’s a hard nut to crack, eager to please his uncle and to fulfill his professional obligations, even if he has to be rude to do so. But as he explores love, his heart softens. He also allows Mary/Merry to introduce him to the joys of giving and the true meaning of Christmas.

I definitely recommend “Merry and Bright” if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted and well-written holiday read. It’s a fun book that will help you escape from all the obligations of the holiday, get into the Christmas spirit and smile.

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