Sunday, December 29, 2013

Homeschool Leadercast Interview

Homeschool Leadercast is a new website that features interviews throughout the week done by site owner Jeremy Jesenovec.  He interview various homeschool leaders, authors, speakers & parents.

Some of those interviewed already are Jay Wile, Joyce Herzog, Jim Hodges, Todd Wilson, Steve Demme & more.

I had the pleasure of being listed on the list of those interviewed.

I have really enjoyed listening to the the shows & thought you would too.  In fact, today I am the featured speaker!  Here is a link to my interview.

Homeschool Leadercast Interview

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why I need Christmas



Hot cocoa steam is rising from my Christmas mug.  Christmas music is playing on Pandora. Sequins, ribbons, glue and other nerve racking craft items clutter the table I am sitting at.  The Christmas season is here.  But, once again, I struggle with it. Why?

Is it the craziness of the season, frantic shoppers who will run you over if you don't get out of there way?
No, that doesn't bother me...okay, maybe a little.

Maybe it is suddenly having to rearrange a normal schedule to make room for Christmas programs, parties and dinners.
Nope, that isn't it either. Those are fun.

Is it the sudden focus on Jesus and his birth?
Yep, I think that is it.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the Christmas season; decorations, Christmas lights, giving gifts, keeping traditions and making new ones.

But I don't need all of that in order to celebrate Jesus birth.  I celebrate his birth every time I open his Word & read of his salvation, grace and redeeming love.
I'm reminded that I would be dead if he were not alive.
Every time I am brought to my knees because once again, my sin is forgiven...I celebrate Jesus birth.

But, I still need Christmas.  Even though, during the year I am still aware of the amazing gift of Jesus, Christmas forces me to stop momentarily...pause...ponder...Selah.  The traditions we have with our family are all things that should force our usual crazy schedule to shift & give it more purpose.

God wants us to be still and know that HE is God (Psalm 46:10).  If we do it right, Christmas can help us do that.  But, when I let the crazy worldly way of celebrating Christmas poison our traditions there was no joy, no being still, no enjoyment at all in the holiday.

When God's people were in the desert after being freed from Egypt, God set in order Feasts for the people to celebrate. They each marked a time in their history when God had redeemed, restored & replenished.  These were times during the year they were to stop their normal work and focus on God and what he had done.  The kids and I studied this not too long ago and I was reminded that holiday's aren't wrong.  It is how we celebrate them that is often wrong.   The feasts God set in place had purpose.  We have lost sight of that purpose. 

I know December isn't really when Jesus was born.  That's not what this post is about.

This post is about the need to be still and be thankful for Jesus.  This can happen all year round, but I love that even though my family celebrates Jesus all year, during December we are able to stop momentarily, draw away from the craziness of life and celebrate together.  There is purpose in that.  As a mom whose children are quickly growing up and leaving, it is important that I still make this "stillness" possible for my family.

The title of this post was originally, "Why I Don't Need Christmas" because I don't need a holiday to celebrate Jesus.  But as I began to type I realized why I do need it.

I encourage you to look for ways your family can be still together and celebrate Jesus.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Copywork Freebie

I made this little set of copy work for my lower elementary kids last Christmas & thought I would share it with you. There are 10 Bible verses starting in Isaiah that tell the story of Jesus birth.

Copywork is something I have had my kids do for years.  Most often they copy Scripture, but other times they will copy quality literature passages, poetry or quotes by famous people.

Just click the picture to download the Christmas copywork.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Enjoying Fall

I'm still taking a bit of a break from blogging, but I just had to share a few pictures with you.  I took the kids to the Celina Pumpkin Patch & Morgan & Sarah came along too.
If you are reading this on the blog page,you can click on the picture & that takes you to a new page where you can see the pics better.

Sweetest face ever!

Boots...required for the pumpkin patch

I just love this.

He was not sure about the big animals, but learned he could share some hay straw with them & that was pretty cool.

You can't catch me!

Not looking much like a little girl anymore.

Obviously Charlie didn't want in this picture.

The hayride was fun.  My sweet Sam.


Lovely bunch!


You don't have to worry about crows with these scarecrows in your yard.
He is one tired little boy!  Took a 3 1/2 hour nap when we got home.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My New Adventure



Have you ever wrestled with God concerning something you don't want to do, but you know he is telling you to do it?

Yep!  Me too.

Remember the posts last year I wrote about surrendering to God?  I just thought I had surrendered.  He had more.

No, he didn't make me stop eating chocolate.  It isn't that bad. :)

There is a part of my life I rarely, if ever blog about.  It isn't that it is too personal, I just never thought this was the right place to write about it.

I never write about my family's health and how we use essential oils to stay healthy.  But God has taken me in a new direction that sometimes I still don't want to go, but I have to admit it is pretty cool to watch him at work.

Young Living is the company we have always bought our oils from.  For 10 years we have used essential oils from them & even when I thought they were too expensive so I bought a cheaper brand I always went back.

Essential oils are amazing. They are alive.  They are the life blood of the plants they are extracted from and when in our blood stream they have amazing qualities and can do unbelievable things.

Young Living is a MLM company and for some that is a turn off.  I never cared either way.  All I knew is that if I spent $50 a year I could get the products at the wholesale price and that is all I wanted.  Recently the Lord turned it into more.  It isn't about me and my family any more.  It has become about others and helping them learn how they too can be healthier.  Don't worry, I'm not trying to recruit you. (But contact me if you are interested in knowing more)

The Lord told me to make myself available & tell others how I use the oils & leave the rest to him and that is ALL I have done.  The result?  He is using Young Living to help provide for us financially.  I don't think you understand how huge this is for me.  I have attempted to "make money" with other companies many times before and never made a penny.  In fact I usually gave my products away or sold them at my cost.  So, when I decided to do this I never thought it would work.  I argued with the Lord for a few days.  I told him of all the reasons why I can't do this & how it will never work.  All of a sudden I felt like Moses when God told him to go back to his people.  I felt very inadequate & unqualified.

This is more to me than selling oils...because I'm not selling oils...OK, I am, but it doesn't feel like it.  When friends come to me with serious health concerns and they trust me to help them find answers, I take that very seriously.  Who am I to take this on?  The Lord keeps reminding me I am His and He will equip me.  So, I am reading, listening to audio, watching YouTube videos and reading some more educating myself on basic Biology and the amazing benefits of using Essential Oils.

I don't just have a down line after only a few months of working this as a business, but I am getting paid...a lot...in a very short amount of time & I have to tell you that I am totally shocked!  It's totally the Lord doing this because honestly I'm not out there beating down doors & asking people to smell my oils.  He is bringing people to me...and he is bringing people I have never mentioned any of this too.  Totally cool!!



Ok, so why am I telling you this?  Well, I have been trying to be a better blogger & post more regularly but of course I haven't.  So, I am stepping away from the blog for just a little while so I can get my new website set up for the oils.  I have a website; http://joyfuloils4u.com  Please check it out...and you will soon realize why I am calling it a temporary one.  But it still has good info on it.  I have put this off for a long time because frankly I don't have time to do this, but I really need to make time.  The Lord is using this to provide money for us so I need to do my best at using the resources before me.

I am excited to see what the Lord does with this.  I hope you are too.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Wife Who Enriches Her Husband


wifewhoenriches


My morning was not off to a good start.  I was behind and the day really had not even started yet.  I had a dozen or so things I needed to get done and then I got a text from my husband.
I need you to take my clothes to the cleaners.
One more thing on my list. Ugh!  

And if my attitude wasn’t bad enough I replied to his text.
Don’t worry, I will.  Trying to get kids up.  Need a shower. Gotta get laundry going. Need to get groceries today. Trying to keep Charlie out of the trash…but don’t worry.  Your clothes will get to the cleaners!

Oh yes…I did send that text to my poor husband who had no idea what was coming to him.  All he knew was that his clothes needed to be at the cleaners and he couldn’t take them.  He didn’t know I had a super bad attitude… until he got that text from me.

pr31_11

If I am to be the kind of wife that is described in this scripture, I had a lot of attitude adjusting to do.  It wasn’t my husbands fault I felt overwhelmed that day.  It was mine.
I looked up the word, “enrich”.
Enrich is to make fuller, more meaningful, or more rewarding. (Freedictionary.com)
This is part of my ministry to my husband…to make his life with me meaningful, rewarding and fuller.  When I let my attitude get nasty I am doing the complete opposite. 

I’m not saying I need to ignore my own emotions in order to make my husband’s life wonderful. But, if my emotions are creating reactions ,like my text message, that are rude & unfair then those emotions are not productive. I need to deal with them, not share them or push them onto him.

I love this verse, because it says as his wife I have the potential to greatly enrich his life and that is what I desire. I am learning to keep my own attitude in check.  I’m learning to guard my mouth (& text messages).  I’m learning to remember that my husband doesn’t ask much of me at all and if all he needs is for me to take his clothes to the cleaners then that is my priority that day.

So, what can I do today to greatly enrich his life?

I think that is a great question to ask yourself.  If you aren’t sure, ask your husband.  I bet he will have some idea’s.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Wandering Child


The text message I received reminded me of what I had tried to forget.  My daughter was still living a life distant from the Lord.

My heart sank as I read the message.  My emotions began to kick in and take over.  I was angry, disappointed, embarrassed and so very sad. I wanted back the days when I could make her stay home and do what she was told, but those days are over.  She is an adult now.  Her choices are hers, which means so are the consequences. But that doesn't ease the pain.

I wanted to yell at her, "What are you doing?".  I wanted to hold her and tell her I still loved her even though her choices were hurting her family.  I wanted all of this to just go away.  I wanted my daughter back.

I had text my daughter, "I will never stop fighting for you". There was no response from her.
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"Lord, what do I do?  There must be something I can do!" And in his quiet, yet powerful way he responds with, "You need to be still and let me fight for you. She belongs to me."

You would think that would give me peace & calm my anxious heart, but it didn't.  I still wanted to fight back. I still wanted to do something.  And God was telling me to be still.

I woke up this morning still sad over the events of the last several days. I was exhausted from the emotional stress of it all.  My prayers felt empty and worthless, but I keep praying.  "Lord, help me to be still. I want to trust you to end all of this in your time."  And this was his gift for me this morning.


What an amazing God we have to care so deeply for each of us.  A God who always leads us in triumph!  A God who always wins!

I'm not feeling very triumphal these days.  I'm feeling more like a failure as a mom because my daughter continues to make dangerous decisions.  But, I am reminded that when I begin to take the blame and shame of what she is doing, I am giving Satan a foothold in this.  He hates it when I rest in my confidence that God is in control.  He hates it when I don't let this bring me down and steal my joy.  He loves it when I am up all night worrying about her and wondering if she is ok.  He loves it when I am so distraught I can't function normally in my day.  I hate that I have given him several small victories lately.

How wonderful is it that in spite of what is going on, we can be confident that we will be triumphant because God is leading us there.

I don't know how long our daughter will wander away from the Lord.  I pray everyday that today is the day she returns.  The only way I can make it through this is knowing that in spite of the heartbreak and anguish I continue to experience, my God is leading me in victory and it will be through my own weaknesses that he will be glorified.  My prayer is that God is glorified through my whole family in all of this, even through my wandering daughter.

This could easily steal my joy!  But, I stand on his promise of victory & choose to live in today and not worry about tomorrow. 

Do you have a wandering child?  How do you pray for your child?  What Scripture has God given you as comfort and strength as you wait for your child to return?

God is faithful and his mercies are new everyday!  Rest in him & pray for your child like you have never prayed before!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Series: Raising Amazing Teenagers, Part 4




Today is my final post about teenagers. You can read the previous posts here, or click the button in the side bar. I have prayed these posts encouraged and hopefully helped someone who is discouraged as a parent.
The last point I have to make in this series is concerning sin and how we can treat their sin as a stage, hoping it will go away soon.



Sin is sin, no matter what stage you’re in.

We understand kids will go through stages in their growth and maturity.  It is a natural progression. But if my 10 year, who normally is a very sweet and kind child, talks back to me rudely & disrespectfully I don’t chalk it up to a new stage that will soon pass (even though that is probably part of it).

We deal with it.     We correct it.       We don’t let it go. 
I have had moms tell me they can’t wait for their kids to get out of a certain stage so they will become sweet again.  I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t how it works, Mom.  Don’t use stages as an excuse to allow bad behavior. 

Treat it as it is; sin.  Treat it with grace, mercy & great amounts of forgiveness . 

Your child may not even realize they are doing it at first.  But don’t let it go.  
When my 13 year old son began acting out in a way that was unusual to his personality, at first I didn’t even realize it until my older daughter pointed it out.  Mom, why are you letting him talk to you like that?” It wasn’t until she said something did I realize my son was being very disrespectful. 

I had a talk with him and asked him if he realized how he was responding to me.  He didn’t.  He promised to be more aware.  But, he continued to react rudely to me and others.  We had to talk several time and he lost many privileges until he finally got it.  One day I noticed it had been a while since he had been rude to me.  He had been his normal loving, cooperative self.  I mentioned it to him and he smiled, “I’m glad you noticed. I’ve been trying really hard to not be so rude to everyone.”  

 If only all of my kids took correction as well as he did my life as a mom would be easy peasy!

When Scott & I chose these standards for our kids we weren’t doing this hoping we would have amazing teenagers.  We just felt this was the best way to prepare them to become godly adults who could make a difference in the world they live in.  The result was enjoying a wonderful season of teenagers.  It wasn’t all easy.  We definitely had our times of difficulty.  But with the Lord’s help we faced each challenge. 
We didn’t do everything right. Our kids will be very quick to tell you everything we did wrong. I think my kids favorite thing to do is to talk about all of the crazy things I made them do when they were younger or reminisce on all of my mistakes…”Remember the time mom lined us all up to spank us because she read a book that said to do that? Hahaha!” ((sigh))
 In spite of all my mistakes my kids knew I loved them and was doing my best.  I’m proud of my teens & young adult kids.  Not because I did such a great job raising them, but because God’s mercy and faithfulness is so evident in each of their lives.
One final thing; as my kids have grown into their own person with personalities shining and talents becoming more and more evident, as a parent I have to let their decisions for their future be their decisions.  My daughter is a very talented photographer and I would love to see her pursue that, but she feels God calling her to Ireland to do full time mission work.  Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond proud of her for choosing ministry.  I support her completely.  But part of me would really like to see her use her talent for photography also.  As her mom, I could tell her what I think she should do, but I trust her relationship and conversations with the Lord and I know she will follow him and not what I want her to do. That won't stop me from asking questions though. 

If your son wants to be a teacher, but you think he would make an amazing lawyer that doesn’t matter.  Your child must choose his future, not you.  This has been hard for me in some ways, and exciting in others.  It is always fun watching your children bloom into who God wants them to be.  Remember Collin in post #2 who is one of the family mechanics?  He was always the dirtiest little boy ever!  He loved the dirt & getting dirty.  Well, that’s a good thing because he get’s really dirty when he is working on our cars.  And he always loved learning how things work, so that comes in handy also. He reads, and watches others and learns.  And his older brother Josh, as a young boy, was always taking things apart trying to make it work better.  Today he is working at a local mechanic shop, learning a trade & getting dirty too.  He loves it. He loves helping others & making happy customers.  And he is quite funny so his customers usually return and ask for him. As a child he never met a stranger and that drove me crazy!  Today, it works in his favor.
Being a parent today is crazy stuff, but I’m so thankful God has given his Word that gives us direction, encouragement and comfort.  Raising amazing teenagers starts with raising amazing kids with the help of our awesome God!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Series: Raising Amazing Teenagers ~Part 3




Here is the 3rd post in my series on teenagers. I know there will be at least one more, maybe two. This post covers very basic, but important qualities; honesty, laziness & friendships. Proverbs is my favorite book for parenting guidelines.  You can read part 1 & part 2, if you missed them.

Honesty is the only policy






Proverbs 12:19, Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”


Every child is going to test the limits of their parents and often that is done through lying.   We did our best to teach our kids lying will only make life harder for you.  Even if parents don’t find out you were dishonest, the Lord knows and there will always be a consequence.  It also helps to have a house full of siblings who are always watching and will rat on you.   
 “Truthful lips endure forever” .  I used this verse as an example to my kids if they tell the truth all the time, I can believe what they say all the time.  But if I catch them lying, then I will always doubt what they say to be true.  This rang true one time when my son needed me to believe him as he explained a situation where he was being blamed for doing something that he really didn’t do.  Even though I defended him to the extremely mad parent who was standing on my front porch demanding my son replace the broken phone her son said my son stepped on, in the back of my mind I doubted my son’s story.  It wasn’t until months later when that particular friend admitted that my son didn’t break his phone.  It took time for my son to earn back the trust of his word because he had lied to me I the past.  He learned the importance of honesty all the time, no matter what.

Laziness is not an option


The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24


If everyone is working to help mom get ready for company that means everybody.  If one kid decides they are not in the mood to clean and they want to play video games instead…that just didn’t work for me.  I never wanted my kids to be comfortable watching others work around them.  They needed to get involved and help.  And once again in a house full of siblings, if you try to be lazy you have to deal with the others, and that is never pretty. J Tackling the laziness resulted in curbing attitudes of entitlement.  The kids who learned the important of work were also less likely to feel they deserved whatever they wanted.

Friends are important so pick godly ones. 



Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20


We homeschool our kids and always have, so this has made it a little easier to make sure my kids had good friends when they were younger.  But when we moved from the country to town into a neighborhood all of a sudden I had no control over my kids friends.  They loved everybody & brought everybody over!  I was ok with that, I loved having my house full.  But, I quickly realized these kids were coming from very troubled homes; things my kids took for granted, these kids didn’t know were possible, like a home cooked meal every night or mom and dad living together and liking it that way. It didn’t take long to see the importance of creating some boundaries.  My kids could play with those kids, but only at our house or out front of our house.  They were not allowed to go into their homes.  They were never allowed to spend the night or go anywhere with the kids out of our neighborhood.  At first my kids didn’t understand these boundaries but over time they realized why we were doing this.  It was to protect them.  As teenagers & older they better understand now the importance of godly friends.  This has been very difficult for them and often they find themselves alone in a room full of people.  They each have at least one special friend of whom they can depend on and I am thankful for that.

Teach your children the importance of good friends who love the Lord.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Series:Raising Amazing Teenagers Part 2

Here is the 2nd post in a series about teenagers.  Click here for the first post.

Raising teenagers doesn't have to be a nightmare.  I think we can avoid much of the drama usually involved with teenagers if we will follow Biblical standards starting when they are young, instead of waiting until they are older.



We taught our kids the importance of simply being kind to each other.


“A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Proverbs 11:17


Siblings are going to argue, fight, bicker…whatever you want to call it.  But I can’t stand it.  Instead we tried to teach our kids to honor one another.  This was simply putting others before yourself; doing something nice for them, just because you want to.  This eventually became the key to them being kind to each other.  I still hear the bickering sometimes, but I also see and hear a lot of kindness.

 “Can you hand me that book?”
“Thank you”
 “Can you help me do this?”

My teenagers are nice to each other.  I didn’t know that was possible!  It is a blessing to me & others when I see my big kids doing nice things for each other.  

Collin is 17 and just started his last year of High School.  He has taught himself a great deal about auto mechanics.  When he was younger, my husband taught him the basics and that sparked an interest that Collin has taken to a higher level.  So, it is to our great advantage when one of our cars has a problem, we know Collin will figure it out.  His sisters bring their cars to him and often he has stayed up late at night, or spent long hours under the hood on his days off to make sure the car is fixed right.  He learned when he was young the importance of taking care of your family first and you know that makes this momma proud when he does that!

We taught them the importance of hard work.


“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” Proverbs 12:11


Our kids have always had chores to do.  They are part of our family and they live in our house, therefore they will help keep the house.  It is not just mom’s job or dad’s job.  Everybody has to help.  This accomplished many things. 

It gave them responsibilities.  
It gave them ownership of our home. 
It taught them the value of hard work and the rewards.   

When they chores were complete correctly they were then free to play.  When my husband managed rental properties and someone would move out, the house would need to be cleaned really well and often repainted & minor repairs made.  We all helped him do this.  The girls and I would go through and clean and the boys would help dad make the repairs and everyone would paint.  We didn’t know how much this was teaching our kids until they were old enough to have their own jobs.  Helping dad was not an option.  Work was never an option.  Now my 5 older kids all work for other people and are respected and admired for their hard work ethic.  

Also, once our kids turned 13 we bought them a cell phone but they had to start earning money somehow to pay for the service.  The girls would babysit or be a “mommy’s helper”. Often the boys would mow yards for people in our neighborhood.   If our kids wanted name brand clothes that we wouldn’t buy, they knew they needed to save their money to buy it.

If they wanted their driver’s license they needed to be able to pay for the insurance and gas.  Once they had their license they saved their money to buy their first car.  Yes, we did not buy them a car.  I think it would be a lot of fun to buy my kids the kind of car they want, but when our kids had to work for it and pay for it their selves they developed an attitude of ownership they wouldn’t have had if we just gave it to them.  Plus, my kids love to tell their friends, “Yep, I bought it with my money & it’s all mine, no payments!” So, our driveway does look like a used car lot with 5 extra cars parked in it, but I am so proud of my kids for their hard work & determination.

There is a generation of young adults now who have an unbelievable attitude of entitlement.  They believe they deserve to get whatever they want and they want it now!  We really wanted to combat that as best we could and teaching our kids to work for what they want has helped a lot.  We didn’t give them whatever they wanted growing up, they had to earn most of what they received. 

The next post will cover qualities vital to becoming a responsible adult.  We want our kids to eventually leave our home and to be known by their peers as trustworthy, hardworking adults who love the Lord.  Stay tuned!


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