Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One step at a time!

In a race there is nothing better than having people cheer you on from the sidelines.  This past Thanksgiving morning our family joined many others in the community for the annual "Turkey Trot" run.  It was a very cold morning but people came, lots and lots of people!  Everyone squeezed in near the starting line.  The announcer got on the loud speaker, "On your mark, get set, go"...we were off and running the 3.6 mile distance around the lake!  My husband was pushing our youngest in the stroller and beside him our 6 year old daughter ran.  I stayed back with our oldest one, who was 8 at the time (she's now a big 9 year old!).  She was struggling.  She kept complaining of different aches and pains.  She would jog for a few minutes then need to walk, jog for a minute, then walk again.  I strived to encourage her, "You can do this, just put one foot in front of the other, you got this!"  After what felt like a long time, we went under the final bridge and the finish line was in sight.  Up ahead, on the sidelines, I saw my husband and other 2 girls.  My 6 year old was cheering on her big sister!  "You can do it, run faster, you're almost there, keep going, faster, faster!!!" 
Back in December when I ran my first half marathon, they had volunteers stationed all throughout the race course and their job was to cheer, cheer, cheer us on!  "You got this", "Way to go", "You are doing awesome",  "You are almost done!" and on and on the cheering went!  In those moments when I felt tired and my legs felt like jello, it motivated me to keep moving forward and to take one step after another.  But there were moments, especially towards the end, when I was all alone and there was no outward voices there to cheer me on.  I had to dig deep.  It was in those moments I heard the Lord speaking to me and giving me the strength to put one foot in front of the other and not give up!"

Homeschooling can be compared to a race, a long distance race.  It is a journey of trust, stamina, perseverance, commitment, endurance, and taking one step at a time.  Being a homeschool mom does not mean you have it all together all the time. We are weak, we are imperfect, we lose our patience, and we have days we feel weary and overwhelmed. Being a homeschool mom means even more opportunities to run to Jesus, acknowledge our weakness and call out to Him for strength, perseverance, PATIENCE, and the right perspective!

God is your biggest fan and He is constantly cheering you on as you take each step, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, and year by year!  Here are some of His words of encouragement: 


I'm so thankful we are not alone on this homeschooling journey.  I'm so thankful that the Lord is with me step after step!  He guides me along, directs me, gives me courage, blesses me with the desires of my heart, brings freedom, rest, and pours out immeasurable grace and mercy.  He fills me with strength, power, joy, and peace for the journey!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Staying Humble

As a blogger it could be so easy for me to choose to highlight only the good things in my life!  In only sharing the positives, I could easily paint a picture of perfection...a perfect home, perfect marriage, perfect children, and a perfect time with homeschooling.  But that is not me. 
I strive to be real, transparent, and vulnerable as I share my life with you.  When anyone ever makes a comment that implies my home/life is perfect I would say, "Oh if only you were a fly on my wall."  There are moments when I get ugly, mean, impatient, frustrated, stressed, and allow my flesh to make a grand appearance!  As was the case the other night.
As I have shared on here in the past, there have been some dark moments in my marriage.  Moments that seemed hopeless and feeling like I was standing at a dead end.  I use to allow my emotions to get the best of me and would say things and do things to be hurtful...because I felt hurt.
God has done a mighty work in my life, my heart, and my marriage...but every once in a while the flesh likes to poke it's ugly head up...because I'm not perfect.  A few nights ago I laid in bed, late into the night, door locked, and my husband sleeping elsewhere in the house.  I felt sick with myself.  Why did I say those words? Why did I take those actions? Why did I respond that way?
I thought back to earlier in the evening, to my sweet husband making me dinner after the girls were in bed (we had just filled our freezer with some beef and wanted to try out a steak).  I thought back to all his attempts to show love and affection.  I was too focused, too distracted, too busy for him.  Why do I make other things such a priority over my husband?
As I laid there in the bed, I thought ahead to this weekend, to a ladies retreat that I have planned and organized.  How could I show up to something like that and expect favor and blessing with any kind of ugly sin in my heart.  The Lord spoke so clearly to me, "Go to your husband, go and say your sorry, ask for forgiveness, make things right"
So I got up out of my bed and went to him.  I humbled myself and made right my wrongs (as did he!).  He held me in his arms, I cried and cried, but that heaviness was gone, that icky, yucky, dark, and all consuming feeling of sin was lifted.  We eventually returned to our bed and I fell asleep with such peace!
 God pursues us with such deep love but so often we ignore Him...we are too busy, too distracted, too focused, too much to do.  Why do we not make Him a priority? But yet He knows me by name and he holds his arms wide when I have yet again fallen...I run to him, I fall on my face, I repent, I cry, I ask for forgiveness and He takes me in his arms and showers me with love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, wholeness, and freedom!  I'm so thankful for a loving God who constantly does this for me, over and over again, without limits.
I am truly blessed...not perfect...but oh so blessed!
Choose humility!  Choose to lay down your pride!  Choose to put others first!  Choose to be selfless!  Are you going to fail at times?  YES!  But then choose humility again, and again, and again! 



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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Homeschooling in 2013

Only a few days of Christmas break are remaining before we start back up with schooling.  I wanted to share a word that I hope brings you encouragement as you homeschool in 2013.

As I look back over the past few years of homeschooling my girls, I can see change, so much change in myself.  I started out being what I call a "research queen".  I pretty much spent all my free time checking out and familiarizing myself with every different kind of homeschool curriculum available, reading homeschooling blogs, homeschooling books, and homeschool magazines.  Not that any of those things are bad (thank you for taking time to read my homeschooling blog), but for me it was all consuming.  I spent a lot of time looking into ALL my options as I wanted the very best for my children.  I felt this huge weight on my shoulders, that it was entirely up to me and me alone to provide my girls with the very best education I could.   

I was also very structured and rigid.  Our entire day was written out on an hour by hour schedule.   There was also a lot of "butting heads" with my oldest and many frustrating moments (side note:  I love it when people say, "Oh I could never ever homeschool my child because we would butt heads all the time"....hello I think many homeschool parents encounter this sort of thing).  I was trying to be in control of everything!!  The Lord began showing me how I needed to release things to Him and not try and micro-manage and stress over all the day to day details.  I needed to put my trust in God completely, especially in the area of homeschooling.  He began to show me how to "Step Off The Beaten Path" and focus on the unique goals and vision He was calling me to in homeschooling, not a formula or a standard that our world says education should be and look like.  I began to slowly let go of the control, the expectations, the worry, and trying to imitate what I thought it needed to look like.

So the biggest change has been in me surrendering all those things to the Lord.  I didn't need to be constantly researching the latest and greatest curriculum (though I am thankful for where my researching has brought me too!), I didn't need a minute by minute schedule, and I didn't have to be at odds constantly with my children.  The Lord was calling me to a relationship based homeschool atmosphere not an academic one.  I also didn't need to prove myself and my ability to teach or prove that my children are socialized and intelligent "despite" being homeschooled to anyone.  I needed to trust and obey what the Lord was asking of me!   

So homeschool mom, are you trusting, truly trusting the Lord as you homeschool?  Is He ultimately in control or are you?  Are you doing things to please man or God?  Are you worried about impressing others or doing things to "prove" you can successfully homeschool your kids?  Are you constantly trying to micro manage everyone and everything?   Is there alot of tension, frustration, and stress in your home?   Are you always on the look out for the "perfect" curriculum for your family, but can't ever seem to find it?  It doesn't have to be that way! 

If I had to put into one word what I want 2013 to be about it would be: TRUST!!  I pray that in 2013 there would be freedom, joy and TRUST in your homeschooling journey!

Trust God with the bigger things and focus more on enjoying the little things this year!  The moments when your child crawls in bed for an early morning snuggle, the laughter you hear from the other room, putting on a tea party and inviting some friends over (I have girls so this is what we do!), listening as your child goes on and on and on about something, sweet hugs and kisses, reading God's word to your kids or better yet hearing them read it to you for the first time, seeing your child humble themselves and ask for forgiveness, running to greet daddy when he gets home from work, seeing the light bulb come on for your child as they finally grasp something you have been teaching them!  There are so many precious little moments in the day to grab ahold of and enjoy!  

  Focus on relationship and discipleship above anything else! Give yourself permission to relax! Ask the Lord to show you how to reach the heart of your child who you have struggles with and seem to clash with. Seek to understand more clearly the direction, vision, and goals the Lord would have you to focus on with your children.  There is no cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to choose above all else to trust the Lord in whatever He may be calling you to do or not to do in 2013!

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