Monday, February 8, 2016

Love Month – Week 2
1 Corinthians 13:5 – It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Whoah. I don't know about you, but this verse smacked me in the face. Some of these are a struggle at times. We need this week to soak in this verse!

As a family:
Read this verse together to begin the week. Continue reciting it throughout the week until you all have it memorized.

Discuss this verse together. What do these words mean? Some of these ideas are totally counter cultural and we will need to put them in context with our kids.
- We are valuable, loved and important. God placed within us desires. Those are great! But, we must remember not to be self-seeking. Seek first God and His kingdom! The Bible says that as much as it is up to us, we should be at peace with everyone. How hard is that when you don't get your way? When your feelings are hurt? But being difficult doesn't make it any less necessary. We must seek to love others the way God loves them and that includes not being selfish.

Pursue: Each day, practice pursuing the qualities of love listed in this week's Scripture.

Involvement: How can we honor our siblings, children, parents, etc.?
- Remember to consider your own faults in these areas with your children. Don't feel like you have to shy away from things you've done that you aren't particularly happy about. Take this opportunity to talk about it and apologize.

Love your neighbor: How can we honor those that God puts in our path?
- There are so many ways to honor people, but some of the easiest and often forgotten are by giving your time and attention. When we are self-seeking, we want to dominate conversations and talk about us. When we focus on honoring others, we can give them our time and attention, even if our flesh would like to do something else.

God's Love: Brainstorm with your kids...what does this verse tell us about God's love for us?

Pray together: Each day, take time to pray with your children and ask God to help you and them demonstrate this week's love qualities.

As a couple:
I am looking forward to some deep discussion with my sweet hubby this week. Spend time talking about how you could make your spouse feel honored. Think about times that you've become easily angered at your spouse and how you could change that in the future. Talk through those times together and apologize. Ask your spouse for examples of times you may have been self-seeking, rather than focusing on what would be best for your spouse and/or marriage. Lastly, discuss the idea of keeping no record of wrongs. Do you bring up things from the past that caused you grief? Issues and arguments that you've had previously? Or does your spouse do that to you? How does it feel to have your wrongs from years past thrown at you?

This isn't healthy. And it isn't Biblical. If you are continually bringing up things from the past, ask yourself if you have really forgiven your spouse and healed from that. If not, take the time to talk through that and work it out. Pray about it together. God wants you on the same team. He wants you happy. He wants a loving, Biblical marriage for you.

But. It. Takes. Work.

Put in the work this week. You and your spouse are worth it!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Love Month! Finding Real Love in A Lost World

With the Lord's leading...we have declared February to be Love Month in our house!

It started with a simple idea that I've seen floating around the internet. Put a post-it on your children's bedroom door every morning in the month of February. On it, write one thing that you love about them. Simple, cute, meaningful, no big list of supplies...sounds great!

But in the shower (the Lord is always working on me while I'm in the shower), He added to my vision of what this means for us. I am going to do the post-its, I'm rather excited about it! I'm also going to leave post-its for my hubby every morning.

But there should be more. 

There is more. 

After all, what is love? It's a simple question, but the answer is rather difficult. I quickly realized that when my son asked me several months ago. We went straight to the source of Truth then and we will do the same this month.

There are so many ideas about love out there. Most of them are completely wrong. If you've been married any length of time, you surely realize that love is not a mere feeling. Love is a choice. A choice to be kind when we don't feel like it, to be patient when the other person doesn't deserve it, to wipe the slate clean and start fresh the next day.

Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31 that the greatest commandments are to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." And secondly, to "love your neighbor as yourself." And 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, "If I give all I have to the poor and give my body over to hardship so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

Obviously, love is important to God.

As a family, with or without children, we have to be intentional in demonstrating love. Purposeful in learning what real love means and not letting the distortions from the world seep in. Real love is counter-cultural. It is bold and sacrificial at the same time. As parents and as spouses we need to reaffirm the truths about love in our marriages and families because it is all too easy to get pulled in to cultural norms that are not Biblical.

So here's the plan God gave me in the shower. As a family, we are going to study Biblical love this month. I'd love to encourage you to do the same. There are lots of verses about love in the Bible, but the Lord led me to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. We will read one verse per week, throughout Love Month.

Here's how Week 1 breaks down:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (v4)

As a family:
Read this verse together to begin the week. Continue reciting throughout the week until you all have it memorized.
Discuss: What do patient, kind, envy, boast, and proud mean?
Pursue: Each day, practice pursuing the qualities of love listed in that week's Scripture.
Practical examples to share with your kids: Waiting patiently (with a good attitude) for a toy that you want, but someone else is playing with. Not bragging: "haha, I got..."
          - Remember also to use examples of things that you know your kids struggle with;
          not to condemn, but to offer a Biblical solution for their struggles.
Involvement: Have your kids think of examples and discuss those.
Love your neighbor: Talk about what this week's verse means when you walk out your front door. What are some practical ways you can live out "loving your neighbor" using this week's Scripture?
God's love: Brainstorm with your kids...what does this verse tell us about God's love for us? He is a kind Father, He is patient when we make mistakes...
Pray together: Each day, take time to pray with your children and ask God to help you and them demonstrate this week's love qualities.

As a couple:
I'm planning to use the same basic concepts above with my hubby, but on a much deeper level. In addition to that, ask your spouse how you can be more patient or show more kindness. Build them up by giving them examples of how they've shown this week's qualities to you throughout your marriage. Pray together.

I will post an update every week with next week's Scripture, specific questions to think about, and some examples. Follow along if you'd like!

I pray that your families and marriages will be strengthened this coming month!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Why Classical Conversations Rocks!

I'm not going to pretend like it is for everyone. I realize that some people just don't get it, and some people just don't want to. But if you're considering Classical Conversations, read on! 

I will admit that It was hard for me to let go and trust the process in the beginning. But my kids have proven me wrong on a regular basis. I can't believe what they've learned so far! And having the privilege of watching the high-schoolers interact during their seminars has shown me that there really is no better way...those kids are amazing! Here are our family's reasons for choosing (and loving) Classical Conversations:

1. It is fun! My kids love to learn by song, movement, games, etc. and having a tutor model every week means I don't have to come up with my own ideas. What kids want to sit and do worksheets all day!?! *Hint: not mine

2. It's easy on Momma! I don't have to reinvent the wheel every week. See above. :)

3. It works for all of my children. We can all memorize skip counting and the timeline together, making my daily life easier. BUT - and this is a big one for me - we add in our own math/reading/writing, depending on my kid's needs. We aren't stuck doing addition with my first grader, who would prefer to be adding fractions. And we aren't forced to learn letter sounds with my preschooler when she is already reading. Much of our work is the same & can be done together, but we have flexibility with those subjects that vary from child to child. 

4. I am still my children's teacher. Classical Conversations will never usurp my authority in my children's education. *And if I want to take a vacation in the middle of September and miss a week or two, I can.*

5. Friendship, community, and accountability. These are self explanatory, but oh so important. My kids and I have already made lasting friendships & enjoyed many field trips and play dates with our Classical Conversations community.

6. Science and art. I don't mind painting at home, making a mess, etc. But again...the planning. And I'm not naturally a science person. My kids are learning the scientific method through experiments and lab sheets and projects. They're learning about famous composers & the orchestra, famous artists, completing art projects, music & instruments. Last year we had a bridge building contest between all of the classes - it was so cool! I could do this stuff at home, but it wouldn't compare.

7. My children are learning how to learn. How to think logically. How to reason and deduct. They will be able to learn and master anything with these skills. 

8. Presentations. I am an outgoing person, but I still hate public speaking. It is a necessary skill, but one that few people posess. With Classical Conversations, my children are giving a presentation every single week from the time they are 4. It starts out simple...suggested topics, show & tell, whatever the child is comfortable with. We learn how to be a good listener and how to be a good speaker. I could never replicate this at home because my kids aren't nervous about presenting to Mommy. 

9. Unbeatable academic curriculum. I can't believe what my kids are retaining, and I'm thrilled knowing where they are headed in those Challenge (jr.high/high school) years! Check the statistics in the Classical Conversations catalog...these kids know their stuff! I love where these younger years are leading. I've never seen any public or private school that compares to what those students get out of a Challenge seminar. 

10. God is woven into everything we do. Not only that, but my kids will also learn about what other religions are out there and be able to wrestle with differing ideas, eventually articulating their own reasons for their belief in Christ.

I could go on and on and on, but dinner is ready to be made and you are probably ready to move on with your day. ;)

In all seriousness, though, check out your local Classical Conversations community. Find it at

And please, if you are interested...don't let the costs scare you away. They are minimal for what you get. It is a worthy sacrifice. Our first year we were very hesitant because money is tight. But now that I've been through it...I realize how much it's worth. We will sacrifice, use our tax return, whatever we have to do. Because my children are worth the investment. 

I hope you've enjoyed my list! I'm sure you have something to add, so If you are involved in Classical Conversations, comment below with your favorite things! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Free Advice from the Pregnant Lady ;)

I just  came across this post that I wrote a few months ago and never published, so hear it is...

It has been a long time! And since my last post, much has happened in our lives.

Last October I had a miscarriage. It was horrible and devastating. It still hurts. I still cry. I'm thankful I have Jesus. What more needs to be said?

In January, I started a new job and found out I was pregnant has been crazy ever since! I work from home for our homeschooling community. I love it lots, although it has kept me very busy! And I am now almost 29 weeks pregnant with an active, healthy boy. Praise the Lord.

My 3 1/2 year old has started reading (on her own, no pushing from me), and my 5 1/2 year old is as smart as ever!

A few days ago when Shelby was showing her Daddy some "worksheets" she had done that day, she grabbed a marker, sounded out, wrote and then read the word cat. Again, all on her own, without any prompting from me. She's 3. And she amazes me.

This morning while having some wake-up time on the couch watching cartoons, Paul randomly says to me, "Mom, what is 120+120?" Me: 240. Paul: What's 240+60? Me: 300. Paul: Oh, so 5 minutes is 300 seconds! Um yeah, do the math, it took me a few minutes to do it, too. He's FIVE ya'll.

So, that's a brief update on the to the real reason for this post:

I am a big pregnant lady. I'm not big all over, but my belly is always large and always low, pretty much sitting on my lap. I'm not really sure why. I've never gained more than 30lbs during any pregnancy, but I think it might be because I am so short and my torso is small. I also have big babies and a large diastasis recti. Whatever the reason, people never fail to want to let me know just how huge I look to them.

It.Is.Annoying. And rude. And this uncomfortable, hormonal pregnant lady has had all I can take. So here's some free advice, albeit probably unwanted, from this Momma to anyone who wants it.

Think before you say something to a pregnant woman. I know, I know, it is hard, and something I honestly struggle with, too. But really, what good can come from saying to someone, "You look like you just swallowed a watermelon."? None. Trust me.

I've never met a pregnant woman who gets joy out of a stranger telling her she looks like she's "gonna pop." Balloons pop. People don't. What in the world were you hoping to get out of a comment like that? Plus, I'm still months from my due date. So, no, I'm not close to "popping."

And my favorite comment from a total stranger from this past week, "You have GOT (emphasis hers) to be due any day now!" Actually, no. I still have 12 weeks. But thank you for letting me know that I look even bigger than I already feel. Again, think people.

I'm not having twins, I did not just drop, I'm not about to go into labor, and especially if you are a complete uncomfortable, large belly is really not your concern.

Also, it always cracks me up when people try to guess the gender of my baby because I carry low. People have guessed both ways, that I must be having a boy/girl because I carry so low. Well, I have had a boy and a girl, and now am going to have another boy. My belly looked the same every single time. I carry low. It's who I am. It is not because I am carrying a [insert guess here]. So please, just stop. I'm tired of having to patronize people when they make comments that they obviously think are so adorable. It's not adorable. It's exhausting.

I realize that this little rant may sound trivial to some of you. But I can't go out in public at all now without someone making some sort of comment about my belly. And I'm honestly growing weary. I'd sort of like to avoid the public altogether, because they apparently believe I am pregnant for their amusement. After the first 20 or so comments, it just becomes draining. Pregnancy is hard enough for me physically. And it is hard emotionally, too, when seemingly every stranger I meet has to comment about the size of my belly and I have to smile and pretend to be amused.

I am beyond thrilled to be pregnant. I have a much deeper understanding now of what a true miracle and blessing it all is. But even still, the comments are getting old. Pregnant women are emotional and vulnerable. They need affirmation and encouragement and a genuine smile. No one, pregnant or not, wants to hear how large they look.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Let It Go

We have all been a bit under the weather for days. And we've been trapped in our house for so long now that I honestly forget what going outside feels like. Our area has set some record low temps and wind chills in the past month and had lots of snow (with more on the way, eek!).

Anyway, our inability to get out of the house, coupled with attempting to get back into routine, and my grumpiness at how messy my house had become, led to a bleak start to the day. Nothing was going right, I had so many things to do and couldn't get through any of them. The kids were bickering and grumpy and bored, the dogs were rowdy, and everywhere I looked I saw a I said, bleh. We attempted some schoolwork, but that didn't go well either.

So I had a  moment.

A little bit of clarity, maybe.

We put the schoolwork down and my to-do list away.

The kids picked out books, we put the dogs outside to play, and we sat on the floor to read together.

Paul asked if he could finish where he left off reading in Hop On Pop. I had planned to read to him, but how nice it was to see him excited to read to me. So we started on page 17, where we left off last time, and he read until page 34, then decided to pause for later. It is so neat to sit and watch your little guy read a book on his very own, sounding out the words as he goes. And so rewarding when you realize you taught him how to do that!

Then Shelby brought several of her current faves for me to read to her. When we finished those, she asked about reading Green Eggs and Ham. So we all went upstairs, the kids got ready for naps, and I read them Green Eggs and Ham and loved every minute of watching their excited faces.

Outwardly, it doesn't look like I accomplished much today. Literally everywhere I turn in my house I see a mess or something that needs organized. I have a to-do list that has not gotten much checked off of it. But I also have peace in my home. Happy kids.

If you are having "one-of-those-days," I would encourage you to drop the day's agenda. Sometimes you just have to let it go, forget it all and sit and read or play with your kiddos.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wife & Mother - The Inferior Choice?

It's a shame that some women feel the need to belittle other women for not having "bigger" goals than being a wife and mom...that they should feel bad for not doing "more" with their life.

Don't mistake where we're headed here, I am not about to tell you that all women should stay home with their children. I am fully aware that many, many women don't have that option. I am also aware that many women who could stay home, choose not to. I'm not here to argue about that. I have my opinions, but the only one that counts is The Lord's. His wisdom and direction for your life are what matter.

Last night I saw something that really struck a chord with me. It wasn't a personal attack on me, but it was a glimpse of the prevailing attitude in some circles of our culture and an excellent reminder of just how backwards our priorities are.

I was searching around on Pinterest of all places, and I came across a pin about desiring to be a wife and mom. Of course, I loved it! But when I went to repost it I noticed the comment of the last pinner. She wrote: "This is everything that's wrong with the world in one pin. #dreambigger." Followed by another winning comment, "Have we really not progressed in the last 50 years?"

I tried to let it go. Really I did. But it was just hanging on me. So I responded to their comments and through our discussion was told by the second young woman that there is "so much more out there" than just being a parent and that there are "bigger dreams." And the young woman who made the initial comment completely disregarded all of my legitimate points and responded only with a sarcastic remark about another pin she had posted comparing religion to a male body part. Way to defend your skewed logic.

Everything that's wrong with the world? There are a lot of things majorly wrong with the world we live in today, don't get me started. But the one I see most often, that has the capacity to destroy the most lives, is illustrated perfectly in her comment. The decline of the value of family.

Gone is the time when family was celebrated as something to fight & sacrifice for. Gone is the time when children were a cherished blessing, rather than a dutiful choice. Gone is the time when we valued the relationship with our spouse, no matter the hard work it took to keep it going, and we didn't quit when it got difficult. Gone is the time when staying at home to raise our children was a valuable choice. It pains me to write that, but the truth is that it just isn't anymore. The mother who stays at home to teach and rear her children is not valued by this society as a whole (although I contend that her value will be noticed more and more as there are less and less of her). These are generalizations, of course. Thankfully, I am surrounded by wonderful, Godly families who still value these things. But society as a whole? I'm not sure anymore.

Surely you've encountered the stigma before. SAHM's watch tv all day, are lazy, spend hours at the spa. Whatever it is you've heard about us, it probably isn't good. And now we have a new generation of women who not only believe these things, but they actually believe that SAHM's like myself are less valuable, less important than they are.

Choosing home over career is scoffed at, looked down upon, and dismissed.

Women pit themselves against other women because they truly believe they're better for making the "modern" choice.

I'm not here to say that moms should or shouldn't work. What I want to say is this: if a woman's goal is nothing more than to be a wife and mom, that is enough! Stay-At-Home-Mom---YOU are enough.

It can be a thankless job, in the normal sense. I don't have performance reviews, chances to shine in front of a boss, get accolades for completing a project well. No one sees the times I'm in tears of frustration, the times I'm scrubbing pee off of the floor or grape juice out of my carpet. The times when stress gets the best of me and I snap at my kiddos and instantly have regret that then taunts me for days. The times when I'm stressing over money and bills, dishes and dirty bathrooms, laundry piled to the top of our recliner. It can be a lonely world.

It is also miraculous. I have a real chance to shape and mold my children, to teach and train them, to show them unconditional love and support. I have the chance to change the world by teaching my children how to shine and love like Jesus. Not to mention, I get hugs and kisses, cuddles, the joy of watching my children learn new things, praise and encouragement from my husband, and unconditional love and wisdom from my Savior. The world of a SAHM is a blessed world.

Follow the path that God leads you down, make the choice that He guides you to. But don't try to tell me that your choice is superior to mine. Desiring to be a wife and mom is not an inferior choice. For me, there is nothing "bigger" than raising the next generation. And it is a true blessing and gift to be able to make that choice.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Better Mom

I don't want to be the mom who "looks" like she has it all.

I don't want to be the mom struggling because she's trying to have it all.

I want to be the mom who knows she's already got it all, the one content with who she is, where she is and what she has. And I want my children to grow up seeing that contentment.

Comparison truly is the thief of joy. You simply cannot have both on a regular basis.

Pressure is everywhere for us Mommas, and unfortunately, we are usually the ones hardest on ourselves. There are the Mommy Fashionistas, the Naturalist Mommies, Master Crafter Mommy, the Fitness Guru Mommies, the Queen of Organization Mommies, the Cook-Everything-From-Scratch-Mommies, the Never-Stressed, Easy-Going Mommies, and hundreds more categories we could put ourselves into.

But don't you see the danger in that?

Comparison breeds discontentment, it tells you that you are not good enough. And it is a liar. Because, let's face it, you can't be the best at everything. And you don't have to be. Take a minute to let that sink in.

You are who God made you to be, you're the woman He picked to mother the children that He gave you.

A dear friend once told me that we tend to compare our worst attributes to someone else's best. Whoah. There's some serious truth in that. An honest evaluation of myself tells me that I am much better at some things than other things. And there are lots of Mommies who are really good at the things that I stink at. But that doesn't mean they're good at everything. And it doesn't make them a better Mom. Just because they are more fit than I am doesn't mean they have it all together. It simply means that fitness is one of their strong suits. Who knows...maybe they are totally unorganized and their house is a mess. Or maybe not. But whatever the case, we need to remember that while it is great to admire a Mom for something she does well, it is a terrible idea to then assume she's got it all together and life is just a breeze for her. But that's exactly what we do. We see a quality we admire in a Mom, then we assume that she's great at everything, got it all together, and we must be total failures. Comparison lies, ladies.

There isn't time enough in a day to be the best at everything. And thank God, we don't have to be. He created you and you are uniquely His. When you hate yourself, you're hating His precious creation. The Bible says that I am a child of God, a friend of Jesus, that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, that I was chosen by Him. Isn't it marvelous to know that you were created and chosen by the God of the universe?

The Bible also tells me that I am complete in Christ. No matter what the world tells me, no matter how many times the enemy roars in my ear to tell me otherwise, I am complete in Him. Colossians 2:9-10 says,"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority." 

Take some time today to be who you are and stop trying to be who you're not. There is freedom in Christ and in being who you were made to be. Embrace it.