Monday, August 1, 2011

Starting the New School Year

This morning is our first day of school and I am very excited! The kids? Well, I think they are excited about new stuff, but not real excited about it being school. I got up early, had my quiet time and headed to the gym. (I really haven't been there all summer.) At 7:00am I woke up the kids with a beautiful "First Day of School Song". No one seemed to appreciate it, but they are up and starting their morning routines regardless.

At the beginning of the year Jon and I made the decision to slow down so we would have less stress. We were stressed out beyond our limits and we felt God telling us to back off a little. Well, I wasn't really experiencing the "less stress" feeling. That was until last week when I looked over my calendar from last August (2010). It was shocking to me. How did we manage that kind of schedule? Out of 31 days in August we had something (not counting school) going on for 30 days. No wonder we couldn't keep our heads above water! I look at the calendar for this August (2011) and so far we have 15 days with absolutely nothing going on and it is my goal to not let too many of those slip away.

There are stresses in my life that I cannot avoid. Trying to maintain a healthy marriage, discipling my children the way God wants, keeping up with household duties, homeschooling, maintaining relationships, family drama, and taking care of family health issues. It makes me tired just reading the list. Were we really meant to be under this amount of stress?

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."   Matthew 11:28-30

This is what I am meditating on this morning.

Friday, June 3, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum Fair

Today I am linking up with to talk about my plans for the 2011-2012 school year. While we have just wrapped up this year, I am always looking ahead and planning for the next year. I have 4 children who will be in 7th, 4th, and two in 2nd. I have a son with Aspbergers and creates a challenge to find material for him. I have decided, after looking through tons of curricula that I can scale down the lessons the others are doing and save money! So here we go:

7th - Saxon 8/7
4th - Saxn 5/4
2nd - Math-U-See Gamma
We love Math-U-See, but once we get to Epsilon, I felt it wasn't good enough for the older students so we switch to Saxon at that time.

We love the Apologia Exploring Creation series, so we are going to be studying Human Anatomy this year. Projects and activities will be scaled for each age group. We will also be using the journals for the first time. I got a great deal on them at the convention this year and couldn't pass them up.

We will be doing Story of the World Volume 3: Early Modern. We have done the previous two levels and really enjoyed them. My 7th grader will also be using The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History to take her studies further.

7th - library for reading, Easy Grammar Plus (hoping we like this one), English from the Roots Up 2
4th/ - library for reading, and the rest of our material (spelling, language arts) comes from a friend of mine who published her own curriculum.

As a family we will be reading several biographies on Missionaries from

We are hoping for good times and developing close family ties again this year!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Full Confessions-Not Failure

I recently went to a seminar by Todd Wilson ( on Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe. We, as moms, can set the bar pretty high sometimes. I went into this session thinking, "I don't really think I believe lies about who I am." Clearly God wanted to remind me of what the Bible says in Proverbs 16:18
"Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall."

I cried for most of the session. I couldn't believe it. I WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMS!

There is this idea in homeschooling circles that if you don't grind your own wheat, bake your own bread, sew your children's clothes, have perfectly behaved children, have a quiet time every morning, and the perfect marriage, you are failing. I believed that. I beat myself up all the time for not have healthy, organic meals. I was embarrassed at how my kids acted sometimes. There are mornings when I don't like Jon very much. Why did I set the bar so high? Who cares if we don't have fresh bread? Who cares if my kids pants have holes in the knees? Who cares if Jon and I had an argument this morning?

Todd Wilson said something that has been playing over and over in my head for the past two weeks.

"If it doesn't bring you joy, it will be a burden."

If grinding wheat and baking bread brings you joy, have at it! But if it does not, then it will weigh you down and make you miserable.

So today, I am making some confessions:

1. I buy my bread from the store, and yes, sometimes it is the white bread.
2. Some days we stay in our pajamas all day.
3. Jon and I love each other very much, but we don't always get along.
4. Sometimes, we skip school and do nothing all day.
5. My kids fight and argue.
6. Sometimes I yell at my kids.
7. Some days I don't even crack open my Bible.
And I don't make healthy, organic meals. In fact, Ty has had a turkey sandwich (white bread, processed cheese, preservative full meat), cantaloupe, a pickle, fruit snacks (corn syrup, colors and who knows what else), and pudding (pre-packaged) for lunch for the past three days. He's fed and happy. That's what is important to me right now.

Now how many of you think I'm a failure? Hopefully none of you. But this is the misery we put ourselves through. I can't tell you how freeing it is to not be burdened by expectations that others have on you. These are the things that are important to us:

1. Love God with all our hearts
2. Having a close family
3. Making sure the kids are getting a excellent education
4. Teaching responsibility
5. Serving others

Those are not burdens for me. They are joys! When I am focused on things that are not important to me, I forget the things that are important to me. I encourage you to find out what is important to you. What drives your motivation. Whatever doesn't fit that list, don't do it. And don't beat yourself up for it either!

*DISCLAIMER* I am not saying that baking bread, healthy meals, sewing clothes etc are not important things. They are just not important to ME at this time*

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Musings from Hebrews 12

A few months ago I was feeling very overwhelmed with life. I always wanted to be a wife and mother and that is exactly what I am. But somehow I had painted this picture in my head that everything was going to be sunshine and roses. My house would be clean, my laundry would be caught up-always, wonderful healthy meals would be on the table on time, and my children would obey my every word. Boy was I dumbl! Things in my life weren't even close to this. It was more like Tornadoes and thorns. I prayed and prayed for a better outlook on my life. I wanted to be happy with where God had me, but I just couldn't see the good. I wanted to know how to not be so tired and stressed all the time. 
One morning I began to read in Colossians, because that's what I was studying at that time. But the whole time I was reading I felt like I should be reading Hebrews 12. I ignored it and kept reading in Colossians. Over and over Hebrews 12 kept coming to my mind. Finally, later in the afternoon, I decided to sit and read Hebrews. I was blown away. God was answering my prayer. I can't say that it was what I was expecting, but it was an answer. God wanted me to slow down. But was I really willing to do this? And at what cost?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily traps us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

There are generations and generations of people before me who knew how to take it easy. We have so many more conveniences and yet we are more busier than the past generations. Maybe I should take a page from how my grandmothers and great-grandmothers did things. What were their priorities? Were they trapped by the sin of business?

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary and give up. After all you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. Hebrews 1:2-4

It seems so ridiculous to say that it was going to be hard to slow down. It had been so hard to keep the ball rolling as fast as it was. But this was my thought process. How on earth can I slow down? I am too busy to slow down. But keeping my eyes on Jesus was going to get me through. After all he has endured much more than I ever will.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. Hebrews 12:12-13
(Verses 5-11 have to do with discipline. I may speak on those is a separate post.)

This is how I would get through. Take a new grip-were was my grip? I was holding on to all of MY ideas about life, which clearly weren't working out too well. Strengthen my weak knees-what? Ok, I do not spend enough time on my knees in prayer.

Sometimes I see other moms and think, How do they do it? There house is always clean, they are involved in everything, they lead a ministry, their kids seem to be well educated. Why can't I be more like her? Well, I have come to find out that with business comes sacrifice. And sometimes the things that are sacrificed are destroying the family.

So our journey began. We have spent the past few weeks.....s-l-o-w-i-n-g down. It has been hard. Very hard! But I can say we are already seeing the fruits of this decision. I will be writing over the next few days about our decisions.