In middle of this trial my family is in, it has been difficult to separate fear from reality, night from day, joy from pain, and even one day from another. Everything just runs together. We've had so many doctor appointments and phone calls and reports and instructions to keep straight.... just jumpy at the sound of the telephone ringing. We've had weapons form and attacks hurled our way. But, we have also had an outpouring of love, compassion, and the covering of prayer, some by people we don't even know.

God is still so gracious.

For months my son (5 yrs) has been asking about the things of God and his understanding amazes me at times. A few weeks ago, he told his daddy that he was ready to pray the "special prayer" to ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of his life. I watched as they prayed together on my bedroom floor and I love that I was able to witness such a sweet moment. And, after making a public confession of faith at church, my little boy was baptized and my heart overflowed at the goodness of God. He said to me, "Mommy, I am a brother of the Lord!!" And today, he enjoyed partaking in the Lord's supper for the first time. Sweet communion.


I have been pondering these blessings (among many others) in my heart, and thought I should share to encourage you, too. God can bring joy in sorrow.
Friends, God Himself is Joy in sorrow, and I am extremely grateful.


But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God 
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
-Isaiah 43:1-3a


Joy in Sorrow

by on Sunday, January 29, 2017
In middle of this trial my family is in , it has been difficult to separate fear from reality, night from day, joy from pain, and even one d...
Many of us officially begin the start of the new homeschooling year sometime in the late summer/early fall. That means now is about the time that you'll reach 100 days of schooling for the year. That means it's time to celebrate!

Why?
Because you and the kids have clocked in good, hard, and steady work...
Because it's the middle of winter and lots of snow, freezing temps, and dreary days can have us in a rut...
Because kids always love a reason to celebrate...
Because we homeschool and we get to choose what we do...

banner the kids made


Even if you haven't been officially counting each day, estimate and pick a day to celebrate. The theme of the festivities is of course the number 100. Here are some of the ways we've had fun on our 100th day:

  • Design a "100 Days Smarter" bannet for the school room
  • Decorate t-shirts with 100 items (stickers. beads safety-pins, dots of paint, etc.).
  • Count to 100 by singles, twos, fives, and tens
  • Make a "trail mix" by selecting 10 types of bite-sized snacks (raisins, chocolate chips, marshmallows, etc.) and have the children sort 10 of each treat. Place in a baggy for a 100-count trail mix.
  • Impromptu discussion/writing: What will the world be like in 100 years; Name 100 things you could carry or eat at once
  • Get moving: dance, hop, or run in place for 100 seconds


Blow up a few balloons and make a batch of brownies or cookies for fun and you're good to go! 

Do you celebrate the 100th day of school? I'd love to hear hear what yo do to celebrate!

Originally written for "Our Homeschool Forum."




Celebrating 100 Days

by on Thursday, January 26, 2017
Many of us officially begin the start of the new homeschooling year sometime in the late summer/early fall. That means now is about the time...

Ladies, this past week has felt like months. I've lost track of time over and over.

This week, we received some difficult news, some very tough realities for our family. I am being vague intentionally, not because I'm seeking further inquiries about what's happening, but because it is a delicate matter involving one of my children. I am also writing this because I need the prayers of other believers to be offered before the Father.

Sometimes it's hard to breathe, hard to sleep, sometimes it's hard to stop the tears... struggling.
So here I am, writing, getting thoughts out, sharing with you, because maybe you're in a tough situation, too. My husband says that often, satan uses our trials to isolate us, to keep us from drawing on each other for strength. You aren't alone. I will pray for you, too. And prayerfully, very soon we can celebrate victory together.

a sign I saw in a waiting room
 In the midst of the rain, I am thankful for the blessed work of my home life to keep me busy. . . clothes I finally folded after not tending to them for a full week; little pigtails to twist; clothes to iron for church tomorrow; math grades to enter, granny squares to crochet...

my little girls'clothes

crocheted granny squares


And I've been reflecting, wanting to see God's hand in it all.... and of course, He is there... I mean way down in the details He's there. From people and places, timing and events, He's there. He knew we would have this moment in time to face, and He has taken the time to see about my family. And we are grateful.

So, as folks keep telling us, it is one day at a time around here. I'm counting my blessings each day, willing myself to put one foot in front of the other, while looking to the hills. . .


I will lift up my eyes to the hills—

From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2







Hard to Breathe

by on Saturday, January 21, 2017
Ladies, this past week has felt like months. I've lost track of time over and over. This week, we received some difficult news, som...

Little babies are so sweet and cute. To bring one into your family life is a game-changer for sure. Even so, it seems as though the camera lens is often aimed in their direction, as it should be, capturing smiles and funny faces, little fingers and tufts of hair. As Charles Dickens once said, "I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." It is simply amazing.

As they grow into toddlers, we tell and retell all the funny things they say and do, all the faces they make and we double over in laughter. And, we should, because these years are lively and full and bring youth to a mama's achy bones, because there is never a dull moment.

And so it should continue as our children grow up and enter the next phases: tweens, teens, and young adults. So often I hear people saying awful things about their teenagers or telling me that I won't be so happy when I get to that stage. I see people almost giving way to the world regarding their behavior: You know how teens can be.

There's nothing in God's Word that instructs us to abandon the godly rearing and training of our children just because they are a little older. And if we continue to faithfully bring them up reverencing the things of God, they will be a great blessing not only to us a parents, but to the Kingdom of God.

And as we go with God, He shows us what a joy and treasure our older children are. With my own group of "big kids" there is so much to love and marvel at as their understanding of life continues to unfold. I've watched them learn sacrifice. I've seen them give of themselves. I've been there when they had to grapple with the Truth and rejoiced when they submitted to it. We have been through tough lessons that stretched them, that they can see the value in having learned, and are grateful for. Great, great blessings there.

Then there are the day-to-day gifts--helping siblings, academic achievements, sweeping a crumb-laden floor, taking out trash, folding laundry, soooo many hugs, whispered prayers, new skills, hilarious jokes. . .a sweet friendship that deepens as parenting older kids continues.

And of course, there's still all of the mushy stuff, like I still think their smiles and faces are as cute as ever, I still take tons of pictures of them, still enjoy the sound of their laughter, and I absolutely love that my big kids still call me "Mommy".

I know I'm just at the start of this teenage journey; my oldest is a few months shy of 14. I have a long way to go. But rather than look ahead to these older years with discouragement, regret or indifference, I will look ahead with joyful expectation.


Cherishing Your Older Children

by on Thursday, January 12, 2017
Little babies are so sweet and cute. To bring one into your family life is a game-changer for sure. Even so, it seems as though the camer...
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