Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A breath of fresh air...

Today I have been blessed with so many things, I can't even begin to list them all!

One of my favorite blessings today is the weather...I am sitting here typing with a warm breeze ruffling my curtains -- in January!?! It must be close to 60 degrees outside and my kids are running around the back yard enjoying the respite from winter.
image courtesy of kangshutters freedigitalphotos.net
I've even opened the windows to let in some fresh air (and hopefully rid my house of any further sickness!!).

My tulips are starting to push through the mulch, thinking it must be springtime, and there are leaf buds on both my lilac bushes. It's amazing what a little spring weather can do to rid my life of winter grumpies.
image courtesy of artsamui freedigitalphotos.net

But as I sit here pondering this wonderful weather, I'm reminded that spending time in God's word and in prayer can be (and should be!) just as refreshing as the warm sunshine.

As I've been working through how to re-prioritize my life lately, I've learned that those few moments with Jesus each day are so precious and so life giving - while so many of the other things that I had been making a priority are, well...not!

I have a choice, each day, whether to spend time meditating on scripture and praying or to just jump into my day and "wing it."

Let's just say, the days that I make the wrong choice, it's evident pretty quickly. It's worse than a morning without coffee...(and that's pretty bad too!)

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 
(Joshua 24:15) 

It is a daily decision. But those few moments of quiet and peace are far more precious than this rare glimpse of spring in January.

Find more inspiration here:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Please don't read this post...

I've been thinking a lot lately about being authentic...about ridding my life of hypocrisy and living with my heart fully engaged...

As I watch the numbers on my blog hits climb, I'm humbled to think that God can use my words to reach others, and I pray for all of you who read this little blog.

But, I've also been convicted that maybe some of you shouldn't be reading these posts...


I know, that sounds crazy - right?

Hang in there a moment. 

Today, I feel that God wants me to gently remind all who read this why you maybe shouldn't read this post. It's about priorities, and I want to make sure that above all, you are drawing closer to God. There are only 24 hours in a day, and only so much you can accomplish....

image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono freedigitalphotos.net


If you haven't spent time in prayer, please don't read this post! 
Let God's presence fill you first.

If you haven't read your Bible today, please don't read this post! 
God's Word is Living Water, and my words are empty and ineffective if you are thirsty.

Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
Psalm 119: 40

Today I urge you not to read this post, but rather

seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness...
Matthew 6:33

Have a blessed day! : )

Linked up with:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just 10 minutes...revisited...

We're dealing with some lingering illness here this week, so I'm cheating a bit and re-posting something I wrote this summer. : )

The good news is, I've stuck to this practice and have accomplished more than I thought possible. You can even come and check out my cabinets and closets if you'd like...ok, well most of them. *wink*


image courtesy of Rawich freedigitalphotos.net

I am a project person. I love the sense of completing monumental tasks of cleaning and organization and the subsequent chaos control that they bring to our home.

Reality check...

I have three children who are messy little creatures and a husband that still places his shoes beside the shoe basket in the entry way (I love you hunny!)...

...add in some homeschooling...cooking...laundry...dance class...baseball practice...gardening...

Projects NEVER get done around here.

As I prayed about our summer on the last day of school I asked God to help me order my To-Do list according to his purpose each day. When I actually take time to pray as I'm preparing my list of things to do, things always go better and those tasks that remain feel less like failures. 

Honestly, I should really add "pray" to the top of my to-do list for each day...

The overwhelming sense of disorder in my home was getting to me by May when we finished our school year. And I promptly sat down and started making a list of things that I would accomplish this summer before we start the new school year...

Then I had an epiphany...(thanks, God!!)

I don't have hours of uninterrupted time to accomplish Hercules-sized labors...

...but I do have 10 minutes.

Even little one can sit beside me and play quietly for 10 minutes while I work.

So, I've begun to set the timer and work on a small task for 10 minutes. When the time is up, I am finished (even if the project is undone). Those of you who know my first-born, perfection driven personality probably doubt that I actually left a project undone...and you were right the first few times.

Then I learned...

I cannot organize my bedroom closet in ten minutes...but I can put all of the clothing I no longer wear into a bin for donations...

...in another ten minute segment later that day I organized my shoes and purses...

...another ten minutes and my hubby's clothes were re-organized more neatly...

All summer long I have followed my 10 minute rule and have accomplished quite a lot. 

But most importantly, I have learned to cut projects into manageable chunks so that my children are a blessing to me instead of interruptions in my projects. After all, aren't my children's tender hearts why I'm home anyway??

Oops...the timer's ringing... Blessings to you as you manage your projects!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working your plan...

My Grams always said, "plan your work and work your plan." But I didn't always do that well. Yesterday, I talked briefly about Making A Plan (you can read it here). Today I'd like to tell you about the benefits of having a plan...

As I've said before, I've been poring over Proverbs 31, trying to drink it all in. The world would have us, as homemakers, feel that our calling is less than desirable.

But God has dedicated part of his book of wisdom to describing a Godly wife and mother. That, in my mind at least, means that God believes this is a noble calling - a calling worthy of His attention.

What is clear from the verses in Proverbs 31,  it is God's plan that a wife look after the affairs of her home.

She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27

When I was not planning our days, our home wasn't running well. Even right-brained me was frustrated that our days lacked peace and order. Making dinner was a major undertaking because I hadn't planned ahead - sometimes I didn't even have the right ingredients on hand to make much of anything...

Thankfully, as I've undertaken to look well after the ways of my household, things run much more smoothly in our home. That does NOT mean that every day is blissfully calm and predictable. What it does mean is, when the day's plans are derailed, it isn't catastrophic.

My pantry is well stocked, and while I still sometimes struggle to plan all meals every day, I'm doing much better. Eventually, my goal is to have a posted meal plan for all 3 meals we eat together. I'm taking baby steps toward this goal and have seen lots of wonderful meal planning ideas online.

Over the weekend, I try to do some make-ahead meals. I'll make bread or pizza crust to freeze for a later time. I break bulk items into meal-sized portions. One of my favorite new ways of saving time is to put marinades right into the freezer bags with the meat. When I pull meat out of the deep freeze, it marinates as it thaws in the refrigerator. Two steps in one!

We've also started to schedule our school days a bit more. We start promptly at 8:30 most mornings with our Bible time. This has helped the children tremendously! Previously, I felt that I spent the whole morning nagging them to get chores done and get ready for school. Now that there is a definite start time, they have learned to be responsible for being ready - they'll even help each other out if someone is struggling to get done on time. What a valuable lesson!

I've learned that laundry can be done and folded while I give them their spelling words or while they are reading. Floors can be swept and or mopped while the children are getting ready (then no one is under my feet either!). Lunch can be prepared while they retell me their history lesson, or while we practice Spanish. Nap time is an excellent time to chop and prep for supper and it also is a great time for me to finish up laundry or clean a bathroom.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, we've learned to be flexible but it doesn't ruin our whole day as it may have before.

Plan your work and work your plan is sage advice from my Grams. Becoming more like the woman in Proverbs 31 has drawn me closer to the heart of my Heavenly Father. It is a noble calling to tend to your home.

What are some of your best tips for organizing your day?

Find more inspiration here:
Women Living Well: Living Well Wednesday
Deep Roots at Home: Encourage One Another Link Up
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making a plan...

I'm a right brain person...

I'm impulsive and intuitive and I've always dragged my feet when it came to "schedules" for our homeschooling and/or for our home...just the word schedule brings me down.

Things always got done, but not necessarily when they needed to...I'd remember to think about dinner around 4:30 and then wonder how to get the rock-hard chicken to thaw AND cook by 5:30 when we needed to leave for dance class.

I knew I had to become more disciplined. But, I didn't want to become a slave to a schedule (shudder) either...So, I prayed and asked God for wisdom on how to better order our home.

We still don't have a schedule...

We have a "Plan." (It sounds much nicer don't you think?)

And life is running a bit smoother around here. (except when people are sick and then I kind of operate on survival mode...like right now - just being honest)

I've begun to plan meals ahead of time...Boiling a whole chicken gives us delicious meat for a meal (with leftovers), and a side benefit is the delicious home made broth for other recipes (it's wonderful for cooking rice and sauteing vegetables!). My home made pizza crust recipe makes 4 crusts - 2 for now, 2 to put in the freezer. My Italian Bread recipe also makes 2 loaves...

I've started thinking about meal planning differently. It's a make it once, use it twice philosophy that has helped us to eat healthy meals, and be more frugal at the same time. A real win-win situation all around.

It's amazing how a little bit of foresight can make a big difference!

I'd love to hear how you use a "plan" to help your day run more efficiently! Feel free to comment and inspire us all!

Find more inspiration here:

Growing Home - Teach Me Tuesday
Time-Warp Wife - Titus 2 Tuesday
Far Above Rubies - Domestically Divine Tuesday

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fear not...


Be honest for a moment. When you first read that word, where did your mind go?

Fear is something that I have struggled with through my whole life. And while I've made some progress in this area, God isn't finished with me yet.

Fear, for me, is that little whisper...
you aren't good enough...

you don't deserve this...

And sometimes I'm secretly afraid that the little voice is right!

A dear friend of mine sent me some information about a writing opportunity, and immediately my mind went to fear.

What if they hate what I write?

Could I handle the rejection?

What makes you think that anyone wants to read what you write anyway?

I had almost convinced myself that this just simply wasn't for me, when the Lord brought this verse to my mind...

fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV

In that verse, God doesn't say that he'd rather I wasn't so afraid of everything. 

He commands me to fear not because he is with me. And I need to take a deep breath and remember that I have nothing to fear with my Heavenly Father by my side. I've seen time and time again that he will never leave me or forsake me, and soaking in his presence will calm my anxious thoughts.

Whether or not He wants me to pursue this writing venture remains to be seen...

What I do know with certainty is that he is after my thought life - and yours too! We are of no real use for His glory if we're busy cowering in fear over what others may think or say.

Success will come when we can banish that "little voice" and learn to listen only to what our God has to say to us.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sites for preschoolers...

As promised yesterday, I want to share some of my favorite sites for preschoolers. Because I'm cheap thrifty, all of these sites have free printables.

My favorite, by far, is Over the Big Moon. They have the cutest seasonal printables that I use to make lapbooks for little one. Their stuff is cute, creative and little-one approved! (If you stop by, be sure to tell them I sent you!) They even have cute stuff for moms, too!

DLTK Kids has an awesome amount of crafts, Bible Stories, printables...You really need to check it out!

Another one of my perennial faves is First-School...I've been using this site for years! If you can't find it on this site, you may not find it anywhere! It is packed with everything from handwriting pages to the most adorable crafts that use things you already have around the house. The site is well organized and has really neat theme units. Little One loves their mini books! : )

TLS Books has a wide variety of printables for any grade but navigating their site is sometimes tricky as it's full of ads! However, I've found hundreds of useful printables here so, it gets a definite thumbs-up!

Finally, Star Fall has a wonderful learn-to-read program! Their phonics worksheets are really worth checking out! Little Man loved using the website to play games as well as filling out their really cute worksheets (oops! Printables). They also have books available on their site for emerging readers! The stories were engaging and not your typical (boring!) learn-to-read books.

If you have a favorite site for preschoolers, I'd love to have you leave a comment and share! I'm always on the lookout for free help in the classroom!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homeschooling with little ones...

One of the most common questions I get as a homeschooling mother is:
What do you do with your little one(s) while you do school?

The best answer I can give is, a lot of training (for both mommy and little one)! 

Our first year of homeschooling, Precious Girl was in 2nd grade and Little Man was 3 and, toward the end of the year, Little One joined our family... It was a baptism by fire to be sure, but we not only survived our first year, we loved it!

Little man was very easy to occupy while I did school. He was happy to sit at the table with us and color, draw, play with playdoh or play quietly with his blocks, trains and legos. I also made sure that he had lots of his own worksheets to do. 

He felt included in homeschooling and that was my goal. When I read out loud to Precious Girl, he learned to sit in my lap and listen, or play quietly in the same room. Most of the time, even though he may not have understood the story, he seemed to enjoy being with us. At that point, little one was still a newborn and was easy. I learned to save our read alouds for times when I'd need to nurse or when she'd be awake. Listening to my voice as I held her close seemed to soothe her.

The following year, Little Man began more formal preschool. There are many wonderful FREE websites to print preschool worksheets! (I'll post more about that tomorrow.)

Several mornings a week, he would do his worksheets with me while Precious Girl (now in 3rd grade) did her reading, or finished her math problems. We still tried to fit school around Little One's nap schedule - the subjects where I needed to be very hands-on were done during this time. 
listening to a story

When Little Man was not doing school, he was still with us. I had lots of art supplies in a box that he could get out any time he wanted. I also encouraged him to look at books (the library is still our best resource!!!) and play quietly with action figures, cars and legos. He also loved to dress up!
improvised "Knight" costume : )

When Precious Girl started 4th grade, Little One suddenly turned into a tornado of activity! (I can smile about all of this now, but it really did stretch me at the time!!) We still did the mommy-intensive stuff while she napped, except this time, I had to learn to divide my time between Precious Girl and Little Man - who was in Kindergarten. This was difficult at times, but we never doubted this is what we were called to do. God's grace is sufficient for the days when no one napped and chaos seemed to abound. (*smile*) 

Little One is very different from her naturally more content older brother. Training her to sit quietly or to amuse herself during school time is something we still work on. (Just being honest!) 

Having toys, games and activities she could only use in our school room worked well during that busy toddler stage. I also really made an effort to spend special time with her during our schooling, even if it was just holding her while she colored or drew. I made her an activity box that contained beads, cereal or noodles she could string on yarn (I just rotated supplies - toddler boredom is the enemy!). I also got out playdoh to keep little fingers busy. 

Last year was the most challenging by far! 

Precious Girl was in 5th Grade and her work load intensified. Little Man was in 1st Grade and really struggling to read. Little One seemed to get into trouble every time I turned my back on her! The worst day was the day she got into the Sharpies and colored all over her arms and legs during "nap time." 

I did a lot of praying for energy and inspiration. I learned that Little One got into trouble most when she didn't feel she was getting enough of me. Before we started school, I would read to her and snuggle with her. While we did our school, I would make sure to hold her on my lap while I read and keep her busy!

Here are my top 5 suggestions for things to do for Little Ones:

1. PRAY! Before you even start your school day, drop to your knees and ask God for what you'll need for your day! Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. (Prov. 16:3) Praying over your lesson plans is also a good idea.

2. BE PREPARED! Boredom is the enemy. Have a variety of activities and toys that are only for the school room. A few minutes of preparation for Little Ones the night before will save hours of heartache!

3. BE FLEXIBLE! Ok, this is not my strong suit, but this rough edge has received a lot of gentle sanding by my Heavenly Father. If your little one is melting down, they may just need some attention. Loving correction of a little one's inappropriate behavior is time consuming, but vitally important! If nothing is working, a little laughter goes a long way. Keep it cheerful and...

4. REMEMBER WHY YOU'RE HOMESCHOOLING! There will be days that test your resolve (and perhaps your sanity!) But keeping your eyes on your goals and remembering your calling will get you through! Also remember that little ones grow quickly...these days are fleeting! Strive to enjoy them.

5. KEEP IT SIMPLE! You don't have to spend a fortune on the latest preschool curriculum or fancy toys. Containers with something as simple as rice or even water can provide entertainment for little fingers. Really your little ones just want to feel a part of what you're doing with older children.

It is so worth it! If you are in the trenches, so to speak, hang in there! Your reward will be great!

Tomorrow I'll share some of my favorite websites for pre-school and toddler friendly activities!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


There are moments where the sacred and the mundane intersect...and those moments take your breath away.

Jesus has overcome the world,
and that gives me great joy and lasting comfort in the midst of trials and sorrows...
image courtesy of thepathtraveler freedigitalphotos.net
But sometimes, we can rejoice in the small, quiet moments with Him...
where if we could but freeze time, it would be perfect.

Moments where His love is palpable and Heaven seems as close as your next breath.
Doubt and pain cease.

Sometimes, it isn't about "the big picture"...

it's about the small moments...

little "kisses" from Heaven -
when you know God is with you, and He knows what you need.

It's these small, precious moments that allow you to put one foot in front of the other...
and go on.
image courtesy of foto76 freedigitalphotos.net
When striving and uncertainty cease...
there is peace.

God may not choose to calm the storm that you find yourself in today.
image courtesy of Jennifer Ellison freedigitalphotos.net
But do not overlook the beauty and peace that can come in resting in His presence 
while the storm rages around you. 

that carries you through a storm,
or just a bad day.

But its glow and warmth linger.
And your heart knows "Lo, I am with you always..."

You simply answer, 
image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev freedigitalphotos.net

Joy will come in the morning...no matter how long or dark the night...

Take heart, there is great joy in knowing that you are loved by God, and NOTHING will ever change that.

Find More Encouragement:
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Encourage One Another Link Up: Deep Roots at Home
Women Living Well

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perfectly equipped...

We've been dealing with some sickness around here lately. My frailty and insufficiency seem insurmountable in times when I am so needed. I am poignantly aware of my inability to do anything besides minister to my family's needs.

God, I feel...so...not enough...help me!

image courtesy of arkorn freedigitalphotos.net

It is that feeling of helplessness that brings my thinking down and I become weary and (dare I admit it?) irritable...I feel like I need to explain to my loved ones, I'm doing everything I can. I am sorry it isn't enough...

But God showed me that it is...

image courtesy of renjith krishnan freedigitalphotos.net

Growing up, my mother seemed perfectly calm and able to deal with any illness. She is a nurse and that is her calling. And I often wish, in the face of sickness, that I could be more like her...

Me? I just want to cry and maybe run away... And I have to repeat: I will not throw up, (breathe,) I will not throw up...as I tell Little Man that it will be ok.

He looks at me with those beautifully clear not-quite-blue eyes, and says, "I love you, Mommy. I'm glad you are here."

And I realize that my children and husband don't need me to be like my mother.

They need... me. 

The me that cries and fusses over them when they are sick. The me that prays over them. The me that gets mad at sickness of any kind and considers germ elimination a kind of mommy-warfare...

I needed to transform my thinking by renewing my mind...
I don't need to be supermom.
It's ok that I hurt when my precious children are sick.
It's ok if I cry when I hold them.
It's ok that I am not perfect. They don't need or expect me to be.

So as I scrub, I pray. I try to recall as many scriptures as I can about health and healing... And I can point their eyes to a loving God who heals. And so, I am...enough.

I am imperfectly perfectly equipped to be there for my children.

And I can smile at yet another spiritual truth I have learned while in the trenches of mothering.

Linking up:
Growing Home: Teach Me Tuesday
Far Above Rubies: Domestically Divine
Time Warp Wife: Titus 2 Tuesdays

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giveaway Winners...

The winners of the giveaway of Beauty and the Beast Within are:



and Pam

Congratulations, ladies!!! I will pass along your email addresses and you'll receive an email with the e-book. I pray that you will be blessed with the practical information it contains.

A very special thank you to my sweet friend Denise Grove who generously donated her e-book.

I recommend anyone who struggles with defining beauty check out Beauty and the Beast Within. Dee gives a thoroughly Biblical perspective on beauty to help you tame the dissatisfaction beast.

Readers of Homeschooling and Other Adventures are welcome to purchase her e-book for a
50% discount using the code:
at the link below...

Funky Faith Girl

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I like being homeschooled...Precious Girl responds

Yesterday, I wrote about our Homeschooling Testimony. You can read it here if you missed it.

Today, as I was pondering what more to write, Precious Girl herself offered to do a "guest post" of sorts. She knew that I was sharing why we decided to homeschool, and wanted to give her perspective on why she likes being homeschooled.

Before school today, she wrote a list of her top reasons why homeschooling works for her. It was really interesting to see her perspective - especially since this was her project, not something I had her do.

Why I Like Being Homeschooled

I feel like I learn a lot.
I can have any level textbook that I need for my subjects.
No one makes me do a certain grade's work.
I can work individually on anything that I have trouble with.
I can take as long as I need to master things.
I like to be at home.
I feel relaxed and ready to learn.
I can have pajama days if I want.
I like not having any worries about mean teachers.
I like having fun at school.
We make things fun when we do school.
We laugh at silly things that happen.
We like being together.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why we homeschool...our testimony...

Yesterday, I wrote a response (prompted by Kristy at Little Natural Cottage) to those who say "Oh, I could never homeschool..." You can read it here if you missed it.

Today, I want to share with you my "homeschooling testimony."

Twelve years ago when I was pregnant with Precious Girl, I was certain that she would go to school. I mean, that is just what you do, right? You give birth, raise them for a few years and then hand them off to a school. I never thought twice about that. The only decision we consciously made concerning her education was to enroll her in a Christian School.

I was also certain that I would cry and miss her terribly (and I did). In fact, if you had asked me about homeschooling, I would have looked at you funny...I really don't think I had heard of it.

Kindergarten came and went, and she had an absolutely wonderful experience. But Christian School tuition was expensive and Little Man was 2 years old...We prayed and knew that short of bags of money falling from heaven (they didn't) private school wasn't in the budget.

We sent Precious Girl to public school for first grade. I'll admit, we both had some misgivings, but we were determined that we were on the right path. I now was aware of homeschooling but didn't think too highly of it. And then, I made the fatal statement, "I will never homeschool my kids. That's weird." I know, famous last words...

First grade for Precious Girl was a breeze. Her teacher, wonderful. Her classmates, friendly. She was learning and growing well and we had few problems (other than her chattiness during class).

Little Man was going to a friend's house for some preschool classes (she was, after all, a qualified teacher) when Precious Girl began 2nd grade. I had mornings alone (for a few hours anyway) but I honestly don't remember what I did, except throw up...We just found out we were expecting Little One and morning sickness (which is misnamed by the way) was my constant companion. I would walk Precious Girl to the bus stop, come back and throw up, and then try not to throw up in the car to take Little Man to preschool... Those were the days...

Then, we began to notice changes in Precious Girl...

She was moody, withdrawn, not herself...

We tried to brush it off. We told ourselves it was because I was so sick that I was barely functional. But that wasn't the truth...

In November, we went to our parent teacher conference and it forever changed our lives. The teacher opened with "Your daughter is mean and nasty."

I will never forget how time seemed to stop and those words just echoed around in my head... Mean and nasty...she must have the wrong folder...Mean and nasty...not my Precious Girl...I looked out into the hallway and watched her quietly sitting in a chair reading. Somehow I managed not to burst into tears.

Somehow, my husband and I managed to sit through the rest of the meeting. I honestly cannot remember anything else that was said. We had come with a list of questions and ideas and we asked none of them...

I wasn't angry. That came later. I was stunned, shocked and quite sure of one thing - Precious Girl would not step foot into that classroom ever again.

I poured out my heart to God and knew that only he could direct our steps. As I laid on my bed a few nights later exhausted and defeated, I knew with a quiet certainty that we should homeschool. And soon so did my husband. Only God could change both of our hearts simultaneously. That was a miracle!

It took the rest of 2nd grade at home to restore Precious Girl to the bright, happy child that she had been. Little One joined our family just before the end of our first homeschooling year, and we've never looked back.

While I have fantasized (on those really tough days) about putting my little cherubs on the school bus and waving goodbye, I know that is not right for our family, at least not now.

So, now we homeschool. And, no, I haven't started making my own bread (just pizza crust) or sewing our clothing (*wink*). And, no we haven't become really weird (at least I don't think so). My kids are socialized just fine and we do work very hard in our little classroom.

I don't worry about next year, or ninth grade or senior year. I take one day at a time. Each day his mercies are new, and I am so thankful.

Linking up:
Deep Roots at Home Encouraging One Another Link Up
Women Living Well Living Well Wednesday
A Wise Woman Builds her Home
Our Simple Country Life Hearts for Home Thursdays

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Oh, I could never homeschool..."

My fellow homeschooling mom, Kristy, from Little Natural Cottage wrote a post yesterday entitled "Why I'm Not Cut Out to be A Homeschooling Mom." (read it here.)

When I read it, I had an immediate "Amen!" reaction to what she said.

It intrigues me when people, upon finding out I homeschool our kids, tell me some variation of "Oh, I couldn't do what you do, I'd go crazy with my kids all day..." as if I am somehow more patient and less prone to insanity than they are...

Truth is, I'm just a big old mess. Shocking, huh?

I'm impatient...
Just like everyone else, my patience unravels by the end of the day. After escorting Little One back upstairs for "quiet time" for the 23rd time (I'm not kidding either. This really happened yesterday.) my "stay in your room, please" was a bit less gentle than the first 5 or so times.
image courtesy of idea go freedigitalphotos.net

I get frustrated...
When Little Man completely forgot how to multiply over the week off at Christmas, I freaked out...just a little...

I war against my selfishness...
And when Precious Girl came downstairs at 10p.m. telling me she finished reading the book I had 5 days worth of elaborate lesson plans for (for the 2nd day in a ROW)...steam rose from my ears...

You see, my Super Hero cape (you know the one people seem to think I have as a homeschooling mom) doesn't confer any sort of super patience, gentleness or kindness on me. Truth be told, my cape would probably look like a slightly worn and tattered pink bathrobe and be just about as effective at holding back the forces of evil in my home.

My natural tendency is to be selfish and horrible. Are you shocked? You shouldn't be. I am only human. And I am most certainly NOT supermom.

I would love to have some "free time" to myself...
although, I'm not sure I even understand those words, "free time" but it sounds lovely...
...and yes, there are days when I fantasize about sending little people on that Big Yellow Bus 
and having a whole day to sit and read scriptures and do a Bible study
and finally start some of those projects I've wanted to do ...

But, homeschooling isn't about me. 
It's actually not even about my kids. 
It's about God and honoring Him first in our home.

Truly, the "super powers" some seem to think Homeschooling Moms possess, come in the form of constant prayer and from the very love-worn Bible that I start my day with. I am NOT cut out to be a homeschooling mom, and neither are you UNLESS you are willing to humbly allow God to mold you into one.
image courtesy of graur razvan ionut freedigitalphotos.net
That involves a rather lengthy process of sanding rough edges, refining, and repentance...

I'm still being molded. It's not always easy, but it is always worth it. I still war against my flesh, but victory will come...

And even on the days when I just want to run out of the schoolroom screaming, (am I the only one who has those?) I'm glad we're doing this. And I wouldn't change it for anything,

Monday, January 09, 2012

It's all part of the dance...

Precious Girl, my oldest daughter, is an Irish Dancer.

This love affair started back when she was a wee little girl of 2 and saw Riverdance for the first time on television. She was transfixed by the graceful, yet powerful dancing. She turned with wide eyes when it was over and said "I dance like that..."

If you will permit me to brag on my Precious Girl a bit, she is graceful and beautiful when she dances. Her joy when she dances shines from her face to her feet.

This gift comes straight from her Heavenly Father (if you've ever seen me dance you will know this to be truth) and it has been exciting to watch her develop her skills.

Part of the Irish Dance world, is the competition, or feis (pronounced "fesh"). These competitions attract hundreds of Irish Dancers from several neighboring states. The judges watch the dancers dance their reels, slip jigs, hornpipes, and treble jigs in front of a nervous and jubilant assembly of other parents.

As a mom, it is so hard to stand on the sidelines and watch my Precious Girl dance.

Don't get me wrong, I love to watch her - she is breathtakingly beautiful...

But she works and works and only has 2 minutes to do everything perfectly to get a trophy. There's a part of me that wants to tap the judge on the shoulder and tell him or her what she needs to know about my dancer...

Excuse me, judge, but did you know that my daughter dances for hours outside of practice - just for the fun of it?

Do you know that dancing is her favorite thing is the world?

Do you know the carpet is worn under her desk because her feet need to dance?

Do you know about the tears when those feet are too sore to dance any more? but yet, somehow she does?

Do you know that she choreographs elaborate dances in a notebook she keeps with her diary?

Do you know that every song she hears, she wonders what step she could do with it?

Do you know that we hear the same few bars of music for days on end as she works to perfect one little part of her dance?

Do you know that underneath the false eyelashes, fancy solo dress and curly wig is a very sweet little girl who just wants to dance?

But, I refrain from telling them. Maybe they do know. Maybe they don't. What is important to me is that my Precious Girl knows for Whom she is dancing. It's part of the dance...

And I watch, holding my breath...and I wait for results, just as anxious as my Precious Girl...

And, we learn together that the joy of the Lord is our strength when the judges didn't agree with us...
And, we learn how to win gracefully as other competitors shed tears of disappointment...

And as we learn and we grow together, it's all part of the dance.

First-ever Giveaway!!!

I'm super excited to announce my first-ever giveaway on my blog!!! 

My sweet friend Denise Grove has written an e-book, Beauty and the Best Within, and has offered 

5 FREE copies to the readers of this blog!! 

Funky Faith Girl
Here's what she had to say about her book...

• Read through the Bible this year
• Join the gym
• Lose 10 lbs by Valentine’s day
• Buy diet pills
• Get the newest gadget that will take off the 10 lbs in just 10 min a day
• Be more patient
• Be more joyful
And so the list went year after year. I safely tucked all my “diet” dreams between the things I thought a good Christian girl should have on her list. The problem was in order to achieve the diet dreams I had no time for Bible reading and the deprivation, diet pills, and crazy exercise regimes left me broke, grumpier, and short tempered.

Usually by January 15th (if I made it that long) I gave up. I waved the white flag with one hand and clung to my Ben and Jerry’s with the other. I felt defeated. I felt like a failure. I resigned myself to the larger jean size and spent my days praising the invention of the elastic waist all the while putting a fake smile on face acting like it didn’t really matter. But it did matter and secretly I continued in my self-loathing while staring at the pictures of skinny women on the covers of magazines in the grocery store aisle who I thought had achieved perfection.

I would look in the mirror and all I saw was cellulite, wrinkles, and stretch marks. I got
grouchier and grouchier as these are the things that started to define me. Until finally I broke. I couldn’t take it anymore and I got serious about trying to get my body back.

I lost 40 lbs. I looked good (well minus the stretch marks and wrinkles) and I became obsessed. I relished all the compliments but for some reason still could not find peace with my body. So in that obsession I was still miserable and I still had no time for Bible reading.

And that’s when it hit me. I was no happier at a size 2 then I was at a size 12. Something
needed to change and it wasn’t my BMI(body mass index) it was my GIMLI(God in my life
index). So I set out on a journey to define beauty through His eyes and in that process I did gain some weight back but that was ok because I finally found my spacious place.

No deprivation.

No obsession.

No overindulgence.

No extremes.

Just balance and peace.

That’s what led me to write Beauty and the Beast Within. I had a beast in me that was always searching but never satisfied. Not anymore. Check out the book and see how 21 days can help slay the beast within you!

Interested in winning a FREE COPY?? 

To be one of the 5 lucky winners, leave me a comment below that includes your email address by Midnight on Thursday, January 12, 2012. The winners will be picked by random number and announced Friday, January 13, 2012.

She is also offering 50% off to readers of Homeschooling and Other Adventures. 
The code is: tamethebeast
Order link here.

Linked up with Hip Homeschool Moms - Giveaway Day 1/12/12

Friday, January 06, 2012

Keeping it all together...

MOOOOOMMMMM...Where are my sneakers???
(left hand side of your closet behind your slippers)...
Mo-om?? Where is my co-op homework?
(green folder in your bookbag- large zippered pocket)

Sound familiar??

My husband jokes that I know where everything is in our house, and he's probably right.

I think the fact that I've always had to know where everything is (3rd shelf in the pantry on the left hand side) is why scripture memorization is so difficult for me...(that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

The problem with my mommy-driven system of imposed organization...

I was the ONLY one who knew where anything was.

and what was worse...

I was the ONLY one who cared.

I knew something needed to change, I just couldn't figure out what...

I am a list maker, and somewhat organized by nature. Clutter and chaos just drive me batty and I can't really relax if my home isn't neat and tidy.

But I also really wanted to turn in my "mommy...finder-of-all-lost-things" badge.

So I stopped putting things away. Strangely enough, the other people who live here began to pick up after themselves and stopped asking me where things were...

I simply stopped nagging (we all know that isn't effective anyway) and helped the kids figure out their own system for tidying up.

Each child is responsible for his/her own room. They can get out every toy, book and article of clothing to play with, but it must be put away by bedtime.

Precious girl seems to have inherited her mommy's affinity for neatness (she organizes my kitchen cabinets and such), but Little Man...I almost had fits every time I walked into his room. He needed my husband and I to help him tame the clutter. Once we helped the first few times, he's doing it by himself. And now he knows where his lego kits are. Little one has lots of kid-friendly storage that she uses to tame the toy tangle in her room.

Now my children know what they are responsible for, and they do their "jobs" well. That is a much better life lesson than, "I didn't put it away so I don't care where it is because Mom will find it."

Now that I've stopped playing the mommy-martyr role, I hear them say wonderful things like, "How can I help you Mommy" or "Would you like me to vacuum today?" or my absolute favorite, "Is there anything else you'd like me to do?"

And that is music to my ears.

Our home is neat (well, most of the time) and organized and we all seem more relaxed.

How do you keep it all together in your home?

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Right inside the front door - 3 smiling faces.

Yesterday, I posted about the Proverbs 31 Love Letter that God wrote for those of us called to keep our homes. (the link is here in case you missed it!)

Today, I want to share with you what is, for me, one of the most important aspects of homemaking...

Making my home a haven...

The dictionary definition of haven is a place of shelter or refuge. That is how I see my home.

my favorite spot for devotions
I want my home to be a place where ideas are shared,
dreams are dreamed,
prayers are prayed,
wings are strengthened before leaving the nest...

But most of all, I want it to be a place of safety and beauty.
A place where God's presence is experienced, and his love given hands and feet.

That's a pretty tall order, don't you think?

I want people to be comfy here!
No amount of decorating or painting or furnishing can do that.

My husband is the head of our home, but I feel called to be its heart.

And if my own heart isn't full to overflowing with the presence of Jesus, then my home will feel less lovely, less safe to those who spend time here - despite my efforts to beautify my home.

I suppose what I'm really trying to say is, it's not the decoration that makes our homes lovely,

it's us. 

Each one of us who has answered the call to be a wife and mother has the awesome task of creating a home for her family.

And how we decorate it is much less important than how we adorn our hearts and minds.

I've been in perfectly lovely homes with lavish, expensive furnishings and have felt uncomfortable and empty. I've been in humble homes with toys strewn about and dirty dishes in the sink and felt completely at home.

When we, as keepers of our homes, walk in humble obedience to God, with willing hearts and busy hands, our homes will be lovely.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Proverbs 31...A Love Letter

My heart is drawn toward Proverbs 31 lately.

And I'm prayerfully trying to live out the woman that God has placed there in the Proverbs. Proverbs are all about wisdom not of this earth, and it would be unwise to ignore her example.

But I know it's not about my efforts,
it's all about my willing heart.

My efforts will be flawed, or sometimes self-serving. But my God can work through even my feeble attempts at obedience and he will be glorified through them.

You see, I want to be more like her. I want to open my mouth with wisdom and have kindness on my tongue. I want to look well to the ways of my little home, and capture my husband's heart.

My home is where I spend 99% of my time, and I want this home and my homemaking to reflect my Jesus.

But it's not even about me. It's about the author of this proverb. I've asked God to instruct me to live my ordinary life in an extraordinarily different way.

My longing is to be happily, blessedly living out my calling as wife and mother.

I wish I could share a success story - of how I embody all the attributes of the ideal wife and homemaker...but, well, his power is made perfect in weakness.

But isn't that the point?

The Proverbs 31 Woman is an ideal...
and I am frail and weak and, thankfully, dearly loved.

With a willing and humble heart God can do big things!

God put her story there at the end of Proverbs to teach and instruct - to call us higher. Not to condemn or demean our efforts.

To gently tell us, "there is a more excellent way, sweet daughter."

Proverbs 31 is a love letter - written by our loving Heavenly Father to all his daughters who keep their homes.

photo courtesy of Simon Howden

Will you answer the call?

Linking Up:
Domestically Divine Far Above Rubies


A Holy Experience

Tuesday, January 03, 2012



It beckons me...
a place of acceptance, beauty, grace and comfort...

It is a place of safety in a not-so-gentle world.
A place for quiet reflection and noisy play...

Home is where my heart is safe.

My home is not perfect, but neither am I.
Its imperfections make it comfortable, like my old slippers. A place of warmth.

I am the keeper of this home. It is an honor and a privilege that I feel unworthy of at times, in awe of at others.

I have been working hard during my vacation from blogging at organizing and beautifying my home. I went through drawers, cabinets, closets and I purged things that were no longer beautiful or necessary. My home breathed a sigh of relief to be free of unnecessary things. My heart feels lighter and I am at peace in the midst of this, my refuge.

I did this project one step at a time. Bit by bit so I could rest with my family. (You can read another post about my approach to projects here.)

And it.feels.wonderful.

I've been inspired by women wiser than myself to make my home a delightful place to be. I want my home to reflect Jesus most of all so that others can feel his presence here.

what does it mean to you?

Linking up with:
Domestically Divine Tuesday
Titus 2 Tuesdays

Monday, January 02, 2012


It was so good to take a break, pull the plug and snuggle in with my family...

Christmas was beautiful, one that I will treasure always. New Year's Eve was spent with wonderful, encouraging friends who are like family...

It was a beautiful time of rest and restoration.

God is good.

There were some frayed edges in my heart before the holidays. Some anxious thoughts that I knew didn't belong in my mind. Before Christmas, I felt God calling me away for some time away...

I'm so glad I listened.

As I prayed I felt (rather than heard) God say one word...


image courtesy of Tom Curtis freedigitalphotos.net

as I meditated on that word, I realized how beautiful it is to linger in God's presence...

It's the feeling that nothing else is as important to me as him...
It is knowing fully that He is my redeemer, my heavenly father, my all in all...
It is knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and completely loved...

and as I just soaked in his presence...I was restored...

The frayed edges were knit together, the anxious thoughts disappeared as I lingered...

I felt my heart calling me to the Psalms...
I paged through them reading only the verses I had underlined...

it was like a love letter written just for me...


Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! (Psalm 61:4)


...for you have been my help
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. (Psalm 63: 7)


Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress. (Psalm 71: 3)


It is my prayer that you will find time today to linger in the presence of the One who made you.


The Straightened Path: Motivation Mondays
and Jacinda at Growing Home