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Showing posts from 2014

Busy Start to Winter

So I have not put up a new post since October. Wow. That is a really long time.

Not that I actually think anyone is missing my posts, but if you were wondering why on earth I am not posting...there are a few reasons.

I have found that bloggers need to take breaks. There are seasons when we just don't have the heart to post and post and post. Instead our hearts are focused on our home lives, our children, homeschooling...stuff like that. And my fall/early winter has proved this to be true.

I also needed a break from blogging because I have been writing a book. So I have been writing, just not on my blogs.

I hope your days have been filled with the Lord's chosen will for you, whether it is encouraging others through weblogs and social media, participating in small groups, giving your time in service to others, or just being a mom to your children. And if you happen to have a blog and you happen to have guilt when you don't post all the time...then let this post give you perm…

Begin To Be Thankful While the Calendar Reads October

In my home, for a never-ending compendium of reasons, October is a busy month. It is typically so busy that it can deplete my patience, energy, bank account and time and leave my head spinning by the time I turn the wall calendar to November. I do not seem to be able to conquer this fall phenomenon which can be referred to as "Octo-Mania".

But I really do love fall, I do enjoy all that this first full month of autumn brings. I don't want to be so consumed with busy-ness that I fail to enjoy the blessings that come with Octo-Mania. So I have to make a daily choice to consciously be thankful. Making that decision at the dawn of each new day has enabled me to be a more content follower of Jesus this autumn. It's sort of like choosing to give thanks in October, rather than waiting for the arrival of November.

When I was a young mom, way back in my twenties, older and more wizened women would tell me to enjoy the stage of life I was in (diaper bags, midnight feedings, tod…

If I Were to Make a Transition...

So I found myself wondering, "Hmmm, if I were to begin to blog about things that edify women in the church as a whole, as compared to only those who homeschool, would I lose readers? How much would I need to alter my weblog?"

And in the midst of wondering about that, along with finding that most of my ideas for posts are more about greater edification as of late, I have not written much. Which is a problem. Because a writer is only a writer to the extent that she writes, right?

But I have also found that my most-read posts are those that have encouraged my non-homeschooling friends as much as homeschoolers. Perhaps there isn't really a conflict-of-interest after all....

All that to say, my posts may be a little broader in scope, at least for the time being. I suspect that something written to edify women who love and serve Jesus will also edify women who love and serve Jesus and homeschool.

If you've followed my blog for very long, I am sure you know how often I quot…

My Pampered Chef Party

So, this isn't exactly my "typical" blog post...but I am hosting a Facebook/catalog Pampered Chef party. I seriously love Pampered Chef products - A LOT. And I use them - A LOT. So I am having a party to, of course, earn some free and discounted stuff (may as well be brutally honest - I mean, that's why we have these kinds of parties, right?!?!?). And I would really love, love, love it if you would make a purchase.

If you place an order of $60 or more, you can choose a free item (the link to my online party is  Either the Bar Board (item # RK98) or the set of 3 Small Flexible Cutting Mats (item # RK99). The Bar Board is just the right size for making one sandwich - so you can instruct your sandwich devouring children to make their snack on the Bar Board, and clean up will be easy. As for the Small Flexible Cutting Mats, I will tell you how we use those in our daughter has a small busin…

Get Serious

Okay, is everyone ready for a blunt weblog post? If you're not, then just stop reading right now...

As August rolls ever closer to September, and another year of homeschooling dawns, let me ask you a serious question:  Why on earth do you homeschool, anyway?

Seriously!!  What is your reason for choosing this lifestyle of home education?  Peer pressure from within your church? Or from your spouse? All-consuming anxiety about what the world might do to your child? In order to maintain a firm hand of control over your family?

Those are all lousy reasons to homeschool.

First, peer pressure is not God's way of accomplishing His good and perfect and pleasing will. Open up your Bible and start reading those words in red, and very quickly you will see He intends freedom for His disciples. So if you homeschool because everyone in your peer group wants you to homeschool, you need to step back and spend some time in prayer about the entire situation. It's not my job to tell you wheth…

Enjoying August While Readying for September

August is busy month around here. My two oldest are preparing to head back to their respective colleges (Wheaton & Taylor, each about 12 hours away). The three girls still enrolled in our family homeschool are making decisions about fall activities and dual enrollment classes, while hoping to somehow delay the start of school. And I am busy, as always, with what seems to be a million different things.

But I want my kids to each take some time to reflect on this summer and enjoy it just a little longer. Be in the moment, not just thinking about what is coming next.

Moms, the same applies to us. We need to daily decide that we will live in the now and not bemoan the past or focus only on what comes next. Life can only be lived right now, it cannot be relived nor lived in advance. So wherever life finds you today, be fully there. I know it's old advice that you've heard many times before, but it is sage advice and is worth repeating.

And do take some time to get away with the…

Praying About Next Year's Homeschool Plans

Christian families of course ought to be praying families, just as individual followers of Christ ought to of course be praying people. And homeschooling mothers ought to be praying women.

If you have not yet set apart some time this summer to pray over the upcoming academic year, let me encourage you to do so. If we feel led to homeschool due to our Christian faith, then it seems pretty silly to fail in praying over each homeschool year before it starts.

I could give you a list of things to pray for, and sharply reprimand you for failing to thoroughly cover prior years in prayer...but that really isn't what I am called to do via this blog. I am all about encouraging homeschooling mothers, so I sincerely hope you are only ever encouraged by reading my posts.

Pray any way that works for you. By that I mean pray for a few minutes in the morning, or set aside an hour one afternoon when the little ones are taking a nap. While waiting for the kids at swim lessons, you could devote tha…

2014 Big Giveaway # 1

Okay, so that's a weird title for a blog post. But it's an accurate title, and it rightly conveys what needs to be I'm sticking with it. This post contains details about my first Big Giveaway this year. And while it is July, which is kind of late for my first giveaway of 2014, I'm still sticking with that title. (Now, this may not be the world's largest homeschool blog giveaway, but it is "big" for me, and I hope it's a blessing for one lucky homeschooling mother!)

Here is a list of what the winner will receive:

One copy of The Homeschool Mom's Bible (NIV). This is a hardcover Bible, which means it will hold up well for daily use, and I have to say the daily devotions are really, really good. My purpose with this blog is to encourage homeschooling mothers, and this Bible is a great source of encouragement.

One copy of the book Amos Fortune, Free Man (by Elizabeth Yates). This book is one of my absolute favorites! It's the true st…


Today is July the first, 2014.

I can hardly believe it is now the seventh month of this's as if I blink and another week flies right by.

Our family is in full-on summer mode, with projects and family time abounding. A short list of things we've done (or will do) this summer include:

finishing adding a 6th bedroom to our home
stripping & repainting a chifferobe
a youth group trip to Arkansas (in just a few weeks! yikes!)
my husband's transition to his new job
wrestling camp for my son (gotta practice in the off-season when it's college wrestling!)
my daughter is a photographer, so she has lots of shoots to do when she's home for the summer
selling curriculum/books I no longer need for our homeschool (I have close to 500 amazon listings...)
a fun jet-ski weekend @ the lake to celebrate my daughter's 16th birthday
our annual scavenger hunt to welcome new students into the youth group
and of course took a crazy-fun vacation to Florida...

Here are some…

American History by James P. Stobaugh

The American History series by James P. Stobaugh - this curriculum can speak for itself, so it most certainly does not need me to speak for it. There has not been any other book or curriculum that I have been so excited to review. My fellow homeschooling mothers, if you are in need of a high school history curriculum that is college preparatory in nature, then this is what you've been searching for.

The physical description of American History is as such: the set of two books contains the TeacherEdition and the Student Book. The How-To-Use page is excellent, and the Preface clearly explains the author's attitude toward teaching history along with some personal background information that is insightful. It's pretty clear what this text requires of both parent and student, and while the work load may seem a bit overwhelming if you will give it a chance and be willing to invest a little good old-fashioned hard work then I promise you will see results!

Chapter 1 focuses on Nat…

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity ~ by Nabeel Qureshi

The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is an unbelievable insightful account of Islam from the perspective of one person who grew up in an Islamic home...and forsook all he knew when he found Jesus.

Nabeel grew up in an American Navy household; a household that was also devoutly Muslim. In some respects he lived a typical American military kid's life, but in many ways his adolescence was drastically different than his non-Muslim counterparts. When reading this book I was amazed at his ability to treat his parents with the utmost of respect even as he explained his experience within the Islamic community as one who has walked away from that community. It would be difficult to read this book and not feel some level of emotion for Nabeel and his plight. After all, he truly has forsaken father and mother and sister to follow Christ. That is much more than the average Christian in America will ever have to sacrifice for their faith. In that light, this is a book that…

Out of the Depths - by Edward Harrell, USMC

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is a well-known story to most every student of the second World War, and many who know little about those dark years have still heard of the Indy.  It's one of the great tragedies of America's war history, and reading about it is never easy. But the book Out of the Depths, written by USS Indianapolis survivor Edward Harrell (United States Marine Core) brings a distinctly Christian perspective to this heart-wrenching tale.

Out of the Depths is a very well-written book, and the author does a terrific job of recognizing God's hand in the events detailed throughout each chapter. The facts are laid out in combination with Mr. Harrell's own personal perspective, and the incident along with it's after-effects are described with enough detail to give the reader a clear understanding of what took place, but with no extra "gore" added for drama's sake. It's clear the author has opted to glorify the Lord through this book,…

Where the Wind Leads - a memoir by Vinh Chung (with Tim Downs)


That is the first thought that comes to mind when pondering exactly how to write a review for the book Where the Wind Leads. To find a memoir that grabs such hold of the reader that you move seamlessly through it's pages and almost forget that the book will actually have an end is a rarity. I loved this book from the very first page. And while it is most certainly very Christian in nature, it is not primarily focused on the Christian faith of the Chung family. Where the Wind Leads is truly a memoir in the truest sense of the word; it is a historical account given from a personal perspective.

Each chapter is just a few pages in length, which makes it easy to grab the book and read when you have a few extra moments. And the writing is truly top-notch. To some degree, at least in my mind, one mark of a good book is the ability to read without the overt sense that you are reading...and Where the Wind Leads allowed me to sort of "fall" into the Chung family&…

Encouraging Quote-A-Thon

I suppose I am probably one of the laziest bloggers on the planet...or I am a busy homeschooler...or I have been in a bit of a blog-funk...

Whatever the cause, I've been lagging in my blogging but I'm throwing up a post today.

It's a simple post, just sharing a variety of quotes that I've written down in recent months. I hope at least one of the quotes is a source of encouragement for you!

"A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best." ~ Spurgeon

     "To be little with God is to be little for God." ~ E.M. Bounds

"The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying, they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God's glory, they should pray until they get it." ~ George Mueller

"I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God:  first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." ~ Hudson Taylor


Unquenchable - by Carol Kent

Carol Kent is a well-known author within the Christian community. She has a frank, open style that many find refreshing, and in particular her honesty regarding her son's imprisonment for first-degree murder have been a soothing balm to many women coping with their own unimaginable loss and pain. Unquenchable is not a Bible study, nor is it a memoir. It's a compilation of tragedies woven together in a way that spurs the reader on to keep trusting in the Lord, even when life is overwhelming and the flames of faith seem to be dwindling.

To be honest, Unquenchable was very different than I expected it to be. I can't exactly clarify what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I found when I opened the cover and began to read. The book is real and raw and at times hard to read. But isn't life also, at times, raw and real and hard? If we're honest, we answer "Yes...indeed it is." This book can move you forward on the path of knowing God is truly enough, no ma…

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont

The new book Twirl by well-known author and speaker Patsy Clairmont is a fun little book to read. I think it's aim is to bring a breath of fresh air into the spiritual lives of Christian women living in westernized cultures, and it achieves that goal with ease.

Patsy's conversational writing style, combined with her anecdotal tales, make for a light-heated book. The short chapters can be read in any order, so readers are free to pick and choose topics that best suit their current needs. She's down-to-earth, no-nonsense. This is classic Patsy Clairmont.

I would say this book probably is better suited to women of the next generation, as I'm not at the stage of life wherein I could appreciate many of the experiences, hobbies, and problems shared in Twirl. But even with the age/interest differences, I was able to glean nuggets of truth from Patsy's book.

From facing your fears to trying new hobbies, aging gracefully and continuing to learn new things about your family…

My Typical March Post...

I find myself sharing the same sort of weblog post at this point each year. There's something about the month of March, the warmer weather, perhaps, that draws our hearts and minds toward the outdoors and leaves us anxious for summer...and often also leaves us lacking as we finish up the last long weeks of the homeschool year.

But I want to encourage you, yet again, to press on and finish well. Open the windows and enjoy the fresh air. Take some of your books outside and study in the sunshine. Take a couple of field trips. Be blessed by the change in season, just don't neglect to be a faithful homeschooling mother.

Spring is a blessing, a gift that reminds us of God's faithfulness throughout all generations to sustain us. In literal and spiritual terms, spring carries the weight of new things. Enjoy the blessing, celebrate this season, and honor the Lord by finishing the school year well.

He has called you to the task of homeschooling; do not neglect the gift that is in yo…

Restless - by Jennie Allen

The book Restless (by Jennie Allen) is a book written for those who want to be more of who God made them to be and who are willing to allow their past to propel them into their future. It is not just a book you read; it's a study you take part in. With easily readable chapters that aren't too lengthy (which is key for most busy women I know), Restless is a book that can draw the reader closer to the heart of the Lord.

There are a lot of things that I really love about this book. Jennie Allen's open and honest writing is refreshing and her desire to see women grow closer to their Lord through open honesty and small groups are something the modern-day church could use a lot more of. And in every chapter I found at least one "take away" ~ some nugget of truth that impacted the way I view my life and my ability to glorify God in all of it's ups and downs.

There are also things that I did not love about this book. I'm a type-A lady through and through. I don…

Embracing my Irish

It's almost St. Patrick's Day. And I am, eh-hem, decidedly Irish. Ask my husband. Ask my kids. They will tell you I am, indeed, undoubtedly, very Irish.

I fight against it. It's my bane in so many ways. Being a "typical" Irish woman (if there is such a thing) and being a submissive, godly Christian woman seem to war against each other. They don't jibe well, if you know what I mean. That whole idea of taming the tongue? Well if it weren't for the Holy Spirit, I think my tongue would run non-stop and demolish everyone and everything in it's path. I'm not making light of the situation here - I am very serious. Thank God for His Spirit, and the rescue He has provided time and time again from the snares of my Irish bent!

My husband will tell you I am Irish - but he also tells me I need to embrace the aspects of my personality that are there for God's purposes and His glory.  Don't-throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water sort of advice. That'…

About Knowing God's Will (for my life...)

Every believer desires to know God's will for their life. His exact will. And, hopefully, His will is very good, filled-to-the-brim with blessings. That's pretty normal. I'd be willing to gamble that most Christians would admit they want His will for them to be good will, and they would like to know what His is for them.

Here's my question: Is it enough to want God's will, even if that means I don't have an exact picture of His will for me personally?

It's a tough question, and it's okay to think about it for a while and see if it actually makes sense. (I never claimed to be the most sensible person on the planet, after all!)

What I'm getting at here, the point I really want to make is that there is a profound difference in the two "wills". It takes time and maturity to fully embrace God's will while laying aside the desire to know God's will for my life. It takes a heart fully yielded to Jesus to fully know and accept that God'…

Satisfied - Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption (by Jeff Manion)

The book Satisfied by Jeff Manion is now on my "Favorite Book List".  It's subtitle, Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption, does give you an idea of what the book is about; but Satisfied is much more than just another Christian book on finances, tithing, generosity, the effects of greed, budgeting, and so on. It's not like any other book I've read on the topic of what followers of Christ do with their money. The chord it struck within me was unique, and this book is not only one of my new favorites, it is also now required reading for my children during their high school years in our homeschool.

So, why do I think Satisfied is such a great book? It's not confrontational, it's simply the truth. The truth is, we in America are much more prosperous than most of the rest of the world will ever dream of being...and yet we don't live as if we have enough. The truth is that many followers of Jesus do not know how to live a contented, satisfied l…

Plan Now to Finish Well

Now that it is February, the dreaded Winter Doldrums have fully set in for most homeschool families. It happens to the best of us, and there's no shame in admitting it. But a little thoughtful planning now can ensure an excellent end to the school year in spite of the winter blahs. Here's what you do to make May/June a time of blessed relief instead of dreaded bookwork.

Look over your children's remaining work in each subject. How many math lessons are left in the book? And when, ideally, would you like to be finished with the school year? Say you have 4 months until your family vacation ~ that's about 16 weeks of study time. Divide 16 weeks by the number of lessons remaining the the math curriculum and you'll know exactly how much you need to do each and every week in order to reach your goal. Simply do the same for every subject, write down what you discover (or this entire exercise will be pointless because you won't remember how much to do each week in each…

Strange Fire ~ by John MacArthur

Most American Christians have heard the name John MacArthur, and many have perused his resources, including his multiple Bible study guides. He certainly knows the Bible, and can quote chapter and verse on most any subject. I was interested to see what Mr. MacArthur might have to say about the Holy Spirit. What I found in the book Strange Fire wasn't what I expected or hoped to find; much of what he has written here disturbs me. And not in the way he intended his readers to be disturbed.

The introduction covers a long, complicated history of the charismatic movement. As always, MacArthur is straight-forward and even, at times, downright blunt in sharing his opinions (which are not stated as opinions...he seems to feel his opinions are cold, hard facts). I prefer to be a little more delicate when approaching subject matter with which I do not agree...and out of respect for the ministry the author has built over many years, I will try to keep this review less "blunt" than…

Psalm 19:14

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.  (Prayer based on Psalm 19:14)

When I pray this, I am always instantly convicted and filled with a need to please my Lord. When I pray this for others, I am heavily burdened with a desire for them to know Him more and more, in such ever-increasing measure that their heart's meditation is refocused on Him and Him alone.

When you're in the middle of a difficult homeschool day, this is the perfect prayer. If you're late getting dinner started, this is the perfect prayer. On those days when your entire family is down and out with the flu, this is the perfect prayer to pray. It will center your heart and mind on glorifying the Lord with your words and in your heart, and it opens the door for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you moment by moment.

Why not join me in making Psalm 19:14 a verse that you pray back to Him on a regular basis? I promise you won…

Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli

As a mom to five terrific kids, I'm always looking for resources to grow me as a parent and as a home educator. Of course, my primary source of encouragement is God's Word, but I also invest in materials that will bless me and  - hopefully - benefit those around me. Growing Great Kids is one of those resources.

Parenting is tough; and if you take it seriously, it's doubly tough. Each child has their own unique set of talents and struggles, likes and dislikes, needs and greeds...and it's the job of the parents to raise them for God's glory through the all the ups and downs of life. Those who homeschool have the added pressure of preparing their children academically. It's much more than a full-time job; for me it's a calling, and God has been gracious to equip me with all I've needed to fulfill that call. The book Growing Great Kids appealed to me not only for my own benefit, but also because it seemed like a perfect fit for my fellow homeschooling moth…

Ingredients for Success - 10 Best Practices for Business and Life (by Joseph James Slawek)

As a SAHM who homeschools her children, I probably don't appear to be the logical choice to review a book on business practices! But in all actuality, homeschooling mothers have more than one full-time job that they're juggling at the same time. Children in multiple different grades, combined with the role of guidance counselor, multiplied by all the "typical" things a mom takes care of on any given day. Speaking personally, there are days when I wonder if my daily tasks could possibly be any more taxing were I in the official "working world".

The book Ingredients for Success (10 Best Practices for Business and Life) by Joseph James Slawek is a short book that's long on encouragement. The author is a very successful businessman who provides an approach to business (and life) from a Biblical perspective. Referencing Matthew 25, with a focus on Jesus' parables found therein, Mr. Slawek offers business advice from a uniquely Christian perspective. (If…

Praying for Boys (Asking God for the Things They Need Most) by Brook McGlothlin

I have one son (and four daughters!) and he is the you can imagine that he is an overprotective brother who didn't get an excess of rough-housing when he was growing up. Don't doubt that he was ever anything less than all boy. He was all boy and is now a 21-year old man. He wrestles in college, so maybe he is making up for the lack of rough-housing during his younger years!

The book Praying for Boys (by Brooke McGlothlin, known best for her site is written for mothers of one son, or a dozen. Whether a newborn or a high-school student, this book can guide moms in praying with clarity and direction for their sons. And don't they need it! Not because our sons are destined for bad things, not because we as moms doubt them, but because we live in a westernized, post-Christian culture that works hard at keeping boys from ever becoming men. Especially God-fearing, God-honoring men. Our sons need us standing in the gap, interceding for them. Pra…

Encouraging Moms Who Homeschool

Today I'm just re-posting my most read post - and my prayer is that it will be an encouragement to homeschooling mothers as they begin the new year.

A Homeschool Mom's Devotional (# 1) Colossians 4:17 tells the reader to "be sure to carry out the work the Lord gave you".
How can this be applied to the enormously busy lifestyle of a homeschool mom?
First of all, we must always remember that the Word of God has the answer for our every need and we can trust fully in God to use His Word to lead us, guide us, correct us, and bless us.
Keeping that in mind, let's consider what this verse is saying. We are told to carry out, or complete, the work the Lord has given us. We are wives, mothers, homeschoolers. Those three BIG job descriptions come immediately to mind when I think of homeschooling mothers. Applying God's Word to our life means carrying out our work as wives, as mothers, and as homeschoolers.
When I am exhausted from another long day (or long wee…