8.19.2015

God in the Garden


Recently a friend and I were discussing how the whole move to our new home came about. I was trying to explain how it evolved over the years...how neither my husband nor I grew up in the country, but we were drawn to it over the years.

We always had this dream tucked back in our minds, that "someday" we might have a little farm- a place where we could raise our kids enjoying nature and lots of hands-on education. As the years passed, it just seemed to be one of those "dreams" that would never really happen to us.

But then we did start to pray fervently about it. I could see that the years with my children were slipping away, and there was only so much time left to bring that dream to a reality. If we wanted to make it happen, time was moving fast.

We prayed and prayed, and we got answers...but for awhile the answer seemed to be, "No." Until last year, when this house was finally the answer to prayer.

As I was thinking about how this whole situation evolved, I was also thinking about how much we love having a garden here. Our dream is to expand it further and further each year. I love seeing my husband tend to it after work. I love seeing the kids work together in it. I love the whole process of seeing things grow from seed to harvest. There is  so much about the garden that I love. Mostly, though it has connected me even closer to God.




I was thinking during my quiet time this morning with the Lord about gardens and the Lord brought to mind a few things...That LIFE started in a garden. I also thought about how Jesus prayed in a garden. Then I thought about the many times gardens, plants, and harvesting are mentioned in the Bible.

I opened my concordance and looked up the word garden. I found so many things already, that I am still learning and seeking, but I thought I would share a few today, that you may see God in the garden.
  • God created Adam and Eve and the lived in The Garden of Eden. A paradise. One day, Jesus will  return and this paradise will be restored.
  • Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  I have often prayed in my own garden. There is something about it that really rests my soul.
  • In John 19 it says that after Jesus died, he was buried in a garden: 
"Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid." (v. 41) 

A few verses later, it says,
"When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there and did not know that it was Jesus.  He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." (John 20:14-15)
This is referring to Mary Magdelene visiting the tomb, and Jesus appearing to her. At first, she did not recognize Him. Like so many of us, Jesus is there and until He opens our eyes, we do not 
recognize Him!

So many years I read this passage and didn't realize the significance of those words. Again, it all started in a garden, and then ended in a garden (yet we know it truly didn't end there!) And then the fact the Mary thought Jesus was the Gardener...do you see it? He was the Master Gardner...the One who tended to the garden of Eden! Yes, He was the Gardener.

These are just a few things that I find truly fascinating. So you see, I look at my garden for its beauty and its food and its wonder...but mostly because I see God in the garden.



I am truly amazed at how He ties things together in this world...and the garden is truly significant.



8.15.2015

Let Go of the "Perfect" Schoolroom

Come and join me at Bible Based Homeschooling today for this new post in a series about Real Homeschool.

The Perfect Learning Space

The Perfect Learning Space

So many times over my homeschooling years, I focused on creating our learning space- the homeschool room. It was hard not to focus on it because I would see all these pictures floating around cyberspace of beautiful rooms that screamed success! 
The rooms matched and were warm and inviting. I assumed kids must be doing lots of learning in those rooms! They were perfect.
Over the years, I have come to realize, while a beautiful room is certainly a blessing, it is nota necessity for learning to take place. 

8.03.2015

Real Homeschool PLUS Free Books

this post contains affiliate links

Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest-Perfect and Instagram-Ideal Homeschool

It is finally here! I have been working on this book for a long time.

It is my heart in words.

I have prayed over every word and every reader who will read it.

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This book is not really about social media per se, but more about our hearts in a world that continues to push us to be more like it. Everywhere we turn, social media is screaming at us and showing us pictures of what we should be. Slowly, gradually, we start following the world and trying to bring God with us, rather than letting God lead us and then bringing the world with us!

They are the desires that creep in and take my focus off of my true purpose in homeschooling. You know what I mean— when the focus becomes all about finding the best curriculum or filling up the schedule with the most extracurricular activities? Or how about decorating the perfect homeschool room? Or the hours spent online searching what others are doing, while neglecting your own time with the Lord? These are all things that have become an issue with me, and I am sure with others, especially as social media grows.

I have often thought about those early homeschoolers who had no Internet or fancy curriculum but truly sought the Lord in their decision to homeschool. I admire them so much! They weren’t busy showing off their schoolrooms or their kids on Instagram; they were deep in the nitty-gritty of daily homeschool life when homeschooling wasn’t even mainstream. They weren’t spending hours on Pinterest, but probably hours in the Word.

This book will challenge us to get back to the basics and fully rely on God. We need to stop living up to an Internet ideal and live only for God’s ideals. This book isn’t at all a book against social media (after all, I work in social media), but more about our hearts and what we do with social media. Pinterest and Instagram and all the other media out there are certainly not bad in and of themselves, but we do need to be aware of our hearts when using them. We must not let those things rule our standards. Only God should rule us.

Will you join me as we get back to the basics? Will you join me as we endeavor to be real with each other because we need each other? Will you join me as we focus on what God wants for our homeschools and not what the world says is success? Will you join me as we pursue Real Homeschool? Not a picture-perfect homeschool, but a real homeschool –where the rubber meets the road and it sometimes gets messy –and we work together through those messes…

And then it gets beautiful…oh, so beautiful…because God is right there with us. He is working through our families on this real homeschooling journey. God has called us to this beautiful journey…and the perfect picture is the one where He is leading every step, guiding us, and our eyes are fixed soley on Him.

Real Homeschool is available on Amazon.com NOW!

Kindle and *Paperback!

*paperback will be available in the next day or two!

Join the Movement– Share with your friends, build community, and live #real. 

#Real Homeschool

Share in your community what a real homeschool looks like. Let's build a community, together, and be real.

 

In honor of the new release, I am giving you my other books  FREE August 3 &4 ONLY! Grab them now! Celebrate with me!

 

FREE AUGUST 3 & 4 ONLY!! 

 

7.31.2015

It's Almost August...

REPOSTED FROM 2014 

It's almost August.

The feeling changes in the air.

The excitement and anticipation of summer...the long days, the late nights, the fireflies, the ice cream, the expectancy....has now faded and become the usual. The nights are just a bit shorter, the things we waited for are becoming familiar.



August. The month where we live still in summer, yet with an eye on the next month knowing it will soon be over....

I see the age of thirteen pretty much the same as August....

The baby days I dreamed of, the days of childhood, the excitement of beginning a journey....now these things have become the usual..and we are just like in August....still in childhood, yet a foot is now into the door of adulthood...just like summer...it will soon be over...




In August I consciously tell myself not take for granted the beautiful summer mornings, the birds chirping to wake me...not to take for granted the ice cream nights, the popsicle stained faces, the muddy prints in the house....

...because soon summer will be over.  I try to relish in every moment...always with one eye on the next month...knowing this will soon be a memory.



Just like August I am feeling the same way about my teenager...on the cusp of a new chapter. One foot still in summer...or in childhood.....trying to consciously enjoy it all...knowing all too well it will soon be over...


We are at the point where I have a glimpse of the end in sight. I am no longer the naive new mommy thinking babyhood and childhood is forever...knowing that, just like August, the days are getting shorter...the sun is setting on summer...and on childhood...



Only...August will come again...next year...



7.28.2015

Less Clutter Means More Joy


Last year when we moved, I wrote about how we took all that we had into a 26 foot U-haul. Taking only what we needed with us was essential for me in keeping it simple.

The house we moved into is actually much bigger than our previous house, yet we have less stuff. And I love it.

I have no desire to fill it up.

It is much easier to manage life when there aren't piles of stuff to manage.

It feels less stressful to walk into a room and have space.

Space to fill with friends and family.

I am enjoying space to invite people over...and to practice hospitality.

Not entertaining, but hospitality.

I enjoy the surrounding property and don't need fancy decor. God has provided beauty all around us.








If you are looking around now and see nothing but clutter, choose today to start small. Evaluate what you need. Evaluate its purpose.

Here are some questions to ask:

Do you need it? (or more than one of it?)

Is it useful? What is the purpose for keeping it?


Now if you are looking around and don't even know where to begin, remind yourself to just begin with something. 

If you look at the overall task it will seem overwhelming, but if you promise to get rid of one thing each day....you will be on the road to progress.

Less clutter means less to manage and more time for real things, which leads to freedom and joy.

You don't have to be a slave to your stuff. You can be free!

Picture yourself walking into a room and just enjoying it for who is in there! Don't fill spaces trying to fill voids.

Enjoy life...real life, with people, not stuff.

7.18.2015

Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest Perfect and Instagram Ideal Homeschool

New Book Coming Soon!

Available August 3rd on Amazon! Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 11.13.42 AM

I have been praying and working on this book for months. I wholeheartedly believe in the message and can not wait to share wit with you all! This book is based on Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (ESV)
With all of the "internet ideals" out there these days, it is easy to start conforming and sometimes we don't even realize it! I want to be transformed by God and not conforming to worldly patterns.


I also long for the day where women hold each other up, stop comparing, and start walking together, hand-in-hand with God leading us all. 

When we are real with each other, we are free to have relationships, not based on superficiality, but on genuine and authentic principles. 

Let's be real. Together. It's a beautiful picture.

The book will be available for Kindle or in paperback! Look for it August 3rd!

Share this post with your homeschooling community! Let's make being "real" contagious!



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Join the Movement. 
Be Real 
Real Homeschool. 
#RealHomeschool


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7.14.2015

A Simpler Life: Less in Not More



Everywhere we turn these days life is guaranteed to get simpler. Try this new product and it will change your life. Eat this food and you will feel great. Or do these quick simple steps and you will find happiness.

We are promised more for less...and we embrace it. We all want more with less work and less time.

But the kicker for me is the "quick-read Bibles. "

Everywhere I look these days I see the same message:

Read the Bible in just a few minutes each day. 

I see all kinds of Bibles with titles such as "The One Minute Bible." or "The Five Minute Bible."

Huh?

We want to read the Bible less? 

No.

The Bible is the one thing in this world that we want to do more of...the more time we spend, the more we are transformed.

If we want to live an easier and simpler life, the truth is we need to read the Bible MORE, not less. The more we read, the less we desire to be like the world. The less we will desire the quick fix or the easy path.

The more we read and connect with God, the more the desires of the world fade away, and our souls are at peace...we are transformed. Life gets simpler right there.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 (ESV)


I have been really focused on this verse lately. I want my mind transformed. I don't want to conform to the patterns of this world.

And the patterns of this world offer a quick fix, but the Bible is a lifelong gift. We don't want to shorten our time or try to "market" it as something that we would even desire to do quickly! We should want to spend more time in the Word.

I know the more time I spend with God, the more time I want to spend with Him. The more I read, the more I am energized. The more I listen, the more I am transformed.

Don't succumb to the quick. Linger over God's word. Stay longer than you had planned.

That is where the transformation will take place. God's Word doesn't offer the promises this world does. It is not a quick fix.

It offers so much more than you ever imagined. It is alive and powerful and it will transform you.

Make it a priority. Each and every day. It is not a chore, but a life-giving, life-transforming practice.

God's Word is the answer to all of our questions. Why would we want to spend just a minute or five minutes a day there?