God's Love Won

I posted this on Facebook last night:

"It is so incredibly peaceful and quiet as I sit on my deck this evening. Unfortunately, this world is anything but quiet. It is certainly difficult to see so many lost. Everyone screaming about their beliefs. I wish the world could be like this evening- quiet and peaceful. Yet it rarely is. So, we go out into a noisy world hoping to bring the true peace and hope that comes from HIS love alone. The love of Jesus Christ. It is the only real and true love that wins. I am thankful to know that love and may my life reflect it to a world that needs it more than ever."

May we all remember that God's love has already won.


I am busy getting my new book ready for release this summer! Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest Perfect and Instagram Ideal Homeschool. Make sure to follow along on Facebook to get the latest updates:

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Reclaiming Simple Birthdays- Celebrate People, Not Stuff

We stopped having birthday parties for my kids long before Pinterest came about, and I am thankful. I can only imagine if I lived in that world where I have to keep up with a Pinterest party!

We had a few birthday parties for my kids early on, but then decided we would just do pizza and cake with family. Then on their actual birthday, the birthday child could choose a special day. We could go on a day trip to a museum or a special dinner...whatever they wanted. That has worked out well over the years.

What worries me is not that we want to make fun and creative parties. I'm all for fun and creative! But as always, I think about the heart. Are we teaching our children that a birthday party is about something that it really isn't?

Birthday parties have become celebrations of stuff and details rather than the person. We can get so wrapped up in having that perfect decor, that we spend way too much time (and money) trying to make it just right. The focus isn't on the person, but on the stuff.

Kids want to know that they are important, not the details. They will look back some day and say, "I had a great day with my family and friends..."  and not necessarily, "I had princess cupcakes, a dinosaur cake, and all the decorations matched perfectly."

The amount of time (and money) we spend on the preparation and then implementing those details would probably be best spent hanging out with our kids. 

We recently had a graduation celebration for my 8th grader. She worked on all of the decorations herself...it was homemade, and not everything matched. Yet, she loved doing it, and I love that she helped and we were able to keep cost down and time spent together up.

My tips for keeping birthdays simple, special, and memorable:

1. If your child wants a party, then have them help decorate. It won't be picture perfect, but they will enjoy it.

2. Homemade decorations- use what you have to spruce things up. They can make homemade decorations for practically no money, and better yet...you can spend the time together.
The point of the party is to celebrate LIFE...another year with a special person. Don't get so focused on the stuff.

3. A plain ol' cake. Sure it can be fun to make that perfect cake in your child's favorite character---if that's your thing. Some people love to do it and are good at it. Me, not so much ;) It would stress me out. I stick with the old fashioned cake and throw a few sprinkles on top and call it a day. Tastes fine and fulfills the purpose.

4. Have an open house on birthday day. Practice hospitality and let everyone know they can drop by anytime during the afternoon or evening to spend time with the birthday child. Put out some snacks and cupcakes that can be enjoyed anytime a guest drops by.

5. Or forgot the party and choose a special day trip instead. Let them pick a place to visit, such as a museum, movie, beach...whatever! Spend the day as a family, and have a special meal.

Mostly, just remember that a birthday is a celebration of a life God has given. We should be focused on the person and not the stuff. Raise the next generation with a heart for God and not material items. That is a gift of enormous value.


Our Trip to Sandusky, OH and Kalahari Resorts With Teach Them Diligently

Simplifying Homeschool- May 2105 Teach Them Diligently Sandusky, Ohio

Even though I type this through tired eyes and a weary mind, I have a full heart for sure. Our family just returned from our last trip for Teach Them Diligently (affiliate link)  and it was as always, amazing!

We drove out to Sandusky, Ohio to the Kalahari Resorts on Wednesday and were blessed to meet up with cousins and spend the day before the conference with them.
The kids were beyond thrilled and loved every second of the Kalahari Resorts indoor water park!

We were even able to take a quick trip to see Lake Erie. Just beautiful!

Once again, I was speaking four times at Teach Them Diligently. I was very anxious this time around and couldn't pinpoint why. Yet, it caused me to take my eyes off of myself and on God and let Him work. When we left on Wednesday, I looked up in the sky as I was getting into the car, and right there at 6am there was an ever so slight rainbow. The funny thing was, it wasn't even raining!  I sensed peace and knew that God would not lead us where He would not provide.

Then, once again when we were on the trip, He provided another reminder just when it was needed. I reached into my computer bag  on the second day and took out a folded up piece of paper. It was a drawing of a rainbow that a little girl drew for me back in Nashville for one of my sessions. I had told her then that I would carry it with me on my trips, and I couldn't have picked it out at a better time on this trip. It was JUST the reminder that I needed that God keeps His promises!

Teach Them Diligently, as always is such a blessing to me. Not only is this such an inspiring conference for the homeschooling family, I was blessed by every attendee I was able to meet, hug, and share with! It's a little glimpse of heaven to connect with fellow sisters and brothers this way!

I love the heart and the mission behind this convention. It is about SO much more than homeschooling- it is about discipleship and heart issues. If you are able to attend one in your area, don't just sign up...RUN! I promise you, it is one of the best decisions you can make for your family. You will be encouraged, inspired, and rejuvenated. Most of all, you will be reminded of WHY you are on this journey!

There is still time for one more Teach Them Diligently event this year in Dallas, July. CLick below for more info:

Teach Them Diligently 2015 Conventions 728X90
affiliate link

Or, you can join us next year in Nashville, Atlanta,  or Sandusky once again!

The best part of this trip for me was knowing God was leading us the whole time, even when I was anxious. He worked through it. On our way home, lo and behold, we once again saw several rainbows! This time, there was even a  double. He is just so faithful.

To Him be the Glory!
My daughter and niece with The Benham Brothers- excellent keynote session!

My love and I enjoying the Kalahari Conference Center
The kids loving the vendor hall giveaways! :)

Read about our Nashville experience HERE
Read about our Atlanta experience HERE


Simplify- It is More Than Just a Buzz Word

Simplify. I have been writing about this word for almost 5 years now. Wow. My journey has changed, my life has taken lots of twists and turns, but at the core of my soul, is still this need. The need to keep it simple.

I still question everything...

"Is this worth it? Is this necessary? What is the eternal value?" Truly. I find myself still asking those questions.

Whether it is in homeschool, homemaking or just life stuff...I am always seeking to simplify.

Less is more.

And simplify is certainly a buzz word these days. So many of us are feeling the need for less, and the clutter and excessiveness choke us at times. Face it, our society is a society of abundance. We want it all, and we want it big. We want more. We want extra. We want excessive.

And for me, when things start to get excessive, I start to feel distant. I see the excess come between my Savior and me. Because He tells me to carry a light load and to give up all this world for Him. So before long, all of the extras start to get in the way of Him and me.

We moved into a bigger house this year. Bigger property.  More room for friends and family, and more space to enjoy His Creation. I love it. By far, it is more than I ever asked or dreamed. At times though, I wrestle. It just feels so overwhelmingly more than we asked for. Yet, I know our hearts are to use it for good purposes. Yet it is all too easy to get caught up in thinking this worldly pleasure is the be all end all. When it is not...eternity is.

Simplicity is more than a fad, and more than a reaction to the excessive world we live in. It is a deliberate focus on God and eliminating the worldliness from our souls, so that it doesn't crowd Him out.

Simplifying for me is about eliminating distractions from this world and focusing on Him. That is why I am simply living...for Him.

Less stuff, means less to manage. Less stuff, means more time for doing real things.

Less stuff. More Jesus.

Yes, that is what simplifying is all about.

Join me?

To Read 20 Things You Can Do to Simplify NOW...Click here!


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As a thank you to all of the amazing mothers out there, please head over to Amazon and download both of my Kindle books for FREE! Simply Homeschool: 2nd Edition & Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool

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I hope you enjoy these books and they bless you in some way! Happy Mother's Day!      


Join Me in May!

Upcoming Speaking Dates

I would love to meet you. Join me this month as I speak at the following locations:

May 15 & 16
ENOCH of New Jersey 25th Annual Convention 
Edison, NJ

I will be presenting:

  • Simplifying Homeschool
  • Welcome to the Journey:  Must Haves for the New Homeschooling Mom
May 28-30
Teach Them Diligently
Kalahari Resorts- Sandusky, OH

I will be presenting:

  • Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool
  • Simplifying Homeschool
  • 10 Things Every New Homeschooler Should Know
  • Keeping God at the Center of It All: How We Used the Bible as Our Main Textbook for One Year

I'd love to come speak to YOUR group too! No event is too small or too big! 

While I love writing, there is nothing like meeting face to face with so many homeschooling families. My passion is to encourage others with my stories and ultimately to point to Him in every session! We'll laugh, cry, pray, and probably even hug!

Email me at karen@simplylivingforhim.com to arrange a speaking session!


Real Dreams and Real Life Learning

For years, I always dreamed of my little house on the prairie. I loved our home and where we lived, but something deep inside me longed for more outdoors. More real life learning. More nature. I wanted the farm, the woods, the property. The gardens, the chickens...I just longed for it all.

This year, we began to make the dream a  reality. I feel SO at home here.  It's like it was just meant for us. Every single day I state that I must be dreaming because it seems too good to be true. I can hardly believe we really live here and our dream is not a dream anymore. It's real.

I thought about the longing I had and how it was always there. I realized today, it must be a little like how we all long for heaven. I truly believe God had placed the desire in my heart for this home long ago, and because God surpasses time, the longing was really for something that was already mine. We just hadn't gotten to it yet in our realm of time.

Sort of like heaven. We long for it daily because it is already part of us. It's part of the future where God already lives. We have a home there already as believers in Christ. We just are stuck in this realm of time in our humanness.

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,2 Corinthians 5:2 
He has also set eternity in the human heart. Ecc. 3:11 
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 

And just like how I have SO MUCH JOY in this home every day, we will have that one day in heaven. Yet, this is only a glimpse of that joy. We can't even fathom that joy. And that is mind blowing.

Today was a perfect spring day to get outside and do just what we've always longed to do. 
Real life learning. 
Hands on.

No textbook needed, and the boys spent endless time watching the tiny creatures they found in the stream. Tadpoles, mosquito babies, even crayfish. They are learning so much by discovering. And what they don't know, they can look up because the world is peaking their interest. They are so full of wonder. My oldest actually said, "This is the most exciting thing I can remember in a long time," as he watched the little tiny creatures swim about.

And then there was the hard work of the day. Making a fence to go around the gardens. Everyone pulled together to dig holes, put in posts, and get it ready. We had one son measure the perimeter and figure out how much fencing we needed. It was a math textbook word problem come to life. Now THAT is learning!

We had a day filled with learning, family, teamwork, and God's Creation. I can't think of a better way to spend a day. To God be the glory.
And to think...it's just a glimpse of what is to come!