4.26.2015

My House is Empty...

Five months ago God blessed us with the reality of our dream home. It has been an amazing five months here, and every day I feel like I am in a dream. The property is stunning and peaceful, and we have begun making so many memories here.



Often, I watch the kids playing, and I think about their future selves and what they will remember. I watch them play, as if I am in the memory they are going to have someday. And I pray...that they will remember a joyful time.

When we moved into this house, I was overwhelmed just getting settled and I couldn't think about decorating yet. I would keep putting off unloading the boxes of pictures and wall decor, waiting for the right time.

Well, here we are and we haven't done a stitch of decorating. The most we have hung on the wall since is moving in was today...these two little signs in the bathroom:



And those two little signs speak volumes. Because my walls are bare, and the house may still look a little empty, but it is oh, so full. And we are filled with faith and with family. The cornerstones of our home.

Our hearts are full because we have room for guests. Lots of guests. Our hearts are full because we are beginning our garden, which we love. Our hearts are full because we are living a dream that has become reality.


I feel like I live in a painting when I look at the scenery around us. We are blessed.


So, then as I watch my kids playing, knowing these are the memories of the future, I think to myself...



Will they remember our bare walls? Will they remember the decorations? No. They will remember these moments. They played. They learned. They grew.

I am well aware that every day I am etching in their minds their memories of childhood...but even more so, their foundation in life.

Some moments aren't quite so memorable. There is bickering and attitudes and tears...there are the messes, the noise, the worries of everyday life...but on the other side of that, there is love. Unconditional love. Never ending. Always there. And we work through the hard stuff, with God guiding us each step.

They will remember traditions. Like today's potato soup and homemade bread. I hope they remember the smells. How the house filled with that aroma that said, "Mommy is making our favorite dinner."





They will remember forts. Daddy out in the woods, working hard alongside them...to build so much more than a fort. To build men. To build a future. To build a foundation of relationships that are formed in Christ's love.


They will remember frog catching and rides on the lawn tractor.

They will remember adventuring in the woods.

They will remember ice cream in the back of daddy's truck.

They will remember the house that was filled with love. Christ's love.






So while our home may still be a bit empty, we are filled. And I am grateful.








4.14.2015

God Works in Amazing Ways-Teach Them Diligently Atlanta

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How could I adequately put into words what Atlanta Teach Them Diligently meant to me? I can't, but I will try to explain just what an amazing trip it was and what an amazing God we serve!

First, if you have never attended a Teach Them Diligently convention, you MUST. It is like nothing else. The focus is on discipleship and Christian parenting, and is about SO much more than just homeschooling. 

This trip was awhile in the making. I had signed on with TTD back in the summer, but upon realizing that my whole family would not be able to join me this time, as in Nashville, my parents had offered to travel with me. (yes, I'm a big baby and didn't want to fly alone!) At the time, it seemed like a wild idea, since my parents were never on board with me to homeschool in the early years. However, I felt like deep down God wanted it this way.

Over the months, I prayed for this convention so much. 

Every morning I would pray that God would bring exactly who he wanted to each session. And He did. And the biggest and most amazing thing is, He brought my parents.


You see, next year I will begin my 10th year of homeschooling. Truly a milestone. When I first started out, I had no idea what I was getting into or why on earth I was choosing this path- all I did know, was that  it was what God wanted me to do. I would have no idea that I would end up writing and speaking about it. I had no idea that God had me on this path for many reasons, and some of them had nothing to do with schooling.

Yet, I faced opposition early on, from myself and from family. My mom had lived her life with a career in public education. She was very against our decision. Yet, I knew I needed to follow God and the rest would fall into place. And it did. 


This weekend in Atlanta God showed that He would work the impossible and make it possible.
It still feels like a dream, but my parents listened to me speak at a homeschool convention, and not only listened, but are now in agreement and are proud of us. I can only say, that following God has truly been a blessing. He has brought about so many things. I never thought my family would be on board, let alone support me in this way. We had so many beautiful things said between us this weekend, that I never thought I'd hear. God is good. All the time. God is so, so, so good.

And the convention itself is like no other. I love being a part of TTD for so many reasons. Mainly, because their mission and their hearts line up with ours. This is so much more than a homeschool convention...it is a revival of hearts. A refreshing of spirits. A refocusing on our true goals. That is the stuff that matters!

I have a passion when I get up there to speak to homeschooling families. I love connecting with them afterward, in the convention halls, and all around- it's like a family. And here I was with my biological family and my spiritual family all united in Atlanta. I can hardly comprehend it.



I spoke on four topics this weekend:
  • Simplifying Homeschooling
  • Using the Bible as Our Main Textbook (for one year; how we did it, why we did it, and why we don't do it anymore)
  • Letting God Lead Your Homeschool
  • Ten Things Every new Homeschooler Should Know (Great reminders for all homeschoolers)


Teach Them Diligently has so much for the whole family- Mens' breakfast, Kids programs, Teen programs, A Mom's Night, and so much more! There are even sessions for grandparents. If you can get to one in your area- GO! You will not regret it!

I will be speaking again next month in Sandusky at the Kalahari Resorts. You can still register!



There is also a Teach Them Diligently in Dallas in July!

Click below to find out more: 


And don't miss next year in Nashville with Kirk Cameron keynoting!






Our ride home on the plane was nothing short of spectacular- I marveled at the Creation God has made. I marvelled at the work He has done in my life and others. I marvelled at Him for who he IS.



And then, the ultimate welcome home. It was so incredibly sweet to pull into our driveway and see this welcoming! I love my family dearly. I am thankful they supported me while I travelled for this trip, and I am thankful for their love. 


If I could tell you anything about this journey, it has taught me not to fear. There is no fear in knowing that you are following God, wherever He may lead.

During my last session, I held up this journal. I could hardly contain myself as I saw before me, so much come full circle.



This was a journal that I kept when I was deciding to homeschool- and this journal was filled with FEAR. I was so, so scared. Yet, I kept telling God that I would obey, no matter the cost.

And I can stand now today, and see those fears not only lifted, but non-existent. He took this scared mom, and put her in a place where she can stand now and give GLORY to GOD for what He does. Not what I do. But what HE does.

I held this journal, hardly recognizing the woman who wrote it, yet I held it up looking at my parents in the audience. It was almost too much to bear.

You know it's a great session and God is present when you are speaking and look up and not only are you crying, but the room of attendees is crying. We were crying over WHO our God IS and how He works. We simply need to let go of ourselves, and walk with Him. He will blow the doors wide open to things you never dreamed possible. Just be willing to let Him lead you.

Won't you join me at Teach Them Diligently next month? Join me in walking with God and looking to Him as we raise up the next generation of homeschoolers.


3.30.2015

My Weekend in Nashville at Teach Them Diligently!

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Gospel Vision 2014 I am finally catching up after a whirlwind of a week. Let's just say, upon returning from Teach Them Diligently in Nashville, things went downhill here. Fast.

It involved a damaged minivan one day and a 911 choking call the next. BUT, all is completely fine and everyone is OK!!! Just lots of craziness abound here.


But, I did want to share my amazing experience at Teach Them Diligently in Nashville two weeks ago!

I had the privilege to be a part of the convention this year as a speaker and I gave four presentations:


  • Simplifying Homeschool
  • Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool
  • Ten Things Every New Homeschooler Should Know
  • Keeping God at the Center of It All: Using the Bible as Our Main Textbook (for one year)


Our adventures began a day before the conference at 3 am. We woke in the middle of the night to hit the road by 4am! Yup, we piled those sleepy babes into the car and geared up for a 14-hour road trip from western NJ to Nashville, TN!

I must say, the ride was quite beautiful, and {supernaturally} went so well! The kids hardly made a fuss. My husband and I stopped every two hours to take turns driving so that neither of us would become too tired. That worked very well.

So 14 hours later, a time change when we passed the Central time zone, many potty breaks, and even more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the go....we made it!





Can I just say, that The Gaylord Opryland is spectacular. We pulled in quite disheveled (keepin' it real here) but I felt so comfortable seeing may other families as well!



We were so impressed and awed by the Opryland.  It's enormous and has shops, restaurants, and even a boat going through the hotel. Simply magnificent.

We all enjoyed the evening fountain show with lights too!




We treated our kids to the Rainforest Cafe right next door at the Opry Mills Mall. Our kids enjoyed it, and we were excited to be on this adventure!



The next day I spoke about my passion Simplifying Homeschool. I really anticipated no one coming! There are seriously SO MANY amazing speakers to choose from, I couldn't imagine too many showing up for little 'ol me. Imagine my surprise, when the room was overflowing!

The family helping me set up

Simplifying Homeschool


I am grateful that I was able to share my passion for keeping God our focus in everything we do in life, including our homeschools!

Afer my session, we browsed the amazing vendor hall. I was thrilled to meet several of my online friends from the blogging and homeschool community. I finally got to meet Jamerrill from Free Homeschool Deals and snag a real-life hug. She is the sweetest.



If you look in this pic, a child is giving her bunny ears (not her own child ;) and when I asked if we should retake it she replied, "Nah, that's my life." She's amazing and down to earth and was speaking at the convention about her super-mommy powers of running a booming business while homeschooling. She also talked about Affording the Homeschool life. SO awesome.

And my daughter was beyond thrilled to meet Jordan from Blimey Cow!






The next morning I woke bright and early before everyone else to prepare for three sessions that day.  Phew! Again all three went well, and the families I met were beyond amazing. While I love writing, there is nothing like meeting face to face and giving and getting hugs. I love linking arms with my fellow homeschooling families and encouraging them on their journey.



This journey has had so many bumps for us, especially early on, that I love being able to share my testimonies of what GOD has done.






Teach Them Diligently has so much to offer for the homeschooling family. Their focus in discipleship. We all know that academics are important, but discipleship is integral to this journey. I love the heart and mission behind this amazing convention.

Next week, I will travel to Atlanta to speak again. I am looking forward to that trip so much. In an amazing work by God, my parents will be traveling with me! If you have listened to my Unlikely Homeschooler podcast, then you will know that we didn't start out on this journey on the same page...and here they are supporting me and joining me at Teach Them Diligently. God is SO good, I can hardly contain myself as I type this!


If you are interested in attending Teach Them Diligently, you should really visit their site NOW and register! You WILL NOT regret it.  The cost is so reasonable and includes all your kids and even grandparents! It is an amazing experience and it is truly for the whole family. There are children's programs, teen programs, a drama program, Men's breakfast, Mom's Night of Real Refreshment, and SO Much more. I promise you...it is amazing and an event like no other.




Teach Them Diligently 2015 Conventions 728X90

Nothing Wears Out in Heaven



We humans are funny...we tend to work and toil for things that we want, and when we attain them we think we will finally have achieved our fulfillment. And we do for a short while. But usually those things tend to wear out or fade, or the novelty wears off...and pretty soon those feelings of "we have to have it" have faded just like the item itself.


I remember learning in our science lessons, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics... That all things are always breaking down. And you look around and it is true. Things rust, fall apart, fade, and break. People even are wearing down as each year they age.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics describes basic principles familiar in everyday life. It is partially a universal law of decay; the ultimate cause of why everything ultimately falls apart and disintegrates over time. Material things are not eternal. Everything appears to change eventually, and chaos increases. Nothing stays as fresh as the day one buys it; clothing becomes faded, threadbare, and ultimately returns to dust.2 Everything ages and wears out. Even death is a manifestation of this law. The effects of the 2nd Law are all around, touching everything in the universe. ~Source: ChristianAnswers.net


I remember a short time ago when we moved into our home, and it was pristine. Not a mark on the wall...not a scuff mark, or a fingerprint, or a stain. Everything was sparkly new. A few months later, things are wearing already, marks have been made, and the footprint of humans living here is evident.




Yet, in heaven the anticipation we feel about something new will never go away, and nothing will ever wear out. Isn't that amazing?


So what do we do about that here, one earth? We need not put our trust in things that will eventually wear out, but only in heaven. We can enjoy things here temporarily but never put such a hold on them that we aren't prepared for them to fade away here...And when they do, not to be disappointed.


The Bible says to store our treasure in heaven...

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust  destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-20

So how are you storing your treasure in heaven? Ar you looking  at life with a glance up to heaven each day knowing this is not your final destiny?



Or are you so focused on the here and now the trying to obtain comfort here that never really lasts...because it is all fading away?

Living simply is about so much more than living minimally. It is about keeping our focus and our perspective on what we truly need in life. On what lasts forever. On Him.

When we rely on stuff to make us happy, we will always end up short. Because everything here fades. Even when we rely on people to make us happy...they can be taken from us at any time




It is so so true. Our happiness can be dependent on circumstances , but JOY, true joy, comes from within. That no matter what our circumstances are, we will have peace and joy knowing the Lord and our eternal destination.

As the sun sets here on this earth, may we remember that is is just beginning to rise for eternity.












3.10.2015

Simple Organization

Simple Organization

Simple Organization podcast
Are you constantly feeling disorganized? Are you always looking for a new planner or system to help keep your home running more efficiently? Are you wanting that perfect looking home where everything matches and is Pinterest perfect? 
For years, I was always trying to control disorder in my home, by thinking I needed to have the next best method of organization...whether it was a new planner, homeschool curriculum, chore system, meal plan, or discipline method...I was always searching for the answer to disorder. And while those things are certainly good in and of themselves, when I looked deeper I realized  they were not only making my life MORE complicated, I was also searching for order and peace in all the wrong places. So I stopped chasing the Instagram ideal home, and found my true satisfaction comes from the simple things.
Join me for this discussion on going back to the basics. Let's not get distracted with how things look on the outside, but  let's focus on the inside.
LISTEN ----->HERE

3.04.2015

Simply Homeschool 2nd Edition FREE March 4/5 ONLY!

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Simply Homeschool 2nd Edition is FREE right now for Kindle!

FREE Simply Homeschool 2

Simply Homeschool: 2nd Edition: Have Less Fluff and Bear More Fruit

Are you feeling distracted or worn out in your homeschool? Simply Homeschool 2nd Edition will help you regroup and focus on what MATTERS most!

"I have literally read dozens of homeschooling books and I can honestly say none of them came even close to being as meaningful as this one has. This book really gets to the core of homeschooling and reminds you of why homeschooling is the right answer to your family to begin with. ~Amazon Reader
I want to tell you to stop. Slow down. Stop chasing. Stop striving. Stop making it about the world. Make it about Him. This world and all it has passes away, but He is eternal.
Stop. Look in your child's eyes. Focus on the relationship with the child. At that moment. These are the things that matter for eternity.

Simplify and Focus on What Matters Most...

Let the extras go...if they are bogging you down, then they aren't meant to be there. This journey isn't going to last forever. In fact, each year it gets shorter and shorter...so do it well. I always tell my kids to do all tasks well. Whatever lies before them, no matter how big or small, do it well. So, we as homeschool moms...are we doing it well? Are you stretched so thin we are giving a little in a lot of places? Or are we focused on what really matters? Join me as we seek to simplify our lives and our homeschools...

Get it FREE Now!!!

Get my best seller Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God lead your homeschool for JUST $0.99!!

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2.25.2015

Simple Organization: Good Bye Color-Coded Bins, and Multiple Planners... Why I've Gone Back to the Basics


For years I would try every organization method out there...gleaning all I could from blogs, Pinterest, and facebook. I was on the search for creating a more organized home, a more efficient home, filled with order and peace. Chore charts, budget systems, personal planners, meal planners, school planners...you name it. I was searching for it.

Yet it was never about the system.
It was about me. Sure, things could be more organized and helpful, but I was looking for the "be-all-end-all" that would create order and peace in my home. I wanted to feel in control of my life and was constantly searching for the next best way. I wanted the pretty bins, the color coded life, where everything was orderly into neat little boxes. Yet, that isn't life.

I wanted peace and order. And that my friends, is never found on Pinterest.

True peace and order comes from knowing the Lord, reading His word, and following Him. I was looking for more than a method, I was looking for a false sense of order. Constantly striving to have the best system would not give me the true and lasting peace and order that comes only through Him.



 
Simple is better. I do not need a color coded binder system, or the prettiest planners on the block. I could simply use a binder from the dollar store and some spiral notebooks and have just as much organization in my life. Elaborate doesn't always mean better. Simple is usually the easiest and most efficient anyway.

Think back to our grandmothers. They kept order in their homes without all the fluff. We are creating a world today where even trying to keep order, has created disorder or discontentment. We have made it so complicated.

It's not about how things look on the outside...but where our hearts are on the inside.

I have learned in our new home that less clutter is so freeing. I have less things weighing me down, and more energy and efficiency that way. My desk has simple file folders for important papers, I have a notebook for my work stuff, and a planner for my school stuff.


I  no longer feel the need to search out every method of organization that often ends with me still feeling restless. It also usually ends with me purchasing needless files, binders, colored tabs, etc. It just feeds the continuous cycle of always planning and not doing. Because that is what I was doing...always planning my life, and not doing life. Needless hours online researching how to run my life efficiently....time that would have been well spent in the Word...



So I've gone back to the basics, and realized that my peace and order in life come from Him. When I am steeped in His Word daily, covered in prayers daily, and focused on the bigger things in life, rather than all of the unnecessary details, my sense of order falls into place. Then there is freedom to live...truly live with peace and order.