Simply Living for Him Retreat 2016

I am giddy with excitement about this! I have been praying for a very long time about hosting our very own Simply Living for Him Retreat. I envisioned a time together to get away in a beautiful setting where we could talk more about simplifying, we could pray together, and worship.

Well this week, God started answering my prayers. I can't wait to share more details soon!

Simply Living for Him
Unplugged Retreat

Come and join us.
 Disconnect from the world for a bit,
and connect with God.

July 2016

Date and location to be announced soon!


A Simple Life Brings Freedom

I was thinking this morning about living more simply and how much freedom it brings. This world is so complicated and loud and distracting. We can so easily get pulled in a direction that brings us further from God.

When I choose to live simply, though, and don't need all of "stuff" this world offers, it brings so much freedom.

Life is short. Live free. Live simply.

Simple Brings Freedom.

  • Freedom from the want of more...which never really ends. There is always the "next best thing." Be free and content with a simple life.
  • Freedom from keeping up with others. You no longer live to keep up with the Joneses, but with God.
  • Freedom to live...truly live. Enjoying every moment for what it is, and not only celebrating the big stuff.
  • Freedom to worship God uninhibited by distractions. More of Him, less of this world. 
Choose simple today.

Way to live simply:

*Focus on needs, not wants. 
*Serve others first, and not yourself.  
*Live up to God's standards and not the world's.
*Spend more time filling up on real things- relationship building, service, prayer, etc. 
*Have less clutter, and more joy.
*Spend less time on unnecessary or extras that cause stress and do not bless.


Wherever I Am.

In one short year, or really what seems like an eternity at times...our lives have changed. We went from longing for a dream, to living one.

I still walk outside every morning in the still quiet, and look around and stand in awe. I can't believe it is real and I can't believe it is ours.

The Lord has provided abundantly more than we even asked for in so many ways. How can I not sing His praises each day? How can I not share my joy?

Yet, even before we moved here we had more than we ever needed. He already provided abundantly more than we asked for when He saved my soul.

Oh, how I marvel at what He's done.

In the still quiet, my soul sings.

And so easily, I can walk back inside the house and it's like the record stops.


The kids are bickering, the dishes are piling, the laundry is overflowing, the milk spills, and I so quickly forget the quiet and am consumed by the chaos.

I fall short.

I snap. I use unkind words. I frown upon the accidental milk instead of gently guiding the little hands to help clean it up.

Oh, how soon we forget our Creator when we are consumed by ourselves, our emotions, and our feelings. How soon we forget all He has provided and our joy is sucked out by the distractions.

Oh, thank the Lord that our joy is not dependent on circumstances like dishes in the sink, or even big, big things like illness, finances, or grief.

Because then there would be very limited amounts.

But, our joy comes from the Lord. Yes, no matter living our dream here or elsewhere...we have salvation through Him.

There is no need for want. Our souls should sing praises regardless.

It is so easy to think that once we have something, we will be fulfilled. We can be partly fulfilled, but we will always end up yearning for something else...Unless we realize that we have all we need in Him, no matter what.

If you are waiting for things to change, or are in a time of transition and waiting on Him...there is still joy. 

I used to think joy would come when things changed.

The truth is, our true joy is not dependent on where we live or who is behaving, or if the bank account is full...

It is not dependent on who likes us or who gives us praise...

It is not dependent on our kids succeeding...

It is not dependent on our waistline or our wrinkles (or lack thereof)

It is not dependent on the doctor's report

It is not dependent on things.

It is not dependent on our day.

No matter what. We can have joy.

My joy was right there all along. No matter what surrounded me.

I know the difference between living without the Lord and living with Him.

That is where my inner joy truly comes from.

Because the moment He stepped in, I had enough. 

The moment He stepped in and saved me, is when my life truly changed and my dreams came true.


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God Doesn't Care What Your Thanksgiving Table Looks Like...

I wrote this a few years back and am reposting. Will you join me for #SimpleThanksgiving once again?

God doesn't care what your Thanksgiving table looks like...He cares about those hearts gathered together. He doesn't care about those perfect recipes...He cares that you are provided for. He doesn't care if you have the best and most creative decor....He cares that you are a good steward of what he has provided. This Thanksgiving, get back to the heart...praise God from whom all blessings flow...then go and share that Good News with others. 


Hospitality vs. Entertaining...

This Thanksgiving remember...there is a difference between hospitality and entertaining. Hospitality serves guests humbly, showing Jesus' love- the focus is to let Christ's love shine in your home and point to Him. By serving guests and focusing on them, you open your home to let them see Christ. Entertaining means the focus is on the perfect food, decor, and outward stuff, often resulting in "pride."

Which will you practice this Thanksgiving?

When we choose to practice hospitality, we are putting other's need above our own. The internet can be a bit dangerous at this time of year, because it is absolutely filled with ideas for that "prefect" dinner. There's an infinite amount of ideas on Pinterest. You can make elaborate crafts, recipes, and decor for your home. We can spend hours focusing on these things. Yet, we need to be very careful where we put our focus.

It can be very easy to spend way too much time gathering ideas, and then striving to make that "perfect" dinner. It is the classic Mary and Martha syndrome. Yet, very quickly the entertaining becomes about "us." In reality, hospitality is about our guests.

We can be focused on the perfect decor, or we can be focused on how we make our guests feel in our home. We can make them feel loved and comfortable, or we can impress them with our fancy preparations. One focuses on God and the other on ourselves.

I would rather my guests leave my home feeling something special- that they saw Christ. Not a fancy party. I would rather have my guests see me sit at Jesus' feet rather than preoccupied with details.

Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
Hospitality points to God, but entertaining points to ourselves and what "we can do." Hospitality is an act of love. We practice service. Years ago I read the book Open Heart Open Home and it changed me. It changed the way I felt about opening my home to others...it is not about impressing anyone, but serving them. Ultimately if we are practicing hospitality we are sharing God's love and shining His light.

Hospitality says, "come on over anytime....my door is always open, and may you leave having seen God's love in action..."


How Dad Can Be Involved in Homeschooling: Podcast Episode #15

Dads and Homeschool

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Think homeschooling is just mom's job? Really, it takes the whole family. Whether Dad has a supporting role or a very active role, He is the head of the home and his involvement is necessary.
Since many dads work outside of the home during school time though, then just how does he get involved in the teaching?
First, by being the head of the house, his influence is essential in raising our kids. Next, it is quite easy to find ways for dad to teach using his talents, skills,  and gifts. And don't think it has to be during school hours! Dads can "teach" lessons that are far more important that those found in textbooks between the hours of 9-3.
Join me with my special guest, my handsome hubby, as we talk about how he gets involved in homeschooling...by teaching life skills, entrepreneurial skills, and just by his example, he is teaching my kids as much (and probably more!) than any of my lessons plans and textbooks!


Visit Steve at Iron Sharpens Iron Outdoors

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My New Book!

What others are saying this week about Real Homeschool:

“This book blessed me so!! Karen is so relatable and real and her love and honor for God is contagious! Her words here were no doubt God-given and THIS is what I am endeavoring to make our homeschool and this message confirms what I needed to hear! Thank you, Sister Karen for your obedience in sharing this treasure with the world! Glory to God!”