5.02.2016

Give MAMA a Rest This Mother's Day! Simply Living For Him Special Discount for Mother's Day!

Want to give the perfect Mother's Day Gift? 

How about the gift of rest and renewal? 

How about a time away for mom to connect with other ladies!



The Simply Living for Him Retreat this summer is a getaway just for ladies. We will be spending time seeking Jesus in a beautiful location.

Read all about it HERE.



Register with this SPECIAL MOTHER'S DAY LINK!! Click below:







Just $99 for the retreat! (Lodging not included.)

Retreat includes: 

Refreshment reception lakeside and bonfire Friday night (worship, prayer, and welcome session)

Saturday: Worship, Prayer, Session, Mini group sessions, and LUNCH.

Sunday: breakfast, worship, and prayer with group time before departure.


Register here: (MUST Use This Link for Discount)

4.19.2016

Leaving the Garage: This World is Not All There Is

So, most of you know (sorry for all of the pictures lately, I can't help myself! ;) ) that we got ducks. Two little ducklings that are just adorable.  Since bringing them home they have lived in the garage since it is not safe outdoors just yet for them, and of course, it was a bit too cold. So their existence has been a large plastic tub in the garage, under the glow of a red heat lamp.

However, as the beautiful Spring weather starts to slowly meander in (can I get a Hallelujah!) we finally brought the ducks outdoors for the first time.  It really was adorable to see them put their feet in grass for the first time and run all over the place–not really sure if they were excited, scared, or most likely, they were a little of both!  

They stick together like glue and it is just amazing to watch. 
They remind me of synchronized swimmers (though not quite as graceful, but oh, so cute!) They run together, sit together, and pretty much go whatever direction the other is going.

After having them out for a bit and just being entertained by their cuteness, they finally settled down into the grass and just basked in the sun. As they lay there together, one sort of tilted its head up toward the sky almost as if to see the sun and marvel at it.



I jokingly said to my kids, "Oh look! He (or she...we don't know yet!) is discovering the sun!"

As soon as I said it, I realized what an amazing thing it really was, and just how much we could learn from that one moment.

You see up until that point those ducks had known no other world except a confined plastic tub in a garage with a red light shining down on them. Only once we brought them outside did they discover there is really an entirely different (and so much more beautiful) world out there! Up until then, they had no idea what existed beyond that garage.

And you know what? That is what it is like for us here on earth. There is a whole new world waiting for us someday that is heaven. We live on this earth thinking this is it, and we are content with that, and even really enjoying it enough that we are afraid of leaving it.

But imagine those ducks had neve left the garage? Sure, they were content in there because it was all they knew! They had no idea about grass, and bugs, and sunshine and flowers...they were content in their little plastic tub.

Are we content in the garage?

We need to have no fear about leaving this earth some day because God has a place prepared for us that is beyond our imagination...it is far more beautiful than anything we have here. And if we never left this earth, just like those ducks left the garage...we would never know about it. Death doesn't have to be scary when we know that there are far better things ahead.



I am so grateful that God reveals truths to me through little things such as ducks. I thanked Him for that realization as I sat there watching those little ones so excited about their new world. I thanked Him that I will one day experience a world far beyond this one and that there is no fear anymore in that knowledge.

I am content with my earthly life, but I know without a doubt that heaven's glory is nothing compared to this garage of an earth we live in. 





PS...We had one of our sweet little chickens die this week. She succumbed to a prolapse that could neither be prevented nor repaired. It was a hard little lesson for kids..some were more affected than others.  Yet, that is all part of life lessons. Painful, but necessary and unavoidable.


4.10.2016

When God Keeps a Door Closed...What I Learned From The Chickens

Our chickens are such funny creatures. Daily, they do something to make me laugh.




And today, while they were up their usual antics I realized just how much I could relate to those little creatures.





You see, back in the fall, my husband built a little tunnel "breezeway" leading from our chickens' covered run into our garden. We made this so we could easily let them free range in the garden, but they couldn't always have access to it. There is a little door that we can open when we want them in, and shut it when we don't. We have some hawks around here that fly much too close while those chickens are free ranging, so we then have to get them back into their covered run to keep them safe.


But those chickens love being free in the garden. They will line up at that door to get in the garden anytime we go back there. And if we aren't going to let them out at that time, they will all just stand there squawking and squawking hoping for a chance to run and play in the garden. If I had all the time in the world to supervise them out there, they would have unlimited access, but unfortunately, I can not. And in order to keep the chickens safe from that hawk, I have to keep the door shut more than they would prefer.

Today as I watched them all lining up at the door and I had just seen the hawk circling (so there was no way I was letting them out) it dawned on me that those poor chickens just don't understand. They don't understand that I am keeping them safe from potential danger. They just want to get into the garden and dig up grubs! They have no idea that I am protecting them.

I realized I will never, ever be able to explain that to them either. 
After all, they are chickens! I can't communicate about hawks, and protection, and all of those things to them! They will never, ever understand, but I know day after day they will continue to stand at that door hoping I will open it.

Aren't we just like those chickens with God? 
Sometimes we stand and wait for Him to open a particular door, and He never does. And you know what? We may never know in this lifetime why not, or just what He may be protecting us from. And He may never be able to explain it to us or make us understand His infinite and His far superior wisdom in this lifetime.

Just like I can't explain it to those chickens.

Are you standing daily at a door that God isn't opening? Perhaps He is protecting you from something or He just knows better and has a better plan. We can't always understand and that is ok. We don't have to. Just like I have those chickens' well-being in mind, God always has our best interest in mind. He is not trying to harm us or keep us from good.

What we think we are missing out on may just be His loving protection.

I joke about how much I adore my chickens...but really, in all seriousness, it is amazing how much I can learn from a simple afternoon of watching those creatures...and thinking about our God and His care for us.




4.08.2016

Podcast Episode 22: Our Life as a Work-at-Home Family


Three years ago we began the journey as a work-at-home family. Today I am sitting down with my husband to share what our daily life looks like as a self-employed family living life together. Between Steve's graphic design company, my writing, and our whole family's endeavors on our (little) hobby farm, we are learning what matters most each day.






4.04.2016

Our New Additions at Love's Farm and Exciting News!


My husband and kids went to Tractor Supply on Saturday morning. The plan was to buy some bolts and some other odds and ends....just a few things.

Famous.Last.Words.

Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call. The kids were asking if we could get ducks. I heard all about how adorable they were and after all, we already have chickens and we wouldn't need anything. And you know, we NEED them.

I knew just how cute they were because when I was in Tractor Supply just a few weeks ago I marvelled at those fuzzy little balls with the big bills and webbed feet. They were truly adorable.

So I told my husband on the phone, "You decide. I am not making the decision. I will leave it up to you."

And as I hung up the phone, I said to myself, "We're getting ducks." I knew exactly what he would decide.





So now Love's Farm has two ducks. I am excited to see how they will develop and to add more learning to our day. The chickens have really been a learning experience and we have enjoyed the whole experience.

We also have an announcement about our little farm! You can read all about it at Loves.Farm. Click on the About section to read what we will be doing this summer, Lord willing!


I really have to pinch myself sometimes. It is truly all that we have ever wanted and more out here. Simple pleasures. Nature. Outdoors. The simple life is a dream come true.

Some snapshots of our week via Instagram:

simplylivingforhimGo to @tractorsupplythey said. Just for a few things, they said. 😂😂 #ducks #LovesFarm 



simplylivingforhim
I have some new students for read alouds today. 😂🐓#chickens #LovesFarm#simplyhomeschool #realLifelearning

simplylivingforhimWe've had a huge pile of frogs eggs we are keeping an eye on in the stream. Today, many have hatched into tadpoles. Big brother teaching his little brother about them. #LovesFarm#naturestudy #simplyhomeschool#simplejoys



Join Me This Summer- The Simply Living for Him Retreat! 

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

Grab my books!

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3.28.2016

The Year The Forsythias Bloomed Twice




I have always loved the forsythias. To me, they are the sign that spring is here. When in full bloom those yellow rows just shout," SPRING!" And even though they really don't last much more than a week in their full glory, I soak it in when they are here knowing it won't last long. It makes me a bit sad but helps to appreciate them that much more, because I know they will be gone shortly. I often wish for just one more week with those beautiful yellow blooms....

I remember last year, early one morning I awoke and my eyes opened to see directly out my window, there were beautiful forsythias in bloom. I thought about how it was just another little blessing that God provide here in our new home. Not only did I love every detail about this home, here he placed forsythias on the little hill directly outside my window, and I could see them from my bed each morning. What a treat!

Well just when you think you have already been blessed beyond measure, God sure can surprise you and take it even further. You see, this year I actually was in for a double blessing with my beloved forsythias...

Last week as you all know, we were in Nashville for the Teach Them Diligently Convention. The whole weekend was incredible and I just felt God carry us through the entire time. The drive down to Nashville was actually quite beautiful. The whole drive was pretty much dotted by cows and purple blooms all the way down. It was such a peaceful ride.

At one point, as we neared Nashville, we stopped at a rest area and I quickly noted that the forsythias were in full bloom! It was my first sight of them this year because we hadn't had ours bloom up north yet. It was a pleasant surprise for sure.

And then, after a week home...guess what? The forsythias up north are beginning to bloom. So this year, I get to enjoy them...twice!

Seriously. How amazing is our God? He blesses us so much all the time and sometimes we just need to take notice.


He shows me daily through His creation so many things, and this year I just feel doubly blessed. Literally.

Just when we think we something may be enough, He gives us more. I think about how far He has brought our family in so many things...homeschooling and just working in our family in general.  He has given me books to write and speaking events. It is all just too much sometimes. I could never have dreamed up this life, but He did.

And He shows my daily, that if I submit to Him and let go of my plans...His are abundantly more.  And He can do anything...

Even make the forsythias bloom twice for me this year.





Grab my books!

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Join Me This Summer- The Simply Living for Him Retreat! 

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

3.23.2016

Teach Them Diligently Nashville- A Weekend to Remember


I've been trying to put into words our weekend in Nashville at Teach Them Diligently for a few days now. At first, I was just so physically exhausted I couldn't even get my fingers to type. And then, my mind was just filled with so many things, I knew I needed to wait and sort it all out. So today, I am attempting to do just that. Bear with me...it's just so much to tell you!



We began our trip on Wednesday at 4am. Well, actually 2:45 am when I woke up. Some of you night owls had probably just gone to bed, and here I was preparing to hit the road! Initially, when I woke up I said to my husband, 

"Let's call it off. Let's not go." 

In his usual supportive and much more logical than me fashion, he responded, 

"No. Get up."

Ha!

He always knows how to handle me in these situations. ;)

Anyway, I as I lay there at 2:45 am, every reason of why we shouldn't go crossed my mind.

I have no business speaking to people....who cares what I have to say?

We have had to get friends to come and check on the chickens...again, guilt for asking for help...and just more to plan...

I am taking my family on a very long road trip...this is just too much work...the packing, the planning...what if something goes wrong?

Well, what if something goes right?...

And in the end, everything went right. Everything was smooth, and it was far beyond my expectations.

The ride was basically uneventful. Probably the biggest mishap was spilling coffee all over myself and my new Simply Living for Him t-shirt! But, hey makes for a fun Instagram post, so carry on..

simplylivingforhimCan't take me anywhere. Already spilled my coffee all over my new shirt! #road trip #ttd2016#ttdnashville #keepinitreal



We finally arrived at the gorgeous Gaylord Opryland Hotel at about 4:15 pm central time. (Did I mention when we left, it was Eastern time? And we had, just a few days before changed our clocks ahead an hour, then crossed that time zone to move it back again...it was all so confusing! Ha!)


Gaylord Opryland Hotel- the view from our balcony!


We had arrived the day before the conference so we could unwind and relax before I had to speak at 3:30 the next day. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Chuys, a Mexican restaurant right next to the hotel at the Opry Mills Mall. I still wasn't very tired considering the time change, the early wake-up and the whole trip...I was running on adrenaline, I suppose.

simplylivingforhimYummy guacamole!!! Grateful for all this man's support and love in my endeavors. 😍 #ttdnashville#simplylivingforhim #FamilyWins@farmhausstudios



The next day was spent relaxing in the morning. I woke at 4 am, not really by choice, but if God woke me at that hour, I better  use it. I spent time in prayer, mostly praying for the upcoming presentation and the attendees that He would bring.

The kids went exploring with Daddy at the beautiful hotel while I went over my presentation and spent time in the Word. 

They also were sending me pictures while they were out and about sporting their new Simply Living for Him t-shirts!



Afternoon came and I finally had my first presentation- the one I had been waiting for! I spoke on my latest book, Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest-Perfect and Instagram-Ideal Homeschool. I enjoyed it so much and the feedback was encouraging. There are so many of us out there looking to live for God's ideal and are tired of what the world says is ideal!

After my session, we scooted down quickly to the Keynote session with Kirk Cameron. The room was packed and held 4,000 people. He was very inspiring, but most of all I posted this ;)


simplylivingforhimThat little blurry guy is Kirk Cameron! I don't think when I had a poster of him on my wall in 7th grade I ever would have thought I'd be speaking at the same homeschool convention as him! 😂😱😜


Seriously, how CRAZY is that?

Anyway, we were going to head down to the (enormous) exhibit hall afterward, but since I hadn't eaten before my session (nerves) I HAD to eat.
We ordered Pizza Hut (hurray for Gluten free!) and had to wait in the lobby for delivery. 

Meanwhile, all these pictures were being posted on social media with Kirk Cameron, because lo and behold, he went to the exhibit hall and was walking around mingling with everyone. The teenage girl inside me thought we should go down, but the adult (knowing he's JUST a person like you and me) and the very hungry me won out. I decided to stay put and wait for my pizza ;) I'll be happy with my blurry picture from his session. :)

The next day began bright and early, as again I woke at 4am. I spent time praying for the full day ahead, as I had three sessions coming up. 

I presented Bible Based Homeschooling: How Our Family Used the Bible as Our Main Textbook for one year, Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool, and Don't Run New Homeschooler: You CAN DO This!"

All of the sessions were packed full. My husband even posted this at one point.

I just love him ;)


simplylivingforhimThis was my husbands post-- he cracks me up! "Karen asked me to take a few pictures during her session.... Got there and could not get in the room.Standing room only. So I did the best I could. I took a picture through the peephole on the door. Thinking outside the box." @simplylivingforhim #ttdnashville#simplylivingforhim






The rooms may have been full, but my heart was fuller. I mean who am I that God would use me to speak to the hearts of these moms? Yet, He does. And I will go forth continuing to do so wherever He leads. If I think about it logically, it makes no sense, but if I let God lead me, then that is all that matters.

I do know that many resonated with my story of how I started homeschooling, and the opposition from my parents early on.
So many tears as I told the story of their transformation and my own. To God be the glory!

My favorite part of the convention was meeting face to face real life people. Not likes or comments on my blog post, but real hugs, real prayers while holding hands, and real talk! It was just a God-ordained time and I am so grateful.

The last day of the convention, I presented my heart: Simply Homeschool: Have Less Clutter and More Joy. Again, the attendees came pouring in and the room was overflowing. So many of us want to live more simply. I talked about how I truly believe the remedy to a cluttered life is JESUS. When we want more of Him, we will naturally desire less of the world.




I spent time afterward with some attendees and listening to their stories was just a blessing. I loved connecting with these moms! I was shocked that wherever we went, people would stop me to tell me how the messages I gave resonated with them. What a blessing! I can't get over it. Thank you Lord for using me in this way.

We headed home on Sunday morning...ironically it was Palm Sunday, and also the first Day of Spring. A Day of REBIRTH truly. It was also the 19th anniversary of the day I met my husband. That was a time of real rebirth for me. SO much to take in as we drove home the 14 hours back to NJ. Again, it was uneventful. The kids basically watched Brady Bunch DVDs for the most part, and I just relished in the work God is doing. To Him BE all the GLORY.




What I truly took away from this time was that God is in control of every detail and He can abundantly MORE than we ever dream of, if we truly submit to Him. Not just say we trust, but walk in that trust even when it is hard.

I also saw so many women who are thirsting for Jesus. They want what He offers and not what this world offers. This world leaves us discontent and tired and overwhelmed. Yet, Jesus provides all we need.

I say I ran the whole weekend on adrenaline because really I had little sleep and tons of energy– but I realize now that was "Holy Spirit energy." He provides what we need and when we need it.

When I came home I DID crash, but that's ok, because it was time for rest then.

Teach Them Diligently is so much more than a homeschool convention. 
Homeschool is a very small part of what we are all doing- discipling our children. Teach Them Diligently equips families to live fo Christ Alone- with Him, and for Him, and above all else, to GLORIFY Him all that we do.

And HE was glorified at TTD Nashville!

Here are some more highlights from our trip. I do hope you will join me if you can next month in Atlanta or in May at the Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, OH.


Hurray for meeting friends in REAL LIFE!


My daughter and Blimey Cow!

Who is the real kid here? Ha!

Crazy family. Love them!


A piece of my heart was in every room at TTD.

Thankful for this man and all he does to support me.