Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New for Tuesdays this Summer!

Tip Tuesday!!

We have a few exciting things coming up at Super Mom the Illusion!  Starting next Tuesday, we are going to start a link-up and sharing of tips.  Each week tips will cover a particular topic and if you have a tip to share or would like to link-up your blog post with that week's tip, you can!
For the next month the tip topics will be:
  • June 4--Homeschooling multiple grade levels
  • June 11--Simple housekeeping tips
  • June 18--Homemade cleaners, soaps, candles, etc.
  • June 25--Activities for kids during the summer
More details later this week!!


Friday, May 24, 2013

End of the School Year Reflections

As a homeschooling parent, there is nothing that brings joy to my heart than seeing one of my children complete their schooling and graduate high school.  It is not an easy road for my older students, but it is one that is fashioned cohesively by them and my husband and I as we created their high school curriculum.
(Sorry for the poor quality!)
Today, my middle daughter and fourth child graduated!  Our focus now switches from crafting a high school plan toward her overall future career goals to a college plan that positions her to take a hold of those goals in a more real way.
As for the other children, the end of the year for our family takes on a different feel as we take a break from our schooling.  We typically school year round, taking off the months of June and December as our summer and winter breaks.  This year we also anticipate the arrival of my husband's and my first grandchild and the children's first nephew.  So our schooling break will be more than just vegging for a month.  We will travel to Nebraska to see little Jackson when he makes his appearance!
As I look back on the year, I am thrilled with where my kids are academically and the progress they've made.  When we return to schooling, I will have a high school junior, an eighth grader and two sixth graders. The years of teaching phonics are behind us as are the years of addition and subtraction, traded instead for multiplication and division, geometry, and quadratic equations.  It also occurred to me that my homeschooling years are in fact winding down.  When my 6th graders start the academic year, I will have only 6 more short years of teaching them at home.  Academics, that is.  The reality is that as parents, we never stop teaching our children.

I pray that your summer break, however long or short, is refreshing and engaging.  And I would love to hear your schooling stories from the past year!!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Promise Box: Sharing Our Treasures

Creating a Treasury of Scriptures and Stories for Our Families

I am so very honored to be a part of author Tricia Goyer's Fiction Book Launch Team this year!  I have enjoyed reading her books, and I'm gearing up to share my review of her most recent release, "The Promise Box."  I'll tell you a bit about a promise box first, then I would like to share my own favorite Scriptures and Bible stories with you.
According to the story, a promise box is a simple wooden box that contains treasured prayers and favorite Scripture verses of Lydia Wyse's mother.  It isn't until her mother's passing that Lydia finds the box and begins to realize that she longs for the Amish life once again.
I have been meditating on the Word for a little while concerning these treasured Scriptures and prayers of a mother to her husband and her children.  Here are a few of my favorite verses and prayers:
  • Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33)
  • Let Your work [the signs of Your power] be revealed to Your servants, and Your [glorious] majesty to their children.  And let the beauty and delightfulness and favor of the Lord our God be upon us; confirm and establish the work of our hands--yes, the work of our hands, confirm and establish it. (Psalms 90:16-17)
  • He Who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God in whom I trust. (Psalms 91:1-2)
The prayer of Jabez is one of my favorite prayers.  It's simple, clear and concise.  
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory that Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.  So God granted him what he requested"  (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Though the Bible is filled with amazing stories of triumph in the face of sure defeat, two of my favorite stories are of Joseph, Jacob's favorite son and Esther who saved her people from destruction.

What are some of your favorite Scriptures and prayers?  What stories of the Bible do you want to share with your children and others?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Did You Know?

Super Mom the Illusion Blogger Contributor Blogs

Did you know I contribute to another blog as well as have my own column?  It's true!  
I contribute monthly to So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler? discussing topics such as homeschooling middle schoolers, high schoolers and multiple grade levels.  The past month I talked about transcripts for high school, how to award credit for unusual classes such as computer batch coding and ballet, and gave some graduation ceremony ideas for homeschoolers graduating their students.  You can read more here

I also host a monthly column "On Mentoring Teens"!  Unlike the blog, this column is solely dedicated to helping parents and youth workers minister to and guide their teens toward a life lived for Jesus.  I am thrilled to partner with Nicole O'Dell at Choose NOW Ministries to bring practical, real-life tips to those who influence the lives of teens and enjoy encouraging and building up those who desire to see their teens sold out to God.  Recently I've shared about how to help teens get a vision for the path the Lord has set for them and creating vision boards to "write the vision plain on paper so that they can see it in their comings and goings" (Habakkuk 2:2).  I would love it if you would follow my column!  You can read other articles here!

Thank you for all your support!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Blessed by My Kids

When Children Surprise You

As a parent who has children who are not walking with the Lord right now, it is easy to get into a mindset that somehow I've failed them AND God.  Well, yesterday was one of those days when the Lord showed me that my kids "get it"!  
Our church had a Pentecost celebration picnic, and as often happens at our church picnics, there was an invitation for anyone who wanted to be baptized.  My niece was one of the first, rededicating herself to the Lord and her walk along the path He chose for her.  Soon, I looked up and saw my middle daughter standing in line.  She had gone to Acquire the Fire with our youth group and ever since had felt a prompting of God to be baptized and choose to dedicate her life to Him and Him alone.  She boldly professed that dedication today.  And the best thing of all was that it was her decision, not mine or my husband's, not out of  peer pressure, but because she fully desires to give the Lord her life.

What transpired next filled my heart beyond measure.  My baby daughter decided to get baptized, too!  Before I knew if, my husband took a stand to make the Lord's Will for his life a priority.  I helped our pastor baptize my husband!  Now it is important to understand that he had been baptized previously.  But that commitment to follow the prompting of God in your life is an essential step in the Christian walk.  
Following my husband in baptism were my youngest two sons.  One of them declared that when he had been baptized a few years ago, it didn't mean anything to him like it did today.  That is also an important thing to note.  When you are baptized and following the process of dying to your flesh and old self, a change should occur. We die to self and are raised in Christ a new creation.  My sons recognized that they hadn't truly experienced that changed in their lives and desired more of the Lord.  
Those words coming from my boys were the confirmation I needed to hear today!  I needed to hear that they longed for a lifelong relationship with Jesus.  

They each had a renewed passion in their lives and were once again on fire for God!  It is amazing how children (and husbands!) will surprise you by confirming what has been prayed over them for years!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Adventures in Odyssey A.C.T.S. Blog Tour--A Call to Service

Why serve?
Our culture puts an extravagant amount of energy into raising kids who will grow up to feel good about themselves. In schools, clubs, homes, and even at church, adults have made a decided effort to bolster children’s “self-esteem” –not by actually encouraging kids do something that’s worthwhile, but by simply telling them they are important and valuable.
At the turn of the century, researchers predicted that the next generation would respond to these efforts of raising self-esteem by being filled with optimism and civic duty. Unfortunately, recent research shows the opposite. Kids coming of age today are more self-centered, disrespectful of authority, and depressed than ever before.

In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with them into adulthood—which is the greatest gift any parent can bestow on their child.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stepping Back from Things

Knowing When to Put Activities on Hold 

Those of you who regularly read Super Mom the Illusion have probably noticed a decline in the number of posts the past couple of weeks.  Somehow the activities of the end of the school year seemed to be on top of us before I realized it.  Last week my children had choir and dance rehearsals and performances with our supplemental school two nights in a row, regular classes at that school, an awards assembly, and performances with their theatre school on another night.  In addition to that, my daughters and I attended a Mother's Day tea with our women's ministry group and of course Sunday was Mother's Day.  It was a very busy week! 

While the week was so hurried, I tried to maintain all my own activities.  That didn't go so well.  Can anyone else relate to that?  Something was going to be abandoned during the chaos of events, and it ended up being my writing on the blog.  I know that sometimes when bloggers get busy they often re-post a previous article. I ran out of time to even do that!  I knew that stepping back from writing my daily blog this week was what I needed to do.  I couldn't step away from the activities of my children, the Mother's Day tea, or my schooling.  But I could, as much as I didn't want to, put writing on hold.
Now that the week has settled a bit, I look forward to discussing the Word, our roles as homeschoolers and mothers, and also keeping the vision the Lord has given each one of us.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Encouraging One Another

Building Your Faith 

Recently, I have experienced what I call "bad days" with homeschooling, with my position in Women's Ministry, with life in general.  Life gets chaotic, hectic and I feel like I can't function in my daily and weekly duties with which I am committed.  But on those particular days, the Lord deliberately places certain people in my path to build me up in my faith.  I feel like giving up on the day, asking for a do-over, or just crawling back into bed and pulling the covers over my head until the next day arrives.  But my Heavenly Father refuses to allow me to do that.  He purposes to send sisters to me with a word of encouragement at just the right time.  

He also uses me as He does my sisters who encourage me.  When the Lord moves us to speak to a sister or to do a certain task, that is our opportunity to be a willing vessel to be used by Him.  The women in our lives are there because we compliment each other.  They have something we need; we have something they need.  
Rest in the Lord knowing that you are either the one He will use or when faced with trying times that He will send someone to you to stand with you, build you up, and encourage you to be steadfast during that time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Adventures in Odyssey A.CT.S. Blog Tour!!

Join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!
Adventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos, and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.
This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve, everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas, kids will discover that serving can be a blast! 

How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:
Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at whitsend.org.  At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.
A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners (one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to another country with a parent!  The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at whitsend.org/acts. You don’t want to miss it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Paralyzed: A Journey of Faith

My Journey Overcoming Bell's Palsy

Last August, I felt as though I was on quite the roll with writing my blog, maintaining my GPA as a graduate student, I had recently finished performing in our local theatre production, I was homeschooling my children and I worked for the theatre where our family frequently participated in shows.  In a matter of days, all of that changed...well, most of that changed.  I had a tender spot on my right ear (later I learned it was a cold sore) and literally over night, the virus began to affect the nerves on the right side of my face.  This condition is known as a Bell's Palsy.  
Bell's palsy about 3 weeks after initial symptoms

I couldn't move my mouth on that side, couldn't raise my eyebrow (although now I could cock my eyebrow!), couldn't blink, and drooled often.  I had no control over that side of my face.  It was horribly terrifying, but as an EMT, I understood the condition, possible treatments, and that I was covered by the Word of God!  Because I couldn't blink, my eye would get dry and watered consistently.  It was incredibly frustrating to have no control over even just one side of my face.  And worst of all was that I couldn't smile. 
Since it happened on a Sunday morning, I went up for prayer and knew I had received my healing.  The next several months were a big lesson in patience and vanity for me.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I was still the same person, but I looked differently than before.  It took a lot to get me to come back out of my shell from hiding and seclusion, but with the Lord's help I overcame this situation.
Now, nine months after the initial onset of the palsy, I'm almost back to 100%!  I have some residual nerve pain, but it is definitely bearable and I feel like my old self once again.  Through the combined prayers of my friends and myself, I have seen my healing manifested.  I additionally pursued cold laser therapy with my chiropractor (who is a Christian and prayed with me also!), and gathered as many friends to join alongside me to stand with me for the healing to come to pass.
Here's a picture of me on Mother's Day weekend so you can see the improvement.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Empower: Gaining Confidence

Building Confidence in Who God Made You to Be

Social media is a wonderful place to follow great leaders, both corporate and within a community of Christian believers.  I follow people like John Maxwell, Chris Widener, Terri Savelle Foy, Pope Francis, and Kirk Cameron.  If you've never looked at tweets and Facebook posts, allow me to give a glimpse of these confident people.
Many of them send single messages of one or two sentences that have inspiring, impacting words that motivate the reader to action.  Empowering posts often include Scripture that shows how God made us to be bold, courageous, and strong in the Lord.  Psalm 31:24 says "Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord (NKJV)."  We also read in Ephesians 3:12 In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).
When I began meditating on these verses, I didn't feel very confident in life, in my abilities as a mother, in my husband's and my decision to homeschool our children and so many other areas in my life at the time.  Confidence for me was a difficult thing to achieve.  Because of my past (read that post HERE), my level of self-esteem dropped dramatically, and I lacked boldness, confidence, and courage.  But as I committed to reading the Word and allowing the Lord to change me, make me what He had planned for me all along, my confidence began to grow.
This growth did not happen overnight, and you shouldn't get discouraged for you if your change doesn't come quickly.  It took many months before I felt strong enough to speak out and share at my weekly Bible studies, to visit with other moms at my local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group, and to know that I was doing the best for my kids educating them at home.  We were made to be courageous, bold with an unreserved approach to God without fear. 
  • What are you facing today that you need to have courage for?
  • What will you boldly come to the Lord about, without fear or reservation?
  • What area do you need to overcome in your life?
  • What is the Lord giving you strength to conquer today?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Leaning on the Lord

Recently, I was talking with a friend about leaning on the Lord.  For him, it is easier to lean on the Lord during difficult times in life, but he struggles with turning to the Lord in everyday life.  I realized I'm just the opposite!  I pray for the Lord to show me what to write in my books, what blog topics I can discuss, and even for those divine appointments to share the Gospel.  But I struggle with turning to the Lord in times of need, confusion, heartbreak, and loss.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
While meditating on why I have this issue, I began to ask the Lord to show me, give me a little glimpse as to why I came to this conclusion.  What He showed me was that every time I don't open up and ask His help in my life during those trying times, I put Jesus back up on the cross.  He went to the cross not just for my sins, not just for my sickness and disease, but He also died to secure a forever relationship with me (and YOU!) so that any time I needed to talk or just plain NEEDED Him, I could go to Him and find rest, peace, and comfort!

As I go through a personal trial, I am reminded that there is nothing else I can do, nowhere else I can go but to the Son.  I am encouraged that HE will always be by my side.  For me, I now realize that by not going to Jesus, I was being selfish.  He wanted me to come to Him with my problems, my worries, my hurts so that He could heal those wounds and provide the solutions I've needed for so long. 

Praise God He NEVER leaves us or forsakes us!!!


End of the School Year

When the Busyness Turns to Chaos

This week I seem to be busier than normal running children to end of the year performances:  choir, dance, and theatre.  It seemed like it was so far away, but before I knew it, those dates that seemed so distant were upon me.  And it seemed that my mental calendar was not able to recall when each of those performances was...they are all in one week.  What was I thinking?!
I've often mentioned to friends that I am so busy this week that I just want to make it to the end of May.  When May ends, school ends.  And in addition, we have a full month off from any planned homeschooling.  I'm looking forward to regrouping, reorganizing my plans and my home being peaceful and calm from children playing outside more.
  • Just thinking about the school year coming to a close, what things are you looking forward to?  
  • What areas have you perhaps neglected that you are looking forward to fixing and getting back on track?
  • Do you take off for the whole summer if you homeschool?
Consider the ways you can keep from getting lost in the chaos and busyness.  And congratulations on finishing the school year strong!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Tiger Hunt!! Bring Your Kids!!!

Actually, Tiger Hunt is a new eBook for kids!  One Fun Mom has written and Island Brothers book for kids that will enhance their understanding of other cultures and countries.  I'll be posting a review of this book in the next couple of weeks, but until then, please visit these links, enter the GIVEAWAY, and purchase a copy for your children.  After all, for the price of a latte or a Happy Meal, your children can learn valuable lessons while reading a great story!!  

One Fun Mom blog:  www.onefunmom.com
the book's site:  www.theislandbrothers.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OneFunMomBlog
Give Bracelets:  www.givebracelets.com

Christy Halsell, author of Tiger Hunt offers these additional resources to accompany the book:  The Island Brothers website has bonus info on Bali to give children a glimpse of another culture.  There are videos and articles children will understand, also language arts printables (vocab and comprehension).  I'll be adding more to it soon, as well.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Day of Prayer

Praying for Nations and Leaders

Today is the National Day of Prayer.  Though change a bit from its original concept, still holds value in the eyes of Christians who believe this country was founded on faith and divine intervention by God.  

How are we to pray for our cities and towns, our community, state and federal leaders and for this country?  

The Word says that "The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live" (1 Timothy 2:1-4, The Message).
We pray for:
  • Rulers
    • Local
    • County
    • State
    • Federal
  • Their governments
    • Congress
    • Senate
    • Judiciary
  • That we can go on living simply
    • Military
    • law enforcement
    • Fire fighters
    • Emergency services
  • Living the way God wants us to live
    • Churches
    • Ministries
    • Outreaches
For more information about the history of the National Day of Prayer, visit: reagan.utexas.edu and www.nationaldayofprayer.org.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Whit's End Mealtime Devotions GIVEAWAY!!!

Do your kids clam up at dinner time? Are you tired of asking them how their school day went that being the extent of the conversation? John Avery Whitaker of Adventures in Odyssey's Whit's End has just the solution for you: Whit's End Mealtime Devotions. Tricia Goyer and Crystal Bowman helped him come up with 90 ideas to help build your kids' faith and your relationships.

12-Day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway
To celebrate, Tricia is hosting a 12-day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway! From April 20 to May 1, visit this page for a new giveaway each day. Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win. Oh, and don't forget to come to her Facebook party on May 1 (RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/350106761758181); you might see a few familiar Adventures in Odyssey characters.
Head here to enter Tricia’s 12-Day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway!

 Adventures in Odyssey Tricia Goyer Whit's End Facebook Party

Kick-Off of 30 Day Challenge!

What Can You Do Accomplish in 30 Days?

I am so excited for this new 30 day challenge!  For the past few months, we've talked about how to catch the vision God has for us.  This month, we're going to put all those things we have learned into practice, and we can expect results!  When we decide what you're going to do for the next 30 days, remember these things for success:
  • Make your goal clear; be specific
    • I will learn (a foreign language); I will read 20 books; I will write a book; I will listen to music from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.; I will pray for 15 minutes every day.  Be as specific as possible!
  • Make your goal measurable
  • Make it relevant to your passion or vision
I'll share my 30 day challenge with you to give you an idea of what a goal might look like.  
I am going to write and complete at least a 50,000 word novel by May 31st!  

Now, I have done this before, but this time, the novel is different.  The characters are different; the point-of-view I'm writing in is different; the theme and location are different.  I'm not writing the same book I did previously, but I'm pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone that would allow me to write very casually.  It is a measurable goal to write this book of so many words by the end of the month.  Finally, it's relevant to my passion for writing!

I look forward to hearing about your 30 day challenges, so send me a message and let me know how it's going!  You can do it!!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)