Friday, June 28, 2013

The First Six Months

Looking back over the first half of 2013, I'm overwhelmed by the number of things the Lord allowed me to do.  In January, I embarked on my first ever book launch team.  In February, I had reviewed four books and hosted just as many giveaways.  March was the visit to my first writer's conference, and at the end of April I attended my first Civil Air Patrol Colorado Wing conference.  By May, my fourth child graduated from high school having been homeschooled entirely.  And June 7th, my husband and I welcomed our first grandbaby!
I have seen things on my vision board come to pass, and have set new goals.  I have been placed in the path of wonderful writing mentors, friends who build me up in my faith, and those who I have been honored to disciple.  I have partnered with two other ministries and look forward to publishing my books soon.

I am in awe of the One who gave His life for mine, so that I might be of service and value to the Kingdom!  None of the things that happened in the first six months were of my doing, just my willingness to be led by the Lord for a purpose of which He predestined me.

  • What things have you accomplished during the first half of the year?
  • What have you checked off your vision board?
  • What would you like to accomplish in the next six months?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One Word--Imagine!

Can You Imagine?

Earlier in the year, a blogger friend began offering to create One Word buttons for fellow bloggers.  One Word to inspire, encourage, empower, and motivate readers for the year.  When I chose my word--IMAGINE--I wanted to focus my readers and myself on the possibilities that the Lord could and would do for me.  I began with "imagine attending a writer's conference."  That came to pass!  I attended my first writer's conference in March and a second one in May.  Other things on my vision board are things like travel to other states and write about their hidden treasures (Currently in progress!), publish 2 books this year (one is ready with a few tweaks, one is in progress), and speaking engagements.  I'm still working on the speaking engagement, but I believe the Lord is in control of them, and I'm ready when the calls come.  I can literally SEE myself speaking to women about mothering, homeschooling, and becoming strong women of faith, so I know that God's hand is in that.
What can you imagine in your life?  What's on your vision board?  Have you created one?  The word says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish."  It also says, "Write the vision plain and clear so that you can see it in your comings and goings."  It doesn't have to be fancy, but you really do need to write it down on paper.  Keep those goals and visions in front of you so you can see them every day!!  They WILL come to pass!  


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trusting God in ALL Areas of Your Life

Trust and Ignoring a Problem Are NOT the Same

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I had heard that we should trust God to work in our lives.  At the time, I think we believed that is how we lived our married life.  But the reality was, we weren't trusting God; we were trusting our own ability to get ourselves out of overwhelming situations.  That never really worked very well and things often ended up becoming worse than if we had gotten on our knees and prayed together.  
We struggled for many years with trusting God, not because we couldn't do it, but because we thought we were and we just weren't!  For example, after each baby was born (the first 4 anyway!), we would choose a method of birth control.  We weren't trusting God with the size of our family; we were trusting that method.  My husband worked up to three jobs at one point in the first seven years we were married to ensure we had "enough money."  But we struggled financially because we were trying to pay bills, and we weren't tithing.  We were trusting the jobs.  That changed as we began hearing our pastor talk about trusting God with our money, the people in our lives, our health, and our family.  
It hasn't been easy and we are still learning to FULLY trust in the Lord.  It's like a child learning how to swim.  You know they want that independence and to be able to let go of the pool noodle, swim instructor, or other safety device, but they are still not confident in their abilities.  Soon, the child does let go and swims successfully, but that child had to decide to let go!  
What are you holding on to that you aren't fully trusting God with?  A job?  A house?  A spouse?  Your health?  Your finances?  NOW is the time to trust the ultimate life saver and let go of our hold of those things!  God totally knows what He's doing in our lives and will do far more than we could EVER hope, think, or imagine...if we will only LET Him.  


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Favorite Summer Activities with Kids!

Do you have activities you do over and over every year (or almost every year)?  

We usually go for a picnic in the mountains at least once during the summer and listen to a summer concert while there.  I let the kids sleep in as late as they want, too, during the summer.  And we also participate in our church's Vacation Bible School.  This year, I'm also hosting a one-week creative writing camp for kids of ALL ages!  We typically don't go on vacation during this time as all the other families who have been waiting for school to get out are occupying our favorite theme parks.

So what do YOU like to do during the summer?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pursuing Excellence

Seeing Beyond the Level of a Job Well Done

There are many areas in my life that I feel I do a pretty good job.  I keep the dishes washed and put away; keep the kitchen clean; make the bed every morning; get the kids up for our homeschooling day; and allow opportunities for learning in innovative ways.  But are my daily chores living up to excellence?  Or am I just doing a "good enough" job?  Many days, I feel like it is the latter.  But it's my attitude and my pursuit of doing a more excellent job; not a perfect job, but always striving for better.  

So how can I work on achieving a more excellent level of doing my job?  One way, is through encouragement, support and ideas from others.  In this era of technology, the most widespread means of gleaning from others who have "been there, done that" is through blogs.  Honestly, I have several that I read weekly because I know that they are uplifting, encouraging and most importantly, make me aware of the fact that I am not alone in my feelings, thought, or concerns throughout my homeschooling journey and homemaking.  You can find a blog about any topic you might be interested in, too.
Some of my favorite blogs are:
  • Stacy Makes Cents
  • Thankful Homemaker
  • So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?
  • Choose NOW Ministries
  • The Purposeful Mom
What does God's Word say about excellence?

  • Ecclessiastes 7:12:  For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense; but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1:  And I, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7:  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not us. defines excellence as this:
     The state of excelling; superiority.
Synonyms are:  
     distinction goodnessgreatnessmeritperfection, purityquality

(C) Captured Memories

I don't necessarily like the word "perfection," but I believe it is something good to strive for in our daily lives, whether working in the home or away from home, with our homemaking, in our relationships, homeschooling, finances, and our relationship with the Lord.  That is what I am doing, striving to be better than I was.  And you can begin making excellence your goal, too!  


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sleepless Nights

When You Just Can't Get to (or Stay!) Sleep

For years I have battled sleeplessness.  It's not that I can't get to sleep;  I have a difficult time staying asleep.  Often, I pray for sweet sleep in the Lord, and He definitely hears and answers my plea.  But sometimes, He has something to say to me.  I believe it may be the best time for me to actually listen because I'm not running errands here or getting distracted there.  I'm mostly quiet.  The Lord knows in the wee hours of the morning, I have nothing to get in the way of Him speaking to me. 
I also think attitude has a lot to do with how we view being awake when we should be asleep.  I know for moms of littles, this time of interrupted sleep may mean less energy when that baby wakes up or your toddler wants mommy to play some more.  I know what it's like to try to carry on with daily chores, homeschooling, and the tasks of your everyday life all too well.  I would encourage you to take that time that you've had your sleep disturbed to seek the Lord.  Perhaps He is trying to speak to you at a time when you are most likely to hear and to listen.  Even if the Enemy was the cause of your sleep deprivation, God's Word says that "He works everything for good to those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).  As a homeschooling parent, I look for teachable moments, those times when an opportunity to share and inpart knowledge on my kids, just present themselves.  God our Father is no different.  He takes every opportunity given to teach us when we are most receptive.  
So as I sit at my computer writing this post, I think about those of you who may be awake right now.  Not wanting to have your sleep interrupted; knowing a toddler waking up will soon greet you; and feeling like you just won't or don't have the strength you need to face your day.  Ask the Lord if there is something He needs to talk to you about.  Listen.  Wait for His response.  Ask Him to bring you sweet sleep in the evening.  And rest in His strength to have a good attitude throughout the rest of the day.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Becoming a Force to be Reckoned With

Getting Past the "To-Do List" Even When You Don't Feel Like It!

This week, I'm finishing up one of my college classes.  The projects aren't difficult; in fact, it is a Power Point presentation, which I enjoy making, and a 3-5 page paper that is nearly complete.  I'm a writer and these are the things I enjoy doing!  However, earlier this week, I wrestled with motivation to actually complete the projects.  I lost interest somewhere along the way.  As I said, for me, these projects weren't difficult, but I looked at them as things on a never-ending "to-do list" that needed to be checked off.  
Now, if you're like me (and my kids, for that matter!), you make these lists and do the easier, more fun things first and the less exciting items toward the end.  That's where I found myself!  The continuation of these assignment became less and less entertaining for me.  I read a post by my brother-in-law ( and began to think about how much of life I have to force myself to do.  These times sneak up on us and tend to rob us of the time we could, we should, be spending doing the work the Lord called us to.  Years ago, I remember forcing myself to get up even though the baby had been fussy most of the night.  Still, his or her siblings needed to have breakfast, so I got up.  I forced myself to overcome a fear of being in my house alone following my being a victim of rape; forced myself to exercise and walk around a lake when I so badly just wanted to sit in my room watching television; and forced myself to get up and go to church when staying home or going somewhere else would have been more "fun."
(C) Captured Memories 365
You see, all these things we have to force ourselves to do are simply distractions by Satan.  He tries to keep us from completing tasks given to us by the Father because when we succeed, it gives God glory and accomplishes something for the Kingdom!  Satan would like nothing better than to have us waste what time we have by getting lazy or distracted.  But we have the Spirit of God living in us, and that power, that force, gives us all we need to overcome barriers like lack of motivation, laziness, and procrastination.  He makes us a force to be reckoned with, with spiritual warfare as our defense!
Next time there is a particular chore you put off doing, a phone call to a friend you hesitate in making, or a meeting you try to find an excuse not to attend, remember, that is just Satan filling your head with lies to keep you from God!  Force yourself to complete the chore; force yourself to pick up the phone and call; and force yourself to attend that church meeting.  Before you know it, you won't have to force yourself any more!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TIP TUESDAY--Homemade things!

Celebrating Do-It-Yourself Living

Today's Tip Tuesday is all about everything homemade!  As you know from previous posts, I make several of my own cleaning products.  I also make gel candles and glycerin soaps, and I use natural remedies instead of medicine whenever possible.
Here's a link to the blog post about my homemade things: HomeMade
I have also begun making a stain treater and fabric softener since I wrote that post.  The recipes are below:

Fabric Softener

  • 6 cups hot water
  • 2-3 cups of vinegar (use the lesser amount if the vinegar odor is too strong and you smell like a salad!)
  • 2 cups of Suave or White Rain (or like product) hair conditioner in a pleasing scent

Mix the conditioner and water together until the conditioner is completely dissolved.  Add the vinegar stirring as you do.  Store in an air tight container letting it sit for at least 2 hours before using.  Can be used in the washer in the fabric softener dispenser or a Downy ball or submerged a washcloth in the mixture, ring out, and throw in the dryer with clothes as a fabric softener sheet!

Stain Treater (From One Good Thing by Jillee

  • 2/3 cups Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
  • 2/3 cups ammonia
  • 6 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water
Mix together in a spray bottle.  Use for laundry, curtains, sheets, towels, and I used this on my daughter's mattress after our dog had an "accident."   Just spray on and let stand for a few minutes and wash as usual for laundry.  We wiped the mattress off with a damp cloth and no odor or stains remain!

What hints do YOU have to share?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Imagination--Adventures in Odyssey: A Call To Serve

Unleashing Imagination in Service

Children are spending more and more time in front of TVs, iPads, computers, and video games. That doesn’t leave much room for kids to dream up their own visual images—like the ones that fill their minds when they hear a great story! Rather than passively receiving images, kids actively engage in making images themselves when they hear a good story. Their imaginations are enriched and stimulated, and the material becomes more personal and memorable.  
Adventures in Odyssey is all about great stories—and the power of the imagination. The beloved audio dramas are heard on over 700 radio stations, and AIO has recently expanded to books and devotionals—including The Imagination Station series, a fast-growing line of early chapter readers. You can check them out by downloading a FREE e-book of Imagination Station #1: Voyage with the Vikings!

This summer, Adventures in Odyssey encourages kids to write their OWN stories, as they join in ACTS: A Call to Serve! AIO is helping children use their imaginations to serve their family, community, and world this summer—maybe by sending a care package to a missionary or baking cookies for the local fire department. Check out  for details and a chance to win fabulous prizes, including a mission trip with a parent to Costa Rica! 
More important than prizes are the stories your child will tell about the creative ways they served others, and how they grew as a result. And what they come up with really might change the world!

A Creative Story of Service

Fourteen-year-old Matthew, a dedicated Adventures in Odyssey fan and natural tech whiz, was inspired by a trip to the Apple store to create a smartphone app for his church. Since then, he has created 21 apps for different ministries, including his local pregnancy resource center, Joni and Friends (an international ministry for people with disabilities), and even an “Adventures in Odyssey Fan News” app! Matthew used his God-given talents and imagination to bless others through technology. Which of your kid’s unique gifts are waiting to be unleashed for God’s use?  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Get Lost!--Book Review

Finding True Love: Falling in Love with God

Raising daughters who love the Lord, dress modestly, and have a desire for a God-filled life and marriage is difficult with the luring of the world seemingly at every turn.  How can we ensure that our daughters will find true love in a world where divorce is the solution to unhappiness, lack of committment, and problems that could be solved through prayer?  Our daughters should Get Lost!  It's a great book by Dannah Gresh, founder of Secret Keeper Girl, an organization with a mission to reveal to girls the masterpiece God has made them.  
Dannah Gresh does an amazing job of helping young girls and women create a path to true love through the love of the Lord.  She doesn't cut down young men but rather explains the importance of being sold out to God in order to allow Him to bring love into young women's lives.  I wish my oldest daughter could have read this book, and I still intend of giving it to her so that she might evaluate her current relationship even now.
This book can be read solo or in a group with a leader's guide included.  The mission of this book seems to be to direct a woman's path of her first love being the Lord.  What better way to ensure that marriages are for a lifetime?!  
You can find "Get Lost" at these online book retailers:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review--The Promise Box

I like to read...a LOT!  I read non-fiction, science fiction, action, Christian fiction, Christian fantasy fiction (that's a new one for me!), but I had never read Amish fiction.  I was hesitant, honestly, because I like suspense, mystery and a little romance thrown in.  Well, I am so glad I continued reading this book because it had all of those things packed into it!
The Promise Box is a story of finding a true relationship with the Lord.  The characters are easy to relate to, and the story deals with real-life current events and situations that I had either experienced myself or knew someone who had.  Tricia Goyer does an amazing job of painting the scenes in West Kootenai, Montana and making the reader feel at home with the setting and the people.  Her descriptions of everyday life in an Amish community highlight the devotion to the Lord.  The story is written is such a way that the reader wants to know how it all turns out.  I fell in love with Gideon, the main male character.  Is it possible there are really men out in the world like him? I can't wait to read more in her Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tricia Goyer Q&A--The Promise Box

Last month, Tricia Goyer released her book, "The Promise Box."  I will admit, I was never really attracted to  historical fiction, let alone Amish fiction.  But I began to read the eBook and suddenly I was drawn into a story that captivated me.  Here is my Q&A with Tricia about her book!

What is The Promise Box about?

The Promise Box is a story about a young woman who was adopted into an Amish family. Conceived by rape she always feels as if her life was a mistake. It's a story of finding love and finding freedom when she realizes God had a plan for her life and His promises are always true.

What key takeaway or message do you expect the reader to understand when they have finished your book?

God's promises are always true

Motive or purpose in writing your book:

I love everything Amish and I try to deal with “messier” and deeper issues within the Amish culture...but in a gentle a lovely way through heartwarming characters.

Describe how your personal background was involved in the writing of this book, if applicable.

Related to the theme, my life was unexpected and my mom got pregnant at a Halloween party. For years I felt like “a mistake” yet God showed me he had a plan for me. We also adopted a baby girl two years ago, and I know the joy of that experience! Yet I also know she'll have many questions as she grows. (We are currently in the process of adopting two more kids, too!)

Also, for fifteen years I lived in Northwestern Montana—about one hour from where this book took place. Even though I grew up in the mountains of California there was something wondrous about the Rockies. Not a day passed when I didn't appreciate the scenic mountains and the beauty of the place.

Also, three years ago I met Amish families from the community and they allowed me to interview them and experience their lives. Many moved from typical Amish communities to rural Montana.

I hope this book will open a new world to Amish readers.

To order Tricia's book, visit Amazon, Zondervan, and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TIP TUESDAY! Housekeeping

Simplifying Housekeeping

Good Morning!
Today, we're sharing tips on simple housekeeping and tips to make this sometimes all-day event more efficient.  
One of the first things I do is decide on a schedule and create "zones" in my home.  For example, one zone is kitchen, one is living room and front entry, another is bathrooms, and finally bedrooms.  Next, I make a list of the things that need to be done in each zone.  This can be a short, what-do-I-need-to-do-to-make-my-home-presentable list or an all inclusive Spring Cleaning list.  If you have children or a spouse, you might also delegate zones for them to help with so you can accomplish more in other areas.  Finally, keep inventory on the cleaning supplies you will need in order to clean hardwood floors, flat top cook surfaces,and mirrors, for example.
I make my own cleaning products from recipes I've found online.  Some of my favorites have come from my friend, Stacy, at!  Here are some cleaning product ideas from her:

What I like most about these ideas is that they are very cost effective and typically safe around pets and children.

So what ideas do you have for cleaning or making the process a bit easier?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Raising the Next Generation

Why It's Cool to Be a Grandma

This past Thursday, I became a grandma for the first time!  I am so proud of my son and daughter-in-law, too.  Jackson was born weighing just under 5 pounds, and he's so cute!  
Jackson Parker
As my husband and I made the four hour drive to the panhandle of Nebraska (Yes! There is a panhandle!), I began thinking that I'm too young to be a grandma!  Our son is 22 years old, so of course I'm not really too young.  But I couldn't help thinking that grandmas are the older, gray haired women who love to rock babies in the church nurseries...right?  Obviously, that is wrong thinking.  God made our generations to be carried on and on and on.  We are called to instruct and guide the youth of this world to a relationship with Jesus having passed down that understanding from parent to child and eventually to the child's own children and so on.
Consider this:  Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says that we are to talk with our children when we sit at home, walk along the road, lie down and get up.  Keep them bathed in the Word daily and post them in our homes.  Psalm 22:30 says, "Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told of the Lord" (New International Version).  And Genesis 17:7, "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you" (NIV).  
I meditated on these Scriptures, I realized as grandparents we are positioning our children and our children's children to receive blessings from the Lord and to establish now the opportunity for them to train up their children in the way they should go so when they are older they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV). 
Being a grandma is still new and a bit surreal to me.  But as many new grandparents have traditions of planting a tree or flower in honor of the grandchildren or create stepping stones with the grandchildren's handprints on a tile, this is my opportunity to begin a tradition with my grandchildren, preparing the next generation to be told of the Lord.  I recently read the book, "The Promise Box" by Tricia Goyer.  In it, the main character's mother kept a box of important Scriptures, events in the life of the daughter, and things she wanted to tell her daughter, but couldn't just then.  That is what I am planning to do.  I'm going to begin writing down things for little Jackson so when he's older or I've left this world, he will have some knowledge and understanding of just who Gramma Lyn was.
So am I too young to be a grandma?  No.  I am merely entering a new season with new opportunities to share the Lord with the next generation!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Upcoming book reviews

Recently, I have been blessed with the opportunity to read a number of books and offer my review of them.  In the coming weeks, I'll introduce Mention Mondays!  This is my version of a book review.  After all, a good book is worth mentioning between friends, right?
You can look for reviews on these books in the next few weeks:

  • The Promise Box by Tricia Goyer
  • How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change a Person by Rhonda Rhea
  • Guys Don't Date Girls Named Jennie by Kerri Pomarolli
  • Daniel's Mighty Men by David Bergsland

And lots more!  Most are Christian fiction because I really enjoy reading those sorts of stories, but there will be some non-fiction thrown in as well.  We do need to keep increasing our learning and understanding of the Lord fresh in our hearts and minds!

What types of books do you enjoy reading?  Maybe I'll review YOUR favorite author right here!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Welcome to TIP TUESDAY!!

Today is our first Tip Tuesday link up and sharing!  

The theme for today is tips for homeschooling multiple grade levels.
As a homeschooling mom of eight, we very often used this one-room schoolhouse approach to teaching a variety of subject matter.  My tip is to include younger children in the actual teaching of the topics.  Kids are watching, listening and learning even when you least expect it!  They will surprise you with what they can grasp and retain even at young ages.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Struggles in Life

Fighting Through Challenges with Faith and Trust in the Lord

How many times have you said something like this:  "If only there weren't (fill in the blank)!  Then my life would be so much easier."  Or what about, "If I had more (time, money, opportunities, etc.), then I would be truly happy in life."  The trouble is, even if there weren't that one thing that prevents us from having an easy life and even if we had the things we currently lack to be happy, we wouldn't actually BE happy and wouldn't have an easier life.  We would still have struggles.
As you know by now, I often write about situations and things I'm going through.  My struggles right now are with pride and with finances.  First, let me talk about pride.  Pride is that thing inside me that keeps me from letting someone be right even when they really are wrong.  Pride makes me want to correct other people's grammar, spelling, pronunciation of words, and give blatant knowledge of facts that, honestly, no one except me cares to hear about.  Have you heard this about pride before:
  • Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall.
  • Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.
  • When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.
  • By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.
I think we have this innate nature in us that wants to be right, has to be right.  Because we live in a fallen world, our thoughts easily begin to turn to focus on “me.”  I know that I can overcome pride, and that is what has to be done in my life to walk with the Lord.  But I can’t do it on my own.  I must give myself wholly, completely over to God to be reshaped, remolded by Him.
Luke 10:19 says, “I have given you authority to overcome ALL the power of the enemy!”  I have the authority of God to not be prideful!  John says something similar, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Finally, in Romans 12:21 we read, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Now, onto finances.  This is an area that I really do not like to talk about.  Again, because of pride, but also because as an adult, I’m supposed to have all this financial wisdom and knowledge down pat…and I don’t yet! 
My husband and I tithe, we understand the law of sowing and reaping, and we have had some amazing teaching under our pastors about this.  Yet we struggle financially. 
In her book “Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes that will help you pay down debt, avoid financial stress, and keep more of what you make,” Carrie Rocha says that you can change your attitude and improve your finances.  

How many times have I said these five things myself:
  1. If only I had more money
  2. I deserve a treat
  3. It won’t happen to me
  4. I’ll fake it ‘til I make it
  5. I can’t afford it

Derek Prince says in his book, “Does Your Tongue Need Healing” that our words have shaped our lives today.  What I have said in the past is playing out today.  But I can change that!  And so can you.
Scripture says in Deuteronomy 28 that we are blessed!  We are “blessed when we come in and when we go out.”  “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
I think Carrie is right about me—I need to change my attitude.  And Derek was right, too—My tongue does need healing if I’m ever going to overcome Satan’s lies and start living a more humble, prosperous life.