Monday, September 30, 2013

Teachable Moments

Finding Time for Learning

I was talking with friend of mine about finding opportunities for teaching our kids.  Many times, school doesn't look like the typical day of sitting at a desk with a textbook open and a teacher lecturing while the students try desperately not to fall asleep.  Sometimes our school day involves a whole day of reading or exploring our lake for changes during the four seasons or rotating stations I've set up to give them a varied day of learning. 
Two of my children are involved in Civil Air Patrol, so their schooling also involves aerospace education and leadership skills.  Two of my children are very motivated to complete assigned work, so I am challenged to find other activities of learning for them to fill their days.  All in all, finding time for learning can be relatively simple once you throw out the idea of typical classroom learning.
Ideas for outside the box learning:
  • study the wildlife at a nearby lake (science)
  • have a middle school or high school student make dinner 2-3 times a week (home economics)
  • Play games like Yahtzee or Monopoly (math) 
  • Watch movies such as The Diary of Anne Frank, Letters from Iwo Jima or Flags of Our Fathers (history)
  • estimate lowest price and total grocery bill (math)
  • Bring pizza to a local fire station (hospitality/character development) 
Don't be afraid to step outside of the normal look of education!  When it comes to teaching our kids, we want to show them how to be self-motivated, lifelong learners and servants of Jesus!


Friday, September 27, 2013

You've Got Questions?

He's Got Answers...It's Alright Not to Fight

I like to be right and know all the answers to questions my friends have.  But I find myself trying to figure out the reasons why some people act the way they do, creating difficult situations for me or my family, and just seem to be a thorn in my side.  In my mind, I run the gamut of questions:
  • Why is this person treating me like this?
  • What did I do to make them act this way?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • Is it me or them that is behind their behavior?
The truth is, I don't have to know the answers to these questions.  My human side definitely wants to know if this is my fault and what my role was in creating this tension that has developed.  But the Word says: 
  • "The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace" (Exodus 14:14) 
  • "The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes" (Deuteronomy 1:30) 
  • "They will fight against you, but they shall not prevails against you.  For I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you" (Jeremiah 1:19)

So while my fleshly being tries desperately to figure out all the Whys and How Comes, my spirit has peace because I know that, as much as I'd like to fight, the battle belongs to the Lord!


Thursday, September 26, 2013


Daily Reflections of Praise to Share with Our Children

Recently at a prayer meeting at church, we were talking about Sukot, the feast of tabernacles (or booths) from our Jewish heritage.  One of the things our pastor shared is that throughout the eight day celebration, parents share stories of thanksgiving with their children.  They often begin at the literal beginning with thanking God who is the Creator of all things.  As the feast comes to a conclusion, the stories shift to things the parents are thankful for and it is a time of reflection on the blessings He has given us.

One of the things I am thankful for is that the Lord knows my beginning from my end.  Casting Crowns has a song called, "Already There."  It is an amazing testimony that God knows the outcome of our situations...every one of them!  He knows the struggles I am going through, the heartaches, the trials, and He already knows that I come out on the other side for the good.  "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come..." (Hebrews 9:11, NKJV).
What are you thankful for this past week?  The last month?  Have you shared that thanksgiving with your children?  What a great way to encourage them to do the same by setting an example of praise and thanksgiving to God!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting for the Bottom to Drop Out?

Stop Letting Satan Lie to You About Your Circumstances

Every day is a walk of faith in the Lord.  We trust Him to provide for us, to protect us, keep us safe in our comings and goings, and to get us through to wake up to a new day.  It is easy for me to lose sight of just what He is doing in my life when things are going well.  Oh, I give Him praise and glory and honor for it, but I think sometimes I take for granted that things have been going pretty well in my life.  
Recently, I mentioned that we were able to purchase a new-to-us minivan.  The conditions were what we asked for and more.  The insurance didn't go up more than a few dollars a month, and it is a relief to have a vehicle we feel safe traveling in to see our children and grandchildren.  Besides that, we have been thinking about getting a phone for our family photography business separate from our cell phones.  We were literally given favor with that purchase and needed no money up front.  That is always a plus for me!  But last night, I found myself giving into panic and allowed my thoughts to carry me from the faith that God is my provider.
Monday morning, when my husband received his paycheck, it seemed as though the bottom had fallen out, just as I thought it might.  But you know what?  I allowed that expectation to creep into my life and created lies and fears that I shouldn't have.  As Christians, we need to walk by faith, not by what we see in the natural!  Not by what we see in our bank accounts, not by what we see going on with our health, not by the lack that we can see permeating our country.  We need to see what God sees:  righteous, prosperous people living for Him! 
Remember this, too:  God can change your circumstances (and MINE!) overnight Just as he did for Joseph in Genesis, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth, Samuel, Aaron, Moses and so many others!  What we are looking at today, can be turned around 180 degrees by tomorrow.  We can experience living life in favor instead of waiting for the bad things to come.  In fact, we know trials will come as John said, "In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart! I've conquered the world!" (John 16:33, The Message).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Smells Like Fall

Smells make the holidays just come alive, don't they?  Here is a fun idea for making your home smell like fall from our friends at OrganizedChaosOnline!
(C) Organized Chaos Online

Monday, September 23, 2013

Are You Listening?

Tuning Into the Voice of the Father

Distractions are all around us.  We can't control them necessarily, but we can learn to tune in to the One who gives us focus, purpose and predestined us when He created us.  One big distraction we face is listening to the father of lies:  Satan!  
Our pastor recently taught on how we easily hear one little part of a lie and take it and make it something bigger...that we believe!  In Genesis, we read the story of Joseph.  After his brothers threw him in the pit and later sold him, they took his robe of many colors, smeared it with the blood of a young goat, and brought it back to their father, Jacob.  Well, those brothers simply asked their dad, "Do you recognize this robe?"  And from there, Jacob fabricated a mental picture of what probably happened to his favorite son, Joseph!  He only needed to see the blood on the robe and he created the idea that some wild animal killed Joseph--and he believed that for over 20 years!  What lies have you bought into that Satan whispered in your ear about YOU?  
Well, it is time to STOP listening to those lies!  God is not the one saying you have no future; you'll never accomplish your dream; you aren't good enough; or you'll always be stuck in that bad habit or addiction.  Satan is telling you that and it's up to YOU to stop listening to it!  You know, shame and guilt will keep you from your calling.  But how long are you going to stay there with that on you?  Jesus died to take away the shame, the guilt, the feeling of being inadequate to give you LIFE and life more abundantly!
Get in the Word and see what God says about you.  You are His beloved!  You are the righteousness of God in Christ!  You are no longer a slave but an heir and if an heir than a son of God!  
Tune in to the Voice of Truth and see what He has in store for you today!  Pretend HE is your favorite radio station or your favorite song and TURN IT UP!!!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Discovering Your Vision

Question and Answer Time

Wondering how to discover your vision?  Here are some questions to ask yourself and to meditate on as you seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal your calling to you.

  • What job, career or profession would I like to do, even if I wasn't getting paid to do it?
  • Is there a specific group of people I tend to be drawn towards at church, work, and social activities?
  • Who are the people in my sphere of influence?
  • What hobbies do I find myself going to when I have free time?
  • What were some of the dreams I had as a child?
  • What did I pretend most as a child (teacher, adventurer, boxer, rocketry, etc. NOT an exhaustive list, but think back to your childhood to what sorts of things you played!)?
  • Is my current job what I want to do or what I have to do to earn a paycheck?
  • If I could make money at it, I would really like to_____________?
  • The group(s) of people I want to talk to about Jesus include_______________________?
  • What is one thing I can do TODAY to start me in the direction of reaching these people for the Kingdom of God?
As you prayerfully and honestly answer these questions, do you see a pattern?  Do you see a particular group that you have a natural tendency to gravitate toward in social settings?  Find as many commonalities as possible because all those things will reveal your vision and assignment from the Lord!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Favor Flood

What Are You Expecting?

We've talked a little bit about favor floods of the Lord.  When good things, God things, begin to come more and more in your life, how to you respond?  I can tell you, I get overwhelmed!  Almost to the point that I can't breathe, and I begin to cry.  I can't tell you why, but I can tell you that is what happens to me when the Lord pours out His favor on my husband and I and our family.  If you ask him, my husband will tell you I look him and tears flow. 
The other day, as we experienced a favor flood after the devastating river flooding in our area, I began to meditate on just what I was expecting from a favor flood.  I mean, why does it overwhelm me so much?  Why do I cry?  Was this not what I was expecting from the Lord?!  The plain truth is that as much as I trust that the Lord has good things in store for me, I don't believe it.  So when favor and blessings begin to flow, I get overwhelmed because I wasn't really expecting it to happen.
Now, how do I change my thinking to believe what the Lord says He will do?  First, you need to get into the Word and let it speak to your spirit.  I say this as a reminder to myself mainly.  My best friend will call me and ask if I want to go for a ride and run errands.  Often, this turns into us having lunch out, her treat!  I don't expect her to take me to lunch each time, but I know her personality is to spoil me a little.  I know her.  However, I have put off my daily walks with the Lord and because of that I've let my relationship decline.  That's why when He blesses me, even after I've prayed for favor, I get so overwhelmed.  I don't know my Father God like I should.  
When I pray and ask for favor, I also need to expect it.  Why would I pray for something and not expect it to come to pass?!  Have you watched children make a Christmas list for Santa or even a "Wish List" for parents detailing what their greatest desires are for presents?  That's what we need to be like!  I'm not saying we make a big list of things we want God to give us, don't misunderstand me!  What I am saying is that with that sense of genuine expectation we need to ask the Lord.  He says, "Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." (John 16:23)  Come boldly to the throne of grace and ask.  In 1 John 5:14 we read, "Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."  When you pray and ask the Lord for favor or the right job or for healing or financial provision, know that He hears you!  And in hearing your requests, He will answer you.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Preparedness and Discernment

Get Ready and Be Ready

Greenway path behind Ken Pratt Blvd.
This weekend our family faced devastation in our town like we have never seen before.  We live in Longmont, Colorado where the rivers breached and flooded the town in epic proportions.  On Sunday, we were told to evacuate our neighborhood because a dam in the mountains that feeds into our nearby lake had failed.  We were given a limited amount of time to collect important papers and items before leaving.  I felt a peace about things as I quickly packed the kids' birth certificates, social security cards, my laptop, clothes and toiletries into a bag.  Two things crossed my mind as I hurriedly and practically packed:  1) how long might we be away from our home? and 2) what was the Lord speaking to me about this situation?

Since I had peace about this time of packing and leaving, I knew the Lord was in control.  We began to pray, called our pastors to stand with us in prayer, and created a plan for leaving and where we would stay.  I never felt completely that we would actually be leaving our home or that we were in any sort of danger.  I checked the city Website one more time before we left and the evacuation had been LIFTED!  We didn't have to leave!  The Lord protected us!  As we packed, we were getting ready and in being ready we were positioned to tune in to the discernment of the Holy Spirit as far as what was coming next.  That was followed by the peace of the Lord.

Cow pasture and farm land
We also had friends who were directly in the path of the flood waters.  Their house was UNTOUCHED!  Others around them had severe damage, but not that the couple.  They were prepared to leave if needed and they were evacuated for about three days.  When they returned home, they saw the destruction the flood had done to their neighbors' homes.  What a time to praise God for His protection over our friends!

When the flood waters of life come, get ready and be ready!

Included in the post are some pics from around our area.

Nearby golf course

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Decorating for Fall

Looking for decorating ideas for fall that compare to Martha Stewart level decor?  
Try this easy decorating idea!!

Like these tips?  Visit: for more practical tips!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 2001: The Day America Was Attacked

I remember the morning of September 11, 2001 in scattered details.  I had just finished nursing my nearly one month old son (the 7th child in our growing family!), and my sister called.
     "Are you watching the news?  Turn on the Today Show!  An airplane just hit one of the World Trade Center towers."
I quickly tuned in just as another plane circled around and hit the other tower!  I sat on my bed in disbelief.  My older children came and sat on the bed with me and we watched the events unfold.  The younger children ate breakfast and watched Sesame Street in the living room, oblivious to the turmoil and destruction that had occurred in New York.  My sons, older daughter and I were held captive by the sights on the news channel as the towers collapsed, reports of another plane impacting the Pentagon came in, and still one report much later of Flight 93 that had crashed in Pennsylvania and the passengers chose to try to subdue their assailant.  
     "We're taking back the plane!"  Words that spoke volumes of the level of threat those aboard were facing and that told of the determination of the people to do anything they could to protect our country at any cost.  They weren't soldiers.  They were business people, families, retirees, and patriots.  Oh, that I would have the courage if ever faced with that situation to take a stand as they did to not let an attacker reach his goal!
That day, all air traffic was grounded.  I remember how quiet the skies were and how plain and disturbing the sky looked with no white contrails from the commercials jets lacing them as I had come to expect.  It was a quiet and solemn day. 
As I thought back to that day and talked about it with my children, I realized the three younger ones had no clue what September 11th was all about.  Two years ago, my husband and I sat down with our five younger children.  The two older ones had some idea of what the events held, but we pulled up YouTube videos and watched the recorded newscasts.  We explained as much as we could and answered as many questions as we had answers for, but those three younger children (now 13, 12 and 10) will never fully grasp the impact and emotions and sadness of that day. 
Our kids 3 years after September 11, 2001. December 2004.
September 11th was a quiet day, but something happened to Americans in the days that followed. Patriotism grew and hit and all time high that hadn't been seen since World War II.  Unity sprung from the people of the United States and helping neighbors once again was a priority.  Men and women enlisted in our military to fight the unseen terrorist threats and take down those who were responsible.  God was called upon on a regular basis and church attendance rose dramatically.  These are the things I want my children to remember about September 11th.  That Americans returned to God; that sacrificing freedom for the freedom of the country was highly respected; that we can't live mundane lives and think we are immune to attacks; and that God is still needed in our country.

My prayer today is that our country not let subtle or elaborate attacks prevail, that we take a stand, and that God send revival to heal our land!  Let us PRAY!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TIP TUESDAY: Fall Treats

Courtesy of Organized CHAOS Online 
Do you have fun fall treats that you make for your kids as after school snacks or just for fun?  What are they?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Don't Listen to the Lies

The Enemy Can't Get to You If You Listen to the Father Instead

Last week I was feeling overwhelmed.  I usually plan well during a holiday weekend, and I'm a doer when it comes to getting things accomplished.  But this week I felt as though I was letting a lot of people down at nearly every turn.  I TRIPLE booked my Saturday morning events and had to choose which one I attended since they all occurred at the SAME.TIME. (How does that even happen?!).  I offered to photograph a new little family who welcomed their first baby, but I had to decline running errands with my mother to do the photo shoot.  And then I dropped the ball in getting some homeschooling paperwork to a potential new homeschooling family because my day got too hurried, and I forgot.  I remembered at 9:30 p.m.! 
I began to get down on myself.  I don't like to let people down and strive to walk in integrity, doing what I say I'm going to do.  But last week, I listened to the voice of the enemy lying to me and telling me that I was disappointing others.  My husband was a great comfort as he held me while I cried, and he told me that I needed to stop listening to that voice because it wasn't God talking to me.  That was just the reminder I needed to hear.  I have to focus on the Voice of Truth, not the Father of Lies!

Friday, September 6, 2013

One Word: Imagine

As I reflect on my One Word for the year, I can't help thinking about how the Lord has given me more than I could have imagined with my writing.  I have set goals of attending writing conferences, publishing books, and encouraging women as wives, mothers, and educators in their families.  But the connections I've made and the work I am doing is so much more than I had thought possible.
I once heard a story about a man who was walking by a magnificent mansion on one of the islands in Hawaii.  He said to the Lord, "I can't imagine ever living in a house like that!"  And the Lord told him, "You can't imagine it, so you will never see it either."  What have you limited God with because you've said you can't imagine it?  Maybe something like this:

  • I can't imagine not working outside the home.
  • I can't imagine not having to pay rent/mortgage.
  • I can't imagine publishing lots of books.
  • I can't imagine being debt free.
Every time we say those things, we are cutting off the vision.  If you can't imagine something, you probably won't attain it.  This week, let's change our thinking, change our words and start opening the opportunities for the Lord to do far exceeding beyond what we can hope, think, or imagine. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Great New Book for Teens! BIG is Beautiful by Kelly Martin


Can Brittany have the night of her life? Or is it all a lie?

Sample from the book:

The seven worst words ever spoken came out of Brittany Gregory's mom's mouth at breakfast, "I signed you up for math tutoring." Sure, she probably needs it (probably nothing, she'll fail without it), but the thought of having to stay in that school longer than she had to every day makes her sick. It's not the school's fault... just the few jerks inside.

Brittany's tutor is none other than Matt Taylor, senior quarterback-- all around hottie. At first, she's shy around him because, hello, Matt Taylor! But as he shows more and more unexpected kindness toward her, Brittany softens around him.

Unfortunately for Brittany, Matt's former girlfriend, the beautifully wicked Kendra Moses, has tormented Britt since eighth grade about her weight. In an unusual moment of brains, Kendra realizes Brittany's initials spell B.I.G.-- a hilarious (to the cheerleader) irony since Brittany isn't the smallest girl at school. 

With the Red Ball (Valentine's Dance) approaching, Brittany has to decide if her growing feelings for Matt are real, or if he's secretly been playing a part in Kendra's game all along.

Purchase BIG Is Beautiful at these online stores:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Calendars

Tip courtesy of organizedCHAOSonline  Enjoy practical tips  for every day and visit Organized CHAOS Online!!

What are you tip ideas for calendars?