Monday, December 21, 2015

Time for Family

For the next two weeks, we will be taking off from regular posts here at Super Mom the Illusion. It is important to prioritize during the holidays and for our family, spending time together and being present during Christmas and the New Year celebrations allows us to make sure that our priorities are right.

I'll post a few past articles, and can't wait to see and hear all about how creating your vision boards has gone for each of you. We're hosting a Vision Board Party at our church after Christmas to prepare for the new year. I'll be sure to write about all of the fun and exciting things we did, too!

For the next two weeks, give yourself permission to dream, set new goals, and expect good things from the Lord in 2016!!

Merry Christmas and a VERY Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This time of year many of us are moved by those who have less than us or are homeless. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your children compassion for others. You might give a homeless woman a flower or two, bake cookies to give out, hand out blankets, or make homemade laundry soap and take it to a local laundromat! Make a list of ideas and check them off as you do them.

Of course these are things we can do throughout the year, but this is an especially difficult time of year for many people. And amid the excitement of awaiting the presents under the tree for our children, it is good to remember not everyone is going to experience that. Christmas morning for the homeless seems like any other day. What better time to show the love of Jesus than during the celebration of His birth?

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 14, 2015

One Word-2016

For the past four years, I've encouraged you to choose one word to help guide and focus your activities for that year. As we near the end of 2015, I'd like to hear how your "One Word" for the year went. Do you look back over the past year and see your word written all over it?

Words have power and when we get that down inside of us, we will begin to see the plans God has for our lives coming to fruition.

So today, allow the Father to speak to you about what your word for the year should be. He knows what you want, need, and desire, and HE will tell you the right word for YOU!  Write it down!  Make your "one word" clear and focus on it as you go about your days in 2016!

Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets,that he may run who reads it" (NKJV).  So write your word down so you can see it, remember it, meditate on the WORD even when you are on the go! 

My challenge to you is to choose YOUR "one word" and tell us about it, and if you would like, why you chose it!  I can't wait to see all the wonderful words the Lord is giving us to use this year!!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Vision Boards: Pulling it All Together

This is it! The week we begin to create our vision boards! Are you excited? I know I am.

As we begin to layout our goals for 2016, remember, the order in which we place them on the board isn't as important as paying attention to be sure our goals are SMART. Be as accurate and specific as you can. Use colorful background papers, unique fonts, etc.

Here is an example of my first vision board. You'll notice it's colorful, has lots of pictures, even words. But it is lacking a few things. There are not as many specific and SMART goals, and there aren't very many encouraging words on it. You will want to make sure to include those on your own board and make it as much like you as possible.

Include your own style, your own favorite colors, and your own favorite quotes and sayings. I like quotes from Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and C.S. Lewis! But customize your board and really make it your own.

Maybe you'll want to get together with a bunch of girl friends and have a vision board making party! Take some pictures of that if you do and feel free to share them with all of us. Maybe someone will be inspired by your vision board!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

As we approach Christmas, it is often a good time to reflect on what your children have learned so far this school year. Take turns allowing your children to share favorite things that they learned or write some of their favorite homeschooling moments.

Ask them what they would like to do in the coming year, too. Do they want to go on field trips and if so where to? What about play groups or learning groups? There are lots of different things to do with your children and with other homeschooling families, even if your children aren't the same ages!

 It's also nice to take some time to evaluate your curriculum. Sometimes a particular curriculum just doesn't achieved the desired goal of engaging your student. That's okay!

Listen to your children. They might just tell you something about their learning styles that will help you teach them more successfully!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Vision Boards: Gathering Supplies

This week, we're going to collect our supplies for making our vision boards! Below are a few of the basic things you will need or want to do before we begin.

First, purchase a board. This could be anything from a cork board to poster board or even foam board. Something you can stick your photos and words to, write on, etc. and that is big enough to fit all your dreams for 2016!

Next, you'll want to get some photos. Magazines are great for that, so is printing off pictures from the Internet. Something that reflects your goal or vision. For example, if your goal is to pay for a family vacation to Disney World, you might find a photo of Cinderella's Castle or the infamous Epcot silver ball. Something that shows your destination, people you want to reach, island or country you want to visit, books you want to write, etc.

Then, you will want to refer back to your SMART goals. Here's where you're going to print of the deadline and perhaps cost for your goal or vision. Using our example of a vacation, you might print out the cost and due date for payment like this, "$4,976.20 by July 28, 2016!"  I downloaded the Disney font to use, too. On another sheet of paper you might even keep a record of your progress like the photo below:

Finally, you'll want to post encouraging quotes that will continue to motivate you to achieve your goals and vision. Zig Ziglar quotes are some of my favorites and you can find those on Use Scripture, too! Nothing activates your faith like applying the Word to your situation!

Additional things you will need include some sort of glue or tape (I use a tape runner so I can cover the variety of zies of my photos and glue tends to make magazine pages weak and tear easily), perhaps some decorative stickers, and some sort of adhesive or other way to hang your board up. Adhesive putty works well, but may stain walls. I like 3M Poster Strips or thumb tacks that I found at Dollar Tree.

Now we're all ready to assemble our boards, but that will happen next week! Be creative. Be specific. Be brilliant! Own your board!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vision Boards: Honing in On Your Passion

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I'm up getting the turkey ready for the oven, so I thought I would share with you something that I've committed to doing for the next 28 days to get ready for making my vision board. For the next 28 days, I want to challenge you. If you are willing to accept the challenge, here is what you'll need to do!

By now you should have begun compiling your list of 50 things you want to do. That was the assignment, if you will, from Monday. Now I want you to choose the top ten things from that list that you'd like to accomplish in the next 12-18 months. Here are the rules:

  • Write down your top ten things everyday
  • Use a separate page for each day
  • Don't look back on what you wrote the previous day; try to remember what you wrote
  • Try to write at the same time everyday

At the end of the 28 days, the things that you were able to remember successfully, especially with great accuracy, are the things in your heart, the things you are most passionate about on your list.

These things are what we're going to use to create our vision boards for 2016!! You'll be well on your way to accomplishing your goals because you're passionate about them, you'll see them everyday, and you'll want to move toward checking your goals off your list!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Activities for Thanksgiving Day:

These are just a few examples! What can you come up with on your own? Feel free to share!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Vision Boards: Getting Your Ideas Ready!

Over the past few weeks we've been talking about writing our goals. But what if you don't even know where to begin? Maybe you don't think you can pinpoint just what you want to accomplish in 2016. That's okay! This week, we're going to figure out just where your passion lies and those things that you truly desire to achieve in the next 12-18 months!

This week, I want you to write down at least 50 things you want to do before you die. It can literally be ANYTHING. Skydiving, learn another language, take a trip overseas, pay off debt, run a marathon, lose 40 pounds, meet your favorite celebrity, have a family vacation in Mexico, write a book, attend the Super Bowl or World Series, organize the whole house, buy a new car, visit all the beaches in the United States, take a short term missions trip, open a center for teens, and the list goes on and on. Big or seemingly small, there are no limits! Dream as big as you want and be specific. Later this week we're going to do something with that list, so be on the lookout for another Vision Board post this week!

The Bible says that without vision ( or dreams and goals!), the people will perish (Proverbs 29:18).

Earl Nightingale said, "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going."

And Zig Ziglar said, "If you want to reach a goal, you must 'see the reaching' in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal."

Walt Disney once said," If you can dream it, you can do it!"

Finally, my favorite speaker, Terri Savelle Foy, added her own paraphrase to Walt's by saying, "If you can dream it, GOD can do it!"

This week, write anything and everything you've ever wanted to do.  This is where your dreams and vision begin!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

Next week is Thanksgiving, and I confess that I am looking forward to having that time off from my weekly obligations. That's not to say that I don't enjoy them because I really do! I wouldn't trade any of them for anything else. But I am also aware of the amount of time each of them consumes in my life. Taking a break means I have time to catch up on writing, reading, crafts, and fun with my kids.

My sister is a teacher. She leaves early in the morning to prepare herself and the classroom for the day's activities. She also isn't able to clean her house regularly like she did before she became a teacher. But I know she wouldn't trade a SPOTLESS house for the privilege of teaching her 5th graders! And at the same time, she is also looking forward to her own break from school.

We both are so very thankful for the jobs we have and the lives of people and kids that are intertwined within ours. But breaks are definitely necessary to refresh and encourage us.

What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving? What breaks do you plan to take?


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it's important to teach our kids gratitude in special things and in everyday things. I've talked before about building strong character in our children, and this is just another aspect of that. 

As a homeschooler, there are many reasons to teach our children to express gratitude, from meaningful expressions of thankfulness to writing thank you cards immediately. Children of all ages and skill levels can benefit from learning this one trait. 

Three things kids can do, some with the help of a parent, are:

  • Write a thank you note for a gift recently received
  • Write 3 things your child is thankful for each day
  • Make a gift wish list...for other people. (Gifts your child would like to give or make for someone else!)

I encourage you to take this next week to focus on gratitude and instilling that character trait in your child. If you come up with other ideas, too, please share them here!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Vision Boards: Creating SMART Goals

This week, we are going to begin organizing the goals we've been praying about and writing down. In order for goals to be successful, they must meet certain criteria. The acronym for this is SMART.

S-Specific. Make goals specific and not general. If you need $20,000 for a down payment on a house, put that down. If you want to lose 17 pounds, put that down. If you want to pay for a Disney vacation that costs $3,000, write it down. If you want to increase your income by a certain amount, put that down. Avoid generalizations such as "money for a down payment on house", "lose weight", or "increase monthly income." These goals are good, but too broad.
M-Measurable. We have to be able to see the progress, measure it and realize that even if we aimed for 100%, we might have gotten 50% of the goal. For example, if we need to pay for that vacation that costs $3,000, we might create a chart where we can mark off milestones such as paying every $500.
A-Action-oriented. Goals require us to put forth an effort. As Christians, it's common to believe that God can and will do the impossible. That doesn't mean we don't have to put in some leg work of our own. We must take action, begin moving toward our goals, doing things that move us toward achieving our goals. For example, if I want to write a book in 30 days, I actually have to sit down at the computer and start typing on the keyboard! The book isn't going to write itself. If you want to record a CD, you have to gather or write music, find a recording studio, and actually record the songs. It's the same for any one of our goals.
R-Realistic. Goals that are way out there may not in fact be realistic goals, especially if they are not action-oriented. For example, it is not a realistic goal that you would increase your income to one million dollars by playing the lottery. Now, don't misunderstand. If that is God's will and plan for you, He can make that happen. But it's not a realistic goal and there is no action really required. Having a goal of weight loss is realistic, but losing 100 pounds in 2 months is not. Get the idea? Setting smaller goals drives you and increases your commitment to accomplishing the overall goal. So losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks is more realistic. Make sense?
T-Timeline. I think this is where our goals are achieved or not. If we don't give ourselves a timeline for accomplishing our goals, we have no drive to complete them. So if I say I want to write a book, well, that could be next week, next month or next year because there is no commitment to completing it sooner rather than later. 

Below is my first vision board. Looking at it, you can see that there are no SMART goals. In fact, the only goals I did add SMART goals to was publishing my books. I only published one. That is the only goal I accomplished on this board three years ago! 

When we create our vision boards in the next few weeks, we need to make sure we include these SMART goals with each goal. Let's say I want to save for a trip to Disney World. It might look something like this before I put it on my board:

Specific: Six day, five night trip to Disney World in September 11-16, 2016
Measurable: Cost for all 6 family members to go is $4,967.20 and includes Fort Wilderness campsite, park hopper park passes, and Dining Plan.
Action-oriented: Everyone must work to save the money for this trip.
Realistic: We can pay $400 per month from paychecks and need to work for $152 a month in addition to meet the goal.
Timeline: We will pay for the vacation 45 days prior to our arrival, July 28, 2016.

Do you see how each of these components work together to give us a very real, clear picture of a goal? This is exactly what you're going to do with each of your goals that you want to put on your vision board! Remember what it says in Habakkuk 2:2: Write the vision, make it plain. 

You may think that all of this takes a lot of work just to get ready to start working toward your goals. It does take a lot of work! But if God didn't require something of us in accomplishing these goals, we would be in danger of taking the credit for the achievements ourselves and taking the focus off of God's power to help us finish it.

Terri Savelle Foy says, "When you're ready, get ready!" We are ready to get more specific and more committed to our goals for 2016,,,and we start TODAY!!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

My confession for this week is simply that I can't do it all in my own power and strength. I need the Lord's help in my life, and that is why I made Him Lord and Savior over me. My job is to live out His dream for my life.

Did you know Jesus has a dream for your life? Well, He does, and He wants you to succeed in life, too. Ever wonder why you want to write so much, create things, help people, give of yourself, invite people into your home, fix every little thing? Well, it's because your spirit desires to get that calling out and it's coming out however you will let it!

God has so much more than we could ever hope or think. He just wants us to fully surrender to Him, so that His plan and will for our lives can be carried out.

So, the choice is yours today. Will you fully surrender your life to God so that all He has for you can be made real? Remember, someone is waiting on the other side of your obedience!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Today is Veteran's Day. So I want to encourage you to teach your children about our veterans, their legacy, what they might have gone through, and to support our veterans. One way you can do that is to attend your local Veteran's Day parade. You can also visit a local nursing home, VFW or American Legion and talk to the people there who are veterans. Let them listen to their stories and feel the patriotism that still, many years later, seems to still ooze out of these veterans, proud of their service to our country.
Then, ask your children how they want to continue honoring our veterans after today's festivities and celebrations are over. I'm sure they will come up with great ideas!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Vision boards: Let the Dreaming Begin!

This week, we're going to start a vital part of creating our vision boards. We're not ready to start cutting out pictures and pasting on words and phrases yet, but we are ready to start writing down those things we want on our boards.

Two weeks ago, I asked you to get with the Lord and ask Him what He has for you for 2016. Did you do that? If not, it's not too late to start right there. If you did, you're ready for the next step. Today, begin writing down what the Lord spoke to you. Some of those things may seem silly or even impossible! That's okay. Write them down. You can even note that it seems silly if you want to, but also note that you're going to follow God in whatever way He leads you toward that silly thing.

Another thing you might do if you aren't sure where to begin is to simply write what you see. What do you see yourself doing in a month, a year, two years from now? Write that down. Do you have a dream to go on a family vacation? Write it down. Do you have a dream of having an outreach to the homeless? Write it down. Do you have a dream of helping people? Write it down. The Bible says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Dr. Dave Martin, America's top  Christian success coach, said that in order to accomplish a goal, "it has to be seeable before it is believable." In other words, you have to see it in your mind first. Can you imagine yourself doing some of the things you're writing? 

A man was praying and walking along the shore in Hawaii when he looked up and saw a beautiful mansion. He simply said to himself, "Wow! I could never imagine living in a house like that!" And the Lord spoke to him and said, "And you never will." It was at that moment that the man knew he had to change his thinking. It's the same way with us! One of my favorite quotes is from Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it." But I like Terri Savelle Foy's twist on it: "If you can dream it, God can do it!"

Start writing down your dreams and what you see the Lord telling you about 2016. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision plain on paper, so that you can see it on the run." Close your eyes and see what the Lord is showing you...
Do you see it? Write it down!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week, was less hurried for me than previous weeks. I simply attended a creative meeting at church instead of my usual youth organization meeting. I began to think that maybe that was a sign that I shouldn't be doing the youth organization any more. Maybe I had finally taken on more than I could do. And you know what? That's true! I have taken on more than I can do on my own.

But God is my life preserver. He is waiting for me to just give it all to Him and let go. I can't do anything in life in my own strength. The Word says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
You see, no matter how much I try to accomplish all these tasks and do all I can, giving 100% of myself, I will fail without God. He knows the more we try to take on and do ourselves, the more likely we are to burn out and make things worse in our lives. He wants us to lean on Him, fellowshipping with Him and asking Him to help us succeed.

Remember that God wants to be involved in our lives. He's just waiting for us to invite Him in! What have you been trying to do on your own? What have you still not given to the Lord? Give it to Him today!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This week a friend called and simply asked for a "pep talk." Her homeschooling day had been less than desireable, and she was feeling frustrated. That made me stop and think that there are other moms who probably just need that little pep talk that says, "You can do this!" Moms that need to hear some encouragement beyond a "Hump Day Encouragement."

Homeschooling Mama, you can do this. Don't look at the failures of the day, look for the small victories. They are there. As far as I'm concerned, education is not meant to simply fill children with information but rather to teach them how to learn. Don't compare your child to another. Don't compare your homeschooling with anyone else's journey. Has your child learned something today? This week? This month? Is your child taking on more responsibilities in the home, helping with chores, brothers and sisters, and offering to help you with your daily tasks? Are relationships changing for good between you and your children? Do you still believe that homeschooling is the best educational choice for your family? Then your homeschooling is successful! That is the goal of teaching your child at home. 

The Bible says, "Commit your works to the LORD and your thoughts will be established." If you believe your homeschooling time will be successful, it will. If you believe your child will learn, he will. The Lord will establish your thoughts if you commit to teaching your children to the best of your ability!

You may feel as though you can't get beyond the fact that sometimes teaching your child is like talking to a wall. But your child is still learning. Remember, learning doesn't always have to take place with a textbook or workbook. Maybe your child does well with technology-based learning. Great! There are lots of apps for mobile devices that can help. Maybe your child is a hands-on, experimenting kind of kid. Great! There are websites out there that have free or low cost experiments to do right at home. Maybe your child needs more time sitting with you while you read to him or her. Great! The Children's Bible is a wonderful place to begin, and the Children's Bible app is now available. What better book to read together thank the Word of God?

These are all suggestions, but I think you get the idea. Schooling isn't all about the academic knowledge a child has retained, though there is a place and time for that. It's about helping to create lifelong learners who are driven to learn by a passion to know more!

Have a great rest of the week, Mama!


Monday, November 2, 2015

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
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!!!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

The past two weeks we've been praying about what the Lord has planned for us in 2016. We'll soon begin to get things set in order to create our vision boards, too! And that is just what my confession is about today...I'm so excited thinking about the things to come in the New Year, that I think I'm beginning to live in the future and not in the present. I don't want to do that, though.

How many times have we so looked forward to an event, a trip, a particular day coming that it seems all we focus on is THAT day, and we begin to miss out on the everyday blessings right in front of us? I know that I have had that happen. I so looked forward to a trip, that I forgot to plan things leading up to that day! Then I seemed to rush to play catch-up and get back on track. Well, as much as I am wanting to get started on my vision board and focusing on that more and more, I have to reign myself in, like wild horses. I can't let my ideas and thoughts of the future guide me. Just picture a bunch of wild horses running. Nothing guides them; they just run! I can't do that! I have to have a plan and focus on what God has for me.  I MUST lean on the Lord and the direction of the Holy Spirit in order to set myself up for success for this year because this year isn't over yet, so I can't move on to the things of next year yet!
Used with permission from Pixaby
So, what are you looking forward to that might be stealing your time from living in the present? Do you need to reign in your own "wild horses"?


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

I haven't really talked much about when our homeschooling day, or really any day for that matter, begins to frustrate us. The kids are arguing (again, in my case!), the dog puked on the carpeting just off of the tile (which would have been far easier to clean up!), one child is screaming at the top of his lungs and another is coloring on the permanent marker! Ahhhh!!!

With my older children, I would yell at them to stop doing this or that. I would threaten them with taking a toy away or worse...wait until your father gets home! And I would spank. Correction is not what I'm going to address today, though. That is a post for another day...

What I really want you to know today, mama, is that we all get stressed. We all have troubled days. None of us ever has perfect days all the time. And, just like any other time when we seize the moments we can teach our children something valuable, a day like I just mentioned is a great day to show by example how to respond.

Sometimes we have a bad attitude. We get frustrated with something or someone and we just want to throw in the towel on everything...homeschooling, child rearing, cleaning, etc. But this is a great time to teach our children some character traits. Yes, we've gotten frustrated, but now what? Well, take a timeout. Tell the kids why you are in need of a timeout and step away for a few minutes. (Never leave the house or leave small children unattended!). Be honest with your children. They understand so much more than we give them credit for. "Mommy has a bad attitude and I need to sit in the bathroom on a timeout for 5 minutes." This is a great time to be in prayer, too. When the allotted time has passed, come out and ask your children to forgive your for your bad attitude. This does 2 things: It shows them that it's okay to have a bad attitude every now and then. But it is NOT okay to continue to have a bad attitude and that it must be changed. Plus, you're teaching your children to be humble and to forgive!
This week, I encourage you to look for those moments where you can teach character to your children. It will change their lives and yours!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Vision Boards: Preparing for Your Vision

I am so excited to be talking to you about starting to create your vision boards! I am going to begin working on mine, too, as we get closer to the New Year, so don't think you have to go out and get the answers to your questions right away. You may be wondering "How do I know what my vision is?", "I don't know if I can really accomplish this dream.", or "I don't even know where and how to begin!"

Well, today we're going to begin to prepare for creating our vision boards. And the best place to start is in prayer. In the coming weeks, ask God what His plans are for you. Ask Him to reveal them to you as you go throughout your day, during your daily devotional time, and as you sleep. This is where I get the first glimpses into what the Lord has for me for the coming year! As you hear from the Lord, begin to write things down and don't stop and look over what you've written. Often times this is when we will say, "Oh, why did I write that?! I can't possibly achieve that! I'll cross it off my list of things the Lord has for me in the coming year." As soon as your carnal man sees that it isn't possible in the flesh, it will begin to protest and reason with why that thing is even there. Don't let yourself listen! Allow your spirit and the Spirit of God to communicate and "hear" from the Lord what He has for you. 

Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, NKJV). And finally, Matthew 19:26, "But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" He didn't say only the things we think we can do. He didn't say only the things other people think are practical. He didn't say as long as these things fall into a certain category. He said with God ALL things are possible.

In the next few weeks, just wait on the Lord. Listen to what He's saying to you about 2016 and the things He's going to do for you! This is going to be your BEST year yet!!


Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

Good morning, sisters!

Today, I want to talk to you about choices. Everyday we're faced with several choices. Do we want paper or plastic? Jeans or a skirt? Painted nails or not? Get out of bed or stay in? Go to work or call in sick? Frappachino or green tea lemonade? McDonald's or Chick-fil-A? And the list goes on and on. We also have to make the choice of what to do with our lives. You may think, "The only way I can survive is by working at a job I don't like." But that isn't necessarily true! You have to make the choice to have a dream or vision for your life...and follow it!

My 'fess up today is that I am choosing to pursue the Lord and cast a vision for my blog, my books, and as a speaker! As I told you all on Monday, I was blessed to be able to attend a women's conference last weekend. I was so inspired by the motivation of the speaker, that I actually told her I am going to be at your event in a guest speaker! Now I'm not being boastful about that. It takes a lot of faith to believe you heard something from the Lord and act on it. And that is just what I was doing, being obedient. I wrote that on my vision board and I look at it on my app everyday believing the Lord to cause that to come to pass.

You can do the same thing! The Bible says that God is not a respecter of persons. Meaning, he doesn't look at the big name evangelists any differently than he looks at you and me. So this week, I would encourage you to be bold in your faith believing God for your dreams and visions!

Have a blessed weekend!!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Dare to Dream!

This weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to go to a women's conference hosted by one of my favorite speakers. Her sister is one of my other favorite speakers, too. Anyway, the weekend was infused with a powerful message to dare to dream and to allow God to cause your dreams to come to pass. I know we have discussed vision and dreams and goals before, but this weekend something lit up inside me. It was more than just acting on emotion. Let's face it, some of those motivational speakers can really rev you up...until you get home and back into reality. But this was different.

This time I felt a nudge from the Lord. I believe He was telling me it's time to kick it up a notch, as Emeril Lagasse likes to say. I can't merely continue in the complacency I've gotten comfortable with in writing. I have to be willing to do something to take this vision and dream of mine to the next level.

Sisters, I want to encourage you, too, that the Lord has given you visions, dreams and goals because He sincerely wants to see you succeed in them and have what you have put your faith on! I don't know what that is for you. Maybe it's writing a book, speaking to a particular group of people, saving for a special vacation, increasing your household finances, losing weight, becoming more bold in sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Whatever you had a passion for an pushed to the back burner of your life, God gave you that dream, that passion for a reason. He wants to use you for the Kingdom and now is the time!

In the coming weeks, I'm going to talk about creating our vision boards once again. This time, we want to celebrate the victories as they happen to each one of us! So let's get ready for an online vision board party! Walt Disney once said "If you can dream it, you can do it!" And Dr. Dave Martin, a Christian motivational speaker, said, "It (your vision, dream, goal, passion) has to be seeable before it is believable!" In other words, you have to see it in your mind before you can believe you can achieve it. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision and make it plain." Read on to the next verse (this is powerful)...

You have to write the vision, make it plain and focus on it knowing it will come at the right time!

In the next few weeks, I'm going to talk about how to make a vision board and explain more why a vision board is so important for you in your life.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week, as you probably noticed, I took most of the week off from my blog. I am gearing up to go to a wonderful women's conference, and I'm expecting good things. In order to prepare for this conference, I wanted to make sure I finished up my typical end of the week tasks, spent time with my husband who will be driving his route while I'm gone, and took time to allow the Lord to work in me those things I will need to be willing and ready to hear from Him.

I confess that while I am willing, I wasn't sure I was quite ready to accept ANYTHING the Lord wanted to do. But I kept coming back to this quote--"Do it afraid!" You know being willing to go to Africa and actually having to GO are two very different things! Well, the Lord wouldn't give me something that wouldn't be for my good and His glory, so I decided today that I AM willing to do whatever it is He requires of me at this conference. I have no idea what that means! It might mean to lead someone to the Lord as we make the drive from Colorado to Texas. It might mean that I have to give something up that is distracting me from my calling. Or it might mean that I am going to be used in a way I cannot even think or imagine! I just don't know! But I do know the Lord is a loving God and He won't let any harm come to me.

So today and Saturday, I'll go where I'm called and do what He asks of me...even scared.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

I try to be very transparent when speaking about my walk with the Lord. I hope that is what you see here in my blog. This week I had a particularly challenging week. I felt as though someone was trying to take advantage of one of my children, and I intervened. That was my first mistake. This person that I believe is and was trying to take advantage of my son is also family. It was through a deal that was very ambiguous and my son was doing his best to walk in integrity...and he did. But I stepped in to battle this family member. That was my second mistake.

I began to turn to the Word and see what the Lord said about situations like this. I quickly found Matthew 18:23-34. This is the story of the servant who owed his king a debt, but couldn't pay. He threw himself at the mercy of the king begging him to not throw him in jail. The king had mercy and released the servant from his debts. The same servant then went to those who owed him debts and demanded they pay. When they couldn't pay, he had them thrown in jail and gave them no mercy. When the king heard of the servants actions, he had the servant sent to the torturers until he could pay his debt.

That was sure fitting for this situation, so I felt justified in standing up for my son even at the expense of my other family member.

Then I came across this verse:

The Lord will fight for me...except I didn't give Him that opportunity and stepped in to do it myself. My confession today is that I didn't have to do or say anything, but I did! God was going to take care of things on my son's behalf. But I blew it. But my God is a merciful God and even though I acted on my emotions, He works all things for my good.

If you found yourself doing or saying something this week instead of allowing God to handle it, ask Him to forgive you. And ask the person you acted out on or spoke out against to forgive you, too. I know next time I will remember Exodus 14:14 before I speak out!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

In our homeschool, we use a variety of curricula. Some of the kids use an online curriculum and some use regular textbooks and workbooks. But sometimes, even when the kids don't want to, we have to do lessons in the books and by the books. The key to getting the kids to cooperate is making learning fun! 

  • Have each child take a turn playing "teacher" and work through explaining the steps involved in solving a math problem
  • Play classical praise and worship music
  • Relate the skill or topic, if possible, to an interest of the child (such as evaluating the points standing of NASCAR drivers!)
  • Dress the part when it comes to history (dress like pilgrims, like minutemen, etc.)
  • Use dry erase marker boards so everyone can see even the younger children
The idea is to focus on what IS learned, not what you didn't finish. Also, remember that we want to teach our children to become lifelong learners, so we want them to become creative in how they learn, too. Kids don't fit into cookie cutter shapes, so don't be afraid to try something different!


Monday, October 5, 2015

The Time is Now!

I am passionate about writing. It's one of my favorite things to do along with social media, public relations, and women's and youth ministries. Recently, I've been neglecting some of those thing that I really am on fire about. How did that happen? When did it happen? I know that God gave me these talents, so why is it so difficult to stay focused on them? What am I waiting for? What changed?!

The fact is that nothing has changed. I have simply allowed myself to get more and more distracted by things that have nothing to do with my passion. If you're feeling like that with your passion, calling, dream or vision, I have good news for you! You can reignite that passion once more. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Write your passion down
  • List those things you have committed to that do not align with your passion
  • See what you can eliminate in your daily activities that is stealing time from your passion
  • Read the Word everyday
  • Pray and ask the Lord for more opportunities to use your talents and passion

This is just a short list to get you started. As you draw more and more near to the Lord and are about His business, He will be about yours. He didn't give you the talents and passion you have in life to have them hidden and go unused. The time is now to focus on those things and pursue them!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

I know this is a day late, but I thought about some of the things we teach our children aren't academic but sow into their character...

This week, my husband, three of our sons and I helped a friend move out of her hold home and into a new one. We didn't do school that day at all. But we were able to show, through example, compassion, service and willingness to help others. We don't always have to be wrapped up in completing the workbook and textbook. 

Filling our kids with information is not all there is to educating them. We must also remember that we are raising competent, intelligent and capable children who will become adults who have strong morals, values and beliefs. Instilling good character in our children now allows them to be prepared for situations they will encounter throughout their lives. Consequently, instilling a strong relationship with Jesus will help us in teaching these valuable character traits in our children.

Don't be afraid to step away from the books to help someone move, to spend the day with an older person from church, or to help someone around their house with cleaning. This is school, too, even if it doesn't LOOK like school!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Use It Or Lose It!

Have you heard  can't that saying before..."Use it or lose it"? What does that mean to you? In some instances it might mean a skill you learned in school, like quadratic equations or diagramming sentences. It might mean a coupon for a free latte. It could even mean the talent God has given you. And that is what I want to talk about today.

Each one of us was born with specific talents and gifts to be used in some way for the Kingdom of God. We were given the talent of writing or speaking or compassion or helping or service or a number of other things. And only you can use the talent you were given. I can't write stories in the same way my favorite authors write their stories nor will I reach the same people they will reach. It's the same thing with each of us. We may have similar talents, but they can and will be used to reach different people. 

Consider the master who gave his servants each a specific number of talents. To one he gave five, to another two and to another just one. What happened to each of those servants when they were given their talent? Here's what the Word says:

I want to be like those guys, don't you? But what about the third servant? The Scripture tells us that the last servant was afraid he would lose what he was given, so he hid that one talent! He buried it.
"And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents" (Matthew 25:25-26, 28).

How often have I thought my writing wasn't up to the same caliber as my favorite authors and thought there was no point to me writing my stories? More often than I should have, that's for sure. But I wrote them and I wrote them afraid. Afraid that I might fail, afraid that no one would buy my books and afraid that people would think my stories belonged in the garbage! But I chose not to hide and not to quit.

My dear sisters, whatever talent the Lord has given you, USE IT! Don't be afraid of what others might think. God gave you the talent He did that it would reach and touch even one person and change their eternity for good! Terri Savelle Foy says, "Someone is waiting on the other side of your obedience." Meaning, someone is waiting for you to do what God has called you to do! 

Start moving in your talent today! If you don't use it, just like the servant who hid his talent, it might be taken away...


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week has been busy, but good. I've enjoyed sleeping again since taking care of my mom following her knee replacement surgery. It has actually been my pleasure to take care of her! But that's not my confession today.

My confession is that today when my sister asked me if I had heard back about a job I had interviewed for, I had to tell her that I had honestly forgotten about the job! That made me stop and think a little bit. If the job had been important to me, would I have remembered I was waiting to hear back about it? Was I just too wrapped up in the duties of the week to remember? Or is it not part of God's plan for my life right now so He removed it from my mind already filled with tasks?

I really don't have the answer. But I do know that if it's something I'm supposed to do, I'm going to be thinking about it. I'm going to be looking at everything I can do to impress on those who do the hiring process to "pick me!" But I'm not doing that. I confess that while taking care of my mother this week and losing sleep shocked me and for a brief amount of time made me a bit angry, but I'm so glad to be a part of seeing her getting better and better everyday!

Maybe you're rushing to get back into the workforce after having children. Maybe you are looking forward to the time when your children go off to school. But don't be too eager to move on to the next phase of your life. Enjoy where you're at now.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Today, I wanted to share links to some of my favorite websites for worksheets and curriculum! Since there is a vast amount of curriculum options available, I thought you might like to see what I have used and let you visit the sites yourself to check it out for your family!

What curricula does your family currently use? What do you like about it? What have you tried and decided against using? Feel free to share your own experiences!! You may help another homeschooling mom choose the best curriculum for her family, too!

Printables and Worksheets:

Links to Curriculum:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Not My Power, Lord, But Yours

For the past few days I have been stretched thin, more than I ever have before, even with raising eight children. I got a total of 4 hours sleep last night, and, in the process, I cleaned the kitchen at 3:30 a.m. I have dreams that interrupt my sleep and cause me to not be able to fall back to sleep so easily. It has been a battle for me because as much as I want to help, I can't do it in my own strength. 

The Word says: "He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength, causing it to multiply and making it to abound (Isaiah 40:29, Amplified). So no matter how tired I become, how in a fog I am going through daily tasks, or how much I think I should just throw in the towel, I know that He will give me the strength I need to finish this particular race! 

If you are like me, you need to be reminded of that regularly. You know, we can accomplish what we're given to do each and every day! We can run this race, tired and exhausted and ready to give up! We can complete the thing that He has called us to in this season in our lives! 

Don't give up!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This week, my mother had knee replacement surgery. It was a great opportunity to explain to my kids just why the surgery was needed, what happens during the surgery and how we can believe God for healing no matter where our faith is, meaning believing Him for healing, the surgery to be a tool in our healing, etc.

My children were able to visit a different environment than our schooling environment and it exposed them to possible future careers. One thing I am a proponent of doing is allowing kids explore the "what if" of learning. What if my son was captivated by the physical therapist's role in health care? What if my daughter decided clown ministry at the hospital is something that she would like to learn about? What if the smells at the hospital turned my other son's stomach? And the "what ifs" are endless.

Next time a relative has surgery or a friend's son enlists in the military or you check out your local grocery store think of the learning opportunities and teachable moments that are present. It will open your child's mind to the possibilities in life!


Monday, September 14, 2015

But in everything...

Last night, our church celebrated Rosh Hashanah and the Feast of Trumpets. It was an exciting and moving time as we lifted up Israel in prayer. It was also a motivating time for me. I want to do what the Lord has called me to do! I want to be found on the day of His return immersed in work for the Kingdom of God. Recently, though, I've been feeling conflicted with just what that is.

I thrive on doing social media posts, writing, sharing information, meeting and talking to people, and educating my children. I know I have a calling to write, minister to women, and work with youth. So how does all this fit together? How can I accomplish all of this myself?

The answer, surprisingly, is that I can't!

I can't know from my own knowledge which door to walk through, which "job" is the right one for me to accept, or what group to work with. I can approach each door in prayer, though. 

You may find yourself in a similar situation. Maybe you have some decisions to make, and, like me, you want to make the "right" decision for you, your family, and most importantly, for God. You may feel as though you aren't hearing from Him on which route to take. That's okay for now. Just pray about each opportunity and ask Him to open the right doors at the right time so that you know it was Him. I can assure you that if you seek Him, He will not abandon you, leave you in the dark, or be silent. 

The Word says, "This is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15, NKJV). Let's boldly ask in prayer for the Lord to reveal to us His plans, His path for our open opportunities, and be found doing what He has assigned us for His Kingdom!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

My 'fess up this week is that I am finally feeling like I'm getting back on track with the calling the Lord has given me. And yet there are some things I am still unsure of, but I know the Lord will work it all out. Sometimes you just have to push some doors to see which ones will open and which ones you need to leave alone!

If you've had a time of uncertainty, wondering where you're supposed to be going in life, and how everything is going to play out, just trust the Lord. He has plans for you better than you can ever hope, think, or imagine! He has your best interest in mind and He knows the gifts you have to be used at a specific time and place. Don't get so wrapped up with thinking that confuses you. Meditate on the Word and know that He is in control!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

"Help! I've just started my homeschooling year and we're already behind!"

Homeschool mama, if this is you, know that you are not alone! You may be wondering how, at the beginning of the school year, you got off track. I've been there. Life gets busy. The kids have activities and events, appointments come up, and we find ourselves doing school on the run. The books seldom come with us, so in my mind I begin to think, "Oh, no! Another day without doing school!" 

As we have discussed before, school goes so much farther than spending time in textbooks and workbooks. It's about teaching our children to want to learn about the world, people, the way things work, along with how to read, write, perform mathematical calculations, understanding science and remembering history. All of those things work cohesively to form in our child a desire to learn and that is the end goal, in my opinion. 

So today, Mama, if you are behind and wondering how and why that happened, just remember the things you are doing outside of the books and ask yourself, "Did my child learn something new today?" Teaching how to learn is our job!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

I confess that this week I didn't accomplish the things I wanted to. I felt like I was playing catch-up all week after returning from vacation. I didn't plan very well. I thought I would just jump back into my normal routine after rising early and going to bed late for a week playing at our favorite theme parks!! That so didn't happen.

But the good news for me, and for you if your week has been less than successful, is that His mercies are new every morning for us! And with this long holiday weekend coming, we can take that time to get back into the regular good habits we might have been slacking in last week.

Being conscious of the fact that we each have a call on our lives and a job to do, work that must be accomplished, we can focus better when we face a new day. It's not a do-over but rather an opportunity to get back on track with God.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

I remember when I was a new homeschooling mom. The choices in curricula were overwhelming, but I wanted to chose just the right one for my children. I also wanted to make sure I was within our state's compliance for homeschooling and wanted to keep detailed accurate records of all the work that each of my children did...every year! I had meticulous notebooks with schedules, lesson plans, attendance sheets, hours worked, etc. Still, something was missing.

I realized as I became consumed by these records and little details, I was missing out on some precious teaching moments with my children. I was concentrating more on making sure they finished the workbooks than allowing their exploration of the world around them. I was wrapped up in paperwork that I thought I needed to have in place. And I missed opportunities with my older children that I can't get back. Thankfully, I have been able to implement change with my younger children and they thrive on learning and investigating things that peak their interest.

Today, remember that it isn't necessarily about the paperwork, finishing the workbooks, having lists and schedules, and making sure documentation is in order. Take time to ask your children what they are interested in and begin showing them how to learn more about that topic. You'll open the floodgates of learning that will make them lifelong learners in all they do. And no amount of proper planning and paperwork can duplicate that!