Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday 'Fess Up

We've been talking about how we simply can't do it all. Something has got to give or we're going to end up doing things part way, not giving anything our full attention.

Well, today my confession is that I have had to make a few difficult decisions recently. But I can see the other things I'm doing in my life begin to become more fuller and gaining more of a priority in my life. By cutting out those things that don't move you closer to your goals and vision, you will actually begin to move closer TO your vision!

Now that I have eliminated some of the things from distracting me from my vision, I am also finding that there are even more things that I can withdraw from. The goal isn't to find out how few things you can do, but rather to focus in on those things that are a part of your vision and that move you toward that vision.

What things can you eliminate? What things do you need to say "no" to in order to move toward your goals?

Have a blessed Memorial Weekend! Remember the families of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom...


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Many schools around the country are having, or soon will have, their last day of school celebrations! But what do you do when you school year round and there is no real "last day of school" to celebrate? Today, we're going to talk about how to make the last day of a grade level special for your children even when schooling doesn't really end.

Now, I realize not everyone participates in year round schooling. This post is geared more toward those who have chosen to educate their children all throughout the year rather than schooling during traditional months, taking summer off.

Realize that end of grade level accomplishments should be celebrated for you and for your children. Thi might be a good time to also take off a week so the children have a sense of completion before starting the next level of school. We want to give our children the accolades they have earned, certainly, while preparing for the next school year that may begin as soon as a week or a month later. 

When children are younger, they don't necessarily understand that traditional schools have a summer break, so that is an advantage for you with younger children. With older children, they likely will have noticed the local neighborhood children playing everyday while they sit at the dining room table doing school. This is a great time to remind them of why you chose to school year round. Was it so they could complete school sooner? Maybe they have plans for their lives and you simply decided this was the best course to get them on their way with those plans. Whatever your reason for choosing to school year round, make sure you share that with your older children. Include them in the reason you came up with that decision. They will more often than not understand and will be on board with that choice.

Finally, make a party and celebration day of it! Do something you don't normally do. Take a drive to the beach, the mountains, a farm, a popular children's activity like a museum! There is no reason that you can't celebrate even a one day, one week or one month break from school! For us, we usually celebrate with my sister's 5th grade class at the local charter school in some way or another. This year, we're going to the park!

How do you plan to celebrate the end of the year when it's not the last day of school for the summer?


Monday, May 23, 2016

One Word Check Up

At the beginning of the year, we talked about choosing One Word to help focus and guide our year. In past years, I chose words like Imagine, Intentional, and Pursue. This year, I chose Genuine! So I thought as I evaluate how that word has shown up in my life and choices, maybe you need to have a bit of a One Word check up, too.
So, how has your year been with regard to your chosen word for the year?
  • Have you seen yourself moving more toward that word?
  • Has that word become more a part of who you are?
  • Is it pleasant or difficult to see or hear your word?
  • Have you thought about changing your word?
  • Are there things you can see the Lord showing you about yourself and your word?
  • Are those things expected, pleasant, or things that upset you?

Remember, the Word of God is like a mirror revealing who we really are. So if you are uneasy or it isn't pleasant to see or hear that word, pray, repent, and look for opportunities to move in ways that point you more toward that word and toward the Lord.

For me, I have been more transparent in my own life when talking with others. I think I see genuine as honest, truthful, not fake, and a more what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of character. I believe I am doing that! I say what I mean and mean what I say, and I give compliments in an honest manner. A new feat for me is thinking before I speak. While I do mean what I say and say what I mean, sometimes, it's best NOT to say anything! And it's a trait I'm working on with being more genuine.

How about you? How is your One Word going so far this year? Have you not chosen One Word yet for the year? Let me know your word and I'll create an image of it for you!

We'd love to have you share your One Word and your progress!



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Is Year-Round Homeschooling Right for You?

In my early years of homeschooling, we used to begin every August and end at the end of May, taking off the summer months like the public schools did. But a few years into our journey, we realized that we were so busy in December with preparations for church Christmas events, and in June taking off for family reunions, that we often missed several weeks of schooling. I felt as though I was failing to educate my children in those months and watched as we got further and further behind and struggled to catch up. Our solution was so obvious and simple: school year-round.
At first, it didn’t seem any different when we took that first full month of June off. But when we started back to school the Monday following Fourth of July, my husband and I discovered that the children were eager to begin learning again. They also retained more of what we had learned, so we were able to move on to new concepts and topics without lengthy reviews. With this schedule of five months of school and one month off, we have been able to also use our family vacation time for our favorite theme park destination during times when there are fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.
Right now you may be thinking, “How do I know if year-round schooling is right for me and my family?” My answer is simply this: you won’t really know until you try it. Much like when you made the decision to educate your children at home and no one could tell you if it were the right option for your family, no one can tell you for sure if schooling on this sort of rotation will work well for your family.
Think about the busiest times of the year for your family. Are there a couple of months that seem to be more busy and hectic than the rest of the year? Is one of those months coming up soon? Why not try taking that month off of school and start back to school the following month? I mean, really…why are we trying to follow the schooling schedule of traditional schools? We want to give our children the best possible education. So maybe, just maybe, that looks different than doing school from August or September until May or June.
Another thing to know is what your state’s requirements are for days of schooling your children under its homeschooling laws. In my state, we must educate our children for 176 days, 4 hours a day within a 365 day year. No one spells out which days are school days nor what specific 4 hours we must teach.

So don’t be afraid to investigate your options and to change your schooling around to fit your family and your needs. This is your year of great things in homeschooling!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Getting Back to Basics of Your Faith

This weekend I was thinking about how many variations of Christianity there are. I thought about how some belief this aspect or that and how we argue and disagree about those things. In reality, we're all on the same team, and it's time we started acting like it. The bottom line is, we love Jesus and we acknowledge him as our Lord and Savior, so why are we always fighting and one-upping our fellow Christians?!

That's when I began thinking that it's time to get back to the basics of my faith. What do I believe? Why? Well, I believe that Jesus is the only Son of God, He is an intercessor on my behalf to the Father, and that He was crucified, died, and was buried and on the 3rd day, he rose again. He went to Hell and defeated Satan once and for all, and traded my lack, sin, shame, sickness, disease, and guilt for his provision, prosperity, health, and salvation.

We don't need to argue and fight and be petty over the legalistic aspects of our individual faith! We simply need to remember the basics of what we believe. Listen to the Christian singers and groups that first captured your heart and passion when your first accepted Jesus. Get back into your daily prayer life like you did when you first became a believer. Attend church meetings throughout the week like you did when you first surrendered to God. And surround yourself with others who are just as passionate about God as you are. Get back to your beginnings and your first love--Jesus!

Here's a reminder of what the Bible says:

Pray this prayer to dedicate or rededicate your life to God:

Father God, I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again.
I give You my life. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and into my heart.

If you prayed that prayer for the first time or rededicated your life to Jesus, let us know so we can celebrate with you! Praise the Lord!!


Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday 'Fess Up

I can't do it all. Yep! That's my confession for today. How many of my sisters can relate to a day like this?
You have to run one child to a school function, another child has a dance performance, another child needs new pants for that dance performance (and it's the day OF the performance!), you have an appointment, you need to be at another appointment following watching a friend's concert, and you feel like you have to get everything done or someone will be disappointed maybe even mad at you if you don't.

Well, sister, living your life like this--me living MY life like this--will only wear us out! We have to have a stopping point or we're going to become exhausted from trying to please everyone. Set priorities for what we can and will be able to do, and don't feel bad or even guilty about having to say no sometimes. We simply and literally CAN'T do everything!

So when those requests come in from friends to join in on a friend's night or a brother or sister wants you to attend a concert or one of your children has a music performance, have your priorities in place so you know what you can really do without becoming overwhelmed!

Have a blessed weekend!!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

The day has finally arrived when you graduate your oldest child from high school, having homeschooled through most, if not all, of the school years. It’s been a trying journey, but you have successfully finished homeschooling…at least for one of your children.
But now what? What do you do when homeschooling comes to an end? Where can your student turn from here? That is a question to which you and your student will learn the answer by the time you get to this point!
Here are some examples of possible opportunities that your student can take advantage of that are beyond the normal scope of attending community college or university:
·         missions trips
·         online college
·         trade/technical school
·         professional performing company
·         real-life work experience in the field of work in which your student is interested
·         apprenticeship
(C) Randy Parker Photography
Each of these will direct your student’s further learning and can be specialized and customized to that field or industry in which your child is interested. The overall goal for my husband and I with our children is to produce lifelong learners who are willing servants to be used in whatever capacity God has predestined them. He gave them gifts and talents and we believe it is our job, our duty as their parents, to give them as many opportunities to fulfill that calling as we can.

So ask your students as they enter their freshman year of high school what they enjoy doing, what they can see as their career, and what their passion is. Believe it or not, they probably are already leaning toward a particular profession even now.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday 'Fess Up

This week has been a great week for our family. We were able to upgrade our van with a new-to-us van. My middle son was also able to purchase his own first car. The Lord's favor was upon us during each of these dealings and we give HIM all glory for making them possible. I confess, though, I was waiting for something to come along and mess it up!

But we must be careful. It is times like these, when the Lord has blessed us, that the enemy's ears perk up and he takes notice of us even more. He will begin to fight us and try to turn those things into bad or mess them up for us. But God works all things for good to those that love the Lord. Hold onto the promises God has given us. He wants us to have nice things ( Romans 8:32), and don't let Satan tell you that isn't true!!

So today, count your blessings. Know that you weren't given them by chance or for the purpose of ensnaring you. Our Father God wants you to be blessed to be a blessing! How can you help others if you are poor? How can you help the Kingdom of God by being needy yourself? Our job is to take care of the widows and orphans, and we can only do that with the things the Lord blesses us with.

Have a wonderful weekend and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to our moms out there!!