Wednesday, March 31, 2010

to be or not to be a homeschooling mom...that is the question.

I am not going to tell you to homeschool your kids. I've been at it for 23 years. I wouldn't change a thing. 

The reason I homeschool is because when an opportunity is presented, I take that into great consideration since I believe God leads and guides me. My church truly pioneered something in the mid-eighties that was practically unheard of. We had educators in our congregation who had the knowledge and expertise to launch such an endeavor. I appreciated their desire to build a relationship with the school districts through respecting their authority and at the same time, establishing our own courage and fortitude to live with our convictions. 

Secondly, Deuteronomy 11:

So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of Mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

It was these scriptures that inspired me. It speaks of a lifestyle that homeschooling would have provided. I had the privilege of having my children home with me. I would be the influence in their lives. I wouldn't have to compete with 7 hours of public education influence that did not speak of the Lord in any way, shape or form.

I had always been one not to make a public school family feel uncomfortable by their choice. I think it is wrong to involve ourselves with the decisions of a father or mother. We accomplish nothing by judging another's decision. Unity should be guarded at all cost. 

Homeschooling is a huge undertaking. Yet, it's interesting to me how naturally a mother can teach her children. We teach our children from the time they are born. Education isn't beyond our ability. It is true that we live in a different world than 200 years ago but the resources available today make it attainable. 

And no one is going to care more about your child than you.

A mom is willing to give some of her slower learners the time they need, recognize their learning style, and the endless opportunities of teaching the value of work and loving your neighbor!

And yes, there have been the days of complete frustration (them and me), tears, yelling (how many times do I have to tell you?). But then there are the days when they read their first word or they recite the states and capitals or make a model of the solar system.

I've taught school while laying on the couch with morning sickness, I've had years when we finished our books and years when we didn't. There have been times of vacations that brought us to Fort Sumter and Jamestown, and years when we couldn't go further than our back yard (but there's lots of interesting things lurking in the backyard, too!)

Don't be afraid of homeschool. You are your kid's best teacher whether you know it or not. There is much more than academics in the development of a child. Relationship is key. And if you decide to send them to public school, God is with them there, too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

understanding umbrellas.

It's raining today. Moments ago, I was at the kitchen sink washing dishes. My 8 year old offered to take our Cocker Spaniel out to relieve himself. It was then that I saw the umbrella.

I don't know what it is with kids and umbrellas. Actually, I do. They are interesting to watch as you push that little button and presto! And maybe it's because we don't use them like people used to. Maybe people in metropolitan areas do and it's just us rural folks who are used to running quickly to the mailbox without the need of an umbrella, but I've noted over the years that my kids are fascinated by them. 

I had purchased one of those fold-up kinds and had it in the vehicle because I had discovered there were times when I didn't enjoy walking through the pouring rain with a newborn in tow when going into the local grocery store. It was used minimally, yet, from time to time I would find someone playing with it or "needing" it. And then of course I would say, "Do not play with the umbrella" or "Haven't I told you not to play with the umbrella?"

I watched as he walked the dog across the backyard, hoping he would avoid the muddy parts (he didn't so I quickly got the gate up to keep the dog in the kitchen). The navy blue umbrella ('cuz the red one had broken just as I knew would happen) was remembered and retrieved from the Jeep and held stoically as if he was play acting some movie he saw. 

Generally speaking, I believe I am a fun mom. Granted, I've had my days and even weeks of not being so fun. But comparing my kids' life to my own, theirs is like Disney World (okay, the local playground). But define fun. Well, I did finger painting with shaving cream on my kitchen table with them, went to the expense and mess of making gingerbread houses, let them splash in puddles, and let them jump on the bed. From time to time onlookers would say, "So and so is in the puddle", and I would say, "So?" It's fun!

So #8 has the umbrella. The forbidden activity that is right up there with a bouncing or spinning basketballs in the house, or monotone whistling. I don't care about those Fisher Price popper toys. The tune of Mario Brothers and Zelda video games are still in the repertoire of music filed in my head. I've listened to piano and drum practice and even some electric guitar. But there are some things that you just can't overcome no matter what. Is that allowed?

There's a difference in my mind of being stretched through allowing some things that I do not enjoy and also being firm about certain other things. When you have a few kids your little world is going to get messed up. You have to pick your battles so to speak. If you give in to some things it's not because they are in charge. You can still be quite in charge, ie; playing hide and seek in the house but, "stay out of the closets!!"

Finally, it goes without saying (like it or not older children) that the younger ones will and do get away with more. Moms get tired and we learn what is really important and what is not.Sorry.

But see, #8 will dutifully put the umbrella away. And that makes all the difference!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Dear Kids,

While I appreciate the fact that you are eating pretzels since it is a healthy snack choice, and I appreciate that you enjoy dipping said pretzels in mustard since mustard is a dirt cheap condiment, I do not like all of the plates I am finding in the sink with remnants of mustard and uneaten pretzels crumbs.

I suppose I should consider purchasing the mustard kind of pretzels but I am too cheap to spend the outrageous price and besides, you would just dip them in mustard anyway.

I hope that you consider licking your plate clean -or- wash your dish.

Oh yeah, I could buy paper plates couldn't I?

Love, Mom

Friday, March 26, 2010

you've come a long way baby...

I'm sitting here in a quiet room with the sun wonderfully pouring into the windows. 

Pinch me. I must be dreaming. I'm alone.And all I hear are birds chirpping.

Take a gal that likes quiet moments over noise, order over disorder, and give her 8 kids (thank God not all at once!) and ... well ... you either run away or roll up your sleeves and dig in.

My 3 children are at "Friday School", which is a program for homeschoolers in the area. It was established by my church around 1985 or so. Here the kids have P.E., Apologetics, Music/Choir, and Art. We've put on full musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof and Seussical. I taught art classes to the K-6th graders for 10 years. I kinda retired last year because of a new season I found myself in.

A door was wonderfully opened for me to take an online Writing for Children class a year ago and now I find myself working at writing 2 children's books and one adult. I've connected/networked with a few authors and groups, along with doing my "homework" in learning as much as I can along the way. Thing is, I wasn't looking for time for myself, nor was I looking for something new to do. It just happened. The Lord knew what was in there. I didn't. Or at least I forgot how much I liked to write back in the day. He remembered.

Which brings me to my point. I had my first child almost 30 years ago. I've been a mom for a long time; longer than I've been alive now! (although, I've always "mothered" the kids on my block growing up, along with my brother, and anyone else's kids that came along ; ) And I am one of those moms who love being a mom. (You may love your kids but not exactly love being a mom most days. I get that. But that's for another post).

Whether you absolutely love being a mom or not, you will eventually find yourself where I am today. I have served my family all these years and did not have any outside "hobbies" so to speak. It was a full-time job, along with living on a dairy farm (until 1993), a small family operated maple syrup business, and helping with several areas in my church. Life had my undivided attention.

There will be a time when you find you are reaching the end of full-time mothering and managing a home. It will never completely end since new situations happen with adult children getting married, going to college, and working. But the demands of doing all the little children stuff comes to an end. 

Some days, I find myself taking a deep breath (in a good way). Kinda like when you've finished a huge project at the end of the day.

There is something more in store for you at the end of the road. It's okay if you're looking for it. I wasn't, but that doesn't mean anything. Just be encouraged today to keep on keepin' on. They are growing and you are growing, too! And soon you will look back a few times throughout the years and see how far you've come.

You're doing good. Even if you yelled at the kids today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

for you.

Today, my thoughts are on the unspoken needs and desires of the mother. For hidden within her heart are disappointments, her dreams, and her sacrifices. It is here that she may find her strength wanes. It is here that she comes to know God.

Women are emotional. It is that from which the sensitivity and compassion and nurturing comes from. She does not tire of giving of herself over and over again. She is able to nurse a baby, give a spelling test, direct a child in his chore, and wipe a runny nose...all at the same time. She is a mother bear in the truest sense in protecting what is hers at all cost. She finds the best deals and will go to 5 different stores to get them. She makes sure her children drink their juice and know God and choose reading over television. She instructs her children all day long since opportunities abound in how to live rightly in relationships and not be afraid of hard work. She knows how to deny herself and give to her family.

As she lays her head upon the pillow at night, she prays. She wonders if her hard work will bring the results she hopes for...knowing that perhaps it may not be known in this lifetime...and so she learns to trust. She carries her concerns to God and learns of His safe keeping...that she is not in this alone...and so she learns He is faithful. 

Tears fill her eyes as she considers, lastly, her unspoken disappointments, dreams, and sacrifices. She doesn't even voice them since her life is not her own. And so she learns that He knows. And He sees.

"Be persuaded, timid soul," writes Archbishop Fenelon, in his Spiritual Letters To Women, "that He has loved you too much to cease loving you."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

say what?

I had to pry myself out of bed this morning. Really! The gray sky and pounding rain just didn't look very inviting.

Came downstairs and made the coffee. In a few minutes I heard little feet pounding down the stairs. He's a chatterbox. More so than any of his siblings. He starts talking as soon as he gets up.

This morning, despite not enjoying more grayness and dampness, I managed a "Good Morning" and even forced myself to say, "Want some eggs this morning?" What was I thinking?! Who wants...on top of everything make breakfast? I mean, you actually want me to cook?? Oh, wait. It was my idea.

The next one to emerge is my 14 year old son who is less chatty but I say "Good Morning" even tho I don't want to say it since it's not a good morning.

See how it works? You do what you don't feel like doing. It's just the right thing. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Why does it have to always be me?

It just is so get over it and start your mornings with a nice tone and it will help the day go better. If nothing else, it gets you off to a good start since just as complaining can make us spiral down in a bad mood, pleasant words can lift us up.

And I will work on being a bit more nicer at night when one of mine asks me a question after 8pm!

Monday, March 22, 2010

if mama ain't happy...

...nobody's happy. So the saying goes. You know what? There's truth in it.

I learned pretty quickly that my mood affected how the day was going to go. In other words, moms set the tone in the home. Did you know that? I don't know why that is but it is.

I'm a pretty optimistic person by nature. I'm also a morning person. When I wake up I'm almost always in a good mood and I have tons of energy. I am also a good manager and I like accomplishment. I homeschool, so this is a good mix. I'm up first and set the tone. Essentially that means the house is going to be peaceful and welcoming when the kids get up if I've got things ready for the day. They need routine and guidance and feel safest when that is in place. Even the teenagers. 

After doing some picking up from the night before (since I'm upstairs usually at 8pm - I am not a night owl - and God only knows what happens downstairs after I go to bed!) I prepare the day for everyone to have a clean table for breakfast and get my little guy's books set up with his devotional book first. I can't be watching a morning show or on the phone or checking out Facebook and let them navigate through the morning. I have to set aside my wants and needs for them. 

In other words, we create an atmosphere for success. If we find ourselves nagging, that sets a tone. If we give them a good morning and/or comment about something interesting to them  (like today- "Hey Joel, guess what? I saw 2 bluebirds this morning!"), that sets a tone, too. Either one can set the course for how the day will go.

This doesn't mean everything runs smoothly here. It doesn't. But at least I have a "track" to stay on so when I get off of it, or the kids get off of it, I can get us all back on.

You may not be optimistic. You may not be a morning person. You may be miserable in the morning. Yet, I am certain you have areas of strength and success that I do not have. That means, what you are good at, I have to work at. So don't despair!

We are all doing what we can do. No one has it all together. We are given a measure of material and tools and what we do is be faithful in what we have been given. Not that we can't learn and obtain more tools, but we are who we are and God knows that. Not only that, but he accepts it.

If you're a night owl and not an energetic morning person, it's okay to do laundry or other chores at night. If you're a grumpy morning person, give yourself at least a half hour before the kids get up in order to pull it together. Just like I have to pull it together at night sometimes when I'm called upon.

If you homeschool, who says you have to start at 8am? While I'm not suggesting that you and the kids sleep late everyday, but if sleeping til 9 sounds good and getting up at 7 is not going to happen, why not shoot for 8 with school starting at 8:30?

Don't fall into the trap of trying to be a carbon copy of another mom. You are who you are and while we can learn from others, learn to "delete" and "trash" anything that you know in your gut isn't for you or your family. You will be frustrated if you keep going against the flow of who you are.

This isn't to say that we cannot change some things about ourselves. For instance, I had to learn to speak calmly into situations. It's easy to raise your voice in order to make a point. Especially when two kids are arguing back and forth. This brings peace into the situation in order for everyone to take a breath and regroup. See? I've yelled at my kids, too. I've also slammed doors and I've thrown a thing or two.

Remember: God made you who you are. Never, never second guess yourself. You are the right mother for your children. We are all learning and growing together, yet, you must be convinced based on God's acceptance of you...for you to accept you. This has to come into place in order for you to become a strong woman. You may have had hurtful words spoken to you by your own mother or father, maybe even your husband. You may have felt rejected, inferior, disqualified. This is not the truth about you. We live in a fallen world and things happen to us that hurt. Yet, in time, as you learn how valued you are by God and other people in your life, you will in turn be able to care for your children the way you would like to.

Be yourself. God likes you. So do I.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

two's a crowd.

I'll never forget how I felt when I had my second baby. His older brother was 22 months old and a very active toddler. Every time I sat down to nurse, my first born was into something. Shall we say that experience with baby #2 was not as wonderful as baby #1?!

Partly the reason was because let's face it, being a mom isn't always easy. But many factors have to be considered in how you do when the next baby comes along. Things like your personality, tolerance level, how well you do with little sleep, if you have boys or girls, or if you have help those first few days. 

My point is: baby #2 did me in. Numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 was a smooth sailing transition! This is not to say that baby # 2 was a demanding baby, or that baby # 1 typified the "terrible two's". It was me. I had to adjust. It wasn't fun. At all.

That's because:

a) I needed sleep. I liked sleep. I did not like my sleeping to be interrupted. Okay, I got used to nightly feedings with baby #1 but I got to sleep during the day when he did. After baby #2, I couldn't because my 2 year old  was up and running!

b) I didn't like my house messy. I like order. And things... were getting messed up. I had to teach my toddler we don't throw the toys, we don't eat the toys, we don't dump the toys, we pick up the toys, (not to mention that I would set up the "Little People" this way and not that way) and at the same time take care of a baby...all the while trying to watch my morning show!  How does one do this?

Simple. Something has got to go. And it isn't going to be the kids.

The reality is while a mom is going through these daily routines, it is painful! Can you see my perfectionism just screaming all over the place? I'm the gal who used to have difficulty sitting down to watch a movie if everything wasn't neat and orderly in the living room. Everything had to have a place and then I felt good. Now while I wasn't extreme about it, like paranoid to the point of being loopy, I had tendencies that was either going to demand from my kids or demand from me. And because I loved my kids dearly, I picked "me". 

Kids are resilient. They really are. And if you are a perfectionist mom, a simple "I'm sorry" is all that's needed. Even a toddler understands them. Those two powerful words will melt your heart when spoken. It softens the face and calms the soul. Because you are not perfect and if you keep trying to be you will be frustrated and irritable. Learn to accept yourself the way you are. God doesn't demand from you. Other people often do and it creates this bar that you just can't ever reach. You're not supposed to reach it. 

You are loved just the way you are. The more you realize that, the more you will be able to love your kids (and others) just the way they are. You are going to have some "bad" days. But if you find that every day seems to be a bad day because just under the surface is this nagging frustration and irritability, something is not right. Tell God about it. But know that He uses the very thing that irritates us to set us free. As we walk out our days together as mothers, we allow the difficulties to shape us. 

In time, I had to just let go of some things. So, I had to spend a couple of days getting up 3 times while nursing to deal with the toddler. Creativity sets in during these times! Not only did I realize that I could get up and walk while nursing, but I learned to sit the toddler down with a book or some other activity during nursing.

You can cry out "God, help me!" fifty times a day, or dump on your husband as soon as he comes in the door, or, you can allow the tender pressing upon your soul to shape you and make you a woman of strength. You can read a book, attend a class, or talk with friends. But there is nothing like the growth that occurs when taking those daily doses of medicine and watching the freedom that comes from it. Freedom from yourself.

Now, I boast of standing at the stove stirring the soup while nursing a baby, talking on the phone, and giving a spelling test, all at the same time!

Let the freedom come to enjoy being a mother. It will, if you let it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

there's more than one way...

who says you have to do school sitting at a desk?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

love yourself.

I wish I could make it better for you. I really do. I wish I could just tell you how it is and you would understand and then all would be well. But it doesn't work that way.

We all come from different experiences. We all have different ways in which we process our experiences, partly based upon our personality. What crushes one person may roll off the back with another. 

Without dwelling too much on the past it goes without saying that once and awhile our thoughts take us there, don't they? And we find that there may be some awful stuff that happened which caused us sorrow and heartache. And these experiences really define who we are and who we become. 

I am a Christian. What that means is that the full impact of Christ sacrificing His life for me that I may be reconciled with God made sense. God Himself breached the chasm between Himself and sinful humanity. One would not have had to die if there was no reason to die. And the severity of sin required a severe remedy. And so, I turned my eyes heavenward to receive for myself the gift of salvation and was rescued from the penalty of sin. This puts a new slant on things.

The first thing you learn is how very much God loves you. But when you've had experiences in your life that have not felt like there is a God let alone a God that loves you, God gets that. He knows everything about you. This may seem just like words to you now. But in time, you will see how God gently reveals throughout the years how very much He loves you. Did I say years? Yes. Settle it now that God is not in a hurry with most things.

The greatest thing is being loved. And knowing that God loves you no matter what is the most wonderful understanding in the world. Isn't it strange that I didn't really know that God loved me until my son died 4 1/2 years ago? That's because I had to walk alone with a broken heart and no one could help me. Yet, I can't explain it, but I knew God was with me. There's nothing like going to sleep and feeling great comfort and peace from "somewhere" when you're hurting so badly. That's God. 

You are not likely to understand God's love for you from reading a book or hearing someone tell you. You may recite it hundreds of times and it just doesn't get "in there". You don't have to do any of those things. Just live your life each day, doing the routine things that moms do, and you will find God's love popping up all over the place when you least expect it. Treasure those times because He's saying to you, "I love you".

Sadly, others do not love unconditionally (as we often do not) and that is our reference point for love. We place too much emphasis on doing instead of being which often brings with it qualification or disqualification. God qualifies who others disqualify. Read the Bible. He was always going after those that no one would have thought.

God loved you before you even knew there was a God. He loves you still. No matter what you have done or not done, no matter what you will do or not do, He always loves you. Just like you love your children. Only better.

Monday, March 15, 2010

love your children.

I'll never forget the day. I think it was 1999. I had 7 children at the time. I had 6 in home school. 

I had gone upstairs and opened the door to the boys bedroom. They were all teenagers. The room was a mess. I stood in the middle of the room and cried. 

I was one of those moms who went above and beyond the call of duty. My personality is precise, conscientious, responsible, dependable, detailed oriented. By this time, much of my perfectionist tendencies had been worked out of me so it wasn't that everything had to be perfect. I just had spent so much time, as soon as they could walk, teaching them to place their boots here, hang their coat up there, and put their clean clothes in their drawers. I never wanted to see clothes all over the floor. I thought there was no reason for that. I didn't put their clothes away. They had their own little baskets to put away their clean laundry in organized drawers. I had faithfully worked at this supposing that my training would accomplish the results I had worked towards. And that was a neat home, but children who were responsible and as conscientious as Your's Truly.

And here I stood, looking around at the three beds, with clothes everywhere. It was that day that I learned to close the door. So from then on, every time I walked by their bedroom, I closed the door so I couldn't see it. You might say that I lost a battle. Perhaps. But I like to think that I actually won since if you don't fight, there is no battle to be had.

You see, when they are all little it so much easier to manage your home just the way you like it. For the most part, little kids (like under 10) can be very compliant. And you realize that they are just that..."in training" you keep instructing. Until they get around 12-13 and you think that surely by now you will see the fruit of your training!

In some areas, yes. In some areas, no. This is because they are your kids, but they are also just another created human being that has to find their way in relationship to God. They may comply with their chores or their scripture memorization or whatever it is you have them doing. But then the time comes, perhaps it is a kind of accountability age, where they must make wise choices. It's a transitioning time for mom and child as we learn to loosen the reigns a bit.

For me, this was an area that I felt was not worth fighting about. Some people do not care about the mess around them and do quite well in life. While I spent time teaching order and neatness, (ie; guiding them in the right direction through imparting values and good character), some things are not to be won, you count your losses,  pick up your marbles and go home. In light of eternity, it wasn't a biggie.

Isn't God like that? Do we have to have everything in order? Do everything just right? No. He loves us and guides us but understands our weakness and pities us. The disciples greatly disappointed Jesus when they fell asleep in Gethsemane when He needed them most. He asked them to watch and pray. They fell asleep. Yet, He did not disown them.

That's not to say that I allow a basketball to be bounced in my house. I'm still the boss! Just pick your battles because the tone of the house is set by mom and if we're barking orders all day, it doesn't make it a very warm and welcoming home.

You do your part. God does His. Because now, I have 4 adult children who are wonderfully responsible. One is still a little messy. Ha ha. But he may end up being the wealthiest and can hire a maid!

Friday, March 12, 2010

KID find

This is a fun book!

Nice for long car rides, rainy days, or rest time.

My 8 year old loves it.

take heart.

If you are homeschooling your children, the day will come when it suddenly occurs to you that you are educating your children. You know it, but you don't know it fully until you get a couple of kids in grade 7 and up. And you ask yourself, "what am I doing?" Especially if you have boys. It's a competitive world out there and we all want our kids to be successful. 

First off, define success. Be honest. Isn't it great to tell everyone that your kid is going to med school over being a manager of a fast food restaurant? You know it is.  That's only because of the culture we live in and what we've been exposed to. Let's face it. We've got some humility to work on. 

Secondly, the Israelites needed constant reminders and so do we. Fifteen years into homeschooling and I was still questioning myself. That's because almost daily, faith and reality meet in our lives. If we "see" it, we don't need faith. The buck does not stop with us. It stops with God. We forget that. We really do. And when our lives are continually built upon this truth, we will be more rested. We won't put unreasonable demands upon our husbands, our kids, or ourselves.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain. 

In vain you rise early
and stay up late,

toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves. 

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from him. 

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth. 

Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127 

Are you "toiling for food to eat"? Are you toiling about lots of things?

The Lord builds the house. This means that He is with you. This means He is building your children. You're just helping Him. And He will help you. Promise.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

great gain.

There was a time in my life when I looked around and was miserable because I didn't have some of the wonderful things "in place" that I wished for and/or needed. A mom wants to give good things to her children and if you look around at what others have you may be disappointed. .

About 17 years ago, we had just sold our dairy. It was the first big hurdle for our family to go through. We were devastated to have to do so, yet, lots of family farms were going out of business. This brought about a period of lack in our lives. I couldn't buy pretty dresses for my little girl and many other little girls at church had pretty dresses, so I sewed. I couldn't buy matching comforters for my boys' bedroom, but they did have blankets. I raised 8 children with one bathroom while I listened to other moms talk about how horrid it was to clean 2 bathrooms. I am not into self-pity, in fact, I abhor it. But it did hurt to feel like I wasn't good enough, I didn't deserve it, or even worse, God didn't want to give me nice things.

Yet, if you are a Christian, you know that God loves you and is with you continually. You may not feel it, but you know it to be true. And if you truly believe that, you will settle in during the difficult parts of life and let God be God. You do not have to trust if you can see it, otherwise, it wouldn't be trust. In time, trusting brings contentment. Contentment is not something that is changed by circumstances. It's a steady, restful mind in the midst of chaos. And nothing you feel or go through is too small in God's eyes. If it hurts you, He gets it.

During this time in my life, I decided to begin my very first unit study in our homeschool. I will never forget the morning I read to my 3 boys, ages 7 - 11, an excerpt about the Civil War, with tears streaming down my face. The light went on. And whenever I find myself with a difficult outlook on life, I think about history and the true lack people endured.

There's a difference between wanting a new dining room set (after all, I do want to practice hospitality and that's good, right?) and having $40 to buy groceries for a family of 8. But you can be hospitable with a home-made table and metal folding chairs. And you don't starve with bread, milk, and eggs.

Does this mean you can't ask God for stuff? No. Ask, ask, and ask some more. In fact, some of my most wonderful moments has been when God completely surprised me with something. He's like that.

Whatever you are going through, God knows all about it. There are seasons in life that come and go.

My daughter soon had lots of pretty dresses. And my boys soon had nice comforters. I still have one bathroom. But we made it!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

prefect match.

It's natural for us to look around and see what others have or how others are "doing life". We may have moved past wishing we could have a new van complete with a DVD player and built-in car seats or the latest diaper bag. Yet, we may still have a tendency to compare our family with other families. While it's valuable for us to learn from each other, (what works; what doesn't), if we aren't careful we may try to emulate something we are not. 

Let's get one thing out of the way: you are the perfect mom for your child. I am not saying you are perfect. I'm saying that your child was given to you and it's a perfect fit. We live in a world that easily provides an abundance of opportunities for our children to grow and learn. But know this: God has seen to it that you are your child's best guidance counselor. Not that you cannot learn from others, but God will give you wisdom for your child. I have found this to come quite naturally without reading how-to books. 

Back in the day, it was quite a natural thing for a dad to mentor his children in his trade and a mom mentored her children in the ways of managing a home. While we live in a different time, we can still feel comfortable with the way we relate to our children according to our lifestyle and not be apologetic for it. They are not missing out. They are where they should be and who they should be with.

How can I be so sure? Because "the fruit of the womb is His reward". If God gives life and gives us a child, don't you think He knows what He is doing? I do.

We used to have a dairy farm which required harvesting hay. While other families were perhaps going to the beach or on a drive, my family was in the hay field. I made sure that we had our family outings and vacations, but the work ethic that my kids learned in those days is invaluable. They didn't always want to work in the hot sun or a stuffy, hot hay loft. Yet much was learned out of necessity in the days of their youth, helping to form who they are today as adults.

You may not live in a rural area. You may live in a metropolitan area or a third world country. It doesn't matter. You are who you are and you are the perfect match for you kids!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

all is well.

There's no doubt that being a mom is big stuff. Whether you are a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooling mom, 2 kids, 8 kids... it's hard work. While there is "nothing new under the sun", the world we live in is quite grueling when it comes to instructing our children with our values . You can't even go to the mall without half-naked woman plastered all over the place, watch television without blatant language that is no longer suggestive, and everything that was in the closet 50 years ago is now out there for all to see.

God is aware of this. And you know what? He says His grace is sufficient. So each morning we are given new mercies and we go at it with a plow in one hand and a sword in another.

I exhausted my self in dotting every "i" and crossing every "t". I am brutally responsible and take on more than I should. I suppose the opposite side of this are moms who are too lenient and carefree about their responsibilities. But leave it to God, who is always tenderly guiding us even when we don't feel it, and showing us that the buck doesn't stop with us. It stops with Him. 

I have found throughout my life that God is not wasteful. He really does use everything to work out for good in our lives. We often do not see this until we've passed a few times through a dark or thorny path in our journey. In time we find we not only look for Him when the path becomes seemingly inaccessible, but we expect Him. This is what it means to learn of Him. And He uses each daily interactions to reveal Himself to us.

When we go to the beach and we watch the waves, do we try to figure out how and why? Maybe we've thought about it once or twice but we just sit and enjoy. Sometimes I think we've complicated our lives in trying to analyze and work at life. Look at all of the books, classes, magazines, and talk shows available to us today. They are geared to one kind of thinking-  like figuring out how the waves work. How about we take a step back and enjoy being a mom?  Don't be consumed with the weight of this world we live in with all of the stresses that seem to want to overtake us. We can't fight it by running around trying to feed our children everything good. It's going to tire a mom out very quickly... doing, doing, doing. Learn to shut out the noise and realize that you are just the right mom for your children. Relax.

Yes, there is a great responsibility in being a mother. But in our goal oriented, how-to world, remember that God is over all. He is intricately involved and intricately responsible for your children. There is rest and comfort in knowing that. And He knows what you can do and what you cannot do. He knows your weaknesses. Just keep loving the Lord and doing all that you know you must do and leave the rest to Him. You are not alone. He is with you.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

that being said....

Join me in sharing in my "i finally did it" moments. From time to time, I will share those little moments when you finally accomplish a task long overdue! (or the kind no one ever talks about).

No wisdom here. No reinventing the wheel. No veteran mom/homeschool tip. Just randomness that makes my day. At any time, feel free to share your "finally did it" moment! (but only after you did it).

I finally did it.

While getting ready to put clean silverware into the drawer which only had about 4 spoons in the back compartment, I whipped that gray, plastic organizer out of the drawer and washed it! Yes, all the crumbs (where do they come from?) that gather in those compartments were washed away.



Okay. Part of developing your platform is tweaking it. Sometimes you begin with the big picture and narrow it down. I've narrowed it down.

There is no doubt I love children and I will write 2 children books. But what I have come to realize is that usually what you are already are about... is what you are already about. I write alot about being a mom, a homeschooling mom, a church mom, other kid's "mom".. that has been my life. So while children are a huge part of that (duh, you have to have children to be a mom), that is an extension of what I already write about.

I love helping people. I especially love helping moms. My desire is to help someone through the irrelevant stuff that seems so relevant when you're going through it. And since I've been at this for almost 3 decades, well... here goes.

I am going to write a book about all of it. I do not have the credentials of a 4 year degree. Not even a 2 year degree. I have common sense, a love for God, life, and children. You will not get endless lists of doing, but being. And you won't get it all here since you will have to read my book!

Yes, yet another book on mom stuff. But I am confident it will not be like anything you've read.

After taking an online writing for children course, along with an idea for 2 children books and 1 adult book, I have been struggling with narrowing it all down.

I finally did. Huh. I had the ruby slippers all along. And there's no place like home.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I'm a mom.

8 kids.

6 boys. 2 girls.

Ages 8 - 26.

6 in New York.

1 in Texas.

1 in Heaven.

I am a transplanted suburbanite to rural life thanks to my father who got his family out of what he called "the rat race". I was 15. Girl interrupted. Acclimated well.

I have been a mom for nearly 30 years. 

6 years ago I realized how much I loved writing. 6 days ago I realized what it is I should be writing about.

Mom Stuff.