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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Blog is Moving!!

Hello sweet friends! It has been a pleasure getting to know you and walking through this life with you. I am so excited to announce that we have a new page set up!! I will still blog here from time to time, but the majority of my musings you will find here:

Faith, Hope and Homeschool (faithhopeandhomeschool.com)

Blessings!!
Jennifer

Thursday, August 8, 2013

B.O.W. Discussion Day!!

It doesn't matter where you are or what chapter you are in, share with us what you are learning from your reading in Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. Today, we are focusing on Chapter 3, but feel free to talk about wherever you are.

Chapter 3: Formulas Don't Always Work, spoke deep into my heart. How often do we wish that if we did X,Y, and Z with every child, it would all work out? The Bible offers us much advice in the way of parenting, and much hope. That is the only "formula" I would recommend, however.

Today, I was reading a devotion from my What Happens When Women Say Yes to God devotional, and it hit the head of the nail on what we are reading here. She suggested ways to "breathe" new life into a daily "quiet time"-the title was "Why I'm Breaking up with My Quiet Time". Isn't this a man made phrase anyway?!? Joshua meditated on the Law "day and night"--he didn't really have a "quiet time". David and Daniel were known to kneel and pray three times a day. David spent time in the morning and evening with the Lord, he "meditated" on Him while He was in bed too. What's up with the "quiet time" thing? We SHOULD spend time alone with God, but don't make it so "rote" or "routine" that it becomes more of a habit and less of a relationship. Anyhoo, one of her suggestions REALLY spoke to me:


  • "Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday. p. 46. (*my note here-have you noticed there are 31 chapters in Proverbs? One for each day of most months. This is something I have done often myself).
  • "Read something from someone I admire. I need to study leadership this season of my life. So I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen." pp. 46-47
Wow! Isn't that what we are doing here? I am in a season of my life with two beautiful strong-willed children, as Sarah Mae begins the chapter off talking about in her own life. What do I need to do? I need wisdom. Desperately. So, I seek the Proverbs most days. I NEED to focus on/study motherhood and encouragement for this blessed calling. So, I choose someone I admire--Sally Clarkson. Her books and her blog (I Take Joy). I am hoping to read through The Mission of Motherhood soon.

Back to Chapter 3! I seriously highlighted half the chapter.

  • I was told that if I would just do X, Y, and Z, she would obey. If she wasn't obeying, it was my fault: I was doing it wrong. Of course, I felt like a terrible mother. p. 28. (*true story, this just happened today).
  • There's the formula. Give Him the bad, and He'll give you the beautiful. p.29 Love them. Hug them, kiss them, cuddle with them, spend more time rubbing their heads and holding their hands. Give yourself to them without rush. p.30 (*true story-just yesterday I was so upset over another full day of trying to get my girls to behave. One of my sons said "Just love them like Jesus." I got defensive and said, "Are you saying I don't love you guys?" The oldest one responded, "That's not what he meant mom. He just meant love them. Regardless. Just love them." Wow! My kids are not reading this book with me, I promise, but the Lord can use them to speak truth into my heart too).
  • Lay your child at the foot of the cross. p.31. Ok, I realize this isn't a quote, rather a whole section, but it bears mentioning .This is "the" answer. I cry out and I pray for guidance as a mother.
  • Plan what kind of family you want to be. p. 36. Oh the depth of wisdom in this section from Sally! I starred this section, and again, wrote ACTION. This means I HAVE to do something. The action? In the margin, I wrote "set goals/philosophy". Sally writes, "Determine for yourself what you hope to be the outcome of your family. What legacies do you want to leave for your children?" Well, I definitely know I don't want to leave them the legacy of a hurried, frazzled mom who is just "winging" this motherhood thing.
The Something to Do section is really amazing!! I cannot wait to get started on it, and on our goals/philosophy. What did you take away from YOUR reading? Share with us!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Kicking Comparison and Condemnation to the Curb!

What does a typical day around here look like? Hmmm....that is hard to say. We have been in an odd season the last 2 1/2 years, the majority of our homeschool years. If we have learned NOTHING else, (oh, but we have), it is to remain flexible. To not be caught into a "time" or "schedule" trap. I almost think my girls have learned more this summer since putting the "formal" curriculum away, than they did much of the year.

They enjoy writing, painting, drawing, math, and sign language. They like to read as well, but they prefer the former things better. 

We have been on a "temporary assignment" for my husband's job for the last 2 1/2 years. It started as a one year assignment, and kept getting stretched. The flexibility part? We may not know until a couple of weeks before hand if we are staying here or returning home 500 miles away. We are a family of 6 and we have a lot of STUFF.

We are "night owls." Consider it a curse or a blessing, I'm not sure. Even when the boys were in public school, it was so hard to wake them early and they were groggy and hard to get motivated. Both my husband and I spent YEARS on nightshift, both of us usually pulling 12 hour shifts. My "clock" has yet to reset to what some call normal, even though it has been almost 3 years since I have worked as a Registered Nurse. My son's medical condition requires him to get as much sleep as possible--sleep deprivation tends to cause problems with his seizures.

Furthermore, especially as me being a nurse, how do I know that God will assign them a typical 9-5 job?!? Hospitals don't only run on dayshift. Factories and many stores don't either. He could send them halfway around the world where time zones are different as well. The point of this? Each family is different. I have had to swallow this myself. I long to be a morning person. I have good intentions and all. However, my "best" thinking, as well as my best time alone with the Lord, is at night. Call it years of nightshift in the ER. Call it the way I was made-I have always been like this since I can remember. The same is true for my oldest. His "best" is in the evening. His brother usually goes to sleep sooner, and wakes up earlier than some of us. That is perfect for him. He is almost 13. Many of his "independent" subjects can be done on his own during that time.

I see so much judgement and condemnation upon those who don't rise early. Who don't have "quiet" time in the morning. Who don't follow a "typical" school schedule. You know what? I prayed years ago for God to give me a time to be able to focus on Him, to spend time with Him. To carve that time out during the day. I was praying it wasn't at night-at that time my husband was on night shift, I had many fears, and I wanted to get to sleep as soon as possible to make the daylight come again. Guess what? It was during those still hours of the night, when most of the world was asleep and quiet, that I found the time I was looking for. That I learned so much and spent much more time with Him, unburdened by a "to do" list in my head....everything was finished for the day.

Our homeschool isn't typical by any means. And yet, that is the beauty of it. I have no idea what plans God has for each of these kids. I "learned" to rise early for jobs, one at 5 am and one at 6 am, and one at 7 am. I didn't perform well in my opinion, hence the inward joy, but outward grumbling, to be placed on night shift. I am thankful that I don't have to work outside of the home now, but that "night" personality has served me well.

Don't get stuck in the comparison trap about what your homeschool schedule OR your quiet time should look like. Trust even those seemingly small things to the Lord. David and Joshua meditated day AND night. Read the Psalms...David cried out to Him during the night too. Don't impose rules on yourself or your homeschool or you are setting yourself up for failure and aggravation. Abide in Him. Lean on Him. Seek His direction for your EVERY step.

And the condemnation? Throw it to the curb. It's unBiblical anyway. 

B.O.W. Discussion Day!!



I hope you are enjoying Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. It has been like a breath of fresh air to see someone share their testimony and encouragement in this beautiful calling of motherhood! Some days it is hard girls, real hard. But remember, with the Lord by your side, you can do this. We have so many modern conveniences these days, that I imagine many of our great-grandparents would giggle at a title of a book like this. Maybe even our grandparents. The problem with our 'modern conveniences'? They have turned us into an 'on demand' society. Impatient. Must be entertained. Must be something better out there. NO! God calls children a blessing, and He even says that they are a reward from Him. The beauty of this book is in developing a community with other moms, as well as seeking out older women mentors (Titus 2 style).

Today is the day to share! Share your favorite quotes, your favorite parts of the video, answers to the questions, or whatever the Lord lays on your heart.

Here were a few quotes that really stood out to me:

"Many of my ideals were good, but the standard I set for myself to meet them was completely unrealistic." 
"The reason it hurt so much when I couldn't live up to my ideal was because I had imposed an impossible standard on myself." (p. 5)

Let that sink in ladies. We are in a more competitive world than ever. TV, blogs, books, friends, and social media. Comparison trap. While many of these outlets mean well, especially blogs and books, it can cause us to question ourselves and the unique qualities God gave us as a mom. We try to copy someone else hoping for a better outcome or a better life. Not going to happen. We should take suggestions, that is what mentoring is all about, but we should never compare ourselves to anyone. The nasty sin of coveting rears it's ugly head before we even know it. 

Something that we, as mothers, should do daily is found on page 9. Pray, "Lord, teach me how to be a mother." because "each of us has a story, but God, who originated the design of motherhood, is the expert advisor to whom we should turn." And, in doing that, "He will provide all we need for the task He has given us to fulfill. But to hear from God we must become women of the Word and women who pray, so that His voice may lead us as we grow into this role with grace." 
Wow! We MUST be women of the Word, and women of prayer. My grandmother is the most godly woman I know. She has lived her life in the Word and on her knees. Is she perfect? No-she is human. But, she knows where to turn for everything. Her prayers have covered many of us for years and I always swore that when she walked in the room, it was like God came with her (this was before I became a Christian). Her prayers, and her love for the Word, wore off on me. I learned more from watching her than I ever did by anything she ever spoke to me. Same with my mom. I remember coming home many nights to see her sitting at the kitchen table, elbow deep in her Bible and study tools. I remember being prayed for over an earache. A toothache. A staying out late problem. These women persevered in prayer for me and modeled a life of loving the Word. 

Question time!!! I want to hear from you. Did you write down your fears and write a prayer, giving those fears to the Lord? 

My prayer was rather lengthy, and we are currently doing a study with Online Bible Studies on praying Scripture, so imagine my delight as I put pen to paper and several verses poured out.

Share your favorite quotes, answers to the questions, prayer or whatever stood out the most to you. What the Lord spoke to you about during this time..................



Thursday, July 25, 2013

B.O.W. Fun day!!

Hopefully you have had time to absorb some of the wonderful teaching and mentoring from Sally Clarkson, via reading Chapter One, and the videos from yesterday. If you are behind, no worries! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other! We will be discussing the questions in the back, along with favorite quotes, tomorrow.

Today? FUN DAY! Let's find some fun things to do with our kiddos!

The first one here is a Bible handprint calendar:



From the website: 

"Children love to see their hand prints on 
paper, and these handprint calendars have 
a bible verse with a colorful themed 
handprint for every month."

You can find the link to this craft here.

Speaking of handprints, here is another one to try:


This Handprint Angel can be found here.

How about a fun and easy recipe that the kiddos can make themselves? Try a Jif Fluff sandwich!! Not very healthy, and not good for those with peanut allergies, but it looks like it is pretty easy for kiddos! You can substitute it with whatever brand that you have!



The recipe can be found here.

Your turn to share! Share some fun recipes, craft ideas, etc. with us! Be sure to share the link or book if you get it from another source besides yourself. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

B.O.W. Video Day!



Hello friends! By this point, I hope you have been able to read through much of Chapter 1 in Desperate. What an amazing book! Such wise advice for those seeking community, friendship, encouragement and a mentor!

Today is the day to watch the video from Chapter One. Listed on the very last page is a QR code, or for those of you with an ebook, it also lists a website. Both of these link you to a YouTube video, 2-3 minutes each, with Sarah Mae and Sally sharing.

We assigned the Introduction video on Sunday, and wow! There was some great advice in that video. What stood out the most to me, besides the part about needing an older woman to  come alongside of us was this:

Don't read this book alone. The heart of it is community and mentorship. (paraphrased).

You will find even more information in the Chapter 1 video. One thing there that I want to point out, is also mentioned in the book.

God is the true beginning point. (paraphrased)

When we feel our days are long, when we can't seem to go another minute, when we don't even know where to start each day.........God is the true beginning point. You are the mom that your kids need. God designed you and made you....He will help you!

You don't need an "Instruction Manual" for raising your kids. Good books are just that-good books. Something that helped someone maybe made different than you. They are good to use--we use and read them--but remember, God and His Word are the ultimate authority on parenting. His Word is FULL of advice on parenting. We can read books for encouragement, and maybe the Holy Spirit will place in your heart to "try" something. But remember--that book is for what worked for THAT parent, THAT child, and not all of us are alike. However, God's Word is unchanging, it is living and active, and He is the creator of parents as well as children.

Seriously. Get a concordance out and search: Parent, mother, father, children, etc. You will be amazed what you find. I also have a Thompson Chain Bible that has a topical index in the back that shows me where to search for parenting advice. It is listed under: Home.

Looking forward to our discussion of Chapter One on Friday! There are some amazing verses in the back; let them sink deep into your heart.

Have you ever searched the Word for parenting advice?


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Built on Wisdom Assignments!



It's finally here! Time to start encouraging one another in this blessed calling of motherhood. Time to learn to seek out mentors, both online and in real life. Following is the schedule for the first week.

Saturday~ Begin reading today. Start with the Introduction, pg. xv, ""I Can't Be a Mother Today". Find out where Sarah was and how she came to "meet" and be mentored by Sally. This is a short read. In the very back, there is a QR code if you have a smart phone/tablet, and a website if you don't, to watch a short introductory video by Sarah and Sally. 
Continue reading through all of Chapter One this whole week and answer the questions/focus on the Scriptures given in the back of the book.

Monday~ Encouraging/Mentoring Monday. On this day, I will refer you to a source of great encouragement in your God given blessing of motherhood. Soak it in. See what these Titus 2 ladies can speak into your heart. I will also share advice, tips, and memories from my own mentors from time to time...and will ask you to do the same!!

Wednesday~On the very last page of Chapter One, is another QR Code/website that takes you to a short video discussing Chapter One. Today would be an ideal day to watch it.

Thursday~ SHARE away! Today is the day for you to share FUN, EASY stuff. Craft ideas to do with the kiddos, recipes, and anything else you can think of. This gives you time to get needed supplies for the weekend. Again, optional. Share a picture with us if you would like! All that I ask, is if you use an outside source-meaning you did not 'create' the recipe/craft, etc., that you give proper credit to the book/blog/site/author and if possible, share the link.

Friday~ Today and Saturday, we will be talking about what we are learning. We will be discussing quotes, the answers to the questions in the back of each chapter, and the Scriptures given. Can't wait to hear from you!

Feel free to share, all week long, what you are learning and/or what stood out to you. Don't get overwhelmed and don't try to "do it all." Follow God's leading in this journey. Don't fret if you get behind, catch up later and stay current with us. I pray this is a peaceful journey, not one full of stress. Blessings to you!