Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best Thing We Did

I don't want Christmas to end. I have savored this month and enjoyed each day the celebration has brought.

In reflecting this morning on what we did this month, the biggest highlight took place on a COLD Saturday morning a few weeks ago. Our family layered the clothes on and went out to a local government housing project to deliver Christmas gifts we and many other families from our church had purchased for the residents. Every family also received a large box of food. We saw the cutest babies ever. Their eyes were bright and full of love, unaware of their surroundings, but content without a doubt.

The giving was great, but the best part of the day took place in our car and home afterwards. The kids were moved by the lack - lack of grass, lack of clothes, lack of space, lack of ________. There was lack. We were able to discuss how poverty is a curse. Poverty can be overcome. The Church is designed to help the poor - not the government. Jesus said the poor will always be among us. It is our responsibility as Christians to help those in need and do it in His Name.

We talked about the lack of fathers in the homes. We visited many apartments that day and there was not one man to be found for these beautiful children and their mothers. I cannot fathom that. The single moms have a tough road ahead of them, and it was a learning opportunity for our children to see a glimpse of their reality.

Our kids felt like Jesus' hands and feet that day. They knew they were giving on behalf of Him. They knew the gifts we purchased for the family we helped adopt were of greater priority than their own, especially after seeing the children's circumstances.

The family vote was unanimous - we all want to do it again next year. The family vote was unanimous - we all need to pray for these families.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Past

I love Christmas! I love decorating, baking, buying gifts, and yes, receiving gifts! I enjoy pulling out the decor that has been given to me by friends over the years. Some date back to my childhood. I have a ceramic Santa ornament painted by my fourth grade student teacher! I have the ornament I sold so I could go to Washington, D.C. in sixth grade with my class. I have ornaments from dear friends given to me during different seasons of my life - each and every one brings a flood of precious memories of Christmases past and the blessings of very special people in my life.

I am especially fond of a set of ornaments given to me by my mother-in-law over the years. When I got married, we started out with very few ornaments for our tree. My MIL began that year by giving us ornaments - each one carefully picked out and chosen to mail to us in time for decorating our tree. Each one is extremely unique. The anticipation of what she would send would build every year. Then when we had children, each child received beautiful and meaningful ornaments for the tree.

As we began decorating this year, I realized my daughter knew the ornaments from my MIL. She asked about all the other ornaments, and I could pinpoint who gave them to me. After she was finished with decorating the tree, she said, "Wow, every ornament has a story. That is really neat." Yes, I thought, that is really neat. With many of them, the ornament is the only connection I have with the giver.

The ornaments from my MIL are extremely special, because she is now with the Lord. I have her Christmas apron. It is the apron she wore the only Christmas she spent with us once we had kids. She came ready to bake and make memories with her cherished granddaughter. They made Mexican Wedding Cookies together. She thought that would be one of the easiest to make with little hands. What fun they had!

Can I tell you, I am wearing the apron as I type. The cherished granddaughter has worn it throughout this month as she has baked...Mexican Wedding Cookies. As I tie it around my waist, I remember a wonderful woman who loved me and my children, a wonderful woman who loved this time of the year more than anyone else I know. This woman sent her girlfriend out to find the special ornaments when she was in a nursing home. Just in time to get them sent to us to decorate our tree.

When I think of her, when I think of the blessings God has given me through so many friends over the years, I am overwhelmed by His goodness and mercy for me. Oh how He loves me and how He loves you!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

We did something today that I think will become a school tradition around here. We went to our local Veteran's Day parade and ceremony. It was a small turn out, but filled with veterans who have served all the way back to WWII.

You know what amazes me? Their humility.

I tend to gush sometimes...well, a lot of times. I have found veterans are uncomfortable with the gush. My heart is so full of gratitude for the men and women who have fought and died for my freedom that I want to explode all that on anyone wearing a uniform past and present. I really have to tell myself to tone it down. (My kids also keep me in check. ;)

Today was special to have my children surrounded by men and women proud to have served our country, proud to be Americans, and humble in their service.

It was cool to have finished world history with them over the course of four years, and for them to understand and have knowledge of every war fought by our soldiers. I am thankful to be a homeschool mom today, to have the freedom to school my kids at home and teach them the truth about our great country, about our history-good and bad, to be able to meet in a public square and pray to God and thank Him for our veterans and our country.

Freedom. A gift from God. A selfless sacrifice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

For a Rainy Day

We love playing games in the evenings together. Brian has fond memories of playing games with his family throughout his time at home, and now he has passed that tradition on to us. Even now when we visit his grandparents who are in their 80-90's, our visit is not complete without a game of something - usually Domino's - Mexican Train Game, to be exact.

This summer there was one game that had not been played in our home that drove our son into a single minded man on a mission to learn to play. RISK. We bought the game B.C. - Before Children - when we had time on our hands and played with other young couples until the wee hours of the morning. Usually the girls would end up asleep on the sofas while the guys battled it out for world domination.

So we got the game out and blew off the dust.

I realized quickly how this game was educational! It gave a great reminder of continents, oceans, and the different countries around the world.

Then the strategy skills involved proved to be the most educational of all. On top of that, life lessons were talked about in how we problem solve. The little guy just thought it was going to be a fun game, but he ended up learning things of importance.

Now the girls enjoyed the color, the cute figurines (armies), and the confiscation of countries from the guys. We did enjoy the game, but when it took over THREE of our evenings, we began to loose interest.

This game is not for the faint at heart! Did I mention it takes FOREVER to play?!! But this one general was a happy camper!

This is a great way to keep someone occupied on a wet rainy day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


My Dad's best friend died today. He lived across the street from us all the years I lived with my parents. He only had boys, so I was his surrogate daughter of sorts. Since I am the only girl in my family, I hit the jackpot twice.

I am flooded with memories today. Bill and my Dad taught me how to swim in his swimming pool; Bill taught me how to ski on Lake Tuscaloosa; Bill offered his advice on my boyfriends. Many nights, he would stand in the doorway to my Dad's workshop and talk with my Dad until bedtime. Bill often came over to check on me--I was a latch key kid, and he made sure I got home from school okay. He teased me relentlessly, and I loved it. He came over during the high school years to offer his input in the activities I chose to be involved with. He encouraged me to seek God's best for my life and to make wise decisions.

He loved Archie Bunker and John Wayne. He loved Alabama football.

When I left for college, I cried when I told Bill goodbye. I think he shed a few tears, too.

I couldn't wait to go home and have Bill meet my future husband. I couldn't wait to go home and show Bill my firstborn.

Bill was there for me when my Daddy died suddenly in 2000. He was heartbroken, as was I.

As an adult, we became friends who shared our hurts and fears with each other. He died today with some secrets from my past. I will keep his close to my heart.

So I ponder today who are the "Bills" in my children's lives. In a culture where children are segregated from adults, I intentionally try to put my children around others I respect and want their influence on my two. No Bill is perfect. In Bill's imperfections, I learned of God's grace and unconditional love. I pray today for God to show me how to be a Bill in others' lives.

God burdened my heart to see Bill this past summer. I met him at the end of July in his room at the local nursing home. Bill was there due to Alzheimer's. I told him all you have just read. He didn't talk, but he kept his hand on my cheek and smiled his big grin with his eyes sparkling in acknowledgement. I am so glad I went.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why I Do It

At the beginning of every school year, I am reminded of why I school my two kids at home. Brian and I had said we would "never" homeschool our kids - before we had any. **raging laughter** We only knew one homeschooling family, and we loved how their kids were and how their family functioned as a unit, but that was not for us. At that point in time, we were not on the "let's see what God has to say" plan in our lives. I could digress here, but I won't! Let's just say, if we had been, we would not have been wondering in the wilderness for several years...thankfully, not 40!

I was feverishly reading every parenting book I could get my hands on when my two were babes. At one point, I was reading a Dobson book which gave some advice on little boys and school. He talked about how many boys are not ready for Kindergarten at the age of 5 or 6. He spoke of how boys like to play and move around, not necessarily sitting at a desk for 7 hours a day. Dobson suggested homeschooling was an excellent option for boys in the early years of education. He went on to explain the benefits of homeschooling for children, and that got my antennae up to what the Lord was trying to tell me for our family.

Don't you just love to eat your words, especially when you spoke them so vehemently?! I will say, I have learned not to say "never" about life decisions, because I have eaten too many "nevers" in my life!

When I felt like the Lord was leading me to homeschool, I was very timid to tell my husband...because we were in the "never" mode, remember? One evening when he came in from working late, I brought the subject up. "I know you will think I am crazy, but I think God wants us to homeschool the kids." He looked at me and said, "I am so glad you said that! I have been feeling like God wants us to homeschool, but I didn't know how to tell you because it will all be on you!" (How right he was!! ;)

So the journey began with a decision to obey God. We knew it was not for every family, but it was for us. When all the moms in the neighborhood were discussing the best preschools, my conviction only grew. When all the moms in the neighborhood were discussing private or public school, my conviction grew all the more. When Kindergarten came for my oldest, I cried for the moms in the neighborhood who were missing their kiddos. I said a prayer of thanksgiving to be able to keep my two at home.

Is every day easy? No...a thousand times no! What I can tell you is being obedient to what God has called our family to do has brought me too many blessings to count. I would not trade this time with my kids for anything!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Lines Have Fallen to me in Pleasant Places

I love music. I grew up in a musical family - played piano since 1st grade and clarinet since 5th grade. My parents played music all the time in our home and I met my sweet husband in the huge, well-known marching band we were both a part of. So, it was natural to me to be playing music all day Saturday while I was painting.. The Lord spoke to me many times during the day and had me in tears a couple of times. One was when he reminded me of something that happened a couple of weeks ago....

I had a very bad day. You know the kind, when you feel like you can't get anything done of value and your kids seem to notice this and for some reason they seem to take advantage of Mommy's mood and do everything a little bit MORE, like fight more, cry more, yell more, etc....
Till at the end of the day we all need a break from each other. It's on days like this that I fall into bed and talk to the Lord about how His mercies are new every morning and I can't wait to start again tomorrow. Nothing better than a complete DO-OVER!! Have you ever been there??

On this particular bad day, I made a decision to get up even earlier the next day because I knew I needed to spend more time with the Lord, get right with Him and prepare myself for a new day with (hopefully), a better attitude! I made my hot tea and sat in my special chair with my Bible. The Lord had me reading through Esther this summer and it was during this quiet moment that He showed me how nothing surprises Him. He knew the Israelites were going to be hated by Haman and that Haman would try to destroy them so He arranged for Esther to become Queen.

Then it hit me.... He knew all about yesterday BEFORE it happened. He knew that all those things on my to-do list were not going to get done. He knew that the child who had all the fits would have them. He knew that the accidents, the spilled milk, the broken things were all going to be broken. He knew that the child who spoke to me in that tone and with those words was going to say that exact thing. He was NOT surprised. It may have surprised me. I could not have predicted how bad the day went. But He could have. He already knew. In fact, He ordained that day to happen in that way.

Maybe it was for me to learn a lesson. Or my children to learn some lessons. Maybe they needed these lessons to grow them up for the next day. Maybe I needed them so that the next time I have a bad day, my response will be with more wisdom, more control and less of me.

At any rate, it did not surprise Him and He was in control the whole time. He never left His throne and yet He was with me through it all.

He showed me in my quiet time these verses:
Psalm 16:5-11
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

This "lot" and "portion" that He has given me does not surprise Him. I can be glad and rejoice in the little trial in my life because I know He is with me and has ordained them for a purpose. I may not see the purpose right away or even in this life, but I can trust He knows what He is doing and He is not SURPRISED!!

So, as I was painting and listening to music, this song, History, by Matthew West came on my ipod. Here are the lyrics:

Its been a bad day, you've been looking back
And all you can see is everything you wish you could take back
All your mistakes, a world of regrets
All of those moments you would rather forget
I know it's hard to believe
Let me refresh your memory

Chorus:Yesterday is history
And history is miles away
So leave it all behind you
Let it always remind you of the day
The day that love made history
You know you can't stay right where you fell
The hardest part is forgiving yourself
But let's take a walk into today
And don't let your past get in the way

Repeat chorusYeah Yeah

Would you believe that you are history
In the making, in the making
Every choice that you are making
Every step that you are taking
Every chain that you are breaking
History is in the making
Every word that you are saying
Every prayer that you are praying
Every chain that you are breaking
History is in the making
History is in the making
History is in the making


Job 31:4 Does He not see my ways and number all my steps?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Motivated to Start Stamping!

WOW! We had our first homeschool group meeting of the school year Tuesday night with almost 60 women! It was so cool to look across the room and see friends I have known over the last few years and then brand new friends for the year to come.

The excitement in the room was high, which set the tone for the rest of the night. We heard from a beautiful young lady, Amanda, about how her home education has shaped her into a godly woman. I think we could have all gone home after she shared how vital her mother was to her spiritual development and success. There were few dry eyes when she gave her mom a painting she had done to honor her. Yeah. WOW!

The cool thing about the evening--the God thing--was how He gave a message that touched hearts to leave an imprint on the generation we serve. We are to "impress" His Word on our children's hearts as we go about life. (Deut. 6:4-9) First we ourselves have to be in the Word in order to impress the Word on our kids. As we disciple our children day in and day out, we are stamping the image of Christ on them.

I readily admit, the image I often stamp is not of Christ, but of Kim. Parenting is such a reality check!

Here are some practical ways to stamp the image of Christ on your children.

Prayer--don't neglect praying at bedtime with them. I shared how this has been my struggle over the last year, until God bopped me upside the head with conviction. It seems as though before sleepyland, their hearts are so open. Don't miss the opportunity to talk, share, and pray.

Scripture--we gave out stamps and stamp pads to use creatively with the kids to send a note filled with Truth or a word of encouragement. Post it on their doorframe on their room (Deut. 6:9), post it on their mirror, on their car dashboard, or by their breakfast plate.

Service--find some area of service to do as a family. Visit an elderly friend once a month, serve in a soup kitchen, volunteer at church, stuff envelopes for a church department, make a meal for a new mom, send cards to soldiers serving overseas...the list is endless. Find something and do it together for God.

Friends--not only my children's friends should stamp the image of Christ on them, but my own friends have shown the power of the stamp! We are so blessed to have friends who love on our kids and encourage them in their lives. Our kids count our adult friends as their friends, too.

Take Care of YOU--as homeschool moms, we put ourselves last on the list most days. I have found when I continue to do that over and over again, I end up on empty and ready to explode! That usually does not leave a pretty stamp! ;) Whatever you need to do for yourself this year, whether it is get in a Bible study, exercise, or having some needed down time, make it a priority and do it!

How about you? How do you stamp the image of Christ on your children? We would love to hear from you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Passion for Purity

If you are anything like me, you don’t want your children to make the same mistakes you did in your youth. When I look back over those years, I wish I could have a “do over.” As parents, I think we want to protect our children from those feelings as they become adults. I love the purity driven sermons, books, and seminars that are prominent today. Brian and I have worked to start the mindset early in our children of waiting for who God wants to be their spouse and not giving pieces of yourself away before your wedding day-emotionally and physically.

We watched a wonderful movie this weekend, Pamela’s Prayer. The movie was convicting to us as parents to hold a high standard, to not stop praying, and to not give in to the pressures of society. The kids were able to see a true story of how God honors the faith of His children. The movie proved to be an affirmation of what we are trying to get across to our kids to live a life of purity and to wait on the Lord.

Now here is the funny part—the movie takes place in the 80’s! Brian and I loved the hair, the clothes, the cars—what a flashback!! Mullets reigned, big hair, and clothing that should never have been allowed! We enjoyed that walk down memory lane!

Pamela’s Prayer delivers a message for teens and parents to have a passion for purity, whatever the cost. You can purchase it from for $5.99, or you can borrow it from me! It is made by Christian Films –

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pouring Out Our Hearts To The Lord

On Monday July 13th, we met at Kim Mayfield's home for a wonderful time of goal setting & prayer for our homeschools. Thirty ladies gathered for fellowship and yummy desserts.

Afterward we all sat down and Kim and I taught a little about goal setting. There are many types of goals that you can have for your children. Some we went over were: artistic, curriculum, family, life skills, ministry, physical, job training & spiritual. Kim read a wonderful email from Carol Smith about how she gets away to plan out the year ahead of her.

We talked about how to set goals. Goals start with a vision of what God is going to do in your life & your kids' lives. Once you have the vision, then you can make choices so much easier. As Nehemiah said in Nehemiah 6:1-6 when his enemies were trying to distract him from building the wall, "I am doing a great work right here and I cannot come down." Nehemiah knew clearly what to do: if it contributed to the vision, then the answer was "Yes," if not (distracted from the vision), then the answer was "No."

The application for this is threefold: 1. Pray that God will give you a vision of your life in the key areas you feel He is calling you to work on. 2. Write it down. Make a bullseye/target of what the goal is. 3. Act accordingly. If the decision moves you toward it, its a "Yes!"

Obviously, this whole process is to be done prayerfully. And if possible, bring the ideas God gives you to your husband and ask for his feedback, advice and consideration as to whether he thinks this is what God is saying to you both.

Don't be discouraged when any goal is not met in the timeframe you were thinking. You can be assured that God is at work in your life and in His timing things will work out. Trust Him when you go through those disappointing valleys.

We handed out notebooks that had: lists of goals, a section on making a Vision statement for your life from Linda Dillow's book Calm Your Anxious Heart, an excerpt from the book 401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home (regarding goal setting for practical life skills), a handout on character goals to think about based on George Barna's book Revolutionary Parenting, a handout on a Scripture Memory system, and some verses to pray for yourself & your children.

Then everyone separated for some private time with the Lord. We prayed privately and listened to His voice regarding the homeschool year ahead. Then we joined back together and prayed over all the prayer requests. Kim & I were so touched by how open everyone was and how many folks poured out their hearts for the families represented there. The Holy Spirit was definitely present and working that night!

We pray for you as you make the final countdown to the start of school that you would take some time to hear from the Lord. It is not about the curriculum you choose but about the hearts of your children!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A New Year - A New Blog

Hi Ladies! We are on the verge of a new school year and we thought we'd go all out and high-tech on you by creating a blog... A big shout out goes to Jamie Worley for helping us get it all setup in technoland. We hope that this blog will offer things like: what went on at our homeschool support group meetings, tips for fun things to do with the kids, homeschooling ideas and general encouragement on our homeschooling journey. The theme of the blog is Leaving an Imprint, which is our theme for this year in the support group. We want to be intentional about making an impact with our kids through homeschooling, parenting and discipling. We believe the heart is way more important than the head! So come along side, grab a nice cup of tea and join us for some inspiration!

  ©Blog Design by Amy Bayliss.

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