this is why I love homeschool

IMG_1997Confession time, this title is a little misleading.

In my real life, there are about 2,456,897 reasons why I love homeschool. This post is approximately reasons number 2,456,898 and 2,456,899 but I wasn’t sure that made a good blog title. ūüôā

This is the fifteenth year we’ve journeyed this path called homeschool. It’s also roughly the third consecutive time we’ve started a new school year following my definitive declaration the previous spring, “this is my last year of homeschool.”

Honestly, we keep going with this educational choice because of the opportunities that it presents. However, after fourteen years, I truly thought there was nothing new. We’ve done homeschool, public school, and private school. We’ve explored Charlotte Mason method, Classical Education, unschooling, and child lead learning. We’ve taken our homeschool on the road camping across different states, to two other countries, and we’ve taken advantage of two different colleges in our town for dual-credit classes. I thought we had mostly done it all.

Wrong, again.

This year new adventures await.

project Salud y Paz....Emme started Certified Nurses Assistant training this morning. While this is not a required step in her goal to become an RN someday, her dad (a nurse, himself) encouraged her to go this route. Emme is a senior this year and has only 12th grade English and U.S. Government left to complete for her diploma, so the CNA class at our local career center fit nicely into her schedule. After her first medical missions trip to Guatemala six years ago, my girl hasn’t wavered in her desire to do something in the medical missions field. Today is her first step and I can’t wait to see where God leads her. I don’t have a picture of her in her new eggplant colored scrubs this morning, but here she is, a few years ago, where her adventure began… in Guatemala.

IMG_1999Ellen’s schooling adventure this year is all about renovation, design, and budgeting. Meet Betty. Betty is a 1964 Bee Line travel trailer made not too far from where we live now. Ellen is giving Betty the ultimate make-over in hopes of selling Betty to generate funds to buy and restore her very own glamper. So, aside from her typical math, writing, science, and history classes, Ellen is learning all about repair and restoration, as well as learning which things are “needs” and which are “wants” when it comes to making Betty beautiful again. We’ll be heading to the RV Museum in Elkhart this week and taking advantage of their extensive library to learn more of what Betty used to look like and hopefully gain some make-over ideas. Thankfully, we have a friend with experience and he’s been incredibly generous in sharing his tips of the trade with Ellen. Stay tuned. I can’t wait to show you what she does with Betty this school year. Here is the link to her Facebook group if you want to follow along:¬†

As I look back, I can honestly say that the number one reason I love homeschool is because I have been gifted fourteen years to encourage and equip my kids to pursue their dreams and passions.

I’m grateful for one more year!

under the sliver of the sapphire moon…

Silently, it rose in the waning summer heat… beckoning me. ¬†I went to the lake this weekend asking for rest and relaxation… and to be refueled. ¬†Grabbing a jacket, a light blanket, and yogurt, I found a chair at the water’s edge and watched this yellow sapphire moon rise above me.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
Psalm 8:3-4

The clouds danced across it’s face and the waves lapped the shoreline. ¬†I leaned back in the lounge chair, snuggled deeper under the blanket, and let my senses take over. ¬†I counted grace gifts…. listening to the night sounds, smelling the lake smells, and feeling the summer breeze across my skin.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
Psalm 34:8-9

I stuck my spoon in and tasted the goodness of raspberry yogurt and vanilla mixed together on my spoon. ¬†In a quiet whisper, He spoke to my heart. ¬†Reminding me again, that though this summer evening was a huge portion of dessert at the end of a day, He tastes better. ¬†He gifts dessert moments because He is mindful of me… because He loves me.

With a heart full of gratitude, I fell asleep there… under the sliver of the sapphire moon… at rest.

milestones, ebenezers, and an epiphany….

Last week was a milestone week around here. ¬†I went from being mother of one teen, to mother of two. ¬†This one turned 13! When I stop and really think about this it truly blows my mind. ¬†I wanted to blog a post about her.. pictures and all… but her birthday celebration ended up going all week. ¬†At least that is excuse. ¬†The truth? ¬†I couldn’t find the words to tell you how 13 years with her has changed me and changed me for the better. ¬†She is an incredible gift!

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† He named it Ebenezer, ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“Saying thus far the Lord has helped us.” ¬†I Samuel 7:12

We have a thirteenth birthday tradition in these parts.  Two years ago, I collected letters from friends and family for Eric and complied them into a book for him of wisdom, advice, and love for his teenage years.  It was my Ebenezer to the Lord, thanking Him for the incredible gift of my son.

During the month of May, I set up another Ebenezer. ¬†This one in thanks of this girl… my first daughter… the one whose name is Grace and she ¬†teaches me grace ¬†She now has her own book. ¬†An Ebenezer to look back at and see how far she has come and to read the words of those who love her and are praying her on. ¬†My hope and prayer is that both of my teenagers will look back to their books when they feel lost or alone.

Thankfully, God gave me words for her… words to tell her how much I love her, how much she had changed me, how much I count her as one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.

And, in this process of counting gifts, my God has given me another gift… and epiphany. For I’m learning that I remember things better when I count them as gifts. ¬†It’s when I stop and count moments as gifts that those moments are etched into my memory. ¬†This holiday weekend at the lake, I’ve stopped and counted often. ¬†Many memories… many gifts.


Joining in with Ann and the Multitude Monday community, counting gifts again…for these and many more, I am grateful…

…for cool breezes

… for falling asleep under the stars

… for parents who have a lake house

… for giggles on the tube behind the boat

… for the boat

… for the Papa who keeps the boat filled

… for summer salad

… for cousin love

… for loving on the littlest ones

… for a man who likes coming her as much (or more) than I do

… for big kids who help

… for the taste of summer in berries and fruit

… for the reminder that counting gifts etches memories

… for friends who takes the dog for us

… for rest, relaxation and refueling

… for the peace of knowing He knows all

when you know you are loved…

I often forget.  I get caught up… caught up in the the things of this world that don’t matter and I forget those that do.  I get wrapped up in the worries of life… trying desperately to please people and I forget those who are already pleased.  I find myself struggling… attempting to make sense of the pain and disappointment of this journey and forgetting the joy that sits before me.

Sometimes I need to be reminded.  I need the reminder that I am loved… I am cherished… I am adored… by four.  And, if there were only four, that would be enough.  However, I am blessed much more than that.

I’m learning… learning to take the gifts set before me.  To take a day of rest… to park the taxi in the garage and take up a book instead.  I’m learning to set my book aside… to pick up The Boxcar Children instead.  I’m learning to rest… to take myself to bed early, if need be, so that I can be a better wife, mother, and friend.

I’m learning… anew… that I am loved by those who matter most.


joining in with the gratitude community again this week… counting the gifts that grace my days with a heart of gratitude…

for these things and many more, I am grateful…

… for Sabbath rest
… for a garage
… for finding incredible books to read at my favorite library

… for a new mug
… and Guatemalan coffee in it
…. with creme brulee creamer

… for the not so little one who still wants me to read Boxcar Children books to her
… for back rubs from smallish hands
… for giggles

… for sibling love
… for the calm of her daddy
… for protection
… for his hand and wisdom to put her back together again

… for a day as a family
… for the joy of being together
… knowing my family wants to be with me

… for the peace of knowing a mother is celebrating in heaven
… for prayer for her family
… for a celebration of her life yesterday

… for a God who always sees
… and always knows
… and never fails to love completely

what gifts has He bestowed on you this week?
join us in counting 1000 gifts and beyond!

craving bread…

I’ve been craving bread lately…

Then Jesus declared, ‚ÄúI am the bread of life. 
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry”
John 6:35 (NIV)

 ‚ÄúFather, if you are willing, take this cup from me; 
yet not my will, but yours be done.‚ÄĚ
Luke 22:42 (NIV)

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

Jesus said to them, 
‚ÄúVery truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you 
the bread from heaven, 
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread
 from heaven. 
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven 
and gives life to the world.‚ÄĚ
John 6:32-33 (NIV)

 The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, 
took bread, and when he had given thanks, 
he broke it and said,‚ÄúThis is my body, which is for you; 
do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (NIV)

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb
Psalm 19:9-10 (NKJV)

Is there any greater thanks
than to thank Him for what He has done?

Is there any greater way
than to give thanks?

eucharist = eucharisteo 

giving thanks again today
even when it’s hard to make sense of life

Sweeter than Honeycomb Unleavened Bread Recipe:
3/4 c. scaled milk
1 egg
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 1/2 c. flour
mix together milk, egg, honey, and butter.  Stir in flour until well mixed.  Knead on floured board or counter until smooth.  Cut in half.  Roll each half out and cut into desired shapes/pieces.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 min at 375 or until lightly browned.

when life disappoints…

What do you do when life serves you a great big dose of disappointment?  When you realize that these trips around the sun… they’re really meaningless, and you can’t find hope or joy or peace.  What do you do when you feel as if you are barely hanging on and you can hardly find the gifts in the day?

hold on

Hold on to truth and let go of the lies you’ve believed for so long go.  

Somewhere in these 43 trips around the sun, I’ve bought the lie that health, wealth, and happiness equal God’s blessing.  Which means I’ve also believed the flip-side… that when you don’t have health, wealth, or happiness you are not blessed.  Lies from my enemy.  Lies that I have believed for so long.

I didn’t think I believed those lies.  I thought I knew.  I was sure that my heart knew all the right answers… I guess I just didn’t have the test yet.

Yesterday, I felt my heart ache, my stomach churn, my mind buzz… and my eyes leak.  I stood around the campfire yesterday as my man held me and let me question the meaning of life and the goodness of God in the land of the living.  He said little and listened much.

And, in the end, I came around… around to the fact that when life dishes me a great big dose of disappointment, I counter it by counting.  Some days it’s easy to count, to see the gifts all around… yesterday, I struggled to count but in the struggle to find even ten things for which I was thankful, I felt my heart realign with His and I recognized the lies for what they were.   

and, I held on


Feeling gloomy on a gloomy Monday morning but still joining with the gratitude community at Ann’s… where we all come together to count the gifts of grace from the Giver of grace.

Today I am grateful for…

… the fact that I was blessed to know Peggy
… and how she encouraged those around her
… for how she came alongside this newbie homeschooler and walked with me
… for the fact that she is with Jesus today

… for the arms that wrapped around me yesterday
… for the comfort of silence grown over 18 years
… for seasoned love

… for my 3 Es who convinced me to have friends over for a cookout last night
… for renewed friendships
… for wisdom shared in the firelight

… for the blessings that do indeed abound
… for the fact that we have food in abundance
… even Guatemalan coffee!

… for the fact that simple personal accounting mistakes that result in “insufficient funds” are easily fixed and not the end of the world

… for an incredible day of worship yesterday
… for tears that flowed freely at church
… for a God that came and met the rag-tag group that meets in a gymnasium and sits on simple folding chairs

… for watching my girl take leadership in worship yesterday
… for the answered prayer that my children would love Jesus
… and the answered prayer that we would find a church that is their home too
… for knowing we all have a place in our church family

… for a God who blesses more than I can count
… and lets me ask the hard questions
… and comforts me in the asking
… and then reveals the answers

team of two on GratiTuesday…

A week ago, we celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary… nothing fancy, just lunch out at an authentic taco stand.  The fact that he had returned to home the night before from eight days in Guatemala was enough for me.

I missed him while he was gone…. I missed him much!  Isn’t it amazing what we don’t realize we have until it’s gone?  The void of him gone was much bigger than the hole in my heart that he filled all those years ago.  

Know what I missed the most, though?  I missed my teammate.  For these years, we’ve been a team.  Sometimes we’ve been amazing together… like the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s… we’ve been unstoppable.  During those times, women have commented to me, “I wish I had a marriage like yours.”  It was good.

We’ve also been a team much like last year’s Indianapolis Colts.  Times where one (or both) of us has abdicated our role and stepped out of the game.  It becomes quite obvious that you can’t play without all the players.  Though no one said this, I wonder if people often thought, “why do they bother to stay married?”  It wasn’t so good.

Years ago, my brother and sister in law wrote a marriage curriculum called “Team of Two.”  At the time, they were a team of two, a family of two.  I ignorantly thought that that title had nothing to do with me because we were a team of four, almost five.  I missed the point… I think I even missed the entire target.  Their team of two was their marriage, not their family.  The two of them, regardless of how many children come later, were a team and they played the game of life together, both fulfilling their God-given roles.  Together their team was a force to reckon.

On this GratiTuesday, I’m respectfully borrowing Steve and Susy’s title…  I am so grateful for my team of two!  Life is not easy and in these years of driving children to and fro and passing the baton back and forth, I often lose heart.  I’m easily overwhelmed with the details of when… where… and for how long.  Yesterday was one of those days.  A day where Chad was on call for surgery (this really means, don’t count on him but he may be around…).  I’ve considered typing out the driving schedule I had yesterday for posterity but it really doesn’t matter… it was simply a very busy day, and I thought I was the sole driver.  I forgot, for a moment, that we are a team of two.  The reminder came when the text came…

I’m off.  I will come get Eric and take him to work.

I was reminded, again, that I’m not in this parenting game alone.  I’m not in this marriage game alone.  I’m not even in the game of life alone.  I am in those things as a team member and thus, it doesn’t fall on me to make sure the game happens.  Instead, we do it together, and I am grateful!