A Look Back on 2013

My goals for 2013 were to adapt and I believe I have finally done that towards the ending of this year.  That is adapting to the new baby and how that changed all our lives!  My son has changed me as a person just as my daughter did and I've learned that God gives us children to change us and make us better.  I wonder what I would be without them, it is an alarming thought because my children have made me a better person.  With each one that has come, there is more refining done and the selfishness I once used to be full of is but a fading memory.

I would have to say that this was the year of.....LETTING GO.  I learned to let go of the perfectionism that ruled me and to let things be - physically, mentally and even spiritually.  Just a few weeks ago, I started to learn to let go of something I've been carrying around for a long time that has done damage on me but I feel it is time to be delivered fully.  I've learn to let go of what others thought that we should be doing with our lives and let God lead us.  I've realized that what people think we are "supposed" to be doing, can be entirely different from what God wants us to do - I've learned to follow Him in that regard - obey now, understand later.

I've also learned this past year a lot about myself and why some things make me upset and why I feel certain ways about things - a lot of light-bulb moments!  Dealing with our own faults, insecurities and issues is a full-time job right?

Here are some of the most memorable posts of 2013:

Why Don't You Just Shut Up!?

The world, society and Satan all say the same things these days: "Why don't you just shut up?"  On the one hand, the world and society do not want to hear about God and what is right and wrong.  On the other, Satan doesn't want you to share it with anyone.  Both of them want Christians to just shut up!

Don't push your religion on me.  You think you are holier than thou because you go to church every week.  It's not your business who I marry.  Keep your opinions to yourself.  America isn't a Christian nation anymore.

Are you being told any of those things?  If you are an ambassador for Christ, a representative of God, then you no doubt get your share of the "won't you just shut up" phrases, no matter how they are worded.  No one wants to hear it anymore.  They don't want to hear that homosexuality is sin and perverse.  They don't want to hear that you should live right.  They don't want to be told to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, they don't need "organized" religion after all.  They sure don't want you spouting that America was founded for freedom to worship God - they want to change our history to mean something totally different than God-blessed.

So why don't we just all shut up now and please the masses?  Why don't we keep all of our beliefs to ourselves.  Don't witness to the person next to you at the store - just shut up.  Don't share with the mom you meet in a mother's group about your church.  Just shut up and keep it quiet because you are being way too loud!

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.....

Well, I got news for Satan - he can't put me on mute!  He can throw things my way, take things from me, send false accusers and liars to trash my reputation but he can't shut me up.  You see, when you take a stand for what is right in a world that is wrong, you will suffer for it.  So does that mean we should just shut up?  Should we cower in the corner and hide who we are and what we believe because we don't want to 'scare' away anyone?

The next time the devil tells you to refrain from witnessing to someone else or standing up for what is right, just say to him, "why don't you just shut up!?"

On Women's Rights, Pants, Careers & Abortion

I just completed a study on women's rights AND the history of clothes.  You may be asking why study both of those together?  Well, because the one begat the other.  The women's rights movement brought about the acceptance of women wearing men's clothing; pants.  It also brought about bobbed hair, cut short like a man and women doing men's jobs.  The push for women's rights in essence was the push to be what its' heroines called "equal" rights with men, when in reality it was to become just like men.

However, becoming like a man or as they say it, "equal" to men, didn't bring ENOUGH satisfaction.  They had to be above men and to take the reigns from man, so to speak.  Truly the phrase, "she wears the pants in the family," was indicative of women who domineered over their husbands and something so very much desired by the advocates of women's rights.  It was never about being equal, it was about being out from under man's headship set up by God.  

Genesis 3: 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 

Notice in Genesis that the curse for Eve was to be under subjection to her husband, he was to have the rule over her.  She was also supposed to suffer pain in childbearing.  That was woman's punishment for the sin she committed and for the one she got her husband to partake in.  Both subjection to a man and pain in childbearing are two of the things that the women's rights movement have successfully freed women from.  In essence, they have conquered the curse of God for women and are now relishing in their rebellion.

Women could now do men's jobs and so they decided to dress the part as well by cutting their hair short and putting on men's garments - pants.  There was no longer a need to stay home and raise children either because with these 'rights' in place, women also wanted to prevent any obstacle to their new-found womanhood.  The birth control pill worked, but only some of the time and they needed something more fail-proof because how dare these children hinder their life and careers and put them back in the chains of the home.  They wanted the right to kill a baby in their womb and as you know, they won.  Now, women can do what men can do, wear his clothes, look like him by wearing her hair short and cut off the last thing that differenced her from the man - being a mother.

Can I ask you woman, what are we left with now?  We live in a culture that is over-sexualized, demoralized and whose children aren't even sure what gender they really are!  A society that says that we don't need marriage anymore, we have birth control and abortion, we can just have a good ole' time with anyone we want without consequences; i.e. children.  A society where those seeking marriage rights are of the same gender.  A society where girls grow up with low self-esteem because they don't have the perfect bodies or looks like all the Hollywood starlets.  A society that would rather have pets than children.

Where has "women's rights" brought us?  Divorce.  Suicide.  Bullies.  Gender confusion.  Atheism.  Sin.  Yes, it really has brought us far.....far away from the fabric that held this country together - the woman.  Just as in the beginning, woman has destroyed what God has set up, but this time, the world has partook of her fruit.

Foods To Grow Healthy Hair

I did a hair update in September and you can see my ends were thick.  However, since using my curling wand more the past few months, my ends have become thinner and my hair drier.  I've been doing a lot more coconut oil treatments as well to try and help some of the damage.  I did it today since I curled my hair on Thanksgiving and here is how it looks fully coated with 1/2 cup of coconut oil!  Yes, it took 1/2 cup because my hair literally soaked up the first layer I put on and that is when I knew it was very, very dry.  I don't know if I will stop using my curling wand because I love how it looks, but I also don't want my hair to look dried out - so I will just keep a watch on it.

I was reading The Hair Bible and noticed that the list of foods that help you grow healthy hair is basically what I eat already.  They mentioned that calcium is really good for healthy hair and as you all may know, I'm a dairy queen - I love milk and cheese and get 3 servings daily usually.  So for all those that have asked me what helps my hair grow healthy, the ones I eat from their list are salmon, sardines, eggs, lentils, kale, spinach, brown rice and seaweed.

They also listed the top 12 snacks for hair in this book and some that I eat are sunflower seeds, bananas, oranges, strawberries, milk and whole-grain cereal.  From their list of foods for shiny hair, I use flax seed, sunflower seeds, olive oil, apples and chickpeas.

So if you want to grow healthy hair from the root, eat those foods and stay well-nourished and hydrated!

The Cost of Distraction

I read a moving article today on the Huffington Post, now I don't usually read there but this was a recommended read from someone that usually passes on great articles.  I cried because this was just what I was blogging about in that, we must live so that we don't regret it later on with our children.  However, she takes it further as she was hooked to electronic devices, namely the cell phone.  I know I would probably be hooked to one and that is why I don't have one.  I know I have the potential to be addicted to something like Facebook, so I don't have one (mind you, I don't want everyone's business in my head either).  I know myself - I know how easily addicted I can be to electronics - so I decided years ago to NOT be THAT woman.  I want to be present in my husband and children's lives.

I also don't commit myself to every activity because I know for each activity I commit to - that is more time, energy and distraction that pulls me away from my priorities - my family.  I see a lot of moms who do a lot outside of the home and over-commit themselves to the point they give their husband and children the scraps from the table, so to speak.  They try to do all this "good" and the forsake the best.  In the end, whether you sang in the choir, taught other people's children, or cooked for 50 people every week, won't matter much when your children decide to leave God and you because mom didn't count them as her greatest ministry.  Women without children are the ones who have the time to devote to those things, but women with children have a ministry that they should not forsake - and it is at home!  Getting the praise of men seems to be more important these days than getting the praise of our family.

Pro 31:28  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 

You all have to read this - if it doesn't make you search your heart and change a few things in relation to your family then check your pulse!


"Mentally, I could acknowledge my life's abundant blessings, but I didn't really see them or feel them because I was too focused on my life's abundant distractions. Too many commitments. Too many screens. Too many self-induced pressures to be all and do all. Too many unachievable standards. Too many to-do's and never enough time.
And when you're overbooked, hurried, and clinging to the electronic device, there's very little time to laugh, rest, play, and simply BE. And that's when the smile on your face tends to disappear.
Although I managed to plaster on a smile in public, my face wore a frown in the privacy of my home. You see, when you are living a highly distracted life, nothing -- not even the beautiful faces of your loving family -- can bring you joy."

What Way Are You Going?

"Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself." - C.H. Spurgeon
I saw this quote at the bottom of an email from a friend and WOW, ain't that the truth!?  What way are we teaching our children to go?  Children are a mirror of us and as my daughter grows older, I've seen things in her that really irk me but upon close inspection, I realize it is because it reminds me of myself!  God uses children to make us better IF we let Him.

I've heard mothers say they couldn't homeschool because they can't stand to be around their child all day or they don't get along.  However, that is the reason WHY they should homeschool - to get along with their child(ren) and to learn to "stand" them.  Sending them off all day just because you can't get along, will only push them further away from you and you will lose their heart.  I want my children's hearts and I want them to be trained up in the correct way of living and life and I want them to see God work in me by using them - and believe me, He does!

I don't want to look back 15 years from now and realize this way too late.  We can't afford to live for ourselves in selfishness and lose our children's hearts by letting them be trained by those who teach them opposite of what we do.  The time to care isn't when they have left us and the house of God.  The time to care isn't when they are pregnant out of wedlock or hooked on alcohol and drugs.  The time to care is when they are growing up.  That is the time that we sacrifice what WE want, what WE want to do and serve others in our home - husband and children.  You won't be able to get those years back.

I've had many women tell me over the years and even recently of their regrets with their children and/or lack of children.  For them it is too late and they have to live with that day in and out.  They warn me to not follow that path - the one of putting off having children and the one of being too busy to actually "be" with your children.  They are living examples for me to look at it and they grieve for the choices they've made.  Some of them have children who have been out of the church for years and it looks like they may never return to God.  Some of them had a tragedy happen and lost their child and they wished they could go back and have more children but it is too late.  I hear these stories in person, in email and by comments left on my blog.  Women hurting and living in regret for listening to the anti-family culture and sadly, even some preachers that spread this filth.  That is hard to hear but it is something that I'm a voice against to warn other women from making the same regretful choices.

What way are you going?  What voices are you following?  Think 20 years ahead from now, will you regret the choices you have made or are making?  What are the lifelong consequences of shoving your kids aside because you can't stand to be around them?  When instead, you could have let God have his work and learn to get along with them day in and day out.  If you don't have their hearts, someone else will!

Look Around....

Loved this post about homeschooling, here are some quotes:
So I’ll send my child to public school during her formative years, watch as her attention starved peers attempt to tear her to emotional shreds for the next decade, and then, at the end of it all, she’ll be “socialized”? Really?
What’s next? Should I soak in a tub full of sewage and hepatitis for the sake of “health and hygiene”? Thanks, but I’ll pass, on both counts.
“Oh, but you don’t want to be too protective of your kids,” I’m told. “You don’t want to shield them.”
Yes. Yes I do. That’s my job. I will shield them and I will protect them, because they are my children and that’s why I’m here. Again, I understand that not everyone can home school, but it’s truly insane, and dangerous, and appalling to pretend that a child benefits from the sort of bullying and social torment that is rampant in modern public schools.
Good Lord, look around you. Are you surrounded by well adjusted, mature, “sociable” individuals?
Where are they? Where are these “socialized” people I hear about so often? I don’t see many of them, but I do see a lot of narcissists, and substance abusers, and people on psychotropic medication, and people who have never been in a healthy relationship in their entire lives. I see a lot of dependency and insecurity. I see a lot of desperation and confusion.

To My Lovely Daughter......

Dearest Katie,

     As you complete a decade of your life on this earth, I'm reminded of your wonderful, loving and generous spirit that has been evident in everything about you.  You were first a miracle to our lives and now you are an example of a loving, obedient daughter and a caring, compassionate soul to many.  My greatest joy comes in knowing that you accepted Christ as your eternal Lord and Savior and that you want all that He has for you and your life and to do His will only.
     You are about to embark on a new decade in your life and by the end of this one, you may very well have a family of your own.  That saddens my heart, yes, but it also brings peace knowing that you are going to become a virtuous girl, and then a woman, and I trust that you will always seek to choose God's way and that comforts my soul.
   To celebrate your life thus far, I just want to say that I love you with an enduring, unconditional love that comes from being a parent that God chose to entrust to have the blessing of......you!  Happy Birthday my dearest daughter and enjoy this new season in your journey of life!


External Obsession

Years ago, I lost weight and became extremely fit and even started doing personal training.  I lived it, breathed it and my life was so focused on fitness that it became a god in my life.  I had my body fat down to 18%, went from a 20 to a 4/6 and could eat so much because of all my muscle - I was a machine!  Then, liver issues started up and I ended up in the hospital and that was my wake-up call.  I had got so focused on the external that the internal became second place.  I constantly talked about exercise, what to eat, etc. because it is what I THOUGHT about most of the time.  It consumed me and my exterior body was so important to me that I did whatever I needed to take make sure it was looking good - while my interior; my spirit went on the back-burner.

1 Timothy 4:6-11

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
For bodily exercise profiteth little
: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
These things command and teach.

This has been part of the reason I haven't lost my weight or returned to that level of fitness.  It isn't that I lack the knowledge to do so.  I don't want to get back to that place in my life and become someone so obsessed with the external.  I know that I can lose my weight and be fit without the obsession, but I'm very cautious after God let me learn that lesson.

: a state in which someone thinks about someone or something constantly or frequently especially in a way that is not normal
: someone or something that a person thinks about constantly or frequently
: an activity that someone is very interested in or spends a lot of time doing

Being so obsessed with fitness and nutrition is moving the focus off of Christ and on to our bodies as the god or goddess.  You can feel this spirit when you come across someone that is obsessed with their bodies - they can't seem to talk about anything else and they seem to always think that you are focused on your weight and will readily want their advice (or buy what they are using).

Are we more focused on our bodies than Christ or our ministry?  Are we changing the worship of God to the worship of our bodies or health?  Just at what point does it cross that line?  Are we more successful getting someone on special diet than to get saved?  The world is dying and going to hell but we have fit bodies - after all, health matters more right!?  Cities need churches and preachers, mission fields need missionaries...there isn't much time to be obsessed with ourselves.

Don't let your external become more important then your INTERNAL life - the spiritual one!  Keep God first and keep the worship on Him and stay away from the idolatry of the flesh as it is corrupt and dying.  You can spend your life consumed with health and then die of a heart attack!  God is the one that has all that in control.  Some of the most loving, compassionate souls that I know - who really make a dent in the Kingdom of God of helping to save souls are not so fit and 'healthy'.  As my daughter told me, "Mom, your body shows you love your kids more than exercise."  Sure that was funny but it has so much truth!  We show the world what is important to us and we show God just who we worship.

When God Provides

Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Since having my son and him having his severe milk allergy, our budget said we could NOT afford the $400-a-month formula.  It didn't work on paper but God provided.  My husband's employer's business started booming and then came the overtime.  Without that overtime, we wouldn't have had the money to buy my son's sole source of food!  That scared me but God never failed.

Not only did God provide the money for the formula, he also provided some astounding blessings, one being my couch.  I didn't think I would ever get this "dream" couch but God opened a door for us and it was just standing wide open and we were blessed.  Sometimes God makes the impossible - possible, just to show us that not only can he provide and meet our needs but He will also meet some of our WANTS!

The new year is on the horizon in a few months and this means some serious increases in our health insurance.  It doesn't work on paper.  However, we are going to stand by our principles of no debt and not leaning on the government but leaning on GOD!  And if the past is any indication of the future - my God will make the impossible; possible!!

Share your stories in the comments of how God provided for you in those times where it just didn't seem possible!

When Your Friends Leave You......Standing

It took me a while to write this post because first, I had to get over the hurt that is involved when a friend leaves you or in my case, the church you are a part of.  I've had several friends over the past few years leave and some were very dear to my (our) heart.  Initially, I tried to reach out to them and 'save' them from the decision that they made of leaving a church that preaches the truth.  However, I was met with all the reasons why my church, or rather it's leaders, were flawed, in error and corrupt.  In reality, they tried to convince me and my husband to leave this "awful" place and show us how we would be treated if and when we ever went into the ministry.  That is when I cut off communication with them because I didn't want to hear their bitter fires and see the destruction that would soon follow.

I've been serving God in this church organization since 1999 when I got saved.  I know there are bad preachers/pastors, just like there are in EVERY church organization or establishment that has ever existed.  Just because there are a few bad apples or those that were 1. never truly saved or 2. chose the world over God - doesn't mean the whole lot is bad.  I saw this growing up as a pastor's kid since birth in a different church than the one I'm in now.  It doesn't matter what church you go to, there will be gossipers, liars, fornicators, adulterers, those that live worldly and on and on.  Not only observation shows us this but the Word of God TOLD us already these things would be as the wheat grows with the tares.

The only reasons I would leave a church organization God called me to be in are these:
  1. Core doctrine change
  2. Bible version change from KJV
  3. Holiness standards lowered or done away with
  4. Corrupt leadership as a whole

I'm not going to leave a church because my toes got stepped on - and believe me, they have more than a time or two.  Most of the time it was truth and needed, other times it was "suffering the wrong."

I'm not going to leave a church because my pastor does some injustice to me, paints me how I'm not or misunderstands me - pastors have in the past and some things may not be worked out until we get to Heaven.  I've learned I can't change other's perceptions of me, God has to be the one to change it.

I'm not going to leave the church because a bunch of gossiping, big-mouthed sisters women want to go around and spread lies about me - they have more than a time or two.  They went around telling others to stay away from me and don't be my friend because "I tell pastor everything" and I don't, but they said this because they "thought" I told Pastor something they did but I DID NOT - evidently GOD did!  Two of those that did such a thing have actually left my church anyway and have showed their TRUE colors, but some of their counterparts still remain.  After 14 years of having the spirit of God living in me, I've gotten better at knowing what a serpent looks like and sounds like.  Those that chose to believe a lie about me and even LISTEN to gossip, probably weren't people I wanted to be friends with anyway!

Why wouldn't I leave a church because of these things that PEOPLE did or do?  Because I'm not serving PEOPLE!!  I'm serving God and He has never done me wrong and He has enabled me to continue on despite the hurt I've felt, the misunderstandings I've experienced and having my reputation trashed wrongfully.  I may never see the day when I'm justified but God knows and that is all that really matters in the end.  Satan will do his job of sowing discord and I will do mine of living a life that proves to others who I am and who I serve; God.  They will be the ones that choose which to believe.  And for those that still spread discord through gossip and lies about me or others.......

Deut. 32:35
To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. 

People or correction/rebuke are not going to run me off from a church that God called me to be a part of.  However, most of my friends that have left, have left over these very things.  Someone did them wrong, a pastor or leader rebuked them or they didn't get enough recognition for the "great" work they were doing for God - they were so focused on pleasing people that they soon found out that you can never please everyone all of the time.  They fail to look at the principles of God's Word, who God is and what we are supposed to be like - God.  God has mercy, forgives, is long-suffering, has compassion and tells us to have love, even for those that are enemies OR that we perceive are our enemies.  Where is the love??

My friends left me but they left me standing for God.  One of them has gone on to another church but most of them have left God altogether and gone back into the world, as Demas who also "loved this present world."  2 Tim. 4:10  So, if it was just about people in the church, then why did they leave God?  Because people were just a good excuse for them to go back into sin and the world and what they truly wanted and lusted for.  They didn't want holiness, they didn't want to live right and they sure didn't want to be corrected by God through preaching - so they left to shut up their ears and conscience to do whatever they pleased.

I'm still standing and as the song goes...

9 to 10-Month-Old Baby Daily Routine/Schedule

I've had a couple questions about my son's schedule and sleep, so I thought it would be a good idea to show his daily routine/schedule.  He has been sleeping 12 hours every night since 2 months old, but lately, he only sleeps 11 and then gets in about 4 hours of sleep in naps during the day, which is the average 14-15 hours a day recommended at this age.

We've increased his solid food recently and decreased his formula from 40 oz a day to 30 oz.  He is also drinking 1/3 of milk protein mixed in with his special formula and so far, so good! He may not be allergic to milk anymore and that is what we are praying for.  I still can't get him off his bottle, which is new to me because my daughter took to a sippy cup easily with no problems at 7 months - but not this child!!  He is strong-willed for sure, in more ways than just this lol.  I use Earth's Best Organic baby foods and Plum Organics puffs.

9:30 a.m. - Wake up; 1/4 cup Cheerios & 6 oz formula

Cuddle and play

11 a.m. - Nap

12:30 p.m. - Wake up from nap; play

12:45 p.m. - 1/2 cup fruits; Veggie puffs; 6 oz formula


2 p.m. - 2-hour nap

4 p.m. - Wake up from nap; play

4:15 p.m. - 1/2 cup veggies; 6 oz formula


5:45 p.m. - 1/4 cup chicken/pasta; water

Play or sometimes a short nap

7 p.m. - 6 oz formula

Play and/or bath

9 - 9:30 p.m. - 1/4 cup oatmeal; 6 oz formula

Play and cuddle

10 - 10:30 p.m. - Bed

Hair Update

I seriously don't know how my hair is growing so fast!  I thought growing 6 inches during pregnancy was fast, but since March, my hair has grown 4 1/2 inches!  It is now 48 1/2 inches long, which has me an inch and a half away from the longest my hair ever was in 2005 here.  I did have breakage and my ends thinned when I used a curling iron for a period of time a few months ago, but overall, my hair is still very healthy and full.

For new readers, I haven't cut my hair in about 14 years (Dec 99).  I don't even trim it at ALL.  My hair is my glory, so why would I want to cut it off?  I've found that women who cut their hair have split ends, but if you let your hair be its natural self, it will take care of itself.  If you blowdry, use products and heat, you will thin your hair and suffer breakage and split ends.  You can read my hair story here and go here for my Hair Care 101.

The Revival of the Homemaker

Something important is happening right now in our country, in a time when sin is rising to a new high and morals are dwindling - there is a revival of the homemaker.  Women are returning home to care for their families, homes and husbands. The interesting thing about this is that the internet is helping this as more and more women are feeling more confident in leaving their jobs to come home as they see countless blogs across our country that encourage homemaking.

There is also another factor in this revival and that is of homeschooling.  Women, who were of the "working" class are now seeing the benefits of homeschooling and jumping on board.  In essence, homeschooling is the driving force in bringing in the revival of the homemaker.  One prominent blogger, a woman whose profession was a doctor, decided to leave the 'success' and come home to homeschool her children and is encouraging others to do so as well.  Looking at our educational system, the test scores, the evil environment in schools these days is enough for some mothers to make that decision to come home and teach their own children.

How do we usher in this revival of the homemaker?  We encourage others to do so, giving them proof of why it IS right in God's Word for them to be what God made them to be.  When we learn to fall into that beautiful place that God made us for, we find fulfillment that no other job or thing can bring.  Harmony returns to the home and most importantly, the children understand the two distinct roles of the man and woman.

What is taking you so long mom, you will regret the time you weren't there for your children in your old age.  Wife, don't lean on your self and encourage your fears, rather have faith that God will provide if you do what is right.  Come home and enjoy the beauty of a God-called life!

Our Homeschool Room - August 2013

We haven't updated much since our last homeschool room photos here.  I've been baby-proofing since Zach (my 8-month old) is crawling everywhere and had to empty the small shelf because it had a lot of things that could hurt him if he ever got a hold of them.  I have Katie's artwork hanging on yarn across the room and used mini clothes-pins to hang the art onto the yarn.

We live in a double-wide manufactured home and use our dining room also as our homeschool room.  I'm standing in the kitchen for the first shot:

Here is another view from a different part of the kitchen:

This is our pantry, which divides the dining room and the living room and gives us lots of room to store food!  It has a radio/cassette built-in with an intercom system.  I put up charts that go along with whatever science we are studying at the time and then we have our bulletin board and a magnetic board for calendars, reading lists, etc.

Looking in from the hallway:

One bookshelf houses the games, puzzles and miscellaneous items and the other one has books on history, science, math and a few other topics.  It also has some new curriculum for the next grade, old curriculum and reference books, science kits galore, etc.  On top we have our microscope, skeleton model, abacus, rock collection and the tabernacle model.  The red basket on top is full of music instruments (tambourine, maracas, etc.)

We had to empty our smaller shelf to baby-proof for Zach, my 8 month old who is crawling now.  We had tacks, staples, tape, paper clips and all that sort of stuff there that we put into a cabinet on the side of the pantry.  I'm thinking of filling the small shelf with baby books for Zach to look through while we do school.

We have a dry erase board and a map of the world on the wall and then our All About Spelling magnetic board with tiles on the floor.  However, we have to move this somewhere because Zach keeps going for it and he could swallow the tiles, so it isn't safe to be on the floor.  I'm just not sure where we are going to put it.  I have thought of putting it somewhere else in the house and calling it our spelling corner.

We keep our dry erase markers, eraser, scissors and pens and pencils in these holders on the wall for easy access.  I also got some free wall art online and printed it and painted some old 1980's frames black that I got for free and used them to make the cute signs.

Then in our living room, we have a large desk with a piano and a space to either do work or hold ongoing projects.

I Will.......Oh, Wait.....I Could

I was grading papers tonight and came across my daughter's sentence, of which she must have had second thoughts about because she changed the wording of it LOL!

Zach is my daughter's baby brother, he is 8 months old.

I think I remember the day she had this writing assignment.  She came to me in the kitchen and said, "Mommy, I will always be smarter than Zach right, because he is younger than me?"  I then told her how that might not be true (to her shock) and that he may be a genius for all we know.  So, that must have been when she marked out "will" and put "could."  Too funny.....

Song For a Fifth Child

Song For a Fifth Child 
by Ruth Hamilton. 1958

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Craft Cabinet

I wanted to find a way to store our crafts to where my son couldn't get to them when he starts walking.  I decided on getting a cabinet like we had in the kitchen to where I could use a latch on the handles to secure it.  Before, we had the crafts in these storage bins:

Now, they are organized into this cabinet that takes up less space in the closet and creates a place that we can lock up.

I plan on getting more of these cabinets eventually, one for the homeschool room to store the tacks, magnets, paper clips, etc. and another for the closet to store homeschool things that I'm saving for Zach.  Right now, I have an open bookcase in the closet with grades K-2 books and supplies but it will be more convenient to have those locked up as well and also to cut down on dust!

In other news, my daughter Katie cooked us dinner last night (Tacos)!  This is the 2nd meal she has cooked for us and she can't wait till she can do it all - neither can I!!

Living in God's Will for Right Now

We are waiting on what God wants us to do, whether it be a call to the ministry or just a call to being a church member.  I used to be offended but now I laugh when people think my husband is a minister and then they say "Oh, you are JUST a church member."  I'm glad to be JUST a church member because that is what God wants me to be right now and I'm not trying to impress anyone but Him.

I think it is a VERY serious thing to step into the ministry because not only do you have to give an account for those you minister over and how you ministered - you could destroy people with your ministry if it isn't kept in check.  Destroy them for eternity!  Does anyone not think of that when they attend a Seminary or become a preacher?  I've seen several count it as nothing, like it was just something to do to get recognition for being something "great" in God - then they go out and destroy other people with their wacky jack doctrines.

James 3:1
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

So being it is something so serious, my husband isn't jumping at the ministry until he knows for sure he is called to do so by God.  We know we are in God's will at the present time because for whatever reason, God wants us where we are as church members right now.  Will that change in the future - possibly, but being in the will of God and not running ahead of Him will ensure success.

We have had people tell us that we were supposed to be in the ministry, but I wonder why didn't God tell us that?  Simply put - you can't follow other people's will for your life or what they "think" God wants you to do.  Doing so will only result in destruction of yourself and possibly others - I've seen it happen!!  We had friends who did what everyone else was doing and they are back in sin, broken and destroyed.  They are the shining beacons of the choices that we don't want to make so hastily.

So the next time you feel that you are wondering what God wants you to do, just live in His will for this present time.  Don't jump ahead of God in haste and don't sit still when He says GO!  Live in God's will for right now.

Clark's Commentary on James 3:1 says it well:
This caution is still necessary; there are multitudes, whom God has never called, and never can call, because he has never qualified them for the work, who earnestly wish to get into the priest’s office. - Their case is awful; they shall receive greater condemnation than common sinners; they have not only sinned in thrusting themselves into that office to which God has never called them, but through their insufficiency the flocks over whom they have assumed the mastery perish for lack of knowledge, and their blood will God require at the watchman’s hand. 

That Place.....

Have you ever came across a photo or a drawing and have it take you somewhere that you knew you wanted to be but didn't know how to get there?  Your heart ached for that place where you knew you belonged.  Then, a few years or even months later, that feeling came back again but this time, maybe it was from a smell or simply an idea that you heard and you were once again reminded of that.....place.

I've been to 'that' place so many times in my life and recently it is occurring closer together than ever before as I'm nearing it.  To me, that place is full of peace and happiness and most of all - simplicity.  I keep going towards it and getting closer but never yet touching it.  I seem to foil my own plans of reaching it.  It is a place that I once knew before the distractions of this technological world came.  Before the internet, before the blogs and all the mass of ideas floating around the internet - before the overload.

That place for me is simplicity.  The simple things in life.  Freshly baked bread wafting through the house, a house that is simple and yet lovely.  Flowers from my garden in a vase on the table.  My children playing on the floor with toys they invented themselves.  No internet or techie device - definitely no gaming devices.  A cup of tea and cookies await me on the covered porch with my Bible and stacks of books as I spend a few hours engrossed in their pages.

What I've come to realize is that this place is getting closer as I continue to simplify my life and rid myself of things that just aren't important.  I'm on the path to that place - and it will be worth it when I get there!

Where I Don't Want to Be

Thinking back on growing up and what I saw as "normal" around me and even looking at the current situation of some, I see where I don't want to be.  I'm not talking about location - I'm talking about lifestyle.  A lifestyle of debt.  It is one of the saddest things I've ever seen in my life as it holds its captors in chains, seemingly never able to be delivered.

The lifestyle where even though you are not rich, you can live like you are with credit.  A home is possible thanks to credit.  Vacations are possible thanks to credit.  New cars every few years are common because of credit.  However, because of credit, which ultimately leads to debt, you end up having to put needed clothing and shoes on yet more credit.  When the bad times come, frugality also comes with it, but it is short-lived and once times improve it is back to spending money you don't have.

Yet, when hard times come, no one wants to be reminded of how they didn't save, or plan, in the good times - they want handouts to help in their time of "need."

This is the lifestyle so many live in and one that tries to snatch ahold of me as I try to leave its clutches.  We were able to fully escape debt several years ago and we only have medical bills now due to my recent pregnancy.   We aren't planning on getting a loan on a home because we don't want to fall into the same trap of debt that we have seen others in who still owe it after almost 50 years.  It has been the noose around many people's neck that binds them for life - all for the sake of "owning" a home, of which they don't even own yet and may not own in their lifetime.

However, I'm finding that we are not saving as much as we should in the times of plenty and we have gotten too comfortable in the good times.  What I see in this debt lifestyle isn't where I want to be financially. I want to prepare, have a storehouse of sorts for times of trouble and follow the principles of the Bible using wisdom in our finances and even helping those that are truly in need.  This is something I constantly have to bring myself back to or I will get carried away during the good times.  Stop and take account of your life and live debt-free!!  You can still be rich living debt-free - in all reality, you ARE rich when you don't have others' money but your own.

Don't owe others money (debt) but rather owe others LOVE!  Isn't that the just of the scripture:

Romans 13:8

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

The Bond That Teaches Our Children - Love and Jesus

Today I've been married to the most wonderful man on this earth, my husband, for 13 years.  We were just 20 years old when we said "I do" and we still feel that same giddy, loving feeling that we did those many years ago.  We don't hide our love, our affection and even our disagreements from our daughter because she needs to see what marriage is really like.  Most importantly, she needs to see that even when you have disagreements, you work them out - quickly - and this is made possible because of God!

I wasn't sure if my daughter had understood marriage or learned much at 9 years old, but was surprised when she presented us with a card she had picked out and she also added in her own writings at the end.  It touched my heart that she picked out such a card AND that she wrote such amazing words.

The card:

For Mom and Dad On Your Anniversary

Because of the two of you, I know what love is.
It's patience.  It's sacrifice.
It's sharing joy and keeping faith.
It's what keeps us strong and helps us find our way...

Because of the two of you, I know what family is.
It's laughing.  It's listening.
It's growing up and growing together.
It's being there for each other, no matter what...

Because of the two of you, I know that love and family
are at the heart of a good life and a lasting marriage.
Because of the two of you, I'll always be thankful
for the love we have and the family we are.

Katie's own writings added at the end of this card:

Because of the two of you, you have tought me how to love and follow Jesus.  Thank you!

Talk about worth it all!!!!

The day when your 9 year old daughter gives you an anniversary card with meaning - wonderful.

The day when your 9 year old daughter writes, that because of your marriage, you have taught her how to love and follow Jesus - priceless!!!!!!

Why I Homeschool

I'm not sure that I've actually ever answered this question with a list of the main reasons we homeschool, so I thought I would go ahead and do a post on why I homeschool.  Besides the most obvious reasons of we prefer a God-centered education and will not put our child under false teaching, there are numerous other reasons we have chosen this route.  Even if I didn't care about God or what my child was being taught, I more than likely still would homeschool - so for all those that think I just do it for religious reasons - you are wrong!  So here they are........

  1. Less Stress - my mornings are mine, they are not rushed, they are quiet and peaceful.  There is no rushing around to get a child fed, ready and off to the bus for school.  It is a slow, stressless morning with joy.  The evenings are ours - no rush to get home and get in bed, bedtimes are only for good sleep hygeine and for my daughter (and me!) to get the sleep she needs.  I have to say that I'm SO glad that I don't have to wake up before the sun has even thought of coming up to get my children ready for school!  It is one of the perks of homeschooling.  I also love how I don't have to go pick my children up and wait in a long line or wait for the bus.  If we go out for errands, I don't have to hurry before the kids get out of school to be home at a certain time.  All in all, it is less stressful for a mom and the children!
  2. Make it in the "real world" - despite the misnomer that keeping a child away from a school-building means they are not in the "real world", the truth of the matter is that the real world is the one outside the walls of the school building.  My daughter's life will be at home, running errands, interacting with people in the neighborhood of all ages and what better way to learn the "real world" than live in it!  She interacts with children in different groups of all ages, can hold a conversation with an adult, and is there when "real life" happens.
  3. Build a Strong Child -  You must first build a house from the foundation up with the right materials so it can weather the storm!  If you build the house with bruised and broken materials, it will fall or crack in the day of adversity.  I'm not of the flawed philosophy that you need to ridicule, beat and tear down children to make them "strong" or able to "handle" it.  If that was the case, then after molestation, rape, and the verbal and physical abuse I've experienced in my life - I should be the strongest person by now.  Bullying does not make one strong, it tears one down.  You can't tell me that a child who hasn't even grown up is able to handle the abuse that happens at today's schools that grown adults let continue.  Rather, we should see more good behavior, manners, ethics and courtesy being taught and what better way to do that than at home?  Instead, we see suicides and broken children all around us.  I want to build a strong child, so that when her time comes to face the harshness of others, she will be able to stand.  Frederick Douglas said it so well: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
  4. Quality Education - From all the complaints I hear from friends whose children attend public schools, and from what I witness and hear in the reports of educational standards - I know that to get a quality education in today's society, you either send your child to a private school or you homeschool.  Homeschooling allows 1-on-1 education and moves at the child's pace.  It is tailored to the child, thus it creates a child who "gets" it and doesn't get left behind on anything.  Our daughter did math and english standardized tests and scored about 2 grade levels ahead.  Even though, I'm not one for having a test as "proof" that something works - she is doing just right with momma's teaching, sadly better than the typical student who is taught by degree-carrying women.  I also love how we can do hands-on projects in history and science.  Being able to grow a garden together for botany and take nature walks and bring home specimens to view under the microscope have developed a life-long learner in my daughter.
  5. Community Involvement and Service a.k.a SOCIALIZATION - Thinking of all the different people we meet in our neighborhood, around town, at homeschool groups and field trips - we are very involved in our community.  Not only does my daughter get to be around children of all types but I get to reach out to other mothers in the community and other cities around us in these homeschool groups.  This is socialization at its best, in a controlled environment as children learn to be around various age levels and individuals.  The greatest thing at these events is - there is no bullying among homeschooled kids!  Almost all the children are respectful, treat each other kindly and show great teamwork in games and sports.  One of the most common things we hear on field trips from people at the many places we tour or go to explore is "You all must be homeschoolers because you are so well behaved and actually listen!"  Train up a child in the way they should go.
  6. Time Together - I love being with my daughter (and now my son) so much!  My children are a joy to be around because I raised them to be a joy to be around.  People ask me what I did to help my daughter be respectful and obedient - I lean in like I'm getting ready to spill the biggest secret in the world and say "It's called parenting!"  I always seem to get a laugh but really, there is no magic potion - you just need to BE THERE for your kids!  I'm there when my daughter has those "questions" about growing up or about God.  We talk a LOT - we are female after all lol.  I'm so glad that she isn't at school with a teacher I barely know asking those questions.  Who knows what they would teach her!?  My daughter and I bond a lot and we have cuddle time sometimes in the middle of the school day.  Sometimes we just quit school to spend time together or go to the park or get ice cream.  I love the time we have together, it is so short, I don't want to miss the best hours of her day!
  7. Creativity and Interest-Led Learning - I think that traditional schooling squashes a child's imagination and thus, their creativity.  We need to strive to keep this alive because it is what can make life have that zest!  I also believe that children are not allowed to expand upon their interests outside of the basics.  This is most important later on in the high school years.  With homeschooling, we can allow our children to finish their basic schoolwork and then have the rest of the day to work on their interest - whether it be building a rocket, constructing a fort or sewing clothes - homeschooling allows them to establish these skills by having the TIME to do so.  My daughter loves to sew after school is over and takes her sewing box outside to sew and watch the birds.  I told her if she wants to make her clothes, she can be able to and do it well here in a few years of practice and that got the ball rolling.  If she wanted to start a clothing business during high school in our home, she could!  The possibilities are endless.  For my son, who we will train to have a trade and/or career, he can use that time to expand on his interests or work part-time.

That is all I can think of right now before dozing off to sleep, but I will add more if I remember any! :-)

What Our Table Means to Us

Some people may wonder - what is so special about a table?  However, to us and specifically to me - it means a whole lot.  Growing up in my family we would eat together at the table and have that closeness as a family but when my parents bought a television, it became the table's demise.  I was 9 years old when that television set came into our house and stole my family's bond, peacefulness and faithfulness.  However, something that sticks out in my mind all these years was how it made the table obsolete.  Instead of gathering around the table, praying and eating together, it was rather get your dinner and go to your new family - the television set.

I remember fondly those times at holidays when we sat at the table together and how weird it felt because it wasn't normal, but then also, how wonderful.  I remember some nights when my dad was sitting at the table drinking coffee and I would come and sit down and we would talk about God.  I remember staring down at the grooves in the table as he spoke and thinking upon them brings tears to my eyes.  Tears because thinking of the grooves in that table brings back those close times - at that table talking with my dad.  I remember when my parents got rid of that table a few years ago and how sad I was to hear it.  They didn't understand my attachment to it and what it meant to me.  I missed those times at the table.  I missed the togetherness of our family that was so hastily replaced by Hollywood.  I vowed to not let my family have the same fate.  Enter in.....our family table:

We fellowship together as a family at this table. There is togetherness here. There is love here. There are deep talks and funny stories shared here. This is where I teach my daughter God's Word and eventually my son.  This is where I school my children in the things they must know.  This is where we show hospitality to our friends.  This is what I want my table to mean to my children - for them to remember the good times that we spent together!  This is what our table means to us.

1,375th Reason to Homeschool - Ungodly Socialization

My 1,375th reason to homeschool:

A middle school in New York has been managing complaints from angry parents after their daughters complained that they were forced to ask each other for kisses and pretend to be lovers during an anti-bullying presentation on homosexuality and gender identity.

It's ok everyone, this is just training on bullying, so it is perfectly alright!  Don't get in a huff because parents weren't 'notified' - we don't need your permission to teach the government's children the mandatory anti-bullying curriculum, you dropped them off to be babysat everyday, so you must trust us, right?  The public schools are going to teach your daughters what it is like to be sexually attracted to a girl, to kiss them and go on dates with them, so maybe they can see if they are really a lesbian and how it FEELS to be a lesbian.  Remember, you are leaving your children in the care of these schools and they have your children in good care.  No worries, just go on about your day and remember........this is good 'ole SOCIALIZATION going on down here at the public schools.  Lots of socializing - the public school way!  You know your children can't have socialization anywhere else but public school, this the only place your child can get socialized.  This is how we socialize at schools that leave out God:

"They also picked two girls to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date."

They didn't leave the boys out, oh no, this is public school education at its finest:

The workshop which divided the students by sex, also made a presentation to boys at the middle school who were advised to carry a condom in their pocket at all times and given tips on how to identify a "slut."

Again, don't worry parents - after all, the school superintendent knows best and wants to remind you that this training is REQUIRED by state law, so stop your belly-aching, these kids belong to them to teach as you so freely handed them over:

School Superintendent Paul Finch reportedly told The Poughkeepsie Journal that the presentations were "focused on improving culture, relationships, communication and self-perceptions."
"[We] may require more notification to parents" in the future, he said. He maintained, however, that the sessions are required under the state Dignity for All Students Act. It prohibits harassment and bullying in the classroom.

Now get back to your Facebooks and shopping ladies, the schools have your child's best interest at heart.  Remember, those poor homeschoolers will never get this type of socializing!

Read the full story here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/parents-upset-after-middle-school-girls-forced-into-lesbian-kiss-at-ny-school-94523/

Harding Family Sent 6 Kids to College by age 12

They sent 6 of their children (so far) to college by age 12, simply amazing - and they don't even have a teacher's degree, imagine that!  They credit GOD for all of this!  It is time to STOP believing the lies that the indoctrination institutions are putting out there and realize that we, as parents, can better educate our children.  When we live in a time when most children can't read past a 4th grade level - it is time to kick the teacher's unions, the NEA and the Department of Education to the curb and get our taxes back that are paying for a system that hasn't worked in decades!

A system that is built upon humanism, on which not even God would advocate, so why do you?  Stop sitting around complaining about "how bad the schools are" and the terrible things they are teaching and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!  How about not allowing it?  How about saying "as for me and my house we are going to serve the Lord!?"  Or just keep whining about it, keep shaking your head at "how bad the schools are" and keep thinking that socialization is only done at public schools.  Jesus isn't standing outside the public schools with a sign telling you to send your children there, nor would God EVER advocate sending our children to the heathen to be taught what they are being taught today (homosexuality, immorality, atheism, etc.).  False teaching needs to be eradicated from the 'accepted' norm for Christians and this could be the start of a revolution.

I dare you to pray.  I dare you to count God as relevant to children's education.  I dare you to be different.  I dare you to have a mind of your own, separate from the popular opinion - a mind of Christ.  I dare you to be ridiculed, criticized and take a stand.  I dare you to pray and ask God WHAT and HOW your children should be taught.  I dare you to ask God WHO should teach your children   I dare you to ask God WHO should have your children's minds the majority of their day to form and mold them.  Then.....the revolution will begin in full force because you see, God will tell you just WHO should teach and WHAT they should teach and HOW they should teach children of those that believe in the Bible and the true God.  I dare you to take your children's minds back.

Original article: http://www.today.com/news/meet-family-who-sent-six-kids-college-age-12-1C9316706

Whoever Controls the Schools.......

........Controls the World.  You can't go wrong training your children up in the ways of the Lord for the majority of their day!!

Here are some wonderful quotes from the video:

Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum. The result is that child dies. Christian education alone really nurtures personality, because it alone gives the child air and food. Modern educational philosophy gruesomely insults our God and our Christ. How, then, do you expect to build anything positively Christian or theistic upon a foundation which is the negation of Christianity and Theism? No teaching of any sort is possible except in Christian schools. ~ Cornelius Van Til

Is the Bible true? My science, health, and literature teachers said no. Is God providential in the affairs of men and nations? My history, social studies, and economics teachers said no. Is there design and purpose evident in creation? My biology, chemistry, and math teachers said no. Are there absolutes? My sex-education teacher said no and my friends said “cool.” Is God relevant to any subject taught in the public school? All of my teachers and all of my books said no. Consequently, every day for twelve years the content and context of my public schooling said there is no God, and even if there is, He does not matter. ~ Bradley Heath

Here is a screenshot from the video showing typical hours of a public school child:

When do you teach your child about God with those hours above?  All that time away from you and your influence as a parent and rather spent in an atheistic, humanistic and ungodly school system.  God gets 20 minutes or sometimes not even that.  Is God important?  Does He care that Christian children are being taught atheistic education?  God-less history?  False teaching in a creation-less science?  

Jose Eber Curling Wand - Review and Hair Pics!

A friend, whose hair I had loved when she curls it, told me how she did it - she uses a Jose Eber curling wand.  It took me a while to finally buy it because of the high temperature and price, but after seeing her use it (her hair is as long or maybe longer than mine) and her hair not showing any damage over time - I tried it out.  I've tried hot rollers and even hairspray on my hair since having my baby and nothing would curl my hair or it wouldn't stay past 30 minutes or so.  My friend's hair is the same until she came across this wand - so it arrived today and it worked.  I only left it on my hair for literally seconds and I still can't get over how it curled.  I didn't use any hairspray, gel or mouse - just au naturel and it still held.

Here is my hair before (straight) and then after (curled) with this curling iron - by the way, I measured my hair and it grew 6 inches during pregnancy, it is now 44 inches long!

Here are some more shots I did, please excuse my "house dress" - I realized it mid-way through taking pictures and switched outfits lol, just keeping it real....

I took small 1-inch sections of my hair and quickly wrapped them around the wand and let go - probably 5 or 6 seconds total for the whole process.  It took me about 30 minutes to do my whole head this way.  Here is a side-by-side example of the before/after of a section - notice how bouncy the curl is!

Here is an extra shot - I was loving these curls as you can tell!

Then, I combed it out all over and it still stayed, not sure why the middle pic showed my hair a different (lighter) color:

I did this at 2 p.m. and then combed my hair out 3 times throughout the rest of the day.  I also put it in a tight bun on top of my head and took a hot bath and it got wet too.....the curls were still there!  Then, I wore it to church - in the rain - and the curls stayed, though not as tight of course.  Went to the store afterwards in the rain and it is now 11 p.m. at night and I still have curls.......WOW!  With all the water in the bath, the tight bun, the brushing out and the rain TWICE - they should have fallen out, but they didn't.  Amazing.

I will find out if it damaged my hair or not when I wash it Saturday and let it dry - I normally always suffer damage with any kind of heat on my hair.  Even though I've only curled my hair 3-5 times this past year, I suffered damage.  I will be amazed if this really does not damage your hair as a lot of reviewers and my friend says - we shall see.

My husband really liked it but his main concern is damage to my hair or losing my hair, he still forbids me getting a perm, even though I wanted one again lol - I know I lost so much hair a few years ago with it but it sure was voluminous!  He loves long hair......so there is lots to love lately and I'm sitting on it, it gets caught in doorways, people accidentally take it with them when they walk by and I get stares when I go out, and compliments too.  I guess you take the good with the bad.......it is our glory as women!

1 Corinthians 11:14-15

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

Homeschooling With a Baby - Part 1: 10 Tips to Get You On Track

Just when you think homeschooling is challenging, you have a baby and realize it never was until now!  I have to say that it has taken me weeks of trial and error and I'm still not completely in my groove yet of homeschooling with a baby.  There are some things I've learned along the way that I thought would be beneficial to other new moms out there with older children they homeschool or a mom who is thinking or going to have a newborn soon.  I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this in another few months but for now, here are my tips:

  1. Pray - Pray for wisdom and knowledge on how God wants you to do this, after all, he is the one that called you to homeschool, He will make a way!  Seek His wisdom for how to run your day and homeschool, and pray for your baby to be on a schedule and sleep through the night, etc.  God does answer prayers like these - He has for me!  You have not because you didn't ask!
  2. Take off the first 2 months - Spend those first 2 months getting everyone, yourself included, used to the new baby.  Wait till you finally start being able to get some solid sleep before you try and teach your older children please!  Who knows what you would teach them after only 3-4 hours of broken sleep.  No one is going to be any less smarter if you skip 2 months of school, after all having a new baby IS school - it is called Child Development 101 and its a high school level course to boot!
  3. Get the baby on a schedule - many moms think you can't do this and that is sad because you can, straight from the womb.  I started as soon as my baby came home the 2nd day from the hospital by training him about night and day.  Open the blinds at a set time each morning that you want him to wake up - for me it was 10:30 a.m.  Then talk to him and stimulate him at that same time every, single day.  Routine, routine, routine is what babies need!  Then at night at 10 p.m. it was lights out - we made it dark in the house and talked in low voices and didn't talk to the baby.  When he was waking up during the night to feed during those first 4 weeks, I made sure to not talk to him but feed him and then put him back down and keep it dark.  That way he learned there is no fun at those hours - so no need to be awake.  By the 4th week he was on a schedule and sleeping 5 hours at night and now, at 3 months old, he sleeps 12 hours straight through all night with no feedings, thanks to the SCHEDULE.  Then, during the day, schedule the feedings and naps by noting their natural feeding time and nap cues.  For Zach, he eats every 2 since he is on special formula that is already predigested - so we schedule his feeding times and nap times from morning till night.  He also has set bed times and wake up times - 10 to 10.
  4. Redeem the time - when baby is napping - school!  When baby is just fresh from being fed and content, put him down and school!  Don't wait till the worst moment when he is tired or bored and is crying - you won't be able to do much quality schooling then.  Learn to redeem those times you have, no matter how short - and make the most of that time.
  5. Plan meals and use the crockpot - Spend one day a week planning the week's meals and do mostly crockpot meals with leftovers if possible.  This is not the time to cook elaborate meals or time-consuming meals.  The most important things are to have something to eat - whether is it sandwiches, frozen pizza or a crockpot meal, gourmet is not happening right now.  I found that freezer cooking is currently not possible for me right now but that would be a good idea if the baby is older or you have someone to watch him while you spend a day cooking.
  6. Use paper plates/cups/utensils - I've found that the dishes are harder to do when you homeschool with a baby.  It is so much easier to use paper items but for budget reasons, we are only trying to use them on the weekends right now.  I plan on teaching my daughter how to load the dishwasher soon though!
  7. Assign more chores for the older kids - My daughter has taken on more responsibilities since the baby has been born.  She can now cook a few things and do a few more chores than she was doing.  Depending upon the age, children can empty trash, sweep, vacuum, wash or fold laundry, dust, clean bathrooms, wash dishes, load the dishwasher, cook, etc.  There are 9 year olds that cook full meals for their families I found out, when asking for tips for myself recently among a group of homeschooling moms - so guess who learned how to cook rice?  Yep......and she is going to learn a few more things and then make us a full meal soon, thank you Jesus!! 
  8. Lessen the homeschool load - you don't have to do it all during those first few months, take it easy with the actual homeschool workload.  The second month of the baby, I had my daughter do independent work - math fact cards, latin flashcards, spelling tests online, reading (lots of it!) and online educational games.  Then, we started back "full" school but still are not doing a heavy workload yet - no one is going to die if school doesn't get done this year.  Seriously, if you homeschool, your child is already ahead of most children.  Don't believe me?  Take a standardized test - we did and despite our half-schooling while I was pregnant, Katie managed to score advanced (1-2 grades ahead) in Math and English and average in Science and we rarely ever do science LOL!  Kids that read..........make the grade, bottom line.  Lessen your load - they will turn out ok and get back to it the next year when things are easier.
  9. Get out - taking a break when things are getting hard and the baby won't stop crying is crucial for a new mom's sanity!  Go for a walk, to a friend's house or the park - anything to put the baby to sleep, get out of the house or help you breathe some fresh air.  If you have a daughter like mine, you will be doing walking-school, she reads while we walk......seriously, this girl is a bookworm like her momma!  If she isn't reading while we walk, she has her magnifying glass and bug container to catch another specimen to investigate.  
  10. Let the house go - I'm not talking about living in filth and ending up on hoarders here - just stop cleaning so much and let go of the OCD lady!  Dust will still be there if you skip a week or two of dusting.  It isn't going anywhere - one wipe will still get it, whether you wait a week or month.  There are two things you must get done however - dishes and laundry, so make those priority and everything else is "whenever-you-get-to-it."  I was doing a bit every day, but now I'm back to my once-a-week cleaning and I force myself to not clean until that day the next week.  Skip deep cleaning, spring and fall cleanings this year - your baby needs you more.  A homeschooling mother's home should not look like the home of a mother who has no children at home during the day.  And a homeschooling mother's home WITH A BABY sure should not look like those who don't have kids at home all day!  My husband called me from work one day, he was doing a job in someone's house that had the sign on the fridge that read "A dirty house is a house where the kids are loved" or something along those lines - that is partly true, there are some people that are just plain d-i-r-t-y and they don't love their kids either lol, but then there are those that realize that spending time with kids is more important than a spotless house.  Choose your love - what will you regret spending less time doing - cleaning or loving your kids?
Related: Part 2

Conforming to Christ Alone

Someone had once preached about being a non-conformist in the context of the Word of God proclaiming we should not conform to the world; it's worldly mentality or way/pattern of thinking.  Romans 12:1-2  It was an awesome message and God really used it to encourage me and show me some things.

The preacher had spoke about an Earl Nightingale story about the pumpkin in the jug and you can read the full story here.  In summary, the story speaks about a farmer who took a glass jug and placed one of the pumpkins inside of it.  The pumpkin grew into the jug but could grow no further because the glass jug had restricted its growth. It correlates with our life telling us we shouldn't let someone else, or even ourselves, put restrictions or limitations on our life.  We don't have to conform to anyone.

You can say, well the remedy if you are in a "jug" that restricts you - just break out of it.  But HOW!?  Do you just ask God to deliver you?  Is it a mental process?  How do you break out of the jug?  I believe God can do anything and when we seek him to deliver us from our fears or whatever restricts us - he is able and will show us HOW to do it.

The article states that most of our limitations are SELF-IMPOSED! We do it to ourselves and the phrases such as "you are your own worst enemy" and "you are the result of the choices you made" ring true when we really look deep within ourselves. Sometimes though, we allow others to restrict us because we want their approval, seek their acceptance or are afraid of what they will think of us, if we are just being ourselves.

Since childhood, I've been a non-conformist - just ask my parents! For some reason, I always wanted to be different and not like everyone else. I would wear crazy clothes, not care what anyone thought of me and lived a lifestyle proving that to be so. However, since becoming a Christian, I somehow thought that I needed to conform. I lost myself in the process. I was taught (by conformist addicts) that the way I dressed, decorated and my personal desires or wants and even the way I acted needed to be conformed to what they did or wanted. I let them put me in a 'glass jug' and restrict me.

Then something changed inside of me. After years of suppressing myself, I wanted to be FREE!! I learned, thanks to God's guidance, that I CAN think for myself and I don't have to be a cookie-cutter of everyone else and the non-conformism that shaped me before salvation, could even be "ok" as a Christian and actually was an asset, not an undesirable trait. Then it happened - as soon as I started dressing like I wanted too (modestly of course!), decorating like I wanted to and letting my own desires, aspirations and wants come out of the box I had kept them in - I got hit with the hammer of CRITICISM! Most of my life I had had NO problem with criticism but now it was overpowering me and my courage was shaken - what happened?

I had allowed conformism to make me concentrate so much on what others thought of me and their approval that it disabled me when I tried to break free from its restrictions. My behaviors were formed with the years I spent in conformism and it outweighed the previous years not caring what people thought of me. My desires, wants and opinions were really the desires, wants and opinions of someone else - I had put myself aside to conform to another. I'm still breaking the 'glass jug' and learning to ignore criticism and for the most part I've been able to become my own person but there is still a small area that the 'glass jug' imprisons me and God is helping me with that. It reminds me of high school and peer pressure to "fit in" and do what everyone else is doing - as a Christian we should want to be like Jesus - not follow the crowd, because the crowd is going to hell.

So in answer to the question - HOW do we break free from that 'glass jug'? We step out and conform to the Word of God in Christ alone. It is the chicken that does what everyone else does just so they will be liked and not ever have something bad said about them and it is the brave, courageous soul who will be what God wants them to be no matter what anyone else says. You learn to be yourself and not just do things because it will give you acceptance or favor in other's eyes. What do they really matter anyway if you are cheating yourself from being the person God made you to be!?

So ladies.........step out and let your light shine!  Tell Satan and those that restrict you - "Hit me with your best shot!" Then you will find this power inside of you that you never knew or forgot that you had and God will enable you to break free from your insecurities and live your life to your full potential.You will be so secure in yourself and what God has made you to be that you will not even care what your haters say - you will actually take the bricks they throw at you and build a castle full of success.

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself. ~Rita Mae Brown
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~Mark Twain

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Before you can break out of prison, you must first realize you're locked up. ~Author Unknown

If you don't control your mind, someone else will. ~John Allston

One dog barks at something, and a hundred bark at the bark. ~Chinese Proverb

If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn't thinking. ~George S. Patton

Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy

Our concern must be to live while we're alive... to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are. ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I'm not sure I want popular opinion on my side - I've noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts. ~Bethania McKenstry

How glorious it is - and also how painful - to be an exception. ~Alfred de Musset

You laugh at me because I am different; I laugh because you are all the same. ~Daniel Knode

I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions. ~Lillian Hellman

I am not eccentric. It's just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish. ~Dame Edith Sitwell