Monday, January 30, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Community

Welcome back to week three of Blogging Through the Alphabet! Today is letter C and it reminds me of one of the biggest blessings we have had along this working and homeschooling journey: community! 

While we live in an area rich with a large homeschool community, I want to focus specifically on the community of the Body of Christ. Over the years we have been blessed by friends from both our own church and the community of Christ at large, those who homeschool, and those who do not.

The Body of Christ should be a community where sick people come to find healing, where the Body lives and works alongside them as Christ does the healing. This community should be a place where people feel safe to share their lives, and where Christ is glorified. If your community does not look like this, then it is time to ask God what needs to change to make the Body more like Him! Thankfully, as Christians we understand grace and mercy, and are called upon to extend it to others. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), and Christ's sacrifice was for all who will believe in Him, not just the hip or trendy, not just the young or the retired - for all who will come to Him!

So how has the Community of the Body of Christ blessed us over the years? In ways beyond measure, but I just want to share a few examples, in hopes that they may inspire you the next time you feel God giving you a nudge to go bless someone!

We have been blessed by:

Receiving meals after a car accident, and again after an illness

Being given two big bags full of groceries when the girls were little and the cupboards were bare

Being given hand me down clothes - for years and years of blessings!

Having friends watch our girls when we needed to attend to family matters with my Father's death

Receiving the gift of books for homeschooling after another family was finished with them

Having the girls spend the night with friends when we wanted or needed a night away

Sharing each others' burdens through prayer

Receiving cards of encouragement

Having a friend offer to teach Literature class to a group so I could have a break 

Being invited over for dinner and fellowship

Our girls spending time in fellowship and fun at park night or game night with their friends

Singing songs of praise with friends around a campfire 

Watching other homeschoolers graduate, and then having them come to our own daughter's graduation

Seeing friends' children perform in concerts and plays

Fellowship, fellowship, and more fellowship!

The Body of Christ - our Community - has fed us, loved us, loved upon our children, held our hands during hard times, rejoiced with us during good times, and challenged us to trust God more.  They have been the hands, feet, and loving arms of Christ!

Community is something we all crave, and something we all need. If you're struggling, you might be missing out on the benefits, and the blessings, of belonging to a community! Ask God to show you your community of Believers.

Linking up with Annette, Amanda, and a whole host of friends for Blogging Through the Alphabet 

A Net In Time Schooling

Friday, January 27, 2017


Control is today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt from Kate over at Heading Home. What an interesting choice for today, and a word that has been tumbling through my mind recently.

Only 5 we go!

control, five minute friday writing prompt, surrender


Such a little word with such big implications. We think we want to grow up and control our own lives. We think as soon as we become adults we can decide everything for ourselves. 

How foolish we are.

We strive and struggle, we grope, gripe, and connive to get the control over our lives that we spent our young adulthood looking forward to.

Then God does some maturing of us.

We find out that adulthood might not actually be everything we thought we were signing up for. We learn that being a adult does mean a measure of choice, like choosing NOT to ever eat brussel sprouts again, but that, in fact, we never really have control over our lives. 

The picture above is from a horse show at our State Fair. 

For the past few years, Jason Goodman has brought his team of horses, known as The Percheron Thunder to show off. His riding sills are fantastic! How can anyone even stand up on one moving horse's back, I'll never know, and yet, here he is controlling SIX huge Percheron's, and going around the arena in circles and figure eights, while the horses are RUNNING! This shows an amazing amount of control, and trust, between the driver and horses.

Which got me thinking

Back when I finally gave up the idea of needing to seek for that elusive control over my life, God showed me something amazing. 

He showed me a level of trust between Him as the holder of the reins (control) of my life, and me, as the one being directed. 

I realized that all of my years of trying to control my life had just been me fighting against His perfect plans for my life. I realized that the only real control I will ever have, is found in my choice to submit to God's plans. When I surrendered my grasp for control, He gave me a peace, a trust, and a direction that cannot be stopped or taken away by any plan of man.

Stop searching for control. Stop striving to try to make your family members into something they are not, just to fit your illusion of control. Surrender it all to Christ, and find freedom, as He gently, but skillfully, directs you in the way you should go!

Control - no thanks!

I'll choose surrender! :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Bibles

working and homeschooling, blogging through the alphabet, Bibles

Hello again!

This is our second week of Blogging Through the Alphabet with Annette and Amanda, and since we are going to stay focused on the blessings our family has encountered during our working and homeschooling journey, this week's topic is: Bibles

side note: Arlene commented that last week's introductory graphic was too busy, so I've tried to simplify them moving forward. I've kept the pink and black part of the original series title, and will be adding in a picture each week to make the topic (hopefully) easier to spot!


I admit it, I am thoroughly spoiled when it come to access to God's Word! The picture above is from the five copies of the Bible that I have used the most in my Christian life over the past 30 years or so. They are the 1984 NIV, KJV, RSV, NKJV, & ESV. I also have a 1876 Holman family Bible that belonged to my Great-Great Grandfather, but it is so old I try to read my newer copies and just appreciate it for the family heirloom it is.

God's Word changes me 

Ever since I was given the RSV copy from our church when I got to the third grade, I understood there was something special about the Holy Scriptures. Today I make an effort to get myself reading God's Word every day. It hasn't been an easy change to go from occasional reader to student of God's Word, but it is a journey I am so thankful that God has me on!

I've read all the way through the Bible several times, I'm not sure, maybe six or seven times, however my normal mode of study is not to read through the Bible in a year. Many of my friends do that, but as a working and homeschooling Mama, I find I need to dig deeper to get to the meat of the Word each time and so I go at a slower pace. Oftentimes God points me to a particular book of the Bible to study. I have read through Romans and Ephesians more times than I can count, but I'll be honest, I'm not sure I've read and studied the Minor Prophets (other than Jonah)  much except those times when I've read all the way through. 

However you choose to read the Bible, just make sure you're reading it! Daily Bible reading seems hard for many people, because we have believed the lie that we don't have time for God's Word, but how will we ever know Him if we don't spend time with Him? Taking the five minutes each morning it requires to read a paragraph while you're eating your breakfast can make a huge difference in your life for the entire day!

A few of the times I've read through the Bible I took between 18 months and 2 years. That is a much more manageable timeframe for my life.  God's Word is what gets me through each day, every tough moment, and lets me truly rejoice in the blessings God has bestowed upon our family. It reminds me that: Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17

The Bible is my guidebook for this life, and the eternal life God has bestowed upon me thought His grace and forgiveness through Christ. My eternal life began the moment I understood my great need of Christ, humbled myself, and accepted His death on the cross in payment to God for my sins. So if you think about it, I'm actually living two lives right now, the temporal, and the eternal. This is a thought that sometimes awes me, and other times overwhelms me.  This is only possible through God's grace!

Each time I am overwhelmed by something that happens in my life, or a Scriptural teaching that seems impossible for my shallow self to reach, or my own failings, I am reminded by God's Word that: His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

If you have a Bible of your own realize how blessed you are! If you do not have your own copy, consider getting a print copy, even a used one from Goodwill or another secondhand store is a treasure. In the meantime, you can start reading God's Word on your phone with the Bible app, or online at

Come read more blogging through the alphabet posts: 

A Net In Time Schooling


Saturday, January 21, 2017

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Scripture Writing, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is profitable. 

Whether or not we fully understand something God is teaching us through His Word is not what makes it profitable or not. God knows we are works in progress. His Word does not return void, so all of Scripture is profitable to us as Christians.  We need simply to believe what He says, and trust that in His timing He will reveal to us all that it means.

To those who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the words in the Bible are just words. To those of us in Christ, the Bible is a love letter.  It tells us about how much God loves us. It warns us what not to do, and tells us what to do - Worship Him with our praise! Our lives are to be one continual song of praise to God. 

God knows that even though we are forgiven, we are not yet perfect and we will still stumble. That is where the reproof and correction parts come in. He uses His Word to point out our sins and lead us back to him. He begins gently, but when we are heard-headed and resist His correction, He will bring us to the very ends of ourselves to show us our great need for Him!  Learn to listen to His Word as you read and study your Bible, a gentle reproof is much easier to handle than a strong correction.

May you find God's instructions to you each day as your read the Scriptures. 

May He thoroughly equip you for every good work!

Friday, January 20, 2017


This week's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: refine


Refine, Five Minute Friday writing prompt


To make pure, to clean, to test for purity by fire.

As Christians a lot of our lives are spent in God's refining fire. That is a good thing! While it does not always feel pleasant at the time... frankly we sometimes feel hurt by it, however, in fact, refining does not hurt us, but makes us more like Christ.

How can I say with confidence  that God's refining fire does not harm us? Because it only burns away the dross...the impurities in our hearts and lives. God is making us more like Christ, and He promises in His Word that no one can snatch us out of His hands! Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 3?

Refining is not easy, but oh ... so necessary. If God had not refined me, I would never have been ready to have teenagers. If God had not refined me, I would only react to their emotions with my own, and not with God's compassion and mercy. If God had not refined me, I could not be the wife that my husband needs. 

I want God to continue to refine me, because I know there is still dross in my heart that needs to be removed. If you have ever been around a smelting pot, or a refining furnace, you will know that it is hot, and uncomfortable. Yet, what emerges is pure, precious, worth cherishing.

When I heard today' word was refine, this song immediately came to mind:

Refiner's fire 
my heart's one desire 
is to be
set apart for You Lord.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Blogging the Alphabet: Blessings ~ A

Working and Homeschooling, blogging through the alphabet, A

There have been so many times and so many ways God has blessed us and shown His faithfulness to our family as we have educated our girls at home while both of us were working.

I could come up with several things to use for the letter A, but as I sit here typing, one blessing stands out the most: our library, the Anderson Public Library. What a gem it has been over the past 13 years!

I am sitting here at the library typing this post on a Saturday afternoon while Arlene is upstairs in the monthly meeting of the Teen Advisory Council for the library. How did that tiny little redhead grow up from the girl who chewed on the "Teeth" book into a smart, well-spoken lady who was asked to join in on the planning of activities for the teen department? One day at a time!

Our library is housed in what was originally a Sears department store. For a city of about 60,000 people, it is really large and well stocked. The librarians and other staff do such a wonderful job of making it a place where everyone is welcome, and all patrons can find the help they need. 

I am currently sitting in the Indiana Room, which is a special Reference room on the second floor that houses both historic and unique books and artifacts from Indiana history. There are some books in here that you cannot readily find elsewhere except in College Repositories or at the State Library. There is a display case near the entrance to the Indiana Room that houses changing exhibits about Indiana or Madison County history. Right now it is filled with lovely cut-glass bowls, pitchers, and other sparkly items. They remind me of the butter dish I inherited form my Maternal Grandmother.

blogging through the alphabet, A, Homeschool blessings

Across the landing from me is the Children's department. Both of our girls grew up as this area being their destination of choice for weekly outings! Librarians who love children, a huge selection of both newer and classic children's books, and a plethora of special events in the adjoining Activities Room have made a lifetime of memories. When the girls were little we would come every week. EVERY WEEK! If something happened and we missed a week, one or more of the librarians would ask the girls if someone had been sick, or if we had been on another adventure!

On the other side of our library are stacks and stacks of books! Magazines, DVD's audio books, so many great resources, whether you homeschool or not!

Upstairs are meeting rooms, the Model Railroad, Fire Safety House, and Arlene's favorite stop: the Friends of the Library Book Sale room! Down on the main floor are computer labs, a teen room, reference librarians and their books, the audiobooks, dvd's, magazines, CD's, and more stacks of books. So much awesome stuff! A long time ago there was a widget that would let you figure out how valuable your library was to your household. You entered how many books, movies, etc. you check out each month, and it figured the retail value as if you had gone to the store. I kid you not, our family's monthly value was over $900! That is when I told the Library Director that I considered our property taxes to be the cost of our library cards, with the Police and Fire Departments thrown in for free.

We are working parents. There is no way we could have afforded to purchase anywhere near that many books or documentaries for our children to use, not to mention we would have run out of bookshelf space long ago!

This week's blessing of our working and homeschooling adventure is: The Anderson Public Library!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Working and Homeschooling ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet: Blessings

Blogging through the alphabet, homeschool blessings, working and homeschooling

Many of you have realized it has been a long time since the last post in our Working and Homeschooling series. Thanks to some encouragement, or perhaps a challenge, from my friend Annette over at A Net in Time, you are about to see it revived, and filled with LOTS of new posts!

Introducing our newest set of posts in the series:

Working and Homeschooling ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet: Blessings

I'm sure you've probably seen some similar group writings before, blogging through the alphabet is not new. The host or hosts let everyone know when they are starting, and if there will be a particular theme, perhaps foods, flowers, favorite destinations, and then every week the participants write a short post about the topic that corresponds with that week's letter.

The co-hosts this time are Annette and Amanda and they've let us choose any family friendly topic as long as it matches the letter of the week. This round begins on Monday, with A, and will go until we are out of letters. Some of us are choosing a theme, others are just writing on whatever topic comes to mind for the letter. Because it has been too long since I wrote in the Working and Homeschooling series, I have decided to challenge myself to find 26 blessings that we have been granted while homeschooling, and working. 

Some posts may be short, others fairly long. I still have a few topics left on my note sheet from the original weeks of the Working and Homeschooling series. My goal is that each week I will be reminded about God's faithfulness to bless us in our efforts to homeschool, even though both Kurt and I work outside of the home. Now that we only have one left in High School,  a lot of this may be retrospection, and yet, I hope it will encourage you wherever you are in your home education journey!

Once each letter is posted on this blog (hopefully on Mondays, but some might be Tuesdays) I will come back to this post and link them. That way if you miss a week, you'll be able to more easily find them! All of us will be linking each week's posts with both Annette's and Amanda's blogs, where you can see everyone that is participating that week.

I hope you'll come back every week and find that the ways God has blessed us can be a blessing to you as well!

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Blessings

B- Bibles























Come join the fun! If you are looking for our posts on Social Media, the whole group will be using: #abcblogging

A Net In Time Schooling


Goals for the year ahead . . . 2017

*This post contains an affiliate link for

Goals for the Year Ahead, 2017 Goals

This week members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are sharing some of their goals for 2017.

When I heard the word goals in the past, one of two things usually happened, either I got all excited and wanted to start planning and writing with my favorite pens...or I said "whatever" (in my head) and moved on. Why the drastic difference between my two responses? I think life had been such a challenge for so many years that sometimes I was afraid to write out my goals. What if I didn't achieve them? What if God had other goals for me?

A few years ago, when I first heard about those people who choose a "Word for the Year" I wondered if God would ever give me year that looked normal. Then I realized, my version of normal, and His version of normal, are vastly different. I had been lulled by the society we live in into thinking that easy was normal. God reminded me that He never promised us easy, He just promised never to leave us!

At the realization that I could make plans, but I needed to leave them open to God's directing them and changing them, I realized what He was teaching me was not about one specific word, but about being transformed. 

Transformation to be more like Christ cannot start with me, it has to come from within, where God is working on my heart and mind. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

Romans 12:2 KJV

Hopefully you now see what I did: I needed to let God show me what He wanted my focus to be. So while I have learned there is great value to setting goals, and working to achieve them, I've also been matured by God's refining fire to realize that my goals always need to be second to His plan. 

Throughout 2016 God had shown me that He wanted to transform my prayer life. I had not thought it was bad, as I prayed a lot, but He showed me a better, deeper, truer prayer life that has transformed how I approach prayer. This new approach to prayer, using the model of Christ's prayers, has given me a peace I've not often had before. God is building my foundation surely, solidly, and ONLY upon Him. 

I did not chose a word for 2016, but God chose Prayer to be the theme of His transformation of me in 2016. Will that continue to be His theme for my life in 2017? I think yes, but I have the feeling that He is going to be working on me in other areas as well.

So where does that leave me today, and how do I set goals for the year when I know He will likely change them? 

It leaves me squarely in His presence, resting under His mighty arm of protection and love. It allows me to write out my goals for 2017, and know with certainty, that if He changes them, it will be for my good and His glory.

My goals for the blog for 2017:

1. Continue to be an encouragement to families, especially Moms

2. Get some more of those great Road Trips we have taken written up and the photos cropped so we can share them with you

3. Continue with the Scripture Writing posts, and occasionally share some of the stories of WHY God is using that particular verse in my life

4. Write honest, yet tactful,  posts about the joys and challenges of Homeschooling during the High School years

5. Always keep in mind the four themes God has shown me we always seem to crave: forgiveness, fellowship, honesty, and community 

6. Try to have at least one post every month that focuses on one of the themes from #5

7. Keep glorifying God. Whether it is a curriculum review, or just a weekly look back at our lives, search out the times where God shows up and blesses us again and again and help other to see Him at work in their lives as well

Do I have any personal goals for 2017?

Maybe, possibly, yes. Subject to change at God's direction.

1. Focus on JOY

2. Continue to study God's Word and allow it to transform me to be more like Christ

3. Learn to be a better wife and mother

4. Be myself! 

Learn how to be content being me, and being OK with the idea that I am not like any other person out there!

5. Declutter the house again. I'm joining in with my friend Michele and her 34 Weeks of Clean. Less stuff means more freedom to enjoy my life

Any other thoughts on goals? Just a few. I'm hoping to join up with Annette and Amanda and a bunch of our other friends as we blog through the alphabet. I want my theme to be on the joys of homeschooling, and the realities of finding the moments of joy when working and homeschooling. As more and more families are being directed by God to begin educating their children at home, I want to shine a light on the great amount of grace He gives to those who still need to work outside the home, even as they take on the responsibility of home education. It is rarely easy, but always rewarding if we remember to look for the blessings!

I really want to work through the keyboarding class at so I can finally learn how to touch type. I think this investment of time this Winter and Spring can reap great rewards as I can get more of what is running through my brain out onto the page, and then begin editing it to share with you.

I would like to read more. In 2016 I finally got smart and started writing down the books I had read. If I could find the time, I would like to read one fiction book each month, and one non-fiction book each month. To do this though, I'm going to need to focus on getting the decluttering tasks done each week, and keeping up with my to-do list each week. Other than Bible study, reading needs to come after my other work is done, so some weeks, it just has not happened.

Have you set any goals for 2017?

Stop by the Crew Blog and see what others are sharing about their goals for 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Goals for the Year Ahead {Link Up}

1 Thessalonians 3:5

Scripture Writing, 1 Thessalonians 3:5

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 ~ a Crew review

*This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a membership to, it will not cost you any extra, and we will receive a small commission to help fuel our blog and field trips., online classes

Are you looking for something new to inspire your homeschooling for 2017? has just undergone a major update and we wanted to let you know about some of the benefits of getting a Yearly Membership for your family. For this review we will cover just a few of the benefits and online classes that might most appeal to you the parents, and your High School students. There are a whole host of Homeschool Review Crew families sharing about the updates to, so if you're looking for more about classes for your little ones, click the banner at the bottom of this post to read all the Crew reviews. For a super-quick overview of the site, watch the video on the Start Here page.

The new design of is more streamlined, and even better organized than before. The blue bar just under the bar is your simplified navigation bar. Choose whether to browse the online classes by grade or by subject. You will also find the drop down menus for planning and resources here as well. Parents will appreciate the ability to quickly navigate to the Schoolhouse Planners, the new custom schedule building tool, and the Applecare Recordkeeping that is a benefit of the Yearly Membership with, online classes

We really like the new videos tab. It takes you to the media library where you can go directly to many of the videos available without needing to sift through the online classes first. What does this mean? It means you can click videos, then choose from options appropriate for Preschool/ Elementary, Middle School/ High School, or videos for Parents. Having an off day at home? Maybe someone isn't feeling their best, but you would still like to accomplish something on your to-do for school list? Choose a video from the Torchlighters series for your elementary aged student, or a video on Creation Apologetics, or an episode of Drive Thru History for your High Schooler to watch from the comfort of the couch. 

I like the ability to use the courses (and videos) available through as much or as little as we want. Since there is only one fee for the entire family for the year of use, you can follow all the way through a tough online course, or just choose supplemental materials on a daily or weekly basis and still enjoy the value. We have been looking at the courses by grade level recently, as Arlene is a High School Junior. Even though she has a plan of core courses for the Spring semester already picked out, there may be times when she wants to study something different, or would rather watch a video based course than read a textbook. Since contains a variety of courses, we can choose the ones with the teaching style she prefers. Does your student do best reading a textbook? Physics at the High School level has printable weekly lessons. If your student is more of an auditory learner they may prefer the Geology course which has an audio slideshow format., online classes

For myself, I'm starting the Keyboarding class. It is way past time for me to learn how to touch type! It includes an introduction plus ten lessons. I'm looking forward to being a better typist...and being able to get further each week when I join in the Five Minute Friday word prompt writing exercises! How about you? would you like to learn how to touch type? This course is included with membership, so I can learn without needing to pay any extra fees., online classes

I've already started the Introduction to Graphic Design course taught by Meredith Duke of sweet bee pixels. I'm hoping to use what I learn to improve upon the graphics I make for use here on the blog.

What are you interested in learning about? Maybe you'd like to browse the High School electives courses with your student, or even for yourself. There are courses on accounting, photography, logic, leadership, and even business plan creation. Don't think of this as just an online site for your children, but as a resource for your entire family!

If you would like to read more from our previous reviews of, just click over to our page here, or here for our review from last January. (Note that the courses have expanded and prices have changed since these past reviews posted!)

Before I send you over to read more of the Homeschool Review Crew's posts on, I want to let you know that the price for a Monthly or Yearly Membership to is slated to increase after January 15, 2017, so go check out the site this week and lock in your lower rate with the coupon code: CHRISTMAS for a $9.95/monthly fee, or coupon code: CHRISTMASYEAR for a Yearly Membership for only $90. Both coupon codes are only good through January 15th!

To read more from other Homeschool Review Crew members, click the banner below!

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