Monday, September 30, 2019

31 days

Tomorrow morning begins the 31 days of October writing challenge.

This here post is where I will come back and add the links to all the posts (probably a couple times a week.)

I'm writing using word prompts from Kate from Five minute Friday, so it will be my 31 days of five minute free writes, October 2019 edition. They're not all going to be exactly five minutes worth of writing, but they'll be close. 

For all you who've been waiting, you can start reading tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m. EST, because I'm going to go type up tomorrow's post right now. Be sure to check in later this week and see all our friends who are joining in, you might find some new writers you enjoy.

Maybe, just maybe, this challenge will get me ready for NaNoWriMo as well!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

31 Days of Five mInute Free Writes 2019

This will mark my third year of joining in on the 31 days of five minute free writes for October. It is truly a challenge to write something everyday for 31 days straight. Sometimes I have to write when I'm going to be at work until 10 p.m. one day and back at work the next morning.

If you caught Tuesday's post you know I plan to write along a theme. This Spring and Summer our church has been talking about a sometimes taboo subject - emotional health. It's not taboo because there is anything wrong with it - quite the opposite! It seems to be taboo in the church today because if we admit that God has created us with boundaries, then we cannot be everything to everyone and do everything for everyone... and that doesn't always sit well with a church's leadership who are struggling themselves with boundaries and healthy relationships.

So let's move on to what God says - He is the only infinite one in this here galaxy, so we might want to sit at His feet and learn a thing or two. 

If you're wanting to start learning more about emotional health, I recommend the book that many from my church read earlier this year: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. What a challenging concept, but Oh! so needed. It has allowed our congregation to have real talks about who and what God wants us to be. This fall our Ladies' Bible Study is using: The Emotionally Healthy Woman by Geri Scazzero.

So for several months now, I have been focusing on my emotional health. It is an area of my life that I am sad to say lay neglected for far too long. After a lot of reading and reflection, prayer and choosing to make changes I am headed in the right direction. To honor the changes that God has wrought in me, I am going to follow the 5 minute free write prompts with a nod towards emotional health.

As I share snippets of what God has been working on in my life, I hope you will find encouragement for your own journey. Jesus is the Great Physician. Our true, lasting healing comes from Him. I am in the process of healing. It has been a slow process - and yet - I can see and feel it occurring! 

I no longer feel broken inside.

As the mending continues I hope to be stronger than I was before the damage began. Similar to how a properly healed bone is stronger than before it was broken.

Will you join me for a month as I explore this newfound freedom of emotional health? I hope so! 

See you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


There are so many voices out there telling us to do this or that, to buy this or that, ...even to eat this or that. When do we choose to stop listening to the external voices and listen to the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us instead?

I might really like something I make, be it a pie, a blog post, or a piece of art. I can find people to tell me it is wonderful, and others who will criticize me. 

It is up to me to decide which voices I listen to.

For all of my life it seems I have been a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none. As a homeschooling mom this was an asset, being able to touch a lot of things and make them work. In the business world though, we are often told to pick one thing and stick with it until we become a master at it. Can we possibly be over-qualified and under-qualified for a job at the same time?

So which do I want to be? 

Which one brings me joy?

There have been two constants through all of my life: knowing that God loves me and provides for me, and knowing that my Mom loves me dearly. Other relationships have shifted and changed over the years, jobs and homes have changed, but these two have always loved me.

How do I transfer this knowledge on to our own daughters? How can I continue, even since they have reached adulthood, to impress upon their minds that God loves them and will always provide for them, and that I will love them forever?

The best answer I have found is to model these two truths with my life - both my words and my actions.

Too often we get caught up in the notion that there is only one right answer for our lives. What if we stepped back to rest more in God and learned that there is a road full of right answers? It might be a narrow road, but it is still a road, not a tightrope.

As I finish stepping from one season of life fully into the next, I want to model that there are still choices to be made. Then I want to consider those choices in light of the promptings of the Holy Spirit. How might God be wanting to use my talents? How might I be able to do the things that bring me joy and still be able to pay the bills? How might I strike out along that narrow road and find that it is full of colorful possibilities that cause me to grow as a Christian, and still serve those around me? 

Where are the answers I have been seeking about what comes next? 

I used to think I was a pretty patient person, then God granted me a lot of opportunities to practice patience. I've learned that I have quite a ways to go towards becoming a truly patient person - LOL!

Just a few days ago I was reading in Acts 1, where Jesus said to his disciples "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority." (v.7) While I know this verse was in reference to when Jesus would return and establish His earthly Kingdom, it spoke to me in another way as well. Why am I so focused on what comes next? When will I learn to be content with today? Will I choose to trust in His provision, or waver back into fear?

A few short months ago I would not have had this honest discussion with myself.

What changed?

As a church we have been studying how our emotions affect our spirituality - for both the good and the bad. It has been a time of stretching as never before as I have had to face my fears and struggles with my other emotions. What I have found is that God offers emotional healing to each and every one of us - but He will not force us to take it.

Oh dear ones - I hope you will accept this gift He offers!

Jesus gave His life that we might be forgiven of our sins - that is a glorious redemption that is freely offered to any who would bow their knee and accept their need. But our transformation should not stop there! Jesus promised His followers the Holy Spirit. How many times have we tried to shush the Spirit when He is talking to our hearts? Too many!

October is coming up soon. I will be joining in the 31 days or five minute free writes again, organized by my friend Kate. I will be sharing little snippets of my journey towards being emotionally healthy. This is not about my mental health apart from my relationship with God, but rather, how addressing my emotional needs has drawn me closer to God that I've ever been before. I hope you'll tag along, and find encouragement for your own journey!

I'm off to find some more joy :)

Friday, September 13, 2019 Last Chance Sale!

*affiliate links are used in this post*

Ok peeps, it's like this - if you still don't know what to do for your children for school this year, it's time to make a choice. You can get some help, or keep floundering. It's after Labor Day, so it's time to stop thinking about their education and time to do something.

May I make a recommendation? 

Try out for three months. It's only $29.95 when you use the code: LASTCHANCE through October 11th. Why SchoolhouseTeachers? Because there are over 400 course to choose from and you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a lot of good from it. 

I know, you could do it all yourself. Just get your library card and spend 40 hours a week planning and organizing and you're there. But you know what? If you use SchoolhouseTeachers as your home base, then those trips to the library can go back to being fun for everyone. You could even pick up a book to read for yourself. ;) You could learn about the history of American holidays or inspire your teens with the photography challenge course on SchoolhouseTeachers. I'm all about having fun while learning!

Why else might you decide to use SchoolhouseTeachers? Because if you're an eclectic type like I was, you'd like at least one or two easy to put on the high school transcript courses. I know your type. 

Do you know what the other end of the spectrum is? The ones who are so tied to using all of the curriculum that they purchased that they need a fun break. So reward those diligent kids with a chance to pick their own elective for next month. Maybe they want to take a brain break and go play sports - look into the fitness and health courses. Are they itching to get out the art supply box? Why not let them try the lessons from Art Achieve?

Still wondering if it is worth it to try out for three months? Go watch one of Dave Stott's Drive Thru History videos and you'll learn something interesting while laughing at the same time. These were some of Arlene's favorite courses as a high schooler.

Wherever you are in that journey - is bound to have something fun and educational for you to enjoy - go check it out!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The End of Homeschooling ~ Part 4

Were you beginning to wonder if I would ever get back to the next post in this series? Me too! So after a too-long break - here is the next installment in my thoughts about the end of homeschooling.

What about mom?

Whenever there is a change in the education of your children, there is a change in mom's routine and how she manages her days. Be it the very first time your child colors a picture for school, or the very last day when you hand them their homeschool diploma, there will be changes ahead. (FYI- this is true of public schooling moms too!)

Often I have seen friends who started the transition to mom's new normal before their last one graduated. This works well for many moms who are down to the last one or two high schoolers who are pretty self-sufficient. Maybe mom takes on a part-time job outside the home, or she expands her at-home repertoire of book editing, teaching piano lessons, or what have you.

But, for many moms, they need to wait until the last child has graduated and is safely started on the next leg of their journey before they feel released to move to something new. It might be because you had a child with a learning challenge, or because you've been so busy doing things, planning lessons, and chauffeuring that you just need a few weeks to decompress.

For the last 11 years of our homeschooling adventure I was a 4-H leader. It was freeing, but weird, to go through this past year of not being a 4-H leader. I saw the club flourish under the leadership that stepped up (my previous assistant leader) and I got to be a blessing by volunteering during judging week at our county fair. Seeing the results of their kids' efforts without the stress of being a part of it. :)

This was just one small part of the ongoing changes that have happened in my life (our lives) since we finished homeschooling last December. My work outside the home shifted as well, and I am really happy at my current workplace. And no - I do not miss frozen resets at the grocery store - at all! LOL.

Moms, you are going to run the gamut of emotions when you come to the end of homeschooling. Some of my friends continue to teach co-op classes after their last ones graduate. Others head back to their pre-kid career fields and teach or go back into the business world. The end of homeschooling can feel both like a death and a freedom won on the same day. 

It is okay to not know what comes next! Take your time in finding your new normal. I've done quite a lot of purging of the house, but it still seems like I have just begun. There are still books to give away of sell, and a lot more organizing to be done. I'm learning what it's like to be home by myself once in a while (hooray for days off!) and it's actually pretty nice. :)

Our girls are both taking college classes, so some nights it's everyone on their laptops working one various assignments. Other nights it's let's watch a movie - just because we can.

To the dads and kids out there - mom should not be rushed to decide what comes next. Whether it's been a year, a decade, or more since you began homeschooling, when it ends there are adjustments to be made. Rushing through the changes might leave her temperamental and unsure. Let her go at her own pace. Go make your own dinner once in a while - she's probably SO OVER menu planning by now. Better yet, go make dinner for everyone tonight - event it's just grilled cheese sandwiches.

Hang in there mamas - your life is not over when you reach the end of homeschooling - it is the beginning of a new season. Enjoy the changing season, and be willing to try something new. Who knows - it might just be your new favorite thing!

Remember this- the same God who led you while homeschooling is still leading you today. You are loved!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What if?

What if
your life
was just a smudged up blackboard?

What if there was
no way
to begin 

But wait...

What if you remembered
that there are
second chances
that there is forgiveness?

Would you live differently
the second time around?


Would you make the same mistakes
all over again?

Our lives are built
one decision
at a time

Will you decide to
accept the forgiveness
that Jesus offers?

Will you decide to
begin again?


Are you comfortable
being stuck
with no hope?

Choose hope
choose life
choose Jesus.