Redeeming Suffering Through Action

Redeeming Suffering Through Action

Things I find unacceptable about the last 15 months of my life:

  • My mom was killed instantly in a car accident- the day before my 36th birthday.

  • Thirty days later, my best friend moved 15 hours away.

  • The following several months held sickness, anxiety, and yet another autoimmune diagnosis for myself.

I lost my mom.

I felt like I lost my best friend.

I rapidly began to lose my health.

You want to talk about some raw, lonely, abandoned feelings?

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Be Interruptable: The Tension Between Mary and Martha

Be Interruptable: The Tension Between Mary and Martha

The mist from the prior evening's rain was frozen solid in the shade at the Toledo Art Museum in December. As my best friend and I skated every-so-gracefully out of the shadows of the parking garage into the sunshine, we'd just wound up an intriguing chat about those famous sisters- Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). Scripture + My Best Friend + Art. This may have been my best day ever.  

As a self-proclaimed Martha, I've revisited this section of scripture again and again. One question has always haunted me, and I chatted about it that day with my self-proclaimed "Mary" friend: Wasn't there stuff that needed to get done? I know Martha was fussing at Mary which obviously isn't very Christ-like (and Christ called her on it), but wasn't Martha (and all her busyness) kind of necessary? Those disciples wanted to eat... right?  (Assuming Jesus wasn’t going to pull a water-to-wine + fishes-loves miracle last minute.)

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Dear Scared, Worried (Overwhelmed) New Homeschool Mom

Dear Scared, Worried (Overwhelmed) New Homeschool Mom

I received a text from a sweet friend last night, one who is in the thick of her first year or two of homeschooling. As she'd spent many sleepless nights cradling and nursing her newborn infant recently, thoughts and concerns flooded her mind over the progress of her 6-year old daughter's reading. 

Anyone who has been in the thick of homeschooling for one year or 10 remembers those days well. Not one of us is impervious to fears, second-guessing, unmet expectations, and the torture of comparison. What follows is a version of my response to her concerns, that she and I agreed, should be shared with you as well.

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All About Reading: Level 4 Color Edition Review

All About Reading: Level 4 Color Edition Review

I was so excited when Erin told me that All About Learning Press was releasing a NEW COLOR EDITION of their All About Reading program! I have used AAR with three of my children, and it has been such a blessing to our family. This program has helped me gain confidence and skills in teaching my children to read. I’ve written before about how we use AAR in our home. Today I want to share a little more about the new color editions, and why I have changed my mind about Level 4.

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The Kind of Mom I Want to Be (18 Gifts for My Children)

The Kind of Mom I Want to Be (18 Gifts for My Children)

Have you ever spent much time considering the legacy that you're leaving your children (and their children and their children)? If you have younger children, you probably haven't. It wasn't something that was "front of mind"  for me until I lost my own Mom very suddenly. In the year that has followed, I've spent much time reflecting upon who my mom was, what she taught me, and most powerfully: the legacy that she left us of hard work, perseverance, humility, humor, and a sacred regard for life. 

As I've reflected upon every good gift that my Mom gave my sister and I, it has cemented the value of the "now" in my mind.

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Cultivating the "Perfect" Homeschool

Cultivating the "Perfect" Homeschool

If you saw that title and clicked to read, it’s likely that one of two things brought you here: You thought, “What in the world? This girl thinks she’s got it all figured out. I have to see who this chick thinks she is.” OR, you thought, “Sheeesh, I’m struggling. I need a dose of whatever she’s got going on.”

Those are extremes, obviously, but for most homeschool mamas, we tend to vacillate between these throughout days and seasons. We either think we have "it" finally figured out (only to have “it” blow up in our face the next day) OR we think we are never going to get “it” figured out, and our kids would probably be better off spending their days in school.

Since long days, learning challenges, chaotic toddlers, willful attitudes, and mismatched learning and teaching styles can leave any of us questioning our sanity (and looking for a better way), I thought I’d share how I have “it” together (FINALLY!) and how you can too! It turns out you CAN have an amazing homeschool experience and choose the perfect curriculum.

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Mama, Your Body Matters

Mama, Your Body Matters

Babies. Time. Gravity. Busyness. Injuries. Disease. There are so many ways and events that can fester a special kind of dissatisfaction with our bodies. As mamas, we know the power and strength that is inside of us- that created, nourished, and cultivated life, then pushed it out into the world. We know the purpose behind these bodies, but more often than not, as the battle scars of life begin to tatter our flesh, we can question our very worth and purpose.

We battle our stretch marks. We battle the extra pounds. We battle the cellulite, the sagging jaw line, and the embedded lines that show we’ve expressed joy daily. The world tells us that these signs of life are undesirable and less than beautiful. The message to these generations is that as we grow in wisdom, virtue, experience, and strength, we are now less than we once were because we wear the battle scars of a life filled with living.

Despite what the magazines on the rack say, the Book I look to says differently. The Book I look to says that my body is sacred, chosen, strengthened, and redeemed. The only Word that matters says that I house the Spirit of the living God inside these dimpled thighs and amongst all those wayward hairs.

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5 Things to Know When Your Husband is an Unbeliever

5 Things to Know When Your Husband is an Unbeliever

We all have unbelief- sometimes in ourselves, in our spouse, in a child... All to varying degrees. We aren't born believers, unfortunately. God must pursue our hearts until we willingly submit to him and lay our lives at the foot of the cross. 

When the root of unbelief is in our own hearts, we need only cry out to God in earnest desire to fully believe. As the father of the sick child in Mark 9:24 cries out to Jesus, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!" so too can we cry out, and he will surely answer. 

The more challenging aspect can be when we live with a loved one who is shrouded in unbelief. We don't have control over that situation at all. We desperately WANT to. We see with clear, unveiled eyes every single lie that our husband or child believes, the Biblical wisdom they lack that could bring them so much freedom, and the burden that their own unbelief places on them. 

My personal experience is with an unbelieving husband, so that's where I'm speaking to specifically. My childhood sweetheart and I married 16 years ago as unbelievers.

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5 Unique, Christ-Focused Christmas Gifts for Your Teen (+ COUPON!)

5 Unique, Christ-Focused Christmas Gifts for Your Teen (+ COUPON!)

I don’t know about you, but as my children grow older, they’re harder and harder to shop for. While my two oldest (14 and 12) will always just say, “Give me money!”, I’m not a huge fan of that. We try hard to keep our hearts focused on Christ through the advent season. I like to make sure the gifts my kids receive Christmas morning are exceptionally good.

Good does not have to mean expensive. What “good” means is that the gifts are good FOR them AND good in a way that demonstrates I know their hearts, their interests, and their needs. It’s my intention that the gifts that we give them (as their parents) demonstrate in a tangible way the GOOD gifts from God, and the good gift of Christ. God knows what they want AND what they need, and he fulfills those needs fully, through Christ. I hope that our Christmas gifts to them will reflect the heart of our Heavenly Father.

That’s a lofty goal, right? Keep in mind, as I share these 5 items to consider this Christmas, that both my older children are girls. I’m shooting for gender neutral as much as possible!

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Thanksgiving Unit Study for Your Elementary Students (HUGE FREEBIE!)

Thanksgiving Unit Study for Your Elementary Students (HUGE FREEBIE!)

If it’s not apparent by all the fall/Thanksgiving posts on my blog (like this free packet, this printable calendar, and this act of kindness kit), I REALLY LOVE THE FALL SEASON. One of my favorite aspects of fall is obviously the weather. Living in central Alabama means that we deal with insufferable heat and humidity most of the year. We are very much a “2-season” state. Our fall and spring generally area about 2 weeks long, but OH how glorious they are!

Since our fall season is so short, we like to take full advantage and spend as many hours out of doors as possible. Even on 10 acres, my little ones can somehow manage to grow bored with the scenery. I find that a sure-fire way to keep them engaged with exploring nature is to start out by directing, guiding, or employing them in some way. Then, once their creative and observational skills are all fired up, they’re happy to engage with nature and explore on their own for hours at a time.

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