homeschooling, marriage, Uncategorized

A Marriage Proposal

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

What a week it has been! Our youngest daughter took her final exit exam for high school, graduated, and got a marriage proposal!

We have prayed for our kids’ futures since the day they were born. We prayed for God’s will to be done in their lives and if marriage was part of that will that they would find the perfect spouse that God had created specifically for them.

I believe Sarah has found the man God intended for her. It is exciting to watch and see how God worked it all out.

Sarah was 16 when we moved to Mexico. Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy with us. She was leaving her friends, grandparents, extended family, and everything familiar to move to a foreign land that may or may not have running water.

She was bitter and had been plotting how she could get back to the states before turning 18. She thought maybe she could go live with my parents and come down to visit us every so often.

After three weeks of being angry, she talks about how she realized that she had two choices; She could stay with us and be resentful the whole time, or she could have an attitude change and look at all the beauty that is in Mexico and learn all she could about living in a foreign country. Thank goodness she chose to do the latter and have a heart change.

Upon doing that, she met the man that would one day be her husband. He is a missionary here, in Mexico and works at the local orphanage. The neat thing is, early on God told my husband that this young man was going to marry our daughter.

We have gotten to know Cole over the last year in a deep way and have come to love him as part of our family. He is a neat young man that loves God, works hard, and has a great sense of humor.

His marriage proposal was one of the most amazing things I have witnessed in a long time. It was full of humility and excitement mixed with peace and love.

My husband and I are all for (Christ-centered) marriage. I have said it before, a healthy marriage shines Christ more than anything else on this planet. When done right, it is a picture of the selfless love that Jesus showed us and I don’t think it’s just coincidence that Jesus’s first miracle was at a wedding.

We are the bride of Christ! When I look at these two young souls in front of me and how much they want to be together and the love they have for each other, I am reminded that Jesus looks at me the same way! He can’t wait to be with us, His bride! We are invited to partake of the marriage supper of the lamb! (Revelation 19:6-9)

How exciting is that?!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

family, homeschooling

My Homeschool Journey

Wow!! I am looking through all my books, videos, papers, tests, and thinking, so this is how it feels…I have no more curriculum to buy. No more science DVD’s to watch, no more papers to grade. My homeschool journey has come to an end. Our youngest daughter has officially graduated!

When I started this windy road of homeschooling 17 years ago, I never dreamed it would have taken me the places it has. I had to learn patience and perseverance. I had to learn time management, realizing more often than not, that my timing and God’s timing are two different things. I had to learn to be still and quiet even when I wanted to scream. I had to lean on my husband for sound advice and to trust that it was all going to work out. I learned that stopping and smelling the roses is much better than rushing a child who isn’t ready.

God made each one of us in a unique way. It’s what makes our world so fantastic. But, because of that we don’t all learn the same way and you can’t fit people in a box. I have three kids and they all learned differently.

By homeschooling, I learned intimately how each child thought. I learned not to compare my child to anyone else, no matter what. I learned what their likes and dislikes were. I learned what their love language was and how to make them feel special. Most importantly I learned that building relationships is far greater than anything a textbook or essay could ever teach.

Was it hard? Absolutely! Did I want to quit? Yes, many times. Did I love it? You bet I did! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Now, I pass the torch to those who dare go down this crazy, beautiful road. It is one of the most difficult things you will ever do, but in the end it is so very worth it.

Congratulations Sarah! You did it!!

Psalm 32:8 ~ I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

homeschooling, marriage

Day 26 Prayer: Our Time

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Where do you spend your time? In the early years of homeschooling our kids, you could find me doing research. I researched all things having to do with schooling my kids.

I spent literally hours everyday looking at curriculum. When I wasn’t planning, I was looking at catalogs trying to find the perfect curriculum for my kids (which, by the way, doesn’t exist). I researched dyslexia and dysgraphia. I gained knowledge in these areas, which was a good thing. However, because I spent so much time researching and homeschooling, sometimes I missed out on enjoying the little things with my kids.

One day I was overwhelmed with it all and decided to put the books away. I went to my bedroom and started praying. The Lord showed me my research and planning was getting in the way of my relationships; I wasn’t spending time with God, my spouse, or my kids like I should have been. My priorities were in the wrong order.

So, I decided to change what I did with my time. I made a rule that I wasn’t to do any research until I had read my Bible, and spent at least an hour of uninterrupted time with my husband and kids. After a week of doing this, I found that I didn’t need or desire to do the research. My focus changed.

Time is precious. As I grow older, I realize how fast time flies. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It seems like yesterday, I had three little ones running around the house and I was emotionally and mentally spent. I couldn’t wait for the day when my kids could make their own breakfast. Now, I am just happy when I get the privilege of eating breakfast with them.

We have had several deaths lately. Death tends to make you think about priorities. Oftentimes death produces regrets because we realize how precious life is and we start the “If-only’s.” “If only I had shown my appreciation, if only I told them I loved them more, if only…”

The good news is, we can prevent those “if-only’s” in an instant. Take some time and think about where your time is spent. What are your distractions? How can you rearrange your day so that family is a priority?

Day 26 Prayer: Our Time

Thank God for every moment you get to spend with your family.

Pray for opportunities to spend more time with one another. Don’t only go on dates with your spouse, take your kids somewhere special. My husband would take our daughters out on father/daughter dates and I would often take my son out, also. By doing this, we built relationship with each other. It tells them they matter.

If you are finding yourself too busy to enjoy your spouse and kids, pray for wisdom to know what priorities need to change.

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

dyslexia, homeschooling

Why I Love Dyslexia

Our family decided to homeschool when my oldest son was five years old and ready to start kindergarten. Homeschooling was becoming the new thing and I had a few friends who had been doing it for awhile. I asked many questions and listened in awe at their answers of how they managed teaching, being a wife, house cleaner, bookkeeper, nurturer, etc. I was unsure if I could rise to the challenge, but I thought if we took it one year at a time the task seemed less daunting.

So began our homeschooling journey. Amazingly, I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching our son, Aaron, at home and I loved the hands-on approach to learning. I poured over many books about learning styles and homeschooling tips to help with areas I was less knowledgeable in. I found I loved to look at the homeshool curriculum catalogs. Especially living in the mountains and not having access to the internet. Looking at the pages in the catalogs was a way for me to relax and dream about one day having the Cadillac of homeschool curriculums – Sonlight or Abeka.

A few years into teaching Aaron, I was seeing signs of struggle with reading. At first, I thought it was just a slow start and that one day it would all finally click. But, that wasn’t happening. I began to do research and discovered that he had dyslexia. My husband had trouble in school when he was young and reading was labor intensive for him, too. We talked and were discussing putting our son in public school because I thought maybe they could do a better job at teaching him. My husband didn’t like that idea at all. His experience in the special education classroom at school was horrible. He was labeled as “retarded” (Pardon the word usage, but I am quoting what he was called specifically.) and that he would never amount to anything. (Now, my husband reads faster than I do!)

I knew my son was smart. He could build amazing Lego structures. He built a complete hand with movable fingers out of Legos. The detail was astounding. He was extremely good at math, too. I only had to explain math concepts one time and he was off running, working on his daily worksheets and showing me math problems with his base ten blocks. But, then came reading and writing. He just wasn’t getting it. I would cry at night, thinking it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t teaching him properly. I hated this word, dyslexia.

In my struggle I began to cry out. My husband shared with me his thought of taking a break from teaching our son how to read altogether. I thought, “What? I can’t do that. He’ll get even more behind.” My husband’s reply was, “According to whom?” So I prayed about it. A few days later I felt a release to let it go. I decided that I wouldn’t push him to read. If he showed interest, I would definitely help him. But, I was not to force the issue.

In my observation of my son, I noticed how he was able to always see the big picture in everything. He could solve problems better than I could. He could build anything he put his mind to. I was becoming amazed by him. This “handicap” as I thought it was, was turning out to be a blessing.

Slowly over time, things did begin to click for him. I discovered Brain Integration Therapy. We spent 15 minutes a day doing specific exercises to get the left and right brain working together. It was a slow process, but eventually he began to read things that a year prior had been too hard for him.

Dyslexia is looked at as a disability. I am here to say, that it is a blessing. It taught me patience. It taught me to be selfless. It showed me that I would love my son even if he didn’t fit into the mold of 95% of people walking on this earth. Most of all, it revealed to me that my son has a special gift. He looks at life in a completely different way than most people on this planet and that’s why I love dyslexia.

homeschooling

Homeschooling 101

three-kids-snow
Aaron, Storm, and Sarah taking a break from homeschool.

I was recently asked what it takes to homeschool. A dear friend of mine has decided to homeschool her kids and as with anything new, it can look  a bit overwhelming. These are just a few things that I recommend that have helped me all of these years to stay on track and not become burdened.

First, I would definitely have a scripture from the Bible that is your “key” verse. Ours was Deuteronomy 6:5-9. A key scripture is great to remind you of the big picture when things look bleak at the current moment.

Next, have fun with learning! Remember learning is an adventure and doesn’t have to be dull and boring. One of my favorite memories was reading Sacagawea to our kids in a teepee that we made on our land. We also took a hike and pretended to cross the Platt River re-enacting the journey of Lewis and Clark.

Third, it’s okay to modify curriculum to suit your needs. To some, this seems easy to do. To others (like me), this thought is out of the norm and can be overwhelming. One thing I have learned is that there is no perfect homeschool curriculum. I have spent thousands of dollars on trying to find the perfect curriculum to fit each individual’s need and it doesn’t exist. I finally have created my own ideas and used many free library resources, resulting in lots of saved money.

Slow and Steady is all that is needed. Our human nature tends to compare ourselves to others. This is true in the homeschool world as well. I have seen many parents compare their teaching style, kids academic progress, and how well they keep their house clean to other homeschoolers. God created us different, which is a blessing. Our home school is not going to look and feel like someone else’s home school. That is okay! Some people homeschool year round. Others, school for three months and take a month off; repeating the process throughout the year. For us, we worked hard on school in the fall, winter, and spring. Then in summer, we stopped formal school and worked on the homestead chopping wood, working on the cabin, and repairing chicken fences, etc.

At times if our kids were struggling with a particular subject, I would stop teaching all other subjects and only focus on the subject they needed more practice with. Granted, I was always reading living history stories aloud as a family, so they were constantly getting history and a little geography worked in.

Finally, homeschooling is ultimately about the relationship you are building with your children. Spending so much time one on one with the kids is a wonderful experience and I am seeing the fruit of all the labor that we put in come to fruition. My kids are nearing the end of our homeschool journey and I love the friendship that is growing between us. My 19 year old son, Aaron, gave me a huge hug the other day and looked into my eyes and said, “Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me the way you did.” Music to a mom’s ears. Especially when we had a rough couple years when he was in 4th to 6th grade.

Please know that these are just suggestions and there are many great resources out there to help with the task of schooling your kids at home. One of my favorites is www.simplycharlottemason.com. Remember have fun! Your kids will learn and what they lack, they can always learn later. I haven’t stopped learning just because I am not in school. I learn something new everyday!

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2

 

christianity, homeschooling, homesteading

Rite of Passage

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Matthew 3:17

This weekend we got the pleasure of blessing our only son with a “Rite of Passage.” In our American culture we don’t have a ritual that brings a boy into a man. Having a son and, seeing the need to make a statement that, “He is now a man.” my husband and I started thinking of a way that we could have a meaningful celebration for our 19 year-old son. stream

We decided it would be great if we could take him into the woods for three days and two nights with a tent, some water and firewood, and have the godly men in his life bring him the food he needs one meal at a time.  The thought was to have seven different mentors (one at a time), bring him seven different meals and not only give him a meal, but give him encouraging words along with words of wisdom, and a verse from the Bible to hold onto. We wanted the men to discuss what it means to be a godly man in our world today.

We have been so overwhelmed with the response! My son has been blessed beyond our wildest dreams! But, not only our son, the reply from the men involved has been amazing. Each one of them has told us that they had a great time sitting and sharing a meal with our son, Aaron. The verse “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) comes to mind. Sitting and talking about the trials and troubles this world has in it, but being encouraged because we have each others back and we are not alone in this life is such a wonderful thing.

Tonight my husband will bring all the men together and speak a blessing over Aaron. They will share one last meal as a whole group. I couldn’t be more pleased that the Lord put this on our hearts to do for our son. God is in the details!

church, homeschooling, homesteading, Uncategorized

Beautiful Dependence

Have you ever wanted to learn to fly with Jesus? Have you ever wanted to go deeper with Christ? Have you ever wanted to tear down your walls and taste freedom?

Well, I am happy to say, my book Beautiful Dependence is now published as an Ebook and is FREE on amazon.com for Kindle Unlimited customers or $2.99 for regular customers! It is my personal story of moving to the mountains of eastern Washington and living off-grid (no power). It is the story of surrendering to Jesus, and letting Him tear down my walls, and set me free, and teaching me to fly higher each day! It is also about the affect that this freedom had on my marriage and the raising and homeschooling of three beautiful kids.

It is finally finished!

We have been hearing from so many of you who have read the book and how it has touched your lives, and left you with a desire to go deeper with Christ. Two of the most common reactions are, “I couldn’t put it down!” and “I’m reading it again, because there was just so much there.”

Email, and text your friends.

In a world that tells you Independence  is  beautiful, our hope is to get the message out of just how Beautiful Dependence is! We long for every one to surrender to Jesus and let Him have His way with them.

Beautiful Dependence is Christine’s story of  Surrender;  of falling into the arms of God and learning to Fly – daily!

amazon-ebook-photo