Learning That Looks Different

I can imagine that to outsiders looking in, my Instagram feed looks strange.  What we consider homeschooling doesn’t look like schooling at all.  Where are the text books? Where are the worksheets?  And how is going to the gun range “schooling” at all?

The whole gun range rant is for another post.

But in essence, the truth is: If I wanted to recreate “school” at home I may as well send them to school and save me the trouble.

If “school” was producing such great results, with amazing prodigies in science, sports, and art, our education would rank higher than that of other countries, and our college graduates a much more formidable force in the competitive labor market across the world.  But it doesn’t.

I’m not saying that there aren’t children who do absolutely amazing in public school – because there are.  However, I would argue that succeeding at Public School is not necessarily equivalent with being a successful individual.

So in my personal experience, I need to determine what would my child look like as a successful individual, and work my way backwards from there.  And here is my flow chart:

  1. Being uninhibited in kindness and compassion is a big priority for my children.  They are very tenderhearted, and I don’t want them to be “toughened up” by bullying.  I don’t want them to learn through peer influence and unsupervised socialization to be callous, or rude.  As a result, at this time public school is not the best choice for them.
  2. My kids are argumentative and struggle with submitting to authority.  There is (believe it or  not) a benefit to this: they don’t accept any information at face value.  Everything is questioned, researched, debated… from a history lesson to the chore of washing dishes.  If I want the learning to be meaningful, they would benefit best from a Socratic approach to learning.  And that’s just not a style of learning in most public or private schools.
  3. Creativity helps my children de-stress.  It’s also how they express themselves.  I’m sure there may be a charter school that would allow them to turn in their report in Manga form *somewhere*, but I haven’t found it.
  4. There are learning disabilities to consider!  My kids aren’t behind as a result of ADHD but I also know that the way I work with them at home has helped them to not be handicapped by this condition.  They can stand on their heads, pace back and forth, bounce a ball, and overall wiggle their way through all their learning assignments without being reprimanded for the inconvenience it would cause to the class.  Homeschooling for the win!
  5. A strong family unit is by far the most influential and beneficial factor I could give my children.  I don’t know whether they’ll be doctors or game programmers, but I know that they will grow up and be in relationships, get married and have children of their own (possibly).  And regardless of what they do as a profession, they need to learn how to love their children and their spouses.  Research shows they learn that from experiencing it at home, and I don’t think a few hours around the dinner table is enough.

Am I a helicopter parent? A little bit.  But there is science to back up that a happy heart leads to a smarter mind.  Looking at each child as a unique individual and helping them feel joyful means that they will retain more of what they learn and *gasp* develop a LOVE for learning.  Not learning for passing the test sake.  Not learning for passing the class sake.  Learning because knowledge is worth acquiring.

This is why homeschooling looks different in every home, and it varies within the home from school year to school year.  It’s fluid and organic as the students themselves.  And it will provide very different results from what you might have experienced in other children.  That’s the point.

ISO Long Lost Relatives

This is not an affiliate post!  I paid for my own test with AncestryDNA.com and was not compensated or even asked to leave a review in any way.  The opinions on this blog post do not reflect the views of Ancestry.com and are exclusively my own.

Legalities out of the way, my husband and I did our DNA profiles with Ancestry.  Yup, despite the fear that now they will keep our DNA and sell it to third party companies that would track us from now on (no research for this, just my usual paranoia), we spit into the little tubes, shook it up and mailed it in.

And the results are in!

I did mine to try to find more info about my family.  I was hoping to find matches on my dad’s side of the family.  My dad and I don’t have a lot of information there – my grandfather left from Venezuela to Germany sometime around 1966.  My grandmother kept her maiden name, and came from Prussia – whether the polish or the German side of it, who knows?  Enough world wars have changed the landscape of Eastern Europe.

 

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Possibly my grandfather?? Who knows!

I have pictures of my grandma as a nurse, and bike riding through Europe as a young woman fresh out of school.  I also have pictures of her exploring Venezuela, and some colored photographs of her in Bali.  I know she visited a relative in Australia and had a friend in New York City.  I know she had brothers because I remember seeing the sepia-colored photographs of young men in uniform.  But I don’t really know anything about her!

 

So I was hoping to find more on Else Karalus or Hans Heimig, and see if there are any second cousins anywhere?  Any pictures or connections to a “home land”?  And this was probably fueled by the realization that my homeland is destroyed.  I will never, ever be able to take my husband and children to Venezuela and show them my grandmother’s grave, or my childhood neighborhood.  They’ll never know what it’s like to visit the falls, or the Andes, or the Amazonian basin.  And that grieves me.

My mom and I spent some time researching her side of the family and found out that her paternal grandparents were European Jews that came to Venezuela seeking refuge.  News to both of us!  And I’m thankful I met my great grandmother, and have pictures with her, and she walked me to school, because there isn’t much in the way of documents on an orphan ex-slave.  But it’s ok, cuz I knew her.  Till her dying day.

Anyhow, it’s a very difficult feeling to explain; you are always an immigrant, but you never have a country to go back to.  And you are adapted to the United States, well versed in politics, geography, and history – but it’s never “home”.  It always feels like you know this information as an outsider looking in.  Somehow I went on the search for a “home country”, one maybe in Eastern Europe I could hope to visit and learn about one day in replacement of the one I lost.

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I’m such a mutt I’m a child of the world!!

East Europe – my paternal side,  Prussia, explains this perfectly.  Native Americans – I’m sure that’s indigenous to Venezuela, like the Yanomami.  These two things make up half of the genetic pool that is me.

Then it’s a smorgasbord of ancient history and migration patterns.  Vikings that sailed all over the Baltic sea and established themselves in parts of Russia and the Iberian peninsula.  Spaniards, conquered by Romans and then Muslims.  Celts that fled from the Roman invasion in Britain.  African slaves from Senegal and Mali, brought on Spanish ships to Venezuela after Columbus’ ill arrival.  Aside from Southern Europe and Ireland, it’s dashes of spice from people that moved and were moved, conquered and were conquered, all somehow ending up in the northernmost part of South America to make me.

And somehow, unexplainably, a pinch of Melanesian (Papa New Guinea/Australian Aboriginal).  I’m sure that one made an interesting story some years back…

But this comforted me because it gave me a lot of places to call “home”.  A lot more history to learn, genealogies to look up, and hopefully once my kids all graduate – places to visit!  I was never meant to belong to any one geographical place here on earth.  I’ve always been a traveler passing through, with my citizenship in Heaven.  Then I’ll feel like I’m truly home.  Until then, I’ll keep searching for family members.

Do you have interesting lineages or family histories?  Share below!

 

 

The Problem With Women’s Health…

For the past few months I’ve been recovering from a hysterectomy that came about after an IUD pierced my uterine wall and decided to float around in my abdomen.

Fun times… not.

So let’s start at the top.  I could start with the decision to put in the IUD… or the ovary removal in 2012… or go even further back.

Let’s start with the day of my first period.  I was 9 years old and in the 4th grade. It wasn’t too big of a deal except it was strange.  The pediatrician suspected it was a result of anemia because I ate very vegetarian.  But it stopped between 11 and 14 altogether with iron supplements and more sunlight.

And that’s things took a drastic turn south.

I remember  sitting in biology as a freshman and passing out in class.  I felt terribly nauseus and dizzy but they wouldn’t let me go to the nurse.  When I did pass out, I fell off my chair and it revealed a pool of blood on my seat, dripping down on to the floor.  THEN I was sent home.  I was also called nasty by my classmates who took this as an indication of poor feminine hygiene.

Never mind that I was wearing a tampon AND an overnight pad at that time…

… TMI?  Yes but I feel the need to be candid.

I got sick during my SATs and passed out for some of it.  No excuses.

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My high school self. Early 00s

 

In fact, I couldn’t excuse myself out of anything during my menstrual cycle.  Definitely not high school.  Also not work.  No boss could understand why I couldn’t deal with it or prepare better.

By God’s grace I delivered 3 children, and a few years after that I was going to the Emergency Department monthly.  Abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea.  They would do an ultrasound and say, “We think you had an ovarian cyst pop.”  And send me home.  When I ran a fever they prescribed a Zpack until I can’t even tolerate it any more without nausea.  Six months went by and my performance reviews at the veterinary clinic I worked for suuuuucked.  I called out too much.  I wasn’t very alert or helpful.  I was spacey.  I didn’t have the best customer service.

In desperation my OB GYN does a laparoscopic exploration and finds that I had pelvic vein congestion and endometriosis.  I had veins twisting to the thickness of my thumb.  I had blood pooling in my abdominal cavity.  I had a shriveled ovary removed.  And all this only five years ago!

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My kids are nursing me back to health with smoothies.

Up until the end of last year I still had gnarly periods.  I still went hormonally off the reservation.  I would spend $6000 worth of medications and literally bleed them out before they did anything to help the rheumatoid arthritis I was also fighting.

 

And the thing that drives me up the wall right now is that all this time, from age 14 to age 32, no one told me the crucial truth:  THIS ISN’T NORMAL!  I had never even heard of a period that lasted any LESS than 10 days.  Or cramps that went away with Motrin.  Because the only thing I was told was:

  • It’s not that bad.
  • It happens to every girl.
  • Watch your diet.
  • Exercise more.  Your stomach is flabby.
  • You need to lose weight.
  • Try some herbal teas, hot packs, or ice packs.

And quite frankly, this pisses me off (excuse my language).  I had severe symptoms that were dismissed all my life, as is the case with hundreds of thousands of women who struggle with PCOS, Endometriosis, or other uterine/ovarian health issues.  And this is where it needs to change.  We need to have this conversation and push our primary care providers and OBGYNs to look for the Zebras instead of the horses when we are explaining our painful menstrual cycles.

 

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After the good meds kicked in, just before surgery.

My primary care provider recommended an IUD when she saw the pattern of depression/RA Flare Ups/Long Periods to see if we could eliminate periods altogether.  Fortunately (and in an excruciatingly painful manner) the IUD went clear through my uterine wall.  I say fortunately because the pathology results of my now removed uterus proved my surgeon’s words true:  Uteruses bleed, bear children, cause pain and get cancer.  And it was time for mine to go.  Have you ever even heard of Adenomyosis? It’s not diagnosable by ultrasound.

 

I’m still recovering from the hysterectomy and it’s been about 6 weeks.  I’m not at 100% yet, although I’m anxious to be.  I’m curious to see what 100% of me feels like in my marriage, my parenting, and my ministry.  A full 100% of me that is not crippled for two weeks out of the month. I may be experiencing healthy for the first time in a long time.

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Have you struggled with women’s health issues?  How long did it take for you to be diagnosed?  Are you still waiting for answers?  Share below!

 

 

The Season of Silence

It’s hard for me to believe I haven’t blogged in so long.

But sometimes you don’t have anything to say.  I had a lot of incoming information and things I was quietly observing and praying about.  And just waiting for things to change and shift according to God’s will.

My health took a turn of events that had me resting A LOT.  So much so I had a lot of time to think, and journal, and sleeeeeeeep. Delicious sleep.

Nothing happens for our harm though.  I’ve learned that full well.  In all the events and trials we have been through, it has all worked out to do good in us.  The issue is that our definition of “good” is probably not God’s.

We think “good” is comfortable, pleasant, or nice.  God says “good” is having strong moral fiber, being like Jesus; forgiving when it hurts, turning the other cheek… Persevering in the face of persecution.  Having endurance in the faith while being tried and tested.

It goes without saying that to have good results by God’s standards you will have to be moved from the comfortable and pleasant.  You can’t stay safe and happy and develop a Christ-like character, which is the ultimate definition of “good”.

Yes, everything has worked out for my good.  I’ll share in subsequent blogs some specifics, but I can see God’s signature in my life and my faith is growing.

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Unquantifiable Benefits of Homeschooling

At the beginning of every year, I start evaluating all things from last year to determine our course of action for this year.  It’s kind of like setting New Year’s Resolutions, except no one keeps those.  I like to go a bit deeper and try to journal out things I wanted to do but didn’t, things I AM doing that I no longer want to do, things that worked out well and things that didn’t.  Then I try to be a bit more intentional moving forward.

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Homeschooling is one of those things that I can slave away and need some coffee in the morning and wine at night to get through.  But then again, that has more to do with parenting and less to do with schooling.  Temper tantrums, disobedience, and eye rolling happens in seasons for every kid (and I have three!) and they would happen here or in public/private school.  They just wear on me more when we are home together.

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However, every year I also find very tangible benefits to homeschooling.  Some I can put down on paper or a chart.  Some I just can’t.  More often it’s the unquantifiable benefits that far outweigh them all and has us pursuing the same course.

We are getting ready to do assessments with their contact teacher at their charter school tomorrow.  I needed some quantifiable results from an outside source to see if the kids are doing as well as I think they are.  Even though I’m seeing it with my own eyes, I have a hard time believing my 8 year old with ADHD does multiple digit multiplication in his head.  As much as I watch him do it.  He’s a self proclaimed 3rd grader that is supposed to be in 2nd and I’m not sure he has memorized his time tables.

It also feels like all of the sudden the three of them took leaps forward when it comes to writing, grammar, and penmanship. I would pat myself on the back if I knew how I did it.  I had been frustrated for almost an entire calendar year and all of the sudden – Whoosh! As if by magic – it clicked and it’s happening.baking cookies

But if I’m completely honest, my 5 reasons to continue our homeschooling journey are:

1.- My kids aren’t fussing with each other nearly as much as they were last year!  They have awesome moments of playing together or working together and they have more moments of resolving conflict calmly and respectfully.  If you have a child diagnosed with ADHD, this is HUGE.  As in, knock on wood, walk away and cross your fingers HUGE.

2.- My kids are taking a step back and making wiser decisions about their friendships outside the home.  They are realizing that even though they can be friendly to everyone, not everyone is a good influence on them.  I don’t think there’s a curriculum that teaches this.  But I’ll take it.

3.- My kids are the most outward-thinking, compassionate beings I have ever seen.  I am frequently getting reports from other parents who thank me about something very kind and helpful my kids did… of which I had no idea.  And would never had known if the parent had not messaged me.  Not something I can take credit for either, except to say that I’m convinced learning and living from a position of rest helps them to be less self-centered.Bible Quiz

4.- My kids are overcoming bullying a lot more effectively.  Yes, homeschoolers get bullied.  Because homeschoolers are socialized.  They are “weird” and often their kindness gets mistaken for weakness.  While it’s never pleasant, we’ve been able to address and recover from every incident and I am thankful for that opportunity.

5.- My kids have not gotten sick in a long time.  I have missed annual appointments because I forget.  Nothing lasts more than a day.  No fevers.  No runny noses. YAY!

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I’m a firm believer in that if it ain’t broke… don’t fix it.  I’m seeing homeschooling working on all fronts.  So that’s how we plan to continue until changes need to be made.  With my husband returning to medical school there is a possibility that sometime in the future I will have to work full-time so he can attend school or do rotations full-time.  We will cross that bridge when we get there, but I’m praying for a way to continue on this course that has been  specifically charted out by God for us.

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Back to the grind…

The main thing on every homeschooling mom’s mind right now is, “How do I go back to it?” Whether it’s because of holidays, sick days, sad days, or the freshly fallen snow… it’s hard to transition from not doing anything really to any kind of focused progress.

Except for unschoolers. They’re cool like that. But I’m more the Charlotte Mason type.

I was struggling with some gnarly health issues that kept me laying down on the couch up until Christmas. Seeing this coming, I did something in December which I now consider brilliant:

I took my December calendar, and blocked off one day for every subject I do at home. We did language arts, science, history, and electives (Spanish, programming, art, ASL). Then I blocked off one day for every holiday activity the kids wanted to do: make crafts, homemade gifts, cookies, watching Christmas movies, and sledding.

And that was ALL WE DID. Every day that didn’t have an activity was a “free day” with some rules… When we did history we did history all day, between games and movies, and reading. When we did science we did that all day too. And then it got put away and pushed away.

For the record, we covered three weeks worth of science in one day, and learned from the French and Indian War to the Revolutionary War in History.

Our rule for “free days” was you needed to do 30 minutes of math practice and reading before you went to play. But I had gift-wrapped a book for each free day that we had scheduled. They were small readers that we got through in one day, taking turns reading aloud on the couch for about an hour. It was like opening a Christmas present of knowledge and imagination every day!

This helped prepare us for going back to school tremendously. Because the information was learned very effectively! And they made considerable progress that we can build on now.

For one thing, my 8 year old went from not really reading to reading books that have 14-20 chapters and loving it. And I can tell he’s reading because his writing and grammar have improved dramatically. It was a good break in the school year that wasn’t a waste of time; we rested AND moved forward.

You’re probably thinking, “That would’ve been a wonderful suggestion for DECEMBER, Maria. But now it’s January.” It would still work! Take January’s calendar and pick a day to review and prepare for each subject you teach. Block off a day to put away Christmas decorations (and make it fun! With hot drinks and music!). Block off a day to visit your local library or a play ground. Take one day to revisit the household chores and make adjustments if necessary.

Then make the rest of the days “free days”, that is, “interest-led” days. Let them have days to just craft, or read, or practice an instrument.

It’s a good idea in January to implement a few things daily regardless of what’s on the schedule; write a thank you note (or two) and work on five math problems. Simply because the skills necessary for writing and math have to be worked on regularly and consistently.

Then progressively work on replacing thank you cards with a full language arts lesson, and doing a full math lesson instead of just five problems… add the history and then the science. Build up on it so by the last week of January the family is back to full-speed ahead.

My kids are so comfortable with their language art and math lessons we are ready, by next week, to bring back history and science again. And all their regular activities (co-op, Choir) start up again too.

Pin this post for when life happens. Surgery, travel, family illness… Knowing there’s a way to ease off the workload and ease back into it without falling behind. It’s a perk of homeschooling, and it helps! I know what it’s like to feel pressure if days or weeks go by and “school hasn’t gotten done!” I only share this because it worked so well for my household, maybe I can inspire you to think outside the box… and come out victorious!

Happy 2018!

Happy New Year!

I have given up on the hope that I’ll sit by a computer three times a week, editing pinable photos and creating blog content to share… its time consuming. And while I enjoy it, 2017 showed me that I have a lot of hands-on to do with my kids this season of my life.

The kids are learning – REALLY learning – and it takes me a while to do everything. It takes me a full school day, but it isn’t a pushed schedule. It’s the projects, the questions, the read alouds… next thing you know it’s 4pm and I’m done.

My goals for 2017 changes a bit too. I finally feel on top of my health, and while I’m not 100% healed I can assume control and work on it. So it came back to the top of my priorities; to eat better, exercise and sleep well.

It’s not a “number on the scale” thing. It’s a life or death thing. Seeing my mom get diagnosed with breast cancer brought a new awareness in my life. The goal is longevity. It’s changing not only how I eat and whether I exercise but also the deodorant I use or the things I clean my house with. We are working our way towards mostly plant-based, completely toxin free living. To that end, I’m an H2O at Home Advisor, and I can’t overstate how much that has dramatically turned our lives around. But that’s for another blog post.

Conclusively, for the sake of my mental health I have made some changes too. We are no longer pursuing home ownership (I needed a break from that stress) and are happily renting a cute little apartment that has been a God-sent for our family. I’m trying not to add stressors to my life when I already have my handful of things going on: I’m still watching my mom fight breast cancer from afar, helping my husband go back to school this year, and still trying to improve my physical and mental health. I’m maxed out on projects or things to think about.

So where does that leave this blog? In a very primitive place, back in its origin. Writing for pleasure. For venting, for mental health purposes. Writing good news and writing to be encouraging. For an audience of 1 or 100.

What are you looking forward in 2018? Share below 👇🏼

Raising Accountable Kids

I shared on my Instagram that I was super happy to have set up the Accountable Kids system in our home, and my friend Mrs. Lo Tanner challenged me to explain more on my blog, so here it goes.

Disclaimer: I’m not an Accountable Kid representative or affiliate.  Please follow the link to their site for more info!  I will not receive a dime if you click on the link.  I was also not paid to give my opinion.  I purchased this program out of my own pocket and this is just my honest review.  My blog post is not to be considered as a statement from the company.

But if you are like me, you can easily find yourself in this circle of repetition that wears us moms down to the bone.  How much time have you physically spent reminding kids to do what doesn’t come naturally?

If you have a child with ADHD you understand me.  It’s not laziness or unwillingness.  They just sincerely can’t remember a series of instructions over the course of the day.

CalebI read a couple of books on ADHD and, as far as discipline goes, the suggestion was not to “engage in battle” or “lecture” the child (as it just builds frustration and can be ineffective) but instead to develop habits through positive reinforcement and natural consequences.

That is why this program works well for my family! We brought it home and watched the video.  As a family.  My kids were excited to do this!  My youngest (who has ADHD) said, “Mom this is a perfect way for me to remember all the things I have to do in a day!”

In the most basic description I can give, the program sets up chores on tickets they flip once completed.  They get rewards in “tickets” for the chores they do – in my house, they can earn a ticket for completing all their morning chores, day time chores, and evening chores.  I basically go through their flipped tickets and see if they did everything they were supposed to in the time frame alloted.  Tickets are then used in exchange for rewards or privileges.

AnakinOur family decided to use tickets on everything electronic (Family TV time, computers, xbox, pads, etc) and  activities outside the house.  So each ticket is 15 minutes and they need to have 3 tickets before they’re allowed to turn something on.  If they want more time, they can choose not to spend tickets one day (not turn on an electronic device) to use another day.

The chores are very simple.  They have cards that say, “Brush your teeth”, “Take vitamins”, “make your bed”.  They also have chores like, “Dishes”, “Mop”, and “pet care”.  My kinesthetic learners don’t have to rely on memory for EVERYTHING.  They go to their board, read the task, do the task, then flip to the “Finished” peg.  In doing so I have eliminated HOURS of asking them to do things.

BrielleIt’s also effective because it doesn’t take away their volition; they can choose to not make their bed… then they don’t earn the ticket… then they have to go sit in their room while the rest of the family watches “The Flash”.  The natural consequence of the system has lifted discipline off my shoulders too.

Why would you spend money on this instead of setting up a chore chart?

  • Chore charts are visual. My kids are kinesthetic learners.
  • Chore charts show you the day or the week.  That is visually overwhelming and distracting for children with ADHD.  They only need to worry about one task at hand.
  • Chore charts leaves me entirely responsible for providing the consequences of success or failure.  With Accountable Kids, that responsibility falls entirely on THEIR hands!
  • Chore charts don’t provide a tangible and immediate reward for success.  These tickets provide that satisfaction even if they can’t “spend” that reward immediately.
  • Chore charts have to be consistently followed through to be effective.  Accountable Kids makes that easier on the parent.
  •  A Chore Chart is a list of things to do (how much do we like those as adults?), Accountable Kids helps my kids feel successful and in control.

I would say its a great program for any family and any child.  It is definitely worth reading their book on it!  If your parenting heart is like mine, we want to raise children  who are responsible for their actions.  We want them to take ownership of their contributions to our family so that as they mature, they’ll contribute to society! To that end, every family can strive to raise accountable kids.

 

 

Living From Rest


It is said that kids learn best if they are learning from rest.  But I have come to learn that LIFE is done best if we approach it from a position of rest.

I think it’s the world’s way to be always busy, always stressed, running from one thing to another.  Lysa TerKeurst says it well in her book, “The Best Yes”: An overwhelmed schedule is an indicator of an underwhelmed soul.

Disclosure: I do not receive compensation from the entities that I link to. I have not received anything from Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries in exchange for my recommendation. This blog is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.


What does it mean to be underwhelmed? It means to lose the WOW factor of God in your life.  To be mundane and mechanical about your existence.  To feel purposeless or ineffective.  To have an “absent father” relationship with God.

Mind you I came from Florida to help with Hurricane Relief, attend court hearings, catch up on doctor’s visits and then move.  Even now I’m having to generate income to meet our new set of expenses.  God definitely provides, but I’m in no way feeling like I’m on “vacation”.

However I learned to live from a position of a rested soul.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
Psalms 62:5-6 NIV

A rested soul doesn’t panic.  Doesn’t worry.  A rested soul won’t anxiously berate their family members because they are not meeting expectations.  A rested soul finds joy even in difficult times.

It means I don’t have to nag my pre-teen into reading his Bible or attending church because I know that his soul belongs to God first.  I can take my concerns about his spiritual upbringing to my prayer closet and leave it there.  And I smile as I type this now because we’ve had some very spiritual conversations and his faith is growing.

I’m free from judgment and condemnation.  All I’m worth is held by God’s scales, not mine!  So my less-than-clean house or my less-than-perfect kids aren’t a source of friction for me.  I am His, and He is mine.  We can work on the rest together and little by little.

There’s no rush to keep up with appearances.  I don’t ever worry, “What will our Pastor think?” I figure if he’s ever truly concerned he’ll call us.  Transparency is a beautiful thing.

Our prayer closet is the greatest rejuvinating source for us – more than a nap or a spa day.  It gives us the strength and the peace that supernaturally helps us overcome each situation we face.  Prayer helps us approach battles from a position of rest.  The Bible gives us the wisdom to not put ourselves in battles we weren’t meant to fight in the first place.  A solid, gospel preaching church gives a spiritual refreshing in a corporate setting.  A small group or bible study setting helps us bear each other’s burdens so we don’t feel overwhelmed and alone.

And actually resting as God has commanded us releases the tension in our bodies, clears the brain fog, slows down the adrenaline, and keeps our emotions balanced!  I don’t know why Christians feel like they are always to be “doing” something for the Lord – maybe it’s that one proverb about the ants – but we can sure be a whole truck full of Martha’s in what is supposed to be a Mary walk.

The difficulty lies in that you can’t achieve rest without boundaries.  You have to set boundaries for your energy so you don’t spend yourself in meaningless pursuits.  You have to set boundaries from your children so you can have your prayer closet time.  You have to set boundaries from friends and family when you can’t keep up with all the activities that month.  The Bible says that boundary lines fall for us in pleasant places; they are designed to be our comfort, not our restraint.

I wish I knew all this before I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Now my body is a barometer of activity and like a vehicle with a busted fuel tank, I hit my limit more often than others.  I pray these words encourage you to find your rest in Him.  Together we can tackle this life with the optimism of a three year old who had a wonderful nap!  Let us not miss out on the blessing of living with our souls rested.



Boys, Girls, and Scouting


I’m going to weigh in on a very controversial subject, with the disclaimer that the views I’m expressing are entirely my own.

A few weeks ago Facebook was blowing up with commentary from Stacy Dash, Matt Walsh, and all these other conservative pages, about Boy Scout’s decision to include girls.

Most of the feedback ranged from, “Why can’t boys be boys and girls be girls?” to “America is going to hell, the transgender have indoctrinated even something as sacred as scouting.”

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Pumpkin Carving and “Running With The Pack” belt loop work for our Wolf Den.

This bothered me.

Nobody, in those articles about an article, cited the reason behind Boy Scout’s decision or their statement.  But I received their statement first because I am a scout mom.  It actually says, and I quote:

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before [1], making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family. Recent surveys [2] of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.”

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Our Boy Scout troop retired a tattered American Flag ceremoniously.

Regardless of how I feel about the position that they took (and I will share that in a minute), this was never – EVER – a push by the LGBT community.  Because it was never designed to incorporate girls into boy scouting through some vague, androgynous definition of boy or girl.

So food for thought towards those who put their opinions of social media, as entitled to them as you are: you just slandered a massive organization composed of loving, invested parents such as my husband and myself.

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My favorite Pop Corn seller Scout!

The truth is many parents within the BSA had problems with this decision.  Many parents in the very troops I’m involved with threw a fit because they don’t believe scouting should be co-ed.  Likewise, I was also privately messaged by MANY moms not involved in scouting who told me, “My daughter has always wanted to join boy scouts.  She is more into the stuff that they get to do.”

My feelings on the matter?

Thank you!

Thank you, Boy Scouts of America, for realizing how difficult it is on middle-class, working families, to drive one boy to cub scouts, one boy to boy scouts, and one girl to girl scouts.  Thank you for being considerate of our time and not dividing our family up one more evening a week.  Thank you for putting such high value on the family as a unit.  Thank you for not being chauvinistic.  Thank you for being more accessible to everyone else other than white families with a well-paid Dad.  Thank you for turning the hearts of the fathers towards their daughters.  Thank you for not being so sexist that you don’t feel the skills you teach your boys are equally important to girls as well.  Thank you for creating a way for my husband and me to serve with all our children.  Thanks for teaching boys to value and respect girls – because in doing so you are raising better brothers, boyfriends, husbands and dads… and less Brock Turners and Harvey Weinsteins.And mainly, THANK YOU that my daughter doesn’t have to “identify as a boy” or experience a transgender crisis because she’d rather hike and camp with the boys than play dolls with the girls.  Thank you that she can be totally feminine, totally secure in her God-given gender and still reach the rank of Eagle Scout if she so chooses.

Rant over.

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My daughter and her friend working on the Wolf Den Cub Scout activities.

Logistically I don’t know how it will play out.  I know per the Scouting Laws and Regulations that it doesn’t mean boys and girls will go camping together.  For the most part, it seems the plan here in our local troops is to have different dens or patrols for girls and for boys.  It will require a lot more manpower.  It may totally flop! I don’t know.

I’m sticking with our Troop’s Director, who said: What are we telling our girls if we expend more family resources supporting a boy in BSA? All that said, boys do not do well with the distraction of girls, especially before 16. On the flip side, having a wholesome venue for boys and girls of similar values to interact around a common purpose is not bad, and in fact may be a real benefit. As I see it, it all boils down to two questions. 1. To what degree will integration be required. 2. Will traditional views regarding God given gender differences and roles be supported or at least tolerated.”  The rest is really to be continued…