Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Let's Practice what we Preach

Yeah, it bothers me when yet another group has succeeded in legally getting a nativity removed from a City Hall or Library, not because someone has complained but bc this group makes it their purpose to travel the country and look for opportunities. But you know, I like to fight fire with fire. I have the ability to do something without the help of an attorney or the court system. I'm challenged by such actions from these types of groups to do what I can within my rights and ability. Why aren't those of us, me included, along with private businesses, displaying the nativity in our front yard or place of business? I understand wanting a government who can freely share our Christian convictions...but if that is so important to us as individual citizens, then it needs to start with us. 

We seem to lose all hope when some group comes in and demands that a nativity be taken down, when even we haven't one in our own yard. We decorate with lights and all kinds of displays in our front yard, but no effort to display the true reason for the season. I hope to find something this coming year to counteract what groups are doing...I hope to display my convictions within the rights I have, rights that no group can infringe.

Until then...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Few Words, Even More Emotions

There are those moments in life when the written language cannot possibly convey what the heart feels. You simply bask in the moment, knowing you will treasure it for a lifetime. Yet, the cause of such said moment is nothing of a monumental moment but rather innocent, unconditional love shown from a child to his parent in a way that only he can express.

Telling him goodnight in his room, he hands me 2 envelopes: "Momma, these are for you and daddy. Will you give Daddy his?"

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Walking Dead

No, the title of this post isn't about the TV series but rather about my last 2 weeks.  I've been absent for awhile because I've been battling flu and pneumonia.  Not only do these illnesses make you feel like you are walking dead, but the meds to treat them can make you feel even least in my case.  I hate taking meds, I seem to be a poster child for the common side effects and tend to have adverse effects from some.  For example, isn't the good cough syrup supposed to make you sleep?  Well, I don't sleep.  I tend to float. Yes, I lie there and feel like I'm floating.  The song "I believe I Can Fly" tends to take on a whole new meaning.  And isn't there rumor that "Puff the Magic Dragon" was written when the writer was high or something to that effect.  I'm fully convinced he could have very well been taking cough syrup.  The effects of that stuff can very well make you believe you have a magic dragon for a friend and that you just may live next a sea as the waves of nausea and dizziness are prominent making you feel sea sick. 

And then there's the steroids.  Oh, how I loathe this stuff.  The following list is the multiple personalities steroids turn me into:

The many multiple personalities of taking steroids:

1. I want to go all Incredible Hulk on anything or anyone who aggravates me.

2.  I want to move to the frozen tundra and then as soon as I get there I want to move to the desert due to frequent body temp changes.

3. I crave a whole buffet to myself and could return with the all you can eat option til it's void of any food....

4. The one food I crave that tastes the best of all foods in the world, suddenly tastes like dirt bc it alters my taste.

5. Things that would normally make me cry can suddenly bring about inappropriate laughing.

6. Things that would normally make me smile with joy suddenly bring me to a puddle of tears.

7. Things that would normally have no effect on my emotions at all suddenly have me laughing and crying at the same time.

8.  My heart feels as if it's been replaced with a hummingbird who just drank a Red Bull.

9. If my emotions had a face, it would be in one of those action pics of the most twisted, longest, loopiest roller coaster.

10.  My head feels like it could be stunt double in The Exorcist.

11.  I become the poster child for most disorders in the DSM IV.

12.  I have sudden bursts of energy to the point I feel I can fly off a cliff but as soon as I jump, I would hit a brick fall bc the energy that was just there to make me fly, is just as quickly gone.
I've also never had pneumonia.  My best description I can come up with is that the heaviness feels like pachyderm sitting on your chest roasting marshmallows bc it burns when you cough.  And then there times I felt like I had a porcupine stuck in my throat. 
Yes, I was whiney and a wimp.  But this past week, I think I have finally completely recovered with the occasional coughing spasm that tends to hang on with this mess. 
Stay sanitized my friends...this stuff is brutal and it knows not that this is the worst time of the year deal with. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Bama Boys

We recently took our boys to their first SEC football game.  (one day I will post my love/hate relationship with football but not today).  Just sharing a few pics of us as we enjoyed our day. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Look Back

Our Bible lesson for today when reading about Lot and his wife...obey God's instructions no matter what. We don't always get to ask, "Why?" We don't always get reasons for his instructions. And do not hesitate when God gives the instruction.

God showed Lot mercy when He had his angel grab Lot's hand, his wife's hand and his daughters' hand and practically throw them out of Sodom. They were "piddling around' when they should have been hastening God's instructions. I than...k God for showing me mercy from the times I've "piddled' with His instructions. And, yet, at times, He has allowed my 'piddling' to become self disciplinary for me to learn just how important it is to heed his instructions. 
I believe that one reason God says "Do not look back" is that He knows the images of what can be seen, in the case of Lot and his wife and even in today's world...death and destruction. And He knows that is not something He always wants us to have seared in our minds. His instructions to not look back was to protect Lot and his family from such horrific images that could haunt them a lifetime, especially when the destruction was of their home and I'm sure friends, no matter how evil they were.

When God removes us from a situation whether it be physically or from an addiction...not looking back protects us. It keeps us from being tempted to return, it keeps our hearts guarded from the evil in which we have been instructed to leave behind. (just my opinion.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Feathered Friends




As part of one of our science projects, we were to put out several bird feeders with different bird food. We are supposed to record the times the birds eat and which birds are attracted to which food. We don't have any trees in our yard that make homes for birds. Our food has been out for many weeks with no birds even interested...until yesterday. It was like feast or famine. We've had no diners for weeks and then suddenly it was like the lunch buffet opening after church. We've even had doves coming to dine amongst the smaller feathered friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lost then Found

This ring. It was my mother's ring. She passed it down to me as a graduation gift. It had a diamond in the middle. She had the small diamond removed and replaced with a star sapphire. No, the star sapphire isn't more valuable but I had been asking for a star sapphire ring...this was her gift of both. (there are small diamonds circling the sapphire.)

Now rewind at the most 10 years ago or at t...he very least 5 years ago. I was in the hospital (since I can't remember which stay, that's why I give the previous time line). I had to take off my jewelry before surgery. The only ring I had on was this ring and another. I did not have on my wedding rings.

I have been trying to find this ring for at most the past 10 years or at the least the past 5 years. I remember giving it my mom but she didn't remember taking it. I'm sure due to the anxiety of surgery and the mix of drugs, I just couldn't remember which hospital stay it was to give her more info about her having my rings. I know I didn't immediately ask for them back after my stay. So time went by before I remembered them. But I when I did remember them, specifically this one, I just couldn't remember enough about where they would be and neither could she.

I searched so many different places thinking that maybe I just dreamed about giving them to her. I knew I had put some jewelry in our safe deposit box at one time during our multiple moves in recent years...but this ring wasn't with them. I then I would second guess myself thinking I just lost them our moves.
Now, fast forward to yesterday from the 10 or 5 years ago. I woke up yesterday thinking about this ring as I've often done for the past many years, still trying to remember what exactly happened to them. I typically end my thoughts succumbing to the idea that I just lost them or maybe they were stolen while in the hospital. Unlike most Sundays, yesterday morning, I asked my mom if she had any blankets to donate to a ministry for the homeless. She did, so after church I stopped by her house to help gather the blankets. While she was going through her cabinets, she came across some 'hidden' jewelry bags.

"I need to throw all these things away. They've just been up in this cabinet for I don't know how long".

"Well, you may want to look through them just to make sure they are empty. You never know"

And to my surprise that brought on a stream of tears...there were my rings and most importantly this one...the one I've been missing and trying to figure out where it could be for the past so many years. My mom still didn't remember me giving them to her but she remembered me losing them and wracking my brain and efforts to find them that up until this point, to no avail.

I know in the scheme of life, rings are just a material possession that stays on this earth long after we have left....but it's the sentimental value behind it that can't be replaced.

After having it resized to fit my finger, I'll once again wear it with as much love as it was given.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From being Homeschooled to Homeschooling

The 'story' below is from a fellow homeschooling mom. She posted this as a response to a post on a homeschooling Facebook page. She, herself, was homeschooled and is now homeschooling her children. She struggled with the choice to homeschool and shares her story: It's kind of long but well worth read.

"I was homeschooled from 7th grade through graduation. Prior to that, I attended public and then private school. I have younger siblings who have been homeschooled all the way through. I know that one intends to home educate her child in a few years. I home educate mine and have never placed them in school.

I did question homeschooling, but never questioned whether it would be the best decision I could make for them academically and socially. I questioned leaving behind my job and my paycheck to stay home with them (and with that, forfeiting more than half of our income at the time). I wondered whether my husband would ever embrace homeschooling wholeheartedly and be excited to support that choice and participate in it.

I did leave my job. And God has always been so astonishingly faithful to meet our needs in such beautiful ways. I'm so blessed to have trusted Him and had the opportunities to rely on His provision and see His goodness and care extended to us as we walked in obedience and faith. Have finances been tough at times? Yes! Yes, they sure have. But through that we have grown and I am thankful for it!

My husband's heart toward homeschooling has changed in wonderful ways. At first, he was supportive of me, and willing to "try it out". But now, years later, he has shared with me how thankful he is that we are doing this; how impressed he is with the education our children are getting at home; how glad he is that we do not have the children in public education right now. He wants to teach them too. He doesn't just support me in choosing it, he is choosing it along with me. If anyone reading this has a spouse who is unsure or hesitant, be encouraged. It may take years and the opportunity to see the value of homeschooling first hand, but there is hope that homeschooling may eventually win them over in the end!

I don't use the same curricula, or necessarily homeschool the same as my Mom did with me. But I have learned a LOT from having watched her as she educated myself and my siblings.
My main positive take-aways from my education are: Children WILL way or another, they learn. They are smart and they absorb the information around them. Learning happens everywhere and there is value to recognizing opportunities in everyday life. Also, learning is not just about academics. And it is a beautiful thing to allow a child to explore their natural interests and develop the skills they are gifted in; there is no need to cookie-cutter everyone, instead we would benefit to treasure the unique differences in individuals which make for a world that is diverse and interesting and colorful and creative.

Probably the one thing I want to do a little differently is to recognize that although there is absolutely significant value to flexibility and creativity in education, there is also value to academic discipline. A child may not enjoy reading, but it may be to that child's benefit to MAKE them do it anyways so they will be able to take advantage of the skill later on. There is value to some routine and structure. Now, the balance of it all is sometimes hard to find, but I do try to implement a little more discipline in our school work than I had - and I think that will continue to be significant as my children grow. For now, they are still young and play is learning and that's a good thing. But my children definitely have some academic expectations to do things they don't like or that are hard, not because it's their natural interest, but because it's an important skill for them to develop, whether or not they necessarily enjoy it.

Personally, the discipline in education was not such a struggle for me, having already been in structured institutional school settings and beginning my home education in Jr.High/High School. But it was something I saw as a struggle for my younger siblings as they grew...especially venturing into studies in college. They are smart and capable, but from my perspective, a lack of preparation (by practicing personal academic discipline early on) has been somewhat of a detriment, although certainly it has not hindered them from achieving success in the things they choose to pursue. But if I can help my children by providing some structure and expectations appropriate for their age so they can grow up establishing self-discipline in this area, I think it will be a good thing for them in the long run.

My favorite thing about homeschooling was the freedom I enjoyed to pursue my interests. I wrote music and played/sang in a band in high school (along with my brother, future husband, and several other friends) and home education enabled me to travel and perform and enjoy some really exciting and wonderful experiences.

Looking back on my homeschooling as an adult, I will say that one of the BEST things about homeschool was the kind of "de-toxing" that took place in the nurturing environment of my home. I spent years unlearning so much of the wrong-thinking that had been drilled into my young heart by ignorant peers. I had to relearn to love my siblings and value them, rather than view them as a nuisance to be avoided. I had to re-establish my perspective of myself, and re-learn how to identify what defined my worth and beauty. I wish I could have simply avoided all of those pervasive lies. I'm still un-learning them. But I am so deeply thankful that my parents stepped in to re-direct us when they did. I did great in school, I was well-liked and 'popular'. But in the end I didn't need top grades or popularity. I needed love. I needed to be truly loved and to learn what love truly is and how to extend it to others. My home education provided a healthy environment for me to grow in that, and specifically as a Christian, to immerse myself in God's Word and be guided not by majority influence, but by the truth during those significant years of my development into maturity.

Least favorite part of homeschooling (from my perspective as a student) was that so much of what we did was catered to the whole family. Overall, this was a good thing, BUT in my academic studies, it was frustrating when my Mom attempted to have me work together with my siblings on most projects. There is an 8 and an 11 year difference between myself and the youngest and while some of it was good (I learned patience and compassion and being thoughtful of the younger ones...character lessons like that), it was irritating to feel held back to keep us all working together. I think there is a difference between encouraging older students to teach and lead younger students, (which can be a great thing for several reasons) and catering learning for all ages to work together as a general rule. Ultimately, it can become too challenging for younger students, while too childish for older students, and really, no one has their needs sufficiently met. Like I said, some of it was good. But I do remember feeling frustrated with that aspect - especially in homeschool group settings.
(Another note on homeschool groups, just because it is a "homeschool" group...even a "Christian" homeschool group, does not mean that it is free of negative influence, bullying, cliques, etc. Don't be naive. Kids were still sexually active, experimenting with drugs, judgmental of fashion and physical appearances...etc. within the Christian homeschool group I attended...and it was a distraction as it was in public school. Be aware and be involved and don't make assumptions. )

What would I say to my parents who homeschooled me? Well, I would (and DO) say, "Thank you." Thank you so much for the sacrifices I know you made to invest in us the way you did. It was the BEST thing you did for us and I am truly, truly grateful."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Protect this House

I couldn't sleep last night. I had so much running through my mind some of which I wrote last night. It's long. and it's for Christians. If you don't believe or live the Christian faith, I don't expect you to understand. If you are bitter towards men, you might not appreciate it either.

Dear Fathers, Husbands and Grandfathers:

I firmly believe, for Christians, God ordained men to the be head of their households. Not to dictate over the family, not to boast about his family with power but rather to lead his family, to provide for his family, and to protect his family. All of these responsibilities require much of men but none so much that God hasn't equipped him for. Yet all of them too big to be accomplished by his own ability and accord. All require a strong faith, a strong commitment and a strong desire to follow and seek God's will for his family. Leading his family also requires a very hard act of balance so much so that when 'off kilter', his family can fall apart or become victim to the cruelties of this world. For some reason, given today's culture and path America is taking, I can't help but think about our men and their role to protect. I'm not talking about men vs women in the military. I am talking about how men choose to protect their families and the great lengths they go about to do it. I, also, often think about men who don't protect bc of various reasons...they don't see the need, they don't know how, they are simply just lazy or they are so wrapped up with trying to be successful by other means than their family. When I think about men and how they are to protect, I can't help but think about how their families need them to protect, how their wives and children not only need it but want it. Our fathers and our husbands are the safety blanket of the home. They are the 'guardian' standing outside the door. However, when I see some of the issues that are being 'fought' across America...anywhere from education to religious freedoms to the subtle everyday dangers that don't always go noticed unless you are looking for them...I can't help but notice that there seems to be fewer men fighting these battles. I'm not saying that there are no men at all but it seems to be ever decreasing. I've noticed more moms and wives stepping up to the frontlines. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong direction and if that is the case, I am ever so happy to be so wrong.

I hear of fathers and husbands not even aware of some of the most dangerous issues that plague the family. I hear of fathers and husbands apathetically ask, "what do you want me to do about it?" Well, if you really want to protect, you follow the greatest laws of protection...You prepare and you gain knowledge. Armies don't send their troops to battle without preparing them, without teaching them, without training them. Sports teams don't play their seasons and their next game without preparation, without training, without building endurance. Avid hunters don't on a hunt without preparation. One of the ways to prepare is certainly physically but another just as equally important...knowledge. And for the Christian family, you can add spiritual preparation. Militaries want to know everything there is to know about their enemy. They want to know their weaknesses, their strengths, their numbers, their strategy, their agenda and then take what they have learned and prepare the best way for victory. They further prepare for battles that may be lost realizing that there is still a war to defeat. Teams want to know everything there is to know about their opponents....their weaknesses, their strengths, their reactions to certain pressures, their strategy, their best players, their weakest players and from that knowledge, they prepare the best way to defeat them. Hunters learn about their prey. They research the best method to kill their prey. They learn the land, the environment. They aren't going hunt in the cold mountains without the proper wardrobe and necessities to survive. Even Under Armor understands this strategy..."Protect this House".

Dear Fathers, Dear Husbands, Dear Grandfathers...I plead with you to protect your family. I plead with you to prepare for the battles so that the war may be won. If you truly understand in the Christian faith, there is an enemy that roams this Earth seeking whom he may devour. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. And the 'whom' he seeks to devour and kill, is your family. No, he may not come so blatantly into your home and snatch your family, although, this is one way he acts..kidnapping, murder. But he comes in more subtle ways that can be just as of his most victorious strategies. He has a heart of evil but a presentation of beauty. You see, he uses television, the internet, social media, education, politics, hobbies, careers/jobs, books, relationships, and so many other outlets to destroy your family.

Fathers, Husbands and Grandfathers...I plead you to prepare. I plead for you to become knowledgeable of his deception and his ways. Do whatever it takes so that when he walks up to the door of your house, he's greeted with you as the guardian of your domain, standing there with the full armor of God (your way of showing 'protect this house') looking him in the eyes with no fear bc God has your back...saying to him... "Not with my family you won't."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Today's Reading Lesson

I had no idea that this 'song' was originally a poem and that it was about Thanksgiving Day. Please excuse my ignorance.

Over the river and through the wood,...
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood-
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose
As over the ground we go.
Over the river and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting-hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Catch of the Day

Last week, we enjoyed a family vacation to the Gulf Coast.  As part of fun, we spent several days fishing.  One particular day this happened:

We were fishing off the Alabama Gulf State pier. Sharks were swarming thus causing many distractions but an abundance of catching many "pilot" fish. As fishermen were fighting the sharks we were temporarily distracted from one of our rod n reels. BB thought JB was holding it, JB thought BB was holding resulting in no one holding it and the rod n reel tumbling to its demise to the bottom of the ocean. It was quite devastating with tears. This rod n reel was a gift from his Pappaw and just the mere shock of it falling so suddenly and unpredictably was just an emotional experience for Brooks.

 Fast Forward to the next day. We are fishing the same spot with BB having a new rod n reel we bought yesterday to replace the lost one. Sharks aren't as numerous but still circling. CB decides to merely drop his line instead of casting it hoping to avoid hooking a shark. What he hooked was even better and required more skill to reel in. He "hooked" our lost rod n reel from the day before. It took JB about 30 minutes using MacGyver type skills but he finally got to the pier. Our story and efforts invited a small crowd of onlookers cheering him on. Even the local news took a few pics (they were doing a story about the over abundance of sharks this year). The success of JB's efforts brought about cheers and claps from the small gathered crowd.

The little boy in the picture above held back tears of joy but not the smiles and hugs for his daddy. It's times and efforts like this that makes our Daddy an even bigger hero.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sex Ed in MS Schools

Wow!  What a post.  I'm sure it's not what you expected to see on my blog.  Well, there are just some issues I refuse to remain silent about.  And blogging gives me a voice. 

There will soon be proposals to the schools on how to teach sex ed to students.  They have an abstinence only program right now but will be reevaluating abstinence plus educational materials. 

While I understand the reasoning for teaching sex ed in the schools, I don't agree with it.  I am not comfortable with a government entity teaching children about sex, sexuality and all that it entails. Idealistically, parents should be the one doing this but, sadly, parents become apathetic or for reasons I just can't comprehend, refuse to do it at home leaving the schools salivating at the chance. 

The article  I have posted below talks about some of the current 'issues' MS needs to address when teaching sex ed.  This article proposes that both genders be present at the same time instead of separating the genders.  Right now, genders are separated.  Supposedly, this would help out with the teacher shortage when it comes to teaching this.  Sorry, folks, but there is a deeper agenda here.  I don't have the brain power at the moment to put my discernment into words regarding the agenda. 

Another issue they deem MS has and needs to corrected:  Opting In the program.  Right now, parents have to give permission for their child to enroll into or participate in a sex ed program.  MS First's concern about 'opting in' is that parents fail to return the permission slip, thus, eliminating students from the program. MS First is advocating this be changed to 'opting out'.  This means that the system will automatically enroll students into the program leaving parents to go through steps in order to pull their child from a program they were never gave permission to be in.  Friends, there is a serious issue here.  Why does the government think they have the right to enroll your child in a program without your permission?  Why would any responsible parent allow this.  This ultimately means, that your child has been enrolled in a very sensitive program without you, the parent, being notified with any information regarding how it will be taught, who will teach it, what will be taught, or the curriculum used.  Instead, you will (supposedly) be given this information after your child has been enrolled.  And I do sincerely pray all parents actually get the information. 

Why does this apply to me when I homeschool?  This issue applies to anyone who pays taxes. Part of your taxes funds public education.  Not having a child in the public school system doesn't negate one's responsibility to question or be concerned with how their tax money is spent. 

The article below is all in the name of making it easier for the school districts...bc making it easier for parents doesn't matter.  click on "How to make the implementation..." below to be directed to the article.

How to make the implementation of high-quality abstinence-plus programs easier for school districts

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WWE Raw, Live

As a mother of boys, I've learned what the statement "we can't keep 'nothing nice 'round here" means.
My house isn't decorated with lots of pretties, because just as the above statement says, "we can't keep 'nothing nice 'round here."

Last night was proof of this.  It was 10:30 and time to go to bed.  Hubby walked into one of the boys' rooms to find the bed broken.  The mattress was hugging the floor.  We were less 1 bed due to a late night WWE (wrestling) match.  It doesn't get more "raw" than this. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Tears of Joy, His Tears of Pain

I was visiting my grandfather's grave this past Sunday. As I was smiling from the memories I have of him, I turned around to find this dear gentleman grieving as he was visiting his wife's grave that was only 5 months old. He later came up to me and told me what a wonderful man my grandfather was. We both left with tears streaming down our faces.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reasons We Homeschool....

I'm sure you have heard the expression "that's just the tip of the iceberg."  This statement means that the obvious reasons (what you can see) is not the ultimate reason because there is more to it (what you can't see). 

Homeschooling has been on the rise within the last few years due to more school shootings, Common Core and moral corruption.  And while these reasons play a part in our decision, they are just the tip of the iceberg. 

The foundations (the part of the iceberg you can't see) of why we choose to Homeschool

1.  Responsibility. If you have read my blog lately, then you understand that we homeschool our 2 boys.  If this is your first time to read it, well, the title of this entry, alone, should reveal the obvious.  I've always had the desire but about 6 months ago, my desire turned into responsibility. Our views of how our children should be educated and who should educate our children have changed.  Not because of any one event or any one person but, truly, because our perception of responsibility has changed.  We began to feel as parents, one of our responsibilities included educating our children.  We feel that by allowing the government to educate our children, we are negating one of our responsibilities as parents.  We birthed them, we rear them but we couldn't comprehend why we were letting someone else educate them.  So, responsibility is one reason.

2.  Biblical World View.  What is that?  Well, it is an apologetic's term regarding how Christians view the world and life.  Some people view it from a secularist point, while others view life from a stance of their religion.  For us, as Christian parents, we view the world and life from a Biblical World View, meaning we view life according to the Bible and the author of it.  Biblical World View is not taught in public schools.  Our government, now more so than ever, does not hold to a Biblical World View.  It's not supposed to.  It's a government not the church.  The church (Christ) was, before any government was.  God never negates Christian authority to a government...He ordained the church and the Christians who are the church.  So, a government is and was not formed to implement a Biblical World View.  But wait, weren't our founding fathers, Christians? Didn't they want us to be a Christian nation?  Why, yes, most were and most did.  But, they formed a government to allow freedom of religion, not to be run by religion.  While our laws are based on Judeo Christian beliefs, they were and are not formed to implement or to teach religion.  Thus, the government schools weren't implemented to be a means of Christian fact, the contrary.  The fact that they were originally implemented by the government and run by the government negates any and all Christian responsibility, beliefs and teachings; instead, implementing the beliefs of the government and those who run it.  This hasn't changed over the years since the implementation of public school but rather the lack of tolerance of Christian teachings and beliefs in the schools is what has changed, thus, allowing laws to change regarding God in schools.  So, since we want our children to have a Biblical World View of life, we believe that includes education, too.  And government schools can't educate our children with a Biblical World View.

Why not send them to a private Christian school?  Well, that is a possibility.  But remember our conviction regarding responsibility...we feel it's our responsibility to educate them.  And, financially, it's not possible at this time. 

3.  Control.  Who do we want controlling our children for the biggest part of their growing up years?  We, their parents.  If we have our children in public school 8 hours of the day, 5 days a week, 180 days of the year for 13 years, (with the very real possibility that this will only increase) we don't have majority of the control.  The system has control...a system that doesn't allow a Biblical World View.  8 hours of the day, 5 days a week, 180 days of the year for 13 years, we don't have control.  We can't control what the teacher says.  We can't control what textbook is being used. We  can't control the rules of the system within the class or the school.  We can't control the influences our children face.  And since we can't control those aspects of our children's lives when in school, we decided to go a route of educating that allows us control. 

Wow, sounds like we want to be one of those helicopter parents or one of the controlling type parents who never wants to let their children go.  Quite the contrary.  God has allowed us to have these children for a time that he orchestrates.  We have a God given responsibility to teach them His ways in the time he gives us.  With homeschooling being one of the venues we do this, we are able to better prepare our boys for when the time comes to let them go.  Kind of like how a soldier is trained before battle.  You don't send a soldier into battle without training or teaching.  Homeschooling allows us the control to train our boys to be even more ready to pursue God's will when the time comes.  But for right now while our boys are still young children, it is their parents, us, who should have majority of control when able.  "Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6.  This verse has become a living verse for us, meaning it has's not just words on a page. 

So, now for the tip of the iceberg reasons (the obvious)

1.  Common Core.  I'm not going into a long detailed description of this.  It's complicated enough with all the articles and arguments already out there.  But in a nutshell, when you dig deep enough into Common Core, it is just another implementation we believe our government uses their power to teach their agenda, their beliefs and teachings.  Some refer it as indoctrination.  We fully believe it is furthering an indoctrinated agenda.  Again, it's the government, it's not obligated to teach anything other than. 

2.  Safety.  There's no denying that due to a morally declining culture that evil becomes more prevalent as experienced with more school shootings, more sexual and physical assaults on children either by their school peers or school staff.   Again, here is a responsibility we feel is ours when it comes to physically protecting our children.  No, we don't believe the system gives permission to these types of evil acts but the system can't possibly protect them like we can.  It goes back to the whole control and responsibility reasons.

3.  Moral corruption.  There's also no denying, especially if you live by Christian morals, that our culture which includes our government, is increasingly becoming even more morally corrupt.  "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." ~ Isaiah 5:20.  We don't want our children privy to that corruption any more so or any sooner than they need to be or have to be.  Wow, this sounds like we are being overly protective...and you know, you're right.  Our culture is corrupt, our children will learn this soon enough without having to be in a school.  We teach our children about the evils of the world...we call evil, evil.  We don't want a system, that doesn't have a Biblical World View teaching our children what is evil or what is good, we want to do that.  And if we didn't expose them to evil, we are failing in our responsibility as Christian's just that we choose based on godly discernment and wisdom...what to expose them to, when to expose them and how to expose them...instead of allowing or depending on a system to do it for us. 

Now that you know our reasons, you need to understand that it's these very reasons, failure is not an option for us when it comes to homeschooling.  And in our refusal to fail, we are learning what perseverance means.  We are learning what it means to fully rely on God for strength, wisdom and discernment.  Bible verses have become living verses to us.  They are hidden in our hearts and we recite them over and over for comfort, wisdom, joy and faithfulness.  We're learning humility...I'm not perfect, therefore, every aspect of my teaching isn't going to be perfect, thus making for more moments that I need to apologize.  We're learning patience.  We're learning that God equips the ill-equipped and we are a perfect example of this.  We're learning that satan is very real and that he truly wants to not only seek those who are trying to fulfill God's will but he wants to destroy them.  He wants to destroy their spirit, their confidence, their faith and their willingness.  But even so, God is bigger. 

Homeschooling...the responsibility isn't light.  It's not some magical guarantee for the future welfare of our children.   But even more than what it's not, it's a responsibility we willingly do.  It's a lifestyle, one we willingly implement and do with faith and joy but not to dismiss the overwhelm and trials.  As  parents, homeschooling allows us to be teachers, it allows us to educate our children.  I'm learning what a privilege, what an honor and what a blessing this is.  And even further, what a privilege, what an honor and what a blessing it will have been when reflecting on motherhood after our children have left home to be the men God called them to be and the men we prayed all those years for them to be. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Would you allow your child to be a Patriot?

Patriot...this word has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

I'm both ashamed and amazed at how much I was either not taught or don't remember. I'm inclined to believe it's the latter.

The boys' reading comprehension story for last week and yesterday was a historical fiction about a young boy named Alex who became a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War. I guess do to my ignorance, I just never knew or realized boys that young, 12 - 15 could and would enlist, especially as ...drummer boys. And further more, while I knew there was such a position as drummer boys, I never knew their role. Boys this young would enlist with their fathers, brothers, grandfathers or other capable family members. In this particular story, Alex enlisted as a drummer boy with his father for the battle being fought near their home in South Carolina. He begged his father to allow and with hesitation, his dad gave his blessing knowing the fate that could be. The hesitation wasn't necessarily b/c of enlisting but rather the position Alex wanted during this battle. The drummer boys would tap out the General's orders for the soldiers to hear. Each rhythm meant a different command. You see, the drummer boys were typically young, yet, they were highly targeted by the enemy. Shooting the drummer boy crippled the strategy. The General couldn't get his commands to all his men. Boys this young wanted to fight and their fathers let them b/c they understood what was at stake...freedom. Boys this young had full comprehension of what freedom or what lack thereof meant. They exemplified the epitome of what a patriot was because of the hard driven pride to be one that fights for his be a patriot. No, I'm not advocating that our boys be sent off to war at such a young age. But I am advocating that our children know to the same degree what the essence of freedom is, so much so that their peers 100s of years before them believed in it enough to be the patriots who gave us America.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Project is Worth a Thousand Words

This picture. Goodness, it doesn't look like much. I mean it's just a wire hanger with paper baseballs hanging on it. Oh, but it's much more than that. This little project hangs proudly in our den. While this project may be little in contrast to some, the pride behind it is as great as any other. Sure, our children do crafts and projects throughout their childhood but there's just something even more special about a simple little project like this when its done with your children not just as their mother but as their teacher, also. It couldn't hang in our classroom. No, it had to be hung in the den for Daddy to see. It's days like this I envy my boys' former teachers...what a wonderful blessing they got to share with my boys in doing the simplest little projects that bring about much joy and pride. It's days like this that make me the most excited about the coming years I get to spend as my boys' teacher that makes being their mother even more enjoyable and blessed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dear American Journalist

Dear American Journalist,

Please don't go to Iraq for a report. Please don't go anywhere near ISIS. While it may be the next best story that will win you a lot of money and fame in the journalism world, I, personally don't need the story that puts your life in grave danger. There is only so much America can do to protect you on foreign soil, especially in one of the most dangerous countries.

Concerned for your life more than your story,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm Learning to Walk Again

I'm learning to walk again.

Our boys aren't the only ones learning new and different aspects of life as a homeschooling family. I'm learning to walk again.

Life is so rushed. I think we can all relate to the term "rat race". We become families rushing to get through so we can get to. We are running from here to there to fulfill our responsibilities, expectations and life's activities. Somet...imes we literally do not stop but only to sleep enough to do it again the next day.

Families transitioning from traditional school to homeschooling will often mention how much life slows down. When researching all things homeschooling, I remember reading or hearing this from families who, like us, have experience from both sides of educating our children. It's not until weeks after we've been homeschooling do I understand what they meant.

While some describe it as 'life seems to run at a slower pace', I'm more inclined to describe it as this..."we are learning to walk through life, not run through it."

It hasn't been til these past few weeks of homeschooling did I realize just how much rushing and running we were doing, both mentally and physically.

Our weekends are no longer planned around weekend homework. The slow down is especially noticed on Sunday evenings. We aren't rushing to get 'life' ready for the upcoming week. We don't have to prepare ourselves mentally for the upcoming week...tests, homework, lunches, clothes ready, books in backpacks, etc. I honestly didn't realize how much Sunday evening mental preparation I was rushing through.

Monday mornings are no longer dreaded. Oh, the dreaded Monday mornings of waking up sleepy children. Children who dread the coming week b/c of school. We would wake up at the latest time possible only to find ourselves rushing to get out the door on time. Rushing through b'fast, rushing through a change of clothes, brushing teeth..."get your backpacks! Did you hear me say hurry up!" Running out the door with all kinds of elevated commands and demands b/c we are rushing. Or for some, rushing to be catch the bus on time.

The rushing continued in school. My boys learned quickly that if they didn't get through with their work, they either had to bring it home to complete or sit out of recess in another classroom to complete. They acclimated to rushing through their work to avoid both circumstances. They learned to rush through their lunch in order to eat all of it and still have a few minutes to talk with neighboring friends...unless it was quiet lunch that no one got to talk.

And the rushing didn't stop just b/c school was out. "Get your homework done before you go outside to play with friends."...this equated to my boys rushing through homework so there would be enough time to play outside. The other aspect of this was "you can play outside first, but you will need to come in early to get your homework done before bedtime." So, here again, rushing their playtime outside. The rest of the evening was rushing...get homework done, baths, supper, prep for tomorrow...all before bedtime at the latest of 9:00, only to start it all over again the next morning. On evenings we had extracurricular activities, the rushing became racing. Racing to beat the clock to fulfill all our duties and activities.

So, in all, one of the most noticeable aspects of our past few weeks of homeschooling, we are learning to walk. And yes, we are having to learn to walk again. Rushing was all we knew when it came to life during the school year. Don't get me wrong, I am busy but that's not to be confused with hurried or rushed. You see, I'm busy planning, grading, teaching and fulfilling my duties as a mother and wife. But I'm not rushed. There are some days we don't know what to do with ourselves b/c of all the extra time we have. When the boys cooperate and focus, we are finished no later than 1:00 and that includes breaks, snack and b'fast. But there are days we are still schooling at 3:00 or later. These days, the boys just took longer to complete their assignments. They are slowly learning that they control how long their school day lasts. They aren't used to this. In traditional school, their day is planned for them...every minute of the day and even into the evening. Homeschool allows them to have more control of their day. They aren't rushed to complete their assignments but at the same time, they are learning to work independently, manage their time reaping the benefits or sowing the consequences.

Yes, life does slow down. I'm learning to walk again. And as a toddler learning to walk for the first's just as freeing now as it was then.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Teach a Man to Fish...

This past Thursday morning, I had an appointment.  My dad took the boys fishing so we did school in the afternoon.  I think the best lesson learned of the day was the fishing trip...teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learn Something New Everyday #2

Today's English lesson turn natural science lesson:

Much of bear meat's flavor depends on what the bear ate. A bear that fed on fish will taste different from a bear that fed on berries.

Here's to hoping I never eat bear that ate skunks.

Friday, August 8, 2014


I plan to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of our homeschooling journey.  I'm not doing this homeschooling thing to portray a perfect image of a perfect family with nothing but smiles everyday.  It's a work in progress and a journey.  Just like life...journeys have pitfalls, curves, bump along with the pleasant views. 

Today would have been a good day to incorporate a sleep study in our lessons.  My motivation, energy and focus remained in bed while my body sat in our 'classroom'.  I think most of my breathing was through yawning.  Yay, for the weekend to recoup and prepare for next week. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Learn Something New Every Day # 1

In studying our English lesson of the problems was asking a question. "Why do some chickens lays brown eggs?"

We turned this English lesson into a natural science lesson:

"Let's get weird for a second and pretend you have a chicken sitting beside you. Imagine this crazy chicken is kind of an off-white brownish yellow. You're no chicken expert and you have no idea what breed you're looking at. Here's the secret to predicting the color of eggs a chicken will lay: look at their earlobes. This is true stuff. The pigments in the outer layer of the eggshell will always approximate the color of the earlobe of the chicken that laid the egg."

Yes, even I learn something new every day. I didn't know chickens had earlobes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

And We're Off...

Here are few pictures of our 1st day of homeschool.

I want to apologize to those of you who are artist for disgracing the artistic community.  That's the best I could do for a pig.

We learned what homonyms are.  These are few they came up with.

BB has a pet crab he got from an earlier beach trip and has declared it our class pet.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot develop a warm, fuzzy relationship with a crustacean. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our New Way of Schooling

As most of you know, I am on FB and post most of our daily happenings there.  But for those who aren't, I would like of inform of you a major lifestyle change for our family.  Below you will find an 'announcement', if you will, I posted on Facebook.  While this doesn't explain my heart on how we came to this decision (maybe another post), it will at least give you an idea of major changes are going on in our family:

It's hard to know where to start with a post like this. I hesitate b/c I put myself out there for either much criticism or much praise. I'm actually looking for neither but I know given that it's social media and I have 100s of friends here which equate to 100s of opinions. One or the other will happen...either way, I refuse to let it define our decision or our family. Praises will not confirm our decision no more than criticism will doubt it.

Last year during our Christmas break....well actually since our boys started school, I've had a desire (slash) interest to homeschool. The idea intrigued me but that was just intrigued me. But this past Christmas, the idea became more than an intrigue but rather a desire. A desire based on many, many issues that became increasingly hard for me to ignore. For those who believe in God calling you to fulfill His will....I accepted this increasing desire as God calling us to a different avenue of educating our boys. This desire wasn't to enroll in a private school nor to become an avid lobbyist of changing the public school system to fit my ideas of what I think public school should be (but ever so grateful to those who have heeded that calling). This desire was to homeschool. This desire was to become an avid participate in our sons' education by way of homeschooling.

After months and months of praying, researching, seeking wise counsel, tears, self doubt, naysayers, advocates, explaining the whys, discerning and many, many confirmations that only God could have orchestrated, it was with excitement, anxiety and relief (to finally say to God, "you win") that Jeremy and I made the decision to homeschool our boys beginning this year. It's a decision we will take a year at a time. I don't know what next year holds but I know who holds it. I know as our duties as parents continue as long as God allows us to be the parents of Christian and Brooks, we will not stop seeking His will.

Our boys are excited but understand that our days will not be filled with video games, TV watching (unless for educational purposes) nor lazily lying around the house as the day passes by. The idea of no homework excites them the most.

I know as many of you who read this have the ever present and popular reaction of: "what about socializing?" "are you crazy?" "you are ruining your boys' life". Believe me, I've heard it all. I had one lady literally tell me "You are Crazy." Yes, yes, I am crazy. I'm crazy about my boys and like many other parents I know, we are doing what we think is best for our family.

In regards to homeschooling...if you feel the need to leave a critical comment or mentally think it, I ask a few things of you before you do. Have you done the months of research most homeschooling families have done to come to their decision? Are you criticizing based on experience or b/c of something you merely read, something you merely heard or is it the typical response most give to homeschooling? Do you know the personal stories of those homeschooling as to why they chose this avenue of education? You see, I have learned that most people who criticize this choice haven't taken the time to understand the reasons why a family chooses this avenue. The critic hasn't done the amount of research it takes to come to this decision nor have they prayed the prayers for discernment and clarity. The critic finds it easier to respond with criticism and judgment than to try and understand. Most homeschoolers don't just up and decide this way of life overnight. If one does, this decision was poorly made and will most likely cause more heartache, more stress and possibly failure. To fully understand a homeschooling family, you have to understand their reasoning and to also understand it's a personal decision.

I've also learned that when someone chooses to homeschool, some educators, be a teacher or administrator, tend to take this decision as a personal attack against them or their teaching ability. This is as far from the truth for us as it can get. Our decision is not based on any particular situation that happened to us in public school, although for some homeschooling families this true. In the 3 years we were enrolled in public school, not one incident made this an easy decision. We had not one teacher that caused us any strife or animosity towards public schooling. I have several family members and many friends who are public school teachers and they are wonderful people who any child would be blessed to have. They have blessed so many children and their families throughout their years of teaching. They give love when there's none being given at home. They inspire when there is no inspiration at home. They are at the forefront in the everyday battle of educating our children. They are often underestimated and wrongly criticized for the system's failures. They have a talent and gift that can't always be 'developed' or 'created', it comes natural from our Creator.

So please, don't take a homeschooler's decision as a personal attack on teachers, principals or PTOs. Homeschoolers may criticize the public school system, this is true and I'm not going to lie...I criticize the system. But there is a big difference in criticizing the system or having concerns about the system than pointing a finger at one who is a part of the system but has no part of the failure. You may not enroll in O care but that doesn't mean you 'hate' the doctors. You may criticize the military but that doesn't mean you 'hate' our brave soldiers. You may criticize the Church but that doesn't mean you 'hate' your pastor or Christians.

And as with all organizations with associations...there are some homeschoolers who disgrace the homeschooling community. There are some educators who disgrace the educating community. There are some soldiers who disgrace the military community. There are some pastors and so-called Christians who disgrace the Christian community. So please, don't form a critical opinion of all based on a few.
As you begin your new school year with excitement and do we. It's a journey, just as with all children whether you homeschool or not, that will be filled with blessings, stress, hugs, tears, excitement, doubts and surprises. It's a journey I can't wait to begin.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Carpool has gone to the Buzzards

I don't say much about the perils of carpool, but the past 2 days warrant a shout-out

1. Car A isn't moving. The line has continued to inch closer to pick up and Car A is just sitting there while she is looking down at either her phone, book or Kindle. She has no idea of what is going on in front of her. Apparently, Car B is too nice, too scared or not paying attention either to honk and make Car A aware of the situation. I am Car C. I've had it. I'm done being patient... with people who can't quit texting or FBing long enough to get through carpool. As I am trying to make my way out of line to cut in front of Car A, Car F whizzes by, honking at Car A and proceeds to butt in line. Apparently, she's as done with it as I am.

2. Today, the buzzards were circling around carpool. I didn't see a dead animal. I'm convinced they are hoping that the amount time we have to wait in carpool due to the Car will be to their advantage one day.