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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Becoming Who I Am

Have experiences in your life changed you? For better or for worse?

My mom has been gone since 2007. Sometimes it feels like a day and other times it feels like a lifetime already. I often wonder what life would have been like if she hadn't been sick all those years, if she were still here now.

Who would I have been? How would it have affected my life, our marriage, my kids' lives? The other day, my husband & I watched a short video clip of her smiling, talking, and singing. I was choked with sobs of grief I've held inside for years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding JOY in Hurt

I have experienced death and disease and yet I still have JOY...

Life is full of milestones. We reach them by various means, whether through time on earth or through experiences lived. This year I will reach a time milestone: my 30th birthday.

I feel like in years, I am still young. In experiences, I am old. Oh, I know that there are many experiences I have not had and many more that are to come. However, I have experienced a lot. I've heard that eyes are a window to the soul. I believe it. My eyes reveal an old soul.  

I have experienced a lot of grief in my 30 years. Through death, and through loss of a life we thought deserving of. I lost my mom and my son to death. I lost my oldest daughter to a disease and with that disease went a life we thought we were deserving of.

Fifteen years ago, before cancer, death, and disease, we thought we would simply live a "normal" life.  No death, no grief, no disease. We would have missed out on a spiritual growth we never knew was possible.

After all that I have read online from other grieving mothers, I have found that I may be different than most everyone who grieves. Not better by any means, and I am sure that I am even lacking in some ways. But, I often feel different and alone in my grief journey, at least in the natural sense.

I lost my mama and I hurt with a shocking hurt. I lost my oldest daughter to a devastating diagnosis (that we live with daily) and I hurt with an exhausting hurt. I lost my newborn son and I hurt with a deep aching hurt, like a crushing vice on my heart and lungs. But I cling tight to the hope that is within me. To the fact that I know from my experiences, that He really does work ALL things to the good of His children.

I have read articles from other grieving mothers stating what should or should not be said to us who grieve. I have no doubt that most grieving mothers agree with the articles and do not want people to tell them "empty words", such as "you will see them again in Heaven" or "God has a perfect plan for your life" or "God will carry you".

These words do not feel empty to me. They are words that I have read in some form or another straight from the Bible. How can they be empty when they reach so deeply into my soul? How can they be meaningless when I feel the comfort of such words wrap around me and engulf me with peace? My mind and my body may fight it, wanting to lash out in hurt and anger, but my soul needs these words of truth and finds strength in them.

Just because God has allowed such hurt and pain in my life does not mean that He is not a loving, all-knowing, and perfect God! It is because He is all of that and more, that I can experience such great pain and loss and still completely trust in Him and know that He indeed does know what is best for me and those around me. I know that He allows these hurts because He loves me so deeply and perfectly that He knows exactly what I, my husband, my kids, the doctors, our friends, the nurses, even the lab techs, and everyone else around us needs in order to turn towards Him.

I believe that every single thing that happens on this earth will be used for good and bring glory to God. That includes the pain, the death, the tears, the hurt, the sleepless nights, the anger, the everything that seems so bad.

No, I do not expect myself or others experiencing grief to be happy happy fun fun all of the time, or much at all. I expect myself and those who believe Jesus is their Lord & Savior to have an almost uncontrollable JOY that can not be smothered by the hurt in this life.

And with this JOY from the Lord, we are able to have understanding and grace and peace and strength unlike what we could ever do on our own. I am not being deceitful when I share how we have been blessed by the trials, pains, tears, sleepless nights, and hurt. It is truth from the depths of my soul thanks to Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Encouragement For The Christian Homeschool Family

Have you ever felt discouraged and alone in this homeschooling journey? Do you ever wonder if there are others out there who believe as you do?

As a Christian homeschooling family who is quite conservative, we have often found it difficult to find others with similar beliefs. Sometimes we have wondered if there were anyone else who believed the same way we do, who desires the same lifestyle as we do for our children. And if they were out there somewhere, we wondered where we could find them!

Have you ever felt discouraged and alone in this homeschooling journey? Do you ever wonder if there are others out there who believe as you do?

Monday, June 22, 2015

SmartKidz Media Library For Homeschoolers Review

SmartKidz Media Review

Do you like to use video for some of your homeschool subjects? We especially like to use documentaries for Science, History, Social Studies, and Geography in our home. Or, perhaps you'd like better media options for your children during their screen time? Either way, I think you'll be interested in this review! Smartkidz Media offers their subscribers an unique opportunity to have access to educational and child-friendly media with their Smartkidz Media Library For Homeschoolers.
In-depth review of Smartkidz Media Library, access to educational videos, eBooks, games, and more!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Legacy Of Amazing Women

Elisabeth Elliot (1926 - 2015) passed away today at the age of 88. I have spent the last hour listening to her speak at a ladies' luncheon via a YouTube clip. And I am listening again while I write this.

What We Can Learn From Elisabeth Elliot
Wow. Wow. WOW. Absolutely amazing speaker. I have been convicted and encouraged tremendously while listening to her.

She is down to earth and straightforward, and the thought that my mom would agree with her words came to my mind while listening. Mostly because of her wise advice of using God's Holy Word as our "reference point" in all of life.

"Compare our experiences to this (God's) Book" - Elisabeth Elliot.

One of my greatest struggles is not allowing my emotions, experiences, and thoughts control how I live. The truth is, I shouldn't trust myself. I must use God's Holy Word as a reference point and compare my thoughts with His Word. The Bible is the one truth.

I love the 3 points that Elisabeth spoke about:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Working From Home While Homeschooling: Our New Schedule

We have been getting hit with one medical thing after another the last several weeks. It has been ridiculous! Through it all, we have been trying to continue with our seat work, but have gotten less completed than I'd like to admit.
Working from home while homeschooling, how we schedule it all

Saturday, June 6, 2015

How We Study The Bible (30 Days Of Bible - plus a freebie & huge giveaway!)

I am all about keeping things simple and I'm no different when it comes to embracing God's Word. We do not need fancy Bible Study books and guides on what to read. Though, those can be a blessing if used purposefully.

Join me and 27 other bloggers share how we study God's Word

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Memoria Press - Famous Men Of Rome Review

We received the Famous Men Of Rome Set to review from Memoria Press. My oldest loves reading about Roman history and ancient times, so I knew that he would be interested.
The Famous Men Of Rome Set includes the textbook, which has 30 stories starting from the rise of Rome with Romulus in 753 B.C., tells us of the famous men and leaders throughout the Roman Empire, and ends with the fall of the Western Empire in 476 A.D. 
An in-depth review of a classical curriculum set about the Famous Men of Ancient Rome.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Preparing For My First Homeschool Convention

This month I am partnering with OCEANetwork to bring you all a close-up look at their annual Homeschool Convention! I will be attending the convention both days (June 19th & 20th) and will be tweeting about the speakers and vendors, posting Facebook updates, and Instagram photos for everyone who is not able to make it to the convention themselves. I am so excited for this opportunity!

some great tips on being prepared for a homeschool convention!

This is my first time attending a homeschool convention, so I have been researching (Pinterest, lol), chatting online with seasoned convention-goers, and planning our mini trip. Here are a few things I've learned (plus a giveaway for you at the end of this post! --- Winner has been chosen and giveaway is closed!):

How To Handle Motion Sickness With Children

It never fails, every time we leave the house with our 7 children, at least one ends up miserably car sick and often vomiting. Ugh! After many years and many events like this in the van (that were less than fun), we've come up with a few solutions to make a trip in the van more manageable with children who are sensitive to motion sickness.

We've come up with a few solutions to making a trip in the van more manageable with children who are sensitive to motion sickness.


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